Twin Talk

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. 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, 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.

It's mid-morning, and Mur'dah has done his homework. He knows that he's not on duty, obviously, and he's also checked the schedule and knows that, 1) Marel isn't on duty and 2) M'kal /is/, so there's less chance of him interrupting his twin if he were to drop by. Which he does. While Kalsuoth reaches out to his clutch brother to let him know of his rider's coming, Mur'dah is walking down the path with a huge bouquet of flowers in his arms. They're not dug out of someone's garden, either. This is a nice, professional bouquet!

Given the news of her brother's approach, no matter how far off he was when she received it, Marel has gone and left the front door to her cottage open, held ajar by a perfectly smooth rock pressed into surface as a doorstop. The French doors are open too, meaning he'll likely have to wander through her bedroom to find her (though said bedroom is in perfect order) out in the courtyard messing with the non-functional fountain. Most of the contents of a tool kit lie scattered on the ground, yet no water flows through the fountain. Yet.

Mur'dah makes sure to wipe off his shoes very carefully, though he checked them already when he left his weyr. He's dressed nicely, too, in clean and pressed pants and a short sleeved tunic. "Mare?" he calls as he walks through her weyr, and out into the courtyard with a little grin. "Here I got all dressed up nice, and you're fiddling with the fountain," he teases, holding out the bouquet as he approaches.

Perhaps Marel has cultivated some sort of magical gifts, for despite being in the midst of fixing (trying to) the fountain, she's not the least bit dishevelled, nor are her clothes marred by mud or dirt. Even the subconscious wipe of her hands against the earthy brown of her leather trousers doesn't seem to produce a stain. She abandons the spanner in her grip to the ground, letting it fall with a heavy thud as she straightens. "What have you done?" she asks with feigned suspicion as she reaches to accept the flowers. "Does Mama have one of these too?" Better to ask than not. Teasing aside, she smiles and murmurs, "Thank you."

Mur'dah laughs as she takes the bouquet. "I don't only bring you flowers when I've done something…" Pause. "Do I? And no, she doesn't, but I should get her some anyway. These are just because I love you. How are you doing? Been a while since we actually had, you know, a talk." A Twin Talk. "What's going on?"

"It's about fifty-fifty," Marel answers dryly, kicking her boots off at the French doors before she makes to head back inside and find a vase for the flowers. It's also easier to hold her arms out for a hug when said flowers are set down on one of the counters and safely out of the way of being crushed. "I love you too," she tells him quietly. "But you sound like a man on a mission. What specifically are you wanting to know?" Teasing, again? It's a little difficult to tell. "Or do you have something to confess after all?"

Mur'dah laughs as he follows her inside, sweeping her up into a tight hug, lifting her for a little spin. He'll even kiss her cheek unless she protests. "I miss you," he admits with a gentle smile. "And I do have things I want to tell you, but. Just… how are you doing? Ka'el and M'kal said you were going through a rough patch…" And he grimaces, because it seems like it's taken forever for their schedules to mesh enough where he could stop in. Darn duties!

It's lucky that he gets that kiss to her cheek in before all those words that follow Ka'el and M'kal's names. Brows lift, but she still touches a kiss of her own back in turn before she begins to head back to the flowers and vase-sorting. As she lifts a jug to pour water into a plain glass vase, she utters, "It's nice to know that all you boys get together to talk about me behind my back…" with the same dryness as before. "I don't think some of you have any right to call me on any rough patches." She shrugs, neither confirming nor denying that anything of the sort has happened or is happening. "I'm fine." Then: "Better." It's as much of a concession as she seems willing to make. "What is it you want to tell me?"

Mur'dah shrugs, "We don't, really, just…all they said was that you were having a rough time." Then he snorts softly, shaking his head, pushing fingers through his hair. "Ah, no, we don't, either. Thought what you did for Ka'el was really good, Mare. But I care about you, so." Here he is, awkward and all. "Better. Was it a flight?" he asks, finding a spot to sit. "Just that I've had some flights now too. Kalsuoth won one, even. Male greenrider…" Throat clearing and a shrug.

