Logic or Illogic?

Xanadu Weyr - Garden

An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place. On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.

Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.

The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also eluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic. The two paths leading away from the entrance have come full circle, wrapping around to meet each other on the other side, yet still continue on to the far left and right. One path leads off deeper into the surrounding woods, while the other wider; cheerily decorated with brightly colored slabs of painted stones.

While summer is slow to lose its grip on the weyr, there are subtle changes that promise things are shifting. A puff of cool air, a gentle stirring of leaves that will soon lose their color, high clouds drifting slowly by, these things all suggest that summer is beginning to fade. In the garden, Mur'dah sits beneath the willow tree on the grass, his right leg stretched in front of him and a cane at his side. Ankle wrapped, he's been ordered to light duty by the Healers, which means he's been absent from Weyrling lessons for the past two days. So here he sits, in the gardens, perhaps waiting for his flower-loving twin or perhaps she just left, and the brownrider is reading. It's a calm and peaceful place.

Surprise of all surprises, Innes has found her way into the gardens as well. Even tempestuous weyrlings enjoy peace and calm, once in a while. Especially when things all feel a little bit upside down and she'd rather be on the road again. She wanders with aimless footsteps through the gardens, trailing her fingers along the stacked stone walls while her gaze sweeps around the area. It's how she discovers Mur'dah seated beneath the willow. Her steps come to a slow halt, and the weyrling cants her head as she considers. To approach, or not to approach? After a moment of hesitation, she takes a few steps foward. "I haven't seen you for a couple of days," she states, accompanied by her usual half-hearted salute that she offers to most.

Mur'dah pauses in his reading, his finger holding still on the page to keep his place marked as he glances up at Innes. His expression spasms slightly, a mix of apprehension and resignation. The salute is, for once, ignored. Maybe he just doesn't care anymore. "Healer's orders," he says, tilting his head down to his visibly bandaged ankle. "Been doing paperwork from my weyr."

"What'd you do to it, anyway?" Innes asks, giving a little nod in the direction of his ankle. There's still the usual patented disinterest to the words, but at least she showing no signs of aggression for the moment. Her lip curls a bit at the mention of paperwork, clear distaste in her expression. "Sounds boring."

Mur'dah has to smirk a bit at that. What /did/ he do to it? "Well, I rolled it on a log in the obstacle course. Then I helped birth a cria and ran and climbed away from hungry felines. Then there was the explosion," or were those two events flipped in order? "and was moving on it then. So. I kind of…made it worse." There's a shrug for that. "Eh, it's a bit boring but it's alright. Papers don't talk back." Eye.

Innes arches a brow, eyeing Mur'dah's ankle and then the rest of him. "You hurt it, and then you went running around until you put yourself out of commission?" Her tone is a bit judgmental, but there's a distinct note of envy to it — after all, weyrlings aren't exactly allowed to go out and conquer the world. Her adventures aren't nearly so notable. "Papers don't do much of anything at all," she responds with a smirk, feigning ignorance.

Mur'dah rolls his eyes a bit. "I hurt it, and shit happened so I couldn't stay off of it." He eyes the young goldrider. "Why do you hate me?" he asks, his tone a bit sharp. Hurt. Defensive.

"That wasn't very smart," Innes intones, again with that skeptical brow. She's mildly impressed with all that he managed to do on a hurt ankle, but she's not the type to admit to a thing like that. His question causes her gaze to narrow, confusion in the furrow of her brow. "I don't hate you. I don't hate anyone," she tells him, amending, "Save Praela, maybe, but hating's too good for that girl."

Mur'dah snorts softly, shifting his finger a bit so he can close his book, both hands curled over the top of it on his lap as he continues to look up at her, squinting a bit against the sunlight. "Well you sure do act like a bitch to me," he says rather flatly.

Innes crosses her arms, lips pursed tightly together as though that might stave off her growing annoyance. "You rub me the wrong way," she tells him, mimicking his flat tone. "I don't like being told what to do or who to respect. I'll give respect where it's due, and I'm not saying you don't deserve it, but you've tried to force it out of me in the past and I don't respond to that."

Mur'dah blinks at her, baffled, as if that's the craziest thing he's ever heard. So he laughs. "What? You're a /weyrling/. I'm an /AWLM/. You /have/ to respect me. And everyone else in this weyr. You /have/ to do what you're told. You're a /weyrling/."

"I don't have to respect anyone," Innes retorts with a roll of her eyes. "I may have to salute and do what I'm told, but I certainly don't have to respect anyone. That's my choice. You can't force someone to respect you, don't be ridiculous." She waves her hand to dismiss the idea, tossing it aside with ease.

Mur'dah rolls his eyes. "Then get better at faking it!" he snaps. "Otherwise your life is going to be hell. Because I've got news for you, unless you someday make Senior, you're /always/ going to have someone higher than you."

