Enforced Escape

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.

Another warm day and warm enough to enjoy the beach and the clear and refreshing water. At least, that's what most are doing. Kiena, of late, has not had much time to enjoy much of anything beyond the administration hallway where her office is or whatever other duties are tossed at her. Such is the fate of a Weyrsecond and certainly one who's Weyrleader is on a leave of absence for a short span of time. This particular late afternoon though, the bluerider is determined to have some personal time to herself. She even sacrificed sleep! Which… may backfire later but she pulled every trick in the book she knows in order to secure her "escape". So it's off to the beach! Blanket, food, beach clothes? Check. Daughters? Check. An entire bottle of ice wine for herself? Check. Actually, she has two glasses and she'll have Ujinath send an invite to Kalsuoth for his rider to drop by, if possible. No matter what, Kiena is going to relax and enjoy it and the Weyr will just have to deal with it.

Deal with it indeed. Mur'dah is /happy/ to deal with it, as he and Kalsuoth return to Xanadu not long after Ujinath has called for them. The Comet rider out on another delivery, glides down to the beach and Kalsuoth kicks up sand as he lands a short distance away, rumbling tiredly. "Hey!" Mur'dah calls out, pulling off helmet, goggles, etc, dismounting, pulling off straps…etc. All that stuff goes here, until the brown is in the water and Mur'dah is walking towards Kiena and the girls.

Ujinath will join Kalsuoth in the waters, though the lean and nimble blue will keep a respectable distance from the dark brown. At least he's not giving the cold shoulder? He'll even rumble, quietly, to greet him. Hey. That part of socializing done, he'll continue along with his business of swimming. On the beach, Eliana and Ezsrisa's delighted calls (or shrieks, really, if you want to get technical) herald the few seconds Mur'dah has to brace himself before he's several pounds heavier for the two girls he'll acquire, one to each side, as they greet him in their usual overly exuberant way (though it's mostly Ezzie). Kiena just chuckles and grins at Mur'dah, tipping off a mock salute to him as she leaves him to deal with the girls. It means she has a moment to set up a little patch of sand to themselves in the semi-shade. Blanket down and anchored, the towels wrapped in it now folded and side aside. Food set, glasses and wine bottle set down and last but not least, her own behind parking on that blanket with a barely held back groan of delight. FINALLY. "Girls! Stop mauling him and let him sit down and breath. He's just got back." Kiena chides, but while laughing when the girls start to tug on Mur'dah's hands and arms with requests to do this, that and EVERYTHING in a chaotic tumbling mess of words. Yet at their mother's orders, they're off again and coming to the blanket just long enough to leave their sandals behind and sort-of pay attention to more rules of do's and don't's before they race off to the shallows.

Kalsuoth rumbles a soft greeting back to Ujinath, and then settles down in the shallows, watching with amusement as his rider is attacked by two small children. Mur'dah oofs and fends them off as best he can (which involves hugs and listening and trying to talk and then being tugged along). He finally gets to the blanket and sees the girls off to the water, before he pulls off his jacket, hangs it on a branch and then flops heavily onto the blanket beside Kiena. "Hi." His grin crooked, he leans up to offer her a little kiss of greeting, before sitting up and reaching for his boot laces. "this is perfect. Thanks." As if it's set up all for him. It is right?

This was set up all for her, but Mur'dah is part of it and timing just so has it that he's fresh off of duty. Who knew? She didn't. Of course she'd not peek at the rosters. Nope. Where would she have the time to do that? "Hey," she murmurs back with a crooked grin of her own and returns that little kiss. "Nice way to end a day, hmm?" she muses and then chuckles. "Welcome. Wine?" The bottle is tapped invitingly. "Hope the girls didn't overdo it with their greeting, either. How've you been?" Time to catch up! Out in the water, one of the girls is calling. They want to swim out farther! "Y'know the rules! Only a little bit and stick by Ujinath!" And possibly Kalsuoth, since the blue will (reluctantly and after much prodding by Kiena) allow the brown closer. Both girls will swim out but going only deep enough that they can still stand but the water reaches their shoulders and Ujinath will provide his tail as a convenient place to climb or rest against.

