Acquirable Skills

Xanadu Weyr - Domicile of Discrnment

Upstairs, there are bedrooms, their ceilings gently sloped in a continuation of the arch of the exterior room. The largest of these is the one just at the top of the stairs, a field of stars scattered across its ceiling with a layout designed such that the optimal viewing point is the sleigh-style bed set back against the taller wall. A wardrobe and pair of dressers of differing heights are set against the interior trapezoidal wall, creating a stepped effect that echoes the shape of the room, while on the opposite wall, a single large window looks out east over the meadow - at least on those occasions when the curtains are permitted to be open; when those drapes are shut, the gold tie-cords hanging loose, the heavy black material will ensure that Rubkat's dawning does not interfere with the occupants of this room, and the only light will be that of the adjustable star-field overhead.


It's a few hours shy of dawn and the Weyr sleeps, including one exhausted and sore mother, carefully tangled with her husband. There's a reason why people take classes and sit under the tutelage of wise and experienced instructors. This reason is about to hit Darsce upside the head. Into the serene silence of the dimly starlit bedroom the sound of whimpering, followed by a bawled indignation followed by a storm of fury. It's coming from the cradle she's asked Jethaniel to move into their room because she'd been afraid she wouldn't hear him. She sleeps through the whimpering, the bawled anger and even some of the wailing. That's really only a matter of half a minute before she's groggily opening her eyes, one hand swiping her tumbled hair out of her eyes and peering owlishly at Jethaniel with a disoriented, bleary confusion. "Whut?" Meanwhile on the floor beside the cradle, sits that unnamed gold chirping like an alarm clock. Morning…already? And yay, their alarm clock is on the fritz. Maybe the thing will just quit working altogether. She doesn't bother to uncurl from him, simply pulls her pillow over her head while mumbling, "Wake me at noon, will you please?"

It is unlikely there exists a calculation on the last forty-eight hours which present a favorable ratio of time awake and asleep for an adult human. Infants require even more sleep, but while they spend a great proportion of it asleep, the duration of any individual segment is likely to be relatively short… as Dariel is currently demonstrating. More precisely, he is demonstrating the capacity of his lungs as part of an observation of certain imperfections regarding his current state. This observation, if construed as sound waves, does in fact encounter Darsce's head… as well as Jethaniel's. His eyes open into a wince suitable as a reaction to the pitches reached by those cries. His lips part, either soundlessly or with the sound produced being muffled beneath that produced by his son… who would, in fact, be the what in question. Jethaniel blinks, and his gaze lifts from his wife to regard the cradle. "Ah. That… may…" He trails off, regarding the cradle in the dim light of their stars, and then begins to gently disentangle himself in order to further investigate the circumstances of Dariel's dissatisfaction.

Darsce is used to Jethaniel arising earlier than she does on occasion and so she allows her leg to unwind from his and the arm draped about him to slip away while further burying herself under pillows - his added as soon as she can tug it free. What is that awful racket? It's a very good thing the alarm clock is out of her reach or she'd fumble for it and smash it against the top of the dresser to put it out of her misery. In her disoriented exhaustion, Darsce doesn't try very hard or long to figure it out. Dariel, meanwhile turns up the volume, tiny fists and feet flailing. His diapers, when checked, are dry. The poor kid must be hungry? Or maybe just lonely?

It is adaptive for an infant's cry to be piercing in nature, as well as loud. The more easily a parent may hear it, the more easily they may be summoned to the side of their child… as Jethaniel is. He reaches the cradle, which - given his son's lack of prospective analysis - unfortunately does not have any particular impact on Dariel's assessment of the situation and reaction thereto. "…good morning," Jethaniel murmurs quietly, reaching in to gently scoop Dariel up and lift him from the crib. This may assist in a desire for companionship, but it is likely - even if imprecisely articulated - that among Dariel's desires is that for food. "Shh," Jethaniel further adds. "It is okay," he assures his son as he crosses back to sit on the edge of the bed with him.

