Second Chances Aren't For Everyone

Xanadu Weyr - Secret Garden Refuge
How has this gem stood empty so long? 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 - sitting room, kitchenette, sleeping and bathing room - is simple: stone floors are covered in vast rugs in pale, pastel shades and the walls have been painted white. Some spaces have built-in storage: cupboards in the sitting room; counters and a cooling/heating unit for food in the kitchenette. The sitting 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. To the rear of the cottage, the bedroom has French doors that open onto a private retreat formed by a three-walled, flag-stoned courtyard of the same material that makes up the cottage walls. In the centre lies a flower garden, neat rows of tulips and rose bushes planted in fresh soil, a non-functional stone fountain serving as decoration alone, for now.

The snow on the ground seems to be a permanent fixture on Xanadu. A glistening blanket of white that fails to melt during the day as the temperatures remain frigid from sunrise to set. Ka'el has been a busy boy ince the day of his party. No rest for the weary, or so they say! He and Kanekith again find themselves shadowing the Comet wing, and this time, instead of mail delivery, he's been tasked with taxi service. Granted, Kanekith is a taxi that cannot go between, thus these rides tend to be fairly short and straightforward, with the occasional fly between holds. It's still good practice, and right now Ka'el has a break between rounds. Kanekith has been sent off to hunt while he has snagged a mobile lunch of a meatroll and now strolls through the meadow, his mind wandering and expression vaguely smug. He passes weyrs but pauses at a certain one. Is this…? Well, only one way to find out! He heads up to the cottage, finishing up the last of his meatroll and peering to the dragon weyr to see if he can spot a particular brown dragon before he knocks on the door of the cottage. Knock knock knock!

It's a day for staying inside when duties don't necessitate being outside, and so between or perhaps already /after/ today's work for Marel, both she and Isyriath have done exactly that and retreated home. There /is/ brown hide that might be glimpsed within Isyriath's portion of the stone cottage, but the young dragon has turned his back to the outside world and his attention inwards to the cottage itself, so whilst there's clearly a dragon within, he's not looking /back/ at Ka'el. It takes a few moments after the knock at the door rings through the dwelling for the door to swing open and Marel to appear in the entryway, her hands wrapped around a mug of something warm, little curls of steam drifting their way up into the chill air. "Am I to give you refuge from the cold?" she greets with a faintly sly smile, leaning against the doorframe as she looks up at Ka'el.

Hope she's home. Hope she's home. It's coooold out here! Ka'el adjusts the gray beanie on his head before stuffing his ungloved hands deep within the pockets of his riding jacket. There's a dragon home! Doesn't necessarily mean that the rider is here too. He takes a moment to appreciate the outside of the cottage, but his eyes snap back to the door as it opens, revealing his brown-riding friend. He grins initially, a quick flash of a crooked smile, but oh then, his expression turns pitiful. Cold and forlorn. "Miss. Please miss, take pity on me, for I but a cold, unfortunate soul. Surely, a kind lady such as yourself wouldn't turn me away? I beg of you, I only seek a moment's reprieve from the bitter cold that freezes my body to the core. It's been…so…long since I've felt the warmth of heat. Please, miss, have mercy!"

Marel is (usually) a good hostess. So, she does what all good hostesses do (not do) and… pretends to consider whether or not to let the bronzerider in, before telling Ka'el, "I'm afraid I'm un-chaperoned. Nope!" and slamming the door in his face. That's right. She's kind enough to not leave him there on the doorstep for long, leaving the joke run its course over the matter of but a handful of seconds, for the door swings back open moments later and, "Get in here!" drifts back through the cottage, Ka'el left to deal with the closing of the door himself. "Just don't track mud in!" Marel adds, already retrieving a second mug of whatever she's got for herself.

Ka'el's eyes go big and hopeful. Surely she can't say no to this face! Surely she'll let him in! Surely… *SLAM!* His jaw drops as those big and hopeful eyes are given nothing but a slammed door. Gasp! He gapes and stares, holding that pose as he has a feeling that door's going to open again. At least, he hopes it does! And ah, there it is, and Ka'el remains frozen for a few seconds more so she can get the full effect of his gaping stare before his act dissolves with laughter. He hurries in, though not before giving his boots a few good stamps and scrapes outside to rid them of snow and dirt before he steps inside. The door is closed behind him, shutting out the cold. "Ah, it feels good in here," he sighs appreciatively, taking a look around. "Wow, this is really nice. It looks very.." his eyes stop on those pale pink couches, "..much for a girl," he finishes with a grin.

"Funnily enough, I /am/ a girl," Marel drawls over one shoulder, screwing the lid down on the jug that turns out to hold a variety of hearty fruit tea. Maybe that's girly too, but it is at least warming, and so it's offered out to her clutchmate regardless. "I chose the furnishings. It was empty when I moved in; same as most, I imagine." He may not be a girl, but Isyriath seems perfectly at home in the old, old cottage, and presently watches the pair through the gap in the wall that permits him to do so, eyes whirling a contented, calm shade of blue. "I anticipated ending up in a cold, dark cave, but this is sort of like having our own little Hold," the brownrider remarks, heading across to take up a spot on one of the couches, Ka'el invited to do much the same with a gesture towards the sitting room.

