Marel's Mediation

Xanadu Weyr - Forest
This broad path that leads from the main clearing into the forest has been designed in such a manner so as to be not only wide enough for wagons to travel through, but also providing ample space for dragons. The path appears only worn in the center though, as most of the traffic moving through this area is that of the two-legged kind. Flowers sprout up and speckle the lush grass with bright saffron and cheeky rose, creeping all the way up to the bases of the trees that rise upward in their aged magnificence, gargantuan limbs casting often welcome shade, the general atmosphere and scent of the path is one of freshness and wild abandon.

The path winds its way leisurely through the trees, deeper into the forest and a number of less traveled paths branch away from it. Southwest leads to the forest's edge near the base of the tumbled rocks that mark the wilder areas of the forest and the mountains that rise behind Xanadu. West leads to the Firelizard Theater, northeastward the path leads to the feeding grounds and beyond that the gravel road that bisects the paddocks leading to the bovine complex. East leads to the meadow where it joins both the road that crosses the bridge over the river leading to the clearing and the the coastal road that leads out of Xanadu bypassing the beach and the Caspian Lake. Here there are secluded spots where one might picnic.

The thing about diplomacy and all that paperwork is that stoicism often works in one's favour in such situations. Lucky for Marel's wing, that's just how (not) expressive she's been of late, clocking in and clocking out only saying what she must, but watching all with her usual quiet attentiveness. With work over for the day, she's hidden herself in amongst the trees of the forest, her location not so far away from a particular bronzerider's weyr. Still attired in her newly-bought, wine-dark and figure-hugging leathers, she's clambered into one of said trees and positioned herself on a sturdy, low-hanging branch to watch any passing traffic or just keep out of people's way, hidden where few are likely to find her. But for Isyriath and hi presence before her weyr in the sunshine, she might, to some, have disappeared completely.

Thank Faranth today was mostly groundwork within the new ranks of Galaxy. The ability to strap up Kanekith in a timely manner has been greatly compromised due to a pounding headache and overall ghastly feeling that's claimed his body. Flying cleanly through drills? Forget it. One would think Ka'el's been doing nothing but filling himself with toxins for the past sevenday and a half! Oh, wait. That's exactly what he's been doing, and it's taking its toll. As he heads through the forest from the training grounds, his pace is slow, steps labored. He's on his way home with intentions of holing himself up and collapsing, though not first without a swallow or ten to ease the pain, both physical and otherwise now. He grimaces, touching at the pocket of his trousers, feeling the outline of a folded parchment there. He pauses, momentarily, then continues on, murmuring a "'s'cuse me.." to a passerby that he nearly runs into. With his eyes set downward, he misses the tree-bound girl above.

Luckily, tree-bound girl has been climbing trees for turns, and so is quite adept at shifting her balance to turn and follow Ka'el's progress just as he approaches the tree (so much easier now in leathers than in the dresses of her not-so-distant youth). The branch is not so high as to make leaping from it without damage impossible, which is also lucky, since clambering down the trunk would take time that Marel decides she doesn't have. She doesn't outright /leap/, but she swings down so as to grip the branch with her hands and means to land herself right in-front of Ka'el, dropping down into a crouch to let limbs and back absorb the thud of feet hitting earth. Straightening, she has to look up at her clutch-sibling, but that deters her not the slightest bit. "I've told the tavern not to serve you." Hello.

Ka'el's progression home is suddenly interrupted by the dropping of something in front of him. If he had been paying attention, maybe he'd've heard the shift of branches. Or maybe he would've seen her in the first place. Unfortunately, none of the above is true, and thus, he's startled. His steps stop abruptly and he recoils back, eyes widening. "Shards!" .. Marel. He stares at the younger girl, his injured eye no longer swollen at all, and the color has gone back to mostly normal with the passing days. Only trace amounts of a black eye is left, a mere red mark upon his upper cheekbone. Both eyes, normally a clear blue, appear tired. Bloodshot. And now, with her statement, tensed. "Y'can't do that…You're not a weyrwoman." The edges of his mouth vaguely curve downward, and he shifts, trying to step around her. "Mind your own business.." is murmured.

"I'm a girl known not to tell untruths, with the Weyrwoman for a mother, and an order from her that may or may not exist," Marel argues oh-so-reasonably, announcing her lie in a roundabout and overly-wordy way. "Try ordering another drink and see where it gets you." He may try to step around her, but the usually docile girl has no problem getting up in his face or lying today, so it seems. He goes to step around and she goes to step closer, her lift up onto her tiptoes subtle, for all the meager height that it grants her. "What've you been poisoning yourself with? Whiskey?" Her expression darkens at the very word. "You're my business. This ends now, one way or another. Enough."