Mur'dah thinks it's all for him. Isn't she sweet. "Please, and yes, you have no idea," he says, boots off and laying back with a groan. "Somehow I got all the /heavy/ deliveries today." He rolls his shoulders and stretches with a grunt when they pop, then he flops again, melting against the blanket. "Mmm. I've been good. Busy, obviously. You?" He smiles. "Nah, they're fine." In the water, Kalsuoth won't intrude but he'll watch, just incase.

Okay, so maybe she did peek at those lists and it's half for him, since if she wants a night to relax, it wouldn't quite be complete without him there at some point! Plus, the girls love him. Kiena chuckles low in her throat when he lays back and groans, clicking her tongue a bit and her tone teasing. "You poor thing! How awful that you had to do all the heavy work," she drawls and all while she uncorks the wine, pours him half a glass and one for herself and hands him his while nestling a little closer to his side. She will also lower her head to quietly whisper something to him and while they're rather alone on their patch of sand, it's still a public beach and there are other weyrfolk about. Grinning wryly, she'll sit up again and sip at her wine and then she shrugs. "Busy. Very busy. With Ka'el gone to be with Soriana and their newborn son, I've been taking up most of the workload." Or almost all of it. "Been pretty much that. Been meaning to visit with them, get 'em a gift but…" Time. She has none. Until now and she had to be selfish and spend it on herself to save her sanity. In the water, the girls swim and laugh and play, under the watchful eyes of Ujinath (and Kiena, she IS looking their way too) and Kalsuoth may get sucked in whether he likes it or not. Children are like that and the girls may make a game of it to see who can swim the fastest to Kalsuoth, then from him to Ujinath. Back and forth and broken with little respites of them using the blue like their personal jungle gym. More surprising is that the blue tolerates it without even so much as a twitch of his hide or an errant spark of red to his eyes.

Mur'dah sits up to take his wine, smirking a little bit. "I know, feel sorry for me," he says teasingly. Tilting his head to her whisper, he grins. "That sounds wonderful," and he'll offer a toast to that. "Oh, right." The kid. "I sent them a blanket and some alcohol. Didn't know what else to do and the set of little Smithing tools seemed dangerous." And impractical. "Yeah, you're busy, don't sweat it." In the water, Kalsuoth is happy to be pulled into the games, watching the twins as they swim and climb.

"Oh, I do. Such a tough life, isn't it?" Kiena continues to tease Mur'dah in an close to casual manner, a wine glass in her hand as well which she nurses very slowly while seated next to the brownrider. They've settled themselves in a semi-shaded spot of the sands and a bit away from the more populated parts of the beach and currently in the water, both Ujinath and Kalsuoth are lounging in the shallows. Kiena's twin girls are swimming and playing between them, watched carefully not only by the blue but by their mother as well (though she's discreet about it). "You… what?" Kiena laughs to Mur'dah. "That — Y'know? That's actually a pretty shardin' good gift." she admits after a moment of pause. "Was the alcohol for Ka'el or both of 'em? Jays, I could've gone for a nip of alcohol a few times when mine were so young." Probably a lot more than a nip! She snorts, "Heh. Y'think? Or is it the oldest excuse in the books?"

Mur'dah grins, sipping his wine and nodding, sitting up so he, too, can watch the twins in the water. "I'll bet," he says. "It was for…whoever they wanted it to be for. Doesn't matter to me who drinks it, it was just a gift." He shrugs. "Not real close to either of them anymore but I wanted to do /something/."

Kiena will lean against Mur'dah when he sits up, unless he protests to it. Shoulder to shoulder, side to side. It's still chaste and respectful — for now. She chuckles, "It was a good gift, Mur'dah." One she approves of! Her expression slips a bit, her grin fading to a smile and she gives his shoulder a gentle bump as she sips her wine. "And it was a nice gesture on your part," she murmurs and after another pull of her wine and a quick check on the girls, Kiena will break the moment of silence with a quiet spoken. "How'd it go with Th'ero?" She only has the bare details!

Mur'dah doesn't protest, taking another sip of his wine and smiling. "Thanks." There's a shrug, and he watches the waves. "I wanted to do it." He startles a bit when she mentions her brother, glancing sidelong at her. "Did he tell you?"

