The Future

Xanadu Weyr – Meadow
A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of weyrs, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves.

Runner stables with the paddock beyond are to the south beyond the meadow weyrs, a smithy and a woodcraft shop are settled closer in towards the path to the clearing, while trees border the western edge of the meadow, and a faint outline of a stone wall and low rolling hills can be seen to the north. Wagons laden with felled trees from the forests to the southwest or ore from the mountains to the southeast are hauled by burden beast up the road through the meadow, over the bridge spanning the river to be processed in the appropriate workshops.

The caramel-coloured smudge inadvertently flattening a portion of the meadow grass is identifiable as a dragon and not a rock merely due to the presence of wings on the creature, Isyriath's head, tail and limbs all tucked beneath the slightly extended wing that prevents him from becoming a perfect oval of a shape. While he soaks up the early afternoon's sunlight, his rider does much the same, though Marel lounges some distance away, pulling absently at the brittle wildflowers within her reach, breaking stems to thread dry plaits together and abandon them time and again, staring off into the distance.

From the clearing Ka'el can be seen moving through the grass kicking a soccer like ball in front of him. Kick. Jog, jog, jog. Kick. And repeat. Moving with him is his bronze, a large, impressive bronze whose eyes follow the roll and bounce of the ball as it's kicked. "The purpose," Ka'el is explaining, "is for one side to score more than the other. No, not just me. Teams. The others with me were my team." His jog slows to a walk now, already somewhat sweaty from some pickup game that has apparently ended. "Yes, we won. No, not only because've me.." he smirks, raising a brow, "though yeah, I was a large part've it." Kudos to himself! Kanekith rumbles thoughtfully while Ka'el laughs, looking ahead and spotting what looks like a boulder but actually is a dragon ahead. His rider is noted soon after, and he stoops to pick up the ball, tucking it beneath an arm before he heads her way. "I learned my lesson," he remarks, raising his voice so that it can carry. "No kickin' balls when Marel is nearby, else risk crushing important letters and nearly being cuffed in the face."

The membranes of Isyriath's wing twitch, yet he doesn't wake, curling up all the more tightly as Ka'el's voice rings out. It might seem that Marel isn't going to turn at the sound of her fellow weyrling's voice, until her dragon relaxes again and slumbers on, and she is free to twist and lift her gaze to her classmate first and slumbering lifemate second. "You still owe me a surprise," she drawls lazily (or is that sleepily?), turning back to the view from which she's looked away, fingers still plaiting away at thin stems. "I'm beginning to lose all hope, you know. I think that the longer you make me wait, the better the surprise should be." If only he could see how she smirks.

Kanekith's attention drifts now from wondering of organized sports to wonderings aimed toward Marel. His foot falls slow as his head vaguely angles to one side in a look close to question. « What does she do? » His mindvoice is thick and suave, an inquisitive shadow that curls itself around Ka'el's mind, trying to peer over his shoulder at what the girl has in her hand. Ka'el's lips curve into a smirk in response to both Marel's words and his bronze's curiosity. To the later, he holds up a hand in gesture to wait. "I'll go see.." And he aims to, approaching her now as her back is turned to him. He clasps his hands behind himself, chin slightly angling up. "I haven't forgotten. Far from it, actually, but you see unexpected events have stalled me. The plan was in motion .. til candidacy and weyrlinghood stole all of our time from us. But, fear not, oh brownrider of incredible patience. Your surprise will come, and it shall be glorious and all will envy you." He halts at her side with an imploring look on his face. "Can you find it in you to forgive me for having you wait so … excruciatingly long?"

"No. Shan't," Marel declares, angling a sly look up at him when he moves to stand beside her. "I expect you to grovel and beg and do all sorts of humiliating things." Only she doesn't, smirk fading to a lopsided sort of half-smile as she flops back into the grass to look back at Kanekith, who is almost upside-down from her vantage point. "Hi, Kanekith," she greets, where Isyriath cannot. Perhaps the plaiting is a sign of a more active mind than she betrays, or merely work for idle hands, for the motion continues without her needing to watch, though she's rapidly reaching the end of her selected grasses and fading flowers. "You're lucky we've all been too busy to think of much else," she tells his rider. "Though… I don't know what's gone on recently, but are you the reason the girls," his girls, she must mean, "have been weird?"

