Xanadu Weyr - Council Chambers

Effort has obviously been spent on this room and the result is simple luxury. The elongated room, situated between the Weyrleaders' and Weyrsecond's office faces the clearing. Two large windows, flanked by heavy antique bronze jacquard drapes are shielded by ivory-colored sheers that allow a diffused light inside. Walls and the recessed ceiling are of polished granite that gleams a pale creamy-gold in the soft overhead lighting. Hanging in the space above the head and foot of the table are heavy frames with fine paintings in each, signed by the artist with a scrawl that begins with M. A potted palm in one corner adds a finishing touch.

Much of the tapestry-carpeted floor is occupied by a long, heavy table of Lemos hardwood, the dark stain polished to a brilliant shine, each place set with an elegant blotter made of leather, a fine pen and a pad of paper. The cushioned chairs are fashioned from the same dark hardwood, the backs and seats upholstered with softly-tanned leather. The room seats perhaps twenty or so, but can be used for more informal meetings as well.

Winter continues to hold Xanadu in its snowy grasp. A gentle snowfall has been drifting down all day and continues into the evening hours. The several inches of accumulation is not enough to interfere with the work that the various outside chores must accomplish, but now the weyrfolk gather for the evening meal. The caverns are a-bustle and the scent of dinner is predominant throughout. Darsce has sent one of her handwritten cards – a gilt-edged with floral-motif invitation to her half-siblings to please meet her and the steward – only the name is there rather than the title - for dinner. The place named is the council chambers, the time the same as the dinner hour for the rest of the Weyr. Upon entering the chambers they’ll see one end of the table set for five places with linen napkins, china and crystal goblets rather than the crockery and mugs seen out in the caverns. There are candles lit on the table, a floral centerpiece and a couple of bottles of wine open and ready for the pouring. Darsce, not dressed as formally as the setting might suggest (just a dress that hugs her form and shows too much leg as usual) is standing beside one of the chairs, which is occupied. Over by the wall is a cart with covered dishes ready to be served by the attendant, who waits patiently.

Mur'dah got the invitation and he arrives, dressed in his formal riding leathers - because it's Darsce, and he'd rather be over dressed than under dressed. Peering inside, he hesitates on the threshold for a moment, brows lifting in surprise. "What's the occasion?" he asks, grin a bit crooked as he tries to hide his sudden unease beneath some easy banter.

Marel has dressed according to the quality of the card; that is to say that she's dressed up rather than down, the skirts of her burgundy dress swirling about her knees as the click of heels heralds her arrival. Her long hair is loosely curled and half pinned up out of her eyes and away from her neckline, and in her arms she carries a simple bunch of flowers in pale, pastel colours with tiny blooms, one of the few sorts to be surviving the winter without greenhouse or other assistance. She's maybe a minute behind her twin when reaches the council chambers and halts at the door, hand reaching to press again the doorframe to steady herself. Heels. "What's… going on?" she asks quietly, having no way of knowing that her words are almost an echo of her brother's.

Jethaniel is the occupant of that chair. He is also the steward, but that may be incidental. He's dressed neatly, in a light blue long-sleeved shirt with a black vest over it that slightly increases the formality level without seeming disproportionately so in comparison to Darsce's attire. It still leaves him below the implied level of the surroundings. His hands are below the level of the table, sitting upon his lap, and as such there is no obvious sign of why he would be sitting as opposed to waiting on his feet. The cushion elevating one ankle is a subtle one, having been selected to meld with the carpet. Jethaniel is seated, and he remains still except for the motion of his eyes. They begin at Darsce, then glance across the room in the general direction of the waiting cart, then go to the door as Mur'dah arrives. Jethaniel smiles slightly, with a tilt of his head that is likely intended as a greeting, followed by - at the question - an, "Ah," and a glance to Darsce. He is, evidently, leaving this one to her. He is, also, returning his gaze to the doorway as Marel also arrives, giving her the same sort of nod as she asks the same sort of question.

Now Darsce, given her social expertise, is capable of deflecting questions such as these with ease. The flash of eyes to the silent attendant is a considering one. Answer the question now or deflect? It's a brief one and her smile for her half-siblings is next, a warm and genuine welcome mingled with a hint of mystery. "Dinner," says she with perky cheer, and a gesture that they please enter and be seated. She might normally step forward and welcome them, but she remains where she is, one hand upon Jethaniel's shoulder. When they do sit, it'll be the attendant that pours wine - red or white according to their choice and sets the plates before them lifting the covers to reveal a simple, elegant fare ordered from the Wandering Wherry of vegetables, baby potatoes and bite-sized pieces of meat - all pan-roasted with the surfaces browned to carmelization. The server withdraws as pre-arranged and Darsce holds her tongue until he does, having seated herself after her guests. "We are to be married," she says almost breathlessly when they are settled. And she can't stop smiling.

Mur'dah offers Marel his arm when she arrives, glancing down and frowning at her heels. Ugh. The things women wear. "Not sure," he murmurs to her question. "Sir," he greets Jethaniel formally, with a salute, and then he looks again to his sister. Moving forward, he pulls out a chair for Marel and then sits beside her, and then…stares at Darsce. His eyes widen, he chokes on his wine, dribbling a bit down his chin. Dabbing at his face with his napkin he clears his throat and looks between the couple. "Congratulations!"

Marel clings to the flowers a little bit as she glances from Jethaniel to Darsce, then accepts Mur'dah's arm as they head into the room. She hesitates at the end of the table when her sister doesn't step forward as she might have been expecting, and so settles the flowers down on the edge of the table rather than give them to her directly before she proceeds to sit herself down in the chair her twin pulls out for her, murmuring thanks. She's not yet touched her wine (white) when Darsce makes her announcement, though she's reaching for it and curls fingers back from touching the glass so as to afford the couple her full attention. Another dart of icy-green eyes from sister to steward, then she smiles and echoes her brother again. "Congratulations, Darsce. Jethaniel." Best not to go through all modes of address for him this time.

