What Makes A Weyrmate

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 not the most beautiful day to be at the beach, but the sky is clear and the sun is shining, even if the gusts of wind breezing over the ocean are a little chillier than might be comfortable. Of late, it's not been so uncommon to find Isyriath and his rider here when it's quiet, the brown settled near to the water - but just far enough away - and, this afternoon, when not so many have chosen to wander along the sand, it's just the same. Rather than sit, Isyriath has lounged down to lie along the edge of where dry sand meets wet, leaving his rider a strip of safe, dry sand to occupy. Marel, now visibly pregnant, is sat resting against her brown's ribcage, staring out across the choppy water.

Ka'el wanted to take a walk with his child, whose days are mostly spent within the care of the Weyr nannies in the nursery now as parents work and hold meetings and continue to ensure that the frayed edges of the Xanadu spirit don't completely fall apart. But they wouldn't let him! Those mean ol' nannies and their sensible senses! It's too chilly for a baby to be out and about! they say. And so, after taking a lunch surrounded by weyrbrats, Ka'el has departed the caverns to make walking rounds. He wears a coat with the hood pulled up, silently agreeing with the nannies. It is chilly out here! He meanders through the meadow, passing weyrs and glancing at them as he does. Eventually he finds his way down to the beach, hands stuffed in his pockets. The dragon is the first thing he notices. Big as dragons are, they're hard to miss! The caramel brown's familiar coloring draws Ka'el closer to him. "Afternoon Marel. Isyriath," he greets when near enough.

Lounging as he is, Isyriath still lifts his head to peer over at Ka'el and offers a quiet, whirring sort of greeting, then drops back to the sand, pillowing his head on one of his paws. Marel moves - slightly - when her brown does, planting hands down on the sand when the warm body that she's resting against shifts and could (but wouldn't) unbalance her. She swings a pale-featured look up to the Weyrleader at about the same time that her lifemate does, but she waits before she speaks, so as not to have Isyriath drown her out. Her, "Afternoon," is lifted loud enough only to break over the breeze and the waves; no more noise than she needs to make to be heard. "All's quiet through here," she adds, her assumption being that she knows what he's doing.

Ka'el hunches his shoulders a little against a gust of wind that nearly knocks his hood off of his head. He uses a hand to keep it in place, grasping an edge between his fingers as he closes in on rider and dragon. "Where'd summer go, eh?" he muses, the smirk on his lips a vague curve of his mouth. He pauses when near to the both of them, not so close as to intrude on personal space, but close enough to be heard over the breeze as long as his voice is slightly elevated. He report is received with a nod, eyes leaving hers momentarily to scan down the beach on one side. There's hardly anyone, if anyone at all, here. There are warmer, less breezy places to be after all. "I figured it might be," he says, pale eyes returning to her. "And glad that it is." Xanadu has had enough excitement lately. He's quiet for a moment or so after that, his gaze searching, almost cautious in appearance. "Are you holding up okay?"

Marel darts a look up at Ka'el that lasts all of a couple of seconds, then lowers her gaze to stare out across the sea. "You can sit, if you want," she says bluntly, not bothering to pretty up the invitation. "He doesn't mind." Apparently not, since Isyriath keeps lying flat and still, like he could be the best shield from the elements ever, if only to look after his girl and make sure she's okay. The brownrider's focus drifts further, falling to the edge of the ocean and the wet sand there when Ka'el asks that last question, and, for a few long moments, there's not the slightest indication that she can or is going to summon an answer from anywhere. Marel simply hunkers down into the protection of her leather jacket and stares listlessly at the ground. Then: "As long as I have things to do. As long as I don't think about it."

The Weyrleader nods at her invitation and does indeed sit, using Isyriath's grand body as a shield. Ah, now that's better! The day would be far more enjoyable without the gusty chill, and with the brown blocking it, his voice needn't be so loud anymore. He settles himself next to her. Closeness rarely has been a problem between the two of them, and thus the mere inch or so that separates his shoulder from hers is not a thing that he even considers. What he does think about is her well-being. It is his job to do so. Make sure his riders are alright. Dragons tend to forget things. Humans…not so much. But even beyond his job description, Marel has been his friend for…longer than most. Her well-being is a more personal thing for him. Her answer is listened to quietly, head nodding imperceptibly. "I can guess that nowadays you've plenty of things to do.." he says quietly, the fingers of one hand pressing against the sand. "…Do you have a name?" he asks with the slightest indication of a smirk on his lips.

