Something For Remembrance

Xanadu Weyr - Steward's Office
The office of the Steward is a place for things to pass through. On the side of the wooden desk nearest the door are a pair of boxes labeled In and Out. The center of the desk provides a place to process those papers, with a set of draftsman's tools - pens, pencils, rulers and compasses - tucked in a small wooden box. The computer, as it receives fewer messages, is set off to the side of the desk.
One thing that stays in the office is the Steward himself - at least, so long as he holds that office - and so there's a comfortable chair behind that desk, as well as a pair of plain wooden ones in front of it for those passing through.
Bookshelves line the walls, crammed with tomes ranging in topic from weather patterns of the southern continent to crop output for the last one hundred turns. They are some the many things of which a Steward must have a passing knowledge - one sufficient to let him delegate the rest. To record the events so delegated, there are a pair of file cabinets full of paperwork not yet so historical as to merit relocation to the archives.

Jethaniel is at his desk this afternoon, working on something complicated enough that he has four pages spread out at once, covered in rows of numbers and the occasional figure. He's making notes on a fifth, his expression a considering one. His office looks much as it usually does, the exception being a wooden box set atop one of the filing cabinets. It might be supplies, but the Steward's Office is an unlikely place to find those staged, even if the orders do in principle pass through here. His door's closed, but not latched; this may be an oversight, given that he doesn't have any appointments for another two hours… but business sometimes arrives unexpectedly, particularly when information is sent out without a precise timescale for it to be acted upon.

Mur'dah knocks softly on the door and then boldly tests the knob. When it doesn't resist him he pushes it open and pokes his head inside. "Jethaniel? Er, Steward? Sir? I…you…" Cough. "Mom's desk?"

Jethaniel starts slightly at the sound of a knock, but attempts to maintain his concentration for the aspect of this document. The attempt fails, as the knock is followed by an opening door and the sound of a voice. Jethaniel sets his pencil down and looks up. "Mur'dah." He observes the brownrider, then nods slightly. "I have taken the liberty of clearing it." He exhales, reaching for that pencil and adjusting its position. "Do you… wish to discuss the matter?"

Mur'dah hesitates, glancing around the room. "Sorry, is this a bad time? I can come back later, but I got your note…" He clears his throat again. "Yeah?" It's a question.

Jethaniel appears to find the pencil's new position satisfactory; he does not adjust to further. Instead, he gives his head a slight shake. "I have no pressing appointments." The papers on his desk are swept together into a stack and set aside, and then he rises. "The desk itself remains in the space." As, presumably, does the paperwork - but Jethaniel looks to that box atop his filing cabinet, crossing to it. His hands settle on it, and he looks back to Mur'dah. "You are welcome to sit down."

Mur'dah finally steps inside the office, closing the door behind him. The brownrider looks better than he has since Thea's passing. He looks like he's slept, but there's still a darkness to his eyes, a slight twitch to his gaze as he looks around. Moving forward, he sits in the chair. "How's Darsce?"

Sleep is classically considered as a balm for the soul; if so, it may be noted as only somewhat effective. Jethaniel lifts the crate, returning to his desk with it and setting it down. His eyes lower to that box, then lift again to Mur'dah. Darsce. "She is well." He smiles, a curve of his lips and a softening of his eyes. "We… ah… are expecting a child." Has Mur'dah already heard that news? Certainly not from Jethaniel, but news may have traveled within existing familial circuits.

Mur'dah is fixated on that box, swallowing thickly until…wait. What? If he was drinking he'd do a classic spit take. But he's not, so he just sputters and gapes at Jethaniel. "Wait. What?"

Jethaniel stands beside the box for a moment, his fingers resting against it, then takes his seat once more. He places his hands in front of him, resting against his desk with the fingertips touching lightly, and repeats himself in alternate words. "Darsce is pregnant." His smile remains, though it's subdued. Given the circumstances of this meeting and the box on his desk, that is perhaps not surprising.