Darsce's social expertise might be why Jethaniel has chosen to defer the questions to her, but there are other potential reasons for that. Dinner is, certainly, a sufficient reason to let things proceed. "Mur'dah," he replies to the brownrider's salute, followed by a matching acknowledgment for, "Marel." No titles, from him. Despite the setting, Jethaniel is not being formal in his address. He remains where he is as the others approach and seat themselves; Darsce will have to take care of her own chair, when that moment comes, though he glances to her as she moves before turning his gaze across the table once again. He nods for the server appropriately, and while his intention is to regard the company, as Darsce makes her announcement, he finds his gaze instead drawn to her. Jethaniel's smile is a pleased one, but his observation of Darsce lasts only a moment before he looks across the table once more, inclining his head to her younger half-siblings. "Thank you."

Darsce manages her own heavy chair without fuss, smoothing the rose-gold brocade skirt of her dress with one hand and pulling her seat in under with the other. She has seated herself to Jethaniel's left, beside him at the end of that table. When Marel places the flowers on the corner between them, she reaches a hand to brush her fingertips to her sister's forearm and smile a wordless thanks. It's an awkward beginning, there's a reason for it, but she doesn't go into why. Her manner is easy as if this is just normal. Normally she'd tease Mur'dah but though her smile grows for his congratulations, all he gets is a flickered wink for the wine spill while her hand reaches to find Jethaniel's. "Thank you," she responds to both of them. "I'm very happy. And thank you for coming." That fifth plate has been left unserved, though a dinner remains on the cart in case the guest arrives late.

Mur'dah settles into his chair, napkin re-folded and draped across his lap. He grins at Marel (we're okay with this right?) and then at Jethaniel, and then at Darsce. "So," he says, glancing at the empty spot curiously, then back to Darsce. Quick! Conversation! "When…is the wedding going to be? Here? Have…you started planning?" Surely that'll set his sister off, and he won't have to do anything but smile and nod and ooooh and awwww while he eats. Which he desperately wants to do.

Yes, we're okay with this, apparently, though there's still a hint of befuddlement clinging to the very edge of Marel's gaze. Whatever it's born of and whatever is keeping it there, she doesn't voice it, and so instead she lets Darsce's touch to her arm soothe her somewhat and bring her closer to her usual calm expression and unruffled expression. "You can't think of having it in this weather," she remarks on the heels of Mur'dah's enquiry about /when/, thought escaping far more judgementally than she must mean it to, for her cheeks flush and she folds her hands in her lap. "I mean to say that it's not the nicest time of turn for it," she hastily amends. "There are so many places that would be beautiful in spring or summer. Outside."

Jethaniel reaches his hand to meet Darsce's, curling the fingers together with hers. He will, at some point, need to eat, but Jethaniel is not left-handed, and so one might presume he intends to use his right hand for this purpose… though it has not yet made an appearance. Darsce's happiness draws another glance from him - apparently he deems it necessary to smile at her once more, despite it perhaps being more appropriate for him to engage in a conversation. Mur'dah suggests a variety of topics, to which Jethaniel's attention arrives somewhere in the middle, and to which - at the end - he gives a cautious and measured nod. Marel's comment concerning the weather, however, brings a wry smile. "Indeed not. I have a… marked preference against winter."

Darsce gives Jethaniel's hand but a brief squeeze before releasing it; he's going to need that hand to eat with. The food is hot, best eaten so. With that in mind, she reaches quietly for not her napkin but Jethaniel's and her other hand joins the effort to quickly flick it open and place it on his lap. Simultaneously she's drawing attention from that move by answering Mur'dah's questions. She laughs lightly, taking no offense for Marel's comment, answering both easily, "Tentatively for the end this-coming summer." She places her own napkin and takes her fork, but does not begin eating right away. "Other than planning to have it here, we haven't… really made any plans." She looks between her half-siblings and adds, "I'd love you to be involved. And I'm open to ideas." How did Murdah think he was going to escape conversation now?

Mur'dah takes a few bites of food and glances around with a smile. The absence of Jethaniel's hand isn't noticed by Mur'dah, because there's other things to notice like food and sisters. Sorry. "Summer is nice…" Then he blinks. "Involved? Oh, well. Yeah, of course! I could…" Well lets see. He lit the funeral pyre on their grandfather. Maybe… "Um. I could…" His mind is blank. Has he even been to a wedding? "Do something. For sure." He looks at his twin. Help.

"I could help with decorations," Marel offers, knife and fork picked up only when she sees that cutlery is in the hands of others. "Though I guess that would depend on where you're having the wedding. Some places… might not need much decorating at all." Talks herself into it, then right out of it again. "At the very least, Isyriath and I can go and collect things or people if you need them." /That/ she can do. She glances over at her twin, adding, "I'm sure Kalsuoth would be happy to help with that too. We could give people lifts to and from, if it's needed." That's the best she's got, for now.

Jethaniel will, in fact, need that hand. It remains above the table as Darsce manipulates his napkin, and though he inclines his head to her slightly, he does not otherwise acknowledge it. His gaze goes across the table. "We have not considered much on the precise location," he says to Marel. "Merely an intent to hold it here." He smiles. "Do you have any suggestions?" Decoration by virtue of site selection is still a form of decoration. The other form of aid offered brings a slight frown, and Jethaniel looks down to his plate, reaching with his left hand for the fork. "There… may be some required, yes. That is yet to be determined." He begins to eat. His motions are quite careful, to compensate for the lack of adeptness.