"I don't know how they reached that conclusion," makes Marel sound at least twice as old as the turns she is. "Ka'el needed help." The implication being that she was never in such a state. "I wasn't going to let him end up like…" Like the man she hardly mentions anymore. She's careful with the flowers as she settles them in the vase, tweaking one bloom or another this way and that until she's happy with their arrangement, leaving her hands to curl against the counter top. "M'kal made it better," she murmurs, staring down at her knuckles, once again bypassing speaking directly about anything. Head tilting, she slants a look across at her twin, processing that information, until she dares to ask a slow: "…Did you enjoy it? Not that it… matters if you did, I suppose."

Mur'dah nods, "Yeah, he did. I'm glad he let you help him. He's such a stubborn ass sometimes," the brownrider mutters. Then he sighs softly and nods, his eyes watching her. "Right," he says quietly. Really, that's all she needs to say. He knows. The full whiskey bottle he keeps on the shelf in his kitchen is constant reminder of that. Pushing to his feet, he walks over to stand beside her, reaching out to put a hand on her upper back if she lets him. "Did he? I'm glad he was there for you," he says quietly. The assumption being that M'kal was there in a way Mur'dah can't be. Then the difficult question, and the brownrider grimaces slightly. "It…wasn't horrible?" he admits. "I don't remember much. Kalsuoth was happy though. And afterwards…well. He was a nice guy. It was alright. I'm not…I don't think I'm, you know. Gay. But. It was okay. He was nice." He's repeating himself now, so he stops.

"…That's part of the reason he is," Marel says softly. "So stubborn and standoffish sometimes; people think he is. Can be. Why not be, if that's how you think people see you?" She shrugs one shoulder, almost immediately dismissing her words as opinion alone. His hand at her back isn't shrugged away, but perhaps makes it all the more awkward when she studies one particular petal on one of the flowers with unnecessary intensity and murmurs, "You know we're… me and M'kal… that we're… you know." And if he doesn't, maybe she'll have to say the proper words. "If you like men, then you like men. No point in ruling them out 'til you're sure. Maybe I'm meant to like girls, if Isyriath is built to chase them."

Mur'dah considers her words and then he nods. "Maybe. I'm trying to not see him like that. Just trying to be a good friend." But Ka'el makes it so hard sometimes. "And he's been a good friend to me." He shrugs. "I spent some time with Sori. You think they'll work this out?" Then he stands there, watching her watch the flowers. "Yeah, I know," he says. And then quickly, "I mean he hasn't /told/ me or anything, we don't talk about that stuff, but I…I figured…and I'm happy for you both," he adds, giving her shoulders a little rub before he pulls his hand away. "I'm, uh. I don't like men. Not like that. But it's not terrible, if he wins." There's a pause and he clears his throat. "I've, uh, got…um. There's this girl, but I don't know if it's…we both lost Idrissa's flight…" Cough. Awkward. "Probably just a one time thing."

"…I think she should try to forgive him," Marel replies, abruptly pushing away from the counter to head towards the living room and comfy couches. "It wasn't on purpose. He hates himself enough for it already without being made to feel that what he did was awful and him." She settles herself down on one of the couches, knees hugged to her chest. "Well, at least you don't have to worry about Kalsuoth chasing greens with male riders," she supposes. Unruffled - seemingly - by talk of a girl and Idrissa's flight, she tells her twin, "Maybe you should see her again and see? There's no knowing whether you like each other outside of a flight if you don't." Arms wrap around her legs as she rests her chin on her knees. "I kept him away from Tahryth. Didn't want him winning her."

