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Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Transporter room 3 | Deck 12 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

“Are you sure these are the coordinates, Lieutenant? It looks like this is going to set you down in the middle of the jungle somewhere between Qam’chEE and the Blng’av mountains.” The transporter officer looked up from her monitor with confusion marked in her expression.

Enyd raised a single eyebrow in response. With deductive reasoning, she would think that the transporter officer could take in Enyd’s khaki-colored trekking backpack sitting on the transporter pad next to her calf-height, black booted feet and understand that she rarely took such gear with her on a city adventure. That, along with her brown form-fitting jodhpurs sliding under the boots with her long-sleeved red button-down partially secured over a simple grey tank top, both tucked into her pants and secured with a wide, brown utility belt, and surely the Ensign would understand that Enyd was dressed for a wilderness adventure

“I double-checked the coordinates with my contact on the planet to ensure they were the right ones. Not to worry, Ensign. I am intentionally going to those coordinates because I intend to hike up the Blng’av mountains to see the sunrise. And those coordinates set me down closest to the trailhead without cheating and setting down halfway up.”

Which it had been tempting to do that, considering the horrible hour they had to leave to make it up the mountain in time to see the sunrise. Enyd had already had one cup of coffee just to give herself the mental and physical stamina to get dressed and haul herself one deck down to wait for her adventure partner. And that was IF he’d even received the message in time to meet her at this horrendous hour.

“Very well, Lieutenant.” The Ensign set about plugging in the coordinates, leaving Enyd to her thoughts.

Enyd felt horrible that it had taken her the entire week to turn her attention back to the mysterious Romulan she’d met in the Arboretum. She was certain Drauc would not complain or find fault in her lack of communication, especially once he knew—if he didn’t already—of all the mishaps she’d weathered through this week. But that didn’t stop the guilt niggling at her brain because she’d invited him only the night before, having had this hair-brained scheme occur to her mere moments before falling asleep.

Considering the fact that her prior planet side experiences had thus far entailed fighting against Infested, getting kidnapped by Tal Shiar operatives, and then facing off with Mo’Kai rebels, Enyd had been half tempted to call off the venture altogether. Not for lack of desire to see Drauc again, but for her own leeriness of what other mayhem might get thrown at her the minute she left the ship. Perhaps he would be content with visiting the cabin in Banff Zark had introduced her to. But then Enyd had heard her grandmother in her head, bullying her into overcoming her irrational wariness of an entire planet, and here Enyd stood, waiting for Drauc, hoping he was either a late sleeper or a stupid earlier riser.

In the message, she’d told him the need for timeliness and the basic itinerary, alongside her apology for being so absent-minded in her adventure offer and timing. If she wanted to make it to the sunrise, she could afford to wait another ten minutes, but then she’d have to leave without him. If he wasn’t occupied, even if he was late, Drauc could still potentially catch up with her if he was so inclined.

“Are you ready, Lieutenant Madsen?”

Enyd shifted on her feet, nibbling her lower lip before crouching to rummage through her pack. “I want to double-check my gear once more, then I’ll be ready.”

She had packed ration packs, a large thermos of coffee, a couple of canteens of water, along with a filter for if she ran out on the planet and needed more. The standard emergency medical kit and emergency blanket, rappelling rope in case something seriously went wrong, flashlight, signal flare, machete, and a whistle. From what she’d read, the trek featured an initial jungle approach with a steep climb through the tree line, then a gradual ridge hike before some cliff face climbing with pre-affixed ropes, and another steep climb over exposed loose rock to the summit. Supposedly from the summit, one could see over the jungle to the east and the ocean to the south, and once the sunbeams hit the white buildings of Qam’chEE, legend told of being able to see the spirit of Kahless rise out from the city and race over the continent to the north.

Enyd relished the thought of going on a trek on an actual mountain and not on the holodeck, and of being able to spend time with Drauc without fear of other minds pressing on him. She smirked. Hopefully, she could keep it together this time and not so shamelessly throw herself at the poor Romulan. After so much chaos this week, Enyd felt that perhaps her nerves were to an exhausted enough level that she would behave far more like a civilized woman and less like an ancient hussy. Glancing up at the bored Ensign, Enyd decided to re-check her double-check, forcing her attention to stay on the backpack and gear and not glance to the doors as she eagerly awaited Drauc.

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #1
[ Drauc T'Laus | Junior Offficers' Quarters | Deck 08 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
The evening before, Drauc had returned to the small quarters that he'd been allotted aboard the ship, the same in which he'd last seen Jovela. He still hadn't fully accustomed himself to the fact that she was gone, but he remained pleased that the perpetrator whom had bombed the Spearhead Lounge had been caught and faced Klingon justice. Still, as he stood there and looked at the barren room and the view of Qo'noS outside the viewports, he delved into the memories in which he'd taught her hand-to-hand combat and self-defence, and she'd tried to help him get attuned with emotions that weren't derived from her.

A blinking light caught his eye, and he saw that it came from his computer console, which he rarely used. He just used his quarters for sleep and to rinse himself. He kept his threadbare Romulan clothing there as well, most of which he'd been using for many years, but besides that, he had little in ways of personal possessions. Quietly, he had moved to the console and opened the message.








After reading it, Drauc had recalled the encounter in the Arboretum, of which he'd devoted much thought over the course of the past few days. With the lack of word from the Diplomat, he had assumed she'd thought better than to affiliate herself with a former Starfleet officer turned mercenary, whom now merely lived for the battlefield and the purpose to thwart the enemy... yet it seemed he'd been wrong. Reaching out with his scarred hand from the sleeve of his tattered robe, he typed a brief reply.





He had then switched off the computer console and rinsed himself in the sonic shower, and after asking Thea to wake him up in time, he had went to sleep. For once, he hadn't delved into the memories of Jovela, but rather looked towards the future instead of the past. A future that might not just be revolving around the enemy and the battles to come.