There are many riders to do the transporting of guests. Marel and Mur'dah might be otherwise occupied come time for the ceremony. A flick of manicured fingernails waves aside the offer, though an appreciative, "Perhaps those coming early? Grandfather Naois, Grandmother Caileigh and Uncle Larignen will most likely arrive aboard the Vega Run." She quick-side glances at Jethaniel, "Others might come by sea as well." She doesn't name them, however. "Will you walk me down the aisle, Mur'dah?" Darsce asks with simple straightforward candor. "Because I don't think-" a quick glance at that empty plate is followed by a press of tinted lips as her eyes determinedly slide to more pleasant places, first Jethaniel while the clouded light in her iceblue eyes clear. He's checked on surreptitiously - everything okay over there? - a soft smiled nod covers that before she returns her attention back to her siblings. Yes, please -suggestions! Marel's offer to decorate draws a grateful smile. "I meant to congratulate you on acquiring the garden shop. I like the new name. I thought with you might like to do the flowers. The contract would be great advertising for you, but it would mean much to me for you to be the one handling it."

Mur'dah nods, "Oh yeah, of course we could do transport…" It's what he's good at, right? But then he's staring at Darsce, his throat convulsing as he swallows. "I…" His eyes brighten and he glances at his twin, then back to his half sister. "I'd be honored," he says softly, the weight of this request weighing heavily on him. But in a good way. He /is/ honored but he wishes she didn't /have/ to ask him.

Before can think about /wanting/ to, Marel follows her sister's gaze to the empty plate. Her eyes dart right away again, her knife and fork stopped still and her jaw clenched, but she makes no comment about who she believes should be in that chair. She peers over at Mur'dah; blinks once, twice, then straightens her shoulders."Thank you," she murmurs, when she finally finds her voice again. "And I'll only do the flowers as long as you don't make me charge you for it all," the brownrider insists, bringing to the fore that tone she uses when she expects not to be argued with. "As you say, it would be good advertising and the potential revenue from that would offset anything…" Any funds put towards the flowers for Darsce and Jethaniel. "Besides, I'm… I could afford it, trust me," she says very softly, looking back down at her food. As for locations: "You could have the ceremony outside and reception inside, though that would depend on the weather. Maybe the meadow or a quiet spot on the beach."

Jethaniel glances back to Darsce at her statements regarding the transport of persons, and nods. The possibility of other seaborne arrivals also receives a nod, but he does not name them either. Jethaniel has a bite of his meal, then lifts his gaze to Mur'dah as Darsce makes that request. He does not look to the plate, as Darsce trails off, but instead at her with a slight lowering of his head and steady eyes that meet hers. Everything is okay - insofar as his eating of dinner, certainly, presuming that is what her glance is intended to determine. Other matters… are being further discussed, for there are assorted plans to be made. He glances briefly to Mur'dah, nodding belatedly for the brownrider's assent, then turns his gaze to Marel. He arches a brow to her insistence, then smiles slightly. "I believe the exchange rate for advertisement may be a fluid one." His tone is dry, and he glances to Darsce briefly with an arched brow that asks for her confirmation before returning his gaze to Marel. Her statement regarding her own fluidity of resource, he does not comment on. The possibilities for location, he nods to consideringly. "There is, I suppose, also a matter of scale. Attendance is… yet to be fully determined." The things they have not planned appear to significantly outnumber the things they have. The rate of increase in known details over the course of this dinner is nontrivial.

Darsce's fork has begun movement - she's finally eating bites between the back and forth exchanges. She swallows carefully past the lump her food has become, blinking past the sudden shimmer in her own eyes as Mur'dah responds. She too wishes she didn't have ask, wishes the man missing would be the proud papa giving her away but has early learned the hard way that things are not always as she would like them to be. "Thank you," she says simply but no less sincerely to her youngest brother. Her smile to Marel wavers at the stipulation of not paying her. "But-" A swift, questioning look of 'what do I tell her?' is sent to Jethaniel. She turns her head back to Marel, listens thoughtfully to her and nods. "Outside would be nice. Perhaps an evening ceremony. There's a glade in the forest that might suffice." Because unless the guests all want to go barefoot, sand in dress shoes is not fun. "It can accommodate either a large or small crowd." Her eyes drop to her plate. "Aside from relatives, I'm not sure who else will come. I don't have many friends." Make that any, which is entirely her own fault. Not that she's making either of those clarifications aloud. The comment is made to alert her sister that the advertising may not be all that… widespread.

Mur'dah shrugs as he eats a few more bites. "Quiet, romantic, simple. Private, in the forest. Sounds ideal to me, sis," he says with a warm smile for Darsce. "And Marel, I'm sure you can make that glade seem like some sort of…of…flower…filled paradise. Thing." He's trying! "It will be beautiful. Ooh, if it was evening we could do lanterns, or candles in the flower arrangements. I saw that once. Everything just glowed. No electric light. Candles are more romantic." And then he stops, ahem, wedding planning and dips his head again with a blush. "Or whatever you want," he mumbles. FOOD.

"It may be a fluid one, but it's one I'm willing to bet on, so to speak," Marel says matter-of-factly, without a trace of anything but her usual composure. "I won't ever be married and you may be the only sister of mine who /does/ get married, so. Please." It's a little difficult to believe that Marel is the age she is sometimes, what with the words that fall out of her mouth having the tendency to add decades to her. It /sounds/ like the advertising talk is simply a cover to try and get her way, no matter if it makes her look foolish or not. Her eyes widen a little when she slants a long look across to her twin and words such as 'romantic', 'glowed' and 'paradise' escape from his mouth, and she does him no favours, for she gives a burble of bright laughter that she can't quite contain. "Lanterns. Candles," she echoes in agreement, trying to stifle any lingering amusement.

