To Say I Love You

Xanadu Weyr - Seryth's Clearing
This clearing is sheltered by a thick canopy of trees, which seems supported at its center by an immense, wild-growing fellis tree, all which serve to keep the area in deep shadow when the trees are in leaf. Hanging from one of its high branches is a swing, made up of two ropes and a seat of softwood and leather. The grass is tall here and interrupted in places by clusters of white and blue alyssum, which covers the indentation of the wallow, remaining hardy despite being continually crushed. The distant sound of herdbeast in their pens can be heard, though it is quite a distance off, its source is invisible through the foliage.

The cottage itself is made of white softwood, like birch, though creeping vines cover all four of its walls from the outside and even encircle the brown-shuttered windows and matching door. Two stone stairs lead to the landing before the door, sheltered only by the low eaves that overhang it. Presently the shutters are closed and it is apparent that the cottage is unoccupied and has been for a long time.

Late afternoon sunshine filters though the yellowing leaves of great fellis tree and underneath them in the dappled shadow lies Seryth, her neck curled around the slender form of her rider who is face-down against her best friend's shoulder as if she would burrow into it if she only could. There is silence in the clearing save for the stormy sounds of weeping. Something held dammed for over half a turn is likely to break eventually and when it does, it's big – Thea cannot stop crying. Deep sorrow, the loss of all she holds dear, her love, her rock has turned against her, her children, the light of her life, the same - it's simply too much. If she didn't have Seryth!

And into this walks probably the /least/ qualified person ever to deal with this situation. Muir. A teenage boy. He's brought cookies in a feeble attempt at 'hey, Mom's upset, I should bring something', but his teenage appetite claimed over half of them on the way here so the large platter that was so grand earlier, now just looks like a pathetic vessel to hold the three cookies that remain. Stopping just within sight of the gold, Muir shifts his weight a bit and hesitates, torn between what he knows he should do, and what he really really really really REALLY wants to do. IE: run away (and eat the last three cookies).

One yellow-tinged eye is facing that trail to her clearing and so Seryth sees the boy arrive. It's the dragon, rather than the woman that acknowledges Muir's arrival with a rumble that is both fond and reproving at the same time. That she's let her lifemate know she's not alone and who it is becomes evident in that his mother stiffens and chokes off her tears but she doesn't turn around.

Muir takes a few hesitant steps forward. He's not afraid of Seryth in the least, but he's hesitant in interrupting his mother's emotional outpouring. Still, he has to try, right? "Mom?" he calls, quiet and hesitant.

Muffled, "Muir." That's all. The one word sighed in a defeated and very, very tired sort of sound. What to say? The more she says, the more they misunderstand. And so she says nothing. She does turn around, but only after using the wadded up handkerchief in her fist. Then she leans back against Seryth to eye her son dully, her mouth an unhappy line. Wary, in his presence for the first time ever.

Muir takes a few more hesitant steps forward, dividing his attention between his mother and her queen. Awkward, he shuffles along, holding out the massive tray and three cookies like the peace offering it's supposed to be.

No. Cookies are not going to do it. He's not a little boy anymore. Thea simply waits.

But sometimes he /wants/ to be. Sometimes Muir wants to just run up and hug his mother and have her tell him everything is alright. But there are barriers against that now. Maturity, puberty, stubbornness, pride, and others. He glances at the cookies and his blush grows from his neck up to his cheeks, to the tips of his ears and he bites on his lower lip. "I dunno what to say," he finally fumbles out, before biting his lip again. "I'm…it's all jumbled and mixed up and messed up." And he couldn't find Marel. She couldn't fix it.

"I know, Son," Thea says, still regarding him steadily. "And I can't fix it for you. Life… throws things at you and you're going to have to learn to deal with it. You either let it make you bitter or you let it make you better. It's your choice." She couldn't eat if she tried, but she does take a step towards him to reach for a cookie. Still remote, her feelings kept in check behind a wall of protection, that cookie is held and her focus drops to it as she says lowly, "I don't expect you to understand my decision to send you there. Maybe I made the wrong one. Faranth knows I make plenty of those. But I tried my best to do the right thing in a very difficult situation."

Muir holds that tray tightly, looking up at his mother. He has to look away quickly, or else he's going to just crumble. "I don't wanna be bitter," he murmurs. "And I'm…I'm not, for…most of the time. But I do feel bad. Bad for Uncle Tharen. Why…" and he asks the question that maybe Marel wanted to ask, "why did you try to talk him out of it?"

"Because he was doing it for me. Because he left Cold Stone nearly twenty turns ago and hasn't wanted to go back, even to visit his own mother. Because he's been… aimless ever since and Thadan didn't name him in the suit brought to the Conclave." Do those reasons make sense? Probably not. Those are adult issues. With a little sigh, she clarifies reluctantly, unwilling to have to put it into words, "Because if he did go, I'd be guilty of murder, that's why." So… her children were sent in compliance with the Conclave to Cold Stone to keep D'had from having blood on his hands and she'd tried to dissuade her brother for the same reason. Everyone wants to kill Thadan it seems! Or at least her fears were such. Can he understand fear and guilt?

Muir doesn't understand, as he blinks at his mother. The gears are turning, and he /is/ trying to figure it out, it's just not clicking. "Murder?"

