Beach Baby

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.

It's hot outside with puffy marshmallow clouds dotting a blue summer sky. The Weyr days have slowly regained some of its normalcy. Riders who have shut themselves away to mourn are returning to work. The Weyrfolk, while still collectively numbed by the loss of their Weyrwoman, are remembering that they have duties too and that these duties are still to be done. There will be a lot of adjusting. Has been a lot of adjusting. But…people are adjusting. Today is a restday taken by both Ka'el and Soriana. Time together continues to require effort to have, but it's an effort they're putting forth. Today, for example, was not coincidentally both of their rest days. It wasn't happenstance that blankets and towels were secured days prior. This day was planned to be their day! And now, they're having it. The little family arrives at the beach, Skyler in tow in his carrying basket, complete with a baby-sized bucket hat, and Ka'el donning shorts and a tshirt, carrying a folded blanket, towels, a shoulder bag with extra stuff for Skyler (this kid needs so much stuff) and a smaller basket of snacks and drinks. The beach is busy, as it tends to be in the summer. Kids playing. Teens lounging. Adults doing the same. "There's a spot," he says, nodding his head to a spot that could be anywhere to their right. Heads aren't really good for pointing, but his arms are full!

Fresh air and sunshine is good for babies! It's probably also good for parents of babies. They're out getting their exercise… mostly by carrying around Skyler and his stuff. The stuff outweighs the baby! …though Skyler's been working on that. The kid's growing! More with every passing day. Soriana nods to Ka'el, looking for this spot that he claims exists. The… no, that one's got someone reading a book. Maybe behind… nope, that's… aha! There it is. The spot that is clearly the one he was pointing to, and even if it isn't, it also exists, so… good enough. "Maybe we should have just stayed home," she considers. They've got grass! And they could get Skyler a glass of water to splash at things, would he really know the difference? …probably. The kid's getting remarkably perceptive lately, which is to say that he stares at actual things and has favorite ones. It's almost enough to make it seem like there's actually a tiny person in there! Soriana shifts him a bit, turning the basket to see the waves as she heads for that spot. "Oh well, we're already here." Crowded or not!

Home would've been quieter. Home also would've been less beachy. "It'll be good for'm to get out and see the people," says Ka'el knowingly. "He'll get to know that there's more'n just us and the nursery nannies in the world. .. But we're the most important ones." A smirk. Skyler is anything but a homebody. The boy gets out! When his parents are out, so is he. Even the nursery tends to be a busy place even when they aren't there. Kids and babies being dropped off, picked up. Kid arguments. Baby cries. The sights and sounds of play. This day is another one of many adventures! There's a breeze on his face and a funny thing on his head. His parents are lucky that his reach-for-and-grab skills are merely budding ones, else that hat would be in the sand! Or maybe he'd be too distracted looking out at the lake to notice, as he is now. Ooooo. Ka'el makes his way to the spot that Soriana leads him to, possibly the same one that he gestured to. Maybe. And when they reach it, he sets all his stuff down at once. "Remind me, did we pack rocks in his bag?" he asks, exaggeratedly rolling a poor, sore shoulder. "An extra firelizard or three?"

So many baby things. The ones that Ka'el carries. The other ones they have at home. All the ones in the nursery, the ones for babies there and of babies there. The ones… that seem to get left behind everywhere, a trail of rattles and blankets. The trail of adventure! …and really, what's not an adventure, when you're that young? "There are? I thought they were all nannies. Just, they keep changing out who's on duty." Soriana laughs, with a wry sort of smile at the end. She's seen the nannies more often lately than most of the people that aren't weyrstaff or her family. At least there's been some family-seeing in there! Like… Skyler, who she looks to again now. He's flailing, yeah, but it's happy flailing. Or at least, it's not unhappy. This is mostly his flailing that investigates the universe and builds motor control. So… that's one part of her family. Another part? She looks back to Ka'el. "I dunno, Nugget might have crawled in again." He's like three firelizards. All at the same time! The basket with Skyler in is set down more carefully. "You think he'd like to play on the sand?" Play, wiggle… same thing, right?

