Is It Really So Strange?

Xanadu Weyr - Coastal Road
This coastal road runs parallel with the edge of beach that stretches endlessly beside the Caspian Lake. From coast to inland the dunes of the beach grow smaller and smaller until they eventually peter out into nothing but small moguls in the sand. The path is eventually seen to be blocked by a river that reaches the lake just south of the point where the road turns west and crosses a grassy meadow towards a sturdy wooden bridge that can be seen in the distance.

At least it's not /too/ hot this afternoon, with the sun sinking towards the horizon and the evening close upon the weyr. Moving down the coastal road at an easy pace is the young Muir, dressed in casual clothes and boots (no sandals today), and a wide brimmed hat. And he's riding a chestnut mare, who moves at an easy, swaying walk towards the weyr from wherever they've been today.

ka-el is exiting one of the weyrs that is situated here, in one hand a piece of piping and in the other, a cookie? No, not just one cookie, but three! And the elderly woman that's escorting him out seems hellbent on giving him a fourth, which Kale kindly declines with a good-natured grin and headshake. "Thanks'm, but I can't. … I've had five already! … No, I can't take a mark. … No, not even a half mark… Yes'm, I know. .. No'm, I won't. Yes'm, they are the best I've ever tasted. .. Thank you!" He makes his grand escape now, waving his cookie hand as he steps back out onto the road with an exhale. "Phew. And now.." He flips the pipe in his hand as he takes a bite of warm cookie, heading on back towards the meadow. But it isn't long before his attention is taken by a runner and familiar young rider, and he grins as he waves the pipe. "Hey there, Muir!"

Muir draws the mare up when he spots Kale, simply sitting and watching the exchange with a crooked smile pulling at his lips. Once the boy is 'free' from the woman, Muir swings down from the saddle, taking the mare's reins near the bit and walking forward. "Hey, Kale, how're you? Getting work done? And cookies?"

Getting work done. "Always. An' cookies come only when I'm lucky." The smith grins and offers him one of the other two. "They're shardin' good. I love fixin' things for ol' Miss Francisca. She's always stocked with the good stuff. Used to work in the kitchens. Was Xanadu's finest baker in her day, or so she claims. She'll tell you her whole life story about it, but it's worth the tale when you have cakes an' cookies in your mouth." Kale eyes the pipe in his hand, wrought with rust. "Her place is likely older'n she is. One of us is out here at least every other sevenday. I think she just enjoys the company." He smirks, eyes drifting to the runner. "This one yours?"

Muir gratefully takes the cookie, eating half of it in one bite. "Thanks," he says, holding on to the second half for a moment. "Naw, one of the weyr's, I've just borrowed her for the day. Brushing up on my riding, haven't done it in a while." Reaching up, he puts the rest of the cookie into his mouth and then uses that hand to rub the mare's neck. "Oh yeah? Nice that she pays you in cookies…"

"Muir. The devourer of cookies!" Kale proclaims, arms spreading wide. The poor cookie didn't have a chance! He laughs a little and offers his second and last cookie to him, brows raised. "I really don't need it. I've eaten five now and I need room for whatever's in the Caverns. I'm hopin' bubbly pies." His favorite! "You like ridin'? You should do it with Idrissa sometime. She's half runner herself, and she has one've her own now. M'sure she'd like a riding partner. I never have the time for it, and it'd probably cheer her up a bit."

Muir takes the second cookie with a nod of thanks, but something must go down wrong because a moment later he's coughing. "Idrissa…" he finally coughs, thumping himself on the chest and clearing his throat. "Wow. Yeah. Your other girlfriend, right?" he asks, eying the Smith for a moment. "I do like riding."