[ 0350 hrs. | Transporter room 3 | Deck 12 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]

When the sliding doors parted, Drauc T'Laus approached Enyd with his eyes shrouded by his burgundy hair. He was wearing one of his usual attires, drab and showing signs of long usage. Within the folds of his brown robe, his tunic had lost four buttons from his collar and down his chest, but it lent him enough warmth to still function. His trousers were of a rough cloth with few pockets, loose enough to not constrict sudden movements, and his boots were of a civilian Romulan kind without embellishment. When roaming the streets of Romulus' cities, and pulled his hood up to cover the scars on his forehead, he would blend into a crowd with ease. As for the Qo'noS mountains, his clothing would serve little else than protection from the weather. He had brought no equipment save for a combadge that he kept in one of his pockets. Not just because he hadn't been given a phaser by the Theurgy crew, but because he trusted that his body would be enough to protect the diplomat from the Klingon wildlife.

"Greetings," he rasped to her, feeling her presence with his mind and not just seeing her with his eyes - even if the sight of her took precedence in his mind. "I hope I have not kept you waiting."

Seeing - and feeling - that the Transporter Officer was waiting for the two of them to get on the pad, he complied and reached down, picking up the backpack once Enyd had closed it, wordlessly taking it upon himself to carry it over his shoulder.

"I was pleased to receive your message, and I hope you have fared well since last we spoke," he grated, looking at her whilst his question generated imagery from the days that had passed since last they saw each other.

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #2
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Transporter room 3 | Deck 12 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Enyd looked up as the doors swooshed open, a shiver of anticipation immediately coursing through her body when she noted who it was walking towards her. Instead of the graceful transition of a crouch to standing, or the smooth choice of words for greeting after he spoke, Enyd instead fell back on her bum with a soft “mmph” escaping her lips.

“Hello Drauc,” Enyd pushed herself off her bum just as he plucked the backpack off the floor, “I’ve not been here long.”

And it was true. Yes, she’d waited, but the wait had been worthwhile now that Drauc was with her. She brushed at her pants as she moved to join him on the pad, though she knew there were no dust particles attached to the material hugging her rear. It was a force of habit more than anything. His words regarding how she’d been faring had Enyd chuckling with a spurt of dark humor.

“I can fill you in on my weekly adventures once we’re on the trail.” Looking back to the officer, Enyd nodded.

[Blng'av Mountain Region | Qo'Nos]

The familiar tickling buzz overtook her, and in the next moment, the jungle at the foot of the  Blng’av mountains shimmered into view. Enyd immediately felt a giddy rush of excitement run through her as she ran through the trail schematics in her head, knowing full well Drauc could see them without having to say anything. They would first need to hack their way through this jungle, ford a river, and then they should come to the trailhead. Nothing overly difficult in that, right?

Turning back to Drauc, Enyd eyed the backpack still slung over his shoulder. “If you’re going to insist on carrying it, and thank you for that if you are, may I at least pull out the machete? I think we’d both like to avoid more scars on our skin for the time being.” Enyd nodded toward the razor-sharp edges of the ferns that draped close-by, stalwartly avoiding the memory of touching the scars of his skin during their last meeting.

“And in answer to your ‘not’ question,” Enyd continued with another chuckle, “I believe I am a walking singularity or something because since we last spoke, I have managed to get myself kidnapped twice, once by stranded Tal Shiar operatives, and then by Mo’Kai rebels hiding out from the House change. I have fought against yet another Infested Starfleet officer and intentionally threw myself into the boxing ring to spar with yet another. Though Frank was not Infested, and he was kind enough to beat me when I needed it, though others would have rather he leave me alone. So I wasn’t exaggerating in my message when I said I needed this hike.” She needed to say it, knowing that Drauc heard and felt it when her mind supplied, “And time spent with you.”

The events mentioned played out in her mind in rapid order, including Zark’s threat against Frank if he beat her too much in the ring. Her eyes mirthful, though still marginally haunted, Enyd looked back to Drauc with a half-smile tugging at her lips.

“What about you? How has the week been?”

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #3
[ Drauc T'Laus | Blng'av Mountain Region | Qo'Nos ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
Hearing about the ordeals that Enyd had endure was nothing like experiencing them through her memories. Language was such a poor conduit to encapsulate events in their entirety for the one that had experienced it, but memory through mind was better in many regards. That being said, there was only so much that could be conveyed over a few second's worth of conversation, so Drauc knew that even though the impressions he was left with held much, the glimpses were nothing compared to the real ordeals.

Worse yet was the realisation that her life had been endangered and he had known naught about it. Had he known, he would have reached out, offered his assistance, or just sought her out to see how she'd fared. That was, undoubtedly, one of the downsides of not being part of the Theurgy's chain-of-command, for without a commission or an assignment, he had no access to reports about unfolding events.

"Had I known..." he rasped quietly while he produced the machete from the backpack, but he trailed off, shaking his head. The past was the past, and even if his regrets were tangible to him, he didn't sense that she'd expected him to either intervene or enquire upon her safety. In fact, it seemed like she was looking forward to this little excursion that she'd planned, and pointedly, she asserted that she wished to spend time with him. Not conveyed in words, but in the privacy of her thoughts, in full knowledge that he'd sense those words.

With the machete in hand, he wondered if she would be offended if he cut down the ferns in their way, believing it was not a bother for him to do so. At least less of a bother than it might be for Enyd, purely based on the fact of his range and his strength. He gave the sharp tool too her. "We can take turns," he rasped, before answering her question. "After our last meeting, I attended the conference... the one between other Romulan contacts and crewmembers of the Theurgy. I suspect you already knew that already, since your superior officer attended the same meeting. It was... not entirely comfortable, given that the subtle tensions in the room were quite overt for me."

