Shades of Gray

Xanadu Weyr - Beach
The unerring range of subdued white rises and falls in a multitude of sandy dunes, creating an endless amount of tiny valleys constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of a dragon. Smoothing out as it slopes gently to the edge of the deep blue water, the sand darkens and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect. The beach itself is set along a low cliff - the height lessoning as one heads eastwards, blocking a portion of the beach from direct access.
The wide wide stretch of water opens up to the east, the far distant shore way beyond the horizon and the beach curves ever so slowly round to east and west, distant arms of land embracing the wind-ruffled Caspian Lake. East leads up to the mouth of the Rubicon River, where the protecting cliff is merely an arms length higher then the sand, and beyond that, a winding road leading out of Xanadu's territory. Westwards, the beach narrows as the cliff swings out, leaving a path wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to the sheltered cove designated the Weyrling Beach. However, cut in the cliff face to the north are a variety of rough, wide staircases, providing access to the clearing and to the meadow.

Snowy beach. The expanse of sand has been painted a pale white with a very thin layer of snow some yards away from the reach of the foam-capped waves. The sky is covered with a blanket of grey, and the lake is calm. The beach itself is a bit sparse. Who wants to play in the waves when the weather is so cold? No one, that's who, which makes the beach a perfect to be if one wishes to be alone with his own thoughts. Which, apparently, Ka'el does. The Weyrleader is out here, sans his bronze buddy this time. Either one of them, actually. He's alone, randomly spread out on his back upon the cold, snowy sand. He wears a jacket with a hood that's pulled up on his head, but in his laid down position, it's half off of his head. An arm is bent behind his head, like a pillow, and his eyes are on the sky. The gray, gray sky. His face is slightly flushed, likely due to the cold, but despite the fact that he's cold, he's not moving. He'll just lay out here and freeze and be flushed and stare at the sky with an expression on his face that's not quite a smile, not quite a frown. Something stuck in the middle of the two.

Who said you have to play in the waves to enjoy the beach? But what good is a beach if you cannot enjoy the water? Winter does account for the sparseness but for some that is, indeed, perfect. For Ka'el to be alone and laying in the snow to freeze and stare at the sky and for one other too. Kiena is wandering from further down the beach, back towards the roads leading to the coast. No blue shadow in the form of Ujinath tailing her either, just the Weyrsecond bundled in her thicker jacket, scarf wrapped about her neck and hood down. Her hair, unbound, is protection enough for now. Odd is not her being there, so much as it's her… singing? No, she's not belting out some tune but she is humming and occasionally a few words drift into coherency only to fade away again. A catchy tune, but a touch sad and one that falters into an abrupt drift of silence when Kiena likely spots Ka'el's still form on the ground. "Y'Alright?" she calls, not recognizing him from the angle of her approach even with his hood half off his head. She's definitely approaching, her boots crunching on the snow now hint rather than her half-humming, half-singing. "Ka'el?" Kiena's come close enough now to be almost at his side, likely hovering in his peripheral vision and not shy at all about peering down at him in a mixed expression of concern and amusement. "What're you doing?" she inquires gently and then, repeating: "You alright?"

If Ka'el had heard Kiena singing, he'd probably ask the same question that she's asked him. Are you alright? Not that singing is a not-alright thing to do. In fact, it's a thing to do when things are very alright! It's just not one of those things that Ka'el has …. ever heard Kiena doing. And thus, the question, which hopefully would've had some jolly, positive answer. Or maybe, simply, she's just in a singing mood. It happens! Ka'el continues to look up, examining the bottoms of those clouds above. The one big massive cloud, or perhaps they are a bunch of smaller clouds joined up to form one big mass. He doesn't know. Nor is it important. The sound of the waves and the chilly breeze of winter make the background music that accompanies the scene above. .. Until the gentle crunching of footfalls joins it. Someone's approach isn't enough to turn his attention away or shift his thoughts or even move his body. They'll pass, as the handful of others have passed since he's laid himself down here. Perhaps giving him a quizzical look in the process, as the others have before this stranger. But always, they pass without question. If the Weyrleader wants to lay in the snow, then let him lay in the snow! But this person, this stranger, has called to him. Asked if he's alright. He lifts a hand, giving a thumbs-up. Yup, he's fine. Nothing to see here! His arm flops back down, thinking he's done. But.. nope! Now he hears his name, and the voice of a stranger ends up sounding very familiar indeed. He shifts his head a bit, turning it slightly to the side to peer towards the Weyrsecond. What is he doing? "Laying here," he answers, almost comically, with a faint smirk. And is he alright? "Undetermined." Another smirk,a nd he looks back up at the sky. "You should lay down and try this. It's so flat here, if you look up, all you see is sky and nothing else. Every shade've gray."

