Xanadu Weyr - Meadow Ridge
The meadow continues its gentle rolls and dips, grass tall and short waving in the slightest of breezes. Each hill seems to grow a bit higher, a bit steeper, as eventually, the meadow works up to a large ridge, the top flattening out at its new elevation.

From the top of the ridge, the view is certainly something to be admired - higher than the majority of the trees, one can look out over the rest of Xanadu Weyr proper. The houses in the lower meadow - each roof a different color - and the clock tower peeking upwards from the its forest surroundings are all visible, as is the cliff that houses the Weyr Caverns themselves. And yet, the ridge also holds an amazing view of the night sky - horizon to horizon - unaffected by the light pollution of the more heavily traveled regions.

Settled upon the ridge is a rather distinctive looking building - nearing three stories tall, circular grey walls have carefully been erected, and a large dome is settled upon this solid foundation. Large panels make up the roof, aside from one section which remains open, and from which the telescope the struction houses peeks out. Sitting adjacent to the tower is a long, low building, meant to serve as offices, record rooms and dorms for those who man the observatory, as well as providing a handy platform for those who seek to use smaller, hand-held 'scopes.

Luckily for some - at least, luckily for Marel - the breeze that drifts over the meadow and beyond this afternoon is light, noticeable only on occasion. In a patch of tall grass that she's trampled down, the dark-haired girl lies on her front, head propped on one hand as she writes in neat cursive across a piece of paper supported by a thin board and pinned down by a small collection of weighty rocks, one set down at each corner. Between the light breeze and stone weights, her paper has yet to make an escape, and nor has she been the victim of a wardrobe malfunction, her skirts still all in order despite her sprawl.

Walking and reading: usually a recipe for disaster. Add a kick ball to the mix and we're talking apocalyptic events! ka-el has been roaming through the meadow with a destination in mind. Trailing him is his firelizard, wings catching the slight breezes that there are to glide lazily. Kale himself has his nose stuck in a book. The tome heavy and requiring both hands to hold and keep open. At his feet indeed is a kick ball which he idly kicks ahead of himself every few steps, the frequency of which becoming higher as he scale the incline of the ridge. With his attention divided between book and ball, little attention is paid to those around him, or in front of him for that matter as the ball is given a heavier kick to reach the crest of the hill's top. Bounce, bounce, roll, right into Marel's work.

Marel's exclamation involves several words that she usually pretends not to know, as the ball rolls across and muddies her paper, smudging wet ink and carrying its prints all over what little blank space that remains. Without looking up, she bats it away with an unintelligible, frustrated cry, sending it spinning off to her right, and for a moment it seems that she might crumple and burst into tears as she stares down at her ruined work. She doesn't, swinging right on through back to anger from momentary despair, and finally pushes herself up into a hunched over sitting position, hands still planted in the grass. "What did you do that for!?" she demands of Kale, once she has only him to identify as the source of the kick.

There's a good five blissful seconds that Kale doesn't know that he's done anything wrong. Five seconds of mulling over terms in his books. Alloys. Properties. Densities. Formulas. Five seconds of walking forward to retrieve the ball that was kicked, likely to kick it again and continue on. But oh, those five seconds are short lived, and it's in that sixth second that ears are bombarded with many angry sounding words. Blink? He lowers his arms, thus lowering his book enough to peer over the top of it with owlish eyes once he's reached the hill's crest. He takes in the scene of an angry looking Marel, that ball of his that's now on a new trajectory thanks to her batting, and the muddied papers. Ducking behind his book likely won't help in hiding him, but that doesn't stop him from trying. Til the demand. Wince! "That was me?" He peers out from the side of the book now before lowering it altogether and hurrying towards her. "I'm sorry! Oh, geeze, was it something important?" asked as he kneels near the paper, eyeing the ruined contents.

Important enough that Marel isn't willing to let anyone else see the paper's contents, the ruined sheet snatched up and quickly compressed into a little ball when she realises that he's (however innocently) trying to get a look. He might catch a glimpse of the intended recipient for what turns out to be a letter before it's crumpled up, her father's name printed at the top of the page. She tries to school the anger from her features, to pretend that it's nothing, but she can't so simply ease herself into brushing it all aside, and so ends up with a tight, clenched-jaw sort of miserable blankness instead. "It's fine," she grates out. Even if it isn't. "You need to look where you're going," is all she can manage without berating him more severely. Wherever the ball has gone, she doesn't know; doesn't look.

Does he get a glimpse of the name before the paper is crumpled? Perhaps, if the renewed wince on his face is a judge of anything. Amplified guilt. Kale's palms are pressed against the grass as he watches her, expression apologetic, bracing himself for shouted words. He wouldn't blame her for them, and his teeth clench in preparation. But it's all for naught it seems, for the acide never does come, and thus a bit of the tenseness begins to disipate although he still watching her bracingly. "I know, and I do, usually. Though from here out, I will, always," he says in promise, though that hardly fixes anything presently. "I could rewrite it for you?" he offers with vaguely lifted brows, though with the quick way in which the paper was snatched away, he knows it's a weak chance. "I'm truly sorry."

