Xanadu Weyr - Garden
An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place.

On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.

Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.

The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also alluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic.

The summer heat remains bearable so far, with late morning sun filtering into the gardens below. It’s not too busy here, with a few venturing through on their own business, while others linger. There are workers about, including a few Candidates whose names were drawn for this particular chore. Kyriel is one of them and he is currently kneeling by one of the less crowded beds, bent forwards as he works — or was working. He’s paused again, confused expression easily read as he scowls at the plants in front of him. “They all look the same,” he whines complains, while pressing his dirty gloved hands against his thighs and not caring if they leave tracks.

Another Candidate emerges from the greenhouse, though Kyszarin's name was not on the list for this chore - then again, his chores have been relatively hit or miss as to whether he's actually doing them, or caught up in his continuing duties as a healer. The latter seems to be the case this morning, as he's got a wide, shallow basket tucked over his arm, a soft cloth spread within and upon said cloth are several bundles of fresh herbs clearly just collected from within. Distracted, he starts to head out of the gardens, but the whine plaint reaches his ears and he frowns, then turns slowly on heel, scanning for the issuer. Catching sight of the scowling Kynriel, he echoes the other young man's expression, then steps in his direction. "What's wrong?"

“They all look the same,” Kyriel repeats without shame for his —whining— complaint. It’s honest, at least? He’s struggling, as despite enjoying hiking through the woods and being in the depths of them, he’s never truly looked beyond the rudimentary ‘what to avoid, what to use’ kind of survival guides. Sitting further back on his heels, he squints up at Kyszarin, ice blue eyes darting from that basket and up further. “I’m supposed to be weeding and I’ve forgotten half of which is which. I don’t want to pull up stuff I’m not supposed to.” Too late for that, the evidence is in the pile beside him. He’s mistakenly pulled the young shoot of one of the perennials, but the majority appear to be the right ones. Oops? “

Pursing his lips, Kyszarin sets his basket safely to the side and crouches next to the other Candidate, studying the plants within the bed thoughtfully. "One of the easiest ways to tell them apart is to look at the leaves and the stems," he replies, reaching out with one begloved hand to gently nudge one of the flowers. "See, look here, it's got a single-point leaf and the stem is thin and tender to the touch, just like most of these plants." He moves on to another, admittedly quite similar plant. "Here, there's several points on the leaves, and the stem is tougher and woody." His hand darts down, fingers scraping against the dirt as he grabs the stem and twists deftly, tugging up plant and roots. "Of course," he adds, glancing sidelong at that perennial in the pile, "mistakes happen - if they didn't expect them, then they'd have someone out here monitoring."

Kyriel opens his mouth, readied to protest but Kyszarin moves too quickly. By that time, the refresher lesson has begun and he —sulks— listens (at least partially) as a way of ‘thank you’. He’ll observe as well and when there is space to do so, will pull another plant - the correct one - with far less complain and renewed confidence. He scoffs, his earlier frowning now replaced by a smirk. “Probably why I’m here and not at the fancier beds. Guess these don’t matter so much?” Shoulders lift in a shrug to the largely rhetorical musing. “You know your stuff,” he adds, both statement and compliment as he peers sidelong at the other Candidate. How long ago was that night in the barracks? Long enough, perhaps, to forget the finer details. “Kyszarin, right?”

"Eh. Apprentices had to learn how to weed the herb beds before we could learn to pick and processes our own," Kyszarin replies absently as he pulls up another weed and lays it on Kyriel's pile. Dusting his hands, he rises to his feet. "I know enough not to get myself into trouble, but I'm no gardener. I'd rather eat greens than grow them." He grins lazily, then stoops to pick up his basket. The other Candidate's question catches him before he can wander off again. "Aye, Kyszarin. And you were… Kyrien? No. Kyriel, right?" His eyes narrow, storm-blue and thoughtful as he studies the young man, and he continues to linger, rubbing his thumb along the handle of his basket.

There’s agreement somewhere along the line and Kyriel chuckles, “Yeah, same.” About eating them. “Most I know about plants are the wild ones and usually just what to avoid.” He scoffs briefly when Kyszarin attempts to recall his name, a fleeting grin betraying more amusement than annoyance. That will come when he catches that studious look. No hackles raise, but his brows furrow slightly and his expression tightens. What? “Why do you keep staring at me?” he bluntly asks, now that it’s just the two of them here and no —hoard— group of Candidates surrounding them. He’ll stand as well, mostly to ease the pressure off his legs, reaching up to scrub at his chin with the back of a gloved hand (and smear more dirt underneath). “You’re starting to,” Get on his nerves. “Creep me out a bit.”