Kiena is perfectly fine! Her humming or singing is, in fact, a normal thing. A rarity, in the sense that she doesn't usually seek a public audience as while her voice is decent and passable, it is certainly not Harper-level. She sings when she's happy or sad or her thoughts are too jumbled and she seeks distraction. One never knows, with her. The Weyrsecond isn't humming now, but peering back at Ka'el silently as she continues to hover somewhere near to his side. "I can see that," she replies tartly but takes some of the edge away with a bemused smirk. Way to state the obvious? Her expression sobers at the answer of 'undetermined' however and then she's frowning again when he looks away and back up to the sky. Tilting her head up, she seems uncertain about it and only the sounds of her boots shifting against the snow indicate that she is, in fact, giving in and giving it a shot. "Why here in the snow though and not somewhere a little… less cold?" Kiena grumbles as she stretches out beside him, eyes lifted skyward. Gray. Nothing but gray. Well, he was right about that? "Mhm. That's all I see. Gray. Or am I missing something?" she drawls and already her attention is waining. Her eyes have lowered again and she's peering sidelong to Ka'el. There's more to his strange behaviour, isn't there?

Blue to gray. Eyes to sky. Ka’el hears the sound of her shifting on the snowy sand. The sandy snow. But he doesn’t watch her. The sky is riveting, or at least it seems as if he thinks so considering how much attention he’s giving to it. “It is less cold here,” he answers her, his free hand moving to rest upon his stomach while his other arm remains behind his head. “Compared to the clearing. But, the cold clears my head. I like it.” Which is odd as Ka’el has never been a fan of winter. Not at all. But he and the season seem to have come to an understanding. The brisk air alerts the senses and sharpens a fuzzy mind into focus. At least for a while til all those thoughts and questions and things jumble together in such a way that even the nip of winter can’t herd them back into place. “That’s all there is to see,” he confirms. “Gray. Just one thing at a time. Gray and more gray. That’s what I thought, but then the more I looked, the more I saw. It’s gray, but not only. It’s dark gray, light. Silver. Smoke. Ash. The closer you look at things, the more realize that nothing’s simple, you know?” … He’s speaking nonsense! Or is it sensical to him at least? Or maybe he’s just been out in the cold for too long and his once cleared head is going numb. “Why can’t things stay simple for longer than a moment? It gets… complex.” Complexity abounds. “I’m going to be a father, and I don’t know how to feel.”

Kiena scoffs as if to call Ka'el on his bluff. "Less cold here? With your back and butt to the snow 'n sand? And right by the water?" she drawls again, teasing him even if he's not in the mood to be teased. Too bad. She only shrugs to his mention of the clearing. Maybe he DOES have a point? Snow is deeper out there and probably not mixed with sand. Cold, damp sand. "Mhm. The cold can do that at least." she murmurs, eyes turning skyward again. Blue to grey. She accepts that the Weyrleader has come to an understanding concerning winter. Don't they all? Kiena suddenly begins to chuckle, her gloved hands folded now against her stomach. "Ka'el, if I didn't know you better, I'd swear you were more of an artist or Harper right now with how you put that together. Shades of grey. No, it's not that simple. Not black and white and certainly not just gray!" Something she learned long ago. Apparently it's not nonsense to her? Kiena sighs, "I don't know. Maybe 'cause that's not how fate works?" she drawls, only to shift to turn her head again to gaze at him sidelong. Ahh, so there it is! Kiena smiles vaguely. "It's a lot to absorb, isn't it? And… I don't think I've an answer for you to that, Ka'el."

