Summer Snoozing

Xanadu Weyr - Garden

An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place. On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.
Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.
The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also eluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic. The two paths leading away from the entrance have come full circle, wrapping around to meet each other on the other side, yet still continue on to the far left and right. One path leads off deeper into the surrounding woods, while the other wider; cheerily decorated with brightly colored slabs of painted stones.

The brightness of the sun overhead has caused many to seek shelter in the shade if they play on lingering long in the garden, and Marel is one of those who has adopted a quiet spot out of the way, both out of direct sunlight and without planting herself where she might be in the way. She's chosen one of the bigger trees under which to shelter, and if it were to be only sheltering that's going on, she'd probably be a lot less embarrassed. As it is, she's fallen asleep in the dull light beneath the tree, book open in her lap and pen slack in her hand, her head resting against the tree trunk. Quite as if they've taken their cue from her, a small bronze and a grown green firelizard sleep curled up at her feet.

It's a bright, sunshiny sort of day. A nice day to talk a walk. An even nicer day to take a nap, which is what Ka'el and his family has opted to do today with windows thrown open to let a breeze through. Buuuut one member of the family didn't sleep for very long, and .. it's Ka'el's turn to soothe the newest member of his family. And thus, he's walked around the house with him, and a walk around the house has led to a walk outside with his child settled in his carrying basket. This seems to have done the trick. Traveling! And so, Ka'el continues to walk, keeping to shaded areas when possible. Meandering through the meadow, heading to the gardens in which shade tends to be ample. He talks as he goes, commenting on obvious things that really have no importance. Just talking. That keeps the child quiet too and piques his interest. And it isn't long before the pair of them happen upon a sleeping woman. A familiar sleeping woman, and the sight of her causes him to pause for an indecisive moment. A glance to his basket, then..he continues forward towards her, a slight smirk on his lips as he invades her and her firelizard's shade. The basket is set down. "Marel…Marel?" he whispers. "You've slept for eternity and now you've turned into an elder…"

Marel is oblivious to all, even as Ka'el creeps closer, though one of the firelizards stirs and blinks a disgruntled, narrow-eyed stare over at him before taking her green self away to nap elsewhere. She doesn't so much stir as start when the bronzerider speaks, and her sleep-addled brain makes for a horribly confusing few moments when her gaze lights upon the basket and its contents. Baby. "What?" she blurts out. "That's not- I can't have-" Blinking rapidly to try and clear her thoughts or make some sense of the situation, she tilts her head to look across at Ka'el, then starts to accuse, "You sharding—!"

He's awakened the slumbering beast! Ruuun! Ka'el rears back a little at Marel's abrupt awakening, eyes twinkling with mirth and grin wide. His poor, confused friend! "Hey, hey. That's no way to talk to your boss, elder or not!" he chastises teasingly, shaking a finger at her. "I could have you demoted! Strip you of your knot and give you a shovel to clean out the stalls!" Which of course he wouldn't, even if the offense were something far more concerning than name-calling, which he himself initiated. He glances back to the nearby basket, able to see a small fisted hand flailing about. Smirking, he moves to lift it and carry it closer to the brownrider. "Good afternoon, sleeping beauty. Luckily for you, I've saved you from eternal sleep that wouldnt've been ageless. Instead of shouting at me, you should be thanking me."

"If you lived to get that far, you could certainly try," Marel mutters, pretending more irritation than she must feel. She glances down into her lap and closes her book, then moves both book and pen to lie in the grass beside her so that they're not there for her to swipe at Ka'el with. "I should have finished the accounts, not ended up napping in the not-quite-sunshine like a lazy dragon," she goes on, shaking her head a little. "I keep falling asleep." Irritation is clear for a flash of second, then she turns her attention to the basket. "I assume this little man is yours and you're not just wandering around helping out the nannies?"

"It's one of those days that begs for a person to sleep outside," says Ka'el with a glance to that book and pen … perhaps gauging if they're in grab-and-throw range? Ha! He smirks a little at the mentioning of falling asleep, and as she questions about the basket, he settles to sit on the other side of her, basket in front of him. "Soriana did the same," he notes as he leans forward to push back the shade cover. "Sleep a lot. I've never seen a person sleep so much in my life. Well … til now." Snickering, he lifts the youngster out of the basket and holds him in both arms. "Ha, I don't think the nannies would let me out with just one. They'd throw as many as they could at me, young and old, just to give themselves a break! But, yes. This is Skyler," he says in introduction to the blue-eyed boy who blinks and blinks again. The world sure is bright! Even in the shade.

"As long as I don't get a reputation for suddenly having turned into the laziest rider in the wing," Marel remarks through a sigh, tipping her head back against the trunk of the tree once again. "At least I've the shop; I can happily nap at my own counter and have people rob me blind." Dry, that, but without any genuine gripes. Icy-green eyes drift back to the basket, or, more specifically, Skyler, and the look that she favours him with is edged with something like fear and yet soft all the same. "Hello, sweetheart," she murmurs, apparently not one of those people that demand to Hold The Baby Immediately. "Are you sleeping?" she asks his father.