Wondering if there was a second machete available, Drauc followed Enyd, and he found himself watching her rather than the ferns in their way. He realised he very much had looked forward to seeing Enyd again, and as he did, memories of their last encounter entered his mind. The unspoken tensions between them, which had merely existed in the connection between their minds. That which had been willingly offered in terms of imagination, and that which had slipped past her restraints. Whether or not the furnace of his mind had been ignited by her or not, she had fed it without compunction, and made it difficult to leave her there in the Arboretum.

"Our last meeting made a big impression on my thoughts, since it has lingered in my mind in your absence," he grated, the honesty in how open she was towards him making him equally so.

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #4
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Blng’av Mountain Region | Qo’Nos ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Enyd watched as Drauc processed both her words and the images he’d likely seen in her head. She noted his momentary hesitation before handing her the requested machete and was curious if it was out of a sense of masculine pride that he’d hesitated or if he’d deduced, with logic, that his power and height would naturally make him better suited for trail clearing. His added comment of taking turns as he relinquished the blade into her grip had Enyd grinning. It was probably a mixture of both.

“I have no doubt, Drauc, that if you’d known of the danger I’d been in, while I’d been in it, that you would’ve taken whatever action. I respect and appreciate that about you.” She reached out and lightly traced a hand across his cheek before drawing back and giving him a firm nod. Enyd was determined to not ONLY think about him naked and in her arms this time, and she felt fairly proud of herself that until this very second, she hadn’t strayed too far in that direction.

As he began to share his own activities in the interim since their last meeting, Enyd began to make use of the machete, deftly hacking at the foliage that made the mistake of getting in front of her. Although trail clearing was not new to her, some of these plants were already proving to be as difficult to contend with as an offended Klingon. She was not so prideful that she wouldn’t gladly pass off the machete once the going became too difficult for her to manage, but so far, the hacking and slashing momentum felt good. The use of her muscles, the controlled breathing, the sense of satisfaction at seeing an immediate change in the scenery with every movement were all a heady mixture filling her with delight as she continued to listen to Drauc’s husky voice. This had been a very good idea, even if it was a stupid early hour.

Not gifted his powers of telepathy or empathy, Enyd was entirely unaware of his close study of her form as he traveled a safe distance behind her. She was just in the process of bending over to pick up and set aside a particularly stubborn vine when Drauc spoke of the impression she’d left on his thoughts. Jerking back to an upright position, Enyd felt a new heat touch her cheeks, one of awareness and not exertion.

“Um,” Enyd had to swallow the sudden lump in her throat, her voice croaky as she tried to speak through the sudden rush of awareness, “I’ll confess to more than one dream that featured you prominently.” Not wanting to hack about with a blade while combating burgeoning lust, she turned and held it toward the Romulan man. “Your turn.”

She recognized they hadn’t traveled exceedingly far from their beam down sight but in a way, Drauc deserved the harder work. Enyd had been doing so good till that point, keeping her thoughts on pleasant, neutral things. And then he’d had to go and derail her efforts with one sentence. Not at all bothered, though thoroughly amused, Enyd stepped aside for the man to lead once he accepted the machete.

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #5
[ Drauc T'Laus | Blng'av Mountain Region | Qo'Nos ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
Whilst accepting the blade from Enyd, Drauc found himself glimpsing the aforementioned dream, if ever so briefly. It made him look up and into her eyes while the machete passed between their hands... and Drauc found himself at a loss for words. He swallowed, becoming acutely conscious about the pretext of their excursion, which had been decided in the arboretum of the Theurgy under circumstances which had them both wishing to take things further much too soon. Now, alone as they were, it seemed the incentives of old were returning, and there was naught stopping them from acting on them save propriety and social conventions. Out of respect towards their safety, however, Drauc did not mean to act on their mutual desires amidst the sharp ferns around them.

"My thoughts were much akin to your dream," he rasped, and turned towards the greenery in their way. His strikes with the blade were efficient, hard and without unnecessary movements. With his sleeve protecting his skin, he pushed away the severed ferns, and swept those that fell to the ground aside with his boot. With a steady pace, he traversed the jungle in their way, and his words were punctuated by the strokes of the blade. "I wish I recalled my dreams, though when I sleep, my weary mind seek refuge in quietude. If I do dream, naught of it remains when I wake. The unceasing imprints of thoughts that reach me at every waking hour take their toll, and perhaps as a means of preserving my sanity, my mind render my nights soothingly void of voices."

Thinking back, he recalled how that was not always the case for him, and how others on the compound didn't end up like the mirror children, instead going insane. They were always executed, and made examples of. Their fates served as an incentive to be better, and remain in control despite how their minds were assailed at every minute, every hour. Drauc spared Enyd those stories, but he chose to impart how he had managed to survive after the Tal Shiar preformed the procedure on him.

"My brother and I sought refuge in the storage area of the compound when we were little," he rasped, and hacked off a thick trunk in their way, "secluding ourselves from the dormitories. That allowed us to keep the minds and dreams of others at a minimum, with only the thoughts of each other imposing on our own through the night. We learned, that way - somehow - to mute all else. When we were caught sleeping outside the dormitories, we found that we'd managed to ward off the other children, and we slept soundly. After I lost my brother during the Dominion War, however... my nights remain dead quiet. We were... connected in ways few other siblings were."

Realising that the topic of dreams, or the lack of them, remained somewhat of a sore subject for him, he did not wish to linger on it any further. The excursion was not meant to dwell on the pain of the past, but the promises of the future. Whatever future they might share, hopefully.

"I can see light through the ferns," he grated, and embedded the blade in a trunk so that he might remove his robe from his shoulders. He folded it once and tied the sleeves low around his hips since the heat was getting to him, his brow beaded with copper-salt sweat. His tunic had yet to stain from perspiration however, the threadbare fabric granting some air to cool his skin. "Pray tell, is there word of when Donatra's forces reach the Klingon border? I ask since I recall you wished me to accompany you on missions to come. If Captain Ives is amendable to my presence, I stand ready, even though it is not my kind of battlefield."

In short order, they were through the ferns, and emerged on the other side.

