A Plague of Awkward

OOC Date: 14 January 2012
IC Time: Afternoon, D 3 M 12 T 2691
Cast: Derin, Daoi, Keziah, Matrin, Thea, Muir (npc), Marella (npc)


Xanadu Weyr – Forest

This broad path that leads from the Main Clearing into the forest has been designed in such a manner so as to be not only wide enough for wagons to travel through, but also providing ample space for dragons. The path appears only worn in the center though, as the main traffic which finds itself moving through this area is that of the two-legged kind. Grass lines the path and creeps all the way up to the bases of the trees that rise upward in their aged magnificence, gargantuan limbs casting often welcome shade that frequently envelopes the entire path.
The path winds its way leisurely through the trees and a number of less traveled paths branch away. One to the west leads to the Weyrling Field while one headed further northwards leads to the river and numerous popular spots. (see +view) Northeastwards, the path straightens out to join the coastal road that leads out of Xanadu while east leads down towards the beach and the Caspian Lake. A few flowers sprout up and speckle the brown and green area with their little faces of bright saffron and cheeky rose, and the general atmosphere and scent of the path is one of freshness and wild abandon.

This afternoon, late in summer is one of those days where time seems to stand still and nothing moves. Most weyrfolk have been given several hours off, with the stipulation that when evening comes, they'll finish what can't wait for tomorrow because it's simply too hot to work right now. Towering white clouds drift slowly through the blue sky. It's hazy and hot, and Rukbat blasts down relentlessly. It's so hot in fact that the beach sands, despite the cool waves that lap the shore, is frying the feet of beachgoers. The forest now, is a whole different world. While golden bars of light flicker through dense leaves, here and there, most of the area is in deep shadow, the shade a welcome shelter from the searing heat.

Happy voices can be heard chattering before they're seen, a boy's, boastful then a girl's in a teasing response - both young children before a quieter female adult soothes. In a small clearing off the paths that fan out to different cottages, a blanket has been spread on a thick moss carpet of emerald green. It's the Weyrwoman and two young children around eight turns old sitting there having a picnic, munching on things taken from a huge basket in the center.

All retreats have to have a downside as well, and in this case the gorgeous trees manage to serve as a way to block the theoretically cooling breeze. It leaves the area a little muggy but the lack of direct sun more or less makes up for it. And apparently, Daoi is yet another resident who has come to that sensical conclusion. There might actually be /some/ sense in the girls head after all, that or she just likes the woods. Either way, the young tech apprentice is pratically skipping down the path at this point, an occassional glance made behind her before she slows to a walk just ten feet or so away from the ongoing picnic. Just in time to hear the voices, bringing cautious feet that direction with a piqued curiosity. "Afternoon" is offered with a wave though it seems as if her feet might be carrying her on past. Then again, she /is/ distractable.

Seeking the relative comfort of her cottage and the creek fed pool, Kezi has chanced an opportunity to head back home and change and clean up a little. She's still avoiding people for the most part, and the sounds of voices starting to filter through the trees has Kezi sighing. Course, no one's told her to take the day off. Hmm maybe that's because she's kept herself behind locked doors? None of the other wingleaders has wanted to be stuck it that tiny little roomn today. So as she slips out from the trail that leads to her place and down the main path, she frowns a little at the picnic. Course she's far enough back that she doesn't see who might be there until it's too late to hide. Her hair is dripping wet still and gets her vest wet.

Childlike voices argue back and forth, for the most part good-natured but as Daoi comes skipping into view, they've become a touch more strident. The boy, insistent, "I can so!" The girl, with a this-settles-it finality to her tone, "Oh no you can't either! He always pushes you away with his wing!" On a mossy log, two firelizards, one a full-grown brown, the other a half-grown gold lie peacefully snoozing, curled together behind the Weyrwoman's shoulders where she's leaned using the log as a backrest. Feet on the path may not distract the children from their argument, but Thea notices and lifts her eyes from them to smile at the teen. "Hello," her greeting is pleasant enough to double as an invitation to join them, or linger for conversation if she wishes. "How can you skip in this heat? Muir, Marella, that's enough now." It's the boy who spots Keziah, and knows her instantly. Someone's been thorough in teaching them their Leadership names! He sticks his tongue out at his sister, leaps up with the energy only the young possess and launches himself into the greenrider's path. "Miss Keziah, Ma'am. Tell Marella I can too ride Siebith all by myself!"