Kiena glances sidelong to him in return and quirks a brow. Why is he surprised? "Uh, yeah? Velokraeth told Ujinath he was here. Th'ero tends to warn me when he comes to visit. When I realized he wasn't here on duty or for me, I was quick to guess why." she muses, smirking at him from over the rim of her glass. "But what I don't know is how it went. Obviously… good? Since you're not avoiding me." She's back to teasing him! Her free hand will come to rest against his arm and squeeze gently. "Hungry?" she asks quietly and yet it's as though she's rang the dinner bell because the twins come rushing out of the water and tearing up over the sand. FOOD! "Woah, woah you two! No! Not when you're soaking wet!" Get back! Baaack! She'll toss two towels at them and giggling the girls will wrap themselves in it and sit down on the edge of the blanket.

Mur'dah coughs. "Of course. It…it went good? I guess. We drank ales and talked. I think it went okay. He's a nice guy, but…I'm still kind of scared of him." He's TH'ERO. "But yeah, it went well. Didn't tell me not to date you or anything." He laughs when the twins run up, holding his wine glass back from flying water droplets.

Kiena sighs as she drains the last of her wine and sets the glass aside somewhere where it won't tip over, or worse, fall into the sand. "And I keep telling you, you've nothing to fear of him and he'd know better than to say that!" Because she would ignore him or, rather rudely, tell her brother where to shove it, Weyrleader of Fort or not. Grimacing, she'll begin to unpack the food and see to feeding the girls first before they mutiny. Bad enough a fight almost breaks out between them over who gets which sandwich and Kiena settles it only by swapping out her favourite to keep Ezzie from having a meltdown. "Hope you don't mind roast herd beast?" she mutters, offering Mur'dah his "share" of the food. There WAS variety, until the girls insisted they have the SAME. Must be a phase — or they both wanted wherry.

Mur'dah shrugs a bit. "I know," he mutters, sheepish. STILL. He watches her handling the near-meltdown with a smile, taking his sandwich. "That's fine. Nice job," he murmurs aside. Good job heading off that meltdown. That wouldn't have been fun.

Kiena just smirks again for his sheepishness and then… looks a bit sheepish herself for his murmured praise. "You learn a few tricks," she admits with a grin, taking a bite out of her sandwich. No, it wouldn't have been fun and would certainly have put a damper on their little beachside dinner. As thanks, Kiena will lean in to kiss him, only to remember why she shouldn't a fraction of a second too late. The girls, of course, see it and immediately begin to giggle and be girls about it, complete with comments of 'eww, gross' from Ezzie and a bit of fawning from Eli and something that sounds like 'special firends'. Darn children, picking up on everything! "Eat your dinner girls." she mutters at them and promptly does the same with hers.

Mur'dah kisses her back and then he /laughs/ when the girls go all…girly, looping his arm around their mother and making kissy faces at them. "MuuuuuAH!" He's not helping.

Kiena leans into his his side and then snorts, elbowing him gently when he is so not helping by making kissy faces at the girls, who proceed to immediately squeal and laugh and giggle. Their sandwiches forgotten and mostly eaten, they'll scramble up the blanket, which has Kiena hastily setting her food aside before it gets inadvertently water logged by both girl's still dripping hair. Kiena hasn't had the heart to take them to get it cut and neither of them have asked, so it's been left to grow long. "Girls, really!" she says, exasperated but laughing when Eliana tries to crawl into her lap and Ezzie "attacks" Mur'dah by hugging his other side. "We want hugs too!" Ezzie protests with a grin and then her features deadpan. "But not kisses. Kisses are gross." Eew. Ellie has settled herself and now looks between her mother and Mur'dah. "So… you are special friends now?" she asks, blunt and expectant. Answer wisely!

Mur'dah shoves the rest of his sandwich into his mouth just in time to take on the Ezzie attack, wrapping his arms around her with a laugh after he's hastily chewed and swallowed. "Ooof," he grunts, hugging the girl tightly and then, when she's pinned, he plants a kiss right on her wet head. Mm. Salty. Wait. Special friends? Mur'dah blinks and looks at Kiena. No /way/ is he answering that question. She's their mother. It's her job to answer the awkward questions.

