Hot Potato Baby

Xanadu Weyr - Domicile of Discernment

On the outside, this cottage is fairly unremarkable. It's of moderate size, though it's clearly not the home of a rider - there's no wallow, nor is there any means for even the smallest of greens to enter. It's set in the meadow, amidst the gentle roll of the terrain toward the ridge, but any adornment by flowers or ornamental plants is purely incidental. The exterior is painted white, and the roof-shingles are brown. There's a small wooden stoop, centered along the longer side - three wide steps leading up to a doorway framed by windows.
Once inside, the main room of this cottage is bright and airy, made so by a high arched ceiling and large windows that take advantage of their northern exposure, with gauzy drapes and pale golden oak sills. Overhead, there's more of that oak in the form of exposed beams, the ceiling between them painted a soft cerulean. During the day, there is likely sufficient illumination from those windows, but for night-time, there are recessed lights hidden within the beams that diffuse against the ceiling. The walls are white with a sponged speckling of the same blue from overhead, and underfoot is more of that oak.
The house has a central column of yellow fieldstone, with a fireplace facing into the room and a half-flight of stairs to either side - one leading up, the other down. Above the fireplace is an oakwood mantel, and while it may provide warmth, under most circumstances, the radiant heating system beneath the floorboards is likely to more effective. The fireplace may, however, provide a pleasant flickering warmth, and as such, a sofa and a pair of armchairs are arranged in front of it. The sofa's a velvety blue-grey, accented with a pair of red pillows, and the armchairs are brown leather - suitable for company but selected primarily for comfort.
There's a kitchen tucked off to one side, near the upward staircase. It's small, but well equipped, with granite countertops and a brushed steel cold-box and stove. There's an oblong wooden table with chairs set around it, and even some plants in small terracotta pots on the windowsill, as the presence of fresh herbs is useful when cooking.


It's late afternoon in the cottage of Jethaniel and Darsce. Little Dariel has officially made them parents not twenty four hours ago and while she didn't remain in the infirmary with him, she has been resting - Jethaniel as well most likely. At least when the infant allowed them to. There might've been a flustered reading of a pamphlet somewhere in the middle of the night to the tune of lusty screeching and panicked 'Where's the formula and bottles and how do I mix it?!' Somehow bottle feeding fell by the wayside and she attempted the au naturale sort, which half-successful, semi-satisfied the babe until the healer's arrival to give Darsce the crash course in New Mother 101 and coach her technique. Now fed, burped and changed, a frazzled mother is in her bathrobe curled on the couch limply while Dariel sleeps in her arms. The healer has just left and is heading down the cottage steps shaking her head and rolling her eyes.

Mur'dah passes said Healer on his way to visit, giving her a grin as he walks by. Stopping outside the cottage door, Mur'dah very, very softly knocks. It's more of a finger tap than anything.

Perhaps it's the healer returning to give Darsce one last piece of advice, perhaps the magic of how not to gag when changing those diapers. "Come in," she calls languidly and then cringes with a hasty glance down at the sleeping infant. Please don't wake up, she just got you to sleep!

Mur'dah opens the door very quietly and steps inside, closing it equally quietly. "Hey, new mom," he says with a gentle smile as he moves a bit closer and then stops several feet away, hands in his pockets, smiling at them both.

When Mur'dah enters he'll find Darsce alone save for a tiny gold firelizard sprawled at her feet, sneaking a lick to one of her bare toes now and then. Perhaps Jethaniel has gone to pick them up something to eat from the caverns, since braving her cooking would likely send them both back to the infirmary. She breathes a sigh of relief as Dariel slumbers on, lifts her head to see… Ah, not the healer! Her brother's arrival isn't exactly a huge surprise since the notes to family announcing the birth had been sent somewhere amidst this morning's chaos. They'd been pre-written, all she'd had to do was fill in the time of birth, gender and name. Her smile is wan but genuine, "Hi Squirt." The welcome turns teasing, "You can come closer. He doesn't bite. Yet. No teeth."

Mur'dah grins, approaching a bit closer. "Didn't want to wake him," he says, crouching down to offer her a kiss hello. "How are you feeling? He looks…" Wrinkled. "New."