The baby gold firelizard's head turns to follow Jethaniel's progress towards the cradle, chirruping her approval and only when the infant is removed does she flutter-scrabble to perch on the headboard for a closer view. One voice is silenced but Dariel's continues after a momentary pause, his reflex being to turn and seek… Ah, but he doesn't find and his tiny rage resumes. It consumes his entire body, tense with his furor. Even under the pillows the sound is grating and the haze of oblivion with which Darsce had been cloaked in dissipates enough to let her conscious mind emerge to semi-coherency and memory recall to realize that, oh, right! There is baby now! As Jethaniel sits on their bed, the babe finds his own fist and silences to draw furiously upon it. Darsce groggily pushes those pillows aside, emerging with ginger movements, though she hasn't yet attempted to rise. For the second time shoves her hair out of her eyes to squint at the pair. Her voice is worried, "Is he sick?" Because why else would he be awake at this obscene hour?

The gold firelizard observes. Stardust… is capable of removing herself from the situation far more effectively than Darsce. She may, given the way Dariel's demands are reaching through the cottage, have left entirely. Jethaniel's office is very quiet this time of night, and has a reasonably comfortable chair. Jethaniel himself has the comfort of the bed, though - given that Dariel is not sleeping - neither is the bed suited for the sleep of his parents. Jethaniel, while he may hold the infant, is also unsuited to satisfy him, and as Dariel makes his desires increasingly clear through use of a proxy for what he actually wishes, turns to look at Darsce… who has, conveniently, emerged from the shelter of those pillows. "Ah. I… do not believe so," Jethaniel answers in the momentary lull in Dariel's complaints - which will likely resume, given that… "He is hungry."

Stardust is the lucky one! Except given the choice, Darsce wouldn't really leave, even if the wild impulse dashes briefly though her mind. Her concern fades somewhat at the reassurance only to be replaced by a blank deer-in-the headlights expression. "Hun-gry?" Oh.. right. Babies do that! She eases up on one elbow, then sits up to better see their son cannibalizing his own fist while nervously swallowing in attempt to delay the rising the panic. "I… need to find…" She eases out of bed and looks about a touch wildly. "Ah! There…it is." That pamphlet she'd left with in lieu of healer instruction is over on the dresser top where she'd dropped it, unread. She crosses to it, sweeps it up and claws it open. "Bottles versus breastfeeding…" She gaks at something, comes to a hasty decision and then her eyes drop further down as she continues reading, "Formula must be warmed…" Ohno. Bottles they have but… iceblue eyes lift to Jethaniel. "Did we order formula from the healers?" She doesn't think they did. And it's the sort of thing that needs to be pre-ordered. Eep? Time to really panic!

The sleep of infants is not the only thing of short duration; their small size (and the rapidity of their growth) means that they also frequently become hungry… not that there are yet enough points of data for the parents of this one to conduct an analysis. Jethaniel rocks Dariel gently, which is at best a stalling mechanism as he attempts to draw nutrition from his hand. That attempt, as well as Jethaniel's to calm him, is doomed to failure, but may nevertheless occupy the time while Darsce searches for instructions. Jethaniel looks up, following her with his gaze. His eyes have returned to their son by the time she starts reading, and he murmurs something soothing (if incomprehensible) to Dariel before lifting his gaze to Darsce once more. "Ah. I… had not, no." Perhaps Darsce did so and (understandably, given the circumstances) forgot about it? Jethaniel's brow furrows in thought as he continues, "Had we done so… I presume they would have sent it with us."

Dariel is becoming frustrated because somehow…his fist isn't doing what he wants. The child winds up, legs kicking, one arm flailing, muffled sounds of discontent emerging around that fist, then a full-volume caterwaul as the movement of his arm pops it free of his mouth. Sent it with… Maybe they did! Things got a little hazy there in the infirmary at the end. Darsce dives for that overnight bag she'd never used, opens it up and begins pawing frantically through it. Her haste is motivated by the sounds coming from their son, but she comes up empty-handed. The only other thing they'd carried back was Dariel and so now what? She rakes both hands through her tumbled hair trying not to panic but…crying- no, screaming baby! Hers. Whereas normally she'd flee the racket, she's pulled to do something here. That pamphlet is swept up once again, skimmed while her respiration rate increases. "There are no how-tos on this! No diagrams." Duh, Darsce, that's why the healers wanted you to stay. "Only vague things like 'feed every four hours', 'try to get baby on a schedule' and 'check diapers frequently'. What is up with that?" Fume, flail. By now the sounds from Dariel have risen even more in both pitch and volume. How is this even possible? The kid's whole head is dark red; to his mother it looks like it could explode any second. It's totally nerve-wracking! She eyes the pamphlet wildly. It appears that she has but one option and so mutters, "How hard could it be really?" tosses the paper over her shoulder and heads back to her little family. She flops those pillows against the headboard, then slips into the bed. "I- I'll feed him," she says, her voice sounding oddly high-pitched as she holds out her arms for the boy.

