A Vicious Cycle

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow Ridge
The meadow continues its gentle rolls and dips, grass tall and short waving in the slightest of breezes. Each hill seems to grow a bit higher, a bit steeper, as eventually, the meadow works up to a large ridge, the top flattening out at its new elevation.
From the top of the ridge, the view is certainly something to be admired - higher than the majority of the trees, one can look out over the rest of Xanadu Weyr proper. The houses in the lower meadow - each roof a different color - and the clock tower peeking upwards from the its forest surroundings are all visible, as is the cliff that houses the Weyr Caverns themselves. And yet, the ridge also holds an amazing view of the night sky - horizon to horizon - unaffected by the light pollution of the more heavily traveled regions.

Settled upon the ridge is a rather distinctive looking building - nearing three stories tall, circular grey walls have carefully been erected, and a large dome is settled upon this solid foundation. Large panels make up the roof, aside from one section which remains open, and from which the telescope the struction houses peeks out. Sitting adjacent to the tower is a long, low building, meant to serve as offices, record rooms and dorms for those who man the observatory, as well as providing a handy platform for those who seek to use smaller, hand-held 'scopes.

Xanadu at sunset is usually a sight to see, and Ka'el has long ago found a spot from which the painting caused by the departure of the sun is magnificent. And his appreciation of the end of days is shared by Kanekith, who often pesters his rider to come up to the ridge with him to watch the colors manifest. But today is different. It's cloudy today, and a blanket of gray masks the colors of dusk. Ka'el and Kanekith are still here regardless. Kanekith laid grandly upon his stomach with Ka'el lounging against him, reclined back with crossed arms as he leans against the dragon's hide. Both are silent. Or, at least they are outwardly with not a audible word being heard passed between them. Ka'el's eyes are out, looking past the meadows and treetops to the horizon while Kanekith's are closed.

Mur'dah and Kalsuoth like to wander in the evenings, hopping and walking wherever they might like to. They know Ka'el and Kalsuoth frequent this section of the weyr around this time, so it's not a coincidence that brings them along. Ambling and hopping up to the ridge, Kalsuoth makes their arrival known with a low rumble and an extended mental brush against his gleaming clutchsibling's mind.

Kanekith's eyes open at the sound from his clutchmate, and he turns his head to look his way. The soft brush is returned with a vague touch of his own that extends to a nudge to his rider. But that rumble alerted Ka'el much sooner than Kanekith did, and he twists his body a bit to peer through the fading light at the arriving pair. Though his eyes do not narrow, already somewhat over the flying incident, his jaw tightens and lips press tighter together. But that doesn't stop him from acknowledging him with a slight lift of his hand. "Hey. What're you doing out here?" Really. Cuz this is his (totally unofficial) spot!

Mur'dah bristles slightly, only to force himself not to get defensive with the first thing he says to the bronzerider. "Came to see you, if we're allowed?" There, that was only a /little/ snide, right? Stopping within easy speaking distance but still well outside personal space boundaries, Mur'dah shoves his hands into his pockets and stares at the view while Kalsuoth wobbles to a halt and settles onto his haunches, wings rustling against his back. The brown, for now, is silent. Moral support only.

"I'm not your ma," remarks Ka'el. "You needn't ask me permission to do things like you would her." Because .. he's a child? An implied insult, though he exhales a slow breath a moment after, pushing down the aggravation that he was so sure he was over and done with! He presses a hand against Kanekith and rises to his feet. The bronze watches, but like his brother, remains quiet and merely keeps rapt attention on his rider. "You need me for something?" he asks, tone less confrontational now, and his brows raise with genuine curiosity.

Mur'dah scowls, pushing fingers irately through his hair. Which works until he hits a tangle and then he grimaces with the sudden jerk against his scalp. Stupid hair! He exhales heavily, cursing under his breath. "Yes," he says, firm and short. "Because things are shit between us right now and I need to know if we can fix it, if you even want to, or if we're just gonna snipe at each other the rest of Weyrlinghood and then never talk again." Which, despite the brisk and biting way he says it, would honestly cause him great sadness. Kalsuoth rumbles softly and Mur'dah takes a short breath. And another. Breathe, trying to calm down.

