Mystery of the Garden Gift

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 eluding 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 two paths leading away from the entrance have come full circle, wrapping around to meet each other on the other side, yet still continue on to the far left and right. One path leads off deeper into the surrounding woods, while the other wider; cheerily decorated with brightly colored slabs of painted stones.

The clouds that lazily drift over Xanadu are puffy, fluffy, and pristine white. The sky behind them is a bright blue, and Rukbat gleams hotly. Your typical summer day on your typical peaceful Weyr! Ka'el is again without his dragon, which is now a usual sight for the young bronzer, but in the gardens a dragon would be a troublesome sight anyway. Currently, Ka'el is speaking with one of the gardeners who wears a floppy hat to keep his face from the sun. Both are talking animatedly, and both hold pleased expressions on their faces. The gloved gardener hands over a burlap sack to Ka'el, who takes it carefully, placing the palm of his free hand beneath the rounded bottom of an object within. The gardener, still looking gleeful, points towards an area of blooming flowers, gesturing towards the weeds that are beginning to creep in. Ka'el nods again, and more words are exchanged.

Marel's path to the garden has taken her past the Garden Shop and its sign for the umpteenth time since it appeared, doing less and less for her mood each and every time. She looks distinctly unhappy as she wanders on through, her gaze on the ground and the state of the flowers, for once, ignored, that is until she notices that she's not entirely alone and nor is she approaching someone apt to dismiss her as someone of only vague acquaintance. "Ka'el," she greets, smoothing her features out into their usual calm, unreadable serenity. "What are you…?" She doesn't outright interrupt the conversation, the gardener, who might well find her familiar, given a polite nod as she stops just short of the bronzerider.

Out goes Ka'el's hand, after releasing his double hold on that sack, and out goes the gardener's. The deal is sealed with a handshake, and the bronzer is promptly given … gardening gloves? They're stuck into the back pocket of his trousers just as Marel is noted by both men. The gardener gives her a broad grin and tips his hat to her. "G'day lady Marel! Lovely day, innit?" he greets chipperly before heading back to a set of neatly trimmed bushes to gather his shears and continue his work. Ka'el jumps, startled (slightly) and turns with a too-bright grin plastered on his face. "Marel!" he greets, hands going behind his back, bringing the sack with them. Nothing to see here! "What're you.." he echoes her words, then smirks sheepishly. "Urm…I…fancied a walk?" he says, the statement sounding more like a question. He coughs a little. "I fancied a walk." There. That sounds more believable! Maybe. "Lured by the smell of blooms, you see. You?"

Marel answers the gardener with a shallow nod and a brief smile that doesn't truly light up her eyes at all, but she tries her best. It's an expression touched with suspicion that she lifts up to Ka'el, her hands lifting to plant on her hips. "Because you're so into flowers," she drawls, arching a brow. "It might have been a while back that I had to help you with those metal ones for Soriana, but don't think I've forgotten." Those idly ambling about in the garden might think she's trying to get a look at his backside, what with how she twists to clock the gardening gloves, interest in whatever he's hiding dimmed in comparison to wondering about the presence of those. "I'm sure that Kanekith is thrilled by flowers. You better not be pulling up anything here, or I'll… I'll…" She'll what? "Kick your butt." As for what she's doing? "Checking the shop. I can't believe it's for sale."

"I'm…toootally into flowers," insists Ka'el who twists and turns with her, aiming to keep his front facing hers and his treasures behind his back out of sight! It's a playful dance they find themselves in, one that causes Ka'el to grin as his feet dance against the gravel and torso swivels. But then, plop! One of the gloves dislodges from his pocket, apparently not stuffed down deep enough, and lands on the ground behind him. Drat! "You women forget nothin', do you?" he says with a snicker as the metallic flowers are brought up. "An' you wouldn't dare kick my butt. It's too good of one to be so mistreated! But you needn't worry, and nor does my backside, because I'm not pullin' anything worthwhile up. In fact, I'm … uh, volunteering my time in the gardens today. A charitable service to Xanadu! Weed pickin'," he explains, hands still behind himself. Brows raise at the mentioning of the shop. "Petals and Pots? Yeah, I saw… I suppose Tsenik gave up on comin' back to check on it. He hasn't been here in ages, besides." He eyes her. "..Gonna buy it?"

