Xanadu Weyr - Seryth's Clearing

This clearing is sheltered by a thick canopy of trees, which seems supported at its center by an immense, wild-growing fellis tree, all which serve to keep the area in deep shadow when the trees are in leaf. Hanging from one of its high branches is a swing, made up of two ropes and a seat of softwood and leather. The grass is tall here and interrupted in places by clusters of white and blue alyssum, which covers the indentation of the wallow, remaining hardy despite being continually crushed. The distant sound of herdbeast in their pens can be heard, though it is quite a distance off, its source is invisible through the foliage.

The cottage itself is made of white softwood, like birch, though creeping vines cover all four of its walls from the outside and even encircle the brown-shuttered windows and matching door. Two stone stairs lead to the landing before the door, sheltered only by the low eaves that overhang it.

It's a bright summer morn, early enough that the night's cool still lingers under the thick canopy of the forest. In Seryth's clearing the dew still glitters like diamonds upon the calf-deep grasses and blue alyssm and will until Rukat rises high enough to burn it off. It must be the Weyrwoman's rest day, for instead of the office, she's here under the giant fellis tree with Seryth. The queen is harnessed and Thea, dressed casually is in her riding gear. It looks like the pair are headed out.

Mur'dah and Kalsuoth meander over from their relatively close-ish home, brown with straps on and rider in his leathers, fidgeting a bit with the Comet patch on his shoulder. "Mom," he calls as he approaches, "this patch is sewn on crooked, can you fix it?" Hello, mother, how nice to see you, how are you today?

Just…pull…that…last…strap…tighter! "There!" Thea's got to catch her breath for a moment, leaning against the queen's side while her fingers brush golden hide. "You've lost a bit of weight my love," she's murmuring, "we'll have to-" Mur'dah's voice hails her and she turns 'round, propping her back against Seryth to watch as he and Kalsuoth stride down that path that leads to their clearing. There's a smile for the request, bright laughter also as she tosses, "I can take a stab at it, most likely." It's a joke - she's weavercraft after all. If she can't handsew a patch, then she's useless. "How about after we get back?" We? Yep, he's being commandeered. If he's on duty, well, she'll smooth things over later, it's one of the perks of being Senior.

Mur'dah grins, wide and 'I love you Mom because you do stuff for me' in the young rider's eyes. "Thanks! Back?" Perk. "Where are we going? Is this a fun trip?" WHere are we going and are we there yet and should they pack a lunch?

His mom makes awesome cookies too, and feeds his face whenever she can. But today… "Flying," she says with a merry glimmer from icegreen eyes. "Somewhere I went once with your father." There's not an ounce of pain in her timbre when she says it, just lighthearted pleasure. On Seryth's straps there's a basket; it may just happen to contain lunch. "Come, run away with me!" She pushes away from Seryth and strides out into the open part of the clearing where she intends to mount up. Seryth's greeting had rumbled across the clearing to young Kalsuoth when he'd first arrived, but until now she's been busy being a prop for her rider. Sigh. Couldn't move to touch noses or anything like that. Now however, the gold rises from her wallow and pads after Thea, sending a chuff towards the small brown and then a wisp of cloud laughs across the rocky tip of a mountain peak, a challenge that twists in the winds and is gone in a flash, « Can you stretch your wings enough to keep up with me? »

Mur'dah loves his mother dearly. "Oh!" Flying? /Awesome/. Mur'dah grins and if his expression falters a bit at the mention of his father, it's more about /her/ response than his, and when she's fine with it, he's happy too. "Happily!" he crows, jogging off into the clearing as well, as Kalsuoth limp/lumber/hops after. He warbles happily at the queen, dark wings pushing at that wispy cloud and the mountain peak. « I can, » he says with confidence, eagerness to fly and prove himself surging in his young thoughts, as clouds curl over a dark, old growth forest that climbs up the slopes of that peak, as high as they can reach before the height gets the best of them. "Are there shops there?"

Thea chuckles at her son's response. Happy to run away for the day - so not surprised that he'd jump on that! She reaches for the flight straps as Seryth crouches pulls herself up the queen's side with the same nimbleness as ever, swings astride and begins clipping herself in. Murdah's question reaches her and her hands pause. "Shops?" She barks a laugh, "No!" Though if there were shops, that'd explain why they'd never been back as a family. "Your father hates shopping with a passion." Still snickering, she snaps the last clip and Seryth launches, lifting further with a downsweep of golden wings.