Daoi mas managed not to dissolve into giggling at the argument that is errupting right now. Though instead there's a bit of a goofy grin on her face as she successfully stifles it. The politely returned greeting isn't enough to get her to stop, but as the question is asked she has to slow to a stop. The girl at least turns to face the woman, hands shoved casually into her pockets. "Um… I dunno?" is the response. "Could be more humid I guess." That might stop her. Blink. "Ma'am." is added after a moment and she quickly retrieves a hand to tug at her long braid. Right, respect, she's supposed to offer that isn't she. And then there's a Keziah being announced and she offers a faint smile of a greeting there. She's still not sure what to make of /that/ woman.

Stopped in her tracks by the sudden question Keziah looks at the boy "Well, that's not for me to say." she says carefully as she eyes the child warily "Only the dragon's rider, or I suppose if the dragon was so inclined could say whether or not you're allowed on." She then glances further down and notes the Weyrwoman. She gives a little nod as she shifts a little, standing a little on one foot, right hand behind the back and left brushing some hair back behind her ear. There's a glance at Daoi and she nods at the young Tech as well. She then looks around as if debating escape routes.

More humid. "Oh Faranth forbid!" Thea plucks at her shirtfront and fans it a few times to move the air underneath it. It's a good-natured exclamation, coupled with a grin for that delayed 'Ma'am of Daoi's. And as Muir hops up, she's twisting to see where he's going, doesn't seem particularly surprised to see Galaxy's wingleader emerging from the tangle of trees half-screening her approach down the path. Muir, typical of headstrong little boys, hears what he wants to in Keziah's reply, "Sie'll say yes to me, won't he Miss Keziah?' Large brown eyes gaze up into her face, wide with innocent appeal as he reaches to curl little fingers about her visible hand if he can. "Dragons do she says! She's a rider so she knows!" This last is said back over his shoulder to his sister with an arrogant little tilt to his chin. Oblivious for the time being of Keziah's unease, Thea waves a casual gesture towards the basket including both women, "Would you two like some cold juice to cool you down? We have extra mugs and the jug's nearly full. We can't drink it all."

Now /this/ puts the girl in an awkward position to say the least. It begs the question if declining an invitation from the Weyrwoman of all people is doable or simply one of those lines you don't cross. After a moment or two of internal debate or consideration the girl stops rocking back and forth on her feet and shrugs. "Sure, thank you." The children are eyed again for a moment but she doesn't weigh in on the argument, she'd know less about it than the 8 turnolds. So she'll head to the blanket and kneel down on the edge, keeping her sandaled feet in the grass as she sits back on her ankles. "At least the weather seems to be forcing everyone to relax a bit, long as the they don't overwork the electric grid with all the fans…" As that occurs to her there's a definite grimace. "Forget I said that…"

Keziah shakes her head quietly as she looks down at the boy and lets him take her hand. Shards but she's glad Mirai's not litke that anymore, even though she has a new form of selective hearing. She just lets out a breath and then she's gazing back over at Thea "Well, I really should see about finishing up some reports." What with being down a wingsecond.. "Things are umm sort of piling up." yeah, that's a good excuse. Right? A glance back down at the lad. Right? Yes? A sigh. Maybe later. She glances at Daoi and there's a grimace at the mention of fans. TOo bad the ready room didn't have one.