Meh. She won't let him get away and slink home and hide behind the mouth of a bottle. A small physical barrier that, despite her diminutive size, might as well be a mountain with her resolve. His frown deepens at her warning. Would she really have done that? .. Did she? His eyes flit to the side, glancing in the general direction of the clearing and the tavern that lies within it. "Whatever.." muttered dismissively. He has at least a bottle left at home. A flask or two from that Fortian fellow. All of that will run out…but it's something, at least, and stubbornly his eyes return to her. He doesn't back away as she lifts up, and her question of his drink of choice earns a scowl but no answer. "What does it matter? Shards, Marel! You don't… I don't need t'be your business. Don' waste your time."

"Shards, Ka'el!" Marel echoes right back at him, her voice rising. "You are so self-involved and inner-focused that you don't see any of it, do you? You don't care that people care and you're so sure that being an ass and shutting yourself away is a cure for all your problems." She has enough grace to pause, her own hypocrisy - at least when concerned with that shutting away business - something that doesn't go unacknowledged. "I don't care that you don't care, and I don't care what you think you're going to do now, but I'm not going away and you are coming home with me." By the time she's done inching forward, she might be far enough into his personal space that he'll have to shove at her to move her. "I couldn't do anything for Daddy, but I can stop you doing this. You still owe me a surprise. Is this it? Taking a leaf from my drunken father's book?"

Close. She's very close, so much so that Ka'el can nearly feel her anger radiating from her body. Proximity prickles his skin and tenses the muscles in a nervousness that he's never shown before with her. His hands, kept at his side, are soon shoves into his pockets, his left one crushing the parchment that was so carefully folded within it. Eyes no longer hold hers, too afraid of what she may see within them. His jaw clenches, grinding his teeth against each other as he has no choice but to listen to her, his pounding head pulsing a sickening beat to his temples. She wants him to go home with her? Save him from himself. It's nearly laughable, but it isn't a laugh that escapes from Ka'el's mouth. "I don' know what made your da do what he did," he says, eyes still averted, voice low. "..I promise you it ain't the same reason as me. But… I can why he chose whiskey. Ale. Beer. Whatever. It's because when you can't stand to look at your face in the mirror, it makes you blind. When you .. you hate everything about yourself, it turns y’into somebody else. For a few..shardin' amazin' hours, you forget everything about who you are." He shakes his head. "I don't deserve your care, Marel. Y'should hate me as much as I hate m’self."

"I will gladly hate you for the rest of our living days if you drown yourself now," Marel snaps, taking advantage of the moment when no shove or effort to move around her is made to go to nudge hip, then shoulder against him in an attempt to begin herding him away, her choice of direction one that would lead them through to the clearing and out into the meadow. "Move it," she demands, low-voiced. "It's a lie. It's fake; it's false. It's not real. Killing yourself for a lie that wears off and makes you sick. You're not going to do it."

Poke. Prod. Push. Ka'el begrudgingly allows himself to be herded away from the last bottles he has, though not without muttered complaints and under the breath cursing along the way. But when one has a pounding headache, a twisted stomach, and overall feeling of unhealthiness, there's only so much fight one is willing to put up. The forest gives way to the clearing, and the clearing to the meadow. It'd be a nearly funny sight to an onlooker who only saw the visual. A small girl having her way with a tall boy who look like one good swipe of an arm would be all that's needed to shoo her away like a fly! But once up close, the expressions are not so humorous. "Fine. Whatever. ..You'll change your mind…when you know."

Mutterings earn Ka'el a muttered, "Oh, shut up," in return as Marel herds him through trees and out into clearer surrounds, the tension in her most obvious in her shoulders, which remain hiked high as if she could take flight and stop him from escaping at any moment, attempts to flee anticipated the whole way. "You're such a boy." Says the girl with the male dragon, twin and firelizards. Once they're through to the meadow and she's herding him in the direction of her cottage, she asks, "What have you done that's so terrible that drinking yourself to death," no punches pulled here, "is your only option? You've Kanekith and his babies to live for. You can't be that selfish."

