Not Anymore

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Grounds
Cradled in a cup shaped bite out of the mountain, this wide, grassy flat has become home for Xanadu's weyrling dragons. It's set surprisingly high above the level of the beach, visible from the eastern side of the grounds where a long path snakes its way down the hill to the sand dunes below. All other sides to the grounds are bordered by the hard granite cliffs, two entrances clearly visible. One is merely human sized and leads deep into the mountain, to the Caverns. The other is broad and high, the entrance to the Weyrling Barracks.

Despite the snow on the ground, the air is actually warm(ish) this afternoon. The sun is out, gleaming off the fallen snow, causing many folks to wear their goggles or shaded glasses in order to avoid being snowblinded. Mur'dah is one of those that didn't wear his goggles, counting on his hand to block the glare from the sun off the snow. Nearby, Kalsuoth has settled onto his belly and fallen into a light sleep, dreaming with small twitches while Mur'dah watches him, a little smile on his face.

As far as mode of dress goes, one might think that Marel would make the transition from dresses and skirts to plain trousers and shirts with a grumble or two, but she's made the change entirely without comment, her boots the only holdover from her 'old' life, her slender form now clad (likely by coincidence) in shades of brown to match her lifemate. Her hair has been plaited tightly and close to her skull, all woven up to sit like that without needing to be tended to or given a second thought, and now, the jacket once used for dragon rides being put to more constant use, she roams from the barracks with Isyriath at her side, the only words heard between them Marel's, "Yes, sweetheart. That's how it works." Without comment, Isyriath slows to a stop to settle down beside his brother, whilst Marel's gaze seeks out /her/ brother as she sits, regardless of snow, in the gentle curve of her lifemate's body, one arm draped across him.

Mur'dah turns his head as his sister approaches, his smile growing wider. Turning, he walks towards her as Kalsuoth rouses himself from sleep and offers a drowsy croon of greeting to the other pair. Then he's dozing again, but leaning happily against his clutchmate. "Hey," Mur'dah says, crouching in the snow in front of Marel, giving Isyriath respectful distance but still wanting to see his twin and talk. "How're you? Both?" That's taken some getting used to - the plural.

The dark circles beneath Marel's eyes say much before she even admits to, "Tired," with a rueful smile, hand still kept in contact with her brown soothing gently against caramel hide as Isyriath spares a sleepy glance for Mur'dah and accepts him just as his rider might, before the young dragon goes to nudge himself a little more snugly in against Kalsuoth. Sleep time. As he begins to doze, Marel looks to waken bit by bit, and she carefully reaches a hand out towards Mur'dah. "You?"

Mur'dah shifts closer to grasp her hand, giving it a tight squeeze. "Hanging in there," he answers with a faint, crooked smile. "Tired, worn out. Still feel like I haven't gotten my footing, even this much time later…" He glances at his dark brown, so much in contrast to his brother, and he smiles. "But happy… Took him to the Dragonhealers earlier though. About the way he walks."

"It gets better, doesn't it? Easier, I mean. I don't feel… bad. But people have to make it through, or we'd have no grown-up dragons!" Marel tries to joke, smile falling to one of lopsided weariness. "…What did they say?" she asks a little hesitantly, twisting a bit at the waist to look back at Kalsuoth. "Isyriath hasn't picked up on any pain from him; not that he's told me. Maybe he wouldn't think to tell me. He seems… happy?" Her fingers curl all the more tightly around his. "You're okay, aren't you?"

Mur'dah nods quickly. "I'm sure it gets better," he says firmly. It has to, right? "They…they said something's wrong with his right hind leg. You know how he walks, all hopping and limping and wobbling. It's…" And he frowns, memory failing him on the technical terms. "Those muscles and things are too short. They don't stretch right. So he has to stretch them a lot. We have to. I have to pull them a bit, and just…keep them loose, so they don't seize up and he can use them." Squeezing her hand back, he nods. "I'm okay. I'm glad I have an answer. Glad it's something that's not going to damage him permanently. Glad we can work with it."