Marella flicks impatient fingers at her brother in a dismissive gesture she's most certain to have picked up from her mother. She has something far more important to focus her attention on! She scoots her little bottom over to Daoi as the teen kneels by the basket, pointing at two crockery jugs, each in turn, "That one is berry and that one is peach. I like the peach but Muir says it's got brandy in it. Mama says no, what do you think?" She stops her chatter to take a much needed breath and peers up with a pale green gaze, simply waiting as if the world depends on the answer. "We're lucky to have people who can fix them if they do," Thea notes of broken fans, her tone bright with determined optimism. There's a reason for dismissing the caverns though. Muir tugtugs gently on the wingleader's hand, clamoring for an answer, "Dragons do, yeah-huh?" He's nodding his head to prompt her answer while Thea, looking thoughtful distracts her with, "Kezi, have you pulled one of your riders to stand in for Ers'lan while he's laid up? You shouldn't be doing all that by yourself."

Daoi suddenly has the full attention of a younger girl and blinks, staring blankly at her for a moment. "I wouldn't know… I've never had brandy?" Comes the reply that is probably much less decisive than Marella hoped for. "If you like the peach, I'll try that" is finally said and eyes dart to the weyrwoman for a moment. Apparently she's not so sure about this kid thing. "Yeah… fix them." She's supposed to be one of those people isn't she? But! She's still learning, it's a good excuse.

"Dragons do? Huh?" Keziah blinks "The dragons choose." Yeah, lets go with that, since she's a little distracted at the moment by Thea's question "Well, we're still bouncing people around a little." she notes after a moment "His duties are kinda split at the moment." she hmms a little "It's easy enough for me to work on the paperwork stuff." she coughs a little. Somewhat easy maybe.

Marella merely nods and will go with the teen's reaction after she sips. "Mama says watch out for Weyrwoman Cenlia's peach juice," she says with the wisdom gained from overhearing snippets of conversations most likely. "That isn't from Miss Cenlia," notes Thea, correcting Marella firmly while offering Daoi another warm smile and a reassuring, "I'm sure if the fans do break, you'll learn a lot about how they work." Oh joy? As for Keziah, Muir grins triumphantly over at his sister. He WON the argument! Satisfied, the child releases the wingleader's hand and skips over to that mossy log to walk heel-to-toe along its length. Thea mms in response to bouncing people around. "Well, Kezi, you never know when unforseen circumstances will change things up. It's always best to have a couple of the more promising ones training." Chipper. Oblivious… or is she prodding?

The look Thea gets for the 'learning experience' comment is very much a teenager's. It's a combination of 'but I don't wanna' with exasperation. 'Oh joy' sums it up quite well actually. "Oh… okay. Cenlia's peach juice" she'll repeat the name to remember it, or something. Pouring herself a glass of the well, peachey colored liquid she takes a sip semi cautiously at this point. The close watching of Marella doesn't really help her confidence.

"Does it burn your tongue? Are you dizzy? Do you feel all warm inside? Talk to me so I can see if you talk funny!" Marella's keen scrutiny lessens not one whit and she peers unwaveringly at Daoi and barrages her with questions. Hooray for the unabashed curiosity of innocent children! "Mama says Miss Cenlia's peach juice can sneak up on you, but Papa says he likes what it does to Mama." There's an exasperated sound from the Weyrwoman, whose cheeks are flushed pink. "Marella, that's enough! There's no brandy in the juice. It's just juice." An attempt to both reassure the techcrafter and shut her daughter up. A half-concerned glance follows towards the silent Keziah.

Daoi really doesn't seem to know how to reply initially so she sticks with blinking and stairing at the girl for a moment, glass unmoving. "Um." is all she manages at first, does that constitute as funny? "I think it tastes fine." is finally stated before she continues with. "Tongues normal, see?" And promptly sticks it out at the younger girl like the mature teenager she is. Eyes dart to Thea and her outburst though and the tongue quickly retracts.