"You're such a girl.." he snorts in response, just .. because it was the first thing that came to his head. Mutter grumble some more! He looks ahead at the familiar cottage that they're approaching, and his apprehension grows. She doesn't want him in there. She won't want him in there after knowing, he's sure of this. But she doesn't know. Red eyes turn back to her at her question, and he hesitates at the mentioning of Kanekith. With everything, the fact that his dragon is destined to be a dragon father has yet to truly sink in. Kanekith .. a dad? Strange! "I don't want to die," he snorts in reply to that. "I…" Only now does he begin to resist her, trying to stop. What did he do that was so terrible? "Kanekith won that shardin' flight," he says. "That's what I did. He won the flight, and I hurt her. I hurt her, Marel. I.. I woke up and she… she.. I hurt her." With the same hands that he keeps secured in his pockets, balled at the memory.

Feet drag to a halt and it might look every bit like Marel is reconsidering and about to walk off, when in-fact she does the opposite and stands her ground, not so callous as to give a shrug, but nothing alters in the least about her expression. No surprise. No judgement. "It was a flight. You didn't do it deliberately or plan it. You didn't decide that that was what you were going to do," she answers, matter-of-fact. "It would be worse if you were pleased at having done so or didn't care. But it hasn't looked like you got out of it without some pain either." She stares off into the distance, perhaps trying to pick out her cottage or just unable to look at him when she confesses, "I know what it's like when it's a chase. There's no logic to it. No control. I don't know what it's like to win, but I know enough to know you weren't you."

Ka'el isn't completely sure what he expected from her. Cringing away from him, perhaps. An appalled look. Disgust. Anger. But the lack of all of that is what surprises him enough to turn his eyes back to her, holding her gaze until she looks away. Then, more surprise. "…You've chased?" He sifts through broken memories to flight night. There was a brown there … not Isyriath. Hers must have been before then. A green perhaps? His expression shifts to something close to empathy at the knowledge. At least she didn't win. Face spared her..whatever would have come from that. "I know. Everyone's said that since we were weyrlings. No control. I tried tellin' myself that, too. But .. of all the things I don't remember, I can't forget the way she looked at me. I won't forget what she looked like, every part've her. She… despises me. I drink because it hurts not to. It hurts more than anything I've felt to know that I did that to her, and she won't forgive me for it." He follows her gaze to her cottage.

"It doesn't sound like you've actually talked to her since it happened. From what I've seen and heard, you've certainly been too drunk to have made any sense," Marel mutters with the faintest edge of sarcasm. "You didn't do it with intent. Unless you're harbouring some secret inner enjoyment of it, I don't think you're any less deserving of forgiveness than anyone else." In-front of her cottage, Isyriath finds motion and lifts his head from his sunbathing sprawl to peer across the meadow at them. "Though I've heard that some people do like that," she remarks under her breath. "Drinking is a cowardly way out. Selfish. You feel numb and you hurt Kanekith. And others. And me." If that means anything to them. "You're going to have to learn to live with it." And as for her chasing, she tries a casual shrug that turns out quite mechanical and robotic. "I thought it would be best to get it over with," she says, monotone.

It'd have to be a pretty twisted person to get any sort of enjoyment out of what he saw, in Ka'el's opinion. But there are twisted people in the world. His reply is a nose wrinkle and shake of his head, eyes shifting to the sight of movement in the distant. A caramel dragon. "Maybe I am a coward because I still want to." He admits, eyes back to her. "But I don't want to hurt Kanekith or you." Apparently she does have influence. Perhaps more than she realizes. A slow breath is inhaled through the nose and exhaled through the mouth. "I don't want to be the person I turn into when I chase. I want to have a little control, y'know? Over at least.. that part. I don't want to hurt anybody else." He edges of his mouth curve downward. "I'm afraid.." He hates that word, and grimaces after saying it, but presses on, "that that's who'll I'll be now that I've chased. Even when I'm not chasing, I'll lose control." As if a gate has opened that's unable to be locked again. Within his pockets, fingers curl and uncurl before being pulled out of them. "I'm sorry, Marel. I'm glad you didn't catch, but.. I'm sorry you went through it."

"…If you keep drinking, you'll turn into that person," Marel murmurs, glancing down at her feet. "You won't care about anyone and you'll be angry all the time and lash out and it's horrible and I hate it and—" She only just manages to stop herself before more and all sorts comes tumbling out of her mouth, falling abruptly silent as if she's literally bit her own tongue. "Drinking for fun every so often? Fine," she says when she can speak again. "Doing what you're doing? …You made a mistake that you weren't even in control of. You can't punish yourself for the rest of your life." Her shrug is easier this time, muscles looser. "I could have stopped him." Isyriath. "I chose not to."

