Because it's /Ka'el/

Xanadu Weyr - Vine-Entwined Forest Cottage

The interior floor, ceiling and walls are raw wood that has been sanded and lacquered to make them smooth. Overhead, the cathedral ceiling gives the inside a spacious feel to it, the pale wood enlarging the space to the eye even though the cottage is fairly small. To the left, set under a large window, the bedroom area is plain, consisting of a wide bed and nightstands on either side. An ornately carved wardrobe, standing in a niche to the right of the door provides the only real decoration.

Past the wardrobe is a simple fireplace, the pearly stones rough-cut square, which provides both warmth and cooking since this cottage has no electricity. A simple leather couch has been placed in front of this and there are several hand-tufted rugs of lavender, moss green and white scattered about the glossy floors - Thea's handiwork. At the rear of the cottage is a simple kitchenette, countertop providing the division from the main area, while the back wall forms a breakfast nook with floor to ceiling windows that invites the forest in. A small, sturdy round oak table and chairs is set within the alcove, set simply with a few pale green placemats and an alabaster bowl for floating flowers in. On one counter, a circle has been cut out and fixed with a clay-fired bowl with a nearby matching pitcher.

Mur'dah returned to the weyr as soon as the flight was over, and let's just say the brownrider needed some time to settle himself down after finding out who won the flight - and who was the new Weyrleader. Fidgeting, the young brownrider went to the kitchens and got all of his mother's favorite things on a tray, and if he was a little curt with the staff, well…his mother just had sex with his frenemy, so his attitude can be forgiven, right? Then he's making his way towards his mother's cottage, after being sure - SURE SURE SURE - that Ka'el is gone, he approaches and knocks gently. "Mom?"

Ka'el was never here. They used the guest weyr at the edge of the feeding grounds. During a flight in the dark of midnight in a cold rain is not the best time to go stumbling through the forest while trying to remember where her weyr is. And Ka'el for some strange reason didn't want to do it in the rain and mud while the bovines watched. But that was last night. Morning has come and gone, the new Weyrleader and the Weyrwoman have parted ways long since. Thea has been to the hot springs, kicked everyone out, had a long soak, detoured by the dragonhealers annex and then sought the solitude of her cottage to sleep off the… ah… effects of dragon-induced activities. It is now late afternoon and the Weyrwoman has yet to make an appearance in public. The knock at the door is answered presently, opened by Thea who is definitely not going to the office today. For one thing her dark, thick hair, while brushed, has been left to tumble about slim shoulders and the other thing is she's barefoot and wearing a soft bathrobe. She looks not so much tired as she does sleepy. Like she hasn't been up long. "Mur," she says with a gentle and somewhat concerned smile as she takes a few steps back. "Come in."

Mur'dah didn't care to find out just /where/ they did the deed, thus…caution. When she opens the door his eyes slide all over her - every bit he can see anyway - as he unapologetically checks her out. And despite what he had /planned/ to say, what he wanted to say, the first thing to blurt from his mouth is a feared, "Did he hurt you?" Because no one hurts his mom. Hands grip the tray he holds tight enough to make one of the tea cups rattle a bit on its saucer as he stares at her face, then to her neck and shoulders and (blush) lower, but of course…robe. Thank Faranth, robe.

What Mur'dah sees is an unmarked face and neck. The rest of her, save for hands and feet are beneath that long-sleeved robe. And pajamas. It's nothing he hasn't seen before. But she looks fine save for a bit of puffiness to her lower lip. It's not so much the fat-lip from being punched look as is a subtle pout look. The up-down look, followed by the abrupt question prompts a blink, then a somewhat wary expression. "I'm fine," she says, perhaps too quickly. But the wheels are turning. How does her son know…er, things… that she was unaware of until this morning? She has had roughly five flights in his lifetime, maybe three of which he'd be aware of. Thea and D'had had been careful not keep the flight-talk and related repercussions from affecting their twins. He might as a teen have observed her giggly, tipsy behavior, but Seryth's glow and subsequent rising has always happened rather abruptly and oft in the early morning or late night. She'd never come to the weyrbarn with the winner but always used the guest weyr. Flights in general? Sure they've talked. About hers? Not so much. D'had was a very possessive man, disinclined to hear or speak of his weyrmate's flights, which being a bluerider, he was never involved in. So then, "Why exactly are you asking me this time?" She asks that while motioning for him to enter so she can shut the door.

Mur'dah steps in, his motions cautious and stiff. "Because it's /Ka'el/," he says, and there is harsh venom in his voice as he continues to stare at her. "And I saw what he did to Sori. Are you sure you're okay? Because…Mom…" He's almost trembling at this point, ever so gently setting the tray down onto a counter and turns to look at her, his arms crossed, hands gripping his biceps tightly.