Using the straps to help you climb, you swing up onto Seryth's shoulders.


You are mounted upon Seryth's shoulders, feeling the powerful muscles across her back rippling beneath your legs. Under your hands her soft, warm hide shimmers - a pale sunrise curtained in golden mist; rain suspended in time and caught by Rukbat's dawnlight. A faint scent of jasmine reaches you from her oiled hide as wide wings lift, enclosing you in cloudy aureate light and trembling in anticipation of that first mighty downsweep that will carry you aloft.

Mur'dah smirks a little bit at that. "Alright. I need to go shopping though." Maybe on their way back? Or maybe tomorrow. Climbing recklessly and swiftly up Kalsuoth's straps, he buckles himself in and settles before his darkly hued brown kicks off into the sky to follow Seryth, a warble turning into a trumpeted call of /freedom/.

Away from Seryth, Mur'dah swings up onto Kalsuoth's neck.

Seryth spreads her mighty wings and leap into the air, surging upwards.

Kalsuoth spreads his mighty wings and leap into the air, surging upwards.


Xanadu Weyr - Lake Sky

Looking out across the Caspian Lake, this is indeed a prime location. A sheer cliff to the southwest meets the deep water of the lake and following that cliff north a little leads you to the main beach and docks. The air here tends to be a little cooler than inside the sheltered valley but the northeast aspect of the weyrs scattered over the cliff face makes up for it.
Below you, the water of the lake shimmers blue or grey, depending on the weather and one can usually see the fishing fleet of Xanadu out on the lake or traders ships are often visible on their way across.

Kalsuoth surges up from below, wings beating.

Seryth doesn't climb high to soar amongst the clouds - not this morning. Instead she rises to just above the treetops, skims them as she glides eastward. With one further beat of her wings, she gives herself the airspace to dip one of them so as not tear fragile wing membrane on branches when she banks and the early morning sun gilds her hide as she turns towards the coast. There, she follows the contours of the coastline south towards the Caspian Sea. They're close enough to smell the salt spray, two, maybe three dragon's lengths above the ground. The ocean, deep azure, reflects the sky until wavelets, glimmering gold with the rising Rukbat, change its hue. Below them along the coast, the water foams whitely against rocky pinnacles and inlets. To the west the land rises from the shore to form a lumpy patchwork quilt of deep green forest and paler verdant field. Directly beyond the Weyr the wild tumble of peaks, the coastal range rises, kissed russet by the sun while in the far distance ahead, the snow of the Southern Barrier Range, barely visible in the vast blue distance, glow lilac. It's a beautiful day for flying and Thea's eyes sweep the vista before she turns a radiant smile to Mur'dah, clearly pleased to share the skies with her son.

Kalsuoth follows happily behind the queen, and once she's set their course he'll drift to fly wingtip to wingtip with her, beside, so Mur'dah can grin back at his mother. Then his eyes close and he lifts his face towards the sky, letting it be warmed by the sun and cooled by the breeze, breathing in deeply of that sea air - the air of /home/.

Seryth banks sharply to enter coves, tilts to arc back seaward, hugging the rocky cliff faces as she follows the coastline. Her moves are nothing close to what a green or blue could do - there is no swallow-like quick darting or acrobatics - her progress is slower, stately, majestic as she flies with her escort in territory she's called home her entire life. Now however, she climbs wings beating to take her to a safer altitude where she shares the coordinates with the brown and rider and flicks out Between…

Seryth suddenly disappears -=* BETWEEN *=-

Kalsuoth suddenly disappears -=* BETWEEN *=-


Darkness and cold like you can't imagine. Nothing to see, feel or hear, except the beating of your heart.


Then, as suddenly as you entered the emptiness…

Western Weyr - High Sky - East Bowl

A stunning panorama greets your senses as you look down to the bowl below, the entire island visible just beyond the mountain's ridge. Weyrfolk going about their business below you seem impossibly small, mere dots against the sand of the bowl. Here too though, you can see everything in sharp detail, from the lagoon to the west, the living caverns and infirmary below, and weyrling barracks and feeding grounds to the east. As you wing by, various bugles of greeting can be heard from the weyrs you pass, on whose ledges dragons of every colour sun placidly. Nearby, the rim boasts a wide, flattened area on which the watchdragon sits alertly, beside a large antenna.