Keziah is silent because she's just so entranced by all whats coming out of the young girls mouth. "Well, she's certainly very knowledgable about Cenlia's umm, drinks." She murmurs a bit and then shakes her head. With hand back it just sort of scratches at the back of her neck. "Oh, well, I'm sorting through and finding peoples strength's and weaknesses. B'rdian's notes on that were well. Not very helpful to what I'm looking for. So I'm seeing who works best where." And maybe who she works well with as well. She still hangs back a little though she has moved in closer for ease of talking. "It's just so much happening all at once, just trying to keep some reins firm on the situation." There's a glance towards the children and Daoi and then to Thea "We may also have a some possible leads on the one situation to the south, so that's been taking up more mobile bodies."

Derin is trudging along from the direction of the wher dens, Dersk scuttling along behind him with his fancy schmancy whergoggles on to protect his sensitive eyes from the light. If anyone were to ask the miners that usually work with Derin, they would have found out that the blue has been a constant companion to his injured handler, day or night. And so this is where they come in, Derin probably aiming to sneak to the living cavern for a late lunch since he's walking ever so slowly and quietly. Yep, sneaky sneaky Derin, too bad dersk isn't as stealthy as plants and earth crunch beneath his large paws. But, hey, at least Derin has a shirt on today over his bandaged and bruised ribs. His eye's swelling hasn't managed to go down very much yet, he must have taken a good strong blow there.

"She's not drunk, shell-brain! It takes Papa a lot more and he says Mama needs to drink up when she sips like that." Muir scoffs from over where he's teetering on the moss-covered log, his voice so totally derisive and so wordly-wise. His mother gives the boy a sharp look. "Both of you stop it now or I won't take you swimming after dinner!" Keziah's comment about Istan brandy has her coughing, "You know what they say about little ears? Her father forgets they're always listening." She nods about the wingleader's management then, "Ahh yes. Keep an eye on them until Ers'lan is able to arrange that hunt. Speaking of, have you been to see him yet?" It's oh-so-casually asked, but then there's a Derin meandering through, the wherhandler gets a speculative stare, "Who let you out of the Infirmary?" Oh yes, it's been nearly a sevenday, but still.

Oh the things children say. And worse, repeat. Daoi finally just bursts out in giggles at the words spilling from Muir's mouth. In fact, she carefully puts down the glass to the side as to not spill. At the crunching her ears perk and she turns to see something that makes her grin brightly. "Derin!" Oh yes, there's a beam there. Luckily she doesn't know to not let Keziah see it. But apparently something dawns on her and there's a brief look of panic. "Oh… shar" but she quickly cuts that off. "If you'll excuse me." is the little more stone faced politeness with an added "Thanks for the drink." and with that she's running back down the path towards the weyr.

Keziah shifts a little and looks quite guilty. "Umm, actually I've uh, well you see, umm I figured that umm that it wouldnae do him no good iffen I was to go in there. I mean, he well he doesnae need ta be worryin' about things so much and I know he'd be umm pushin' fer details and all. THough I've had people umm, checkin' up on him and all, and well. He's coming along." And awkward rambling is cut off by the Daoi and she looks over the girls way, to see bright smile and then fleeing girl. She blinks, shakes her head a little and then glances Derin's way. It's amazing he's dared to venture out of his den.

Derin umms, well technically no one let him out, but you think he's gonna admit to that to the weyrwoman? Ha! Yeah right. "I'm jus' fine." He decides to answer Thea, probably not the best answer he could give, but yeah. And then there's the daoi-grin and the Kezi stare, and he just kind of shrinks against his blue. Not Kezi-eyes again. Mrph! And then Daoi is fleeing and Derin just kind of blinks. He knew he shoulda stayed in his den, but a man's gotta eat you know.

"How-come you don't call her Ma'am like everyone else?" It's Marella piping up sweetly and wide-eyed at Darin. Muir stops tottering on the log to hop down and sidle a few steps nearer to the young wherhandler, eyes glued to the man's blue wher but for the moment hanging back. If only Thea could laugh along with Daoi but alas. That would reinforce the twins precocious behavior. Marella's, "Bye!" is called to Daoi as she flees, but the Weyrwoman is busy giving Derin a rather narrow-eyed look. "Fine my foot," she says tartly, pointing to the blanket with a commanding forefinger. "Sit down, Derin, before you fall down." She then turns her attention to Keziah and her stammering reply. "Oh really." Not a question. Just more speculation in her gaze. After a significant pause, she notes briskly. "I've been in and I think he could use a visit from his wingleader. The man's not one to rest his brain any more than he is to rest his body." Which, knowing Ers'lan, should not surprise the greenrider one bit.