After the door is shut, Thea follows Mur'dah towards the kitchenette, albeit more slowly. She directs her steps towards the table alcove rather than stand there by the counter, is in the process of easing herself into a chair when he turns. Her movements are slow and stiff but she's not using her arms to assist the effort. A flicker of dismay crosses her features at the venom she hears in her son's voice. "Did you? I… hadn't. What…happened?" One arm is curled into her lap, the other pats the seat of a chair next to her. "Come sit, Mur," she says, "and bring the tray?" Concerned? Oh very. "I'm alright," she says again. Really, does she look battered? "I thought you and K'ael are friends."

Mur'dah /stares/ at his mother's movements and he grips his arms tightly to keep himself from breaking something. Then, temper under control again, he carefully lifts the tray and carries it over to set down. Tea and all her favorite things that were available tonight in the caverns. "You didn't see Sori? He beat the shit out of her." Harsh. "She was bruised and hurt and I think she had a black eye…" He can't really remember that part. "You're not alright," he says, snapping a bit harshly at his mother. It comes from love, honest, and then the brownrider shrugs as he pours her some tea. "I don't even know anymore. Sometimes things are great and other times he's an asshole. Don't think it's worth it honestly. Can't stand his bronze either. He's alright when there's eggs though, so that's a blessing. Rest of the time…" Scowl.

"I did not," says Thea with a frown. She's remained closeted in her office far, far too much of late. And become immersed in projects and work and… she definitely needs to connect with her juniors more often! She's reaching one-handed for the teapot when Mur'dah snaps at her. She pauses before lifting it and just looks at him patiently. "I'm a little… stiff is all." The smile tugging at her mouth is rueful. "I'm not eighteen anymore, you know." This is convincing, right? She considers Mur'dah's commentary on Ka'el, silent afterwards while she finally moves to pour herself a cup. She takes a deep breath while lifting the pot, but her hand is steady enough as the tea fills her cup. Replacing the pot is a faster motion, the lid rattles as it is set down. She nudges the handle towards him rather than pour his. "Mur'dah," she says gently. "The dragon can affect the rider. He's… going to learn as the turns go by how to minimize that, yeah? Be patient with him."

Mur'dah abandons the tea pouring to her, resting his hands in his lap as he watches. /Watches/ her. "Mom…" he says, hurt in his eyes as he notices all those little signs. Then he pours a cup for himself, and scowls. "I'm so fucking sick of being patient with him," he mutters under his breath. "And now he's the /Weyrleader/. And he says /I'm/ spoiled." Huff. He totally is. But STILL.

Thea isn't going there, Mur'dah. That's the warning in her ice green eyes, which somehow manages to be kind, but firm at the same time. "I'm going to tell you the same thing I told Ka'el, Mur'dah, when he was so worried he'd hurt me: I am fine. I'm tired. My muscles are sore and stiff. But he did not beat me up. And I'm not traumatized. Flights can be rough sometimes. It's the dragon, not the rider and I'm not disillusioned or upset with him." She's… Sure, she's being vague about how rough, but she's telling him the truth says the earnest expression in the eyes that meet his steadily. "Okay?" His outburst is absorbed with quiet acceptance, a slow nod. "You're allowed to be frustrated and angry and sick of it." Without lifting her arm, she slides her hand along the tabletop palm up to reach for his. "You should tell him. You know why? Because for him to grow and change, he's going to have to learn that he risks losing something, that his actions are breaking people that care about him. You are a great and loyal friend and perhaps he doesn't realize yet just how much he needs that. And yes, he's the Weyrleader. I think… this will be a growing time for him." If he takes her hand she'll give it a little squeeze, "More importantly I think you should tell him for your own benefit. This has obviously been eating at you for some time."

Mur'dah sighs, slouching in his chair. For all that he came in here trying to be a man and protect his mother…right now he just looks like a petulant teenager. "I have told him," he mutters. "Nothing changes. Nothing ever changes and I don't think he'd even care, honestly. We hardly ever talk. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. So. He's lost me, that's it." The brownrider shrugs with a little grimace. It hurts, but…he's just tired. "I'm done chasing after him, begging him to hang out with me and be my friend. If he wants to hang out, he knows where I am." He does take her hand and he squeezes it back, staring into his mug of tea.

He is a man. A sweet, thoughtful, caring man and Thea is so pleased with him. However, there are some things a mother just doesn't share with her children. Intimate details - flight repercussions being one of them - are kept reserved. Her fingers curl a little more fully around his hand and squeeze more firmly after he's replied. She nods, her face is troubled, but accepting of his sentiment. "That's totally understandable, Mur, Love." She might be different, she might not. In fact, "I felt that way about your father…once. Long ago. Also, I think you should know - Ka'el is the first to ever ask me if I was alright…after. Or seem to care that I was."

Mur'dah squeezes her hand back firmly. Then he watches her for a long moment, not quite sure what to do with that information. In the end though he just sighs. "Darsce asked me to walk her down the aisle." Then he frowns. "The only one?" Well damn, now that's a /good/ thing about Ka'el. That bronzerider is /so/ confusing. "Well I'm glad he did," he mutters. Then he sighs. "I don't know. I…he could be so /great/. He used to be so great, and fun, but impression changed him and not in a good way. I just get so fed up."