Innes snorts, giving up on any pretense of holding her temper. "I'm not faking it for anyone! I give respect where it's due. You're welcome to ask Soriana if I've ever been anything less than respectful to her. Or Ka'el, or even Thea!" She makes a vague gesture in the direction of the caverns, to wherever those named might be. "I don't to be Senior, I don't care if people salute me or not. Respect is something that's earned, and if I wanted it from soeone I would find a way to get it."

Mur'dah inhales deeply and then lets it out in a rush. "Then why are you so mean to me?" When she gets riled up, he just deflates. He simply doesn't have the energy for her attitude right now. Plus, listing his friend, his ex friend, and his mother as people she /does/ respect…talk about a blow to the ego.

Innes grits her teeth together and tries to follow his lead as he seems to simmer down. Her temper isn't exactly an easy one to control, and she has to turn her head for a moment and count down silently until she finally feels that she can address him without snapping. Well. Snapping much. "I'm not that mean to you," she argues, unable to admit when she's wrong, "And every time I try to be halfway decent, you take it the wrong way and it turns into a mess again. I have tried, you know. I'm just not much for warm and cuddly."

Mur'dah snorts. "Faranth. I don't want warm and cuddly." Not from her at least. "Just hate it when you cop an attitude and get all snotty and argumentative with me. And /don't/," he says, lifting a hand to try and forstal her arguing, "say you don't cop an attitude and get argumentitive. Because that would be you coping an attitude and being argumentative."

Innes crosses her arms again, her body still tense even if her words have cooled. "I don't coddle," she insists, as though this is supposed to mean something. "You're meant to be in charge of me, so it's your job to keep me in line, not the other way around." She does, after all, accept punishments where they're due. "I wasn't going to say that," she responds with a snort, "I'm an argumentative person. That's who I am. I was a difficult child who grew up to be a difficult girl, and now I'm a difficult woman. I don't apologize for that."

Mur'dah blinks, and then snorts. "Well either I suck at my job, or it's /your/ job to keep yourself in line, because…hello? You're in charge of yourself." And he sucks at his job. He knows that. "Ever consider growing up to be someone else?"

"I'm learning," Innes replies with a twitch of a smile. "I'm supposed to push limits and generally get into trouble. You're the one who's supposed to whip me into shape. How else am I supposed to learn?" She's almost teasing now, even though the tension hasn't entirely left her body. At least she's amused. "Why would I do that? I'm proud of who I am."

Mur'dah eyes her. Not funny. "Open your damn eyes, that's how you're supposed to learn," he says, shifting on the ground. Damn ankle. Stay here and be insulted? Or struggle to stand and be humiliated? And slow. "I can't teach someone who doesn't want to learn."

Innes shrugs, nonplussed. "That's how you learn facts. Experience is how you really learn. Why do you think they dumped us in that swamp when we were candidates?" Her teasing smile fades a little as she looks down at him. To her mind, she's not the only one who's difficult. "I do want to learn, and I've done a fine job of it so far. You can't let yourself be felled by one stubborn weyrling, or you'll never last at this." And no matter her behavior, she does want to see everyone succeed. Even him.

Mur'dah reaches up to tug off his knot, staring down at it before he shoves it into his pocket and begins to struggle to his feet with a hand braced against the tree behind him. "I'm not going to last. Soon as you all are graduated I'm quitting. There's no joy in this," he says with a frown, gesturing to himself and back to her. "Weyrlinghoods suck. And I don't have to stick around for anything. Graduation. Then I'm done. Mostly because of you. So thanks for that." It's hard to tell if he's being genuine with his thanks or not.

Innes throws up her hands. She'd help him to his feet, but she's aware enough to realize that hers is probably the last assistance he'd want at this particular moment. "Weyrlinghood doesn't suck," she responds with a scoff. "They're difficult and a bit boring at times, but they're also supposed to change lives. And you're supposed to be a part of that." She flinches at his words, but does her best to disguise that behind her usual impassive expression. "Don't give me all that credit. You're the one who's quitting." She gestures to his ankle, and then adds, "Which is a shame, because I'd think that a man who'd stubbornly run around on a hurt ankle like that would have what it takes to stick it out." It's almost a compliment. Sort of.

Mur'dah snorts. "Yes it does," he says. "Mine did, this one does. The way you go around with your negative attitude, I'd thought that would be /one/ thing we could agree on. Apparently not." Upright then, he picks up his book and his cane, one in one hand, the other in the other. He lifts his dark eyes to meet hers. "I'm man enough to know where I don't fit," he says, firm and steady. Confident. "I'm man enough to admit my weaknesses and my failures. Clearly," gesture, "I am a terrible AWLM. Obviously, since I can't get you to fall in line, I must suck at my job. So. It's not for me. So I'll step down. Go back to Comet. Go back to deliveries. Go back to being /good/ at my job."