Ka'el theatrically clutches at his chest, fisting his shirt as she denies him her forgiveness. Blue eyes widen into a look of appalled shock, and that fist that clings to his chest begins to tremble. "Beg? Grovel? You wouldn't have me succumb to such indignities!" He plops onto the grass, uninvited, hand lowering and grin returning. Kanekith watches, continuing to prowl ever so curiously. What is his rider doing? How strange! Yet the feelings within don't match the anguished expression his face makes. Stranger and stranger. His voice ,unlike a certain green clutchmate's, does not travel past Ka'el's mind, but the message is sent via weyrling. "He says hello," Ka'el interprets. "And he also wonders what you're making. And what the purpose is. And how you learned it. And… too many others that you needn't answer. He never runs out of things to ask." He shakes his head, but his eyes too turn to her braided flowers, expression sobering vaguely. "Sometimes not busy enough," he remarks before his eyes shift back to her. Girls? He blinks once, watching her questioningly. "Idrissa?" he assumes with a vague downward pull of his lips. "If her, then I guess so."

"Oh…" Marel glances down at the near-finished plait in her hands as if noticing it for the first time, then swiftly ties the end of the stems off and holds one arm straight up in the air, plait extended between thumb and index finger for Kanekith to take if he chooses. "I don't think it's much of anything," is addressed more to the bronze than to Ka'el, perhaps in the belief that she could be more polite that way. "And it doesn't have a purpose; at least these ones don't. I used to work in a flower shop…" That thought sobers her, though she doesn't draw the plait back. "…I'd like to again, if there's ever time. If Isyriath would let me. When he's grown." That much seems uttered to herself, absently thinking aloud. "Idrissa," she confirms with an abrupt backtrack of topic. "And Soriana, saying I'd reportedly done something I wouldn't need her permission for anyway and…" Her head lolls to one side to look over at Ka’el, quiet sigh escaping her. "Oh, I don't know. I've no time for lies and people speaking in riddles anymore."

Kanekith does not hesitate to move nearer, his copper muzzle lowered so that he can get a better look at the thing that is shown to him, eyes swirling a hue of calm appreciation. It doesn't seem as if he understands that he can have it until an unseen nudge is given to him from his rider, gently urging him. Nostrils flare, inhaling the aroma of the blossoms before he indeed takes the plait between his teeth with a throaty rumble. A dragon thank you. And off he goes with it, lumbering off some meters to properly investigate the unexpected gift. Ka'el chuckles fondly, watching the bronze a while before speaking to Marel. "Isyriath would want you to do what makes you happy. If I've gathered nothin' else so far from speakin' to other riders, it's that our lifemates want us to be happy with them. So, if when this is over, workin' in the flower shop is what makes you happy, then work in the flower shop." He plucks at a blade of grass, pressing it between his teeth to chew. "Soriana said somethin' about thinking she made you mad. I dunno. That's between you an' her, but I don't think she meant anything by whatever she said." As for riddles, he smirks, "She's like that sometimes when she wants to say somethin' but..maybe doesn't know how to say it correctly. And Idrissa…" he wrinkls his nose briefly, "that's all on me. I'm dealin' with it."

Marel lifts an affectionate gaze back to Kanekith as he takes the plait and retreats with it, small smile playing about the corners of her mouth. "…I'm not saying I don't want to be in a wing," she quietly clarifies, "but I'd like to work there too. It was… soothing, almost. When I needed that. Maybe I won't need that anymore." It may not really register with her that she immediately goes to tear up a small selection of grasses and a stem graced with tiny white flowers, nor that she sits them on her ribcage while she sorts through them. "She did make me mad," she admits. "By not just saying what she meant to. I don't care what she thinks I've done; I know I haven't done anything to her." As for the rest, she reaches to gently clasp fingers around Ka'el's forearm, supportive, like she might to N'shen or Mur'dah. "You don't have to talk about it. But if you want to, you can. I don't really do gossip… Maybe that's another reason he's brown and not green."

"What else can you see yourself doing, now that you have Isyriath?" Ka'el asks, watching her fingers rip at the grass, eyeing the pristine white flowers that fall to a rest upon her. "I've gathered that most expect me to be part've Quasar." His nose wrinkles. "Diplomacy an' leadership and all that. Mur'dah looked disappointed when I told'm all I want to do is be a smith rider in Asteroid. He figured I'd be a Wingleader or, Faranth forbid, Weyrleader somewhere someday." His head is given a vague shake, eyes gradually turning to the bronze hide of his dragon who has settled himself onto the grass to give thit flower plait the attention he seems to think it deserves. "That's the only thing that bothers me. Thinkin' that my future is sort've out of my control just because he's bronze, y'know?" He looks over at her now, not at all minding the touch and grasp to his arm. In fact, he leans into it with a slight smile. It's a different sort of touch than with, say, Soriana. This is innocent. Encouraging. Sisterly, almost, though he has not one to compare it to. "S'alright. Gossiper or not, there are enough greenriders that you'll get wind of it some grossly exaggerated version of the truth anyway, so you might as well hear it from me. We're not dating anymore, and she sort of hates me for it. Won't look at me, or talk to me, or acknowledge that I'm even alive anymore." He gives a single shoulder a half shrug. "I try to stay out of her way."