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #6
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Blng’av Mountain Region | Qo’Nos ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Enyd fell into step behind Drauc and admired the view of both the natural flora and Drauc’s physique as he effortlessly cut through the foliage. He was more careful than she’d been, and it was not lost to her the considerate efforts he made to push the severed ferns out of her way. A gentleman who probably didn’t even think himself one. Enyd nibbled her lower lip as she followed along behind him; for once, her thoughts were not only lustful towards the Romulan before her. Though he had spoken to her of not exactly originating his own emotions or something along with that ilk, it seemed to her that emotions or no, Drauc had certain character traits that were innately his own, and from what she had observed and experienced, they were commendable and attractive of their own accord.

Enyd pulled herself from her musings as he spoke of dreams and kept her mind from wandering as she listened. She hummed her acknowledgment, wanting him to hear that she was tracking the conversation since they were not looking at one another. When he began to share a more intimate detail of his brother, Enyd kept very still. She didn’t want to interrupt the sharing, as it was a gift given, such memories, and Enyd certainly didn’t want to continue to walk forward now that he had paused to hack at a particularly stubbornly thick trunk.

“I am curious if it is possible for you to mentally and emotionally bond like that with someone else?” Enyd spoke her curiosity aloud without motive, content to wait until Drauc had secured their path through the ferns. “So you may once more experience that kind of deep sleep.” She shrugged, briefly letting her mind drift to the memory of waking up next to her lover and allowing the memory of the peace that it brought to flood her senses. “I grew up sharing my bed with numerous family members and friends whenever they came to visit, especially when we went on camping trips. There is something to be said about having the freedom to sprawl that is most delightful but also, in both the romantic and platonic sense, sleeping next to someone can be very reassuring and calming.” Enyd giggled, her thoughts once more in the past as she recalled various comments from family or friends. “Except if you’re sleeping next to me, so I’ve been told. More tornado of activity and a hog of blankets than cute and peaceful.”

Enyd jerked out of her memories with the thunk of the blade, watching with an increasing thirst as Drauc removed his robe and tied it around his waist. Well…there went her non-lustful thinking pattern. Enyd shook herself, physically and mentally, as they resumed their course through the ferns. Scowling at her lapse of control, she thought back over the week and any updates regarding Donatra’s forces; that was a good thing to focus on to keep her thoughts from peeling the remaining clothes from Drauc’s body.

“The last update I had was they should be here sometime next week. We’ve been able to make headway with the Federation Embassy on the planet and secured a few media influencers that may be of assistance in spreading the truth of the Infested to the rest of the Federation using both official and unofficial channels. I am not a particularly optimistic person, more pragmatic really, but even I am tempted to think that things are starting to look more favorable to our cause than they were only a week ago.” She tipped her head to the side as she took note of his words. “What precisely is ‘your kind’ of battlefield, pray tell?”

The jungle suddenly gave way to display the gentle flow of the steaming river they were to cross. The guide she’d studied had spoken of the bathwater temperature as a positive, attributing it to underground aquifers heated by the planet’s magma. Wiping the back of her hand across her forehead, Enyd drew in the thick, humid air of the riverside as she studied the potential pathways across. There was no bridge. The Klingons had given up on maintaining any sort of bridge because of the heat from the water and the jungle environment, the surface of all rocks and logs dotting the waist-deep waters were covered in a thick mossy green covering. Enyd knew if she attempted to cross the water by rock hopping, she’d end up in the water anyway, so, being the pragmatic person that she was and not wanting to hike in wet clothes, she stopped at the water’s edge. Bending over, Enyd began to unlace her boots, her eyes darting up to watch Drauc.

“By all means, go across as you feel fit. I, however, am uninterested in adding to my already soggy state if I can help it.” Boot unlaced, Enyd gave a little hopping dance to get them off before bringing her hands to her belt. She paused just long enough to glance up at Drauc as she added, “I hope you don’t mind.”

As Enyd continued to strip until she stood in pale, pink breathable mesh briefs and a matching bralette, her clothes tied together in an easy bundle along with her boots to hold aloft over her head in the crossing, she couldn’t help but laugh.

“I promise I didn’t contrive this, Drauc, to end up barely clothed beside a steamy river with you. Although I’m not complaining.” She still had yet to look at him fully, not since she’d stripped, almost afraid of what might happen if she did. “The guide said nothing about a lack of bridge, so it only just now occurred to me that this would be the best course of action for crossing.” Finally, Enyd brought her eyes up from fussing about with the strings of her boots to study the Romulan, curious about his reaction to their new circumstances. “I hope you can forgive me.”

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #7
[ Drauc T'Laus | Blng'av Mountain Region | Qo'Nos ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
When asked what manner of battlefield he'd meant, Drauc's answer had been immediate.

"The traditional kind," he rasped quietly, without pride, before he cut away the last ferns.

The manner in which Enyd thought of him had fanned his own desires towards her, the only means of distracting himself from completely permeating his mind being the manual labour of traversing the Klingon wilderness. When emerging by the river, he busied himself by thinking about what she'd said about making a connection to someone else than his brother, to lend him the reprieve of a kindred mind to latch on to, and he had always thought it impossible since there had been no one like his brother. Kraun had been with him since he was born, before their father had succumbed to his grief and sent them away to die, and the Tal Shiar claimed them for their experiments. Always, Kraun had been his sole companion, and they had survived the compound together, which may have cursed them with their abilities, but also bound they even tighter together. Leaning on each other, throughout all the horrors that no children of any planet should see... it was difficult to fathom how anyone could replace him.

Yet, perhaps, that was not what Enyd had meant when she made the casual observation. A substitute for Kraun for the sake of night-time company, for means of sleeping without the dead quiet of darkness? Perhaps, yet such company would never be the same, so he thought it a moot endeavour, save for the expectation that while it wasn't the same, 'different' did not have to equal 'less'. If there was one thing he had come to learn, by exposure of so many minds throughout his life, was that only a fool considered himself above others. Regardless the species, no matter race, tone of skin or cultural distinction, whatever differed between humanoids were all equal in the face of fear, death and propagation of their own genes. This was why he remained on the Theurgy.