Darsce offers her cheek for that kiss and while she does that the firelizard takes the approach of Mur'dah as an open invitation. She flutters up to attempt a perch on one of his shoulders and aims an affectionate head rub to his cheek while giving him a sweet, chirpy welcome. New person! Hiiiiii! I love you! Darsce mutters under her breath, "Sorry about her; just swat her or something." She inhales a calming breath, answering his question, "I can't lie, I've felt better. But the healers assure me I'll bounce back." She glances back to the blanket-wrapped Dariel and beams lovingly down at the babe, who besides looking wrinkled is quite red-hued. "That's because he is new. And beautiful." So she claims. "Dariel, meet your uncle Mur'dah, Mur'dah, Dariel." And then without any warning at all, "Here." She attempts to pass the infant to her brother.

Mur'dah sits down - in a chair if it's near, or on the floor if it's not, and he grins at the firelizard, lifting a finger to rub her cheek and chin. "She's very sweet." Swat? Never! "He's a very handsome little man," Mur'dah says, smiling warmly at the babe. Then, "Gak!" What? "He's, but…floppy…" He'll /break/ him. Still, he's reaching out to take him, all awkward limbs and what-goes-where and bumbling. "Hi, Dariel."

There are places to sit other than the floor. A pair of brown leather armchairs are arranged in front of the couch where Darsce sits. He may wind up either beside her or opposite from her. Sweet or not, she frowns at the little gold as she hands over her son, "Scram you." No name. She mutters a reluctant agreement, "Yeah, she's sweet. Too sweet." For Darsce's sanity, most likely. She chuckles a touch wickedly at her brother's awkwardness, helping to position his arms around the bundle that is Dariel, one hand cradling the floppy head until it's properly supported in the crook of his arm. She's not all that great at it but she's all proud to show off her newly-learned stuff from that healer. "You need to get practiced for the future." Not that… she knows anything about it but - teasing. It's what big sisters do best! Speaking of, "How've you and Kiena been? Setting in together okay?"

Mur'dah sits on the floor, because sitting on the floor is cool. "Why don't you like firelizards?" he asks absently, his focus almost fully on his nephew cradled in his arms. And once Dariel is settled, Mur'dah just freezes. Afraid to even shift his shoulders a millimeter, he just…sits. "We've been good. Real good. I like having someone else at home. Living alone was lonely…" He didn't like it for the short time he had to do it.

Poor little queen, she's banished but her departure is reluctant. Her purrs, prompted by the finger rub, change to mournful whistles. Pity me! With a wistful sigh and one last kiss with the tip of her tongue to Mur'dah's ear, she flutters back to the floor, curling around Darsce's ankle in a body hug. This gets a long-suffering sigh from her person and an eyeroll. At least she doesn't shake the tiny lizard off and send her flying across the room? Instead she puts up with it, answering Mur'dah with a shrug, "I don't mind…other people's firelizards. As long as they… keep their distance…" She shudders, adding "I'm not a…pet person, y'know? All that hair and drool." She considers the one attached to her ankle. Ack! Hers. She lifts a hand to tap a forefinger to her forehead as she looks back up at Mur'dah with a grimace, "She's weaseled inside my head. Too much like a dragon."

Mur'dah looks up at her with a crooked grin, amused. "Firelizards don't have hair /or/ drool…and she's a sweetie! You could train her to help in your job, it'd be great." Mr. Optimist. His smile is gentle then. "Not even close like a dragon. Have you tried blocking her out? I mean, if you /really/ didn't want her you could make her go wild…" But the very idea has him frowning.

"Most pets do. Like canines and felines or…Faranth forbid…goats." She must have seen E'gin about with one on a leash. A vague handflip consigns the folks that she's seen fawning over creatures to insanity. She just stares at Mur'dah, then barks a laugh and says with faint sarcasm, "I can see it now. She can smooch people while I scold them." How's that, Mr. Optimist? Then she perks and adds with bright hopefulness, "I don't suppose I could… train her to bite on command?" Is she…kidding? To blocking her out or making her go wild, she blinks a few times, then drawls, "Other than throwing an iron skillet at her I wouldn't have a clue how to do any of that." Note, for all her talk, she hasn't done that yet.

