Hot Sands, Cold Truths

Xanadu Weyr - Observation Level
Dark blue seats form a semi-circle around the sands below, the lowest row separating from the sands themselves by merely a railing. The seats climb upwards, each row a bit higher then the previous, and they are broken up into sections by 3 sets of staircases. Lights are evenly spaced along the outer wall, lighting the seats and the sands easily, though they tend to be dimmed unless a major event is taking place. A large balcony looms overhead, darkening some of the seats, providing a place for observers of the draconic kind to watch without obstructing the view for others.
When one looks over the railing, the oddly hued sand below can be seen easily, the circle-shaped area of the sands spread out to the far walls, the sand itself a unique mixture of red and white grains.

Fog is apparently a norm on Xanadu nowadays. Is it going to ever clear up and stay away? Ah, no matter. ka-el hasn't been outside much today anyway. It's chilly and it's one of those incredibly rare times in which he finds himself without a whole lot to do. And so, with no duties from either the craft or Candidacy, he finds himself sitting high in the observation level, slightly leaned forward in the plastic seats with his elbows pressed against his thighs and mouth pressed against laced fingers. Eyes are on the sands and the eggs that are being tended to by that doting wher. His gaze is still and distant, his thoughts running rampant.

Stupid fog. Muir hates it, the boy on edge as he stomps into the galleries and up the stairs. "Hey," he says when he spies Kale, sprawling his body into a seat near (but not right next to, because that'd be weird) his friend. He peers down at the eggs, brows knitting in a thoughtful frown. "So how were they for you?"

Startled out of his thoughts, Kale tenses a bit, eyes shifting quickly to the left. But's just Muir! "Hey," he offers in return, lifting his head and removing his mouth from his hand as he acknowledges the other boy. The question has his attention drawn back to the sands, eyeing the many colored eggs that lay in way. "Hard to say," he answers honestly. "Some good, some not. Didn' touch them all," he admits, eyeing one whose speckled surface looks less brilliant from afar. "I dunno. I think I'd had enough of them searchin' my brain, you know? It was .. weird. Cool, sort of, but weird. How about you?"

Muir shakes his head, leaning back and stretching his lanky legs out, propping his feet on the back of the seat in front of him. "I didn't touch all of 'em either. I didn't…like most of them," he admits with a deepening frown, glancing at the other boy. "Some were so demanding. And some….well. One. Was just…" Sighing, he runs his fingers through his hair. "Unnerving. Did you touch that one?" he asks, pointing down towards the sands. Anthem of the Ages Egg. "That black one that looks like stars?"

"You didn't either, huh?" replies Kale, smirking gently. "Good to know I'm not the only one who'd rather not have his brain picked, gnawed, and throttled thirteen times." But at the mentioning of not liking most of the eggs, his smirk gradually slides from his face, and he keeps quiet to listen to him. He turns to follow the direction in which he points, first frowning as he sees nothing but sand in that direction, but.. oh yes. That egg. "I did," he confirms with a single nod. "I…think I remember something. A feeling like I did something wrong, or someone did something wrong. I can't remember. I don't even know if I knew it then. I didn't touch that one long," he admits. He looks back at him. "That one get to you?"

Muir nods, "Yeah," he mutters, lowering his voice even though no one else is around. He fidgets for a moment, struggling with something, before he sighs. "It was like it knew Marel's and my past. What…all the Cold Stone stuff. Us going there, and my uncle going in our stead, and all the feelings that went with it. It was like it told me the story of my life, only…picked out all the bad parts."

Kale can be a good listener at times. Now is one of those times. Though for all that he listens, it's evident that confusion is becoming to dominate. Or, if not confusion, a lack of understanding. "…Sorry man," he says, head shaking a little, "Sounds like I should probably know what it is you're talkin' about when you say your past and Cold Stone and an uncle, but…" He gives him a miffed look. "I remember you told me once you were supposed to learn how to … rule the place?" He doesn't sound very confident when he says it, having feeling he probably twisted that somehow. "Did things go badly?"