Ka'el snickers a little and closes his eyes. "I get that a lot," he says, amused by the harper comment. "Maybe I should've went that route instead. I'd know how to … express myself better. Maybe through dance." Not that he's having too much trouble expressing himself now, even if not through interpretive dance. His eyes open when she speaks of fate. He and fate have had lots of run ins in his twenty one turns of life. Most of which have all been within the past five of them! Some amazingly good. Some utterly bad. And this one? Somewhere …. in the middle. Maybe. Good or bad? He doesn't know. It's one of those shades of gray up there. A mix between charcoal and ash, maybe. With a silver lining, perhaps. He doesn't know. Neither does Kiena. "I'm not really lookin' for an answer," he says, eyes on one of those lighter parts of the sky. "Just letting my mouth run away from me. I'm not even sure if this is one of those things that's appropriate to talk about. Or if by sayin' that I don't know how to feel about havin' my own child is one of those signs of weakness that marks me as one of the last people on Pern that should have a child." The corners of his lips tug down now, and his chest inflates with a slowly, yet deeply inhaled breath that's released through his nose. "It's not a flight baby with a stranger. For her or for me. I should be.. nothin' but happy."

“Y’know… I had considered Harper too as a Craft? Or was caught between Harper and Smithcraft. Till I realized, anyways, that it was silly to let the fact that I am a girl to keep me from smithing.” Kiena admits in a slow drawl, ending in some light chuckling for the mention of expression through dance. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see? There is a lot that she doesn’t know but she makes the effort all the same to offer some form of advice. No matter how deep she is over her head. “How’s it not appropriate to talk about?” she asks, her voice quiet but confused and she’ll hold Ka’el under her gaze for a moment. “Put aside that you’re my Weyrleader and I am your Weyrsecond, we’re friends aren’t we? And given how much I’ve run my mouth off on you during the whole… mess with Zi’on… and that… well. Your turn?” Smirk. She means his turn to be the one to talk, her to listen. Brows lift and then she’s laughing, but not entirely with humor. “Ka’el… you’re not a horrible man for sayin’ you’re nervous or uncertain or whatever about being a father. Remember, you’re speaking to a woman,” More like a too young girl at the time of the incident. “who abandoned her children half the world away into the care of a man who… well. Y’know.” Enough said. Kiena grimaces, almost wincing for the comment about it not being a flight baby. Small mercies? “Mhm. There is that and… well, shells, Ka’el who said you’d have to be gushing happiness?”

Appropriateness. Inappropriateness, rather. It’s probably rather inappropriate of him to be laying in the snowsand as he is. It’s very … unWeyrleaderlike, isn’t it? And how is it inappropriate to mention his parenting .. worries to her? “Putting aside that, it’s not inappropriate I guess. But, thinkin’ of me as a Weyrleader and you my Weyrsecond, it feels like there ought to be some separation of personal and work things.” Or at least, it’s been hinted to him that there should be. Though…He looks at her for a quiet moment. “So. I’ll forget the administration part and focus just on the fact that you’re my friend.” A smirk. That’s what’s important, right? The smirk fades and finally the young Weyrleader sits up. Wet sand clinging to the back of his jacket, and he pulls his hood up so that it fully covers his head. He wrinkles his nose a little at the mention of the abandonment of her children. Had he actually forgotten? Possibly. So much has happened since he learned of the twins’ existence. “You’re not horrible for that, either,” he says. “And … you’re right. No one said I have to be gushing happiness, but isn’t that the sort of reaction that’s expected? People give congratulations to this sort of thing. They throw parties. Give gifts..”

Kiena tilts her head, her eyes narrowing a bit as she peers back at him while mulling over her thoughts. “Don’t we already? Keep personal and work… separate?” she asks, only to grimace. Except for that one thing, the whole mess where the lines were blurred and resulted in people being maneuver lkjed into awkward positions. Her still lingering guilt over that whole affair concerning Western’s Weyrleader has her looking away briefly an apology already beginning to form only to be waylaid when Ka’el continues to speak. Yes, his friendship is important. Not something Kiena would easily put into words (emotions on some levels still escape her), but it’s there. Sitting up as well, she’ll brush some of the snow-sand off of her jacket and smirks back at him. “Thanks.” she mutters and for once does not argue it. Now it’s her turn to wrinkle her nose a bit as she shakes her head, brushing her hands together to rid her gloves of the snow-sand stuck to them. Vicious circle, this is! “Folk will give their congratulations cause that’s just what is done. You can smile or nod or acknowledge it neutrally. Nothing says you have to be a grinnin’ fool and all. Everyone takes the news their own way. And the parties… heh. Generally your choice, less you get a surprise one. Gifts… suppose that’s a traditional thing.” It just happens?