Ka'el draws his hand away from Kanekith, allowing fingertips to trail before they fully lift from him as he moves towards Mur'dah. He glances to Kalsuoth consideringlyl, though it's unlikely that he fears the brown would hurt him, even if he is the cause of his rider's stress. … Right? Dragons don't hurt people intentionally. He's pretty sure he read that somewhere. "I dunno. Of the things I can do, seein' the future's never been one of them. But I'll tell you what, you're right. It is shit. I dunno what it is but ever since we stepped off the sands, something's different. I dunno if it's you or me or both, but Mur'dah doesn't feel the same as Muir."

Kalsuoth doesn't seem bothered in the least, and though he's watching closely, he's not making any moves or sounds. Stepping forward, Mur'dah tries to meet Ka'el half way between their lifemates, giving a curt nod. "Yeah. And Ka'el don't seem nearly the same as Kale." Awkward silence. "So. What'do we do?" Talking…feelings…ugh.

Ask Soriana or Idrissa. Better yet, ask them both. Both could vouch just how sucky Ka'el is at talking about … his feelings. He's awful. Atrocious! And that's even with his two longest friends. And the worst part? He can't even articulate just what it is about Mur'dah that irks him. Sometimes. Just sometimes! That's another wrench to throw into this crazy conundrum. And so Ka'el stands there wordlessly, brows vaguely furrowed, while his mind ponders just what this mysterious fix may be. "Make it to graduation without sockin' each other an' go from there?" A miniscule smirk follows, though it disappears beneath a sigh. "I don't know. I know I'm not the same as I was before. Bits of me are. Bits of me aren't."

Mur'dah knows exactly what irks him about Ka'el. He snorts at the bronzerider's suggestion, smirking a bit. "I think I can do that," he drawls. Then he's quiet a moment. "I feel the same," he admits with a little frown, though it's a frown of thought, not directed at Ka'el. "Well, mostly the same. I'm more…aware of things around me I guess. Looking out for him's taught me to not get so wrapped up in my own stuff…"

Ka'el nods a little in answer to him though says nothing immediately, giving himself time to mull over what he said, though what he says next seems completely unrelated. "There're things about you I don't like." Yeah, way to be negative! But he continues on. "I don't know if they've always been there, I just didn't realize it, and it took Impressing for me to really notice. And there are things about you that I've always liked an' still do. M'sure it's the same for me with you." To which Kanekith snorts, but luckily that's all he does! He inwardly sighs. "If I was to do anything…I think all I could do, or best that I could do, is focus more on the parts that made me want to be your friend in the first place before all've this."

Mur'dah shifts his hands in his pockets, squaring his shoulders and after a moment, lifting his gaze to meet Ka'el's head on. Not in challenge, but in seeking of the truth and not hiding from it. "What don't you like?" he asks first. "And yeah, it's the same." But him first?

He really wishes to know? Ka'el watches him just as squarely as he Mur'dah looks at him, jaw vaguely tightens, but not for long. "Don't take it the wrong way," which usually means that it will be, "but you're a privileged rich boy." He holds up a hand in a 'wait before you start cussing me out' sort of gesture. "But I never saw you that way before until like…" He pauses a millisecond. "I mean, come on. Twins of a Weyrwoman both getting searched, both standing, and both impressing? And all that you do here, you've trained or know because've your ma." Wonderful woman that she is. "It's nearly like, this is all bein' spoon-fed to you. You don't think V'dim favors you because've your mother?"

Mur'dah blinks, and blinks again, and then he laughs. And it's not mean laughter either. It's genuine laughter. "You're the privileged one!" he says, very much amused. "You've got - well, had - two beautiful girlfriends, good with your hands, you can /make/ shit, you've got a stunning bronze dragon that's great at /everything/…I mean, c'mon," he echoes. But then he sobers a bit, brows furrowing as he gives it some thought. "I don't know everything," he murmurs. "I've struggled a /lot/ with Weyrlinghood. I mean, yeah, I know how to eat at a fancy dinner party but…what use is that? I mean really? My straps weren't that great, Kalsuoth can't even walk properly and I couldn't fix him no matter /how/ hard I tried, and I really don't think V'dim favors me at /all/. When has he? If he has, he shouldn't be. I'm…I'm not rich. I get my clothes from the storecaverns, just like everyone else. Haven't even really /seen/ Mom lately…"