Muir's grin is a touch crooked and a touch bitter. "Yeah. It's…complicated," he says, fingers tugging through his hair again. "I'm not sure…well. I /know/ I still don't understand all of it. But," he shrugs, fingers lacing together and resting on his stomach, "Mom basically told Marel 'n me that we were going to Cold Stone to visit. So we went. But when we got there, surprise, we got told that I was the heir now. Conclave had named me heir, because my uncle had left the hold. My…" he grimaces, "grandfather," he says, with clear distaste, "is not a good man. So now Marel and me were there, and I was heir, suddenly. And I didn't want to be, but. You know. I tried. I thought maybe it'd be neat, having a Hold, even though…" he motions a hand towards the eggs, "all I'd ever wanted to do was be a rider. Still, that's a kid's dream. You can't count on it, you know? So we were there for four months and then my uncle came back. He came back so Marel and me could come home here, 'cuz Mom needed us. She an' dad'd broke up over her sending Marel and me to Cold Stone, so she was alone and my uncle went there so we could come home. Like…an exchange. Him for us, and my grandfather took the deal. So back we came, and Mom's happy and I guess I'm happy too. But still. There's…I feel bad, you know? Bad for my uncle, even though he said it's what he wants, and Mom says it's what he wants." Another shrug and a low sigh, Muir staring fixedly at the eggs again. "That egg knew everything," he mutters, staring at it.

The younger Candidate has Kale's attention. He has a feeling this is something .. important. One of those 'I don't tell everyone this' sort of things, and that warrants undivided attention. So as Muir begins, he twists in his seat slightly to watch him, nodding slightly in understanding at the beginning. Sent to visit. Suddenly an heir. That must've been the shock of his life. He continues to stay quiet as he continues, smirking a little at the mentioning of having a Hold possibly being neat. He probably would have thought the same. But that smirk fades from existence as listening continues. Thea and her weyrmate's breakup. The return of the Uncle and rightful heir. An unkind grandfather. He's quiet for a bit longer, even when words pause. "If nothin' else," he finally says, "the egg can't tell anyone else that. I'd wondered if when they hatch if they remember all that they got from us when we touched 'em, or if they … I dunno, forget everyone other'n who they Impressed. … I dunno if the egg knew, or if it just got it from you, y'know? But I get it. It isn't good to know that someone else knows somethin' you rather they don't."

Muir shakes his head slowly. "Marel's so worried the egg will remember and tell someone else. She hopes that if she gets a dragon, that's the dragon she gets. So no one else'll know." And he shoots Kale a look that's both uncertain, guilty, and a little piercing. Now Kale knows. He doesn't say anything though, turning to stare back at the egg. "I didn't tell it anything. So either it just…/got/ it from me in a second, or…it knew from something else. I don't know." He exhales, frustration in the sound.

"Eh, I'm not an expert on dragons," Understatement of the year, that, "but I don' think that's the right about way to go hopin' for one. I mean … they're called lifemates for a reason, huh? You're stuck for life. If that dragon in that egg is somethin' that you both don't like now, it probably isn't meant for either one've you. It isn't good to hope for something like that just to keep somethin' quiet. Besides," Kale continues, waving a hand, "it doesn't sound all so bad. I mean, no one's died because of it, an' your uncle could probably still leave if he wanted to, couldn't he? If he said no to bein' an heir, you can say no too." As for that look he receives, it's registered and understood. This isn't something that's meant to be commented on over dinner.

Muir nods, "That's what I think, but she's…she's worried," he says with a small sigh. "Never thought Candidacy would be this…hard," he admits with a soft mutter. "My uncle…kind of can't. If he leaves, they'll take me back. It's all in the Conclave. I'm still an heir, technically. Just the second one. So if he leaves, I /have/ to go back. We can't just…abandon the hold. It's ours. Our family's."