The nannies are becoming like family now, aren't they? Trusted with their treasured cargo day in and out. Daily, now that they're back to work. Maternity (and paternity) leave is over! Though mini vacations like today are definitely still in the cards. With his shoulders properly loosened, he takes hold of the large blanket and shakes it loose to spread out over the sand in their claimed area. Now! Now it's officially their spot. The basket of food and Skyler's traveling bag is set atop it. "If Nugget were in here my arm would've fallen off by now," he retort in an amusedly fond tone for their roundest firelizard friend. He brushes his hands off by swiping them together, then tosses their folded towels upon the blanket too. Done! Next…playtime? He grins at the question. "Yeah I bet so. He's never felt it before, has he?" Baby's first sand! "Just…" he kicks off his flip flop and digs his toes into the sand. Toe-thermometers. Toemometers. "…I don't…think it's very hot," he says with a shake of his head. "I mean, as long as we don't leave him down there too long I think he'll be alright." Key-word here being 'think'. But hot sand isn't the worst sensation the child will feel in his lifetime! "If he doesn't like it…no doubt he'll let us know. And loudly," he adds, grinning as he kneels to investigate the sand. Any pointy things? Rocks? He plucks away what might've been a grain too large for his tastes. Gotta protect the baby flesh!

Soriana laughs, and nods. "I don't know where he's getting extra snacks from…" she says… of Nugget. Skyler, well, she knows. Also he's still supposed to be growing, unlike certain firelizards… who aren't here. Probably napping, which… might explain the round. Nugget doesn't get his exercise! …but Skyler does, one flail at a time. There are plenty of differences between baby and firelizard! For now… "Hmm." Soriana pauses in mid-lift of Skyler out of the basket. "Well, he can try it." It's not like Skyler doesn't know how to wail. He can wail but good. Louder than a firelizard! (See, there's another difference.) Soriana finishes lifting Skyler out and adjusts her arms to hold him in one and give the sand a feel. "It… should be okay." So says her considered and… not expert, but slowly getting closer… opinion. "It's early yet." The sands aren't fully heated. "So, Skyler." She looks back to him. "You ready for this?" Burble? Gurgle. …that means 'yes' in baby, right? Must be, because Soriana brings him over to that cleared patch of sand, carefully lowering him so he can feel the warmth of sand that dents underneath him and makes a little baby-sized hollow as Soriana halfway supports him. Luraoth, borrowing her rider's eyes, notes this and ponders to Kanekith, « Does he turn into an egg now? »

Alrighty, everything is good to go! The sand has been thoroughly searched for pointy, hard, uncomfortable things by Ka'el's sharp eyes. Skyler has been prepped and ready by his mother. All is clear for takeoff! Or…well, in this case, 'set down' as Skyler will have to be lowered to said sands. Ka'el grins, settling on his knees in the designated baby area as their son is set down for his first sandbox experience! Warm, fun sands! Right Skyler? You're not going to cry, are you? Maybe .. maybe not. First experiences are always unsure times, at least when one is a baby. Usually, when he's set down, he's settled upon soft things that feel nice around the skin and are nice and stable beneath him. This? This is … while not particularly unpleasant, it's…different! And things shift and move beneath his weight, and when he moves, the surface moves too. This will take some getting used to. Ka'el grins while watching, cautious for any signs of discomfort but not seeing any immediate cause for alarm. "Ha! You like it, Skyler? It's sand, see?" He closes a fist around the warm grains and lifts a handful, allowing it to slip slowly from his grip. "See? It's fun. You an' me'll make sand castles one day. I've been practicing," he assures with a smirk to both him and Soriana. "So far…so good?" Wailing hasn't started yet! But dragon investigation? Yup, that's started. « He must. He was not hatched properly. It is likely why he is so small. The egg will fix him, and he will be strong. » Kanekith sounds so sure. Because he's an expert on everything.

…yeah, Soriana's not anything like ready for the part where Skyler can lower himself to things. Or lift himself up from things. Because… just imagine the trouble he'll get up to then! And then there'll be all the actual trouble, instead of just the imagined sort. And someday after that, Skyler will be able to say yes or no to experiences ahead of time, instead of just crying if he doesn't like them! …and even further in the future, he'll actually be able to accurately say yes or no, at least most of the time. For now, though, he's still just a little squirmy Skyler being lowered to the sands. The warm sands! The sort of soft, sort of firm, gritty-type sands. Skyler… does not scream! Soriana's hands stay against him, ready to snatch him away if he does, but while he shifts and wobbles, he doesn't seem unhappy about the fact that he's making a very lopsided sand angel. He's not ecstatic, but he's not upset by this new environment he's exploring… and that, for a baby, definitely counts as success! Soriana grins, glancing up from son to weyrmate. "Have you gotten them to stay up yet?" It's an important first step for sandcastles! If they don't stand up, a rampaging toddler can't send them crashing down. Which… well, for the moment, sandcastles are safe from the wrath of Skyler. Someday, though? « Of course he will, » Luraoth agrees. Big and strong! How could he not be? Her confidence is boundless. « They have tried many eggs for him. » Images of Skyler, wrapped in blankets or tucked in a basket. « He will grow. » Which, well… he will! The dragons are at least right about that part of things. Soriana laughs. At … Ka'el, actually. "So far." But this is only the beginning!