Brow-arch. What you talkin' bout, Willis? Ka'el watches Mur'dah like a man gone mad as he laughs and turns the tables on him. "Uh…" Like seriously, how? But the question doesn't get out before he explains himself, and he ohs. ANd wrinkles his nose. And gives his eyes a little roll. "That's nothing." .. Ok well so a little bit of it is awesome, but. "Kanekith can use some work an' you know that. Apparently a fancy dinner party could be the difference between allies an' enemies between weyrs. And your straps were shardin' amazing. I think even Jnelle is startin' to give up hope on helping me learn to make somethin' that's a step above 'barely passable'. Kalsuoth might not be able to walk right but at least the others like him, and so they like you." He frowns a little at that, and Kanekith makes a low noise in his throat. "V'dim favors you. It might be just a little, but a little might as well be cards and flowers when it comes to him." Insert another smirk here. "Watch out with Isobeth rises." Like … ewwwwwwuh.

Mur'dah shrugs, "Yeah, well…they can both use some work. It bugs me how arrogant he is." As long as they're being honest. "Feel like he - and you - look down on the rest of us a lot. Like you're not really /with/ us anymore. Like we're not good enough to be around you two. None of us." Then he blanches, and turns to cough. Or is it gag. Maybe gagging. But he doesn't puke up his dinner at least. "You jealous?"

"Uh. You can have all of that, Mur'dah," says Ka'el who raises both hands up in (willing!) surrender. "He's all yours. It'll be shardin'…… amazing, I'm sure." -.-;; Yuck! He visibly shudders, then makes a pained face … then shudders again. Image … engraved … in … mind! o.O;;; "I'll stick with Sori, thanks." Or, you know, whoever may be rising at any given moment. Sigh. But Ka'el, once done being thoroughly grossed out, does seem taken aback by Mur'dah's assumption. "Look down you all? ME?" He scoffs, really watching him as if he's crazy. "All I want to do is be like the rest of you all with dragons that get along with another and play and…" His eyes shift to Kanekith. "I keep myself away because when I don't, crap happens. Crap happens with Kalsuoth and that pisses you off. Shit happens with Tahryth an' that pisses Idrissa off."

Mur'dah shakes his head firmly, and then a flicker of envy flashes through his eyes. Then he blinks, taken aback by Ka'el's taken aback-ness. "You…" he begins, and then stops, turning his head a bit to stare at the bronze. Pieces are falling into place. "Well," he says, slow and hesitant, "why don't you tell him to knock it off when he's being mean? Or…make him stop? And," he's swift to say, "I'm trying /so/ hard not to let it bother me when he says stuff to Kalsuoth. I /know/ Kal brings it on himself a lot of the time, and it doesn't bother him. It bothers /me/ because it's like…he's so perfect and Kalsuoth isn't and it /bugs/ me. But I'm trying to fix it because I /hate/ feeling that way. Plus," he adds, scuffing his toe into the dirt, "what kind of rider am I if I don't think my dragon is perfect?"

"Because more'n half the time, I don't think he's bein' mean," answers Ka'el. "Not initially anyway. He's honest. And blunt. And he says what he feels even if it something that's gonna be hard to hear an' I like that about him. He'll defend himself without thinkin' twice about it because he doesn't take shit and I love that about him. I just wish the crap he gets wasn't from the others here. Tahryth is actin' out because've the way Idrissa feels about me, I know that much. I've told him to ignore her, but he can only hold it all in for so long. I've told you before I'm sorry for the things he's said to Kalsuoth, and Kane and I've gone over that already. When was the last time he's said anything unkind to yours?" he asks with lifted brows. "He's learning. He's growing. He's holding his tongue and startin' to ignore things that get to him. But now we're getting the 'you think you're too good for us?' bit, and not only from you." He raises his hand to rub at the back of his neck. "Nobody thinks their dragon is perfect, Mur'dah. That makes you just like everybody else."

Mur'dah snorts softly, crouching down and resting his arms across his bent knees. "Well, good that I've come down off my high runner to be just like everyone else," he says, but there's humor there, rather than bitterness, as he smirks up at Ka'el. Quiet for a moment, he stares thoughtfully at the ground before he shakes his head. "It's…been a while," he admits, slowly, as if just realizing himself that it /has/ been a while since Kanekith has said anything to Kalsuoth. "Who else is giving you that?" he asks curiously, looking at him, then Kanekith, and then back at the ground again. "Like a vicious cycle…" he mutters, half to himself.