Kale rubs at the back of his neck. The plot thickens! "Sort of trapped then…" he muses with a frown. He drops his hand. "An' there's no one after you? Like…a third heir or something?" He can guess the answer to that already, and he wrinkles his nose. "Sorry. That does sort've blow, doesn't it? For your uncle…" He has no helpful bit of advice, although he's searching his mind for something insightful and encouraging to say. "He must really love you then, your Uncle. Comin' back so you didn't have to bear all that. M'sure he can handle it. Maybe in the end he'll end up liking it, and he'll do his duties…whatever they are, better than the rest."

Muir shakes his head, "No, my uncle's got no kids and I'm mom's only boy, so it's just him and me." He squirms a little bit, sighing. "That's what Mom said. That he loved me - and her and Marel - enough to go back, but it's like…he's just…doing this for /life/. I dunno, I wish I could talk to him. Just make sure…" Not that his uncle would say 'No, this sucks'.

"Why can't you?" questions Kale with a quirked brow. "Talk to him, I mean. Talk to him! He's your uncle," he reminds with a smirk. "And apparently his only nephew, so you've probably got a special spot. He'll talk to you about anything, I bet, straightforward. Have you tried?" he asks, watching him skeptically.

Muir shifts. "Would they let me go? Or maybe he could come here…" He trails off, giving the idea some thought. It has merit. "No, I haven't tried. I mean, I tried when we were walking from the Hold to Seryth, but that wasn't very long. Mom wanted us out of there."

"I think you're alright to go with a rider, but it might be better if he comes here. Y'know … in case the eggs wanna hatch early or something. And if you get caught up over there with your visit and take too long, the eggs might hatch without you." And wouldn't that be such a sad day! "Y'know, that is //if //he can come here," amends Kale, not quite sure just what freedoms an heir has. Especially one that left before. After a bit, he questioningly tilts his head. "Did your ma know that when she sent you and your sister for your visit, that you'd be kept as heir?"

Muir nods thoughtfully. "I'll ask mom," he murmurs, eyes distant for a moment before they snap back to the present. And he sighs, shoulder sagging a bit. "Yeah," he mutters. "She did. And she didn't tell us." There is lingering anger there, but the boy battles it back into submission. "She was trying to do best for everyone. She couldn't be heir. It had to be me."

What a large thing to keep from someone, especially family. Kale's brows faintly knit, though the look does not last long before the furrowed brows soften to a nondescript look. "I won't pretend to understand the way a mother's mind works," he says with a headshake and chuckle. "Mine's as batty as they come sometimes. But sometimes they do things only they will ever understand. They don't make mistakes…often. But it happens. I bet she's sorry for it all. She's never seemed to be the type that does things without thinkin' on them a while."’

Muir shrugs, "I still don't get it, but what'm I gonna do? Be mad at her forever?" That's not an option, clearly. "Yeah, she's sorry, but she didn't really have much of a choice. No one did. Which…that angers me a lot. Thadan gives no one a choice and even here his…attitude spreads like poison." He runs his fingers through his hair again, exhaling heavily. "Where's your mom?"

"Thadan's your grandfather," Kale guesses, figuring Muir wouldn't be speaking so illy of his uncle. "Well, hey, I've got it figured out. I don't know exactly what you mean about him infectin' Xanadu with his attitude, but I'm gonna take a shot in the dark and guess that at least some of that means you. All this has been eatin' away at you, it sounds like. Even here," he gestures to the eggs with a hand, "when you should be excited. So, forget him. Don't let him and all of that ruin this for you. You're one candidate out've… I dunno, millions of People on Pern. You were chosen, out've all them, an' you should be enjoyin' this. Your grandpa and your Uncle and the heir thing? That'll still be there when all the eggs have hatched. But this," another gesture, this time to the annex as a whole, "isn't going to last forever." A smirk follows, though the look in his eyes is genuine. He truly does want to help. "My ma? Ha, probably terrorizin' my da at home. They live in Black Rock with everyone else in my family, other than Kei'."