A-hah! Marel doesn't quite smirk as she bends down to retrieve that glove, but she does look rather triumphant as she does so. She holds it out towards him, presenting it like one might a card to an audience during a magic show, then shoves it up the sleeve of her wine-dark leather jacket. Take that! Now she has time to consider what he's doing with his hands behind his back, what with one glove held to ransom. Twisting again, her feet drag against the ground as she tries to sneak a look behind him. "What on… What are you doing?" she questions as if he's quite mad. "Did you get yourself in trouble already and wind up with a punishment? 'Cause I know you can't be here willingly." Or so she believes. She visibly flinches at mention of buying the shop, her feet shuffling to a halt. "…I don't know," the brownrider confesses. "I don't know if I can afford it or whether they'd let me or… I just don't want to lose it."

Nuuu! His glove! Ka'el ah's! as his gardening glove is taken ransom! Blue eyes narrow and glare. Beware the glare! "Thief, give that back!" he says, fighting a losing battle against a grin that tries to wholly ruin his 'angry' look. "Me? Trouble? Whenever have I ever been in trouble, dear Marel? The world would stop an' collectively gasp if ever I did somethin' wrong!" Which means that the world must have stopped and gasped plenty of times since…oh, Impression? He fully grins now, halting when she does, but the look on his face shifts to one of curiosity at her words regarding the flower shop. "I'll give you a clue as to whether or not you can afford it or if you'd be allowed to have it," he says, taking a slow breath for dramatic effect. "Your ma." A smirk. "I know you don't like using the 'Weyrwoman's daughter' thing, but I say in this case? Use your assets! Ask your ma if you'd be allowed to have it. If you don't have enough to pay for it, I'm sure she'll lend you what you're short, and you can promise to pay her back. All it needs is an owner, right? You needn't work there every day, so it wouldn't interfere with your work with Quasar, right? I know that place means a lot to you." One hand is withdrawn from behind himself, though the other remains, with his prize.

"Make me," Marel goads, stepping just out of reach, well aware of her advantage, especially if he wants to keep whatever it is he has behind his back out of her reach and in one piece. "Or do I have go and ask what you're doing with these?" she challenges, angling a long look over at the gardener he was speaking with earlier. She doesn't so much flinch this time as twitch when he suggests using her place as the Weyrwoman's daughter to get what she wants, already shaking her head before he's finished speaking. "I can't. People already talk… N'shen's Weyrleader, Darsce's Headwoman… It wouldn't be fair. Right. I can't ask her to favour me over someone else, not when I already got a beautiful home and a spot in the Weyrleader's wing." And yet, says the subconscious knotting together of her fingers, she does desperately want that shop. "I know I could make it work, but it doesn't mean I should be allowed to just because of who I was born to."

"Oh I shall make you Marel, because…" Because, uh.. Yeah. He's got nothin'! Ka'el glances over to that gardener, the same one who gave the gloves and likely knows the answer to The Garden Glove Mystery. She wouldn't dare! Well. Yes she would. He sticks his tongue out at her. Nyeeeaaaah! "Cheater," he snorts, though he does so with a grin. But, back to business. Literal business. The shop. The mentioning of her family… well. Yes she has a point. He wrinkles his nose at the reminder of Darsce and her new…random…position as Headwoman but wisely keeps all comments regarding that to himself. "You've got it all wrong, Marel," he says, voice reassuring. "See, it wouldn't be fair if your ma favored you over someone else. But …. the sign is still there. There likely is no one else, so how could be seen as showin' favor? If no one picks up the shop, it'll shut down. Those who work there will lose their jobs an' wages. That hardly seems fair, does it? It isn't their fault Tsenik gave up the place, and it isn't their fault they haven't the means to run it themselves. If there's no one else who shows interest in buyin' it, I don't see why you couldn't." A pause. "And if anyone has anything ill of you to say of it, they can bring their complaints to me." He makes a threatening face, then grins. "Also, you'll give me my glove back if you wish to ever get your gift from me that I owe. A part of which is behind my back now, traded fair an' square for one day of weeding."