Jethaniel places his fork down carefully, and reaches over to touch his fingers lightly to Darsce's forearm. Were he using both of his hands, he would be capable of making this reassuring gesture simultaneously with the navigation of the utensil. He is not, and as such, does not. After the brief touch, he reaches for his wineglass, raising it to take a small sip that provides a justification for the fork's absence. As Darsce appears to be deferring the question of Marel's payment back to him, he returns his gaze to Marel as he listens to her, then nods. "So to speak. As long as the costs are reasonable, I expect we can work something out." But if it's too expensive, Jethaniel will be contributing. Somehow. Perhaps he'll buy Marel external advertising to make up the difference. That having been determined, he looks back to Darsce, and nods. "I am amenable to that." Her proposed location, that is - though his smile might be more for Darsce herself than the precise details of the glade, given that he has not yet seen it and he is presently regarding her. "Evening would indeed require considerations to be made regarding lighting," he agrees to Mur'dah, though there was a quirk of his lips for the proposed lack of electrical versions thereof. "I believe it to be a matter of the degree of diffusion, as well as the wavelengths of light. The positioning on the color spectrum will be… relevant." And with that, he inclines his head to Marel, passing the matter to her presumed (and hopefully present) expertise. He simply nods to Darsce's clarification as to the indeterminancy of their guest list and the notable lack therein of non-familial presences, then resumes his careful eating.

Feeling the brush of fingertips on her forearm, she flicks Jethaniel a grateful look, manages a tremulous smile. Now Darsce has had turns of social etiquette experience. The sort of situation wherein someone says something awkwardly amusing calls for careful failure to react and kind deflection to another topic. Instead, she stares at Mur'dah open-mouthed. She would be recalling his growled response to certain turnday gift she's given him and so her burst of laughter joins Marel's. It's of short duration and she follows that up with a gasped, "Sorry!" After Jethaniel speaks of working something out, she turns to Marel and acquiesces with a gracious dip of her head, "I'm- Thank you, I will be honored." And she is mostly managing to keep the emotional tremble steady as she says the words. She's nodding agreement to both of her siblings in regards to having romantic lighting when Jethaniel speaks. She turns to listen to him, her expression softens and a secretive smile curves her mouth. Back to Marel and Mur'dah, she drawls, "Oh, I've seen some romantic electric lighting." She does not, however, say where or what. "I'd like to see what Jethaniel can do with that. Candles might blow out, but some glass candle-lanterns hanging from the trees would be nice. And a flower-filled," a twinkle of merriment towards her brother, "paradise would be lovely." Can Marel do anything with over-arching, gnarled and twisted oak branches?

Mur'dah stares at Jethaniel, the brownrider's eyes going glassy. "I…didn't understand a thing you just said," he says, with more apology than accusation. He glances at his twin and her laugher has him smiling rather than scowling, and he reaches out for her hand to give it a little squeeze. It is /good/ to hear her laugh. And Darsce too, but it effectively silences Mur'dah for the time being.

Marel lets go of her knife to relinquish her hand to her twin, her fingers curling about his hand in turn for the moment or two before she sets her fork down too and starts rummaging in the slim pockets of her dress. She doesn't bring up the subject of payment for flowers or anything again, for she rarely talks about money as it is (perhaps she doesn't consider it to be polite). "He means the colour and volume of light," she murmurs to her twin. "And where it should be placed for optimum effect." What /is/ she looking for in those pockets? "Little electric lights, like glows or sparks. They'd be… romantic." She does /not/ look at Mur'dah when she says that, just in-case she starts laughing again. "If you show me the place you're thinking of, I could get some sketches done, so you could get an idea of how you'd want it to look?" she suggests to Darsce, though Jethaniel is included in that she divides her questioning looking between them. Oh, there, she's found a pen. Is she actually going to start doodling on a napkin? Let's hope not. Looks like her ideas are carrying her off already anyway.

Jethaniel does not join in the laughter. This is likely because he does not comprehend it, but nevertheless, he does not laugh. Mur'dah's lack of comprehension, on the other hand, makes his lips twitch slightly, an apologetic sort of smile. "Ah…" he begins as he searches for an appropriate alternative explanation, then smiles as Marel provides one. "Precisely," he says as he inclines his head to her. Her language is less technical, and as such, more effective in the current circumstance. Darsce's comment concerning her experience of romantic electric lighting, he does not reply to. He does, however, smile. "The properties of the glass could create interesting effects. If the colors were matched to the flowers nearby…" Here he looks to Marel again. He does not have knowledge of the space Darsce has in mind - she'll have to answer questions about that part - nor does he consider himself to have much expertise when it comes to aesthetics, but when it comes to technical considerations of electric lights and the possibilities thereof, he will be quite interested to discuss with Marel and make observations about her doodles. It is an intriguing problem. Perhaps the gnarls of the branches can be used as dynamic curves to be echoed by ribbons and other organic forms, implying that paradise by means of a lush profusion of life - or perhaps there will be other concepts found more suitable. There are a great many possibilities, and ideas are fascinating things.

Darsce opens her mouth to summarize for Mur'dah what Jethaniel has said, but Marel gets there first and so she just nods. Yes, that. She resumes eating while the rest speak, nodding as Marel speaks of spark-lights, that small, pleased smile still hovering on her lips. Those would indeed look romantic. She reaches for her glass, a sip of white wine clears her mouth, "It's off the main track going through the forest where the cluster of oaks grows. I'll show you sometime soon." It's winter, the trees will be bare, but Marel should get a good look at the structure of the branches and be able to take measurements of the clearing below them. Her own ideas are barely-formed, nebulous things and so she nods vaguely to Marel and murmurs, "I trust your creativity. However, simple," a glance goes to Jethaniel, "and elegant would be good." The meal is intended to be nice, but not stuffy and so as Marel doodles, Darsce peeks now and then with interest but she mostly eats. Until the silence stretches enough that she asks casually of her brother, "So Squirt, what've you been up to lately? I haven't seen you around as much."