Muir listens, but as he listens he's staring at the eggs fixedly. Slow breaths are taken, chest rising and falling beneath his tunic. And in the end he just bows his head forward a bit. "I'm tryin'," he murmurs. "It's easier said than done. But I'm tryin'. This…is all I ever wanted. So I should be…over the moons. But I'm not. M'worried." Turning his head to look at his friend, he nods. "Where's Black Rock?"

What can he do? Watching Muir is inspiring a frown, especially now knowing the turmoil he feels. Kale's eyes shift to the eggs below, glancing from shell to shell slowly, his mind working. "If you Impressed, what would that change? Anything?" he asks. "None of what you told me would go away, but maybe your lifemate would have insight that no one else could give. I've no clue how dragons think or how they know what they know, but just touchin' eggs gave us so much. Maybe all this is happening now for a reason. Cold Stone. Your uncle. Candidacy. I don't believe in coincidences." A small, yet encouraging smile is sent is way. "Black Rock?" His smile strengthens to a grin. "A jaunty trip thataway!" He points a finger in a random direction. "East. Whichever way that is. Few days' worth of travel- not by dragon. Never been? If we both Impress, we'll fly over sometime, after learning how to. Give my ma a heart attack."

Muir hadn't thought of that, and he shrugs. "I'm not sure. Give me something else to focus on at the very least," he answers after a moment's thought. "And maybe yeah, my dragon could help. But…I can't begin to predict what a dragon'd do. /If/ I impress." Then he smirks, and it's got a bit of edge to it. "Couldn't be an heir." So that'd be one thing solved? Then he grins, nodding and extending his hand. "That's a deal. I'd love to see it and I'm surprised I haven't been." Turning back to the eggs, he's quiet a moment. "Just hope that…whatever happens to Marel happens to me too. I can't…imagine one of us impressing and the other not." And he visibly shivers at the very idea of it, shaking his head. "I just wish I could…do something to…guarantee it, you know? Promise the eggs something. Make a deal. I would."

Sahazyth has been a little more protective of her eggs the past sevenday, when before she was relaxed about them. Touchings have slowed to a trickly of a couple candidates at a time. The little blue Dersk has been on 'guard duty' just about every night and Orionth managing well the 'day shift'. The eggs are becoming harder every day, a certain solidity becoming visible to the shells. As for the gold's rider, well her own 'hatching' day seems to be growing ever more imminent. The young junior looking well and truly pregnant and about to pop in the next month or two. Briana comes up from the sands to take a seat in the stands with a large glass of juice, looking a little flushed from the heat. As she notices the young men here in what seems to be private conversation, she quietly nods to them but looks out to the eggs afterward.

Kale grins as he leans forward to take that hand, giving it a hearty shake. Deal, sealed! He leans back again and props a foot up on the seat in front of him. Muir's words regarding Marel sobers him a bit, brows knitting once more in thought. "Huh. Hadn't thought of that…" he says aloud. "Haven' one've my brothers with me would make things … difficult. I mean, you've got to be a little selfish in this," he admits. "And it's hard to just think of yourself an' what you want when there's family wanting the same thing. You'd like to share, but .. there's no sharing in this." Yup, difficult indeed. He does not envy Muir! ".. Soriana would say something like 'your dragon comes first, always'. Maybe Impressing changes your brain a little. Riders and dragons are like nothin' I've ever seen before. Not to say if you Impress and she doesn't that you won't care at all, but maybe it won't bother you as much as you think." His eyes shift as another arrives, and the rotund Briana seems to be cause enough for him to remove his propped up foot and look a bit more presentable. "Evenin'"

Muir frowns, staring at the eggs. "It'd bother me," he says. "If I impressed and she didn't. I might be happy, but…I'd be sad at the same time. I'd worry it'd…taint my dragon, you know? Like…I'm sure it'd know that I was sad I Impressed. Shards. I hope that doesn't happen," he says, worry dragging down his shoulders. Candidacy isn't anything like he thought it'd be, that's for sure. Turning, he nods to Briana as well, and even offers up a crooked smile. "Hi."