Jethaniel's attempts to calm his son are also not what Dariel wants, but he nevertheless continues to provide them, a combination of quiet murmurs and gentle swaying motions. They are, despite being ineffectual, something which he can, under the circumstances, actually do. His attention is split between the infant noting at high volume that this is not in fact congruent with his desires and Darsce's attempt to find something which is. As Dariel's frustration mounts, Jethaniel's arms adjust to hold him more securely despite that flailing, and his frown of concern remains; if anything, it becomes more entrenched on his face, though he does not actually have any useful information to provide. "We… may consult…" An expert? Yes, but where are they going to find one of those in the middle of the night? While they could, in theory, take Dariel out into the meadow and see who answers the screaming, such a process is not entirely ideal. Neither, admittedly, are any of the other alternatives. Darsce iterates through them to discover one which she finds suboptimal but possible - a key distinction - while Jethaniel retains their son until she discovers it. Until, in fact, she settles on the bed once more. This may constitute a form of defeat, but Darsce is not hiding from reality. Instead, she… "Ah," Jethaniel says, and his eyes search her expression before he nods slightly, shifting closer to her with Dariel still held close to him and then carefully extending the flaily baby to his mother.

Were they to head for the meadow at this hour, they might be chased back inside with torches and pitchforks. Or the squalling babe might attract the Weyr's entire population of tomcats for a singfest. This might, in fact, be one of the few times Darsce would welcome Jessa's advice; she's that desperate. "…your mother?" she finishes for him with a faint smirk. Grim humor, that. Heh, no hiding from reality here - because reality is deafening her with ear-shattering cries. She scoots herself closer to Jethaniel, meets his eyes and nods subtly. Let's do this! Gulp! She awkwardly arranges her arms about the squirming Dariel while involuntary sounds rise in her throat. Sobs? No. Comforting murmurs, mother-speak that she is hardly aware she's vocalizing. He's having none of it however and the noise continues unabated. Darsce slips him under her shift, draws him closer while the front of her nightclothes flutter erratically as the screaming infant continues to flail for a few seconds. Baby reflexes are wonderful things! Dariel finds what he's wanted and quiets with a few leftover squeaks as he begins to rather efficiently fill his stomach. Silence, blessed, blessed silence descends. Slowly the tension ebbs from her body and she settles back, half against Jethaniel's shoulder and those pillows with a gargled sound of both frazzled nerves and relief. "Off to a great start there mom," she mutters dryly with self-directed criticism.

Jethaniel's eyes dip for a moment, in what might be merely as part of his checking on Dariel, were it not for the timing. "There are others." They could stand outside the infirmary and determine who is on shift tonight. Incidental or not, his visual observation of Dariel does confirm what the auditory one is making quite clear, and so he lifts his gaze again, nods to Darsce as he passes Dariel to her. Jethaniel remains close to her, and though he is not particularly suited to actually assist, he watches with concern as Dariel (whom Jethaniel's object permanence permits him to be aware still exists under that shift) flails and then… settles. From this, Jethaniel may postulate that his son has, in fact, found what it is he desires. Given Dariel's demonstrated unwillingness to accept substitutes, it is likely that such a postulation would be correct. Jethaniel exhales slowly as silence descends, and his arm shifts to a position partially around Darsce. "He is content." …now, at least. A minute ago… not so much. Jethaniel's gaze lowers to the obscured shape of Dariel. "I can order formula tomorrow."