Ka’el isn’t going to bring up the past, recent as it is, any more than he has already. The thing with Western is done and over with. Good riddance. Just how personal was it? Hard to tell. On one side of the coin, he dealt with it in a way he thought a Weyrleader should. He shouldn’t stand idly by when one of his riders, especially his Weyrsecond, is being badly treated. But then, did he really need to go to Western himself, or should he have left it alone? He stands by his decision and reasoning behind it, but not everyone sees it the way he does. Personal things makes things messy, but in this case… it’s solely personal. There is no diplomatic anything involved. His arms are draped over upturned knees now, and he leans forward a little, silent for a long while after she thinks. Neutral acknowledgement. Is that how he should be taking this? Neutrally? “There’re times when I think about.. all of this, and I feel … excited,” he says with a fractional smile. “Sometimes. I think, ‘shards.. I’m going to be a father’ and I wonder what it’ll be like. If it’ll be a son or a daughter. If it’ll look like me or Sori. Then, the next minute I think, ‘..shards.. I’m going to be a father!’ and it’s the most .. heh, terrifying thing to me.” His mouth twists to the side a little. “She never wanted children, you know. This isn’t what she wants.”

Done is done and Kiena does not seem eager to bring it up either. She’s guilted herself over it enough (and will continue to do so, quietly, for some time to come) and she’s not about to go prying Ka’el for his thoughts on it. Maybe she already has an idea and is content to leave it at that. Given too what is currently being discussed, the timing is poor. She is here, sitting in the snow-sand and the cold, for him and as a friend. Chuckling, she gives him another sidelong look. “You’re describing a classic first time parent reaction, Ka’el. First time father, anyhow. I think… if you want my opinion… that it’s good that you’re terrified. Happy but terrified.” What? She frowns. No, that came out wrong. Sighing, she scrubs at the back of her neck sheepishly. “… I know it doesn’t really make sense but… s’the only way I can explain it.” For now. Kiena is quiet for a moment when Ka’el admits that this pregnancy is not exactly desired and her brows knit together. “I… spoke briefly with Soriana in the offices one morning. She did seem nervous or at least — like any first time mother? I… am sorry.” she murmurs, hesitant and a touch awkward. Kiena never wanted children either. What seventeen, almost eighteen Turn old would? “Do you two… have you two considered what to do when the child is born?” she asks in a gentler tone.

Happy, but terrified. Neither black nor white, eh? Ka’el smirks a little, taking little, if any, offense. It’s … correct, really. He’s happy. Secretly happy because he really..isn’t supposed to be happy, is he? Not when his weyrmate is so .. unhappy. He shivers a little, for the first time feeling the cold that’s seeped into his jacket. That’s what he gets for laying in the snow for however long it was that he was there! He chuckles. “Classic first time parent reaction. Heh … usually it’d annoy me to know that I was being so common and ordinary. But this? This is comforting.” So he’s not an awful person after all? He watches her when she notes that she and Soriana spoke. Wouldn’t he have liked to have been a fly on the wall! Her apology is noted with a small smile and equally small shrug. “We spoke too. I don’t know if it was before or after you two did but… we talked. I .. she…” Meh! Stringing words together into meaningful phrases is hard! “I was afraid she’d want to leave me,” he admits, quietly, blue eyes shifting away from her. “She had a plan. What she wanted to do and where she wanted to be in life. I knew the plan. But it seems like since I met her, I’ve knocked her further and further away from where she wanted and wants to be. And” Woah, it feels weird saying that word! “is a big, huge push away, you know? After she told me she was…pregnant…I was afraid the next thing she’d want to say to me was that she was done. Weyrmating wasn’t in her plan, either.” His hands rub together, slowly. “Fostering,” he answers her, belatedly. “We..talked about it. I don’t know if we really..agreed to it. I thought it was really the only option. Weyrleader. Weyrwoman. Doesn’t really leave much time for anything else, eh?” Other than baby-making, apparently.

