The Candy Tree

Lost Island - Sugar Beach

Palm trees shade the fine-grained, pristine white sand, making them cool to the touch even when Rukbat is at its peak. Gentle waves from the sheltered bay lap the sand at water's edge. Crystal clear at the shoreline, the waters deepen to aqua then a rich azure in the cove's center. Further out, rolling billows break with a muted roar upon a reef of smooth volcanic rock that protects the cove, keeping the waters of the cove tranquil.

On either side the sand stretches to curve out of sight, flanked on one side by thick jungle, the other by the sea. Someone has tied a woven rope hammock wide enough for two in the shade of the palm trees and just a few steps from a rock fire pit. Nearby there is a path that disappears into the undergrowth.

As summer approaches Xanadu, fairly steady rains have continued to saturate the area, not torrential by any means, but enough to thoroughly soak the ground and keep water levels just shy of flood stage. With extra sweeps to keep an eye on things and the concern about crops on top of that, its not perhaps so unusual that fatigue has set in for many folks. A respite of sorts, the joint turnday celebration of Muireadhach and Marella, their fifth and N'shen's eighteenth, was a bright spot in the otherwise dreary day to day. Joining D'had, Thea the twins and N'shen, was Thea's mother Rensea from Cold Stone Hold and D'had's extended family from the Vega Run. Conspicuously absent was Holder Thadan, who sent no word or gift.

With a break in the weather, the Vega Run has sailed and with the weather looking promising at Xanadu, a short leave has been arranged. Thus D'had and his family have been dropped by his island, the Zephyr in tow so they can make their own way back. The Zephyr has been secured with a mooring line affixed to a pole driven into the sandy bottom of the cove and accessible with a pulley-rope attached to a palm tree; when the time comes all they have to do is reel her in to shore.

There's goodbyes to family and yes, D'had's mother makes him hug her before he leaves, but that done and over the Weyrsecond and his family are left on the beach as the Vega Run sails away. "So.." he starts turning a glance from the twins to Thea. They're here, now what, seems to be the thought implied by such.

Goodbyes take longer than the twins would like, squirming through the hugs and kisses with the impatience of the young at the sight of that sun-drenched beach. Thea's got a twin on either side, firmly grasping the little hands that tug so impatiently to be off while that ship grows smaller. D'had's look is returned with a tiny headshake and a chinlift to indicate their supplies. "We could get that inside the hut and then tire these punkins out so they'll sleep tonight?"

D'had nods as he drops a look towards the pile of supplies on the beach. "Sounds like a plan," he agrees, stooping to swing one of their packs over his shoulder. "What'dya wanna do now we're here?" this question directed towards the turnday pair as he straightens with a second bag in the other hand.

Drawing the pair towards what smaller bundles are left, Thea notes cheerfully, "Who's Daddy's helper?" Well this starts the scramble and competition to grab whatever is left between Muir and Marella, their mother keeping an eye that they can actually manage what they take. She get the rest, taking up the rear. Little voices pipe up with enthusiasm to answer D'had. Muir's demanding, "Wanna go see it!" While Marella's bright eyed request is, "Go swimming Daddy?"

D'had leads the way towards their island hut, a smirk touching his lips for the scramble of the twins to help. Given those requests he hmms to himself, dark eyes glancing towards the water and then the sky. "How about," he proposes as they draw upon the shelter, "We take a walk and see it before it gets dark and we can swim tomorrow okay baby?" he finishes turning towards their daughter to gauge her reaction.

"I walk all night!" Muir boasts boldly, strutting just a bit as he follows right behind D'had. He's busy trying to step foot in those sandy depressions left by his father, little legs streeeeetching in the awkward attempt to match his daddy's stride. "Okay?" Marella seems to be asking herself before she tilts a sweet smile up to him and nods, "Go find the candy tree?" A beat and a blink later, from behind her Thea laughs under her breath, winking at D'had, just waiting to see what he makes of that remark.

D'had chuckles, "I'm sure," he comments in reply to Muir's statement before tossing that smirking smile of his towards Marella. "Okay," he agrees with her about swimming only to have confusion creep across his face at mention of the candy tree. "Candy tree?" he inquires, looking to Thea for further explanation.

Muir puffs out his chest all proud to have that affirmation, his offhand remark though casually said, is full of male pride, "Mans do that easy." Marella's totally reproachful, "You know it Daddy. Umpa said it your tree!" Her lower lip pokes out a wee bit over sea green eyes gone large as she peers up at him, her expression clearly wondering, Is he pulling her leg? Thea coughs, getting the urge to laugh under control as she steps inside the hut after the trio, dumps her bag on the bunk and relieves the children of theirs. She has to waylay Muir for his because he's stamping around the hut peering at the place, but Marella is transfixed, staring at her daddy. Her face, easily read: There's… no candy tree??? Passing by D'had Thea sing-songs lowly in his ear, "Go along with her and use-your-IMA-gi-NA-tion…" Because, well. Sea Traders and their tall tales…

D'had drops the two packs he was carrying in the corner before turning back on the rest of the family. Muir earns a shake of his father's head. Ah well, there are plenty worse things he could be getting into. Thea earns a raised brow. Imagination? When has he ever been known for that? "Really?" he questions their daughter, "And what else did he tell you about this tree?" he inquires of the girl as if simply curious what his father told her of it.

When he was… getting himself out of trouble with all those women chasing him before Thea came along? Evasive action and soothing tempers takes some creativity. Marella brightens with what seems like her daddy's encouragement, encircling one thigh with her little arm, she gazes earnestly up at him. "It's a very, very special tree and it's the only candy tree ever. It grows candy!" She beams at him. Did she mention the candy? Beyond her daughter, Thea holds a paper bag aloft and waggles it so D'had can see, a single finger lifted to her lips. One guess what's in there. Signs point to her in cahoots with Naois.