"I know there are, but," Darsce's mouth pulls to one side, "your mother already thinks I'm incompetent. No sense confirming it to the rest of them." Which might explain why she fled the infirmary rather than remain for instruction. "Besides… she might like to be consulted about her grandson." Does she know what she's asking for? Perhaps not but, "And I wouldn't have to worry about Asher being…" she coughs, "Asher." A deep breath is followed by, "I have birth announcements pre-written." They might be flowery and pink because…yeah. "I just have to fill in the name, date and gender before we send them off." The sounds coming from underneath her shift do sound rather content and Darsce agrees with a nod as she snuggles in under his arm and leans her head on Jethaniel's shoulder. Of the formula, "…perhaps…" she directs a somewhat bemused smile down at the that bulge where Dariel is, "…we can do both." Content baby makes content mama who can now also think to say, "You're so good with him," as she directs a grateful look his way.

"Ah," Jethaniel answers Darsce's motivation for selecting his mother as a designated expert. He frowns slightly, then follows it with a slow nod as Darsce continues. "She might well have opinions to present, yes." Almost certainly would, in fact… as well as having (and being willing to convey) a variety of knowledge both factual and procedural. "He is, however, our son." A consultation is a factor entering into the making of a decision, not the decision itself. Nevertheless, Jessa can provide such a consultation, while Asher… will likely not actually have the announcement of her grandchild's birth lost in the mail, but may nevertheless make it tempting. Jethaniel nods to those announcements. "Tomorrow, then." They may currently be awake in the middle of the night (and it is likely they will continue to be so at frequent - though not necessarily regular - intervals during the coming weeks), but this does not mean that Jethaniel intends to do more than is required at such times. Tomorrow will be sufficiently prompt for those announcements, which may be delivered into the mail along with whatever other errands are required - for instance, acquiring food for Dariel's parents. Jethaniel's eyes go to Darsce's face, studying it as she speculates on the possible derivations for their son's food - whether generated via the conscious effort of his parents in assembling formula or through biological means - and nods. "We can." The healers may provide a half-order of formula for those times when the less technological approach is inconvenient or impractical, and otherwise… Jethaniel tilts his head and brushes his lips to the side of Darsce's, then smiles as his eyes lower to the bulge beneath her shift which echoes that previously present. "I have had practice," he says. "It is an acquirable skill."

Seeing the frown, Darsce's lips part, but her husband is still speaking and so she hushes to listen. There's an amused curl to her lips for the first part of his reply regarding Jessa. "I can't imagine her not having them, but then she raised you-" she starts, only to frown herself at the assertion of Dariel's parentage. The person in question begins to fuss, is fumble-shifted to her other arm to accommodate him and he quiets. Darsce lifts her head to seek Jethaniel's eyes, "Of course he's ours!" Silent for a breath or two, she offers, "If you'd rather not ask her anything, we don't have to." She shrugs, "I have all those books…" And the healers will tell her things, to which she'll nod without asking questions. There will likely be times when she'll prefer him to feed Dariel or can't pry herself from sleep, so that formula will be a handy thing. She smiles as his lips touch her head and admits, "I'm…going to learn. And possibly not break him too."

Jethaniel trails his fingers gently along Darsce's shoulder, and shakes his head slightly. "We may ask. I simply… will not expect you to necessarily follow her opinions." One corner of his mouth quirks upward slightly. "We will obtain advice, but the final decision is ours… though I would prefer he remain unbroken." He tilts his head back a little, regarding Darsce with earnest grey eyes and a faintly curved mouth. "I believe he will, whatever we choose in raising him. That said… it is likely advantageous for us to have as much guidance as possible." How can they effectively ignore it if they don't know what they're ignoring? Much as with not thinking about things, it is useful to know the parameters of existing knowledge rather than conducting explorations from the base state of the universe. Jethaniel is quiet for a moment, holding Darsce against him. "…given the circumstances," which is to say, Dariel's existence, "She might even be willing to undergo draconic transit."

Darsce snorts softly, grin sneaking across her mouth. She nudges playfully against him with her shoulder, the sudden move draws a muffled protest from the now-sleepy Dariel. "I suppose it depends on what she tells me." Though truth be told, Darsce's so in over her head at the moment, Jessa might well have the upper hand - at first. On the raising of Dariel unbroken she laughs softly - and a bit helplessly, "I'll try not to?" Her brain's already breaking a little, so perhaps it's Dariel who's raising a parent. "As long as she doesn't stay too long…" she agrees to Jessa's coming, her arms curling a little more securely around the boy, gently hugging him to her. The gesture is both loving and possessive, completed with a turn of her head to brush her lips to Jethaniel's jaw. "I just got us away from the healers. It's nice being just the… three of us." A sleepy chirp from the cradle headboard prompts an eyeroll. Four of them then, sigh.