The Infested - these representatives of the void amongst the stars - were a threat to all life.

He realised, suddenly, that Enyd was shedding her clothing next to him, and he did a double take. “I hope you don’t mind.”

"I... certainly don't," he grated thickly, frozen in place where he stood. She continued to profess her innocence about the development, asking him to forgive her. Who was he to begrudge her? Of course, she would have no way of knowing for certain that her feelings towards him were entirely mutual, and that left him to try and bespeak his mind when faced by the sight of her. The early hour would merely hint at the coming dawn, yet the light coming off the horizon sent spectres that danced above the running water. They lit her skin and teased at what he couldn't fully see due to the dim light, yet what he saw caused a heat that had naught to do with the Klingon climate.

"I can," he rasped eventually, and found himself undressing as well, like a statue coming to life and shedding its stony exterior. He bundled up his threadbare clothing and his boots like she had, his underpants clean yet of old Romulan cut, chosen still because he knew naught else to ask the replicator for. He willed himself to not let the heat of his mind reach his loins, failing by the second as he was. In the end, with the bundle in one hand, he held out the other for her to take.

"So that you don't loose your balance..." he explained, his words reverberating in his chest in rhythm of his beating heart, barely able to keep his shrouded eyes from leaving her. He needed to watch his step through the water, and the greatest peril - he found - was not the undercurrent, but her ability to lead his mind completely astray. The water was warm, so while the river was deeper than it looked, it offered no manner of chill to cool him off once the surface reached his waist.

In fact, glancing back towards Enyd now and again, the shimmering water upon her skin did the opposite entirely.

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #8
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Blng’av Mountain Region | Qo’Nos ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Enyd’s cheeks warmed at Drauc’s voice, expressing his lack of concern over the situation. She looked up just in time to get the striptease of a lifetime. Enyd knew it was against the laws of time and physics for Drauc’s movements to suddenly slow while the sounds of the water lulled into a background din as if the world was taking its time and gifting her with more of it to draw out this moment. She knew this, and yet it still felt as if for every article of clothing the Romulan shed, the more time slowed down. His physique was as pure sinewy muscle sculpted onto a marble statue. Enyd gulped, unable to tear her eyes away from watching a single droplet of sweat trickle down his chest, ripple over his abdomen, then dampen the hem of his undergarments.

“You may look, but you can’t touch, Enyd.” Enyd rapidly blinked, nearly ducking her head in response. Her grandmother’s voice had been so loud and booming that for a moment, she’d almost thought the woman had come back to life just to swat the unladylike lust right out of her. “Keep your mouth open like that, and you might swallow a fly.” Closing her mouth, Enyd cleared her throat before swallowing past the lump that had formed in her throat at the sight of Drauc in all his semi-nude glory.

“…thank you.” Enyd took his hand, not bothering to apologize or explain what she knew he’d been privy to. She allowed him to lead them into the water as she mentally backpedaled away from the imprinted sight of his undressing. That image would assuredly come back to torment her later.

Clearing her throat again, Enyd’s grip tightened and loosened as they picked their way through the gurgling water pushing around their bodies. She spoke as the water was reaching just above Drauc’s hips, which meant it was just below her breasts. “I was on Cardassia immediately after the Dominion War. Part of the task force to help set up the new government. So while I was not on the battlefield proper, I was in the aftermath, and my own scars are thanks to the battle that continued to be waged behind closed doors and in the darkened alleyways of the capital city. Not all battles are-”

Enyd stopped, her grip on Drauc’s hand tightening as part of the riverbed suddenly gave way to a rocky gooey mess beneath her left foot. Skittering in the opposite direction, Enyd lost her footing entirely and unceremoniously dunked herself beneath the water. She kept her bundle of clothing aloft as she came sputtering to the surface by some miracle.

“Well,” Enyd let go of Drauc's hand long enough to draw it over her own face, pushing the water droplets from her eyes and smoothing her hair back out of her face. “That was lucky.”

She started to giggle, but then the giggle turned to a groan when she felt a heavy rock roll with the undercurrent onto her foot. Likely it had been dislodged from her earlier riverbed dance. But thanks to the squishiness of the riverbed, there was less pain than there would’ve been otherwise. Yet as it was, merely tugging at her foot was not enough to dislodge her foot from under the rock’s weight.

“I seem to have gotten myself stuck.” Enyd tipped her head back and let out an exaggerated laugh. “We’ve barely begun this adventure, and I’m already attracting the mayhem. I really must be a walking singularity.” The river’s current tipped her off balance. Enyd moved her grip from Drauc’s hand to his elbow, her torso pressing close to his to keep from falling over. Again, by a stubborn miracle, she kept a death grip on her clothing bundle. “I’m not sure how to go about solving this.” Enyd glanced down, shifting around to see if there was something she was missing in the what should have been simple equation.

If she bent over, she’d end up dunking herself again, and unless Drauc was willing to hold her clothes, she’d lose the purpose of her own striptease entirely. Of course, Drauc could have her hold his clothes, and he could help dislodge the rock, as he was stronger and it would take him less time. Enyd nibbled her lower lip. The longer they stood here, the more it hurt her foot. and yet she didn’t know which she should ask of Drauc, to hold her clothes or free her foot?

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #9
[ Drauc T'Laus | Blng'av Mountain Region | Qo'Nos ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
As they crossed the shallow river, Drauc found brief respite in listening to what Enyd was saying about her time on Cardassia. In the wake of experiencing her reaction to the sight of his bared skin, and how her excitement fully bled into his own mind, the words about the Dominion War aftermath served as a sobering focal point for him. A lighting rod to which he could lead his own contemplations. Alas, the modicum of sanity was short-lived...

