Troubled Reminiscence

Follows Higher Standards


Xanadu Weyr - Star Stones

Looming up above the weyr stand the spindly spires called the Starstones. Jagged grays and brown are stately, if a bit dull and uniform. These rocks have stood for as long as records stretch, being used by millions of dragons across time and space to come home, or to herald the coming of Thread by the circular hole drilled there by the first people of Pern. As the Red Star creeps across the sky, an enemy still very real, if perhaps just a memory now, to line up with the circle and sing of the Pass' beginning.
There is room here for a few dragons to land although there is no shelter for man or beast. It is a magnificent prospect out over the weyr and across the lake, the sky often occupied by dragons and firelizards, many flitting in and out of *between*.

Late afternoon usually finds the Weyrwoman in her office, but presently the golden bulk of Seryth is sprawled upon the starstones, her body gilded by the descending Rukbat. Silhouetted by the same, is the form of Thea. She's seated on the queen's crossed forearms, leaning back against her chest. It's officially winter, but the sky remains clear and even though the air is cold, she's here without a jacket, gazing out over the Caspian Lake towards Black Rock hold, barely visible as a smudge on the far distant shore. Such a view might be soothing, but the look on her face is definitely not a pleased one. In fact it's both grim and disgruntled - an expression not often seen on her face. But eh, who's to see?

Mur'dah is who's to see, that's who. Mounting the stairs, the young brownrider heads up towards the Star Stones to enjoy an afternoon mug of klah and to watch the world for a moment, only to find his mother and the familiar form of Seryth there. "Hey, mom," he greets with a crooked smile, which quickly shifts to concern at the expression on her face. "Uh-oh. What's up?" Glancing around, and seeing no one, he refrains from saluting and instead steps up beside the queen's foreleg, peering up at his mother.

He should just try saluting his own mother in public someday and see what happens! She's familiar with the voice, but not expecting it up here. Deep in thought, she'd been fairly oblivious to the traffic in the skies, but Seryth hadn't announced that Kalsuoth was approaching either. She eyes her son, the frown easing somewhat but her eyes remain somber. She patpats Seryth's foreleg beside her even as she asks curiously, "How did you get up here?" What's up? She doesn't answer that. Instead she asks bluntly, "How did you get mixed up in what happened at the dance with Zi'on?" Uh oh?

Mur'dah glances up at the queen and then climbs up, nimble and careful not to spill any of his drink. Then he points. "Door was unlocked. Hadn't been up here in a while." He didn't want to drop rocks over the edge. Promise. Then there's a small grimace, shaking his head. "I heard Zi'on being a d- being kind of rude to Kiena. Again. So I told Ka'el about it…" Why? That's clear in the look he gives his mother, both a touch sheepish, a bit apologetic, and a bit stubborn.

Thea mutters at herself for forgetting to lock that door. "Why?" she asks. Why did he need to tell the Weyrleader? "Kiena's a big girl. She could have dealt with it. So… why?" She's not necessarily annoyed with it; the question is not sharp in tone, but she wants to know. And ohhhh that sheepish, apologetic and stubborn look is eyed while she waits.

Mur'dah exhales with a shrug. "Because I didn't think it'd be a good idea if I just went to Zi'on and called him out on it and created some big diplomatic…thing?" He was trying to be /good/. "So I told Ka'el."

Thea continues to regard her son. It's not… exactly disapproval on her face really. Just a somber grim expression. "Which I appreciate, but why would you feel like you needed to tell anyone?" It's part Weyrwoman, part mother-question. "Relax, you're not in trouble." There's a faint smile afterwards, which, given the just-past meeting, is restrained. Normally he'd be getting a much warmer one mingled with the teasing light in her glass-green eyes. Not today, however.

Mur'dah relaxes, just a bit, and sips his klah. "Because I'm tired of Zi'on saying shit to Kiena and getting away with it." He's nothing if not honest, especially with his mother. Though maybe he shouldn't have sworn. "And it was at a party /about/ good manners and stuff."

"Why?" Yep, Thea is going through that three-turn old 'why' stage. He's honest; she wants him to elaborate. She knows little about his personal life these days. She simply nods about good manners, her mouth twisting in a wry, cynical way regarding Zi'on and the idea he even has any to begin with. She says nothing about the swearing, which might be a silent acknowledgment that he's a man and not a boy any longer.

Mur'dah's gaze shifts and his brows furrow, looking away for a moment and then back at his mother. Is she /sure/ he isn't in trouble? "Because it's wrong? She doesn't deserve that, even if he /is/ a Weyrleader. Weyrleaders can't do whatever they want."

Thea's eyes never leave her son. So those sea green eyes are there waiting when he looks back. It's wrong. "Sure it is," she agrees easily enough. "And she doesn't." But, "Why is it up to you to right? Why not her?" Oh, he's not in trouble. If he were, he'd know it by now. One dark brow lifts at his claim Weyrleaders can't do whatever they want. "And yet… they do, apparently," she says dryly. Her manner softens. "I can tell it matters more than principle to you,"she says quietly. Ahhh! There's a bit of tease simmering in her eyes and half-smile.