"My sandcastles?" questions Ka'el with lifted brows. "They're pieces of art, babe. Worthy of being kept for turns. Preserved in a case to last for generations." Lavish much? "Skyler will have my legacy in sand art. And my skill is getting so that simple things won't do. Why stick with castles? Why not sand monuments? Sand sculptures?" He lifts a hand to give it a slow wave towards the horizon. A 'picture the endless possibilities!' sort of gesture. "So," he says, dropping his hand, "the short of it is .. yes. Yes I have gotten them to stay up." A grin, crooked follows and he rubs his fingers together to rid them of tiny grains of sand particles. He's happy with Skyler. No crying! No fussing! .. That a'boy! Take the world head on, right? No fear! (unless things are scary) But sand and beach times are not scary, which Skyler is learning now. It's .. different, but it doesn't make his heart jump in that uncomfortable way that fearful things do. He still needs the support of mom to keep himself upright and stable, and although he's gaining more coordination in the arms and legs day by day, his motions still tend to lean to the erratic side. A flail here .. just because the muscles in that appendage worked that way, not necessarily because he wanted his leg to do that motion. Sand is sticking to him. Why's it doing that? How does he feel about that sensation? Nooot..suuuure… "Bet you dinner he won't cry," he says, grinning towards Soriana. "And I mean, homemade, honest to goodness dinner." Aka not sandwiches? Probably what he means. Kanekith is in agreement with Luraoth. Human hatchlings sure go through a lot of eggs, none of which are anywhere near as decorative as any of theirs. What a strange phenomenon!

"Really now." Soriana is dubious of these claims. One day Skyler will learn how to be dubious. First, he'll be entirely too credulous, and… actually, first, he won't understand a word of it, except the part where his mother and father are speaking in generally happy sounds. Which isn't the words so much as the tone of voice. Babies (in addition to exploding) are good at listening to their parents and determining whether other things are exploding. At the moment… they're not, and so neither is Skyler. He flails another limb. Maybe it's trying to build a sandcastle? Maybe, but that amount of manual dexterity will be a long time coming even with how time seems to fly. Until the mountains are sand and the sand is… sculpted? "Do you make them with water, or glue?" Soriana asks Ka'el, but her eyes return to Skyler. Here it comes. The moment of truth. The moment when… he… "…actual dinner?" A flick of Soriana's eyes up. Home-cooked meals are a rarity! …mostly because cooking takes time and energy that could be going to the Weyr or their son or any of a thousand other things, and sandwiches are quick and caverns meal are easy. Skyler lifts his hand. He splats it down on the sand. Thump! Safe! …from crying, because his grand determination is… gurgle! Complete with a little dribble of drool. Oh, babies.

"Neither. I build my castles with nothing but my own blood, sweat, and tears. It's what makes them as amazing as they are. One-of-a-kind masterpieces." Marvelous! Ka'el … just barely keeps himself from grinning. Almost keeps himself from grinning … utterly fails at keeping himself from grinning! His attention returns to Skyler, on the lookout for tears. He has a bet to win! A no-cry-Skyler bet in which dinner shall be made for the victor! And to the defeated? ..Well, they'll get dinner too, just with the added bonus of having made it. Mwuahaha. Up goes a baby hand, splat goes a baby hand! "Aw, this is gonna be cake. Shall I start making my menu for you?" he asks with lifted brows. "I think I'd enjoy roast bovine with a side of baked tuber with extra butter. Those dinner rolls I like .. You know the type. Fresh from the oven? Plenty of those, please. Oh!" he snaps his fingers, "And roasted vegetables with a bit of seasoning please." Grinning, he glances to her, then to their child, gently pushing sand over his hand. It's hand burying time! Baby play is easy at this stage. Ka'el may not fully appreciate just how good he has it now. Just wait til he's one and mobile! He pauses to babble at Skyler, which he's not above doing and doesn't seem to care if it makes him look like an idiot. Skyler likes it. Or rather, Skyler likes the motion of lips and the sounds that come out and sometimes babbles back in return. "Also," he continues in grown-up language, "dessert."