Mur'dah nods, following after her and carefully sitting on the couch. He's clean today, he knows it! So he approves his sitting on her beautiful furniture. "I think it was Kenekith…it's like, your dragon's emotions feed through you. After the green's flight, when Kalsuoth was snuggling with the green, I got all snuggly with the rider too…I think you kind of become your dragon." And thank Faranth Kalsuoth is easy going and generally gentle. "He's beating himself up a ton," he says with a grimace. "And he's a good guy. I think they'll work it out. It'll just take time. I think she wants to forgive him, it's just…kind of hard to move on from that, I'd imagine. To get past it and not, you know. Flinch when they're near…" Then he shrugs. "I'm not sure, we'll see. I don't want to get all creepy on her, you know, ask her out or something when she's expecting it to be a one time thing." Then a nod. "Yeah? Why not? She said she wanted me there, so…" They were.

For all her 'if you like men, you like men' talk, Marel finds it almost impossible to look her brother in the eye when he talks of snuggling, though nor she can she look right at him when he mentions Idrissa wanting him at her flight either. "…Because it's Idrissa," she answers with an all too casual shrug of one shoulder. "I don't want to think of her like that. She seems so… innocent. And she's Ka'el's ex… whatever they were. I don't really want to be able to compare notes on her with him." All of which also adds up to: she's a girl. She stares down at the floor as she says, "I know what I'm like after a flight. I didn't want her to see me during or winning." And, wait for it… "And I didn't want to you to see me either." All said in little more than a whisper.

Mur'dah wants to hug her but thinks it might make things a bit more awkward, so he shifts on the couch and stays in place, and he nods. "Yeah. I wouldn't have gone if she didn't want me there. But…I asked her if she wanted me there and she said yes." So, nice guy that he is, he went. "But it would have been weird." Quiet for a moment, he watches his twin with some concern before he asks, "What are you like after a flight? And we can…we can try to avoid chasing at the same time?" Try being the key word there.

What is she like? Marel shakes her head and presses her lips together, staring at something on the floor that only she can see. Maybe the tiniest spec of dirt. Again, she steps around answering his question and says, "It's not a matter of me trying to keep him away. It won't be a problem," all quiet confidence and simple as that. "I can stop him. He won't chase unless we agree we want to. So far." 'So far' not to be tested with Idrissa. "So, I don't think we'll have any issues there. We just won't chase if he knows Kalsuoth is." Whether that's fair or not on Isyriath is nicely glossed over. "It doesn't matter, anyway. It's not as if our lives are going to revolve around flights," she insists determinedly. "I've got a lot of work and I'm going to ask if I can go back to the shop too, so." Sorted.

"Marel," Mur'dah says quietly, coaxingly when she evades his question, his gaze concerned as he watches her. Then he looks impressed. "Wow, you can? That's nice." He's had no such luck in stopping Kalsuoth. Then he smiles. "No, our lives aren't going to revolve around flights. There's so much more than those, but right now they do seem kind of…" Overwhelming. "All-encompassing."

Marel dismisses any believed or supposed effort with the twitch of a knee and the wave of a hand. "It's not difficult. I don't know what happens, really. Either we do or we don't. There's not even… a conversation about it most of the time." Whether that says something good or bad about her relationship with her brown, she doesn't appear troubled by it. "M'kal and I have an agreement about what happens if we lose, whatever the case. So, I'll keep Isyriath away when Kalsuoth chases and there's a definite path if he chases and loses himself." All neat and tidy on the surface. Very Marel.

Mur'dah listens, and he can't help but smile a bit. "Well that's good, then, that you've got it all worked out. So you're okay?" he asks, extending his hand across the couch towards his twin.

"Of course I'm okay," Marel declares, smile bright as she begins to push him from the couch, meaning to catch the fingers of the hand that he extends towards her with hers and tug him to his feet after her. "I'm always okay." Statement made, she moves away from discussion of herself as quickly as possible, telling her twin, "What's not okay is that fountain outside. I help with your weyr; you help me with this. I think that's fair." And so, given her way, she'll rope him into assisting her with mending the fountain.

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