Xanadu Weyr - Deep Forest
The wooded areas closer to Xanadu Weyr represent a compromise between man and mother nature, but to the north and west, no such arrangements have been made. The deep woods between the Weyr and the mountains are less traveled, the wider paths fit for man and beast less present. The noises of mankind are barely audible here, brief ghosts on the wind, and the quiet thrum of forest life presses in on all sides. The snapping of a twig, a bird's cry, the low cadence of insects; all of these things seem louder. Closer. The deeper one moves into the trees, the more it becomes obvious that one passes through nature only at her allowance.
The cover of trees is more severe in this area of the wood and only occasional shafts of sunlight lance down through the canopy, the sky visible in brief patches. A rough path has been blazed back towards the Weyr. It does not appear to be a heavily frequented path, but the few who have chosen to pass through this area appear to use it more than other avenues available. Only the very foolish or the very experienced would ever wander far from the path.
Earlier in the day a perhaps somehow familiar blue landed on the coastal road. But then again in a weyr dragons landing is hardly something to blink at. Familiarizing himself with the lay of the land an older rider strides down the path cut through the forests trees.
The rhythmic sound of an axe hitting solid wood begins to echo through the forest with a steady regularity. Thud, thud, thud. A pause, and then the noise resumes, slightly off the trail to the right. He is either very foolish or very experienced, indeed, to have strayed into the wilderness.
Either of those assumptions could be correct. Foolish or experienced. Its the sound that brings the riders attention out of his head, straying off the path in search if the source. Being it hasn't quite been located yet he remains silent for the time, though he's no intention of trying to sneak up the someone.
Mur’dah is in the center of a small clearing, working to chop up a felled tree and stacking the wood on a large piece of canvas, rope at each corner. Stripped to the waist, the well built rider pauses to lean on the axe and wipe his forehead with his forearm, catching his breath for a moment.
Certainly not easy work, but it is character building. "Need a hand?" the older man offers breaking the silence, or the vocal silence at any rate.
Mur’dah looks up, startled by someone else so far into the woods. And then he’s startled by another reason, blinking and just staring for a long, long moment. Swallowing thickly, the voice that finally emerges is more boy than man. “Dad?” There’s a hasty clearing of his throat and then a deeper, “Dad.”
It's been a long time since they've been face to face. The man just stares for a moment before ducking his head and giving it a light shake. He wasn't expecting to run into anyone so far in the woods either much less his son. From the back it could have been anyone, but that reaction it has to be. If he'd known he might not have said anything. Lifting his gaze back up to meet the young man's he tries and fails, throat dry. "Muir?" surely his little boy can't have turned into this already.
Mur’dah swallows thickly again, searching his father’s face. Wary, curious. “I…” Swallow. “Uh. Yeah. What…what’s up?”
Searching. Seems they're both doing that. Trying to find the words. Trying to find some hint in the brownrider's expression that will tell him how this chance meeting might go. "You're doin good?" D'had never was a man of many words and now even that he's almost hesitant to ask.
Mur’dah nods slowly. “Yeah…yeah, good.” There’s a pause. “And…and you?”
"I… I am," D'had's answer comes after exhaled breath. This isn't what he was expecting, certainly not today. Then again he's not sure how he would have expected it to go. "Your sister?" another catch in his voice.
Mur’dah shifts the axe to his other hand, looking at the ground for a moment. “Think…maybe you should go ask her that.” Mur’dah is cautious. He doesn’t want to get in the middle of things.
"She well though?" That's the important thing here. Of course this whole conversation could just be a hallucination of an overheated woodchopper. He nods though, a saddened sort of understanding in the movement. "I.. should go," he nods back towards the path he came from, intending to turn back and leave the boy to his work.
Mur’dah lifts his shoulder in a non-commital gesture. As his father nods back towards the trail, Mur’dah leans forward. The ‘wait’ is unspoken, but what he does say is, “You’re a grandfather.” A few times over. “I…my weyrmate and I. We have a son. Keruthien.” There’s a pause. “I ride brown. Not blue.” He’s sure his father already knows that, but…
D'had swallows hard, but the words that are spoken by his son so cause him to pause. Turning back, a hint of his former self revealed in a lopsided grin subtle as it is crinkling the corners of his eyes. He knew about N'shen's but that Muir has a child as well, that's news. "Congratulations son." Somewhat resigned, yet he clearly means it. "I know," of the dragons color. "I.." but what he doesn't say.