Jessa's actual opinions will be determined at such a time as she actually encounters this situation. For now, Jethaniel nods to Darsce's assertion of the variability of congruence between those opinions and her actions, his eyes dropping to the muffled Dariel for a moment before rising once more to Darsce. "We will." The precise direction of the raising which occurs is yet another thing which may be determined over the course of the coming turns. He curves his own arms around Darsce, one behind and the other partway around her front (and Dariel) as he nods concerning his mother. "I will inform her that an invitation exists." What Jessa does with it… will be determined when she receives it, but is likely to cause a situation such that those opinions will be conveyed. For now, Jethaniel brushes his lips to Darsce's cheek in an answer to her kiss, and smiles. "It is. I will be adjusting my schedule accordingly."

Hearing that Jethaniel will be here more pleases Darsce - she hasn't even thought about being left alone with his mother yet! "Please do. Erijeanne is welcome too." People wanting to see Dariel… "I suspect we'll get some visits from my family - Hali, Mur'dah, maybe Marel - over the next seven or so. I…don't expect D'had." Her face clouds over for a moment but a tiny burp from under her shift chases it away as she snickers and fishes the somnolent child out from his makeshift tent. It's awkwardly tender, her handling still as if she expects him to shatter in her hands as she offers him back to his father. He had the flaily-screamy son and now she'll share the sleepy-cuddle son. He's sated, with a tiny milky dribble from one corner of his mouth, which forms a bubble as he burps quietly again. Aww?

Jethaniel nods regarding the presence of family, both his own and Darsce's… all of whom are now part of Dariel's extended family, given the recombination which has produced him. Jethaniel's arm behind Darsce tightens slightly at the mention of her father, holding her more securely. The minute belch makes his lips quirk upward, and he brushes his lips to her cheek before turning his head to observe a son who appears (and sounds) substantially happier than he did previously. Jethaniel's arm lifts to beneath Darsce's, providing support as part of a collaborative effort - given that to take Dariel fully in his arms would require the displacement of the one around Darsce. Fortunately, at the moment, Dariel does not require extensive attention to keep constrained. He is, in fact, notably disinclined to move. Why should he? He is warm, fed, and his family is here. "We should get more sleep," Jethaniel says, though it is with no particular move in that direction - or, indeed, any action beyond a turn of his head to brush lips to Darsce's cheek before returning his attention to their son.

"We should," Darsce says as she presents her cheek for that kiss. Her motivation in handing over their son is two-fold in nature. Her body is still exhausted and sore from the efforts to produce the child; she'll gladly allow Jethaniel to return the boy to his cradle. This does mean separation from her son - even if by a few feet, but it's more than she'd like. She bends to bestow a tender kiss to his head, breathing in the sweet baby scent and whispers something to him before turning to readjust those pillows behind her - one offered back to Jethaniel in the process. Sliding back under the covers, easing herself down, she curls on her side to face father and son, a contented smile curves her mouth. One hand reaches to rest wherever's comfortable - his thigh, arm - as she fights a yawn to say drowsily, "I love you." Her eyes drift shut. Sleep is something that gets her.

Jethaniel takes Dariel fully, holding the drowsy baby as Darsce settles down into bed and reapportions the pillows such that there will be one for him when he returns. First he must return Dariel to his own sleeping place, but before he does so Jethaniel lingers for another moment, eyes on Darsce. His arms are around Dariel, and so he does not reciprocate her touch, though his lips curve more deeply. "I love you too," he answers. Perhaps, given that the words are prompt, he even manages to say them before she's fully asleep, but given Darsce's exhaustion, that seems questionable. Jethaniel rises to return Dariel to his crib, settling his son comfortably and waiting a moment to observe and assure himself of that fact, then returns to bed to gently tangle with Darsce and sleep once more. Tomorrow - as defined by the congruence of Dariel's desires and dawn - will soon be arriving, and as such, it is importantant to be rested. It is sure to be a busy day, even if Jethaniel is unlikely to spend more than five minutes of it in his office. He has other things to do.


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