Note: This scene is backdated to the hours after/day after Seryth's accident and prior to Moncerath's flight, even though the OOC Date is later (got to love RL!).


Xanadu Weyr - Nature Gone Wild Weyrbarn
The victim of one of the major storms to pass through the Weyr this past turn or so, this weyrbarn stands amidst the majestic trees of the forest like a testament to rebuilding and carrying on. Though it used to be little more than a shack, with a lot of hard work and effort, this structure has been returned to its former magnificence. Broad boarded dark wood walls rise two stories to a slate roof, a stone chimney rising up along the right wall crafted from smooth river stones. Windows with shutters often stand open, glass panes also propped up to invite breezes, or closed and latched to keep out the weather.
A smaller human sized door is nestled within the larger dragon sized one, and walking in you are treated to the vastness of space. Much of it given to Kalsuoth's couch on the left side of the building, the worn stone comfortable and perfectly sized for the brown. The human part has been built up from nothing, with fresh wooden floors laid and new furniture brought in. The walls are left to their natural wood, though many of the cabinets have a fresh coat of blue paint, and fabric accents also hold hints of blue and green to soften all that brown from the natural wood. A sitting area on the right side is reached up a few steps, nestled near to the fireplace. Beyond, the open floorplan boasts a kitchen and a laundry room, as well as a spacious bathroom with a wide, deep tub. A spiral staircase leads to the top floor, where there are two bedrooms - only one currently in use - and an office.
Just the kind of fixer-upper Thea would recommend for her son, if indeed she had anything to do with assigning the dwelling. It builds character, right?

Candlemarks have passed. Mur'dah and Marel spent time together in his weyr, Marel keeping herself busy and Mur'dah moving about in a haze of frustrated restlessness. When Marel left to seek out M'kal, Mur'dah had Kalsuoth reach for Ujinath. He does with a brush of dark wings against the other's fence, though his own forest is still impeetrable. It's evening now, the sun setting and the grief settling into a painful ache, and Mur'dah is outside chopping wood.

Ujinath's mind is not quite how it normally is and that is how Kalsuoth will find it when he brushes against it with dark wings. The fence is in place, tall and brooding but not humming with electricity and the usually sunny skies are sombre and darkened with overcast clouds. The wolf-dog the blue uses is sitting on a grassy knoll some distance away, head hung low and ears flattened to his skull. Ujinath won't attempt to extend too far into Kalsuoth's mental forestry, just enough that he can imply that Kiena will come. Once her duties are fulfilled, that is. As Weyrsecond, her hands are tied and for most of those candlemarks, she is at Ka'el's side as the Weyrleader meets with the gathering riders and weyrfolk all clamouring for answers and reassurance. Then it's to planning, to pouring over maps and laying down the next steps for when that thrice-blasted blizzard dies down. Only then can Kiena slip free, her mind feeling strangely numb and yet her thoughts race and race. Luckily by now the paths are familiar to her enough that she can navigate them on instinct. The sound of wood being chopped snaps her out of her exhausted and drained daze long enough for her to pinpoint the source and for a moment her steps falter, only to resume again. She approaches as quietly as she can, waiting until he has completed another swing before calling to him in that momentary lull of sound. "Mur'dah…"

Mur'dah looks up and over at Kiena, his eyes dark, expression sunken. Numb. Numb and angry. "Kiena," he replies, looking at her for a long moment before he looks away and puts another log on the stump. Another swing, limbs trembling with the exertion - how long has he been at it? - but his blow rings true and both halves fall neatly to their companions on the ground.

Kiena flinches from that dark and sunken expression and the numbness. It's the anger that takes her by surprise, though she's quick to clamp down on it and her brows knit together in concern. She'll take another slow step forwards, watching as he takes another swing and noting how his arms tremble and her frown only deepens. "Mur'dah…" she calls softly to him again and once that ax is down she will try to approach him, to reach out to rest her hand against his arm or his shoulder. Enough?