Keziah is standing near to the blanket for ease of talking, not that she really stands at ease. After giving the wherhandler one last look she has her attention back on Thea. She's gone silent and her face has gone just a little pale even. "Is.. is that an order Weyrwoman?" she asks quietly. Very quietly. Oh yeah, there's nothing else said as the remembered horrors of the infirmary go through her head. She even rubs her right side with her arm a little, which mean bringing her hand in front, showing it to be lightly bandaged, but that's all really, nothing major. After all, all search and rescue riders know some basic first aid.

Derin doesn't call her ma'am cause he's rude? Ahem! Dersk is a little more cheery as he flicks his tail playfully as Muir watches him, though the blue doesn't move from his handler's side. And now Derin is being eyed more, by yet another woman, yes he's really not liking all the eyeballing he's getting. He doesn't comply, though, he's not approaching any neare to the two women and the children than he already is. As a matter of fact, he shoots the occasional glance over his shoulder, perhaps contemplating that fleeing thing he's gotte so good at since his escape from the infirmary. He starts to cross his arms over his chest, but decides against it as he feels the stitches stretching in his side, wouldn't do to burst them now. His blue is eyeing the boy near him, but he's not making any threatening or protective movements so the kid's safe from attack, not that Dersk would attack anyway.

Since she can't read Derin's mind, "Well, why don't ya?" Marella prompts persistently. Enquiring minds want to know! At least hers does. Thea gives Keziah a quizzical look. Oh, the sudden paleness is certainly noticed, but of course she cannot know the reason for the greenrider's unease. "An order? No, not really. Just… I think it might do you both some good." She pauses for a beat, then adds gently, "I take report from the healers, Kezi. They told me how he got his face hit." Her glance flickers to the woman's bandaged hand, but she remains silent about that. As for Derin, she's noticed the young man hasn't obeyed and rises as she's talking to Keziah, stepping in his direction. An elbow offered along with an easy smile as she coaxes him, "I have iced juice, cold fried chicken, fruit and cookies in my basket. Far too much for two younguns and myself. You don't want a long, hot walk to the oven they're calling a cavern today, do you? They're not serving lunch in there anyway; I gave them the afternoon off. It's just too hot to cook in there. Join us?" Her glance includes the both of them.

Good? Good? Infirmary's are not good, they're evil and terrifying and no where near secure enough. Ahem. Kezi doesn't say anything for several moments and then she takes a deep breath. "I stress him out, ma'am." Keziah states quietly "Stress and healing aren't compatible creatures." she notes softly. She swallows a little "Aye. his face got smashed in by me." She won't hide the fact. She know what she did. "As I told Daoi the night after, it being an accident doesn't excuse the damage that was done." She continues to stand though where she's at, even has the warmth of the day has sweat dripping down her face. There's a glance again towards Derin, though no glare or eyeing this time and she notes his seeming reluctance to move closer "Maybe I should go." she notes softly as she turns her gaze away from Derin, and gestures towards the clearing.

Derin's attention is taken by the inquiring little girl, at least she doesn't eye him. "Cause sometimes I ferget, I guess." Well, that's as good an explanation as any he figures. And no cracks about his multiple head injuries and his forgetfulness! Wherhandler starts to take another step backwards as the weyrwoman begins to approach him, too bad he didn't notice that was the exact moment that Dersk decided to flick his tail and the blue's handler trips over that tail and lands right smack on his rear. At least he managed not to voice any of the curses that are currently going through his mind, lucky for the children. Dersk make a kind of questioning 'Mrrrp?' sound at his handler, offering Rin a hand, err, a head up. And then Kezi is offering to leave because of him? He frowns, briefly, "No, s..s'alright, I fergot I've, uh, I've spmethin' t'do back at th'den." And then the miner is pulling himself to his feet, careful to hide any winces, with his wher's help. "S'rry, I jus'..I should go. You guys enjoy." And then a glance at wingleader, food, and weyrwoman has him turning and heading carefully back the direction he came from. Yeah, the flee instinct wins, better get used to it.