Mur'dah shrugs, "I…I don't know." He doesn't have a good answer for that. "Because she lets him get away with it even though it hurts her?" Then there's another shrug. "She's a friend of mine, Mom. I don't like to see my friends hurt…"

Thea smiles, leaning back against Seryth, relaxing herself. "I like Kiena." And so his 'friendship' (and being a mother, she's probably reading more into it - or hopes it is more - than he intends) has her blessing. Hey! She wants more grandbabies! She waves a hand in the direction of the offices, "Ka'el says he sent you to Western but Zi'on wouldn't see you. Do you know why he wouldn't?"

Mur'dah eyes his mother askance, a bit clueless. (Okay. A LOT clueless.) "Kiena's nice." He sips his klah and follows her gaze, and then shakes his head. "Nope, I don't know why. So…yeah. I don't know if it was intentional or just bad timing. I didn't have an appointment."

"She really is." More than nice, but Thea also knows the professional side of the Weyrsecond. Gently, and with a bittersweet smile she notes, "Sticking up for friends is an admirable trait, but." There's always a but. "But Kiena needs to stand up for herself, Mur'dah. Boundaries are healthy things." She inhales, then exhales in a long, slow breath. "I just came from a briefing about what happened at the dance." Appointment or no, "Why should Zi'on listen to anyone but Kiena? Every time she lets him be a jerk to her, she gives him tacit permission to hurt her. And so he already has it. No one can raise that barrier but Kiena. You can't. Ka'el can't-" And she levels him a look, "Ka'el's going to go and speak with Zi'on. I support that, but…" She casts a troubled gaze out over the Caspian Lake. "Don't expect positive results. It's happened before." There's a brooding disquiet as she says it.

Mur'dah slouches, slipping into a minor mood. "Couldn't just…do nothing," he mutters, staring into his klah mug before taking another sip. "But…I…yeah. I know what you mean. Still." Still! "Well good luck to him."

That slouch, seen out of the corner of her eye, turns Thea's gaze from the vista to her son and she reaches to gently brush the back of her hand across his cheek. "I know," she says with understanding in her tone. "People have to do what they can. Sometimes it isn't enough, but you know you at least tried." She snorts with irony, "At least they won't throw Ka'el in prison for attempting to build bridges."

Mur'dah smiles faintly, briefly leaning into his mother's touch and flashing her a brief look of appreciation. "Yeah, then I know I tried." Then there's a blink, and a surprised glance to his mother. "Prison? Who got thrown in prison?"

"It's a long story," Thea says with a sideways pull of lips for recalling former, darker times. "When I was a junior." A flick of sea green eyes to her son, "After Kav-" She stops with a press of her lips and reforms her thoughts, "Before your father and I were together, Ista Hold had a bad earthquake and so D'son, myself and Sigam, now S'gam, went to help. Ista's Weyrwoman Ysa had us arrested for tresspassing. We spent five days in the Weyr's cells before she let us out." Yep, Marel and Mur'dah's mom is an ex-con!

Mur'dah looks suprised. "Shards, wow, really? She put a goldrider in jail? Five /days/? It took that long for Xanadu to negotiate your release? Five days? I'll bet the weyr was furious. How…what happened in the end? That must have seriously damaged relations between Xanadu and Ista…" And he thought /his/ little situation was going to be an issue.

"She put both a goldrider and a Weyrleader in jail. Not to mention a Grade 3 Dragonhealer," Thea says dryly. Recalling that whole situation brings a hardness to her face, an expression rarely seen from her. "The history is complicated and began before I arrived at Xanadu. Ysa used to be a junior here, in fact, she used to be my friend before Niva removed her for drunkenness. So when Ysa took seniorship at Ista, relations were doomed from the start. Anyway, it took five days for Ysa to even accept messages from Xanadu; all of our riders were interdicted from Istan airspace. And the negotiating came from the Harper Hall." So if he thinks Zi'on is bad… yeah. It also might explain her somber contemplating up here in the cold upon the starstones while she should be down in her warm office working.

Mur'dah shakes his head. "Shards, Mom. That's awful. To be betrayed by someone who used to be a friend, when all you were trying to do was help. Where is Ysa now?" He sips his klah and shifts a bit on the queen's foreleg, absently stroking it in silent and familiar thanks. "Do you think this is going to turn out bad?" he asks, shifting a slightly worried look. He probably feels a bit guilty for kicking this whole thing off.

Thea shrugs. It was pretty bad, but she's been through worse heartbreak than that. "She's…around. Somewhere. Retired." Thea slips down off of Seryth's foreleg, her fingers trailing the golden hide in a fond caress. Tilting her head up to regard her son, she says, "After I became Senior, Ysa met me in Ierne and apologized for the whole thing. It took her turns, but she did it. I see her now and then when I go to Ierne." To his question, she shakes her head. "It will not," she says firmly. "I don't really want Zi'on here if he can't be… courteous, but Xanadu is hardly going to ban him. Enka and I get along. The Weyrs won't be fighting. I'm sure Ka'el will do fine when he speaks to Zi'on." Will things be fine? Probably not for awhile, but it's not for lack of trying. "I'm going down; it's freezing up here. Would you like to walk down with me or have Kalsuoth fetch you when you're ready?" Because she's not going to forget to relock the access door this time.

Mur'dah slides down when his mother does, patting Seryth once more. "Alright." That's all he can do, right? Just see where things go now, since it's out of his hands. "I'll go down, it's colder up here than I thought."

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