Mur'dah blinks a few times. "I…why.." Not why is she pregnant. He /knows/ how that works. Why didn't she tell him? His mind staggers a bit, then focuses on the box. "Congratulations," he murmurs, offering Jethaniel a smile. "I'll…have to send her a note or something." The box. "Thank you for looking through her things. I wouldn't have known what was important…"

If Mur'dah is not aware of that process, Jethaniel will not be the one to inform him. Jethaniel's gaze lowers to his desk at Mur'dah's continued surprise, the corner of his mouth tugging to the side before he looks up again and inclines his head. "Thank you," he says to those congratulations. His expression now is a thoughtful one, the tips of his fingers curling in toward his palms slightly. "I am certain an opportunity could be arranged." His eyes lower, then flick toward the box. "Ah. Yes. I have primarily separated the work-related materials from the personal ones; the importance and disposition of them is somewhat yet to be determined." He reaches into the box, and draws out the first item; a framed picture that had been lying on top, of a preadolescent Muir and Marel. They're posed casually, Muir's arm draped over Marel's shoulders as they smile for the camera.

Mur'dah just nods, his focus shifting to the box. He recognizes the frame, and the picture, but he still swallows thickly as he reaches out to take it, staring at the faces that look back at him. So innocent and carefree. So /easy/. Nodding, he sets it gently aside. He'll probably give that to Marel.

Jethaniel's expression is closer to a lack thereof, outwardly impassive as he observes the action of Mur'dah's fingers around the picture and, peripherally, the brownrider's expressions. After the frame has been passed aside, Jethaniel reaches into the box again, drawing out a lump of misshapen clay - a pen-holder, made by childish hands and assigned that function due to a lack of suitability for any more complex task. "There are… several… of these." He can bring them all out to permit a choice of the most aesthetically… interesting… ones?

Mur'dah swallows again as he reaches out to take the lump of clay, automatically flipping it over to check for the maker's mark underneath. M. Well that's helpful. He has to smirk a bit, nodding. "Right," he says quietly. He doesn't need to see them all, as he sets it aside.

Jethaniel's eyes flick after the vessel, then back to Mur'dah. He hesitates a moment, then leans over to look into the box, selecting and setting out in a row the rest of the clay attempts. They may be observed and considered, but in the meantime, he moves on to withdraw a small canvas sewing kit - not a very large one, just enough supplies to quickly mend popped buttons or small tears. "It is practical," he notes, "but not, I think, standard issue." Not with the little green T embroidered in the corner.

Mur'dah sighs softly, nodding. "Wonder if Kiena can mend things," he mutters. It's not entirely a cheuvanistic thought. Not entirely. He still took things to his mother to repair - buttons, too-long hems, those sorts of things. And now…that's gone. Practical, but also very sentimental. One more loss, one more thing he'll have to do on his own. He takes the kit, finger over the T, and then sets it aside.

"It is… a useful skill," Jethaniel says. He glances into the box again, and hesitates. There's a flicker of his eyelids, a slight tilt of his head down, and he reaches in again, taking out a leatherbound daily calendar for the turn half gone and a small silver pocketwatch with gold filigree. These he sets on the desk, but while his fingers slip away enough to leave the watch itself, they linger on the chain.

Mur'dah's breath catches softly at the sight of the calendar. He reaches for it, almost eagerly, wanting to see his mother's handwriting again…but then he stops. No. He doesn't want to see the days of her life abruptly end. He leaves the calendar closed and looks at the pocketwatch, then at Jethaniel's fingers on the chain. "Is there a story to this?" he asks quietly, uncertain if he even recognizes it.

The appointments continue past the date marked rest-day in that calendar, but they were made prospectively. The schedule doesn't show an abrupt ending, merely… a slow tapering off of obligations. It is, as such, an inaccurate representation of life. Jethaniel's fingers trace along the chain. "It was hers." Her name is on it, in graceful looping letters. Thea. "Her time was…" He smiles faintly, wryly. "…often not." Jethaniel reaches down, opens the watch. Inside, black hands mark time over a white face with a gold-leaf dragon. 'Thea and Seryth', it reads, followed by, 'May your days be filled with light.' Which is not precisely the same as being filled with meetings.

Mur'dah knows this. He knows it isn't an abrupt end, it isn't a day marked 'death' with nothing after. He still doesn't want to see the appointments she made but never got to. His focus shifts to the watch again, nodding his head slightly. "Do you know who gave it to her?" he asks quietly.