Mur'dah shifts away from her touch, the axe moved well away from her. He doesn't trust his aim at all. Doesn't want her getting hurt but he has to keep going. "Don't," he says, his voice raw. Pained. Pleading, almost, and if she moves away he'll put another log on. Another swing. This one barely makes it but it does, and he bends again to grab another log. "Can we go yet?"

Kiena's hand hovers for a moment after he's shifted away and then she lets it fall back to her side and she will step back as well. Not far, but enough to be safe and she will watch him set another log and swing. Her expression is darkened, troubled but difficult to read and she's struggling with seeing him like this, wrenching at her but unsure of how far to push. "Not yet," she tells him in a lowered voice, her words soft but her tone empty of much emotion. "There's a blizzard. Yumeth informed Luraoth and Kanekith and so everyone's grounded. Galaxy is on standby and volunteers from all Wings have been asked to step forwards. That's what… part of why I came here to talk to you…" she finishes, with her voice wavering only by the very end. For a moment, her strength wavers with it and her shoulders drop, her weight shifting to one side and her eyes now over bright rather than dark as she looks away, blinking. A few breaths, teeth gritted and then she's in control again. Barely.

Mur'dah grits his teeth, his next swing hitting off the mark, sending part of the log skittering away into the brush while the mostly intact log simply falls off the block. He stares at his failure for a moment and then lets the axe fall from his hand, turning to slump to the ground, back against the stump. "I know everyone is grounded," he says, his words biting. Vicious. But his energy is spent on the chopping, so he can't do anything but /feel/. Perhaps that's why he exhausted himself. "I'm going. If you're here because someone told you I couldn't go, you just go tell them I'm going. I don't care if we have to fly straight until the queens lose us and /then/ go between, we're going as soon as the blizzard clears enough."

Kiena flinches when the ax misses the mark but again it's his words, the viciousness in them that have her truly on edge. It cuts at her to be a witness to it and yet feeling so helpless, wanting nothing more than to try and offer him some comfort. Anything. Her features twist and for a moment she scowls, only to have it soften again as she shakes her head. She takes a few steps towards him again when he's slumped to the ground with the back against the stump and then sits down beside him, resisting the urge, for now, to touch him. Instead her fingers pluck at whatever little grass there may be for her to tug at. "Won't be needed for you to go to extremes, Mur'dah…" she says quietly, flicking a few blades of grass away as she looks over at him and for a moment she can only do just that: look. Her control is wavering again and her jaw works silently as she struggles to keep herself calm. "I spoke up for you. You and Marel both. I insisted you be involved. Both of you… I didn't know about Marel…" She does now and she lapses silence when her voice fails her again and she has to press the heel of her hand to her eye and it's noticeable on how her fingers tremble. Her breath will hitch once, then steady and her hand will lower to reveal eyes now closed that drift open only to look skyward as Kiena struggles. Weyrsecond's can't cry, apparently. "Ka'el said you shouldn't Between anytime soon. H-how we know the results of what happens when doing so without a clear head… He mentioned a guide." Like a Weyrling tethered to an experienced dragon. Kiena's expression twists again and she resumes plucking at the grass, the frustration and anger in her eyes visible until it's gone with a low sigh. "… I volunteered to do it. Not that I think you need it." Or maybe he does, after his little outburst put her on edge. "But because you, of all riders, and Marel too, deserve to go and I… I stepped in…" So you're welcome?

Mur'dah stares at his weyrbarn as he listens to her words. Then he stiffens, bristling, as his anger and grief and fear find something to lash out at. "Fuck Ka'el," he spits furiously. "I don't need a fucking guide. We need to GO. Fuck all of this. What if she's /there/? What if she's hurt? What if she's dying and cold and alone?" The words tumble from his lips, his fears lashing out into the otherwise calm clearing. Words he just couldn't say to his twin. His hand flexes, reaching for the log but he's too fatigued to grasp it. Somehow, he /knew/ he had to tire himself to the point of trembling, his muscles refusing to work. All he can do is press his hands to his face and his shoulders shake. The sound that comes from his lips is part cry, part frustrated growl, part low-pitched scream. And maybe, somewhere in there, the word 'mom'.