With a nod that breaks the long look they're exchanging, "We'd been together for several months when Seryth rose for her third flight. They were…" still are somewhat, but she's not telling him that, "so hard for me and I just… wanted, needed his arms around me when I returned to him. Instead he couldn't see past his jealousy and dislike of that particular rider. He was surly, angry - at me! And distant when I most needed his comfort." And yet, they'd worked it out, been happy. The news of Darsce, while unknown, doesn't seem to surprise her. "Mmm," she acknowledges. D'had is likely…not capable. "Are you going to do it?" She releases his hand to pulls hers back and lifts her teacup and sips while she listens to the rest, nodding understandingly. "Some pairings are… a clash," she notes regretfully. "And it takes some turns and a firm mindset to adjust and make it work." Her relationship with his father? Perhaps, but it is of Ka'el and Kanekith she's referring to because, "He will learn." Of this she seems sure.

Mur'dah sighs softly, shaking his head. So…kiiind of like the reaction he's having right now? Sort of. She's hardly asking for a hug. "Of course I'm going to do it," he's quick to say, glancing up at her. "Just wish I didn't /have/ to, you know? But yes. Of course I will. I'm honored to." He's had to grow up. Step up a lot. His childhood ended on that ship to Reaches. Then he's shrugging, leaning back and sipping his tea. "Or it just never works. I mean at what point do you say it's not worth it and give up? And are you sure about that?" Mur'dah doesn't sound sure. He sounds…bitter.

He is his father's son, isn't he. She hasn't asked for a hug, but yes, she wants one. He isn't asking either, but she won't let him leave without giving him one. Because they both need one. And though she has one each night, the man giving it doesn't…exist anymore, not really. She's proud of her son though, her eyes reflect that as he answers her. Oh, she wishes he didn't have to either. Many things ended with that voyage to the Reaches, regret though, that lasts a lifetime. A dip of her head acknowledges his observation. "You're right, sometimes they don't. I knew a rider who constantly quarreled with his lifemate, felt guilty but never changed." She doesn't name the rider, but from the vague way she mentions this fact, it's no one he knows. He does sound bitter, and earns a concerned look for that. She doesn't hasten to reassure him, but gives it careful consideration. "I do," she says firmly, at last. "Weyrleading will either sand the rough edges off or he will fail miserably. And he told me he doesn't intend to fail." So perhaps the rider's will might prove strong enough to override the harsh that Kanekith has imposed upon him?

Mur'dah sips his tea and slouches, staring at the tray of food. But then he snorts softly. "Of course he won't fail. Even if it costs him everything, he won't fail. He won't /let/ himself make mistakes, won't let himself stumble or ask for help…that's what worries me the most, Mom, about him. He's /so/ prideful and /so/ stubborn…he'll die before failing and without failing, how can he learn?" Deep thoughts. Judgemental thoughts, because it's really none of Mur'dah's business.

Thea chuckles as she sips the rest of her tea, a rueful smile seen as she lowers the cup and places it on the table. "He will likely not fail. But he will not fail to make mistakes." Of this she is completely sure, the tone in which she says this makes it a certainty. "And he will fail if he doesn't ask for help." It's that simple. "He will not like making mistakes," who does? "he will perhaps, be reluctant to ask for help," aren't most males? "but he will learn from them and perhaps find it less painful to acknowledge them and ask for help than suffer with the consequences of not asking." She doesn't know Ka'el well beyond the reports from Weyrlinghood, so perhaps she's speaking from experience here. How many new Weyrleaders has she broken in? She lifts a finger, though, to make a point. "You know what I think?" And she can say this after having spent several hours with the young man in question, "I think he doesn't ask because he doesn't want to trouble anyone with problems he thinks are his fault and his to solve. It may be less pride and more misplaced guilt." And she winks at him. Does this hit home, young Mur'dah? It shouuuuuld. She gestures to that tray, "Eat with me. And then I'm going to shoo you so I can take a nap." She hasn't been up long, but she needs one! Because flight.

Mur'dah snorts softly. "Well that's stupid. How can he have friends if he doesn't let them help him out? That's what friends /do/. He never asks for my help, so how can we be friends?" Mutter. He glances at his mother for a long moment, and then just grunts at her wink. "Whatever." Yeah, he knows. But he's 16. So. Whatever. "He knows where to find me but I'm done chasing after him." Then there's food, so he's leaning forward to pick out a few things that he likes. "Sure thing, Mom…"

Thea just chuckles. They're both teenagers yet. Males at that. Sheesh and they say females are dramatic! Ka'el hasn't taken the voyage Mur'dah has. "You had your hard knocks before your mind was dragon-shared," is all she says to the question of friends and what they should do. So she eats with her son and before he goes she thanks him for his thoughtfulness, offers that hug - gingerly, minimizing the wince as best she can, kisses his cheek tenderly as the only answer if he comments on that and sends him off so she may rest.

Mur'dah /knows/ his mother is hurting, and that pisses him off. So off he goes to do something and work off that aggression so he doesn't let it loose on the new Weyrleader's face. Ahh the drama!

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