For someone who hasn't been here at Xanadu so very long, it's a challenge to find some place with enough breeze and shade to get through this kind of day. Luckily Matrin was at South Boll not so long ago and he's at least moderately used to searing heat. Enough that though his white linen button up shirt clings and he's wearing sandals under his cargo-style khaki pants, he isn't quite wilted. Just nearly. A waterskin is slung over his shoulder and he pauses as he clears the edge of the trees that surround this idyllic vignette to unscrew the cap and lift it to his lips. A drink makes a screen for the way his bright eyes slip from child to child to Keziah and Thea and finally the departing forms of Derin and his wher. That done, he clears his throat to announce his presence before offering a soft, "Afternoon ladies, sir." The last of course to the boy near the log, and a grin for all.

"You not being there stresses him out as well," notes Thea as quietly. Whether she's guessed or is simply good at poker-face, she simply nods without surprise at the admission that it was Keziah who wielded the pan. "It was an accident, Kez. I understand you feel badly, but…" Derin's backing away stops her in her tracks, elbow still offered for him to take but a with mighty puzzled look on her face. Perhaps a touch too tartly, "Shards, boy. I'm not going to bite you! Has the entire world gone loony?" A hand reaches in a futile attempt to keep the boy on his feet when he flails, her mouth hanging open at the sudden departure. Into the awkward silence that remains, Muir pipes up, "I kin ride that blue!" And he points a stubborn finger at the departing Dersk. For once his mother has no quelling remark. Instead, when she turns at the sound of another voice, her eyes contain a mixture of bewildered appeal, her smile is slow to appear, but genuine nonetheless even if it isn't one of her brightest. "Hello yourself."

Kezi is her own best/worst punisher? And watching Derin run certainly doesn't help her conscience any either. After all, Kezi might bute him. "It still doesn't excuse the fact that I endangered not only him, but his dragon and everyone else included." she notes. And then there's a sigh "But aside from that, ma'am. Beggin' no disrespect, but I would prefer to not go into the infirmary." She starts to say more and then there is the young boys comment about the riding the wher and she can't help but smile a little "Tell you what, if you help me give Alosynth a bath later this coming sevenday and you are nice to your sister and listen to your moather and father, I'll let you ride her if it's alright with your mother." She then glances back at Thea and starts to speack again and then there is Matrin and whatever she was about to say goes unsaid. "Afternoon." she notes quietly as she looks at the Harpers's face, well he's not looking to worse for wear. Course Kezi herself has a light bandage on her hand. Though she got off easy in comparison to Lan.

Matrin lingers there in the shade cast by low-hanging branches of that last tree before the clearing's break as he continues to watch the tableau unfold - perhaps a little less idyllic than it seemed at first glance. He waits until Derin has made that departure, then lets his mouth tip into a smirk that is more amused than simply genial. "Much as the question is unfortunate, I'm a little relieved to hear you voice it." His voice is rich, a little droll, and though there isn't much volume behind it, he is trained enough for it to reach the ladies. "I was beginning to wonder if all Weyrs are mad or only Xanadu." The tease that curves his mouth makes his eyes sparkle, and he finally takes a few long-legged strides and the added light shows a fading bruise at his jaw and one going green at his temple, as well as a few little cuts along his neck from flying glass. He notes the way Keziah falls silent, so whatever comment he was going to offer about what he assumes they are discussing gets tucked away and instead he gives her a smile, then drops to a crouch near Muir. "It's obvious you can, even I can see that! But it's better to impress everyone by riding something that likes to be ridden, I'd say. Keziah's offer might be just the thing." And with that he holds out a hand. "Name's Matrin. You must be… Xe'ter? D'had? Gotta be one of those two."

