(No) Orders

Xanadu Weyr - Secret Garden Refuge
Constructed of hand-chiseled whitestone, this cottage is unique in that it appears to have been here from before the time Xanadu was founded, it's stones bearing a resemblance to the ruins in the old forest. Large windows, flanked by raw wooden shutters faded to a silvery-grey, have thick-leaded diamond panes that allow the meadow's light inside. Pink climbing roses scale the front wall, the porcelain blossoms scenting the air with their delicate fragrance and providing shade over the three shallow stone steps leading to a portico in which an arch-topped door is set.

The space within the cottage is vast, but simple. Stone floors are covered in large rugs in pale, pastel shades and the walls have been painted white. Some spaces have built-in storage: cupboards in the living room; counters and a cooling/heating unit for food in the kitchen, which is accessible via a door to the right. The living room has a double-wide, deeply-inset window that make the sunny room perfect for housing potted plants, Isyriath's portion opening off of one side. Comfortable couches in pale pink line two of the walls, standing opposite each other, a long, low table set between them in the centre of the room. On the wall, above one of the couches, hangs a painting of meadow, in which both the cottage and Marel herself feature, the picture signed with a capital M. To the rear of the cottage, a door to the left leads through to the main bedroom, while French doors open up onto a private courtyard, a garden enclosed within.

Pushing the door with one foot, E'tan slowly emerges from outside's darkness. "Marel?" He asks, tilting his head to one side, scanning the room. Oddly enough, his voice is muffled by the paper he has between his teeth. And, of course, it's easily explained by the pile of reports he has in both hands…and under one arm. Just like the good old days when he was a living stars charts shelf. Except this time, it's nothing shiny nor maths related.

Marel is not obsessive about locking the front door of her cottage, and thus she does not seem particularly disconcerted by its nudging open, or by the call of her name. She's currently curled up in one corner of one of the couches in her living area, a light blanket thrown over her against the cold, enough glows in the room to cast light to read by, but not to keep vividly bright. There's no sign of her young daughter, the cottage quiet, but the firelizards are in residence, draped half asleep over various pieces of furniture. "E'tan?" she calls back, looking up from her book. She stares - more at the paperwork than at him. "Is this a social call or do I need to throw a 'sir' in there?"

E'tan perks, raising a brow. "Why? No. No no no. No 'sir' needed." He finally replies after freeing his mout from that now kind of sloppy report. "I was just passing by on my way to…" coming further inside, he cuts himself short, letting out a sigh. "Too many things to take care of…too many things to anticipate…my head is full." Another sigh is thrown just as he finds a spot on the table to place all of his burden. And then he perks again, finally laying eyes on her. The blanket. The book and…the darkness of the night outside through the windows. "Oh Shards! I didn't realize…I didn't mean to…" Quickly, he begins to grabs his files again, some covering the floor as they slip.

Observing the burden of files and paperwork first find the table, then slip to the floor, Marel casts her blanket aside and puts her book down, swinging her feet to the floor. "Sit," she invites, not moving to help or scrabble through paperwork, but to move past E'tan and towards the kitchen. "Do you want something to drink? I usually stick to tea, but I'm sure I've got something stronger somewhere if you've a need." She pauses by the doorway that leads through to the small kitchen, one hand resting against the wall. "Haven't you assigned anyone to help you with all of that," the files, "yet?"

"Oh I already tried caffeine in every way possible." Tani replies in a breath as he obediently sits. His whole body obviously screaming for a break. "Please nothing with alcohol. I still have to keep my mind clear." Looking down at all the mess he sighs. "First I invade your home without warning and then I try to flood the place with junks. I'm sorry Marel." Wow. Look at that face! The dark shade under both of his eyes betrays his obvious lack of sleep. "Assigned anyone?"

"Short of replacing your blood with it, I assume," Marel replies around a small smile, before she moves through the door and shortly reappears with a plate of iced biscuits, which she sets down on the table, away from the paperwork. "Don't apologise. Best I can offer is sugar, in that case," the brownrider supposes, giving a shallow nod towards the brightly coloured biscuits. "They're hardly sophisticated, I know, but they make Nerri happy. She won't miss a few of them." She picks her way back around the table and plants herself down next to E'tan, gaze raking over him unashamedly. "You know, either someone from the caverns or the wing to help organise your documentation. A harper, even, if they'd be willing."

E'tan tentatively moves a hand closer one of those delicious looking biscuits. "I wouldn't want to steal her share though…" But then, he gladly accept the offer and grabs one. "I thought about that, yes." He begins, replying the organisation matter, his eyes holding her gaze. "But then how could I ask for someone's help if I didn't at least try my hand at it first? I mean, I wouldn't want to ask someone to do something I never tried to do first. Mmmm…it's delicious!" He suddenly exclaims, nibbling on the biscuit.