Innes sighs and brushes a hand through her always-messy hair, sending the tendrils even more astray. "I don't have a negative attitude," she states as one shoulder lifts in a shrug. "I don't like being forced to learn, but I do like the learning. It's not as simple as you think." Her body leans forward ever so slightly as though she's about to reach to help him, but she holds herself in place. "I'm one person. If you failed one delivery and did just fine with the rest, would you be a failure? Don't be ridiculous."

Mur'dah laughs at that, the sound short and a little bitter. "Don't like being forced…but you said I needed to force you, but you argue with everything I say…shards, Innes. You're a study in contradictions. I /know/ it's not simple." That's why he feels like an idiot. "It's not that. It's not as simple as you think," he says, throwing her words back at her. "I know I can get a package from point A to point B. I don't have a damn clue how to teach. How to get someone to listen to me. Clearly! I. Suck. At. My. Job. So I'm quitting." /That/ part is simple. "I've got enough shit to deal with, I don't need to have a job I know I suck at on top of it all. Something in my life has to go right."

"I said you need to push me, not force me." Innes' eyes narrow slightly, frustrated by the sense of futility in their conversation. She can't explain herself any better than she has, and he doesn't appear to understand. It's likely her fault, of course. She exhales in exasperation. "I'm not the only one who's meant to learn, Mur'dah! You're new. You're inexperienced. You're supposed to take all of this shit that's thrown at you a learn how to adapt. You're not an idiot, and someone evidently thought you'd be right for this job." She gestures back toward the caverns again, and to whichever unnammed person handed him his knot. "You don't have to suck at your job."

Mur'dah snorts. "Push you? Innes, learning is what you make of it. /You/ have to push you. If you want to be good at something, you have to push /yourself/. You're responsible for your own learning." Case in point? Exactly. "Well, they were wrong. I'd rather apply myself to Comet. It's true I don't have to suck at this, but I don't want to apply myself enough to be /good/ at it. I'd rather quit. No shame in quitting, I know this isn't right for me."

Innes shrugs in dismissal of his words. "I do push myself, but you can only push yourself so far. That's what other people are for. Even I know that, and I prefer my own company." She gives him a challenging look from top to bottom. "If you don't want to apply yourself to be good at it, why'd you take the job in the first place? You can't be talking to me about pushing myself when you're giving up so easily."

Mur'dah blinks at her, utterly confused by her logic. "What? That's not true at all. It all has to come from you. Someone else tells you what to do and you can just tell them to f-off. Like you do. Harder to tell yourself to shut up." Then he smirks. "Exactly. Clearly I shouldn't be a role model for anyone."

Innes frowns, equally perplexed by his point of view. "So you're telling me that no one else has ever pushed you to be better at what you do? You've only ever listened to yourself? No wonder it's so easy for you to give up." She laughs, exaggerating the motion by throwing her head back. "Oh please. You could be a role model if you tried."

Mur'dah eyes her. "Innes," he says, his voice quiet. "I don't think either of us are hearing each other. I think I want you to be someone you're not, and you want me to be someone I'm not. Of course people have pushed me. But only when /I/ wanted to be pushed. You clearly don't want to be pushed - at least not by me - because when I push, you push back." And then he backs down. "Nothing wrong with giving up when something isn't right for you." He shrugs. "Guess that's my lesson to impart. Follow your instincts."

"Of course I push back," she answers with a sigh. "That's the point, pushing back. I want you to be better at what you do." She shifts her weight, tilting her head to the side as she studies him again. It's not easy to keep herself in check, but she's trying. A bit. "I think there's always something wrong with giving up." But that's just the stubbornness talking. "I do. That's how I'm here."

Mur'dah shrugs. "I don't want you to push back," he says, simply. "I didn't ask for you to push back. In fact, I've asked you /not/ to push back. But you don't seem concerned with respecting my wishes." He shrugs, shifting his book to the crook of his arm. "Then that's a place where we differ. I hope that works out for you, the never giving up thing." That sounds genuine. "Me? I'll give up when something clearly isn't working."

Innes mutters something under her breath, lips pursed together in a frown once again. "I can't really help it, either," she answers matter-of-factly. "I've never been terribly good at listening, and you just make me want to push you. Probably this whole giving up so easily thing." She waves her hand in some attempt to express whatever she's trying to say. "We're opposites. Of course we clash." She raises one shoulder in a shrug. "It's working out so far." At least in her eyes. "I guess that's your choice."

Mur'dah shrugs, glancing at her with a faint smile. "You should learn to get better at listening. You'll learn a whole lot more when you do." With that, he turns to start to limp away, leaning heavily on his cane. "Yes, it is."

A smile tugs at Innes' lips as she watches him begin to limp away. "I listen just fine," she retorts jokingly, in the hopes that her teasing will be better received this time. "Have a good day, then. Try not to injure yourself any further."

Mur'dah doesn't respond. He's found it's much easier on his sanity if he just gives her the last word.

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