Muir reluctantly drags his eyes from where Dersk has gone to stare at Keziah for a long moment, then asks, "Is Alosynth a blue dragon? I wanna ride a blue one!" One-track mind, thy name is Muir. Thea is, for once, unmindful of her son's rude response, distressed but struggling to contain it. Concern etches her features, while her hand lifts and fingers rake her hair back from her face, "Keziah, I'm not going to force you to face whatever's-" Her lips remain parted for a moment after Matrin speaks and then a shout of laughter replaces the tension-fraught woman. "Oh they're all mad as brainless avians, have no doubt of that!" She's watching his approach to her son, regaining her composure. Muir puffs out his chest, slapping a palm against Matrin's. "D'had is my papa. I'm Muir. I'm gonna be a bluerider like him someday." Totally sure of that, he is. Marella wants in on the action, hops up and comes skipping over, "I'm Marella. Mama says all the girls are gonna be chasin' you around!"

"No, I'm afraid Alosynth is a green dragon, though she has touches of blue in her wings, it's like looking at the deep water." she notes quietly. There's a glance Thea's way, but since she is not going to press the issue, Kezi says nothing more about the infirmary. Less said the better in her mind. She just sorta sidles a little off to the side, as Thea goies on about them all being crazy, all quiet like but then she hear's Muir and she just about chokes and she stares first at the girl, and then at Thea. Is she a little shocked? Maybe. She clears her throat a little and starts to say something, stops. Looks at Thea. Closes her mouth. Side glance towards Matrin and then back to Muir.

Matrin gives Muir's hand a good firm pump though his brows draw down in a frown and he narrows his eyes in a dubious squint. "Are you sure? I heard Muir's less than ten and you look at least twelve." After another moment he shrugs and says, "Anyway, if you're to be a bluerider maybe you shouldn't ride other blue things. Wouldn't want to make him jealous a few turns from now." The solemnity only lasts until Marella comes bouncing along, and he flashes her a wide grin. Her words change the quality of the smile some, and he lets his other arm hang over one of his bent knees for balance as he tips his head to eye Thea. "That so? They sure are taking their time getting around to it." Smirk lingering, he snatches up Marella's fingers and brushes a little kiss to his own thumb, so all the back of her hand gets is a brush of breath. "That must make you little Lady Marella. Pleasure." Brainless avians might account for the way his grin lingers as he pushes back to his feet. "Aye well, at least I'm not the only featherbrained one running about then, hmm? I should have asked for a Weyr posting turns ago." Dark brows go up as his eyes dart to the uncommonly quiet Keziah - a little quizzical though he doesn't press it.

"He's eight. And Papa won't let him ride Siebith at all!" Marella informs Matrin, earning herself a scowl from her brother. Thea's giving Keziah sidelong glances as the woman sidles away, lips pursing thoughtfully at her uncharacteristic lassitude. As his arm goes up and down with Matrin's pumping, Muir sends Keziah the sort of look only an eight turn old boy can at the answer he gets. Total disappointment, "Oh, she's a girl dragon!" The pint-sized snort he follows that up with so resembles his father's it's clear he's cultivated that. Marella's giggling fit to beat the band with that pretend hand kiss; it's totally captivated her regardless. Matrin? If you'd like to be a fly on the Weyrwoman's wall, just cultivate Marella. "Uh huh. Mama said the next bunch of candidates had better watch their step!" Her daughter speaks out before Thea can gasp, "Muir, apologize! Marella that's quite enough!" Deep breaths, Weyrwoman, deep breaths. Into the tiny silence that follows, Thea asks brightly, "Would anyone like some cold fried chicken?"