Gray. As was previously noted upon! Not black and white, but many shades of gray. “You don’t like being ordinary and common?” Kiena muses, finding this fact of Ka’el’s nature rather interesting and humorous for her own reasons. “Glad it offered some comfort though.” Wouldn’t he have! Or would he regret it? Who knows what details Kiena could get into with Soriana about the… intricacies of pregnancy. And birth. Joy? Patient while he talks, she only smirks faintly when he falters, understanding and not pushing him for his answers. Just quiet understanding while he works it out. Shifting against the cold ground, Kiena looks surprised, genuinely so, for what he admits too. Part of her wants to laugh out loud for it, not to laugh at him but more out of some very odd way of reassurance. Thankfully, she keeps that under a tight hold and sighs instead, chewing at her lower lip. Kiena is so accustomed to being brisk and blunt, sarcastic when she’s too relaxed and calm. She knows to err cautiously though, given the seriousness of the topic and neither does she wish to unintentionally upset or hurt Ka’el (far from it!). “You trust her, though. And… though I admit I don’t know Soriana well, she seems to trust you. I don’t think… why would she leave you…? This isn’t something either of you could, really, control.” Right? Sobering, Kiena’s gaze lingers on Ka’el even as she drifts silent again, nodding her head. “Fostering.” she echoes as if to confirm it. “No, it doesn’t.” Truth. “You’ve your dragons, your duty to the Weyr among other priorities. There’s no shame in seeking fostering. It’s been done since… Shards. Since there were ever dragonriders? Won’t mean you can’t ever see your child.” Kiena is proof of that. “… but it gives some freedom. Soriana could pursue what it was she was seeking?”

The intricacies of pregnancy. Yes! Thank you for not indulging him with those details! Ka’el .. will eventually know. Through some lesson or book he’ll pick up or healer talk or something. But .. the later, the better. Ignorance is bliss! And so is not being laughed at, although just how Ka’el would’ve reacted to that is unknown. He could use some laughter! Even if it’s at his own expense? His eyes stray to the water again, watching the miniscule waves push and pull from the shore. The snow is nonexistent there, washed away by the water, kept away by the moisture. Kiena’s question, her first one, has him fractionally smirking.Why would she leave him? “Because this entire life is my fault. The life she has in her. The life she’s living. I like to think that she’s happy being with me, but .. I’m not always sure that she is. I know this makes her unhappy.” Or maybe she’s just as scared as he is about the big unknown future of theirs. He moves a hand now, bringing it behind his head and beneath his hood to rub at the back of his neck. “I don’t think I really.. fully understand fostering,” he admits to her. “I mean.. I think of the day the baby is born. Will it be taken away right then? Soriana says that it’s up to the family, but .. I imagine someone coming and taking my child away, and it makes me.. I dunno.. upset. I’m hold born, you know. My ma had six children and raised us all. It’s hard for me to think of him .. or her… it.. up to be raised by someone else.” He pauses for a moment. “We thought of Thea. Neither one’ve us could think of a time when she said that Marel and Mur’dah were fostered. If they weren’t..then, maybe…” He trails, mouth twitching a little before a sigh escapes his lips. “But you’re right. Having a foster would give Soriana freedom. She’d be the one who’d have to care for it most after it’s born.” Unless Ka’el finds a way to produce milk… “I’m being selfish.”

There may be laughter yet but Kiena is being cautious (maybe overly so!) as to when that may be. Now is not the time, not when Ka’el is speaking openly about his worries and concerns. Frowning, she chews on her lip again as she considers her next answer and shifting on the ground again it’s only so she can be closer to his side. For in the next instance, she is reaching to lightly place her gloved hand against his arm — provided he doesn’t flinch or draw away. “If she is so unhappy with the pregnancy… why does she not just end it?” Harsh, harsh truth. Kiena’s expression is grim, but she lays it all out. Being riders, there’s an easy fix… or not so easy, depending on how one’s moral views look at it. The term ‘Take a short trip Between’ came to be for a reason. “Why make herself so unhappy if she doesn’t… feel something for you?” she goes on in an attempt to elaborate. Which may fail and she realizes this, to just by her continued grimace. Back to the topic of fostering, Kiena’s expression relaxes a fraction and she glances skyward again. So much gray. How fitting, indeed. “It does depend on the family but it’s your choice too. Both yours and Soriana’s. For me, I nursed and cared for my girls for the first few months. I had to have the help of a wet nurse at times, since I could not neglect Ujinath. But if I were honest, Ka’el… I hated it. I was trapped in a routine I didn’t want and I wish I had fostered earlier. And while it does seem like you’re giving your child away you… technically aren’t. Are, but are not. They will be yours, always. Everyone will know them as yours. You will have your time with them, when you can. Shells, you could always reverse the fostering and take them in more full-time as they age if you decide to. It’s all about… balance.” Mention of Thea has Kiena tilting her head curiously and she turns thoughtful again. “… for some it works to raise their own. Dunno how they do it and shardin’ power to them but… well… it’s not like you MUST decide now, firmly, as to what you will both too. You’ve time yet.” Think it over. Quirking a brow, she peers at Ka’el, her hand still resting against his arm if he hasn’t shrugged it off by now. “How is this being selfish?” she asks quietly.