Uh oh, he spoke too soon! The cookie is putting up a fight. Kale's grin faintly falters and a look of concern takes its place, and he lifts his now free hand, as if to slap him on the back. Luckily, such measures aren't needed, and soon enough Muir is talking again. "Er, yeah. You alright?" he asks, brows knitting a bit, making sure the lad is indeed breathing normally now. ".. My other girlfriend, right. You met Soriana, huh? She mentioned you when I last saw her." Flower boy, as he recalls. But if he's holding any grudges, he certainly isn't letting it show. "She's not as into runners as Idrissa is. You'll find her in the stables, most days." A pause. "Speaking of liking things, have you given any more thought to smithing?"

Muir holds up a hand with a little laugh. "Woah, hold up." He has been riding too long, apparently. "How do you have /two/ when I can't even get /one/?" That might be too complicated to answer, but Muir looks at Kale with an expression that's mixed at best. There's some jealousy and surprise there, but also something disapproving as well. "And yeah, I met Soriana while you two were broken up."

"Mm .. luck?" answers Kale with wide, angelic eyes. But oh, he laughs after, not terribly hard but a chuckling sound that's still mirthful as he waves off the word. "No, I'm joking. I don't know. It's not like… I planned to have two or anything," he says as he slides that rusted pipe piece in the back pocket of his trousers, "contrary to popular belief," is added with a bit of a nose wrinkle. "It just happened. Because've… my … charming personality?" Or something like that. He lifts both shoulders in a helpless shrug, apparently not noticing the gaze of disapproval, or perhaps as skilled at faking obliviousness with those of his same gender as he is with girls.

Muir's brows furrow a bit, and he adjusts his hat on his head. "But…they're okay with it? And how do you have the time? For that and Smithing?" Rubbing the mare's neck, Muir leans a bit against the runner and she obliges him, leaning right back into the pressure.

Wait. Does Muir really want dating advice from Kale? The boy may regret this! It'd be the blind leading the blind. Kale eyes him a moment, a bit of his playful ribbing fading. "Why do you wish to know?" he asks with a quirked brow. "You're not thinkin' of going out there and askin' two, three, or four girls to date you, are you? I'd advise against it, if that's what you're hoping to do," he says, thinking that to be important enough to say before anything else. Helpful advice. Possibly life saving.

Well, Kale has /two/ and Muir doesn't have any, so…clearly the Smith knows /something/. Muir snorts, shaking his head. "Naw. One would be plenty for me. I wouldn't want two. I like to, you know. Focus on something." He shrugs, glancing around and darting a brief look back at Kale. "But I'm curious."

"Focus on one thing, you mean?" remarks Kale, a bit of his smirk returning. He's still quiet for a moment longer, considering Muir with a thoughtful expression. "Well…" he finally says, "yes, they're ok with it. They were friends with each other before they even met me, you see. I wouldn't want to mess things up between the two of them, so that's important. Never go behind a woman's back to be with someone else," is said sagely. "It's just bad news. An' I'm not speakin' from personal experience," he assures with a crooked grin. "As for time…Havin' a girlfriend or…girlfriends isn't like having a pet or anything. You don't have to be with them all the time. Soriana's a Grade One Dragonhealer, Idrissa's a …" He falters a bit there, but recovers quickly enough, "she works with the Beastcraft. We're all busy most times. So when we're not, we do things together."

Muir nods, and then listens closely. "Ah. Well…as long as they're okay with it." Still, it doesn't seem to sit quite right with the teen. But, he's not here to judge. He's here for information. "No, I'd never do that," he says firmly. "Together? You…all three of you?" It still baffles him that they're all okay with it - and he's not even holderborn. "So, you'd be okay if I invited Idrissa out riding? I mean, not that I'd /do/ anything, but it /is/ nice to have someone to ride with, and most folks are too busy or just not into runners."