Mur'dah really doesn't understand anything Jethaniel says, but he smiles and nods and pretends really well. Which means this next part is going to be difficult. "Uh. So. Hate to talk about business but just for a second, I found some folks that might be interested in taking care of the camelid herd Mom - Thea - has coming. I need a contract drawn up so they can look at it. Compensation and duties and all that. Seem like really sturdy folks." To Darsce he gestures with a grin. "That. Helping Uncle Tharen with stuff. Wing stuff. The usual." Shrug!

"…indeed," Jethaniel says, with a glance to Darsce for that mention of simplicity. He smiles slightly, with a duck of his head to observe his plate. There are assuredly complex electronic options for lighting, however… simplicity is, in fact, a goal. As is elegance. He continues his own meal, still using only his left hand, then pauses as Mur'dah draws his attention. His fork remains down as his brow arches up in an inquisitive look for the business at hand. "Ah." There's a moment as he adjusts the subject of his consideration, followed by a nod. "The precise terms of the contract will depend on experience level. Broadly speaking, the salary range begins - for a new journeyman or those with comparable experience - at about…" A consideration, followed by a number. "There is a percentage bonus for time spent at remote locations in the course of their duties-" most likely to compensate for the fact that they won't be taking advantage of weyr facilities during that time "-and success is measured by herd productivity in the sense of both population and wool. Salary is not substantively contingent on success, but bonuses are available. I expect the task would involve substantial field time; as such, initiative in caretaking will be required. Assessment will be data-driven according to projections."

Simplicity in general, Darsce meant. "The… decorations," she asides to Jethaniel. "Not the lighting." It's going to be dark, they'll need good lighting! And romantic isn't always simple. With Jethaniel working on them, she wants it clear that he is to do as he wishes, "You may give your creativity all the complexity you'd like," she smiles. She's eaten her fill, her fork laid on the rim of her plate and sips her wine while listening to her brother. "Came…lids?" This brings a quirky smile to her lips. This is news to her! "What are those?" She hasn't met his uncle Tharen, so just gives him a baffled shrug, turning to listen to Jethaniel's response. His rattling off of business terminology sounds familiar enough to her from working in Ierne but it has her biting back a smile as her eyes flick to Mur'dah. Not going to laugh! More wine! Sip.

Mur'dah stares at Jethaniel and the brownrider just sighs, glancing at Darsce with a 'help' look. "I…can you just write up a contract for me to take?"

"Ah," Jethaniel replies to Darsce's clarification, and smiles back to her. "I will investigate the possibilities… as I have time." That part reduces his smile somewhat. The temporal requirements may prove the more demanding ones, when it comes to his creativity and the potential complexity thereof. When it comes to camelids, his immediate answer to her is, "Wool-bearing mammals. The fiber is notably fine." The considerations for caring for them are the subject of his conversation with Mur'dah. Or, more specifically, his conversation with Mur'dah involves establishing a framework for obtaining the services of those capable of providing the necessary considerations for caring for them. "Not as such," he replies to Mur'dah. "It is somewhat dependent on the precise qualifications. I can, however, provide you-" not write up, but then, it's Jethaniel, so the change of words is reasonable, right? "-with a document outlining the general terms."

Darsce returns Jethaniel's smile, hers undimmed even when his does. Hopefully as things progress he will find more time. If not, delegation! She sips her wine and tries not to look bored. Herd animals? From the high reaches? "Better word it simply," she chimes in without looking at Mur'dah. "He might get questions otherwise that might slow the process." And well, they're herders! Most of them keep simple lives. At least she imagines they do.

Mur'dah nods. "Yes. Yes, please. I want one of those." Documents outlining general terms. "Uh. Soon? So I can go back and show her - them - the…document." Right, that thing.

There are a great many things that Jethaniel can and will delegate. There are others that he will not. He glances to Darsce for her reminder of the importance of simplicity (in many contexts!) then looks back to Mur'dah. "I can have one for you by…" He pauses, reassessing his intended estimate with reference to his current rate of forward progress. This task is, however, of some importance, and as such he can provide it by, "…end of day tomorrow." He will not be returning to his office tonight. "You are currently engaged in negotiations?" His expression is an inquisitive one. "Further details might allow me to specify some aspects of the document."

Camelids and the like do not interest Darsce. She has not yet discovered the silky-soft textiles made from the wool yet. Wait until she does! It will be a different story then, most likely. If Jethaniel is finished eating, she'll lean in a slight nudge against that arm of his. She can help him with what to do with that! She's still finishing her wine while half-listening and though while negotiations, contracts and herders don't perk her interest, "She?" Darsce asks her brother with the lift of a shapely brow. Yeah, she caught that little slip.

Jethaniel's plate is not entirely empty, but it is sufficiently so. The lowering of his fork may have been meant as a temporary gesture, but Darsce's lean toward him transforms it to a more permanent state - though it is hardly permanent in any extended sense. He does not, however, see any need to lift it again tonight, and his arm instead drifts over, following the advice as to its positioning she provides. He only glances to her briefly, though it's with a smile, then returns his gaze to Mur'dah. "What are their qualifications? Are they beastcrafters, or merely experienced as herders? How long have they been working with camelids? Do they require substantial relocation of personal effects? How many working herders, and how many… dependents?" For example, this daughter Mur'dah is describing, though Jethaniel limits his questions regarding her to that. Inquiry as to further details will be left to Darsce - but then, Jethaniel has likely provided more than enough questions.

Darsce is pleased with the response and while she might prefer to nudge Jethaniel's arm to drape across her shoulders, that's probably a bit too casual for this setting. So she contents herself with sliding her hand down his arm until she finds his hand, twining fingers with his to hold hands under the table. She eyes Mur'dah's hands, a grin forming and by the time he says insane, it's a full-blown thing. "Is she?" Smirk. That's all the questions she asks. Jethaniel has been thorough indeed.