From the rim of the bowl, S'duin's Midnight-Blue Cromrith rears up on hind legs and bugles a greeting to Gold Seryth and Thea, and Brown Kalsuoth and Mur'dah, from Xanadu Weyr.

…only to enter in the tropical skies of Western Weyr. Seryth answers Cromrith's bugle, announcing herself as is proper before gliding down to, not the bowl, but the beach. There, Thea unsnaps, leaves her riding gear tucked in straps and uses the flight line for her characteristic swing 'round dismount, landing in the sand with a lighthearted laugh. That's where she'll await Mur'dah. Hurry slowpoke! Only he's probably quicker than she is.

Kalsuoth follows after his queen, vanishing between quick and nimble, peering around when they emerge. Mur'dah smiles, a bit curious though at this choice. No shops in the weyr? He doesn't question it though, letting Kalsuoth find his own way down before he dismounts and slides off, tucking his leathers into the straps and grinning at his mother's choice method of dismounting. "Where did you learn that anyway?"

Western Weyr - Beach to the South

This white sandy beach is located halfway between the Weyr and Half Moon Bay Hold. It is wide enough for a large dragon to walk along without brushing wings in either the thick vegetation to the north or the surf to the south. Bits of shell and driftwood are occasionally cast ashore here. There is a bit of a freshwater stream that flows down from an inland waterfall. A path leads along the edges of the stream further into the jungle to it.

That's because Thea's destination isn't in the Weyr. She'll save a visit with Enka or Zi'on for another time. The beach might possibly have a cabana or two. Does Mur'dah need a bikini? They probably have plenty of those. Or shell necklaces and coconut bras. When the sun is high and hot, there might be fruity rum drinks but now it is night, the stars glimmering overhead. Oops? She didn't time this very well, did she? At least there's a full moon shining off of the smooth tropical foliage at the edge of the beach. Where did she learn that dismount? The one she's done pretty much since her first days of solo flight except when juggling twin infants down from Seryth's back? She grins evasively and says, "Nowhere." Then winks. "V'dim's never seen me dismount like that." Or he'd have her hide! "Come on," she says and heads towards the jungle. Yep, in the dark. Without a flashlight.

Mur'dah needs a baby gift for Soriana and Ka'el. Don't think they'd appreciate a baby-kini though. He looks around with a wide grin, patting Kalsuoth on the side before he moves eagerly after his mother. ADVENTURE. "What? How could he never see you dismount? He…he knows everything." EVERYTHING.

Western Weyr - Waterfall Path

This jungle path is luxuriant in thick dark green vegetation and brilliant tropical flowers. There is a rich scent of them clinging to the air, mingling with the salty scent from the ocean. The path itself is a mix of the white beach sand and black volcanic pebbles worn smooth. Here and there, narrow tracks have been cut, branching off into the jungle and giving access to the fruit that weights the branches for much of the year, while older tracks are almost lost under the encroaching vegetation. The path ends at a waterfall of about 15 meters high, freshwater cascading into a crystal clear pool that is deep and wide enough for several people to wade in. The pool is bordered by large, flat black stones that jut from the rocks at the sides and base of the pool. There are sweetly scented tiny white blossoms growing from underneath and around the cracks in the black stones.

They might be grateful for a bottle of Western Island rum though? Skyler can have the empty bottle. Or maybe some of the rum if he tends to scream all night. Perhaps the weyrlingmaster knows, but she's never dared do it in his presence. "V'dim doesn't have to see to know things," Thea notes sagely with a mock-shiver as she steps past the fringe of thick growth and onto a path where sand and pebbles crunch underfoot. There's enough moonlight to create shadow alongside and in patches on the path they take, so it could be creepy with the calls and cries deeper in the jungle. She doesn't seem nervous though as she walks, slowing so they can walk side by side on the winding trail. Through the trees, up ahead the sound of rushing water can be heard muted in the distance.

Mur'dah lengthens his strides to catch up so he can walk beside his mother, squinting down the trail. He doesn't seem at all concerned, perhaps blissfully ignorant of any possible dangers. "So…" He clears his throat. "I'm, uh…'m seeing someone."