D'had ahhs, chuckling as he reaches down to scoop the girl up into his arms. "Well then, I guess we're just going to have to go on an adventure to find it," he comments looking after Muir hoping that the mention of 'adventure' catches his attention. "It's been a long time since I found it." Which only goes to say that he might need some help searching for it again. A smirk of a smile is tossed towards Thea to say 'thanks'.

Marella loops one arm around her daddy's neck, shooting a triumphant look her brother's way in case he happens to be looking. Competition even in the face of adventure, go figure. Muir is halfway up that ladder, apparently aiming to take look at what's up there. Though he could be just as easily getting to jump-off height before he leaps at his daddy. Thea hastily stuffs that bag into the pocket of her sundress, her flickered wink and fond smile in return to D'had cut short in order to intercept the human about-to-become missile that is Muir. "Hey! I wanna-" Whispers in his ear from his mother draws a nod and the Weyrwoman sets him down with a smile and a "Let's follow Daddy."

There's a split second of panic when Muir launches himself, but Thea catches him and the pair just receive a shake of his head as he walks towards the door and back outside. Why do they (his father and his weyrmate) encourage them on such things? Candy trees. Really. Outside he sets Marella to her feet. "So now. Where do you think a candy tree would grow best?"

Perhaps it's that headshake of his or something caught in his facial expression. As she steps outside, she murmurs, "Aw, Donn. Children need make-believe. Don't you remember what- ?" Her abrupt halting of that question and wince is interrupted by an indignant Marella. "No Mommy, it's -real- not pretend!" The child slips her hand into her daddy's and gazes trustingly up at him with a clear-eyed green gaze so like her mother's. "Umpa says it's by a magic waterfall." It just gets better, doesn't it? Muir is kicking sand while walking in a circle around them. At least he's not run off yet?

D'had turns a glance towards Thea. He remembers, and it was made clear that there was no such thing as candy trees. He grew up a trader. He knew where things came from. "Well then," he starts turning back to Marella, "We need ta find that waterfall then I guess," which leads into his request for her brother, "Muir, where you think we'll find that?"

Thea remains silent while her weyrmate so graciously plays along, though some of the merriment in her eyes dims at that glance he's given her. Marella claps her hands together before curling her fingers 'round that strong hand while Muir stops mid-kick as he's asked his opinion. Feeling all important now, he puffs out his chest and points boldly down the beach. Has the child ever said the words, 'I don't know'? It's the opposite direction from the one where the path is, but since there's a stream ahead flowing from somewhere, so perhaps it's a logical choice.

D'had chuckles, curling his hand around Marella's. "Good guess," he replies to Muir's pointing. "But, to get a waterfall the water has to," well, "fall from somewhere. Gotta get up higher so how about we take the path here, hmm?"

Muir has followed up that pointing with taking off full-tilt (no surprise there), running towards that creek. Thea's after him a beat later, scooping the child up and returning with him pig-a-back. "We'll go see it later," she's telling him as they return. Though he may already know about it, she reports, "Donn, there's an opening in the rock cliff back there." She's moving towards the trail, though, giving him a look that can only mean she's hoping he'll distract the pair somewhere along the line so she can 'doctor' some poor tree.

D'had does have a plan for distracting them from what she's doing to give her that time she needs. Up the path, about three quarters of the way to the falls, there's a smaller clearing. It just so happens that there's a small amphibian of some sort on a rock there that he points out to Muir. That should certainly catch his attention better than the multitude of bugs that Donn knew would be there. And of course for plenty of pretty flowers for Marella.

And when the twins are thusly preoccupied, Thea slips away returning slightly breathless with her efforts to be quick, entering that clearing only after she's certain not to be spotted returning. Muir's got his eye to a crack in that rock, one finger stuck inside in a vain attempt to flush the critter back out from hiding and Marella, of course has gathered an armload of flowers. Stepping up behind D'had, Thea brushes his ear with her lips in tickling kiss, whispering, "Thanks, Donn."

"No problem," D'had replies at Thea's return having somehow kept an eye on the two of them while she was gone. "Well," he starts, "If we're going to find that tree and get back to the beach before dark we best keep going," he informs the twins. Muir of course pouts at having to leave the creature hidden, but is of course the one to be leading the way up the path, Marella on the other hand turns to give Thea a big smile and hand her bundle of flowers over with a "Look Mommy!"

Yes, that would likely have been entertaining to witness, D'had kept on his toes by two energetic five turn olds. Thea missed it, how sad. Taking those flowers as they are presented, she sniffs them, giving her daughter a smile of approval. "Help your brother find the candy tree," she tells the child and Marella runs after Muir squealing for him to “Waaaaaait!!!” Falling into step beside D'had, Thea sways to bump his shoulder with hers, sighing in pure contentment. It's their island, being seen by their babies for the first time! Her peek at him is to find out if he's enjoying this too.

"Not so far," D'had calls after the twins as they get just far enough ahead that a turn in the path makes them disappear from view. As for Thea, he sneaks an arm around her waist pulling her back after that bump to steal a quick kiss. "You know," he comments lowly to her, "I'm going to have to come out before we come next time and hang candy on the tree now."

The sounds of arguing float back along with the patter of feet on that trail while she leans into him, returns that kiss with one eye down the trail. There's a twinkle for him, "Then I guess the least I could do is keep you supplied with candy?" Thea, ever mindful of what the pair can get into, quickens the pace to bring them into the falls clearing. There, the twins are searching high and low for that special tree, finally finding it growing right beside the falls. A little bitty tree, roots twined precariously in the rocks with brightly-colored candy wrappers glittering in the sunset. Dusk is gathering, so those magic falls? Will have to wait for another time.

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