Ezzie squeaks when she's pinned and giggling she'll try to push at him to "get away", only to wrinkle her nose and grimace when he kisses her on the head. EEW! She bats at him playfully and then wriggles free, only to attack him from behind now and literally cling to his back, arms wrapped over his shoulders and hands hooked together. HA! "Can't get me now!" she crows in delight, only to go silent when Eli asks her AWKWARD question. Which is left to Kiena to answer and the look the bluerider gives Mur'dah says it all. Gee, THANKS for your help? Ugh. She needs more wine for this and she'll pour herself a new glass. "Can I have some?" Ezzie interjects. "No. You've some juice." Kiena answers, which of course has the girl looking disappointed and grumpy to be denied, only to Mur'dah with pleading eyes. Please? Clearing her throat, Kiena gently hugs Eli to her. "Guess that's one way to put it, yes. Very good friends. Dating, is one way it's called." No details required. Eliana bobs her head, understanding and yet not, but the answer is enough for now. It's Ezzie who pushes things, in her classic brash manner. "So you guys are together? Like our foster parents? OH! Mur'dah…" And she says it sing-song like. "Does that mean you're our new dad!?" Kiena? Is too busy choking on the wine she just sipped. Sorry Mur'dah. You're on your own!

Mur'dah lets Ezzie go after he gets in his revenge kiss, finishing his wine and setting the glass aside so nothing is destroyed by children. He's quiet until Ezzie asks /that/ question, and his cheeks flush and he coughs. "No," he manages. "No, Zi'on is your father. He'll always be your father. I'm just…I'm…" What is he, to them? "I'm Mur'dah." That's the best he can come up with, awkward. So, so awkward. "Is that good enough?" Put it back on /them/, evil children that they are.

Kiena slowly recovers from choking on the wine, her eyes watering and throat burning and Ellie tries to help by thumping her mother's upper chest until she's waved off and given a gentle pat to the head. Thanks, but not necessary! She does speak up though, a barely muttered whisper of his name. "Mur'dah…" It's a warning, to tread carefully OR change the subject and she'll jerk her head subtly towards Ezzie. Ezzie has slipped back around the brownrider and flops down beside him, looking up with a disappointed look. Hurt, almost. Uh oh. Her brows knit. "I know who you are," she replies tartly, which has Ellie snickering. "Yeah, we know who you are." Geez, silly! Ezzie continues, "How come you can't be our dad too? We can have three, right?" She'll even lift three fingers to show him. See? THREE. "I don't mind if you're not," Ellie admits shyly, which earns a glare from her sister. Kiena takes another sip of her wine and then hands the glass to Mur'dah. Here — have the rest, he'll need it! She'll also trade Ellie for Ezzie, putting one girl in his lap as she takes the troublesome one. "Ezzie, remember when I talked to you about certain things you shouldn't ask others?" And so goes the gentle lecture, where the bluerider tries to explain in simple terms why it's not just that easy but it's not a bad thing. Not at all! And being as young as they are, Ezzie soon brushes off the disappointment, hops up to hug Mur'dah again and mumbling something like an apology and being good friends being awesome and then she's taunting her sister, which results in both running across the sands again, chased and chaser.

Mur'dah is trying to tread carefully, but it's hard to tread carefully when every step is a landmine. "I, well…" Then he shuts up, taking the wine gratefully and gulping down the rest of it. Ah. Better. With Ellie in his lap, he loops his arms loosely around her and listens to Kiena, nodding his agreement. Then Mur'dah returns Ezzie's hug, and watches them go, and slumps. "Shards. I'm sorry."

Poor, poor Mur'dah. Kiena will watch the girls as they take off again and after quietly storing their uneaten food again to keep it out of the sand, she'll look up and over to him when he slumps and swears. "For what?" she asks, frowning as she settles beside him again and it clicks a moment later. She snorts, smirking crookedly as she playfully nudges his shoulder and then leans in to kiss his cheek. "They're young. They'll ask awkward things. Especially Ezzie, but that's just how she is. It doesn't mean you're at fault it's just… they're curious. Jump to conclusions, y'know? But you'll see. By tomorrow they'll likely have forgotten most of what we just discussed. So uh… don't feel guilt or pressured or whatever." She waves a hand dismissively and leans against him.