"If we can do anything to help…" Marel offers without hesitation, hand back to smoothing patterns into the well-cared for hide of her lifemate. "If you build up his other muscles too, they should help compensate, right? Give him more stability." And that's about as far as hr knowledge on that front goes, surrendered with a less than certain shrug of one shoulder. "Even if had been something permanent, at least it's not anything worse. They're designed to fly." Green eyes light up as she murmurs, somewhat fancifully, "Wait 'til they /fly/."

Mur'dah smiles and nods, "Thanks, I'll let you know. And…yeah, I guess, but he needs to use his right leg. If it doesn't get fixed, he might not be able to kick off to fly… So. We're going to watch it close, for sure. But thanks." Then he grins, eyes brightening as well. "I know. I can't wait. I think he's going to be amazing at it, even though he's weird at walking."

"Do you think…" Marel begins, blinking away from her twin to stare off into the distance. "Do you think Daddy knows? Cares? About all this?" she asks quietly. "That we didn't Impress like him and Mama did? I'm not sure that I…" She shakes her head. "That it /matters/ so much anymore. I don't know why." Except she probably does, and the reason is lounging right beside her, supporting her. "I don't think or worry about what he's doing so much now, but I still wonder if he thinks of us."

Mur'dah nods, "I think he was there…" But he's not positive, so he sounds hesitant. "And what do you mean, that we didn't impress like they did?" His eyes travel to their brother browns, and he smiles. "It doesn't matter. And no…I don't either. I mean," he says with a small frown. "I still care about him, but…I don't think about him as much."

"That they're not gold and blue." Barely above a whisper, not for fear of being overheard, but soft for reluctantly uttering the words at all. "I wouldn't have all the golds of the world in exchange for Isyriath," she insists, tucking herself more closely in against him without realising that such movement goes in tandem with her words. "But I wonder if that was what he wanted; if it'll be the final thing that means he never…" Talks to them again? "When I think about him, he's… just a person. A bluerider. He's not the Daddy I remember. So, that's it. I don't need him to be that person anymore."

Mur'dah blinks and then understanding dawns. "Oh," he says, a grin on his lips. "No, I don't think they're upset about that at all. I'm…thrilled. So thrilled. Brown is a color I never…really appreciated before. And that we got the same color…that just makes me grin." And he gives her hand a reassuring squeeze and nods. "It's the same. He doesn't…it doesn't bother me any more."

"I think it was probably meant to be. That browns found both of us; that they're brothers," Marel replies, voice soft. "However it all works. Maybe there's something in our heads that made sure we were only ever meant to be brownriders. Something the same." She glances back towards the barracks, something distracting her, though it remains unclear what it is until she asks, "Would you mind watching him for a few minutes? I need to feed Brier and Flynn and I don't want them squeaking and all sorts to wake him up."

Mur'dah nods, "I think it was meant to be too. We won't…I mean. You didn't get gold or green, I didn't get blue or bronze." And all the flight possibilities thereof. "I'm so glad we both impressed. And impressed brown. It's perfect." Then he blinks, a little surprised, and deeply touched. Giving her hand a firm squeeze he nods, pushing to his feet with a low grunt when his knees protest. "Not at all. I'll be here."

Marel turns to press a kiss to the curve of Isyriath's neck, bidding him a brief farewell in his sleep, then clambers slowly to her feet, careful not to brush any snow over him. "Thank you," she tells her twin, well aware that it's no small thing to ask him to watch her lifemate at this young age, perhaps trying to convey that her trust or the faith she has in him hasn't been dimmed by their being claimed by their dragons, in as much that he might be aware that he's the only one she's requested such a thing of. She keeps her fingers knotted with his for a further moment, then begins to make her retreat back to the barracks, gaze lingering on the slumbering form of Isyriath as she goes. He'll be fine. She knows this. Absolutely.

Mur'dah lets her go and then looks around, keeping watch on the sleeping brother browns, even though nothing will disturb them out here. Still, he is vigilant, treating this task with all the focus and care that it deserves.

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