Enyd stumbled, forcing him to look back at her and secure his grip better around her hand. Looking back, however, the drenched state of her undergarments became apparent in the dim light, leaving nothing to the imagination. Her bundle of clothing was spared from touching the water, however, but to make the awkward development even more acute, she pressed closer to him in order to regain her balance. Even before she spoke of her plight, in how her foot was stuck in the riverbed, Drauc discerned it through her thoughts. He clenched his jaw, trying to let his beleaguered mind find sanctuary in problem-solving. She took the development somewhat in stride, however, her light laughter music to his ears.

"The shore is not too far," he rasped, feeling her skin against his torso when his voice trembled deep down in his throat, and with her so close, holding her hand no longer served to balance her. He ran his arm around her shoulders instead, just to keep her from falling in the undercurrent, and turned his head towards the shoreline. With his free hand, he hurled his bundle of clothing across the water. Next, he took her bundle out of her hand and did the same, freeing their hands completely and removing the risk of ruining their apparel. He looked into her eyes in the dim light, the dancing spectres from the moving waters caressing her features. Drauc swallowed, and put his scarred hands on her hips. "Put your hands on my shoulders."

Once she did, Drauc took a deep breath, and crouched down - submerging himself fully in the warm river. With his hands on her hips to begin with, he ran them down her legs so that he might find where the rock was at - unable to see as he was since there was virtually no light penetrating the surface of the river. His calloused fingers soon found which foot had been trapped by the rock, at which point he ran one arm around her thighs to steady her. Her soft skin in the warm water felt like silk to his rough hands and the stubble on his cheek, but he tried - as best as he might - to not let that fact pull attention away from his task. Carefully, he tried to get his fingers underneath the rock, and once he did, he pushed it off from Enyd's ankle - freeing it completely.

Once his task was complete, he stood up and emerged from the warm water. With one arm lingering around her frame, he used his free hand to rake his wet hair back from his face. It bared the scars on his forehead completely, he knew, but while they marked something significant for him, they were not really different than any other scarring he had on his body. I could have removed them all if he so chose, but he had never been a vain man, and in some ways, the scars were all he had left of his past, and his brother.

"Do you want to continue?" he rasped in query, belatedly realising that he may have implied a different choice. Staying in the moment, rather than continuing to their destination. The dawn would, after all, reach them even there by the riverside, wouldn't it? What was developing between them seemed like it had become much more real in a very short time, the desire she felt for him mirrored in his own mind, in how he wanted her as well. A false notion that wasn't of his own making, or not, it was still very much real to him.

Regardless her answer, they couldn't remain in the river, so he picked her up as gently as possible, and carried her to shore - laying her down in the grass. Given the warmth of the air, they would likely be dry soon enough.

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #10
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Blng’av Mountain Region | Qo’Nos ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Drauc responded to her plight with a more rational mind. Instead of deliberating over who was to hold whose clothing, the Romulan tossed both bundles to shore before turning his attention to freeing her foot. Although she’d never been known as the most obedient of individuals, Enyd obeyed without question when Drauc rasped his order. Tentatively placing her hands on his shoulders, her grip tightened, and she let out a whoosh of air when he immediately ducked beneath the watery surface. Enyd couldn’t think of a logical reason to argue against his order anyway, not when she knew rationally it was to keep her steady while he worked to free her foot, and irrationally it also afforded continuous access to his skin while she waited for freedom.

Enyd had to grit her teeth and mentally count in French to keep her mind clear of licentious thoughts as Drauc’s calloused hands moved from her hips down her legs. While part of her brain was very much recognizing and acknowledging the guilty pleasure she felt having his warm hands trace over her skin, even with knowing his purpose was entirely innocent of intent, another part of her brain buried itself in the ridiculousness of old French counting trends, and yet another part of her brain was just shy of falling into a tailspin of “what ifs” that featured the two of them abandoning the pretense of a hike altogether.

Enyd forgot to let go when Drauc resurfaced in a burst, the sudden movement pulling her forward against his body. Letting out another gasp, her hands fell away from his shoulders to resettle near his ribs. She could not help her mouth dropping open. Drauc was a glistening Romulan Adonis, scarred though he may be. In fact—Enyd physically shook herself and forced her mouth shut before she swallowed the Klingon equivalent of a fly—at least for Enyd, the scars added to the overall aura of the man, making him even more enigmatic and irresistible.

When he spoke, his question barely computed, earning only a dreamy-eyed stare as a reply for the time being. So once more, Enyd did not fight against Drauc’s assertive efforts when he unceremoniously hoisted her into his arms and carried her the rest of the way to the shore. Her movement to wrap her arms around her neck and press closer was instinctive, yet it brought another rush of warmth to her body. The strength and warmth of his body as he held her fueled the "what if"/guilty pleasure sides of her brain until the French counting stopped altogether and retreated.

Enyd closed her eyes and leaned her head forward, pressing her forehead his damp skin, her words barely a whisper when she spoke, “J’ai envie de t’embrasser.”

It wasn’t until she was lowered and he pulled back, grass at her back, the river gurgling by at her feet, that Enyd could slough her way through her muddled thoughts back into a more rational realm. She realized she’d made her statement in French and by now Drauc would realize she’d just confessed to wanting to kiss him. Enyd also formed a series of hypotheses in the milliseconds pause between being set down in the soft grass and his gradual withdrawal to a more respectable distance.

  • If they did NOT kiss, would they be able to move past the same desire as they had spoken of in the arboretum, seeking to create a reciprocal relationship that wasn’t just Drauc feeding off her, but that also originated within himself as well? Or would Enyd would always stunt the efforts with her untamed lust for the man who was the living embodiment of her desires?
  • If they DID kiss, or perhaps more, would that allow them to move past the near overwhelming build up of desire that now gripped her mind? For then, Enyd would have broken the years’ long abstinence with a man she desired, and after knowing how he tasted, how he felt, and all the other elements that came from sharing such intimacy with a partner, perhaps she could clear her mind more readily and be less of a haphazard stunting barrier to creating a real relationship with him.