Mur'dah stares at Jethaniel, his cheeks coloring with a blush of…shame? Embarrassment? "I…I don't know. I went where Tharen told me to go and asked if they wanted to move… I don't think they're beastcrafters." That much he thinks he knows. "Maybe you should come with me." Please, /please/ come with him, his hopeful expression practically begs. "Uh, yeah. She was…um. I don't know what she was doing but she hit Kalsuoth. I thought she was dead." What a first impression. Ha. Literally.

Jethaniel's fingers join readily with Darsce's beneath the table. The rest of his wine - he has only had about half a glass - will, evidently, not be consumed, as he once again has no visible hands. They do, however, remain tangible, a fact to which Darsce - if she so chose - could attest. Jethaniel keeps his attention on Mur'dah, awaiting answers that are… not entirely forthcoming. "Ah." His brow furrows with a considering look, but it is not until Mur'dah's suggestion of accompanying the brownrider that he frowns. The expression is not one of of displeasure, but an uncomfortable one that brings with it a lowering of his gaze. "That is… there are certain logistical issues with that." He does not comment on the manner of Mur'dah's meeting with this non-beastcrafter's daughter. It does not appear to be relevant. Additionally, to judge from the consistency of his expression, he is still considering the prior statements made.

Darsce's iceblue eyes widen fractionally, "She…punched…your dragon?" Apparently it’s relevant to Darsce. Without taking her eyes off of her brother, she leans towards Jethaniel and asks in a stage-whisper, "Did anyone think to warn him about the mountain moonshine they brew up there?" She'd know about that because…how? The Ierne black market, of course! Not the crowd of… friends she used to run with, surely? Cough. Aaaaand with Mur'dah's lack of answer after the series of questions she, asides, "He could probably use a list of questions for the information you would like." Y'know, for next time. A list. Much easier to logistic-ize. (if that's not a word, it should be).

Mur'dah shakes his head firmly. "No! She was moving on this…board thing and she let it go and she /flew/ into Kalsuoth. He caught her and we fell into the snow…it was…it's a bit of a blur. "A list would be great, I'm…I guess I wasn't as prepared as I thought I was. Too bad you can't just come with me though. Why can't you? I'm sure Thea would let you go for a bit."

A habit of fisticuffs with dragons might be problematic to employment in the Weyr environs. Jethaniel, at least, was willing to presume that problem was adequately resolved, given that Mur'dah still considers this group of herders to have potential. He does not comment, though he does tilt his head toward Darsce to listen to her question… which he does not answer, merely giving her a glance accompanied by a slight tilt of his head before returning his gaze to Mur'dah. The concept of a list is one to which he nods. Doubtless it will have bullet points and branching conversational structures organized according to relative priority, but those details are yet to be determined. For now, as Mur'dah reiterates the efficacy of Jethaniel's accompaniment, the steward once more frowns and lifts his head. "That is not the issue." Thea's permission, that is. Under ordinary circumstances, he would likely not even bother to ask the Weyrwoman. Jethaniel's frown recedes toward a neutral expression, and he continues in a calm tone, "I am not, at present, capable of draconic transport." His hand - the left one - squeezes Darsce's gently, while his hand - the right one - lifts for the first time. It does not do much; he simply sets it down carefully on the table's surface. The notable fact is that the wrist is in a plastic support brace. Jethaniel does not look at it. He already knows.

Darsce just gapes at Mur'dah. Her eyeballs do tiny side-to-side movements while she tries to decide whether this tale could possibly be remotely true. "Watch out for the mountain moonshine," she finally says sagely. His continued insistence on the steward accompanying him, draws a restless shifting from her in protest, but she says nothing to that, instead glancing sidelong to Jethaniel. When her hand is squeezed, she squeezes his back, perhaps thinking he'd like the use of it back, her fingers release his. Lists, yeah… she should have said simple when she made that suggestion. Oh well! As Jethaniel moves his right hand to the table's surface, she keeps her eyes upon her fiancé. She also already knows.

Mur'dah blinks at Jethaniel's arm and then at the Steward. "So?"

Jethaniel is sometimes capable of simplicity. For instance: lifting his injured hand is a very simple means of revealing that there is something wrong with it. He could have attempted to give the technical medical details, insofar as he understands them. He did not; merely let that hand rest on the surface of the table. Upon finding the other one released by Darsce, he removes it to his lap. Perhaps he requires at least one to be present? More likely is that he did not mean to take it back, but does not wish to pursue Darsce's hands. Perhaps she wants hers. His expression, given Mur'dah's question, remains a neutral one, neither smile nor frown. At most, it is mildly inquisitive. "Are you aware of a means of mounting and dismounting from a dragon which may be achieved with one functional arm and one functional leg?" That being, at present, an accounting of his limbs. He does not, however, attempt to place his foot on the table to demonstrate.

Iceblue eyes shift to Mur'dah. Really? That's the look they're giving him, but there's no attempt to speak for the man beside her. He can do that eloquently enough for himself. She's been behaving, but this is too tempting. With a roll of those eyes, "Maybe he plans to dump you in a snowbank. Oh, that's only one half of the process, nevermind." But wait, while she might use faint sarcasm to tease her brother, Jethaniel wouldn't and so her fiancé’s question now draws a stare from her. "You… wouldn't." Or… would he? She's looking troubled now. She has two hands, in fact, one is still holding her goblet, the wine forgotten. So when Jethaniel merely places his hand in his lap, she realizes her mistake and rectifies it by reaching to curl her fingers around his again. There's a gentle tugtug, a wordless request to reconsider. This is her brother he's asking. The one who tried to fly in a dragon costume from the loft of his father's weyrbarn. Talk about crazy! He's met his soulmate up there in the high reaches, that's what he's done.