Kiena doesn't recoil from Mur'dah but she does lean away a bit, her weight shifting as he lashes out. She does nothing to stop him, makes no sounds of sympathy or pity. She just watches him with saddened eyes and does not try to blot or hold back the few silent tears that do escape to run down her cheeks. No rebuke comes for his harshness, even towards his own Weyrleader. Why would she lecture him? He's grieving and hurt, his words spoken out of frustration. "And we'll go! We'll go, Mur'dah, the moment the wind and snow is down." she tells him in a voice that is now hoarse and thick, breaking. A promise is implied there too. "They're watching and waiting. High Reaches too. We'll know and when Ka'el calls for us to gather you will come too and it's hard to stay here… it's hard and unfair but to go now is to just risk killing yourself!" And when Mur'dah makes that cry, Kiena's eyes close and she presses her lips firmly shut. That will likely be a sound she won't forget for a long time and it compels her to try and reach for him again, her hand seeking his or to rest against his arm or his shoulder.

"Better to die trying than just /sit/ here," Mur'dah argues bitterly, but it's nothing more than unfocused anger. He /knows/ but it still /hurts/. When her hand touches his he flinches in surprise but then his fingers curl tightly around hers, almost crushing in their swift grip before his muscles spasm and he's forced to relax them. Silent for a moment, he gathers himself. "I need a mercy draught from the Healers," he says hoarsely. "If she's alive, if she…if she no longer wishes to be…I have…it has to be me, Weyrsecond. Me." He says that not to Kiena, but to the Weyrsecond. The person who could make that happen, and he lifts his dark, red-rimmed eyes to seek her gaze, his expression intensely focused. If his mother is alive and if she wishes to follow Seryth, it will be done at Mur'dah's hand. One last thing he can do as her son.

Kiena can't argue that because she agrees with Mur'dah and if she were in his place, she'd be frustrated too. She IS frustrated to just be stuck here and unable to do anything. They have to sit and wait and grieve and it's hard on them all, in varying degrees but she's beginning to see how it's affecting him. Eating at him. And that only frustrates and upsets her further that there is so little she can do to help him. Ujinath cannot defy Yumeth or Luraoth anymore than Kalsuoth can. Kiena will only grunt and wince when his hand grips hers so fiercely but she will keep her fingers laced with his and grip hard. Harder still when it's her turn to stiffen at his request but it's from shock. Her eyes widen and she meets his dark, red-rimmed eyes and hold them. Testing him, to see if he's serious about it and when she finds no doubt or wavering in those depths Kiena's eyes will close briefly and her features relax a fraction. He asked her as Weyrsecond, but as Kiena she understands. She understands and she agrees and while some part of her mind brings up an old discussion she had once concerning lines and blurring… she finds that sometimes those lines are meant to be blurred. "I understand," Kiena whispers and so long as he doesn't recoil or pull away she will try to lean in to rest her head by his, forehead to forehead as she continues to speak in hushed and hoarse words. "As Weyrsecond you've my permission." For what good it'll do, as she does not have final say. She swallows thickly. "… and as your friend you've my support."

Mur'dah does not waver from this when he looks back at Kiena. Not for an instant. It's a responsibility he's taken on fully, and he will see it through if it's needed. He dips his head down when she leans, and meets her halfway. "Thank you," he says gruffly. His breath catches but he maintains his composure, closing his eyes. A few tears slip free though, despite his best efforts. "I can't believe it," he whispers hoarsely. "I'm…still in shock…I just…" He doesn't believe it. Not /really/.