Ka’el’s whole body shifts and then freezes at the phrase. End it. It’s a phrase that carries with it the heavy weight of finality. Is there even anything there to end? A speck of an unformed life, yet still a tiny little life that is his legacy. His child. And beneath the blink of an eye, it could be no more. All of this .. these worries and fears and insecurities, would be gone. Replaced, likely, by something else, but still gone. Their lives could move on, sans baby. Why does Soriana just not do that? Because … it is her child and his. Because she loves him. Because Kiena is right and his weyrmate is not trapped in this relationship with him. She chose to have it because .. well, she loves him. (Imagine that!) The hand that’s on his arm is not shrugged away, nor does he make any indication that her touch is unwanted. He embraces it, finding himself slightly leaned her way as she speaks, listening to her memories of early motherhood. Facts that he never knew. She disliked nursing for her twins? His mouth curves down at that, though not because of any judgment to her. He continues to listen, that vague frown lingering on his face. “Everyone might know it as mine, but..will it know? If it’s given to foster and it grows with that family, will it know me as its father? Or will just be some.. fellow that visits every once in a while? The nice man that gives it gifts?” His frown deepens, and with a scowl he rubs a hand over his face. “The more I think of it, the more I don’t want to foster. That’s how I’m selfish. I’m thinkin’ of what I want, not what Soriana wants or needs. Not of what Kanekith needs, or what’s best for the Weyr or the child, for that matter.” The hand that was on his face, combs through his hair, pushing his hood away as fingernails press against the scalp. “I’ve time..” he does agree. “I’ll…we’ll figure it out.” Hopefully.

End it. An option Kiena once struggled with herself when she learned of her own pregnancy. All those hours lost to her own self debates and arguments. Do or don’t. She made her decision and while it led to her regretting it in those early months after the girls were born and leading to her being so overwhelmed and trapped (not that certain events helped matters) that even after the girls were fostered she still broke and ran. Things are different in this case. For one, Ka’el and Soriana’s relationship is far stronger. Kiena will rest close to Ka’el’s side and though her hand will eventually drift back to her lap, she still lends her support by her presence. Now she does smile a vague, amused smile. “Why wouldn’t it? What purpose would it serve for the foster family not to tell your child, your child, the truth? Kyzen, my brother’s son, he knows that Th’ero is ‘father’ and Kimmila is ‘mother’. I’ve heard him call them that, refer to them by it. He knows who his parents are and that ‘Tlazio’ is his foster father.” And he’s only five! But if it’s the only life the child ever knows, why would he assume anything amiss? Taking a slow, steady breath, Kiena nods her head. “There is a lot to consider, Ka’el… And most of this is something you need to discuss with Soriana. I can only give you what has worked for me… but you two will have to find something that works for you. Just keep in mind that it’s all, in a sense, flexible.” She’ll pause for a moment, giving him a long and significant look. “No one should have to sacrifice. Not everything.” It does not end well, at least not in her experience. Smiling a touch more genuinely now, she’ll lean to the side just enough to bump her shoulder with his. “You both will figure it out. Small steps. Day by day.”

Why would a foster not tell a child the truth? “Because any child sired by me is destined to be the most amazing child Pern has ever seen, so of course they’d want to claim it as theirs,” Ka’el answers, and for a good four seconds, his expression is slack. Deadpan. He’s serious! … Or not. The first real grin cracks on his face, curving an edge of his mouth upward, causing a few of those worry lines to ease away from his expression. See, things can be light-hearted! At least in spurts. For moments where seriousness can ease away and make room for laughter and grins. Life shouldn’t be so serious. Especially a life that has yet to begin. Her assurances regarding Th’ero and his son causes him to slightly raise his brows. Did he know that the Fortian Weyrleader had a son? … No. No he didn’t. He’s only become aware through Kiena that the man is expecting more, though he hadn’t thought of that since the day Kiena informed them all of impending twins. There is a lot to consider. “Understatement of the turn..” he murmurs, again with a vague smirk. He watches her quietly, seeing that look on her face. Something important is coming, he can sense it. Sacrifice. He doesn’t nod immediately, taking a moment to think it over. No one should sacrifice everything. Does she mean Soriana … or himself? Maybe that’s for him to figure out on his own, and so he slowly nods, eyes momentarily shifting downward until that shoulder bump, which he returns with a smirk. “Yeah, yeah.Now you know if you find me out here again, layin’ out in the snow, you know not to worry. I’m just trying to figure something out.” Sifting through the layers of gray. He shivers again, then briskly rubs his hands together. “This was a bad idea, though,” he says. “I need to change… And I need to thank you for all’ve this. You didn’t have to sit out here with me…but I’m glad you did. Thank you.” He makes his way to his feet and offers a helping hand to her, mindless of snow and sand that clings to his…uh, everything.