Ka'el chuckles. "So, I'll be concerned when suddenly there's a notable increase in the amount of flowers that are being given to people at random." He chuckles a little, shifting his legs a little so that they are bent, knees up, so that the some-week-old baby can be settled upon his thighs. There! Secured by legs and arms that still gently rest on his sides, and facing up so he can see everyone and thing without being constricted. He's looking up at the tree and the movement that he can see as branches and leaves shift in the wind. Then he's looking at Marel, a new face and voice, and his legs kick uncoordinatedly, accompanied by a gurgled sort of noise. "He says hello," translates Ka'el, snickering and snickering again at the question asked. "We sleep in shifts. She's asleep now. We all were, actually, til didn't want to any more. He likes to be on the move. More'n anything else, other than food, moving around keeps him quiet. So, yes. I sleep. When applicable." A pause, then. "Have you spoken to M'kal?"

Marel watches and tries not to watch Skyler all the same, her study a distant, careful thing. "He knows," she claims, though whether there's any truth to her response is difficult to tell, so neutral does she keep her expression. "I have to give him the time to consider how he feels about it. I'm not sure that it's fair for either of us to make a snap judgement. But… if he decides that it's not something he can handle… then, that's that. I'm not going to change my mind, and I'm not going to make him feel worse by repeatedly telling him that I still want him. It's… he has to know his own mind on this." She gives a resigned shrug, little more than a twitch.

The breeze on his face, the filtered sunlight through the leaves.. it's all rather fascinating for little Skyler who seems unable to keep his eyes on one thing for too long. He's given Marel an adequate stare, but now those baby blues are off to other things. Looking up again at the blurred view of a high tree and sky. Small noises are heard from him. Baby sounds that aren't quite cries but are more like random small squeaks. It's better than crying! Ka'el listens both to his son and his friend, allowing the youngster to visually explore while his eyes settle upon Marel. He doesn't question her statement that M'kal knows. Why would she lie to him about that? "Not going to change your mind…? Meaning, you've made a decision?" he asks with faintly lifted brows.

"I'm keeping it." It still, not 'him' or 'her' or 'them'. "Even if it means that, when it arrives, it's just the baby and me, and no father to be seen." Marel folds her hands in her lap and stares off across the garden, focus alighting on no one clear point. "And I mean I'm keeping it. It's not going to be anyone else's. It's not going to look at any other woman and call them mama. I'll figure it out." Not that just what she'll do can be very clear yet, with the whole situation still relatively new. "Most of my work is done at a desk or counter anyway. I have staff who can look after the shop when I absolutely can't."

Poor unborn babies are always little 'its'! Skyler himself was an 'it' up until the day he was born! Never did either mother or father refer to him as … 'them'. They probably would've jinxed themselves! One little squirmy life to take care of is plenty! And there are two of them to do so! Ka'el's attention is back on Skyler once Marel's eyes shift away. He wiggles his finger against his small palm, encouraging those arms to go flailing again. Whee! "You don't have to convince me," he says with a small smirk. "I didn't want to foster. We're not fostering now…" Though in theory, they're still in a 'trial period' of doing things on their own. Three weeks worth of it. Nothing's exploded yet, and Skyler himself seems to be in good health. "And even if M'kal … isn't there, you won't be alone. You've your family. They'll definitely be there for you, so you'll have support." He grins now, although the look is aimed towards Skyler, who gurgles a sound that might be a laugh someday. "Want to hold him? Get a preview of what's to come?"

"Do I deserve support, if the choice I make is one that drives away the people or person that could have been there with me?" It sounds like a rhetorical question, and Marel doesn't look to Ka'el to seek out an answer, but lets her heavy version of the reality she's facing hang weightily before she speaks again. From those few words, it's plain that it's not her family that she doubts, but how deserving she is of them. Of anyone. She swings her icy-green gaze back to Skyler, the hesitation that she's demonstrated thus far writ large in the fearful near stare that she gives him. Funny that she had no problems with her niece, nor with any other children, until she found out she was pregnant. "…Okay," she says quietly, not reaching yet. She'll wait for Ka'el to do that; for Skyler to be held on his own terms. If and when, it turns out that she's not so much of a failure as she's anticipating, but she never does lose that worried edge to her expression.

"People make choices, Marel. People aren't driven away. They choose to walk away. If M'kal walks … he walks, and that's his decision." Ka'el exhales a slow breath, looking down at his son again and lifting a hand to smooth back his hair with a gentle touch. "You asked me how I would feel. I told you the truth. I'd be upset. I'd be mad. I'd shardin' hate the world for a while. But, after that? Would I walk away and leave Soriana?" His lips press, forming a line. "I don't think I could. After all that we've been through and all that we've done… I don't think I could just leave her." His eyes shift to her. "Don't count M'kal out yet, alright?" He offers a faint smile and adjusts his hands and arms so that he lifts Skyler from his legs, careful to support his head in the process. He brings him close for a kiss to his cheek before extending him to her. "You've held a baby before right?" said with a faint grin. He makes sure that the child is secure in her arms before he sits back again, leaning against the palms of his hands. Skyler looks up at the unfamiliar face of the person who has him now. His eyes squint, then widen, then squint again. He's still getting used to this 'focusing' thing. Luckily, his mood is still one in which crying isn't part of the plan, and he's quiet, except for the occasional baby noise and slow-motion flail of an arm, as he's held. "I can promise you something else, Marel. You've got my support too," voices Ka'el, who'll stay here with her until Skyler makes it known that he's hungry.

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