Thea sways to bump shoulders lightly with her son as he draws up beside her, eyeing him sidelong with a tiny smirk curling the corners of her lips. "I know," she says matter of fact, serene. Like V'dim, she Knows Things. Go ahead, ask her how she knows.

Mur'dah looks both surprised and a bit, well…crestfallen. "You do?" He's sad!

They pass under a shadow, back into moonlight and she peers over at him, chuckling quietly at his tone and expression. "Of course I do," she assures him but her serious attempt is edged in barely-withheld laughter. With a playful poke to his arm, she teases him further, "Like… when are you not, Ladykiller?" Note she doesn't name names, so she likely doesn't know who, just knows his reputation.

Mur'dah snorts, swaying at her poke and blushing a bit. "Not like /that/, Mom. Like…actually seeing someone. Just /one/ someone." Not flirting, not flitting around from date to date. /Seeing/ someone. Exclusive. He glances at her again, and then back at the path, kicking at a stone before he offers a name, softly spoken with a smile. "S'Kiena."

"You snort just like your father," the words are spoken without much thought at all, almost automatically, and certainly fondly. Thea nods as he explains. Ohhh, ONE someone! That's different says her nod and she mock-growls, "It's about time you settled down and made me some grandchildren." Because that's what seeing one-one exclusive means, right? She's in a teasing mood tonight, singsonging, "Marel's winning." Yes, she knows about his sister. When the name is spoken, she says firmly, "Good. I like Kiena. She's got a level-head on her shoulders." They round a curve in the trail and mist floats out to meet them, the sound of water falling on rocks clearly heard now as silvery water dancing in a pool shines in the moonlight. "It seems I'm destined to hear about the women my men love in this place," she muses wryly. "Your father did the same."

Mur'dah smiles a little bit at her comment, hands into his pockets. Then he coughs. "…we…I mean…we /are/, but no…no kids. No. Not…maybe? Not yet though. I'm.." Too young. But Marel is doing it. "Is she keeping it?" he asks softly. He seems relieved she approves. "She's really great." Rounding that bend, he smiles, reaching up to toy with the mist. "Is this where he told you he loved you?"

Whaaat? No…Mur'dah-babies? Can Thea pout now? "Of course she's great," snorts the mother of Mur'dah. "She'd have to be for you to see her. Besides, she wouldn't be Weyrsecond if she weren't!" And when she gets back to the Weyr she's totally going to sneaky-add 'having grandkids for Weyroman Thea' into her job description! Of Marel, she nods, "Says she is and quite emphatically so." There's both approval and relief in her tone. And then a smile for the remembrance of that long-ago walk here with his father, "Not exactly, no. I was in love with him, pretty sure he knew it too, but he started talking about some girl he knew it too. Wouldn't name her. Had me all upset."

Not yet! Eventually though. Mur'dah nods, hands shifting in his pockets as he continues to walk. Then he glances at her and frowns. "He…did? That's kind of a dick move." Sorry, Dad.

Thea continues until she's at the edge of the pool and lowers herself to sit on one of the wide stones that edge the lip to form a convenient bench. Her eyes are on the shimmering water, a soft smile on her mouth. Ignoring the comment, "Hmm, he did. I asked him why he was so quiet and he said he was thinking about this girl he knew. I asked which one was chasing him-" a glance up at her son and she laughs, "-he used to hide from them in my office. He said she wasn't chasing. Turns out it was me he was talking about." Her eyes are almost colorless in the reflected light from the water as she maintains eyes contact, abruptly says, "Don't you ever hurt her, Mur'dah." The sparkle of moisture on her cheeks is not mist.

Mur'dah ohs, with another soft snort as he sits down beside her. Her abrupt remark has him startling, and then wincing a bit, especially at the sight of moisture on her cheeks. "Oh, Mom…" he mutters awkwardly, reaching out to try and touch her arm or something. Pat it. Pat, pat, pat. "I hope I don't." That'll instill some confidence, right? "How do you know you love someone?" That question is asked towards the water, a thoughtful frown on his lips.