In both cases, there was the risk and reality that the grand majority of what was being felt and thought at the moment was coming from Enyd. Drauc was a mirror in many ways, after all. So was it ethical or fair to take from the man who did not know whether it was of his own accord that he sought to give?

Enyd breathed in deeply through her nostrils, closing her eyes as she held the breath for a few heartbeats, then opened her eyes as she let the breath out in a heavy sigh. She wouldn’t bother voicing any of her thoughts again, trusting Drauc to already know everything she’d been mulling over. Leaning back on her elbows in a semi-reclined position, Enyd tipped her chin up. She was content to wait. One, taking a moment to dry out by the riverside was welcome before continuing the hike—and she did want to make it to the top, if not this trip, then one in the near future. Two, taking a moment to face down the ultimatum she’d just mentally thrown at them both while they were not moving was probably safer. Enyd had already proved herself an expert of mayhem and it would only get worse the more his presence distracted her.

“You decide, Drauc.” Enyd spoke softly, a smile tugging at her lips. He’d already asserted himself with his order in the river and with carrying her across to safety. Perhaps the trend would continue in response to her hypotheticals as well.

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #11
[ Drauc T'Laus | Blng'av Mountain Region | Qo'Nos ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
After having laid Enyd down in the grass, Drauc was able to consider the implications that had run through her thoughts during the transition from water to land.

It seemed to him an attempt at a rational, logical, analysis of the situation, albeit one made in haste and perhaps desperation to cope with the development. Her judgement of the two scenarios seemed, however, plausible enough, though he was no Vulcan and could not give the underpinnings of her logic any deeper scrutiny. Certainly not gauge her bias either, though if going by her rationale... then it might be prudent to address the carnal tension that presided between them. Otherwise, there might not be any way for them to explore how deep their connection went, since their primal urges kept clouding their percipience. If not hearkened, they mightn't be able to see past their immediate desires - the future clouded by the wants of the present.

If considering the first alternative, however, there would be an inherent quality of preserving his integrity as a person of his own mind - free of influence of another. Such freedom was rare for him, always coming to emulate those he met since their minds bled into his own. Still, he was no puppet on strings, always willed by others to do as they wished, but a warrior of his own making, and his own motivations. He did not challenge the Tal Shiar because he ended up serving in Starfleet, he did so because what had happened to him and his brother. He did not kill the Klingon that tried to force himself upon Jovela at Starfleet Medical - leading to his exile - because she wanted him dead in that moment, but because he had answered to her plight with his empathy. He did not join the crew of the Theurgy because he suddenly mimicked the needs of the crew, but because he has faced one of the Infested at Starbase 84. Only Dyan Cardamone, an Asurian of a singular determination, had used his ability against him to get what she wanted, but that did not make him a mindless buffoon unable to take initiatives of his own. He regretted how other minds could sway his own in some scenarios where he was ungrounded and unprepared, like in the matters of the heart.... but that did not define him.

So, as Enyd had already reasoned, the choice was his, and she even said it in words.

"You want me," he rasped quietly, crouching in the grass next to her where she lay. They both knew it wasn't a question, not just from the lack of inflection in the statement, but because she'd wished for him to kiss her. The water dripped from his hair and his skin, and his dark eyes moved over the movement of her chest when she breathed - the twilight caressing her skin. If the choice was his, then there was no choice to be made - the grounds of his decision entirely his own or not. "In these early hours of knowing you... I cannot be entirely certain... but I would like to learn if I want you as well."

Slowly, he lay down next to her, propped up on one arm, and reached for the side of her neck - gently caressing where the twilight touched her. He looked into her eyes, hoping the embers of his desires didn't intimidate her, but his words were of complete honesty, for he did not wish to mislead her. "Today might just show if we fit together... but over time, we may learn if we belong together."

Having bespoken his choice, he leaned down, and kissed her where she lay in the grass. The warmth of the river was found in her mouth, though the taste was definitely more preferable.

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #12
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Blng’av Mountain Region | Qo’Nos ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

By some miracle, Enyd remained placid as she waited for Drauc’s response. It was as if in boldly propositioning her logical suppositions to the man, she already felt freer of her desire. The albatross had been set free to fly as it would, leaving Enyd behind to bask in her newfound freedom. Granted, the desire was VERY much still there, buzzing in the forefront of her mind, yet naming the proverbial elephant in the jungle seemed to have given her more control. And that was a nice change considering how things had been leading up to this moment between them. Her grandmother would have boxed her ears hard enough to need another pair, that was for certain.

However, this sense of self-management wavered the moment Drauc spoke. The rumbling timbre of his voice once more washing over her as an enriching fire. Enyd’s breath caught in her throat, fingers twisting into the cool grass beneath her palms, as Drauc crouched close by. A few droplets of water from his hair trickled onto her suddenly fevered skin, a welcomed focal point to keep her centered as Drauc continued. As he accepted her proposition.

Enyd forgot to breathe properly as Drauc took up position next to her in the grass. Her heart raced ahead of her mind, leaving her lungs to fend for themselves, as it spun together every other sensation registering in the moment. How the flecks of gold in Drauc’s eyes mirrored the gilded sunlight chasing the humidity through the jungle foliage. How his hand was initially cold against her skin as he traced a damp pattern across her sensitive flesh, causing a barrage of goosebumps to erupt all over. But then, from where he touched her, how a distinctive heat filtered through her body, settling as a pulsing energy just below her heart. How the power of his voice, deeper now that he was so close, seemed to massage her brain into a trance-like state. Enyd’s eyes shuttered, her head tipped up of its own accord, as she melted into Drauc’s touch. As she relished the heat of his mouth. The taste of his kiss. The scent of his skin. The press of his body against hers...

The only warning was a gasp at his lips and then Enyd fell limp in his arms. It seemed oxygen was a necessary thing even for lusty diplomats, and she’d not had enough of it.

Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #13
[ Drauc T'Laus | Blng'av Mountain Region | Qo'Nos ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
It took Drauc a second to realise that the sound she'd made had naught to do with the development between them.

It was the manner in which her mind became void of thought that alerted him to the change in her conscious state, and he opened his eyes. She laid limp in the grass, and for a moment, he feared something worse had befallen her. Eyes wide behind the tresses of his hair, his hand still at the side of her neck, he quickly placed two fingers against her carotid artery - finding to his great relief that she was still very much alive.

Puzzled as to what he might do, his eyes flicked over her as he tried to recall what the proper medical response to this kind of situation might be. He vaguely recalled his Starfleet training, remembering how when a fellow officer was found unconscious, and there was no physician available to help, they might need to be repositioned. Deciding that it was the best manner to address the unexpected situation, he gently rolled Enyd towards himself so that she ended up on her side. Then, his ran his hands down her thigh and gently pulled it up, bending the top leg so that both her hip and her knee are at right angles. Next, he reached up to gently tilt her head back to keep her airway open - making her full lips pursed in the dawning light.

Given her state of undress, and the early hour of day, Drauc knew he had to keep her warm as well. Frowning, he considered how to best achieve this despite her being so exposed to the Klingon wilderness. He looked about, and saw his bundle of clothing and boots, and knew that there were few other options. Of course he could request a medical transport back to the Theurgy, and abort the excursion entirely, but he had learned that in her mind, she truly wished to complete this journey in the mountains. Moreover, she might not wish to be found in the state she was in - the gossip of how her state of undress likely to spread across the Theurgy at warp speed.

So, instead, he unpacked the bundle and returned to her with his threadbare robe. He used it as a blanket while he laid down behind her, flush to her body, so that he might lend his bodily warmth to her. With the robe covering them both, the cold water would evaporate from their skin, and he would be close enough to protect her if the Klingon wildlife took an interest in them.

Carefully, he lifted her head, and ran his arm beneath it so that her cheek lay cushioned by his upper arm. He slid his other arm around her, embracing her from behind, and tried in vain to not consider the bareness of her body against his own. He quieted his breath, listening to the nature surrounding them, so that he might hear any approaching beasts in the undergrowth.

Yet as he laid there, trying to focus entirely on her protection against the unknown, rather than the intimate awareness and response to her body... he realised something.

Even when she was unconscious, and her thoughts did not invade his own, his attraction towards her did not dissipate.


Re: Day 7 [0345 hrs] Mountain Mayhem with Madsen

Reply #14
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Blng’av Mountain Region | Qo’Nos ] attn: @Auctor Lucan



Enyd’s waking mind first noted the warmth of her position without adding much detail beyond the sense of comfort and safety. Then, as one by one, her senses rebooted, and she clambered her way back to the realm of rational thought, Enyd was quick to fill in the blanks her mind had earlier overlooked. She was curled in the fetal position on her side, head cushioned on warm skin, with the remainder of the scarred arm outstretched on the grass in her line of sight. A second arm was wrapped snugly around her torso, anchoring her to what felt to be fleshy marble of tamed power and strength. Her body was cocooned beneath a tattered robe that smelled deliciously like Drauc and…Enyd’s eyes widened.

“Drauc.” Enyd gasped again but, thankfully, did not faint this time. “Are you okay?” She tipped her head to the side, peering at her Romulan companion over her shoulder. The last she remembered, he’d only barely begun to kiss her and she fell into what her grandmother called the “vapors” like a proper halfwit female with nary experience in the ways of men. “I can’t believe I fainted! I am so sorry. I promise-”

Enyd couldn’t continue her apology for the absolute ridiculousness of the situation overwhelmed her. Bringing her hand up, Enyd covered her mouth barely in time as she gave a quick snorting laugh. Her other hand came up as her back tipped into Drauc’s chest, falling shamelessly against him, Enyd’s eyes widened as her body shook and quivered with unrestrained laughter. Tears welled up and fell onto her cheeks as she replayed the events of their outing in her mind, each replay focusing on more and more details of absurdity.

Eventually, the feeling of his heartbeat against her naked flesh and the shared warmth beneath his robe calmed Enyd from the emotional high of laughing at their ludicrous situation. Taking deep breaths in through her nose and out her mouth, a hand moving to rest on her chest to feel her own heartbeat with the other moving of its own accord to rest on top of Drauc’s where it continued to lay over her belly, Enyd smiled.

“Not that you seem to be the type given to bragging to the ‘boys’ back on the ship,” Enyd turned her head as it lay against his arm to smile at him directly, “but you can now brag that your charms are such you made a woman faint in your arms.”

Before she allowed their positions to threaten her newfound confidence, bolstered in a fashion by the mishap, Enyd twisted in his arms to face him, her arm snaking around his torso in a mirrored fashion to his own. Her playful smile still tugging at her lips, Enyd leaned forward and rubbed the tip of her nose against Drauc’s before moving closer still to brush her nose against his cheek. Tipping her head back, Enyd brought her fingers up to brush some of Drauc’s hair away from his face, her delight in his presence and in the moment shining from her smile.

“Inuit’s of Earth call that a ‘kunik,’ it is a friendly greeting but can also be called a kiss.”

Her smile tipping to the mischievous side, Enyd leaned in again and this time pressed a quick kiss to his lips. It was assuredly not the impassioned kiss of intimacy they’d started with, but it was Enyd felt she could initiate of her own accord at this time. If Drauc wanted more passion—and she wasn’t against it—well, he would have to start that fire again, since she was still mentally preoccupied with the startling fact that she’d fainted in his arms.

“I promise I am fine, and this does not happen every time a man kisses me.” Enyd couldn’t stop the giggle. “We can…continue if you like.”

While on one level Enyd meant their adventure up the mountain, it wasn’t lost on the woman that her comment could also be applied to their shared intimacy.

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