Shaking her head, Marel murmurs, "It took me long enough to figure it out the first time," scrunching up the little ball of paper even more tightly, compressing it within palm as best she can, perhaps venting any lingering frustration that way rather that shouting. "But thanks," she finds the grace from somewhere to mutter as charitably as she possibly can. Sitting back on her heels, she lets the ball of paper fall into her lap, giving it a few seconds more of mournful attention before she lifts her head and brushes her hair back over her shoulders, trying to make her deep sigh as quiet as she possibly can. "Why the," she gestures to Kale's book, "and the," and away in the direction in which she spent the ball spinning off, "anyway? Not exactly a common combination."

Although her sigh may be silent, Kale's exhale is not, and when he settles back to sit on the grass, it's with a slumped sort of posture. Blue eyes linger on the paper as the wheels of his mind turn. What could be a fair trade? Something of equal value to make up for his accidental transgressions? A letter to her father. That touchy area of their lives, if Muir's any indication. This will require some thinking. The question to him focuses his attention to her face again, and he glances to the book he's left on the grass, then over to the ball, some many yards away. "S'hard for me to think sittin' still," he explains. "I've never liked bein' too still. We've an exam in a few sevendays, and it's promised to be tougher than most. So," he gestures to the book, "I study. And walk. And ruin days, apparently," said with a small, guilty smirk. "What would you like me to do to pay you back for it? Sayin' 'nothing' is not allowed."

On the heels of 'ruin days', Marel quietly insists: "It's my fault for thinking nobody would be out here to find me." If not nobody, then at least specific people, says all that goes unsaid. "And I can't ask anything of someone with an exam coming up," she declares, retreating further into her often brought out honourable Lady routine. "Technically, I haven't said 'nothing'." Until she does right at that very second, of course. "Besides, it wouldn't be right to /ask/ for anything when it was an accident." Though perhaps arguing that much in protest of a well-meaning offer isn't befitting an honourable Lady either, and so she proposes, "I guess if you wanted to do something you thought would pay me back one day without me specifying, that'd be okay."

"A surprise, then?" says Kale, a bit of his grin returning. "Lucky you, Marel, as although now I'll shed my self-proclaimed title've Master Multitasker, I still bear the honorable rank of Surprise Elitist," he says, chest jutting ever so slightly. "And once I put those skills into motion, you'll feel not one lingering measure of ill-feelings towards me at all. You'll be too amazed. Too overcome with wonder that this day will be forgotten totally, and we'll commence with our friendship without this black mar tainting it!" What a big promise! And he says it so confidently that it must be true, yes? Ah, truly Kale was meant to be one of the harpers, what with his theatrics, but at least they're all in good fun, and the grin he offers is hopeful. "You'll forgive me then. You needn't do so now. I must earn it." Chivalrous!

Marel struggles not to smile throughout Kale's theatrics, trying everything from arching a chiding brow for his overplaying of it all, to attempting to seem stern and unimpressed. It's all in vain, for she loses the battle before his speech is out, and so she aims a shove at his shoulder for his defeat of her poor mood. "Oh, shut up, you," sounds like something she might more often direct at her brother, but at least the nature of that utterance secures her affection for him in that vein and not any other. "I don't know what other girls you know do, but I don't hold grudges /that/ badly," she promises. "But I'll let you spin your surprise and wonder, kind sir. It would be remiss of me not to afford you the opportunity." Well, if he can play at it, so can she!

Ah, success! For all the things that Kale is not (super coordinated, suave, known for eloquent prose), the thing he has proven time and time again is the ability to not take himself too seriously (and at times, not serious enough!). Marel's gradual grin was his goal, and he laughs as his shoulder is shoved, allowing his body to rock back far more than is necessary. "Oww…" he mouths as he lifts a hand to rub at his poor, abused arm, fighting a losing battle against a snicker as mirthful eyes watch her. "I thank you, milady, for allowing me such an opportunity. Expect the unexpected on an unsuspecting day….and it shall be glorious." He lowers his hand from his arm now, unable to hold back his laughter any longer. He begins to stand then, grasping at his forgotten book. "I'll leave you to your day, Marel. If you need another paper, I can send Alloy with one while I," he taps his book, "fill my already full head with more facts an' formulas. I'll even have him stay with you to stand guard for any more attacks of aimless peoples or flying balls." .. Snerk.

It's only the mention of more paper than sobers Marel and brings her back to the former task at hand, pen rescued from the grass and set across her now blank supporting board. "Please," she requests as Kale stands, accepting the offer of sending Alloy for more paper. "Though I think," she drawls rather more dryly, "that his time would be better spent with you, watching for other poor unsuspecting victims. You don't want to end up owing all sorts of people." Her wry smile is his only farewell, as she flops back down into the grass, to stare up at the sky and listen to the rustle of feet retreating through the meadow.

Kale lifts a hand to rub at the back of his neck as he nods in answer to her. "True. I can only owe so much at a time, else there'll be an imbalance in the world. And a depletion of witty surprises." The hand on his neck is soon lifted in a wave to her before he jogs to collect his ball, smartly tucking it beneath an arm. Lesson learned! A grin is flashed her way before he sets off, continuing on his way, this time with eyes set ahead and mind wandering back to the crumpled letter.

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