Patiently, his mother nods, "You know what Thadan is like. With you and Marel, he might've been less… explosive. But in the later turns that Tharen and I lived at home, he and our father were at each other's throats constantly." It's unpleasant to remember, worse to verbalize and the poor cookie is crumbled absently as Thea explains. "The Conclave wouldn't budge in their decision anyway. And I was hoping you'd both find it an adventure, adapt to the situation. I didn't believe Tharen ever would." If that helps explain why she'd tried to dissuade him? But no, it gets worse. "Sometimes I'd wished that Thadan… expire, though I… I… couldn't have borne it if his death came at your father or my brother's hands. Or the other way 'round. Because one of them would have killed the other." She's really not kidding about that.

Muir shakes his head slowly, shifting the tray to balance on one hand while the other pulls restlessly through his hair. "And you know Marel and me wouldn't…it wouldn't get to fights like that." Obviously. Then he grimaces. "So why do you think it'll go okay now, between Uncle Tharen and Thadan?"

Thea lifts her eyes from that poor mangled cookie to her son, a wan smile tugging her lips, "I'd hoped you wouldn't," she interjects before he's asking her about Tharen. "He's…strongly…motivated not to let things get out of hand," she says firmly. And adds, "He learned to love, Muir." Yes, sacrifices and love go hand in hand. She'll let him connect those dots though because she needs to know, swallows hard and forces herself to ask him humbly, "Have I lost your trust completely, Muir?"

Muir blinks a few times in surprise. "Love? He's got a girlfriend or something?" And then she's asking him a much harder question, and he opens his mouth to answer in a rush. And then stops, actually /thinking/ first before he shakes his head. "No, Mom," he says quietly. "I still trust you. You…did what you had to do, I guess."

Thea chuckles and shakes her head. "Not that I know of. Though he probably wouldn't tell me if he did. I was speaking of you and Marel. And myself. That's why he went back. For us. But remember, he went because he wanted to. And he wouldn't approve of your guilt." She meets his gaze sternly, then smiles. Her look is one that says she has confidence that he'll work it out. His answer causes her hands to clench, snapping that last bit of cookie into crumbs that rain into the leaves at her feet. "Muir, I… didn't know what else to do."

Muir looks at his mother, the surprise still lingering in his gaze. And then he shifts, looking down again. "It's hard not to feel guilty," the boy mutters. "Knowing we're happy and safe and he's there and Thadan is so horrible… But," he adds, "it was his choice. He knew what he was getting into. And now he'll have the whole Hold, then Thadan dies." Which can't be soon enough. He shifts the tray a bit, the bulky thing getting too heavy, and he finally just sets it down on the ground and glances at his mother again, before taking a tiny - /tiny/ - step forward.

Thea will meet Muir halfway, hesitant to reach for her suddenly independent and - at least on the outside - grown son. He'll see it in her seagreen eyes though, the odd mix of vulnerability, the haunted 'did I do the right thing for you', the determination to fight for her child and desire to shake him in order to pull him from a downward spiral if she must. So instead of grabbing him and rattling him into sensibility, she only reaches both hands out to him, palm-up in a gesture of entreaty and reconciliation and will leave it for him to close the space. That choice left to him speaking more profoundly than words that she sees him as more man than boy.

Muir doesn't hesitate as he reaches out to slip his hands into his mother's, his grip strong as he curls his long fingers around her hands. He pulls a little bit as he steps forward, and then he's letting her hands go. But only so he can wrap his arms around her and press his body close to hers. Seeking that hug, that contact that he usually lets Marel claim.

Unaware that she'd been holding her breath, Thea breathes a little sigh of relief as she allows her son to tug her into his arms. She drops her head to his shoulder - when did he get this tall?! - and though one sob escapes her, she doesn't give in to more tears. As she hugs her only son fiercely, while pushing the truth away from conscious thought that Thadan might have had her to reckon with had she lost her children's love and trust. A meeting that wouldn't have ended well.

Muir hugs his mother tightly, and lets her hug him for a long few moments. And if the boy sheds any tears he hides them well and keeps his breathing steady. "Love you, Mom," he murmurs, giving her another squeeze before he loosens his hold and takes a small step back. "I should go find Marel…" He's worried for his twin, and it shows clear on his face.

Thea is alright with releasing Muir to go find his sister, much moreso than she was releasing him to travel to Cold Stone Hold all those months ago. "I love you too. Don't ever doubt it," she whispers, aiming a kiss to his cheek before loosening her hold. "Please do," she says. "And tell her… tell her…" Her voice falters. No, she'll have to say it herself - if her daughter will ever speak to her again.

Muir accepts the kiss and then he smiles, a small, knowing little smile. "I'll tell her to talk to you," he says, bending to pick up the tray and its two remaining cookies. "I'll see you later, Mom," the teen says, his smile growing to its usual crooked state. Then with a little wave, he's striding along the path to seek out his sister's favorite hiding spots.

This is, perhaps the best thing Muir could say and Thea approves, her own smile, still tremulous, widening. "Thank you," she manages and remains standing until he is out of sight on the path back to the Weyr before collapsing back against the golden hide of Seryth, drawing the strength from her that she needs before pushing off to head back to the Weyr and deal with the rest of the things that weigh on her.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License