Mur'dah tilts his head and then leans over to peer beneath the table. "One leg too? Well…yeah, we could. There's a few ways we could do it," he admits, the wheels turning. But then he exhales. "But it'd be way too hard for you to crawl through the snow. So…I guess that's out." So it's not the riding a dragon part that has Mur'dah abandoning that idea. It's the snow crawling part.

Jethaniel tilts his head to look at Darsce for her snowbank proposal. There's a small pause before a smaller smile. "…perhaps not," he says quietly, then glances back to Mur'dah. Briefly, because Darsce's protest draws his gaze to meet her stare. His voice remains quiet, and he dips his head slightly as he says, "If there exists a means…" He would. It was not a purely rhetorical question, though the proposed means would have to meet with his approval from a safety perspective. He is not aware of any mechanisms that do. That does not mean he is outright dismissing the possibility; Jethaniel is not an expert on draconic transport. His fingers twine back with Darsce's willingly, but he does not state a change of opinion as he looks to Mur'dah once more. While he does not attempt to place his leg on the table, he does not conceal it either. There is a brace on the left ankle, similar in nature to the one surrounding his wrist. He is wearing a shoe on that foot. It does not (quite) match the shoe on the other one, because of certain logistical difficulties. Jethaniel, being also aware of that, keeps his gaze above the table and awaits Mur'dah's considered opinion. There are ways? His eyebrows lift, inquisitive. "Oh?" he asks, then glances down. "Ah." There will be snow. There will likely also be ice. He is not capable of effective locomotion on such a surface - though, if the endpoints of the transit are possible, he might yet visit a sufficiently cleared location?

Yeahno, Darsce didn't think Jethaniel was asking a rhetorical question. This is what has her so worried. To her credit, she does not groan when Mur'dah says they can. "You don't mean like, stick him in a cargo net and haul him about or have Kalsuoth dangle him him his claws do you?" Obviously she is no expert on draconic transport either, but none of the options sound safe to her, mounting/dismounting included. She doesn't argue with Jethaniel though, even if the direction of this conversation is worrisome to her. He doesn't wish to be seen, how's he going to the High Reaches without doing that? Fretting inwardly, for more reasons than his safety, she bites her tongue. Wine. She sips it.

Mur'dah shrugs his shoulders, finishing his meal and getting to his feet. "Of course not," he says to Darsce with a little smile. "But he couldn't do anything else so it's a moot point. If you can get me those questions sir, I'll fly out and see that I get answers. Then I'll come back, you can make a contract, and I'll go /back/ out with that…" Though he frowns, a bit sad that he won't be going with the contract he told them he'd be going with. His inexperience talking, there. "And congratulations again on the engagement. I'd be honored to walk you down the aisle." He does not look at the fifth place-setting. Nope.

Jethaniel has not yet considered the observational aspect of this problem in depth. Specifically, the one where others will observe him. Nevertheless, if it would permit a sufficient increase in effectiveness, he might consider it worthwhile. Given, however, the chances of it significantly reducing his effectiveness for some time… it seems unlikely. Darsce's suggestion that he be dangled in a dragon's claws is sufficient to make him wince, though the expression is brief. It is… highly unlikely that his presence would increase effectiveness sufficiently to merit that. He nods slightly to Mur'dah's denial of it as a prospect, and - with a glance to his injured hand - removes it from the surface of the table before looking up to the brownrider once again. "I will have documents for you by the end of tomorrow." A list of questions, and the broad outline of a potential contract - though it'll be more an explanation of what a contract would be than something signable. "Should you wish to arrange the reverse transport, I can make myself available for a meeting." Here, at Xanadu. He nods to the repeated congratulations and the return to the original topic. "Thank you," he reiterates… and then he looks to Darsce, with a curve of his lips but a serious expression around his eyes.

Darsce catches Jethaniel's wince out of the corner of her eye and her mouth twitches into a semi-frown. She's still got a ways to go in curbing what she says when she's upset. She sighs relief at Mur'dah's assurance that she won't have to worry about Jethaniel going splat from being dropped. You never know! She does not voice further concerns out loud. Silent while the two discuss the rest of their business, she sets her goblet on the table when Mur'dah rises. She also stands, allowing Jethaniel's hand to slip though hers to offer her brother a hug. "Thank you," she says with a genuine warmth. She'll wait until he's left before sitting back down, this time to face Jethaniel and offer her hand back as she meets his eyes. The serious expression is met with a breath out and, "I'm sorry." For being snarky with her brother. "I was… scared."

That was snarky? Mur'dah didn't even notice. With a little bow, the brownrider takes his leave.

Jethaniel would certainly prefer to not go splat. He has recent memories that permit him to extrapolate the sensations of it far too well. He does not (cannot) rise for Mur'dah's departure, but he does smile to Darsce's half-brother. When he is once more alone with Darsce, he turns toward her, taking her hand in his. Her apology brings a slight lift of his brows, then a small shake of his head. "For what?" He is listening for her answer, but as he does, he also draws her hand up, touching his lips to the back of it. This necessitates a brief departure of his eyes from hers, but they return thereafter.

Yes, so does Darsce. Even though she wasn't there to see it happen. The results are all too fresh in her mind. The question has her shrugging almost sheepishly, though she smiles as he kisses her hand. "You looked at me so seriously just now, I thought I'd said something-" She sighs, elaborating, "The snowbank? The dangling?" She is watching him steadily. "If it's not that, what then? Are you in pain? Are you tired?" She can go on with questions, but she just draws a breath and makes herself relax.