"I… don't know." Kyszarin frowns, more at himself than at Kyriel. "You just seem familiar. Ever been to Ista? Or Healer Hall?" Shaking his head, he starts to scrub a hand through his tight-packed curls, only to stop just short. Lowering his begrime-gloved hand, he wrinkles his nose, then shrugs. "If not, I guess it's just some fleeting resemblance to someone I know." Abruptly he grins slyly. "Maybe you've got an older sister? Brother? Someone else I've… met… before?" Yeah, better hope not - for all too many reasons.

The tension that’d begun to creep into his posture immediately bleeds away. “Ah,” he interjects briefly and stopping himself there to allow Kyszarin to continue. He can only shake his head at much of what is asked of him, echoing a bit of a grin minus the slyness (he hasn’t figured that out yet). “Here I thought maybe you were, I dunno… interested.” IN WHAT? Is this awkward? He’s not making it out to be, since he doesn’t let that really sink in before he blows out a breath and continues. “Never been outside of Xanadu much, from what I can remember? I was born here and my parents are riders. Much of my family are.” Now it’s his turn to give the other a cursory head-to-toe study. “I’m second oldest,” he offers, but no names and no further explanation as his eyes narrow and he leans in a little. “… you do sort of remind me of someone? Now that I’m really looking.” Kyriel’s tilting his head, not at all hiding the fact that he’s trying to get another angle of Kyszarin’s profile. Do they start circling one another now?

A pair of bridling canines, sizing each other up? Kyszarin holds his ground, dark eyes watching Kyriel as the other shifts his stance. "Never said I wouldn't be," comes the easy retort, "but I've found that when you have to live with someone, it's better to be certain of their… preferences… beforehand." And then there's that little itch, the one right between his shoulder blades that he can't quite reach, that warns him away from the other Candidate. Turning slightly, he continues to study his companion, brow furrowing. "Your parents are riders here? Not to be nosy," but to totally be nosy, "but, uh… who?"

“Wouldn’t that require asking them about it?” Kyriel is already lost —poor sweet sheltered soul—, despite having started it. Missed cues or just plain obliviousness borne of inexperience, he’ll dismiss it all with a shrug; his weight shifts, but he too stands his ground. He’ll meet Kyszarin’s gaze steadily, not shying away under the question even as his expression gives him away; he’s uncertain and hesitant. “Usually I mind when people ask me that,” he remarks, “Since I never know how folks’ll react and it gets really annoying, really fast sometimes.” Is that an explanation or a warning? From the look Kyriel is levelling him with, and how his arms cross over his chest? Yeah, he’s not holding a high bar for Kyszarin’s reaction based on the game of twenty questions. “My dads are K’vir and D’lei,” he supplies first. “… and my mother is Risali.”

"I mean, usually I just nose around and see what others know first," comes Kyszarin's absent reply - he's not really interested in flirting, not with that unreachable itch and that nagging suspicion that something is going on here that's just beyond his grasp. "There's plenty of ways to find out if someone'll be receptive before you make a move." Don't worry, young padawan, he'll be thrilled to teach you - at least, once they manage to make it past this particular reveal. "Hah, yeah, I know how you feel. I was the same at Ista." Maybe he was about to reassure Kyriel that it wouldn't matter - maybe he was about to retract his question - but the answer drops and Kys looks just a bit poleaxed. Then he exhales. "Risa's kid? Ah, yeah," he says weakly, "that would explain it all." Thank Faranth he hadn't followed through on that half-formed impulse to actually, you know, flirt.

Kyriel’s already taking notes! Or, at the very least, tucks that one aside. “Yeah,” he mumbles, suddenly uncomfortable with having revealed how clueless he might be in the finer details of flirting and not sure how to avoid digging a deeper hole. It’s about to get a whole lot worse, as tension has his posture straightening and his expression closing off. That Kys responds the way he does, has him instantly on high alert — which makes him a stitch irrationally irritated. He clicks his tongue, “See what I mean?” YOU DISAPPOINT HIM~ He’s not so dense or distracted this time and it takes a beat or two, as his mind works backwards to piece a few things together. Now he can feel the hair rising on the back of his neck and something amiss. “…whhhyy,” he drags out, “Does that bother you so much?” He wants to know. He also DOESN’T want to know, as his mind jumps abruptly to too many conclusions; it luckily shuts him up and just keeps him staring Kyszarin down.