Marel automatically moves to rest her head against his shoulder, her arms knotted loosely across her ribcage, while her hands have retreated up into the safety and warmth of her sleeves. "Everyone seems intent on trying to run the shop for me, but it's better to be there than… elsewhere, once my paperwork is done." Her voice remains quiet, but it's easier to hear, what with Isyriath shielding them from the worst of the breeze. "I'm sorry that I'm pretty much flying a desk now; I could be more useful if I could go Between more," she tells him, idly watching their feet. She takes a deep breath and holds it for a moment, then remarks, "Plenty of time for a name, still," in a murmur. "M'kal's… moved back to his place. For a while."

And with the touch of her head to his shoulder, the inch of space becomes none. Ka'el shifts himself so that the sides of their bodies lightly press, his presence meant to be a reassuring one. "Meh, don't worry about that. We need desk riders as much as we need sky ones," he says. "Besides, I know you can't Between, but there's no real need for you to anyway. The wings are … okay. It was rough for a while but… the riders are recovering. .. Have recovered. Comet's back in the air. Galaxy's sweeps are being done here and over the Holds again. It's…" Back to normal. Those are the words on his tongue, but even though things pretty much are, it's not the same as before. "It's working out," he says instead. "You tend to your shop. You're needed there, so that's where you should be. We go where we're needed. And.." A full smirk is on his face now, "I wouldn't bet on time. It goes by faster than you think. When Skyler was born…shards. It happened so fast. One minute we're at home, the next I'm takin' her to the healers, thinking she's hurt. We hadn't thought of a name. With everything there was to think of, a name…sort of slipped our minds somehow. And suddenly, there he was. Nameless." He chuckles at the memory, both a recent yet distant one. But mirth slips from his face at the news of M'kal. He makes a sound in his throat. A grunt. A frown replacing his smile. "I…'m sorry."

"Yes, but I don't expect you to let up on me just because I'm pregnant and sad," Marel answers dryly, deliberately demeaning her current situation and day to day emotional range to diminish them as much as possible, because really taking them seriously would be too much. "…I'm sorry. I'm selfish. Your days have been turned upside down and I'm— It's not that I don't see it in other people, that they— hurt. I'm just trying to… forget mine, and it means pretending I don't see it." She closes her eyes against the threat or tears or worse, and when she opens them again there's nothing but an icy-green steadiness. "…I have an idea, for a name, but I think it will just make people upset right now. So…" So, she's leaving it alone, for now. As for M'kal: "Don't be," she softly insists. "I'm not good company for anyone at the moment, and there's no use in me making him miserable. I'm… okay with quiet and focus, but I don't expect everyone to be happy with hours of silence."

"It isn't always about being happy though, is it? I mean … shards, Marel. He's supposed to be there for you. To weyrmate someone means that you don't get to run away because things are difficult. I get that this is hard for him, but it's hard for you too, and not only with that but with everything else that's happened." Ka'el is obviously displeased by the situation, but he does know that it isn't his situation to interfere too much in. But … friendship allows for a little bit of interference, right? "Making him miserable…shell. He should be concerned about making you miserable. You're not selfish. You're just wanting what we've all wanted and needed since…Seryth. I hadn't thought that he…" He cuts himself off there, frown deepening as his head shakes. "You said 'for now', right? Hopefully he gets his head together before it's too late for him to get back anything that he's risking to lose." Irritated as he is, it's a good thing that there are other topics to divide his attention, and thus, he circles back around to the name. "What sort of name would make people upset? Unless you're planning on naming it Snowstorm or PowerOutage," he says in attempt at light humor. "Try me."

