Coincidence? Or Calculated?

Xanadu Weyr – Archives

This large, windowless room is set floor to ceiling with shelves that contain ledgers and tomes, maps and diagrams from the first founding of Xanadu to the present. Arranged by topic, one can find records of domestic Weyr management form both Headwomen and Sterwards, wing statistics, Weyrling management, Diplomatic efforts, weather reports, events and vital statistics all dating back over one hundred and fifty turns.

Though kept scrupulously clean and in glass-fronted cabinets, it's impossible for the older tomes not to gather some dust and mold, so the scent upon entering is of antiquity, musty, earthy and rich. Electricity provides ample lighting with which to see. A large wooden table sits in the center of the room with several seats arranged around it. Situated on the polished top is a stack of paper, a container of writing instruments, a large magnifying glass and basket of emergency glows.

Normally the Weyrwoman does her work in her office but this afternoon she is here, and by the looks of it, has been for awhile. Though the bright overhead lights are not lit, there are a two half-shielded glows, one on the table by a stack of old records and one in Thea's hand. She's over by one of the shelves, glow held to illuminate the titles while she rejects tome after tome. "Not turn 2546, maybe earlier… hmm…"

Muir is supposed to be helping in the kitchens, but it seems he's on a break and decided to sneak off into the quieter hallways and coorridors of the weyr. Which brings him here, to the archives, pushing open the door and peeking in curiously.

There's another one who's supposed to have been helping in the kitchen, but the break cycle for the Candidates has likewise brought Marel away from washing dishes and helping chop up various ingredients for dinner, first to an unknown destination she did not divulge and now to the archives, having caught sight of her twin and followed him down the hallway. She stops right behind him, trying to peer over his shoulder as he opens the door, then trying to peer out and around the corner from under his arm. Is it that her weight trying to shove past might unbalance them both? "Is she in there?" she hisses, believing there to be no need to identify the 'she' to her brother.

"Ah! This!" Two fingers tilt the tome backwards to where Thea can get her fingers around the spine and pull it from the shelf. The heavy thing is tucked under an arm and she pivots towards the table, only then spotting the door, the line of light from the hallway falling across the floor to point a revealing finger right at her. She starts guiltily, "I was just- Oh! It's you two!" Is that relief in her voice? But she's smiling now as she steps towards the table, and hence towards the pair peering through the door, to place the album on her stack. The sight of her twins, coming to find her here but cautious about interrupting is familiar enough to her after all these turns that she doesn't question it save to deepen her smile, extend her arms to gather them in and ask, "Miss me, did you?" It's an invitation. Hugs? Anyone?

Muir glances down at his sister and nods, "Yeah," he answers, stepping aside to let Marel go in first. And, he assumes, go to their mother for a hug. He hangs back a bit though, letting Marel get full hug-opporutunity before he approaches to get (endure?) a hug from his mom. "Hey," he says, watching her with something akin to wariness.

Marel loops an arm about Muir's and squeezes tightly for a moment as she passes through into the archives and sweeps (in what she hopes is an elegant way) across to their mother to accept the offered hug with quiet eagerness, how arms wrap warmly around her more than enough to answer that question without the use of quite possibly embarrassing words. Though she'd hold onto her for longer, she steps back to let her brother approach, his expression prompting a quick quirk of her brows. "I bet the place is quieter and cleaner without us," she says dryly, small smile tugging at one corner of her lips.

Thea's arms tuck her daughter close in, her dark head under chin as she murmurs illegible words to her daughter. How she's missed them! At length, her lashes lift to seek her wary son, and though unsurprised at his reluctance, the wariness disconcerts her. The faint question in her glass-green eyes is the only one asked, not putting it to words just yet, giving him the chance to say of his own accord what's bothering him. "Quiet and clean can be overrated sometimes," she returns, her comment mingled with glad-to-see-them and wistfulness in one. She doesn't push it with Muir, but her arms are ready to hug him too if he approaches, then she gestures to the table. "Come. Sit and you can tell me how you're finding Candidacy. Briana says they've been with the eggs?"

Muir grins briefly down at this sister at her arm squeeze, and he steps in close to his mother to give her a swift hug as well. And the expression on his face should answer her question, since it's one she's seen almost his entire life. He's wondering if he's in trouble as he pulls out a chair and sprawls his lanky body into it, leaning back and flicking brown gaze between his mother and his twin. Then he grimaces. "The eggs are so weird," he blurts out without thinking, darting another glance at his twin.