Mur’dah nods. “Thanks,” he replies, slowly. Still cautious, as he searches his father’s face for signs of drink. Signs he knows too well. “What?” he presses.
No signs of drink, not today. Not for awhile, but then he's been mia for Mur'dah to know that. "I know." he repeats. "Brown can be Weyrleader," he adds. In a way that's his form of saying he's proud of him, something he can't quite say yet. Much as the boy deserves to hear it, his father might not deserve to feel it yet.
Mur’dah snorts, his smirk a replica of his father’s. “Me as Weyrleader would be the worst thing for Xanadu. And for me.” But he does smile, his shoulders straighten, he lifts his chin just enough. Praise accepted, subtle though it was.
D'had was Weyrsecond. Twice. So it's saying something. A subtle twitch of his lips and a slight nod of understanding. Its a big knot, he wouldn't want it either. And then there's the awkward silence to follow, unsure what he should say, if he should stay.
Mur’dah is hardly the most socially adept person out there, so the awkward silence lingers. Lengthens. “So. Want to help stack wood?” Lame. It’s so lame but he’s grasping at something - anything. Does he even want his father to stay? He doesn’t even know the answer to /that/ and yet he feels as if he should prevent his father from leaving, not knowing the next time he’ll see him.
"Sure," D'had agrees moving to do just that. He'd offered a hand before he knew who it was, he's not about to take it back now. Even if nothing further is said by either of them it time. Starting with pieces closest to him, still keeping his distance for now.
And so the awkward continues as Mur’dah stacks the wood onto the canvas with his father’s help. It stretches on and on… and they’re running out of logs to stack. With two left to move, Mur’dah finally blurts, “Are you visiting?”
That question brings a surprised sort of look from D' had still stooped from placing the last log. "No," he replies simply, though he'll spare the thought that he's not certain he'd have anyone to visit - save the bartender. "Transfer," an explanation. There's potential for him to stay at least.
Mur’dah ohs softly. There’s another pause as the last log gets put into place. “Want…to…come see your grandson sometime?” he asks hesitantly, not even looking at his father whe he asks.
"I'd like that," the man almost chokes on the words but he's had plenty of practice trying to hide emotions, or avoiding them so its anyone's guess if he's caught in that. "Don't need to tell him who I am," D'had adds. He'd understand that, but just the offer to see him that's something the appreciates.
Mur’dah looks confused. “Why wouldn’t I tell him who you are? You’re his only grandparent.” Well, there’s Kiena’s mother but…do they even have a relationship? Mur’dah winces and moves to gather up the rope at one corner of the canvas. “You…” Pause. “No drinking.” He’s firm on that, but nervous, darting a side long look at his father.
D'had lifts a shoulder in a shrug at the question. There's reasons he can think of apparently. Moving to the opposite corner to assist there's a bit of a cringe at the note of being the only one. "Haven't done that in awhile," he tries to assure. "Occasional drink, but not like it was." Old habits are hard to break. There's another of those silences as he looks at his son, "I… I'm sorry Muireadhach." One word he's always had a hard time saying and now is no different though perhaps for different reasons. That catch in his voice clearly there this time.
Forgive Mur’dah if he’s skeptical. But he doesn’t argue or ask for proof. Instead he blinks in surprise, having not heard his birth name in a long time. He glances at his father and then away, lifting the rest of the ropes and looking skyward as his dark brown swoops in and hovers steady above the tree-line, a thick rope with a metal latch dangling from his straps. Mur’dah is silent as he begins to fasten everything so the canvas full of wood will travel safely back to his weyr. What can he say? ‘It’s okay’? It’s not. So he just nods. “Few days…I’ll let you know when you can visit,” he finally says, bending to hoist the axe over his shoulder as Kalsuoth flies away.
D’had would expect nothing less. If her her in the boy’s position he’d likely feel the same. He seems content with that lack of response nodding his own turn a the note on letting him know when it's a good time to visit. The work done, he turns to head on his way pausing for second, and least there’s more conversation to be had, he continues on resolved not to look back.