Kyszarin remains silent for a long moment, just studying Kyriel intently. Finally, he exhales a sharp puff of hair and shakes his head. "It doesn't bother me," except for that whole, you know, nascent temptation to flirt, "I'm just pissed at myself for not figuring it out sooner. Shards," he mutters. "So, you're like… what? Sixteen? Seventeen? Sheesh. That's…" Awkward. "Kind of interesting, actually." Is he just going to talk in circles and confuse the poor boy further? Maybe. This time it's his turn to pace and study, basket tucked against his elbow as he circles around the younger Candidate, studying him intently.

“Why? I’m not exactly a puzzle to be solved,” Kyriel isn’t in the mood for games and that earlier spark of irritation hasn’t fully extinguished — or did that glance a nerve? He’s been —more— sensitive about certain things, since touching those eggs. Color begins to rise in his cheeks, his expression stormier by the second as he turns a little on the spot to follow Kyszarin. He’ll keep his gaze on the other Candidate, mouth and jaw set. “Seventeen,” he mutters, almost defensively and a few shades of perplexed. What does that have to do with all this? “Can we just cut out the,” Bullshit? “dancing around? Who are you?” And who’s your daddy, Kyszarin? Kyriel is very invested, now.

It's been fun, but Kyszarin's sensitive enough to moods to sense that Kyriel's has deteriorated rapidly. "A puzzle? No. Not any more." Holding up his hands, the healer backs up a step. "Don't punch me - it never feels very good." Clearly, an experience he's had before. "I'm sorry, Kyriel. I'm being an ass. Let's try this again." He offers out one of those hands, palm up. "I'm Kyszarin, Journeyman Healer, son of Zyriene of Ista Weyr and," he hesitates, then sighs, "Ila'den, of Xanadu." Reveal. "But don't hold it against me."

Don’t punch me is like offering an invitation for Kyriel to consider it! It’s SUS. The way he glares speaks volumes, but thankfully his arms remain crossed. He has SOME sense to him, even when irrationally prickly, not to start something with Kyszarin here and now and risk both their knots. “Not even on the shoulder?” he manages to evenly reply, in an attempt to diffuse some of the —pressure— tension. His brows lift in agreement and he’s mollified a little further. Enough that his arms uncross, one falling back to his side while the other brings his hand out to take the one offered by Kys. “… what?” It’s not meant to be hissed, but Kyriel’s mind is short circuiting mid-speech. That hand? Doesn’t crush the other, but it has frozen in its grip. “Ila’den?” Kyriel stresses the name, incredulousness written all over even as realization dawns. “… so you’re my…?” Nope, he can’t say it, it just comes out as a half-garbled word on a fit of nervous laughter. “But you’re hardly older than me!”

"Yeah. Threw me for a loop, too." Still is - Kyszarin's taking it a bit better than Kyriel, but only marginally; healer's composure cracks a bit at the seams in the slightly wild eyes and the chill of the palm clasped against Kyriel's. "I knew Risa had kids - fairly sure I even knew your name, hence why it felt so familiar - but I never had a chance to meet you. Until now," he adds, trying to gently extract his fingers from the other Candidate's. "Don't think about it," he advises. "Families are weird, especially in the Weyr. My mother's youngest is only four turns old. If it helps, you could just think of me as the cool… uh… cousin? that helps you get into all the trouble and hides it from your mother?" Because he totally would.

Kyriel makes a low and strangled guttural sound initially in response to Kyszarin. Incredulousness is gradually ebbing to a (much preferred) numbing shock. Somewhere in the midst of that explanation and likely spurred by him trying to gently extract himself, Kyriel’s hand will ease its grip; escape is possible, even if his hand hovers a beat or two in empty air before falling back. “No shit,” he quips back around a shaky huff of breath, rolling his shoulders as he wills himself to shake off the worst of this revelation. “… that’s not going to help. I can’t — just change it.” Yet. He goes to scrub at his face, only to remember they’re still gloved and he bites off another curse. The gloves are removed and jammed into a pocket. He might get a complaint for ditching his work but right now Kyriel’s got more pressing concerns. “Hold on to that offer, though.” Emphasized with a jab of a finger vaguely at Kyszarin’s chest. HE’S NOT DONE YET! He’s cycling back and now his features slip a bit. Is that a slight wounded look. “You knew about us?” Uh oh.