"I do not," Jethaniel answers. His gaze lowers to the watch, marking out times around the names of a pair no longer living; from there, it drifts to the appointment book, lingering there for a moment rises again to Mur'dah. "I would like to keep it."

Mur'dah hesitates. It's something of his mother's. He's moved most of her furniture into his own weyr just to keep. Until he can emotionally part with the things. He has /enough/. Would he use it? No. It'd sit in a box. A good box, a nice box…but a box. So does he really need it? No. "Keep it," he says quietly, offering the steward a small smile. "I want people to…to have things to remember her by."

Jethaniel does not add further details to his desire; nor does he remove his hand as Mur'dah considers. He is merely silent, his expression a somber one. The watch has been temporarily stored in a box, since Jethaniel cleared it from Thea's desk; the scenario is indeed not one which particularly suits it, regardless of the nature of a theoretical future box. Jethaniel inclines his head as Mur'dah comes to a conclusion, drawing the pocketwatch toward him by that chain and closing it. He sets it on the calendar and draws both toward him and a little to the side, out of the way for the moment. "I expect many will find it difficult to forget her."

Mur'dah's eyes follow the calendar, and then look up to Jethaniel. The brownrider nods somberly. "I hope so." He hopes it's difficult. He hopes his mother's legacy lives on in far more ways than just him and Marel.

Jethaniel inclines his head to acknowledge Mur'dah's hope for his own expectation, then looks back to the box. "That is… everything of Thea from her desk." He reaches once more into the box, having said he has produced the last item, and pulls out one more - a faded, stained Weyrsecond's knot. It's wrapped in tissue paper, perhaps to help keep it from fading further and save the fragile old fabric, and rests lightly in Jethaniel's hand. "Strictly speaking, it reverts to the Weyr and should - if not in use - be destroyed. You may, however, look."

Mur'dah blinks at the knot, shaking his head slightly. "That's my dad's knot?" He can look? Then it'll be destroyed? Part of him bristles at that, but he keeps his mouth shut.

"I believe it likely," Jethaniel says with a slight nod. "I can think of no other reason why it would be retained in that desk instead of being disposed of or kept with the other knots. It did not arrive there accidentally." The tissue paper crinkles slightly, and the knot… lies there, an inert reminder of former times and people who were… different than they are now.

Mur'dah sighs, nodding his head a bit and leaning back, a clear 'I'm done' if there ever was one.

Jethaniel sets the knot down, adjusting the tissue paper around it. He will, presumably, deal with it later. For now, he gives the box a slight nudge, pushing it toward Mur'dah across the desk in case he wants to use it for packing those items he's taking with him, then looks to the brownrider. "If there exists something I may do, I would like to know. I am aware this is… difficult."

Mur'dah stands, carefully putting the items back into the box. Jethaniel's request has the young brownrider pausing for a moment. "Just…tell Darsce I'd like to see her?" he says quietly. "If she's willing…" Another pause, "and thank you for this. For…for doing this." For not just throwing things out. Not that Mur'dah thought he /would/, but this took effort and he appreciates it.

"I will do so," Jethaniel says. His eyes lower to his desk, to watch and calendar. "I expect she is willing; things have been… " He frowns slightly. "…busy." Jethaniel looks up to Mur'dah once again, and nods. "I am glad there was something I could do." The corner of his mouth tugs to the side, and his eyes lower for a moment. "Such as it is."

Mur'dah nods, finishing packing. "She is often busy," he says quietly, gazing into the box before he looks up to Jethaniel. "But family is important. Very."

"It may be." Jethaniel sets his hands in front of him. "It is not the only thing. The prioritization of elements is… sometimes a challenging one. Even when it is made according to our best assessments… we are sometimes lacking in crucial data." He exhales slowly, then looks back to Mur'dah. "I will tell Darsce."

Mur'dah doesn't even try to comprehend what he was just told, so he ends up nodding and lifting the crate. "Thank you, Jethaniel." With that, he turns, struggles a bit with the crate and the door, steps outside, struggles again to close the door, and is gone.

"You are welcome," Jethaniel answers. He starts to rise as Mur'dah struggles with the door, but before he can get to his feet, the brownrider's through, so Jethaniel instead sinks back to his chair, closing his eye for a moment before returning to that project and the work of the Weyr. It's probably important work… whatever that actually means.

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