Drumming Noise Inside My Head

“There's a drumming noise inside my head
That starts when you're around
I swear that you could hear it
It makes such an all mighty sound”
— Drumming Song, Florence and the Machine

The jungles are alive with the various sounds of the native wildlife found on the Emerald Isles, the worst of the summer sun filtered out by the dense canopy of leaves. Various paths twist and turn through the foliage, many leading to a private beach outside the Weyr’s stony walls, while others lead deeper into the jungle itself. Kelthero has become familiar with many of these paths now, partly due to his patrols and partly because the jungle became his escape from his earlier days in the Weyr.

He comes across a familiar clearing that holds a small crystal pool and a waterfall – his own little private haven for now. So few trek through that he’s felt safe enough to retreat here, to be left alone with his thoughts and unwind, which is exactly what he needs today. Lately, his life at the Weyr has been easier. He’s found a routine to set his days by, which help keep him rooted and calm. He’s even begun to make a few friends, though still keeps them tentatively at bay. All except for one – one he confessed everything to.

Kelthero smiles to himself, recalling that day. He had been worried at first that telling her the truth would end badly. That’d she’d reject him or withdraw, breaking their tentative friendship even before it really began. Instead he was given comfort and in turn she confided in him. As Kelthero begins to pick his usual spot in the clearing, he reflects back on the confusion he had felt after that meeting. What had compelled him to share that? He shakes his head a little as he strips down to his underclothes, kicking off his boots and then carefully setting everything neatly aside. He hardly knows her and yet he told her everything. Why? Kelthero puzzles over it, frowning as he moves to the pool’s edge, staring down into the deep waters.

“I run to the river and dive straight in
I pray that the water will drown out the din
But as the water fills my mouth
It couldn't wash the echoes out
But as the water fills my mouth
It couldn't wash the echoes out
I swallow the sound and it swallows me whole
Till there's nothing left inside my soul
As empty as that beating drum
But the sound has just begun”
— Drumming Song, Florence and the Machine

What is it about her that brings such a change in him? Kelthero still remembers the first few times he had crossed paths with the Dolphineer. The first exchanges had been awkward, Kelthero choosing to stay well behind his mask and shields, not sure how to react. But then she’d tease him and joke and soon he found himself relaxing around her. Enough, anyways, to form what he believed was a friendship. He began to tease back, to taunt and joke with her in turn. She seemed to enjoy his company well enough. And he enjoys hers. That revelation seems to shock Kelthero and suddenly he dives into the pool.

The cool waters envelope him and Kelthero skillfully tread the waters, staying as long as possible beneath the surface before the need for air becomes too great. Resurfacing and taking a deep breath of air, he begins to slowly swim around the length of the pool at a slow, distracted pace. For a moment, his thoughts are distracted to swimming and the refreshing waters, the tranquility of the clearing and the lulling sounds of the jungle around him. It’s only a temporary fix though and soon his thoughts turn back, despite his attempt to distract himself. Pulling himself out of the pool, he sprawls out beneath a tree to dry, hands coming up to rest behind his head.

“As I move my feet towards your body
I can hear this beat it fills my head up
And gets louder and louder
It fills my head up and gets louder and louder”
— Drumming Song, Florence and the Machine

He can’t continue to deny that there is more between them. That much he’ll allow himself to admit, though the thought still makes him frown. Can he trust her? Trust himself? Kelthero had never really considered a relationship before. Friendships were difficult enough for him to start or even keep. Then he had thrown himself so completely and thoroughly into his new life as a guard that the thoughts of a steady relationship with anyone had never really crossed his mind. Until now, anyways and now he faces a tough choice. It’s not that women are a completely alien concept. He’s met plenty and has some flirt with him (and he in return). But they hadn’t been friends, simply acquaintances he met while on patrol and probably never to be seen again. But she is different. She is one of his few friends and Kelthero suddenly realizes his fear is mostly in loosing that connection.

Kelthero could continue to ignore it. Maybe it was just a fluke of a feeling, some passing effect of some overly loud mating flight. It could pass then and he can focus again at just keeping things simple between them. But even as that thought crosses his mind, he knows it’s a lie. He sighs a little, smirking. This had never crossed is mind – he never expected someone to actually seem to honestly enjoy being with him. So would it work? They both have extremely opposite duties. She’s a Crafter and he’s … just a guard. As it is, he can see her only when he is off duty or when they cross paths between shifts. Kelthero begins to wonder what she ever saw in him and for a moment is amused, though his mood soon turns dark again. Did she even see the real him? No, not really. In fact, he begins to doubt she’d ever stick around if she did.

His thoughts pass back and forth like his for a time, long enough for his clothes to dry. Slowly, he redresses, though his actions are still distracted. Kelthero knows he can’t keep pretending that there isn’t something between them or he’ll go crazy. That much he’s come to terms with. Now all that remains is when and how. He takes a deep breath, and then exhales slowly, sighing a bit in frustration. “What have I gotten myself into?” he says out loud, though receives no answer save for the sounds of the waterfall and the jungle around him.

Eventually, he gets to his feet, brushing himself off and slowly making his way to the trail that would take him back to the Weyr and back to where she is. Along the way, he makes his decision and by the time he passes the stone archway of the entrance to Western Weyr, he’s grinning. Kelthero will wait for her move next, but no longer will he run or hide, that much is for certain!

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