Briana can't help but smile as she notices Kale straitening up, "Its ok Kale, no rules against feet propping in here." She offers before taking a sip of her juice and rubbing a hand over her belly. No doubt their are bets on who will 'hatch first' and well it is pretty even odds at the moment, but then again, there are people who would bet on anything. As she hears Muir's concern she shakes her head a bit, "There is no worry about that…in those days after impression, there is nothing in the world but your lifemate. By time you come up for air, well your bond will be well and truely set in and while your sadness may be something you will have to explain, I don't think it will…damage your dragon."

A tainted dragon? That's a worrisome thought, and perhaps not too radical of one. Kale has a lot to learn about dragons, with or without Impressing. "Mmm .. maybe, if you Impress and Marel doesn't, your dragon will still be a bit friendly with her. She bein' your twin. I know it wouldn't be the same but…" Ah, Kale has no answers really. Luckily, Briana has a few, and he looks her way, cracking a grin at her comment regarding his lounging. He nods in agreement with her. That makes sense! "Right. Just explain to your dragon what's going on. I bet with time it'll get easier for you and Marel." A pause. "But all this is theoretical anyway. You both may Impress, and all this worrying would be for naught!"

Muir squirms slightly, looking guiltily at Briana. "I don't want that though," he admits quietly. "I don't…/want/ to just…abandon her." He shakes his head, sighing heavily and looking down at the clutch, before he glances at Kale with a faint smile. "Guess I just have to hope for the best, then. Whatever happens to one, happens to both. I don't even want to think about the other possibilities."

"What is meant to be will be. Your dragons may both be on these sands or neither. Maybe one of you will impress now and another at another time. When the moment comes, your world closes around you and there is nothing but you and them. I find at least with Sahazyth, those I feel strongly about she shares in that feeling. I dare say with twins, that bond will be even stronger." Briana says in attempt to assure Muir, "Though I understand it can be hard not to be afraid of such a change. I was more than a little bit nervous when I was a candidate."

Kale gazes at the gold as she's spoken of, his eyes filled with curious thought. One can wonder about these things forever, that curious bond between dragon and rider. But really, how can one ever know without experiencing for oneself? To Muir, he offers a grin and holds up a hand, crossing his fingers. "I'll keep'm crossed for you, then," he offers. Maybe luck will be on his side! Lowering his hand, he contemplates Briana. "A little bit nervous? Then you're leaps and bounds better than either one've us then," he says, his grin remaining. "What .. was it like? You've probably gotten that a lot, and if it's anything close to egg touching, then impossible to describe but … was was Impressing like for you?"

Muir squirms more, exhaling softly. Reassured? Nope. But nice try, Briana! Slowly, Muir pushes to his feet. "I'd better go find her," he murmurs. "See how she's doing." Clearly the boy loves his twin deeply, and the impending possibility of their lives suddenly taking different paths has him worried and on edge. Giving Kale a smile, it's a bit strained, the worry showing around his eyes even as he lifts his hand to cross his fingers back. "Thanks," he murmurs. "See you guys," he adds, and then a hastily tacked on "ma'am," for Briana, as he edges back towards the stairs.

Briana can't help but laugh, "Alright, a lot nervous. I wasn't exactly weyrbred. I had to deal with some family…expectations. I had to deal with my own fears as I reckon every candidate who has ever touched an egg does. So many try to challenge us, though I think its just how they learn about themselves." As Muir rises to go find his sister she nods, "Make the most of this time. Even should you both impress, your time will be for your dragons." She cants her head to Kale, "Well, explaining it…I know riders who tried to explain it to me before hand but it really could not prepare me. What you feel in those touches? That is so transient compared to the moment of impression. I suppose I can say…touchings are like them rummaging around in a box looking for something. Impression…well its like you both become the box and everything in it all at once." She says and then wrinkles her nose, "Its hard to really explain."