Mur'dah clears his throat a bit, glancing over at her. When she leans, he wraps his arm around her shoulders. "I didn't know what to say," he admits "Sorry if I made it…y'know. Worse. I mean…" Here he frowns a bit, then sighs. "I don't know. I didn't know /what/ I would be to them…"

Kiena slips her arm around him in return, using it to both prop herself up and against his side. Cuddling! In a respectful manner. "Worse? Nah. You told them the truth. Which I respect and they will too, even if they don't quite grasp it all. Lying gets you no where at this stage. They just… don't get it if you're too wishy-washy. Sucks when your answer disappoints 'em but… better than them misunderstanding and thinking wrong, y'know? Far bigger mess to clean up later." she murmurs and when he continues to sigh and frown, she looks up at him. "Mur'dah…" she says softly, reassuringly. "Y'did fine. Don't let it bug you. You are Mur'dah to them. A friend. There's nothing wrong with that."

Mur'dah shifts a little bit, watching them play. "I just…I'm not their dad." Right? "I never will be, even if we end up, you know…" Weyrmating or something. "I'm happy with just being Mur'dah."

Kiena shakes her head and her mouth quirks up again into a smirk. "No, you're not their dad." Right and she never assumed he ever would be or want to take up that title. That much she tries to show him with the look she gives him. It's alright! Even the girls don't seem bothered by it, as they continue to play in the sand and for all other words look completely happy. "And you can be just yourself with them. Like I said, nothing wrong with that." And now she smiles, trying to reach for his hand to lace her fingers through his and squeeze. "And I'm happy with you just being Mur'dah around them. Trust me." It's all fine and good. "Want to finish the wine with me?" Faranth knows they need it. "Then we should probably round them up. Promised they'd be back by a certain time."

Mur'dah squeezes her hand back and finally lets himself relax. "Okay." He was afraid he'd made a big mistake with that! Reassured he didn't, he grins. "Yes, I'd love some more wine." Perking up a bit when she suggests they round up the girls, he glances at them and then leans to whisper something to her.

Nope, he made no huge mistake! No harm done, just a moment of awkwardness. Kiena chuckles when he grins and she'll lean away in order to grab their glasses and pour the last of the wine between them. Holding her glass up, she'll try to toast it to his. "To awkward moments!" she teases, then swiftly drains the contents. So much for nursing all that wine? Tilting her head, she'll lower it and listen as Mur'dah whispers to her and then she grins at him wryly, giving his chest an affectionate and playful shove. "Mhm," is all she answers out loud before tilting her head back and up to whisper in return. Laughing, she'll begin to stand. "Girls?" she calls and the twins pause in their playing, both protesting with whines and pleads. Kiena doesn't budge. "It's time to go! You know the routine…" They've a curfew! Whether or not they're out with their mother. Dinner is dinner and bedtime is bedtime.

Mur'dah laughs, returning her toast. "To awkward moments." Yes, indeed. He winks at her and gets up, offering to gather some of the things she brought with them. Because if he handles this stuff, she can handle the whining twins. That's fair, right?

Kiena won't protest when Mur'dah offers to carry everything. There's only the towels, the blanket and the basket of food and the now empty wine bottle. "Not too much for you to handle?" she drawls, teasing him and then calls to the girls again. Which ends up with Mur'dah waiting there with an obedient Eliana at his side, the girl even being so good as to hold on to his hand or hook her arm around his while Kiena chases Ezzie. Literally chases the girl down, since she's decided to throw a tantrum of epic magnitude. Exhaustion meltdown in t-minus 10 seconds! At least by the time Kiena's returning, with Ezzie more or less hung over her shoulders, the girl's wailing has subsided into frustrated sniffling and the occasional sad and teary grumbling. "Shall we?" Kiena mutters, a bit breathless for having to chase Ezzie down, then pin the girl and haul her unwillingly back. Even Ellie looks embarrassed for her sister's behaviour. There's a quick wink to Mur'dah. She caught his last whisper from earlier and it's still on… once the girls are returned and are their foster parent's problem for the night.

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