"I don't think any of us can," Kiena admits in a whisper of her own and she will lean back enough so that her free hand can lift and carefully, so carefully, she'll try to brush those few tears away and then cup her hand to his cheek. Her other hand still remains clasped with his and she will squeeze it tightly. She sighs shakily, "And I wish there was more we could do. That I could do…" To help him. Tears prick her eyes again and she doesn't hold them back this time, letting them fall.

Mur'dah closes his eyes tightly, dipping his head down when she touches his face. "Nothing we can do," he whispers, sounding so young, so lost. "Nothing…if she's gone…If…" If his mother is dead. He shakes his head, gritting his teeth tightly. "I should go inside," he whispers. "I should rest." He won't, but he should. "Don't know when Marel will come back…" If at all, if his sister is finding comfort with M'kal. Or maybe she's not, he doesn't know, but he needs to be here for her if she does return tonight.

And who comforts Kiena? She tries not to look stung or hurt when Mur'dah keeps her shut out, but it cuts deep all the same and it shows in her eyes as she lets her hand fall away again. Despite knowing that he is suffering and hurting, grieving and struggling with loss, she had hoped that she could be of some help. Looking down at the hand she keeps twined with his, she begins to draw that hand back too only to pause and reconsider. Stubbornness kicks in and she squeezes his hand firmly. She loves him, doesn't she? Yes, she does. He may not love her back and she isn't even sure where she stands right now but she's not about to abandon him. Not now. "Do you want me to stay?" she asks him quietly, taking a chance. "At least until Marel returns?" If she does that night.

Mur'dah looks up again, and there's no hiding the surprise in his expression. "You want to?" With him? Broken as he is right now? Maybe he was giving her an out, letting her leave him, knowing he's the worst kind of company right now. "If…if you want to," he says slowly, still not understanding why she would. He is selfish. Self-absorbed and focused only on his own pain. His and his twin's. Later, when the shock has died down a bit, will he begin to see the larger picture. How it wasn't just a loss for them. "You're welcome to. As long as you want."

Kiena is surprised by his surprise and for half a second she almost bursts out laughing. Luckily she doesn't, but her mouth does twitch into a sort of shaky half-smile, half-grimace as she also struggles not to burst into tears or grab him by the shoulders and shake him out of frustration. She can't blame him though, for being so focused on himself. That he hasn't gone and locked himself away and is, to some degree, functioning has taken her by surprise. "Of course I want to…" Kiena manages to say, with her breath hitching on the last syllable and she has to lower her head again as she swallows back more tears. "Why did you think I came here…?" she asks, head still lowered as she smiles weakly. "I came to tell you what I knew. The plans and how you can be involved. Why we can't fly now. I also came… because I care about you." He knows that it goes deeper, but she doesn't thrust it out in the open. She'll just slip the pendent she wears around her neck so that it's visible, a finger gently tapping it as she looks up at him. She's here for him and for her too. She has no one else to turn to at a time like this where she'd feel comfortable enough to allow them close enough for comfort.

Mur'dah looks at her, at her necklace, uncomprehending for a moment. Then something sinks in. Some glimmer of…something, through his thick skull. Briefly, in Kalsuoth's mindscape, there is a flicker of light. He looks at her, and for a moment he sees her grief. Struggling, he pushes to his feet and tries to pull her up too, though his grasp is weak at best. "Inside," he whispers brokenly, mustering the last of his strength, physical and emotional both.

Something is better than nothing? Kiena will be on her feet faster, though she'll accept his help only to have it turn into her supporting him when she feels how weak his grasp is. So long as he doesn't protest, she'll try to slip his arm over her shoulders, while one of hers wraps around him and she leans against him so he can brace against her. "Inside," she agrees and she will fumble to reach the door and push it open. Guiding him inside and joining him, allowing him to grieve and tapping into her own though she remains there to support him. Even when he slips into an exhausted sleep and she remains wide awake, unable to sleep any further than a light doze, she'll remain until either she or both of them are called away again.

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