Sweat and tears are almost water. They're just saltier and… uh… come from Ka'el's body instead of a body of water. Which is not to say that he's not mostly water, because he is, he's just… uh… leaking. Or would be, if… "I'm not sure I even want to see these sandcastles anymore," Soriana says. She is dubious! Also grinning in between (and around) the dubious. She's versatile! Always has been, but she's been learning to be even more so ever since Skyler has given her another thing to juggle. Unlike paperwork, babies can't just be abandoned until later! …well, unless they're dropped off to the nursery - or asleep - but that's different. Really, if Skyler doesn't cry, they're both - all three - the victors here. Dinner will be the just reward for… everyone. Roast bovine? Soriana smirks. "With crushed, uh… leaves?" Whatever those herbs are that are supposed to go on top for flavor. She doesn't remember, she just knows that if she raids the cold room for the meat she can get the herbs by asking cook or one of cook's seventy-three assistants. Gourmet cookery is … not even close to what they're trying for, here. Nourishing and edible food, more like. "And I suppose you'll be wanting but for the rolls, too." So demanding! So elaborate! So… seeming like it might happen, because Skyler hasn't broken down yet. His hand is getting covered up by sand, and his little brow furrows. It's warm… and sort of heavy… around his hand. Luraoth's still waiting for the eggshell, though the burying part makes sense to her. Skyler stares down at… the sand, probably. Is it ground? Isn't it? It's definitely not his basket. It's not the floor at home, either. It's… different. Is different bad? Weeeeell… he's not… entirely sure… but… oh look! It's daddy. Look and listen, because daddybabbles! Which are closer to Skyler's own sounds than any sort of adult human conversation, but which make that uncertain maybe-possibly-fussface turn into a burble of smiling baby. Yay things are good! His concern over his buried hand is forgotten, because babies have the attention span of green firelizards sometimes. Gurglegiggle! Soriana chuckles herself. "…of cake?"

See? Skyler likes the babble, which is reason enough for Ka'el to keep doing it when he can because those baby grins are definitely worth working for. "What are rolls without butter? Of course I want butter for my rolls. Rolls so warm that the butter'll melt right down the sides.." Mmm-mmm good! "Like a buttery river of gold." Oooh yeah. Somebody wants hot, fresh rolls! Ka'el gently makes a mound of sand on Skyler's hand, taking advantage of his giggling distraction to pile it on. "Uh oh. Where's your hand, Skyler? Where'd it go, eh?" Will he understand the concept of a missing hand? Maybe not, but Ka'el's tone is attention-getting enough, as is the action of him turning his hand from front to back, then pointing to his buried one. Skyler's the king of staring at people (still) but he has gotten better at tracking over the months! His eyes follow the motions of the pointing finger, not quite getting the gist of following the direction of the point and not the point itself. But … hey, he's three months old. There's plenty of room to grow! "Maybe cake," Ka'el answers Sori, sounding amused because of Skyler's confusion. "And if it is a cake, I want the type that has three layers with cream between each one. And strawberries on top with sweet cream." Mmm, strawberry shortcake! He can appreciate a well-executed dessert. "Or, if there's no time after slavin' over dinner as you will be to make a proper baked dessert, I can think of other ways that strawberries and cream can be put to use as a treat I'd rather like," said with a crooked grin.

Uh oh? Skyler doesn't know what those words mean. He will! Oh, he will. Right now, he knows that Ka'el said them, and that's enough for him. All communication involving actual words is left to Soriana… for now. "Are you going to make butter castles? Works of art, lovingly sculpted and then melted over rolls just to satisfy your thirst for golden treasure?" Assuming Soriana loses, but given how Skyler's acting, that seems pretty likely. He's not so much the crying sort of baby! (At least not today.) And really, Soriana's okay with that. Non-crying babies are victory! And if she's the one cooking, Ka'el will be the one dealing with Skyler while she does. Which is sometimes a very easy duty, and sometimes… a rather hard one. Now? It's an amused sort of duty. "Hah," Soriana says, amused by… the both of them, herself. Cake? With actual layers and cream? Like that's going to happen! Good thing there's an alternative, in he form of… Soriana smirks. She eyes Ka'el for one moment, two, and the grin widens. "I dunno if they've got any ice cream on hand," she says sweetly (since, of course, this is dessert they're talking about!) "…but we can check."

