Mother and Grandmother (Vignette)

Xanadu Weyr - Secret Garden Refuge
Constructed of hand-chiseled whitestone, this cottage is unique in that it appears to have been here from before the time Xanadu was founded, it's stones bearing a resemblance to the ruins in the old forest. Large windows, flanked by raw wooden shutters faded to a silvery-grey, have thick-leaded diamond panes that allow the meadow's light inside. Pink climbing roses scale the front wall, the porcelain blossoms scenting the air with their delicate fragrance and providing shade over the three shallow stone steps leading to a portico in which an arch-topped door is set.

The space within the cottage is vast, but simple. Stone floors are covered in large rugs in pale, pastel shades and the walls have been painted white. Some spaces have built-in storage: cupboards in the living room; counters and a cooling/heating unit for food in the kitchen, which is accessible via a door to the right. The living room has a double-wide, deeply-inset window that make the sunny room perfect for housing potted plants, Isyriath's portion opening off of one side. Comfortable couches in pale pink line two of the walls, standing opposite each other, a long, low table set between them in the centre of the room. On the wall, above one of the couches, hangs a painting of meadow, in which both the cottage and Marel herself feature, the picture signed with a capital M. To the rear of the cottage, a door to the left leads through to the main bedroom, while French doors open up onto a private courtyard, a garden enclosed within.

She was drowning in a sea of sample goods again, everything from ribbons and pottery to packets of seeds scattered across her living room. Her focus had been on keeping the shop’s current lines going and making sure that the books balanced, just so that she didn’t have to reach too far into the world or form eloquent responses to communication. She couldn’t very well send back proposed products with just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, just because she couldn’t summon the wherewithal to really consider how she felt about them.

Numbers were easier. They worked and added up and gave out the right answer, or they didn’t. They didn’t ask much of her. However, the more she left things be, the more likely it was that the shop would drop off the map, and it was a selfish risk that she couldn’t afford - literally or otherwise - to take.

Her mother wouldn’t have wanted her to be stupid.

She had the letter memorised; she didn’t need to see the text ever again to remind herself of what she had found there.

Dear Mama and Tharen,

I have so much to tell you! I think Mur'dah's finally found the one, a lovely girl who will balance him I think. Marel spent the evening with me last night. I'm so pleased to tell you that I'm going to be a—

A grandmother. It was the only word that she believed could finish the sentence, so long as it referred back to and built on the one before it. Her hand lifted to curl around the gold locket that now had one more panel added to its contents, Thea’s likeness added to those of her children. As the months of her pregnancy wore on, she was beginning to miss her mother more and more, and not, as people kept assuring her, learning to accept the pain and move on. She couldn’t turn to her mother to ask what she wanted about babies and birth and all sorts of other things that kept stacking up in her mind and worrying at her.

The more stacked up, the less she wanted to speak.

She tried to find solace in the fact that her mother had been happy that she was going to have a child. Thea hadn’t just been pretending for her sake. The goldrider would never have known that her daughter would find those few lines or correspondence, never to be finished. Marel knew that, later, she would be glad for what she had learned, but now she felt everything from upset to anger at the world, or excitement, until she remembered that her mother wasn’t there anymore.

She was glad. She was. But Thea wasn’t going to get to meet her grandchild, and sometimes Marel wondered that she had any right to call herself a grown-up, when she needed her mother so much. How was she going to be a parent, when she longed so much for guidance?

She wanted to be stupid. Sometimes, she just wanted to sleep for days at a time, though she wasn’t sure that was her apathy or the baby taxing her more as time passed.

The knock at the door startled her out of her daze before it could truly grab hold of her and drag her down. With a sigh, Marel pushed herself up from the floor and padded across to answer the summons of the person outside, expecting it to be one of her wingmates or staff with, well, paperwork. She was good at that. No use in not putting to work someone who was getting through more now than she did before, even if she didn’t offer a smile and a laugh with it.

When she pulled open the door, she could only stare at the green-knotted figure before her.

“I’m sorry. For your loss, and that I… didn’t know when you might want to see me again. You misunderstood what I said. Our baby is yours. I’ll do what you want.”

When he kissed her, she didn’t stop him.

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