"Hey, there he is." Ka'el grins and waves a greeting to the young brown upon spying his face peeking in. "Ha, Kanekith would love somethin' like that in ours. I, on the other hand, would never get a moment's peace if he could stick his nose in whenever he wanted." He smirks while moving closer to her to take the warm drink. Girly or not, it certainly smells good. And it's warm! Both hands wrap around the mug, savoring the heat that's seeping into his frigid hands. "You chose well then. Very feminine," he speaks of the furnishings, an amused look on his face. "You lucked out. How'd you end up with something like this and Mur'dah with…well…he's staying with Soriana, apparently. I wonder why he doesn't fill out a plea form requesting a different weyr altogether. There has to be something else." He takes a sip of his drink, making a face of contentment after. "S'good.." He follows after her, sitting down upon the same couch. "Missed you at the party, if you were there. More people came than I expected," he admits.

Ka'el earns himself a light warble from Isyriath, who observes the bronzerider's proximity to his Marel in a continued state of relaxation, not worried in the slightest about his presence. The caramel-coloured brown isn't nosy in any listening he happens to do, happy to simply lie curled as he is with a perfect view through the cottage, merely /there/ in such a quiet way as might have him blending into the background. "…Sometimes he needs to grow up a little," she says of her twin. And sometimes /she/ needs to act her age. "Maybe rebuilding his weyr is meant to help him to do that? He can be too… impulsive." As for the party, she glances down into her lap as she makes an awkward confession: "…I did… I /meant/ to go, but I got close and there was Jnelle and all those people and I… I didn't want it to turn out like Mur'dah burning all that stuff. So I came home again." Murmured: "I'm sorry."

"Yeah, maybe. Sort've sucks for him now though," Ka'el remarks, wondering how he'd feel if he finally had his own weyr .. only to find that it's unlivable during the winter months! Though maybe it doesn't suck so much for the other brownling. He does, after all, have the chance to live alongside their goldriding clutchmate til the weather warms up! Ka'el takes another slow swallow of his warming drink as he listens to her, brows furrowing vaguely. "Jnelle? .. Aw, you should've stayed! I'll have you know no one visited the infirmary this time," he reports, proudly. "The only thing that was burned were grilled cheese sandwiches, though I stand by what I said there: They were "blackened", not "burned". It was fun. We played games, there was fireworks and marshmallows." A small smirk. "I even got Mur'dah and Kera to hug and put aside their differences. They're probably best mates by now." Unlikely! "Next time," he encourages with a grin. "You'll come next time. You've gotta kick back more." And Ka'el probably could kick back a little less!

"Jnelle's a bitch," Marel says bluntly, which might be the worst thing he's ever heard her say about anyone. "The more time I don't have to be around her, the better. You know that she told Soriana that there was something going on between us?" And that transgression must be enough for Marel to strike her from the list of people worth talking to or being around. "I'm sorry, but I don't trust her and I don't have time for girls like her who just want to stir things up." Talk of Mur'dah and Kera draws something possessive into the narrowing of green eyes. "I doubt that," she insists of her brother and the apprentice being friends. "Though, for all I know, he's only pretending to dislike her because he fancies her."

Woah. That is the worst thing he's ever heard her say about anyone, and the surprise on his face is difficult to hide. Not that he's trying to hide it, mind you. But there is a curiosity gleaming within those baby blues. What has ol' Jnelle done to make yet another enemy? He'd ask, but he needn't, for it's soon revealed. And there's more surprise to be seen. "Wait a minute. She said what?" Obviously, this is news to him. Soriana herself hadn't said a peep, though it's common for her not to say much regarding that particular greenrider. He shakes his head briskly, brows furrowing. "I dunno why.. She's not so bad all the time. Once you get to know her.." says the guy who'll give anyone a chance, as long as that person hasn't already gotten under his skin. "In any case, she was fine at the party. And Mur'dah.." he snickers, "If that's what he's doing then he should be a harper because I've never seen anyone act so convincingly. He's got me fooled!"

"She said," Marel reiterates slowly, "that we - you and I - were more than friends; that we'd been kissing," because 'making out' is a childish term, "and maybe more, behind Soriana's back. And why do that, if not to upset someone or make trouble? Or to get you for herself?" She retrieves her own mug from where she's left it on the table opposite the couch, silent study made of Ka'el as she takes a slow drink. "Haven't you ever thought that she's nice to you because it's you she wants? I don't know anyone else who thinks she's a good person." Actively listening or not, Isyriath adds his own low rumble of agreement to his rider's thoughts.