"I… don't know," Marel has to confess, still leafing through grasses with her free hand. "Is there anything I can't do? That's the thing. I mean, I can't be a Weyrwoman or a Weyrleader, but…" She mimics him, perhaps unconsciously, and shrugs one shoulder. "I figure your future is only out of your control if you let him go after a Senior gold and he wins. Even if you turn out to be the most smooth-talking, leaderly-leader type ever, you can use those skills to say you want to keep your craft, right? You have to say what you /want/ to do. If I've learned anything, it's that." Keeping her hand on his arm, lest she be thought to draw away at that news about Idrissa, she looks over at him again and shoves a ridiculously long stem of grass into the corner of her mouth in what looks like an effort to just make him laugh. "Well… look at it from her point of view. I'm not saying it's /right/, but…" she says around it, yet waits to continue, taking a quick breath as she gathers her thoughts. "The three of you Impress and then you decide to keep the goldrider, but not the greenrider. All the personal stuff aside, that's how it might feel. She probably just needs some time."

"Is there stopping a dragon from chasing?" Ka'el wonders. "Last time….with your ma, I was there, an' it didn't really look like the riders could do anything about it. Guess that's a lesson we'll have later." Though it's a hope he'll cling on to, to be able to have some control over that aspect at least. As for being a smooth-talking leaderly-leader type.. even without the grass blade, Ka'el gets to laughing. "Uh huh. I think you're forgettin' who you're talking about, Marel. Ooga-booga, remember? I utterly failed in etiquette with Darsce. If I can't master the ten thousand forks an' spoons an' rules to follow when dining with those with fancy knots, there's no way I'll handle a whole weyr." He quiets when she gives her thoughts on the Idrissa situation, not as apprehensive as he has been with others. Maybe it will help to get the point of view of someone who isn't so close to her. But when he gers it, his eyes widen a bit. "..Dragon color? That hadn't even…That wasn't why it happened though," he says, shaking his head quickly. "Ah..shards. I hadn't thought of that." He grimaces a bit, brows furrowed, but in the end he can only sigh. "Yeeah that's my grandiose plan. Give her time an' see if she ever wishes to speak to me." A smirk and he lifts his free hand to pluck the grass from her mouth. "Thanks, jokester. Are you stayin' out here a while?"

"I figured there was…" Is that doubt in Marel's voice? "You don't see all males going after every female that rises. I guess it might depend on the dragon." She banishes that doubt quickly enough, smirking when she feigns shock and informs him terribly primly: "They told you ten thousand? There are at least twenty. Thirty, even. And /if/ you get to Weyrleader, well, then it's about fifty thousand. They put them out just for dignitaries." In an effort not to make anything on the Idrissa score worse, she simply secures her fingers a little more snugly around his arm, silently supportive, that is, until she makes much of pretending to clamp her teeth around the end of the blade of grass and fight for it, overplaying defeat when he succeeds in freeing it. "We'll come back with you, if you're headed that way," she says, though Isyriath shows no sign of stirring. Beginning to get to her feet, she brushes at shirt and trousers to be rid of stray blades of grass. "I'd race you, but we'd lose, since he's still doing his rock impression…" But sleeping rocks must be woken, even if they don't want to be, and she gathers herself to do just that.

Ka'el brings his hand to his forehead in a classic facepalm motio. "Fifty thousand? Fifty? That's the deep, dark secret of diplomacy, isn't it? Stuff the mind with so many facts and rules and expectations and regulations that the weak-minded will surely explode from it all!" He pulls his hand from his face, revealing a grin. "I'll conquer them all just to piss someone off, if it comes to that." Which, again, he hopes it doesn't! And beneath all the silliness and grins, Ka'el is quietly thankful that he did run into Marel. Her support, the most unbiased he's gotten thus far, is appreciated, and he shows this appreciation wordlessly, once they're on their feet. He can feel people slipping away. Idrissa. Mur'dah. Marel is not one of them, despite his many faults. He pulls her into a hug, squeezing both affectionately and playfully before letting her go with a crooked grin. "You'd lose even if he was awake. Don't fool yourself," he quips teasingly as he walks with her, giving his soccerball a kick forward. Kanekith, who has not fallen asleep, rises again, bringing with him his treasured gift to take back. And, like the brother he is, he assists in waking his clutchmate, shadows probing his slumbering mind. Time to rise, brother. Time to go home.

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