"..Because he wanted to?" Ka'el supposes, voice gentle now. The beating of his head continues, but it's a drum can he ignore a while longer, save a subtle wince of an eye every now and then. "That's why you didn't stop him? I don't think I thought to try to stop Kanekith. I wasn't expectin' it. It was just … like any other day. Til it wasn't." He falls into silence, momentarily hesitant, then steps forward towards her in attempt to collect her into a hug. It sounds as if she needs one, and Ka'el himself..definitely could use physical touch that doesn't bring with it the desire to drown himself in liquor. "M'sorry," he says. "I'm really sorry."

"…Because I love him. We don't fight. He's done so many things that I want to do that it wouldn't have been fair to deny him," Marel says quietly, watching the distant figure of Isyriath flop back to sun-worshipping. "I went into the forest, away from the other riders. If someone else had been there, I don't know what I would have done." Except she does know, says the flicker of guilt or shame that she lifts to the skies rather than her brown or Ka'el. "It'll get better. You won't hurt everyone you catch. The first of everything is always the worst, right?" She welcomes his seeking a hug, her arms wrapping tightly around him as she hides her face in against his chest without a care for who sees. "Just stop this," she urges, voice gentle. "I don't want to lose you too."

The first time is the hardest is the saying, isn't it? Maybe Marel had the right idea of just getting it over with and keeping herself distant from riders while at it. Next time…unfortunately 'next times' are a definite…perhaps he should do the same. And when Isyriath does catch his first dragon…Faranth help the rider who enjoys situations like the one he found himself in, for they'll have Ka'el to deal with! The arms that are now around her hold protectively as much as they do consolingly, and he bows his head down a little to rest his gently upon hers. Tender. Shielding. -This- is who he is … He'll have to remind himself this. Remind himself why it was Galaxy that took him. "I promise I'll try." A pause, and he shakes his head a little, its movement felt against her tresses. "I promise I will," he amends with a small squeeze to his body before pulling back a little. He hasn't lost everyone. "..Can I still stay with you? For today?"

That Marel murmurs, "Good," might be muffled against his chest and missed, but the tightening of her arms around him and her continued effort to hide herself away can't be. When she finally looks up at him, she doesn't quite have her usual calm and unreadable expression back in order, and for once looks very young and very small there tucked in against him. "Yes," she confirms, as if that's been her plan all along. "You can stay as long as you want. I don't want you to be on your own." Though whether any of their clutch-siblings, once wingmates have anything to say about that will have to remain to be seen. "I think you need to sleep all this off first. I promise no rumours about you being in my bed."

"Y've got..a real nice couch," Ka'el points out with the first grin he's cracked since running into her, albeit a small one. But, oh the thought of company is enough to keep that small smile lingering on his face, even if it's company had as he snoozes off the headache and stomachache and wooziness. And maybe she needs the company too. He saw that unfinished look of hers, although he won't comment on it at all. As for what their friends will say or think? That'll be seen (or rather, heard) soon enough, but Ka'el can feel that this is good. A silver lining amongst dark clouds, and the weed-choked path in his mind clears a fraction, revealing a vague light of the way towards healing. There's plenty more to get through though. Soriana. His own lingering guilt. Fear. Fixing things with Galaxy…That lingering desire to have something to take the edge off. But everything starts with a first step, and that first step may be now. "Thank you, Marel," he says, sounding genuinely thankful. "Now…about sleepin'.." Yes, please take him away! Show him to that comfy couch so he can pass out, for the first time in days, without the influence of alcohol.

Marel leads off towards her cottage without another word, through the meadow, past the now sleeping Isyriath and into her immaculately tidy home. She's quick about finding blankets and a spare pillow to make sure that Ka'el is all tucked in and comfortable on the couch, a pitcher of water and a mug left on the nearby table for good reason, though she says nothing of it. For most of the time that he sleeps, she works quietly in the garden in the enclosed courtyard of her home, the doors left open so that he might know where she is, but she returns to the cottage proper whilst he's still sleeping. If he wakes at all, he might find her asleep at the foot of the couch, curled up on the floor with her head resting on the couch cushions, which says much about her need for company. There may be much still to work through, but at least, for now, there's a companionable quiet and easy calm.

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