Just like everyone else. "With less than perfect dragons," remarks Ka'el who'll probably feel that Mur'dah is privileged in other ways. At least, as long as his mother is their senior Weyrwoman. But they've already tackled that, and he's not one to beat a dead horse. In fact, there's a hint of a prideful grin as it's admitted that ol' Kanekith hasn't been his snarky self to Kalsuoth in a while, and his eyes shift to his bronze to share a warm feeling with him. See? You are doing good, buddy. Mur'dah's question brings his attention back, and he exhales a heavy breath. "Idrissa, mostly. She's thinking I broke up with her because I'm a bronze rider and only have a thing for golds now. That she's too beneath me to go out with." Eyes roll fractionally. "She doesn't care for Kanekith much, and after what nearly happened in flight training, it's likely even less now." He waves a hand dismissively. "Whatever."

Mur'dah can't help who his mother is. At least he wasn't promoted to Weyrleader while a brown riding Weyrling? Now /that/ would've been nepotism. Then he frowns, pushing to his feet and holding up a hand in a 'hang on a sec' gesture. "Okay," he says, "now that…that made me irritated at you. Not Kanekith, /you/. That…that 'who cares' attitude. That's not how I remember you. The eye rolling and not caring. You used to /love/ Idrissa. So…why the sudden 'whatever' attitude towards her? That…whatever attitude and that arrogance, that's what pushes my buttons against you, right now." He's calm, he's rambling a bit but he's working out his emotions as he speaks, so it's not the most eloquently phrased thing in the world. "And the flight thing…that was scary. You didn't seem to care…"

"Don't talk as if you know a single thing about Idrissa and me," retorts Ka'el. The area around his eyes tighten slightly. "Or of anything that we had or didn't have when we were dating. And don't you shardin' say that I don't care. You've no idea how difficult it was sayin' what I said to her when we split, but something I've learned is that what's right isn't always easy. It was easy to stay with her knowin' that I wasn't feeling the same way about her. Easy, but wrong. So I did what I felt was right. And for months now I've been trying to be patient with her and understanding and all the crap you're supposed to be when you don't want to lose someone as a friend, but she isn't giving me an inch. So why should I keep beatin' myself up over it? Why, when I have Kanekith as my first priority? If she wants to keep ignoring my existence whenever I'm around and scowling at my name when I'm not, then fine. So, yeah, I have a 'whatever' attitude because what's the alternative? Cry myself to sleep?" He snorts. "And of course I cared about what happened at the flight! What did you expect me to do? Jump between them?"

Mur'dah shakes his head quickly, waving his hand back and forth. This is what he /didn't/ want to happen. "I don't know a /thing/," he says, "I know, I know. You're right, but…I'm just /saying/." He's quiet, attentive even, while Ka'el speaks, the teen pushing that uplifted hand through his hair and then shoving it into his pocket. And when Ka'el finishes, Mur'dah takes a deep breath. "I'm not saying you breaking up with her was wrong. Not…not at all. Sounds like it was right…and it's none of my business anyway. And she's hurt, yeah, and she's not giving you an inch. Everyone can see that." He shrugs, jerking his shoulders up before letting them fall. "Just doesn't seem like you care about anything anymore. That's…what's what I'm getting from you. That's what /I/ am seeing. It's this…this cycle…"

Yeah, he was getting riled up. The Idrissa Situation (tm) always gets Ka'el riled, but he reins himself in well enough, allowing the building pressure to recede. "Isn't that what makes for a good weyrling?" he asks in a humorless tone. "Someone who cares for nothing but his dragon?" His nose wrinkles afterwards and his head is given a shake. "I care. Besides throwin' my hands up, declarin' it to the world, and goin around giving everyone hugs, kisses, and flowers, I don't know what I'm expected to do to have you or anyone else believe it." He watches him, brows furrowed, but with a hint of curiosity. "What cycle?"