Marel shuffles awkwardly on the spot, though she idly waves her sleeve at Ka'el at the same time, taunting even in her discomfort. "…And if I messed it up, those people would lose their jobs and wages and the shop would close anyway, wouldn't it?" she utters quietly, not quite able to look her clutchmate in the eye as she makes that confession. "There's no knowing whether the staff would take orders from or listen to me anyway; I was the youngest there. They might think I was there because of my mother and that wouldn't earn me any respect." But wait, what? Gift? She instinctively begins to lean forward again, trying to sneak round him. "How do I know you're telling the truth?" she teases, still keeping that glove well shoved up her sleeve. "You could just be trying to get me to surrender."

Ka'el smirks. "'Course they will. They'll respect you for takin' a chance. They'll be so happy you've allowed'm to keep their jobs they'll thank you and thank you til you're tired of hearin' thank you," he assures, sounding quite confident. "I believe in you, Marel. Jus' like you believed I wouldn't become a ravin' drunk," he gives her a meaningful look, "I believe you'd do all you could to keep the shop up. S'no guarantee you won't mess up. We all mess up. Take it from the biggest Mess Up on Xanadu right now. But you've got us to help get you back on your feet if you do. Me. Mur'dah. Soriana. M'kal." He grins again, shifting to keep his secret gift a secret. No peeking! He holds up his free arm, trying to fend her off. "Keep doin' that and I'm gonna give it to somebody else!" he warns. "And I am tellin' the truth. You've just gotta trust me…..and give me my glove back!" And with that, he uses that same shielding arm to try to reach up her sleeve. Gimme!

Some might linger on the first part of what Ka'el utters, but Marel immediately focuses in on what he says about himself. "You are not the biggest mess up," she insists, staring up at him like she might well stamp one of her feet and throw a childish tantrum if he doesn't believe her (as if Marel ever would). "Stop thinking like that. Don't put yourself down." And that's right when she's distracted enough for him to steal that glove back, its fingers poking out of her sleeve. With it swiped away, she gives an inarticulate exclamation of frustration, yet surrenders it all the same. "Fine!" He wins, for now. "And I'll talk to Mama about the shop." Yes, Mr Ka'el, sir. "Just don't pull up any flowers. And don't get sunburnt." She'll let him keep his secret-gift-secret behind his back, though she does lean in with intent to press a kiss to his cheek. And that's what she'll leave him with, her path through the garden resumed to take her onwards towards the meadow and home.

If Marel ever did have a tantrum, it may be surprising enough to never have Ka'el utter a single negative thing again! As it is, she doesn't, yet still she's effective, and even as he snatches his glove back, "Ah ha!", he can feel a warm feeling creeping up his chest. Aw, Marel. "Ok, ok I won't," he promises of berating himself, and he beams after with her decision to discuss the shop. Success! "Good. Let me know how it goes, will ya?" he says as he stuffs the glove back in his pocket. "And I won't pull flowers up." He'll try not to. Weeds. Flowers. Sometimes they are hard to differentiate! "And I won't get sunburned, geeeeeze." … Hm. He actually hadn't thought of that! He'll have to borrow a hat, fashionless as they are. He grins at her though, and the grin softens to a smile at the kiss. "You'll have your surprise soon, Marel," he promises in her wake. "And you'll be glad you relented the glove!" He smirks, exhaling a breath as he watches her go. "Thanks for always bein' on my side," he says in a softer tone that's unlikely to carry. With satchel in hand, he turns to head towards the gardener to see about that hat.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License