Thea gets patted… like a canine. Woof? The question draws a bittersweet smile to her lips and she flicks an unreadable look in the dim moonlight towards her son. "People will tell you many things about being in love. They'll say that it's when you're compatible, or that it's when you want to make that person happy above your own need to be. Others will say it's when they make you happy." She leans towards the pool, reaches to touch the shimmering surface with light fingers. "For me it was when I spent each and every minute apart wondering when I would see that person again. When I realized I didn't want to be apart from K-" Her voice falters and she breathes out before continuing, "…him ever again. Even for a few hours. When I realized that my life was missing something when I wasn't with the him and when I was with him, I was home. It was the knowing I was where I belonged. I never really… had that with anyone else. It was… so right." The pool is just water, but it might seem a window to the past for the intensity of study Thea gives it as she continues, "It's different things for different people though - maybe just a little bit of all of that. There are different ways to love, but being in it? Lost to it? That…is something each person needs to find for themselves." Her fingers leave the water, droplets glitter silver as she flicks them from the tips. She leans back and tips her head to see Mur'dah's face. "One thing I'm very certain of - love is more about giving than it is receiving."

Mur'dah listens closely, watching his mother as she speaks. "I see," he says quietly. He doesn't really, but he knows enough to know it's not some magic switch, and that what one person would say might be different from another. The K is noticed, but not commented on. Not out loud, despite the curious look he gives her. Brief, and then he looks back to the water. "She said she loved me," he confides softly to his mother.

If he asked her, Thea would tell him. But since he doesn't… "There's also the comfortable, best friend sort of love where, you are like-minded, you get along, have mutual respect, can trust one another and have the same goals. It's less flashy but just as strong as the other." Another look directed at the pool and her lips move soundlessly, briefly; it might be apology. Back to Mur'dah, "And longer-lived." Her head tips inquisitively, "Ah? Did she now." A smile ghosts her lips; it might be one of maternal pride. Who wouldn't find her Mur'dah loveable? "And do you love her, do you think?"

Mur'dah is quiet for a moment. "Which kind was your love with Dad?" There's a pause. "Which kind was…the best?" Then she asks the hard question and he exhales in a soft sigh. "I don't know. She's my closest friend, I love spending time with her, I think about her a lot… I know I love her girls, but that's totally different." Totally. And he's not sure /why/. "I don't know."

Which kind of love did she have for D'had? "The second," Thea says firmly without apology in her tone. "He needed me. I understood him." Her eyes remain steady upon his, "For all his faults, he was a good man. He was my strength when I needed it and I never doubted he loved me or his children." A sigh escapes her, "I can't live with him, not the way he is now. But.." Her voice takes on a gruff edge, "I still love him and I always will." As for which kind of love is the best? She is silent for so long that it might seem she won't answer the question. Finally, thoughtfully, "I was two different people, so for that I'd say each sort fit who I was at the time. Both were…wonderful." She listens as Mur'dah speaks, then nods quietly. "So the question you'll need to answer is, will you be okay with it if someone else comes along and loves her, lives with her instead of you." She rises, unhurried. "You don't need to rush the decision, but you do need to be honest with her. Don't lead her on, hm?" And she smiles gently, slips an arm through his and suggests, with a tip of her head towards the trail that they start back. "You wanted to go shopping, yes? The shops'll just be opening in Ierne. We can catch breakfast."

Mur'dah nods, meeting her gaze and watching. Listening. But as for that question, he knows the answer to that. "No, I wouldn't be okay with that." There's a flash of almost possessiveness in him before it fades, and he pushes to his feet. "Don't know if that means I /love/ her though…" There's a smile. "Yeah, I need to get something for the baby. And for Marel." He takes her arm and squeezes it smiling at her. "I know I love /you/ though," he says, perhaps trying to poke fun at his insecurities and difficulties.

Thea, wisely, doesn't say a word, nope! He will discover what to call that feeling and what to do about it. She merely chuckles, "I love you too, Baby." Then she simply starts walking, arm in arm with her son down that shadowy path to the tropical beach flooded with moonlight, where they part to their own dragons. They'll lift off to the skies where Timor and Belior await to light their way into Between - and Rukbat's rising sun will welcome them out of it. Home is where they'll end up somewhere around Xanadu's lunchtime, but first there is shopping and breakfast and laughter and light chatter, time spent pleasantly between mother and son.

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