"But I'm not good at having or wanting people to be there for me," Marel murmurs in even, accepting argument. "It's no use him hovering around me; just another person waiting for me to burst into tears. I think I make him feel useless, and it's not fair for me to do that to him." She gives a shrug of the shoulder than won't jostle Ka'el. "And it'll be worse when the baby arrives, because I'm going to be happy and so sad at the same—" She stops, swallows and gets her voice back under control, before it can crack again and leave her to shatter. "…We're not married. There's nothing written down. We don't have any children. Someone asks and someone says yes, and then you're weyrmates. …And it's just as easily undone." For all her practical words, it can't be so difficult to tell that there's a lot of tension in a frame held so still. Marel falls silent for a little while, then picks up the thread of her baby's name. "…If it's a girl, Thea-Nerys. After her, and me and the father." The nameless one, that she hasn't revealed.

Easily undone. Marel's giving Ka'el many reasons to frown, though the frowns aren't directed at her, nor do they give him any desire to pull away from her. They're expressions of disagreement of thought, merely, for he does disagree. Voiced now, "I don't believe so, and I don't really think you believe it either. There may not be paperwork on it..but shards, there's enough paperwork for everything else in life. But still, even without a signed document or whatever, asking someone to be a weyrmate and agreeing to it is a big deal. .. At least, to me it is. To me, it's making a promise to be a part've someone else's life and to make a life together. Good things happen, bad things happen. Weyrmates know that, good or bad, they've promised to be there. It's like.. now, it isn't all just about yourself and how you feel anymore." He exhales and shifts his body a bit, leaning away just enough to free the arm closest to her to curl around her shoulders. "You deserve more than what life's giving to you, and it's frustrating to me to see you sad. .. You're not alone though, you know that right? You can always come to me if you need anything. Anything at all. And your baby's name, if it's a girl, is a tribute. Who could be upset about that?" A small smile for that. Thea-Nerys. A mouthful of a name! "And if it's a boy?" he asks. "Would you name him after the father? … Does he know?"

The more he goes on - the more evidence and opinions that he has against her so (to her) logically-constructed argument - the more of a struggle it is for Marel to keep her expression blank and serene and calm. She listens, there's no doubt about that, but just before he lifts his arm around her, she blurts out, "Ka'el, please, I— I can't," in an effort to try and stall him from anything further. At least, anything more that's going to result in her breaking down in an ugly, embarrassing way. However, it doesn't prevent her from leaning into him when his arm curls around her shoulders, though she can do little more than nod in answer to his reminder, not trusting her voice. "…I'd just call her Nerys," she murmurs, when she can speak again. "Maybe Nerri. Might work for a boy too, that. I've not thought much about boy-names; I've got a lot of boys in my life. Should be a girl, by rights." Perhaps she's joking. "He knows. He's not really interested. Not now, anyway."

"Okay, okay. I'm sorry," says Ka'el in a hushed tone, realizing that perhaps he's pushing too hard at a time where fragility should be taken into consideration. "I'm sorry," he says again, the arm around her squeezing just a little. His thoughts on M'kal will be kept to himself .. perhaps to be spoken over with M'kal himself, if he gets the chance. Someone should get his side of the story too, right? Maybe he has legitimate reasons. Maybe Ka'el will find ways to sympathize… Maybe. For now, he'll drop it and solely think about the baby and name. Nerys. Nerri. Favoring a girl over a boy. The rider who Ka'el isn't even sure hails from Xanadu or not. She might have told him, but he's forgotten if she has. "You know," he says with a minor smirk, "My ma had six boys. Countin' my da, it was a house of seven boys and just her. I don't think evenness is a thing that fate thing considers. Plus … boys are awesome." A light chuckle. "But, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you."

Marel gives a sniff, but there are no tears when she just curls all the more in against the bronzerider without clinging or trying to hide herself away too much. "Maybe it'll turn out that I've got a boy and a girl in there, like me and Mur'dah, and then you'll never see me again for chasing babies around the Weyr," she tries to joke, voice a little hoarse. There's the slightest ripple of fear that runs through those words, as if, for all her joking, the idea of two of them is one that terrifies her right now. "I don't suppose that I'll really mind whether it's a boy or a girl, as long as they're… okay. And as long as I don't have to give them up to anyone." Carefully, she nudges in an elbow against his side. "Some boys are awesome."