If she had bigger ears, they'd be twitching a little at the disparaging tone from the boy. Her nostrils flare just a little. But she takes breath, he is only eight after all. Besides, one doesn't take on the Weyrwomans kids while she's standing there. You don't want witnesses when little kidlets get the best of you. Ahem. Anywho. There is a stare for Matrin though and a roll of her eyes as she watches him work his wiles on the girl. She rolls her eyes a little and then mutters something about snipping, candidates and was that a mention of a water filled ball? She's ready to just turn and walk away now, while the getting is still good, but then there's mention of chicken. Fried chicken. And well, Kezi is ruled by her stomach and so she's glancing over towards the basket, to Thea, to basket and then "Is their tuber salad too?" A wistful look maybe?

In a dramatic whisper, but obviously loud enough for the women to hear, Matrin confides in Muir, "Girls aren't as bad as you think, lad. Don't make enemies with them now or you'll regret it before you know it." He gives the boy a sage nod and a wink, but sombers and quiets a bit at Thea's gasp and subsequent deep breaths. "Why Weyrwoman, that sounds as lovely as anything I can think of. We can chat about exactly why the candidates will need to watch their steps over lunch." He's bold enough to give her a wink too, but it's to Keziah that he offers his bent arm. "Oh come on now, it's my job to make friends. Just because my rapier wit makes you like me just a wee little bit," and he holds up his free hand to mark out a scarce millimeter, "is no reason to go rolling your eyes."

Muir mutters, "Sorry…" Pause. At his mother's throat-clearing and toe-tapping prompt adds a reluctant, "Miss Keziah." The boy darts a quick look at his mother and then tacks on, "But she's a girl dragon." He gives Matrin a sidelong look of disbelief. Girls. Huh! Marella gives her mother a wide eyed 'what?' sort of look before blurting out one last golden tidbit with all the total candor a child oblivious of the implications involved would, "Papa says it's a very good thing you don't ride a bronze dragon. But he sort of growled that at Mama and his eyes got all squinty. Like this." Little fingers lift to her own eyes, pinch them together in demonstration. As she steps forward, Thea mutters aside to Matrin, "Welcome to the coop?" And she hauls her offspring to the blanket, planting their little behinds none too gently there, handing each of them a cookie from the basket. "Eat, no more talking!" Like that's going to work! "There's potato salad, shrimp on ice from Igen, too," she says coaxingly Keziah's way, flickering her wingleader another concerned look from under her lashes.

Keziah looks like she's wavering back and forth a moment and then she looks at the arm, the children and then she takes the arm. If there's a resigned sigh, it's not noticable outside a deep breath. However she does mutter under her breath "I can roll my eyes if I want to." Good ol' Kezi is still there. As for liking him? She makes no comment. No. Not at all, but if she accidently steps on a foot? Oops?

Matrin takes in all of Marella's oh-so-informative prattling with a bemused quirk to his lips and a sparkle in those bright-sky eyes, and he nods along to show he's listening. "Yes well, maybe that is a good thing after all. Riding dragons is far too much work and I prefer dallying with beautiful little girls and brave boys over lunch." He turns that smirk on Thea and shrugs. "Birds of a feather, right? Xanadu feels a little more like home every day." The mention of shrimp speeds his feet a bit, and he barely flinches at that pointed toe-step. His smile might take on a bit of gritted teeth but it doesn't falter as he pats the hand Keziah has tucked into his elbow. "You need some food, clearly. That always perks you up." He doesn't go so far as to deposit her rump on the blanket, but he does wave her toward a seat, staying on his feet until the ladies are seated. "Now," with one stalling finger up, "Is there any part of this meal I should not eat because it will make me violently ill or dead? I feel the need to clarify before starting, lately?" Marella is the one to trust in this bunch clearly, so he looks to her for warning.

Marella giggles around her cookie, shakes her head at Matrin and after swallowing mightily and glancing at her mother answers, "Mama's food isn't poison, silly." Muir is, well… sidetracked enough to remain blissfully silent while his mouth is full. Thea will concentrate on keeping their mouths that way until they're stuffed to the gills; perhaps they'll nod off for a nap on that blanket. Hopefully things smooth over for Keziah - at least Thea will try - with easy, light conversation between the three adults while the afternoon passes, nerves lulled by the song of insects and the sleepy haze that's settled over Xanadu.

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