Whether it's the manners of a daughter after having spent four months in a Hold, or manners of a Candidate for their Weyrwoman, Marel pulls out a chair for her mother before she sits down herself, hands folded in her lap and spine rigid, like good comportment will solve everything and make all the rest less troubling than it is. She sneaks a look over at Muir when she glances at her, and it's only a moment or two after he blurts those words out that she finds she can't hold her questions in any longer. "Did you… Have you been onto the Sands? Touched the eggs?" she asks Thea without /really/ looking at her, voice hoarse with the stress of letting (and getting) her enquiries out there.

The hug Muir gets is no less warm than the one Marel got, but as he makes it brief, she resists the impulse to cling, dropping her arms reluctantly, but not before she ruffles his hair and says teasingly as he pulls away, "The reports from the AWLMs have all been good ones and no one's clothes have mussed or stained." A sort of half-reassurance that she's not angry with him for her gather dresses, though if he finds himself accompanying her on a shopping trip to Ierne to help carry her bags, he shouldn't be surprised! With a chuckle, Thea will agree regarding the eggs, "They can be odd, yes." It's then that she catches the tension in the pair, sinks slowly into her own seat, her eyes never leaving them. "Nooooo," she answers, obviously perplexed as to where that last question came from. "Why?"

Muir looks relieved, though he tries to hide it at his mother's words. And no, he wouldn't be surprised at that at all. At her words he frowns, darting another quick look to Marel before he sits up a bit and words are blurted out without thinking. "One of the eggs knows us and knows all about Cold Stone and Uncle Tharen."

Marel tries her best not to flinch when more blurting of words is done by her twin, and so stares down into her lap and at the tightly-laced fingers of white-knuckled hands. "That is," she tries to add or amend or something, /anything/ useful, "it seemed to." She falls silent as she attempts to gather her thoughts and get everything in order without saying that which she doesn't mean, or letting it all play out in her eyes instead, and so when she does finally look up, there's a carefully maintained distance to her gaze. "And I don't mean that it asked or looked or sort-of got it. It /knew/ everything. All the details. A-All of it." And she'll pretend she didn't stammer too.

That would indeed, be weird, however their mother doesn't laugh as she might have when they were younger and came to her with wildly exaggerated tales. Well, Muir did. With Marel staunchly backing him. Somberly silent, intent on their words, Thea listens and then remains silent. Rather than brush their worries aside, she says at length,"How so?" Best glean understanding where she can, and since she did not touch the egg in question (or any of them), they'll need to fill her in.

Muir shifts a little bit in the chair, glancing at his twin again. "It…it was the feelings," he says, fumbling a it and looking at Marel. She's way more betterist with words. "Being taken away, and being there, and coming back, and the…the guilt…" he mutters.

Staring off at the far wall, Marel flexes her shoulders uncomfortably, yet doesn't lose the rigidity of her posture. Only when she senses Muir glancing at her again does she let herself look back, but soon she's staring at the wall again, jaw clenched, and refusing to put voice to the feelings that he shares, especially that last one. "It knew everything," she repeats, low voice steady. "Why we were brought back, what had to be done to do it… Everything. We think Muir touched it first, then wondered if you had and it /remembered/."

Almost sharply, "What guilt?" This to Muir. Worried for him, her gaze lingers on her son for a few more beats even when Marel speaks. "I see," Thea murmurs on the heels of Marel's confession. "I didn't touch it, but perhaps it picked up something from Muir's thoughts. Dragons can do that until you learn to shield things from them. It takes practice. Seryth affected me deeply when she was in the shell. Touching her egg made me cry." There's more to that story, which she'll tell if they ask. She draws a deep breath, "Privacy is… difficult when sharing a mind. Are you…" Hesitant to ask but yet she must, "Rethinking whether you'd want to impress a dragon?"

Muir winces, glancing up at his mother. "Guilt," he says, taking a slow breath to steady himself before he lifts his chin. "Guilt that Uncle Tharen went there to bring us home, and now he's there and we're free." And he shakes his head slowly. "I didn't…think I'd shared anything with it…" But how else would it've known? "I was thinking of happy things and then it gave me the story of…of our lives. You cried?" he asks, looking up in surprise. "There's one egg I really like, but I didn't cry…" And then he blinks. "No," he says firmly, darting a look to Marel, looking concerned. Is she?