"Yeah, all three of us," echoes Kale, eyeing him .. strangely. Facepalm. "Do things, like … go to the beach together. Swim. Troll the forest. Or go to gathers. Eh. Granted, the last two I went to with Idrissa. Soriana was working.." he says off-handedly. "Things like that. Not anything lewd," he snickers at the word then drags his fingers through his hair a bit awkwardly. "Is it really so strange?" he asks, voice genuinely curious as he questions the younger boy. "I mean, stranger than gold's flight or a weyrleader bein' chosen by luck? Or a proddy green rider sleepin' with a half the weyr every turn? Those things to me are strange. How I feel of Sori an' Idrissa … isn't." his arm drops. "Why would I care if you invited her out to ride? I invited you to ask her, didn't I?" He grins. "She's my girlfriend. She's incredibly nice to everyone. You'll like her. And I know you wouldn't do anything or try to, because if you did, I'd blacken your eye like I did that weyrling's." All said with a grin at that!

Muir blinks, and then he blushes. Fast and furious. "I didn't mean /that/," he hisses, causing the mare to sidestep a little and flick her ears at him. "And…yeah, I think it is strange," he says, honest at least. "My folks were faithful, my grandparents were…never heard of anything like what you have. I wouldn't think the girls'd go for it. Don't they like to be the center of attention and all that?" He is his father's son. And then he is shaking his head, slow but firm. "No, flights are flights. Those are different. They don't have a choice." Then he's drawing himself up a little bit, frowning at Kale. "You don't have'ta threaten me." Touchy.

Kale holds up his hands a bit in a sign of peace. "It wasn't a threat, Muir. If I believed you would bother either one've them in that way, then it would've been. But you seem like an alright guy," he says, hands lowering. "I like you. You're the type that stands up for what he believes in, huh? I get that." He nods his head once. "So am I, so likely we'll bump heads, but that's alright. At least, it is with me. I've two girlfriends, sure. Doesn't mean I'm not faithful. I'm faithful to the both've them, and I'm not looking for another. They're like…" He stops himself midsentence, then scrunches up his face. "You're goin' to make me get gushy on you to try to help you understand, aren't you?" His trademark grin returns, brows lifting. "You've never met Ers'lan, have you?"

Ugh, gushy, really? But if it'll help Muir get the information he needs to get himself a girlfriend, then he'll suffer through it. "Dunno, maybe? Met lots of people growing up here." So for the sake of argument, let's say no. As for standing up for what he believes in, Muir lifts his chin a bit at that, and even smiles a little crookedly. Yeah, he does, and he's pleased Kale has noticed.

"You think I'm mad for havin' two girlfriends? Ers'lan has like….four weyrmates," Kale provides. "Maybe five. I dunno. There's a lot. He's a rider, but he chose to have them all. They very well know each other, an' from what I know they all live here on Xanadu. With him? That I don't know. I figure… not but," he shrugs. "I don' think he realized it, but he's the one that sort've helped me to understand that it's … not wrong to feel the same way about different people. Do I wish to have four girlfriends? Shards no. I think he's insane, but seems like he has all that under control."

Muir blinks in obvious surprise, and then shakes his head and shrugs. "I dunno," the teen says, glancing at the dirt and scuffing his boot into it. "Just think of…relationship stuff like my folks. They are - were," ouch, "totally…in love, and just…devoted. Guess that's what I think of when I think of relationships. And what I want. Eventually. Not now. Not, like…looking to get /married/ or anything. Just want a girl to hang out with."

Are. Were? Kale's expression sobers a little. He definitely likes Muir's mother, and … well, it's difficult not to hear things when rumors start. And when one is a weyrwoman and things happen, they will be gossiped about! "Sorry about your mother and da," he says, gently. "I heard they're not livin' together anymore." And implications of not being together anymore, period. He doesn't say much more about Thea. That must be a tender spot. "My parents are the same like yours were. They've been married … heh, turns. Forever. Trust me, my mom'd kill me if she knew but .. It's like, when Soriana and I weren't together anymore. Things just didn't feel right with me, even though Idrissa was still there. It was like something was missing, and even though we'd broken up for a month, that feeling didn't go away til I had her back. The three've us might be strange to some, but it's right for us." A small smile. There went the gushy. "Getting a girlfriend is easy, Muir. Hang out with a girl for a while and do fun things. S'all you have to do. If you start likin' her, be brave an' tell her."