Mur'dah grins, "It'd make being scolded easier to take?" he teases. "She can carry messages for you. Uh. well…maybe? But I wouldn't recommend /that/ skill… She can spy for you, too. Think someone is filching stuff? Think the cook is putting too much salt into something?" He shrugs. "To make them go wild you just have to make them not welcome. So you'd have to /hate/ her…" He frowns though. "But she's so /sweet/."

Darsce smirks. "That would kinda defeat the purpose?" She usually only scolds people who richly deserve it - at least in her mind. "Besides…I already have messengers and spies. They're called assistant headwomen." Hate…the tiny queen? She peers down with a small frown at the baby firelizard, who despite not being welcome, is well-fed to plumpness. "Yeah, I'll… get right on that," she mutters. If it sounds dubious, maybe it's the new-mother hormones of bliss currently flooding her brain. At the repetition of her cloying personality, she grunts, "So sweet that maybe I should name her Sugar and be done with it." Not that… naming her means anything! Ahem! Suuubject chaaange! With a gesture of her chin at the sleeping Dariel, "So. When are you and Kiena going to have one of your very own?"

Mur'dah chuckles. "Sugar…or Spice. Also delicious." He looks down at the baby in his arms and dares to shift his position a *tiny* bit. "Or Clinger. Vine?" More of a green name… Then he blanches a bit. "What? Babies? Uh, I don't know. She's already got the twins…I'm not even twenty yet. I'm just fine with waiting. Probably happen /eventually/, but…" He grins. "Not for a while."

"Candy, Cookie, Cake… Eh." Darsce shrugs as another handflip dismisses the naming of the tiny firelizard. She grins when her kid brother flinches. "Hope Kiena's drinking plenty of klah," she says with a wicked smirk but then further teases him with, "What? You're practically being their dad now aren't you?"

Mur'dah snickers. "She's doing just fine." TMI? He shrugs. "The girls are different. They're, like…people. Not…babies." He looks down at his helpless nephew. "I have fun with them. Yeah, it'd be different. They're not /mine/."

Darsce doesn't bat an eyelash, just smirks all the more. If someone gets a gift of specially roasted, flavored klahbark in the next seven… Her eyes follow Mur'dah's to Dariel. She does understand the difference of Kiena's offspring also being his and she nods agreement while her expression goes all mushy-serene beholding her child. That's when Dariel's complexion turns even more red, his face suffused with color as he holds his breath, grunts and… ah the aroma filling the room indicates he's just filled his diapers. That's followed by the infant awakening and squalling discomfort. Oh… joy?

Mur'dah's response is immediate and typical. He hands the baby back to Mom. "He needs you."

GAK! Darsce's eyes widen and she attempts to forestall the hand-off. Hot Potato Baby! "Wouldn't you like some practice for your future baby?" she chatters while trying not to gag. "He doesn't need me, he needs a clean diaper. He'll take it from anyone!" L-u-cky him? Unlike his next meal, then Mur'dah's out of luck.

Mur'dah shakes his head, still trying to hand off the kid. "I don't know how! You're the mom, don't you know how? I don't wanna see his thing!"

Nevermind if Darsce knows how, she's sidetracked now, giving her brother the Oddest Look Ever because there may be more than one thing in that diaper. To which is he referring now? "Thing? Which…thing?" She has to raise her voice to be heard. Somewhere in there she gingerly takes her son, who is screaming by now. The stench is atrocious and her baby things are upstairs, so that's where she's going to go…fumble through the process of cleaning him up, which will entail sticking his cute little butt under the tub faucet and turning it on. And no, that technique wasn't in the baby care pamphlet the healer's gave her. It'll give Mur'dah the perfect opportunity to escape though?

Mur'dah feels bad, but he totally bails. But not before hollering up the stairs, "I'll come visit again later!" Maybe in a few days.

Darsce hollers down the stairs over the ruckus, "Bring a gas mask next time and I'll show you how it's done!" Next on her agenda: Flinging all of the cottage windows wide open - thankfully it's spring and the weather is cooperative…


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