Kale's eyes follow Muir as he stands and speaks of finding his sister. He nods, a faint frown touching his lips, though it's not one of anger, but instead a look of … well, worry? Possibly. Probably. Likely. "See you," he offers to him, nodding. "Careful steppin' into the barracks, by the way. I heard there was … well, not sure what was up in there. But something was," he says in undetailed warning. He offers a wave to him before his eyes shift back to Briana, listening with interest to her thoughts regarding Impression. Or rather, becoming the box. He tries to wrap his head around that comparison, though utterly fails. He grins sheepishly, shaking his head. "M'afraid I don't understand," he admits. "I had a feeling I wouldn't though, but couldn't help but asking. Were you surprised?" he continues, glancing to the large dragon on the sands, "That it was a gold that came to you?"

There is an arched brow as Kale mentions something up in the barracks, but does not question it. What happens in the barracks stays in the barracks. She shakes her head a bit, "It is so hard to explain, I am sorry I am not helping much. It is a moment where everything makes sense, where all your fears about how worthy you are disapear. At the moment…I don't recall being surprised. It was so much of 'of course' moment. Everything that had happened before brought me to that moment and it was a perfect moment. I think afterward there were times I wondered…how am I going to do this? Will people ever look up to me as a leader? But in those times I just look to Sahazyth and we remember the moment. That perfect moment.." Even as she talks she seems to become lost in the memory for a moment, her voice fading away. She then shakes her head to clear it and looks back to Kale, "In that moment, the colour does not matter. Just you feel…complete. As if there had always been this missing half of you and suddenly you are whole together."

Kale remains quiet as he listens, trying to visualize himself down there, a nervous Candidate wondering if his life is about to change so drastically in a moment's time. And a moment of perfection. Can he imagine it? Precious seconds in which the world ceases to be anything but a paradise of himself and his lifemate for the first time. He tries, but perfection eludes him. He gets close, though! An imagined triumphant moment with bells and whistles, fireworks sparking within their eyes.. But what of Muir and Marel? And his other friends? The thought of them taints that flawless moment that he's never had. Perhaps he'll have to wait and possibly see for himself. He watches as she loses herself in her own thoughts, polite enough to say nothing and patient enough to wait til she's ready to continue. "Don't be sorry. You are helping," he assures. "Knowin' that you felt the same as we do now, but here you are, accomplished as you are. That helps. Helps to know there's a chance I won't lose my mind before the eggs even hatch," he jokes, grinning.

"I dare say even the most confident seeming candidate will be scared inside. It is a scary thing, it is life changing. I like to think its life changing for the better, at least it was for me." Briana says and smiles to Kale, "Enjoy this time with your friends. Don't be afraid of these friendships for fear someone will be left behind, cause impress or not, they will carry you through one way or another." She gives a sigh and rubs at her belly, "I think I should go take a nap before someone comes in to remind me that I probably need one. If you ever need to talk, that is what we are here for." She says before pushing herself to standing. "Take care Kale." With that, she is making her way out of the stands, but not without one last look at Sahazyth. A little smile and off she goes.

Kale bobs his head in agreement with her. "I've been having fun so far," he admits, his grin growing at the thought of his friends, both old and new. And her words regarding those friendships are comforting, even if he doesn't admit to it. Impress or not, those bonds shall remain intact. Wasn't that vowed just a few evenings prior amongst the gaggle of Candidates? His expression softens, though at her movement to stand, he halfway stands too. Should he help her? Sure he should! She's … ginormous. And awkward looking. And .. oh look, she did it all by herself. His 'poised to help' stance relaxes and he seats himself again. "Thank you, Bri-.uh.. Jr. Weyrwoman," he says in return, nodding to her. "Good luck!" Seems to be the right thing to say to a pregnant woman. He smirks to himself, then settles back with his own thoughts.

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