Muir nods, "Yeah, they're not. Uh. Thanks." It's a touchy subject, clearly, as Muir rubs the back of his neck and stares at the ground. "Why did you break up?" he asks. As long as they're on touchy subjects, right? Digging into his saddlebag, Muir pulls out a skin and takes a swig, before passing it over to Kale. "It's wine." Little young? Then he shrugs, "Eh, no one's seemed interested yet. I don't think I'm doing anything wrong, just haven't met the right one yet, I guess."

Why? "Eh.." Every guy loves bragging about their breakups, right? Kale's answer isn't immediate, and he eyes the offered skin, brow arching at the mentioned contents. He takes it and has a swallow. Wine indeed. "You should fill it with ale," he suggests, offering it back to him. "S'pretty good though, for wine." He smiles a little, the look encouraging. "Don't get all discouraged on me now, huh? There're plenty of girls out there. Just watch out for the bad ones," he smirks. And then, belatedly. "We broke up because've a misunderstanding." Way to be vague.

Muir shrugs, "I like wine," the teen admits. Either he had a choice and honestly prefers wine, or he didn't, and got stuck with wine. Then he grins crookedly. "I'm not discouraged! It's been nice hanging out on the beach, walking around, riding around, checking out the ladies. I just wanted to know how it…worked, for you. And them. And really? A misunderstanding took a month to sort out?"

"It was a big misunderstanding," offers Kale, who seems to believe that says it all. "And if that's what you're doin' with your time, then you'll have a girlfriend in no time." Especially if he's riding runners on the beach. How studly! "And uh .. I dunno if I did a good job or not explaining anything to you. If I did, kudos to me. If not, well, I've never been too grand at explaining things that hasn't anything to do with smithing and metals." He thinks a moment, rubbing at his chin. "If I see any nice lookin' girls, I'll put in a good word for you. How about that?" That'll surely help him score some women!

Muir shrugs, "You did fine," he says, a bit amused. "And, uh, I don't think I'm gonna be joining the Smiths. I've got some free time right now so I'm gonna enjoy it. But thanks for the…you know. Tour, thing, and all. Will you point Idrissa out to me? Or tell her who I am so we can hook up for that riding outing sometime? And yeah, that'd be great. And if I see any old ladies with rusty pipes I'll be sure to tell them about you," he adds, grin crooked.

"Decided against it huh?" Kale doesn't sound overly surprised, though there is disappointment in his tone. "S'alright. It isn't for everyone, an' if you weren't feeling a passion for it now, you wouldn't miraculously have one turns from now. It's for the best. You'll find your calling. Til then … you'll find a girlfriend." He grins, then laughs a little. "Idrissa'll be the next good lookin' girl you see wearin' boots and shovelin' hay," he says with a half smirk. "Or possibly on the beach in her swimthings. She practically lives there in the summer. Yes, I'll point her out to you. And thank you," he says, bowing playfully, "for knowin' just what kind of woman I want. The older the woman and rustier the pipe, the bigger the cookie I get!" He laughs and nods up the road. "Speakin' of pipes, I need to get this one ready to return. I'll see you soon, huh?"

Muir grins, "Maybe having a girlfriend's my calling," he says, voice obviously joking. Turning back to the mare, he puts a foot into the stirrup and with a spring he's nimbly swinging into the saddle. "Great. I'm looking forward to it. Probably have already seen her, since I've been on the beach a lot lately." Getting his tan back! "Yeah, sure you will. Take care."

"Could be!" grins Kale who takes a slight step back as he mounts the runner. "See you, Apprentice of the Datecraft." He raises a hand to wave at him before to turns to head up the road and to the meadow, pulling the pipe from his pocket to toss and flip as he goes.

Muir hollers after, "/Journeyman/!"

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