Jethaniel's expression remains a serious one, though it is more questioning now. Darsce's (verbal) expression of his seriousness brings an, "Ah," and a slight duck of his head, followed by a shake of it. The snowbank and dangling? "You were correct." Though he is still not overly fond of those concepts, a fact revealed by the unconscious tightening of his lips and the slight tensing of his fingers where they remain against Darsce's. The questions of his pain and tiredness are - for the moment - ignored. "I was… sorry." There's a wry quirk of his lips for that word, and then Jethaniel explains. "That my family was so problematic. Given this for comparison…" There's a tilt of his head to the now-empty chairs. "It came to mind."

Who would be? Darsce is able to smile again, though it's a lop-sided sort, given his somber expression remains. Her fingers press his back encouragingly, her eyes remain on his as he begins, flick down to his mouth, back to his eyes, questioningly. "Oh." She considers this along with that his brief near-frown. "I understand." Her other hand joins the one he's holding and her fingers stroke the back of his. "There are no perfect families," she ducks her head and says quietly. "You haven't met my- D'ha-" She forces herself to say it, "-my father yet. And Asher, she, well. You'll see." She lifts her chin and meets his eyes, "Erijeane was great; I like her. Your dad wasn't bad. I think the rest just tend to…" Hm, how to say? "follow your mother. But you know what? They're the ones we have. And we must love them as they are." Choke. She's going to try to love Jessa? That'll likely fail, but she will try.

Darsce's understanding eases Jethaniel's expression. The increase in her touch makes him smile, his fingers extending slightly to maximize the available surface area to hers while maintaining contact with her other hand. It is a dynamic equation, but an intriguing one. His thumb trails along her hand in return, though his smile does not last as she continues to speak, expression instead returning to that serious one. Her mention of… her father… curls his fingers more firmly against hers. His nod may be more difficult to perceive, given her lowered head. "I will," he says as she lifts her gaze - both an agreement that he will see concerning Asher, and a statement of willingness to meet D'had. His gaze, as it now meets hers, is - while not unconcerned - predominantly tender. The mention of Erijeane - and Darsce's assessment thereof - brings a smile. The assessment of his father, a nod. The rest… a slight frown, accompanied by a nod. It is notable, in this list, that his mother does not receive her own entry; she is merely applied as an addendum to the mass noun portion of Jethaniel's family. "They are." It is not entirely possible to change one's family, though there are certain procedures which may temporarily create that effect. "That does not mean we need to approve of their actions." Despite loving them.

Darsce's smile sadly-sweet. "No, we don't need to approve, but parents don't often change their ways for their children. So the point comes when behavior distances people - sometimes emotionally, sometimes spatially and often times both - even though you love them." She's learned that multiple times so far. "If they do change, it's because they choose to do it." Of her father, she draws a breath, gathering her resolve, "I'll take you to meet him then. When you're able." Because it's likely D'had won't be. "And Asher too."

Jethaniel nods his agreement concerning both the unlikeliness of change and the necessity of personal motivation for doing so. So far as meeting (the rest of) her family is concerned, he nods solemnly, then lowers his head to kiss first one of her hands, then the other. Perhaps the dualism is intended to represent something concerning the presence of two parents - or perhaps, as they are both in the vicinity of his own hand, he simply saw the opportunity. "I would like that," he says. "I am aware the meetings may not be pleasant ones." Nor, necessarily, likable. "They are, however, your parents. I would like to understand them." His grey eyes are earnest as they regard her, and he smiles slightly. "Insofar as I am capable."

Darsce 's hands are kissed. This brings a sweet smile to her mouth. If she thinks of dualism it'll be in the context of herself and Jethaniel as the two parents - someday parents anyway. The comment about liking the meeting of her parents draws a puzzled quirk of her brows - until he speaks again. Her iceblue eyes meet his, and she stares at him in wonder. Her own parents she can - and always will love, even if they both grieve her but she hasn't tried to understand Jessa. This brings a guilty flush to her cheeks. "Jethaniel, I'm sorry. I… antagonized your mother at the dinner table. I don't know if I have the patience to understand her, but I can try not to irritate her." It's going to be impossible, probably but she will try.

Symbols - including words - are capable of being interpreted in multiple ways. This is what permits their expressivity, though it can also be a source of misunderstanding. Regardless of the potential complexities, the surface meaning of Jethaniel's touch is an affectionate one. Her apology brings a questioning look as his gaze dips briefly to regard that blush, then rises to her eyes once more, meeting them as he listens. Her claim of promoting an antagonistic interaction, he considers on, his expression thoughtful. When she concludes, he smiles slightly. "Darsce." The name would be sufficient for his smile, but there is more he wishes to say. "You are marrying me." This fact would also be sufficient to make him smile, though it is, in this case, provided as context to a further one. "Not my family. You do not require their approval." Which, given Jessa's stated opinions, is likely fortunate.

Ah true, but if there's communication those can be overcome. The way he says her name would be sufficient for her swoon! Does the man realize how- No, he probably doesn't and that is one of his endearing qualities. Her guilt melts away in the light of the correction and her smile answers his. She can't find the words to answer, though she does nod. Instead she leans forward and answers him with her lips. It's thank you, an agreement and I love you all in one tender expression.

Jethaniel is, to certain things, quite oblivious - but he is quite aware of Darsce's smile. He is also pleased by it - as well as by her kiss, which he returns. The translation to words would be imprecise. There is, however, a great deal of love so expressed, with gentle warmth and a pleasure taken in her presence. It is an effective means of communication, if somewhat limited in what it can say. Fortunately, what Jethaniel wishes to express is well within those constraints. He'll linger with this kiss, though they should, perhaps, not linger overly long in the council chambers. The room will need to be cleared before the next meeting to occupy it, and so Darsce and Jethaniel can take themselves (or, more precisely, Darsce can take Jethaniel) elsewhere.

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