Why, indeed? Ka'el no longer drinks, content to keep his hands around the mug while allowing Marel's rather sensible words seep into his mind. Would Jnelle really say that, and Soriana not say anything to him about it? But really, is that any different than what he's doing with her now? "She told me Soriana wouldn't last with me because she isn't the type that'd be happy with one person for too long." A pause. "Once, before weyrlinghood and candidacy and all've this, she.. told me something near the same." Not one of his favorite memories, considering the downward tug of his lips. "I thought now it'd be different." A pause, then he snorts out a breath, shaking his head. "It is different now. We're all different than we were back then. You're right about Jnelle, but it's hard for me to just kick her aside." A vague smile reclaims his expression. "Just think though. We're nearly at graduation. Another month or two. She's not planning on sticking around here. She'll be out've everyone's hair after that."

Marel's eyes widen before she rolls them skywards and then allows her features to smooth back out into their usual, often unreadable, serenity. "So, basically, she's told Soriana that you're cheating and you that Soriana's going to cheat on you one day?" she thinks aloud, more for his benefit that hers. "She's a nasty piece of work. It's either you she wants or it's Soriana. Whatever it is, she doesn't want the two of you together." She leans back against the arm of the couch, though remains angled toward Ka'el, keeping him right in her line of sight. "The sooner she's gone, the better. I don't want her spreading any more lies about me."

Ka'el raises his mug in toast. "Here's to graduation then. Graduation: The day of liberation!" He grins, crookedly. "In all truth though, who'd ever believe anything she'd have to say about you? You of all people. Hearin' you say bitch is about the worst thing I've ever heard from you." A smirk, and he raises his brows expectantly. "Anything else you're wantin' to get off your chest? There's a grand many four letter words that feel real good comin' out from time to time." He takes another swallow of his drink before setting it down upon the tabletop.

"It wouldn't surprise me if she's gone on about me being a spoilt little rich girl or only getting anywhere in classes because I'm the Weyrwoman's daughter," Marel declares in a dry voice, last of her drink drained from her mug in the seconds that follow. "But I don't think there's anything else that needs venting. I've been uncharitable enough for one day." Except she hasn't /quite/ been uncharitable enough, for she adds, "Though if she says anything about M'kal or Mur'dah before we're all free of her, I might have to steal a flamethrower and burn her weyr down." At least her tone is still dry enough for her to be joking. "I guess you're going to go back to the crafters' wing when we graduate?"

Ka'el jerks a thumb over at Isyriath. "M'sure he'll oblige for ya, after a little firestone," he comments humoredly. "I think M'kal is safe, you needn't worry," he says with just as much humor as before. "There's little anyone could say about him I think that wouldn't be an obvious lie. He's very good at bein' unassuming." The question of after graduation has him falling quiet though, at least for a handful of seconds, ash e ponders his answer. "I don't know. Maybe… That was the plan, initially," he confirms with a single nod. "But now, I'm waiting for my turn with shadowing Search and Rescue. Maybe pick through Ers'lan's brain and see if there's a way to continue my craft through Search. Dunno if it's possible, but if there's a way, that's what I want." He tilts his head a little. "What about you? And wing strike your fancy?"

Marel shakes her head, insisting, "Not the type," of her lifemate. "And I wouldn't want to drag him into it anyway." Thought through quite a bit for a hypothetical burning down. She shrugs one shoulder when her question is turned back on her, and murmurs, "There isn't much in the way of choice for me." Dwelling on that for a moment, she then finds her metaphorical feet again. "I'm not trained in any craft, I don't know all that much about technology and I'm not a goldrider. I don't think I'd be much use to Search and Rescue either." Another shrug. "So, that leaves Diplomacy or Delivery. I've had a good education, so I guess maybe I'd be better off in one of them anyway."

"Diplomacy… It has your name written all over it," says Ka'el, thinking over what he learned about the wing. "Visitors. Visiting holds. Meetings of diplomacy.." He quirks a brow, eyeing her. "Delivery is alright if you don't mind your dragon bein' a runner.." He lowers his voice, "Kanekith hates it." But oh, there are few things in this world that the bronze doesn't hate! Snickering, he continues. "You've got the poise and the words and the…experience. With your ma the Weyrwoman, you've probably seen all sorts come and go and the good and bad that people have done when meeting them. You'll be well suited." A smirk, though the look gets caught on his face for a few seconds as his eyes go distant, listening to the beckoning words of his dragon. "Speakin' of delivery… break's over. Mounting up for another round across the weyr." He rises then, stretching and leaving his mug on the table. "Thanks for your hospitality, Marel," he smirks.

"I can understand why he would." Kanekith hate being a runner, that is. "Isyriath wouldn't mind visiting lots of people, but I think we'd be better watching for what might not usually be seen. Though… I'm only fifteen." And what fifteen turn olds are assigned such tasks? Or could her youth actually be of use in that department? Following after Ka'el as he rises, she has a smile for him and: "Go and do your duty, good sir. Just don't freeze or I'll never forgive you." Given the chance, she'll see him back to his duties with a hug and a hot flask of something to keep him warm. She may be one of the youngest weyrlings, but that doesn't keep her from trying to play mother!

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