"No offense, but this," Marel gestures towards all the files, "doesn't look like 'trying your hand'; it looks a little bit like drowning." She's not unkind about it, her voice gentle despite the fact that she doesn't pull any punches with her observation. That same hand lifts again, towards him now, like she'd ease his head back so she can get a better look at him, but her fingers curl back and dart away before she makes any contact. "…And you're not looking so well either," she says more softly. "I'm sure that Ka'el had someone assisting him when he had your knot."

E'tan listens, way too happy to be at ease for the first in…wow…in months now. The simple fact of being here in that dim light seems to have an appeasing effect on him. Or is it because someone cares? A quick glance at the mess is sent and he sighs again. "I'm still young…" and by that he means more his inexperience in the job rather than his age. "…it's not easy for me to…give…directives." Her hand comes in the way but he doesn't move an inch. "I guess I will have to…rest a bit…somehow…"

"People need to be given direction," Marel quietly insists. "Orders, whether they like them or not. They need to know that a clear structure is in place." She glances down into her lap and gives a twitch of her shoulders. "I was young when I bought the shop, and it was… intimidating, thinking to tell people older than me what to do. But… you get used to it." Looking up again, she offers him a funny, lopsided smile. "Sort of. Even if running my business is nothing like the pressure of running a Weyr." Icy-green eyes glance down once more, the brownrider lapsing into silence, and she doesn't really dare look at him when she softly suggests, "…You could rest here, with me… tonight."

E'tan keeps holding her emerald gaze, and even when she drops it to her lap. "It's just so…so sudden and new to me." Then something changed in him. In his way of speaking and even in his way of breathing. As if he regained some of his original strength, hearing her confession. "You're right. I have to do whatever it takes. There's not just me now…" Did he just gasp? Her last words echoing in the room as nothing breaks the silence that follows. Nothing but the sound of his hand reaching for one of hers. A nearly desperate move as his whole being betrays his trouble. Delighted trouble…

"That's what you get for Impressing a bronze," Marel wryly teases, evidently ignoring the fact dragons of her own lifemate's colour have been known to catch queens. Otherwise, she lets the silence linger, and the longer she receives no verbal response, the more likely it seems that she's not going to manage to ever look at him again, tension stringing tight across her shoulders to awkwardly define her posture. When E'tan reaches for her hand, she surrenders it, and finds their hands easier to watch than anything else. "That… wouldn't be so bad," she hazards, finally sneaking a look up at him, "…would it?"

Despite of the relative tension that's slowly raising, E'tan snorts at her first comment. "Yeah. It's all Saburath's fault after all…" And the silence again. Almost as noisy as all of the brats Xanadu may hold. The feeling of her hand makes him react and he finds himself needing for more. Quite unusual for him to say the least. "To give orders…or to stay with you tonight?" His time to tease. Come on. Look at me! he seems to plead in his head, his own voice threatening to sound aloud as he's so willing…

"Either," Marel says through a low ripple of something like nervous laughter. "Both. Not that I'd let you give orders in my own home or bed, you understand." She must be joking, though it's a dry kind of amusement that she offers, coloured as it is by her hesitation. Her fingers flex, tightening against his, and then she does finally look up again, her gaze steady when she manages it, unwavering.

E'tan gets lost in the twin pool of her emerald eyes for a second. A second during which his heart nearly stopped. It's only when feeling her fingers twitching that a breath escapes his mouth. "And how am I supposed to be confident now that you made it clear you won't let me give….orders…" his tone turns here into a purr just as he starts to caress the back of her hand.

"You have all the power outside these walls," Marel declares too properly to not be teasing. "I fly in your wing and report to you. You could choose to exercise a great deal of power over me. Elsewhere." Is she really only talking about answering to him at this point? "My house; my bed; my rules." That much she doesn't sound to be joking about, though she adds, "You can try your orders. Whether I answer to them…" A small, sly smile curls at one corner of her lips. "Why? Are you afraid of letting someone else take charge?" And if she says those words with her lips just shy of his jaw, well, maybe she doesn't realise she's leaned so close.

E'tan's smile widens, surrendering to another tension now that all of his previous troubles lay down on the floor with those forgotten files. "You made it clear, Marel." Surrendering again? And so easily? Maybe not as when she leans closer, he also leans. Back. In his chair. A smart way to bring her even closer. "Show me how you take charge then?"

"I have to," Marel states simply. "Because if I just wanted a Weyrleader, I'm sure that I could go out and get one if I tried." Confident or just matter of fact; it's difficult to tell. Whether she moves to situate herself in his lap because she chooses to, or in response to his leaning away, the result is pretty much the same. "This is me taking charge - telling you what I want. If you want me, I won't be your subordinate, even for one night. Rank doesn't exist here." And that's when she clambers right out of his lap again and holds out a hand. "So, are you staying?"

And how can someone possible resists those bright eyes? Weyrleader or not? It's something that crosses E'tan's mind for just a blink before he feels the closeness of her body, the brush of her thighs against his. It is said that keeping silence is a way of acknowledgment and it’s exactly what E'tan's doing. At the offered hand he slips his in, eagerly willing to stay…to follow…

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