"…No," Marel murmurs in answer to their mother's question, though it's not a terribly confident or certain /no/. But as Muir goes on, she gets up from her seat and moves off, heading to peruse the nearest available texts like one idly browsing, her need to /move/ and not let all of it weigh down on her as she sits there ill-concealed. "But I thought they couldn't remember things very well," she says, speaking directly to neither mother, nor brother, but to the text she's found to half-occupy her focus. "The others… /knew/ things, or it felt like they did, but nothing like that. Nothing that specific. I thought I liked that one and then… then it went and did that!" Anger flares suddenly, heating her words, but is determinedly swallowed down.

"It's alright to decline the chance to Impress," their mother assures them earnestly, seeking to catch their eyes and hold them. She wants them to know that they need not feel shame in deciding that! "I don't know about that, Marel. It may have picked up on things you are feeling keenly - both of you. Seryth… picked up on my longing to go home when I could not return there," she explains briefly and though quite willing to elaborate on that, their present distress is much more pressing to her. Her voice is soft, full of entreaty that they hear her in this matter of guilt, "This was your Uncle Tharen's decision, though I tried to talk him out of it. He's there because he wants to be. For you. Yes, it was a sacrifice borne of love. Most sacrifices are. You cannot be a parent without being able and willing to sacrifice; it's what parents do." It's to both of them she phrases her question, "His offer to you both is life, abundant and free of being left without choice. Can you lay down your pride and live it well, or will you allow the fetters of guilt to keep you enslaved?"

Muir lifts his head to watch his twin wander off, brows furrowed and eyes concerned. Then his gaze flicks back to Thea. "Why are the sands so burdened with Cold Stone's issues?" he asks, temper flaring slightly. "That Seryth's egg knew it, and this one does as well? Do…do we have to spread this…this disease?" Shaking his head firmly, he spins up off of his chair to stalk after his sister and peer over her shoulder at whatever it is she's looking at. "It's not that easy," he finally says, voice heavy. "I can't just go dig in the sand and go 'wheee, my uncle is living in a horrible place with a truly /awful/ man so I can build sand holds.' So don't try and make me feel guilty for feeling guilty," he says, directed at their mother though his gaze bores hard into the books.

/Though I tried to talk him out of it./ What shreds of Marel's anger that remain are turned on Thea before she can stop or control herself, one more supposed betrayal added to the pile, though it's probably for the best for everyone that she manages not to verbalise a single word of her dying fury, acknowledging Muir's presence with the gentle touch of her hand to his arm. "It should /end/," she says with a heavily finality. "One person shouldn't be able t-to do this much damage." She makes to relinquish the text to her twin, turning to lift her gaze to his in silent support. "Maybe Impressing would be the best thing for us, so we could fly away and leave this all behind," she growls out, the most hurt she's permitted herself to show since it all happened. Eyes going round, she regrets it the moment she's said it, the mere thought of what her words could do almost reducing her to tears on the spot, green eyes taking on a glassy quality. Stammered out: "I-I have work to be doing…" And so she bolts from the archives without looking back, yet notably doesn't slam the door behind her.

The sands? Burdened with Cold Stone issues? Thea almost laughs. "Because you are. I was. And Cold Stone is not a horrible place," objects Thea firmly. "Thadan is… " Well let's face it, the man is what he is, "terrible. But Tharen has grown up. He can handle the man. And Thadan is not fool enough to try Tharen's patience too much. He wants an heir badly enough." Though her words are spoken without bitterness, she's far from feeling anything for Thadan. She watches her restless twins and so while Muir's eyes bore into that book, her's rest on his back when he speaks. Using guilt to manipulate him? That was Thadan's tactic. "Muireadhach Coldstone." Hurt, disappointed, she rises, "You misunderstand. I-" And then Marel's anger is caught, the words she speaks causes her to choke out the word, "No!" and they'll both see something from her they've ever never seen. Tears rise, bright to her eyes before she can stop them and she turns before Marel finishes, walking swiftly from the room even before her daughter storms out. Thadan has won and she has lost everything.

Muir stiffens, putting the book back into its place with undue force. Stupid book, take /that/. His eyes widen at Marel's outburst, and then their mother's, though he instinctively flinches when she uses his full name. About to say something, he's silenced when both women storm out of the room. Rocking back onto his heels, the boy mutters a string of words that'd have his father proud, and dashes off to try and find Marel. And when he can't find his twin, he next seeks out his mother, to see if he can figure out where she's gone.

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