Strawberries and cream on top of … ice cream! .. Not a bad idea in the slightest, especially on a beachy day. A perfect end! But as tempting as vanilla ice cream with toppings sounds…Ka'el makes a face at her! Yup, a very wrinkle-nosed, crossed-eyed sort of face. Complete with his tongue sticking out between his teeth. Nyeeeeeah! "Nope! Wrong answer," he says after fixing his face and fixing her with an amused look. "I hate ice cream." ..Gasp! Blasphemy! Who doesn't like ice cream? Well … Ka'el likes it just fine. He's a liar, that's all. Don't mind him. Grinning, he slowly uncovers Skyler's buried hand one swipe at a time. "Oh, hey I found it. Your hand!" he says chipperly, grasping at the small appendage to give it wiggle as he grins in triumph. Victory is theirs! Skyler has no idea what just happened, but the weight of sand upon the back of his hand is gone and now he can feel his father holding onto it. This is a familiar feeling, and that grin is a familiar grin that he happily mirrors, wide and toothlessly (with a helping of drool). You're funny dad! Using his fingers, Ka'el brushes off sand from the baby's palm while his eyes slide back to Soriana. Dessert indeed. It's been a while since they've had the luxury of dessert, haven't they? Between Skyler's feedings, Skyler's nighttime crying, Skyler's diaper changes, the tragedy and … her pregnancy, when has there been the time for anything more than a dinner of sandwiches before crashing to bed? Dessert? Ha! History!

Oh, is she wrong? Is she reaaally? Soriana lifts brows, because, of course, she had no idea! There certainly isn't anything else she might have thought, because if she had, she would have said it. Just like Ka'el always tells the truth! "Oh, well, I'll eat yours." Soriana the thing-sayer and Ka'el the truth-teller, that's what they're named. Or… would be… if they were given silly names that had little basis in reality. Like Skyler of the lost hand! …or… not so lost hand. Look, there it is! "Good thing, too, we never would have found another one in the right size if the spiderclaws had stolen it." She grins, even though that does remind her that they should go looking for Skyler's next round of clothes. Some of them still fit! Others… don't. Kid's growing, even if he's got a long way to go before Kanekith and Luraoth are satisfied. He's listening, too - though it's probably a good thing he's not understanding yet. Vanishing hands and hateable ice cream, it'd be enough to utterly confuse a lad… but in Skyler's world, all is well. Soriana looks down to him, and her smile turns just a bit wry. Some of his clothes are too small. Others? "There'll be sand everywhere." She's amused by that… mostly. She won't be nearly so amused when a stray bit of sand that's somehow crept past Skyler's clothes irritates him in the middle of a nap and makes him wake up fussy. Dessert? Maybe if they eat it first. They're allowed to do that, right? Now that they're grownups, and while Skyler's too young yet to understand what a bad example they're setting for him.

"You can't have mine. That's against the rules," says Ka'el, the official keeper of the dessert rule book. "I'm the master of desserts, since I've clearly won this bet," he says with a triumphant look to the tear-less Skyler. "And thus, I get to choose what we have tonight. I'll clue you in when it's time." Which will be the proper time for dessert having, which isn't to say that it definitely won't come before dinner. Ah, the joys of being an adult and the freedoms that are … sometimes warranted to you. Sometimes, mind you. "Spiderclaws, Skyler. We'll have to teach you what they look like so you know to stay away. They'll pinch you and won't let go!" .. Heh, speaking of being glad that he doesn't understand, let's be happy that he won't be plagued with monster spiderclaw nightmares. Pinched, for a lifetime! Sori's worry about sand has him smirking, and he leans forward a little to take the boy in his grasp and lift him up and towards him. "Ah, he'll be fine. We'll dunk him in the baths before we go home. Wash it all away." Easy fix, right? Skyler is held up so that his feet touch the sand. He's nowhere near ready to stand, but he /can/ put a little bit of weight on his legs for a short bit before they buckle and bend at the knee. Super baby! He can do so many things, like almost-but-not-really support himself. "Hey, there's food in the basket," he says. "Packed fruit and lunchmeat. Let's see if we can both eat at the same time for once?" And maybe take his mind off of the dessert that he probably won't be having this evening.