Mur'dah snorts. "I like flowers," he says with dry humor, pushing to his feet and shaking his head. "A good Weyrling cares for his dragon and his class," he says, though from his tone it sounds as if he's reciting. "Not," he says, lifting a hand and giving Ka'el a pointed look, "that I'm saying you don't care." It just /seems/ like he does. "A cycle," he says with a nod, taking a few paces away and stopping at a spot on the ridge. "You're focused on Kanekith. As you should be." He turns and takes a step. "He isn't as…let's say friendly or easy to get along with as his clutchmates." Another step along which turns out to be an imaginary circle. "People get upset." Step. "You, as you should, tend to him because he's more important than my ego." Little personal dig at himself, there. Step. "Folks think you're distancing yourself, when in reality…they've pushed you away because of Kanekith's difficulties." Step. "You're distanced, effectively." Step, and he's back to where he started. "So you focus more on Kanekith." And then he glances up, both curious and thoughtful. "It's like that?" he asks quietly.

Ka'el watches in silence as this cycle is explained, step by literal step. Nothing that Mur'dah says is untrue. Kanekith's unfriendliness. The ill feelings of others because of it. Ka'el's own protectiveness to his dragon and the distance that's seen by others. Most others. And Ka'el's own resentment of their seeming lack of patience or care. Heh .. It is a cycle. Quite a disheartening one. He's quiet for a time even after Mur'dah is finished, brows remaining knitted, and eyes a little unfocused. ".. Yeah. Yeah, I guess it is like that," he confirms with a single slow nod. "Sounds … ha, sounds shardin' depressing, doesn't it?" Both hands lift to rub at his face before his fingers are combed back through his hair. "He just needs more time than the rest've them. He doesn't take friendships lightly. He doesn't feel like he needs to be everyone's friend, and my friends he needs to know what it is about them that makes them special enough to me that I want them in my life. He's .. a complicated dragon," said with a smirk.

Mur'dah takes a slow step out of the 'circle', looking down at the ground as if it were actually written there. "It does," he agrees with a nod, pushing hair away from his face and then rubbing at the back of his neck. "Yeah," he agrees quietly. "He is. They all are but…he is." More complicated than some of the others perhaps. Or at least in a more difficult way. Glancing up, Mur'dah then lets his head follow the path of his eyes so he's facing the bronzerider. "I'm sorry," he says quietly, motioning with a hand at the ground and its imagined cycle. "It's been… well. Excuses," and he waves his hand in the air to encompass all of the reasons why things were the way they were, but he doesn't say any of them. "I'm sorry."

"Excuses are easy. It's why we can all come up with them so quick." Including himself. Ka'el knows that blame doesn't only fall on everyone else. He is responsible for this too. Perhaps he could be less … defensive and instead try to be more understanding to how the others feel? "Yeah. I'm sorry," he echoes. "I haven't meant for any of this to end up how it has." So many factors have contributed! Some spoken. Some not. But those unspoken things perhaps needn't be said now, or ever, for things to find a sense of normalcy again. "Are we good, then? Gonna take Kanekith back for an oiling before bed."

Yeah, that'd be great. Mur'dah shakes his head. "None of us did. It's just…Weyrlinghood." It's like high school, only way suckier. "I…think so?" he says slowly, thoughtfully, extending a hand. "As good as they're going to get right now? And I'll work on it. I want to. I want your friendship." It's worth working for, daww. But he doesn't say that. It's been mushy enough as it is.

Ka'el looks to that extended hand and stretches out his own to grasp it and give a shake. As good as they're going to get. That's a good way to put it. Things are far from perfect and not quite back at what they once were. But … well, at least they talked. Got some things off their chests. Where they move forward to now, only time will tell. But there is hope for eventual total reconciliation. Moreso now than yesterday, and Ka'el grins a little as he releases his hand, allowing his own to fall back down to his side while Kanekith gets to his feet. "I'll work on it too. It'll be .. better." Hopefully. Then he and Kanekith begin to move down the ridge, not opposed to Mur'dah and Kalsuoth coming with them, if they too are heading back to the barracks.

They aren't. Mur'dah lets his hand fall from Ka'el's and figures it'd be best for now if he and his brown go over there somewhere. To sit, to think, to talk perhaps before they too return to the barracks for oiling, for food, for rest. Until they do it all again tomorrow.

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