Twins, eh? It seems to be the trend. Maybe it's something in the water. Luckily, Soriana didn't partake in any of that magic liquid. One child is more than enough for them! "Well, at least you'd have a legitimate reason for hiding away," he remarks. "I couldn't imagine the work it'd take to care for two at once! But … even if that…is the case for you, you've plenty of help here. It'll work out, and everything will be fine." Even if he can't hear her concern, he can feel it. He knows how scary it can be to rely on something that may not be there tomorrow. But…they will be there tomorrow for her. The people who are left in her life. The ones that she trusts. "It's doable," he says of not giving them up. "People make it sound impossible, and.. I'll admit it isn't easy all the time, but it can be done." He jab makes him grin, and he retaliates by pushing his weight against her a little more. "This boy is awesome," he says with a beam, speaking of himself. "And if ever you want practice on diaper changing, Skyler's all yours."

"D'had's not sired any other twins, so I imagine I'd have Mama's blood to blame for it, if it happens," Marel replies, exhaling slowly. "If they raised me and Mur'dah without foster parents, I can raise my child without fostering them. It might be a different story if I ever have more, but… there's just one to think about now." One. Hopefully not two. When he leans back against her, she manages to crack a small smile, though it fades to leave something more fond and sincere in its wake. "Yes, you are," she says gently, resting her head back against his shoulder for a moment. "But you're not getting out of your own diaper-changing duties by calling it a learning experience for me," the brownider deadpans. Silence descends for another few moments, before she looks up again and right at him. "Thank you. I'm not… I'm not my mother, and I can't be her, but I am here. Whatever I can do. For you, and for the Weyr."

Aw man, he can't pawn off all of Skyler's smelly diapers to Marel? "You're sure? I mean, I've already had months’ worth of practice. I'm willing to sacrifice further changes in order to serve you, Marel," he says, trying to sound serious and only half succeeding at it. "All of his poops…shall be yours." .. Okay, now he has to laugh. One can only talk about poop for so long before it starts being humorous. Just the word itself has a certain funny ring to it. Poop. Heh. (Male humor, gotta love it right?) Comfortable silence follows then, and he's content to feel the light movements of Isyriath's breathing behind him until he's met with Marel's eyes squarely .. for the first time since he's arrived. His brows gently raise, and…then, he smiles, his expression soft and warm. "I know. You've always been there for me. Remember the same can be said for me. Whatever I can do..about this or anything else. His arm is withdrawn from her shoulders now, fingers just briefly touching her hair before pulling fully away. "For now, I should finish these rounds and head back to the office. Are you staying out?"

Marel just… stares. And keeps on staring until it becomes clear that she's being vaguely theatrical about it, the straight, unimpressed face that she's met him with beginning to crack around the edges. "I swear, this baby had better sharding well be a girl," she sighs, deliberately over the top. "I'll need some intelligent conversation, when I'm stuck with a Weyrleader making poop jokes." As Ka'el begins to move, she folds her legs beneath her and starts to get to her feet. "No, I should get home. I've got… some things to sort through." Whether actual objects or otherwise. Beside them, Isyriath very carefully inches away enough to lift to his paws without causing any harm, then pads around to bring himself back up along his rider's side. "Are you heading back that way?"

Ka'el laughs as he gets to his feet and offers a hand to help her up as well, if she wants the assistance. "Trust me, you'd rather my poop jokes than my pee jokes. You know nothin' of the power of urine til you've changed a boy's diaper. It's a risk every time you take the thing off. It's as if he takes aim." Oh boy! The things to look forward to in the life of parenting. Ka'el will happily clue her in to all of the messy details she has in store, whether he child be a boy or girl. Mwuahaha! He keeps himself near her once she's on her feet, Isyriath on one side, Ka'el on the other. Between them, Marel's in the safest place possible! "I can head that way," he says, nodding. "Might as well cut back through the meadow and head down the coast a bit before circling back…" He lifts his hood back in place and then, in a chivalrous motion complete with a grin, offers his arm to her. "M'lady," he says, dipping his head. "I'll be happy to escort you." Which he does, back to her home.

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