The tears will come… eventually. They always do! Skyler may be a generally happy baby (which he is), but the world isn't perfect and neither is he, so eventually there'll be something for him to complain about. Right now, though? Life is good! It'll be even better if there's dessert. Super extra better if Soriana has two desserts, but… "No?" She arches an eyebrow. "You never said that the winner got to eat that dinner…" Even if it was fairly well implied. Also she's not going to argue with the fact that he's won the bet, because she really doesn't want the option where Skyler cries. So yeah, Soriana's okay with Ka'el's glorious victory, and will provide for him a dinner of… roast bovine and tubers? Maybe. If she puts them all in one pan and shoves it in the oven, then ignores it for a couple hours… or maybe they'll just have the roast tubers, because they have some of those in their weyr already. Ignored in the oven, some butter and cheese on top… yeah, that's probably simple enough to make even around whatever else needs to be done. Which - fortunately - does not include tending to a spiderclaw-pinched baby. Soriana nods agreement to Ka'el, then grins. "But if you catch some before they catch you, they make a good dinner." Boiled in a pot! Another recipe that might be simple enough to do around a baby… though not with a baby. No infants in the kitchen! And that bathwater had better not be boiling, though Soriana nods to that. She sits back as she watches Skyler… well, not walk. He's not ready for that. Not even stand. But… be held vertical and vaguely kick-flail! It's a sort of progress, and she smiles, then glances to Ka'el. Food? Lunch-type food? Soriana leans back further, opens the basket to investigate these claims. Ooh. Ka'el is right! …at least, this time. There is food here! Soriana pulls out a sandwich - no, make that two sandwiches, just in case. She looks a bit dubious, though. "I'm not sure he's ready for a nap yet." And when else do they get peace and quiet?

Mmmmm, cheesy tubers? Ka'el will take it! Hell, he'd actually be happy with Soriana-made sandwiches if it came down to it. Dinner is always good because dinner is more often than not taken in each other's company. That's the one meal. Breakfast sometimes doesn't happen. Between getting Skyler's stuffed packed and his favorite toys (which really are only his favorites in his parent's eyes) secured and making sure they have all that they need for the office, they're lucky if they can grab toast in the breakfast line before jetting off to their offices! Lunch? Ha. Taken whenever they have a moment, and those moments are usually at separate times. But dinner? That's their time, be it at home, in the Caverns, or in one of their offices, they'll eat supper together. Sometimes in shifts depending on whether or not Skyler is awake, but almost always, together. Today's a lucky day, it being a planned rest day for them both, they get lunch together too! With Skyler, wide awake. Ka'el continues to hold him as he is, bouncing him gently off and on his feet, facing him out so he can see the world of sand and surf and people and activity as he plays. He smirks as sandwiches are pulled from the basket. He told her there was food in there! And now she's telling him an equal truth: Naptime is not now. "S'alright. Watch.." he settles their boy down against him on their blanket, positioning him somewhat on his lap, though mostly leaned against the crook of his arm like sitting in a lounge chair. "See? Free hand," he says, waving his other arm and reaching for a sandwich. "He's good there…til he isn't. I won’t drop crumbs on him, promise.” Hopefully! “I figure it's either this, or you feed me…either way I'm good with," he laughs, settling in for a picnic lunch at the beach.

See, Skyler? One day all this will be yours! To… run around on and splash through and build sandcastles from, because you'll be one of the many weyrbrats of Xanadu who do these things, not because you'll have any more claim on it than any of the rest. …it's okay, they've got time to refine their message. He's still pre-verbal. Soriana smiles as she watches Ka'el play with their pre-standing son, then arches a brow as he demonstrates… lounge-baby technique! "…well, as long as it works," she says. If it doesn't, Skyler will tell them so. Loudly. Until he does, it's all good, and so Soriana passes Ka'el a sandwich. Crumbs? Hah! There are worse things than crumbs that could be dropped on Skyler. …there are worse things than crumbs that have been dropped on Skyler. Soriana has stopped worrying about anything that can be washed off with warm water and baby soap. She's stopped even caring about anything that can be solved by changing his clothes. Dirty clothes go in the hamper and - by a magical process involving caverns workers - clean ones come back. It's wonderful. It's one less thing for them to worry about. They have more than enough of those even so, they don't need to go looking for extra ones. Not today. Today, they've got a picnic lunch on the beach, their family of three (plus… dragons and firelizards and tunnelcats…) all out together (minus the dragons and firelizards and tunnelcats).

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