Kyszarin isn't doing a whole lot better - he's just presenting as if he is. Sucking in another breath, he wanders off in a random direction, pacing a slow loop around the area where they've met. "I mean, I knew Risa had kids," he repeats, "but obviously, I've never met any of you. I know Ila'den's got a lot of kids - I'm hardly the only… uncle," he squeaks out, takes a breath, calms, "that you have, by any means. I've only met your mother, one or two others… My mother… didn't approve." That's a bit of an understatement. "Look," he says soothingly, drawing on turns of training in dealing with unsettled patients. A bit harder when you're just as discombobulated. "If it bothers you that much, don't worry about it. I just…" He trails off and turns away, studying the flowers down at their feet. "I like having family. And it's kind of neat having some closer to my age. But it's no…" Big? He doesn't like to lie. "It's okay."

Kyriel doesn’t immediately follow and when he does, he keeps a respectful distance from Kyszarin; leaving him to his pacing, but keeping close enough that they don’t have to shout this conversation out between them. “Hmm,” he half hums, half grunts under the uncomfortable realization that Kys is right. His — THEIR — families really are complex and messy and BIG! “Right,” he grumbles. “Makes sense.” When it doesn’t really or really feels FAR more muddled then it ought to. Is any of it ever linear? He shakes his head, scrubbing a hand over his face before tilting his head back and sighing heavily; he may have wanted to do something closer to a frustrated yell but that WOULD bring too much attention to them! “Just… it’s fine.” No it isn’t. Kyriel lets that little white lie slide. “I just need some time to wrap my head around it, alright? Figure some stuff out.” He pauses, turning to face Kyszarin as he squints. “I’ve no issue with you being family,” Truth or half-lie? He doesn’t linger. “I just don’t want it coming out around the other Candidates. We’ll be spending half the sharding night, or days even, trying to explain things and I’d rather not.” It’s exhausting! To him, anyways.

Silent, Kyszarin listens to Kyriel, eyes a pale steel-grey as he folds his arms, tapping his fingertips thoughtfully against his elbow. "I see," he replies, tone inflectionless. Then he offers a smile - perhaps a bit too big, a bit too bright. "Hey, it's no problem. It's a lot to digest. Don't worry about it - I won't breathe a word to them." Even Ligeia? "Don't worry," he repeats, backing away from the other Candidate, reaching down to grip his basket before his unsteady gait can cause it to flip in his arms. "I get it. Anyway - you should probably get back to that," and he jerks a chin at the pile of weeds, "before someone comes by and catches you loafing. And I should get these back to the infirmary and start drying them." Again, that toothy grin that holds nothing of good humor. "See you around, Kyriel. Probably."

Suspicion blooms again, but this time it’s turned more at himself as Kyriel tilts his head. “Did I say something wrong?” he isn’t returning the smile, his mouth pulling to a grimmer line. Something might click, but he otherwise feels as though he’s grasping at sand; it keeps slipping past him. “Because it feels like there IS a problem.” Is he going to press the issue? It obviously crosses his thoughts, as he shifts his weight as though preparing to cut Kyszarin off before he can —flee— leave. Instead his movement becomes a backwards step, if reluctant. Nothing of his posture is relaxed, awkwardness now settling in like a scratchy, uncomfortable, blanket. He smiles, but is wan and brief. “Give me a chance to sort out my head, Kyszarin? I’d rather we talk more first. Then, I dunno… I guess others can know? It’ll probably come out eventually anyways.” It’s not like Kyriel himself is fully incognito here! “See you around, Kyszarin.” he returns the farewell around an exhaled breath, almost a sigh. How is he supposed to focus on weeding, now?

"Problem? No - no," Kyszarin says, pausing briefly in his retreat. "I think I just need time. Space. Same as you." The smile that comes now is less stilted, just a hint warmer - but there's definite unease lurking behind the curve of his lips as he glances back over his shoulder. "Don't worry - it's going to be okay, I'm sure of it." Turning back, he starts to walk off again, still steadying his basket and unable to wave goodbye. "We'll talk again. Soon. See you." And he disappears off into the gardens, making good time towards the entrance and clearly not inclined to stop again.

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