Kiena blinks for a moment, almost gaping as her mouth hangs open slightly, struck silent by Ka’el’s remark and deadpan look. Then he starts to grin, the facade cracking and she mock scowls at him, attempting to give him a good elbow to the side (all in play!) for that! Good one. Now she laughs, soft but genuine. “Careful what you wish for?” she teases him. “Maybe your child will take some of that ego of yours.” Life shouldn’t always be serious or grim and gloom. Kiena needs brief moments like this too. Moments of light and laughter among all the serious and hardships of everyday life and while she has learned in some ways how to balance it, there comes times like these where she is still struggling. Ka’el’s broken that ice though and she will joke with him, before sobering again. Th’ero indeed has a son! The twins expected will be the second and third and last, likely, born. What should be more surprising is that the Fortian Weyrleader hasn’t bred himself an army, given… the gossip concerning him and his weyrmate and Velokraeth’s lustful appetites of any glowing hide: green or gold and Faranth knows how often greens rise. Poor man. … or lucky? Kiena only grins vaguely, knowing full well it was an understatement and her comment following concerning sacrifice likely meant for both. Neither Ka’el or Soriana should sacrifice all. Balance. A much as can be achieved! It may be tough and difficult, but far, far more rewarding — at least in the bluerider’s views. “Mhm. Noted. Or… I’ll just be a thorn in your side and harass you until you tell me to bugger off?” Kiena drawls with a smirk. Chuckling, she will take his offered hand as she pulls herself to her feet, not minding the sand-snow that clings to him. “You’re welcome.” she murmurs, trying to shake most of the clinging sand off of her clothing too and stomp a bit of life back into her half-numbed limbs. Why didn’t they have this chat inside? “And anytime, Ka’el. Truly. What’re friends for, right?” Smiling faintly, she’ll reach out to clasp his shoulder again and briefly before stepping back. “See you around?”

He’ll need to remember to ask about the Fortian’s first born the next time he sees him. How rude of him to have not asked at any point before! Not that it seemed as if Th’ero took offense, but .. still, it’s the polite thing for one to do when speaking with someone who has children. ‘HelloTh’ero. How’s your son?’ Eventually, people might ask that of him. ‘Good day, Weyrleader. How is that son of yours?’ Or daughter, perhaps. That feeling is starting to creep through his veins again. The feeling of giddy excitement. He has a son on the way! Or a daughter! A son or daughter that.. in the end, may be fostered. Probably will be fostered. Raised by someone else who’ll see those early milestones of first steps and first words. Perhaps, that person will be called ‘dada’, for what do babies know? A familiar face is a familiar face, no matter what the title. Or maybe, just maybe, they’ll try it on their own. It can’t be too horribly impossible to do, even for first time parents…who happen to be a Junior Weyrwoman and Weyrleader. Kiena is right. Fostering has been done since…well..forever. Since before their time. Since time began on Pern. But does that mean they have to follow tradition just because it is tradition? Maybe they’ll try…and fail. Or try and succeed. There’s a lot to think about, consider, and try in this gray future of his, but with Soriana there and friends like Kiena for support, maybe that gray isn’t as bleak as he initially thought. The Weyrsecond is helped to her feet, a grin on his face. “I haven’t told you to bugger off yet in all these turns… I wouldn’t hold your breath if I were you.” His problems are your problems! Congratulations! Now securely on their feet, Ka’el shifts to step back, but instead, as her hand clasps his shoulder, he instead moves forward in attempt to give her a hug. Quick, yet firm. He truly is thankful. Now he does step back, his arms falling away from her and a chuckle lifting from his throat. “Don’t sound so unsure. You’ll see me around. Soon, probably, with a stack’ve papers I’ll need your help with sorting through.” A grin follows before he lifts a hand in a wave to her and turns to tromp off through the sand and snow, heading for home, and dry clothes.

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