Making Things Clear

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrleaders' Office
Office and retreat, this is the domain of Xanadu's Weyrleaders. The door is in the eastern wall, quite close to the southern end while the northern wall is dominated by big, expansive windows, framed by sumptuous deep blue drapes edged with a brilliant gold braid and tied back with a thick rope of braided gold and blue cord. In between, the eastern wall is covered floor to ceiling with shelves that house all sorts of records, manuals and supplies that are used on a day-to-day basis. The southern wall has the Weyrleader's desk — plain fellis wood, well polished and masculine. From behind his desk, the Weyrleader can look straight through the windows and out onto the main airspace of Xanadu. The western wall is where the Weyrwoman's desk resides: a lovely piece of furniture made of warm cherry wood. From her seat, a glance sideways gives her an equally good prospect out the window. There are a few other seats, some comfortably arranged around a low round table for small, informal meetings while there also some that can be drawn up to one of the desks.
On the south side of the door, the space is occupied by a low oblong table where refreshments can be set without someone needing to intrude. There is also an 'incoming' tray where incoming correspondence or similar items can be left.

It's been raining since this morning. The day started out gray and drizzling, but as morning turned to afternoon and the clouds continued to roll in, the morning drizzle soon turned to a steady rain. Roads have turned to muddy rivers, and most residents who don't have to be outside have chosen to stay indoors. But not everyone can, and the accumulation of muddy boots to stone floors have caused a constant presence of cleaning folks in the residence halls, caverns, taverns, and other public places. Mur'dah would have been assigned mud-clean up duty for the day, mopping and drying wet and dirty floors with explicit orders to leave the new Weyrlings alone, even if some of their duties may overlap his. But for now he's been saved the tedious task by being summoned to the Weyrleader's office. Ka'el's desk is, for once, lacking papers. Alloy snoozes on one of the chairs meant for visitors, and Ka'el sits at the round table with a pencil in hand, drawing up diagrams.

Mur'dah has done as he's been ordered, working in the caverns and outside. He's done kitchen duty, dishes duty, clearing paths of autumn leaves and laundry, as well as the countless other small chores required of his punishment. And he's left the Weyrlings alone too, keeping mostly to himself though many report the brownrider humming while he works. Summoned to the Weyrleader's office Mur'dah arrives in his grungy drudge clothes, mud splattered boots and lower hems of his pants, sweat dampened tunic (or maybe that's rain) and damp hair. "You called for me, sir?" he asks as he steps into the office and snaps off a smart salute, glancing briefly at Ka'el's face before his dark eyes focus on a point above the Weyrleader's head, standing still with his hands at his sides.

Ka'el looks up as Mur'dah arrives, eyeing his clothing and boots before his eyes lift to his face. His pencil is lowered and the parchment slowly rolled and bound closed before he rises from his seat. Alloy rouses as his sleep is interrupted by Ka'el placing the rolled parchment in a drawer, and the bronze chirps a sound before swirling eyes close again. But though the firelizard seems willing to fall back into comfortable sleep, Ka'el remains attentive, his expression, once creased with thought over whatever pattern he was pondering, stoic now. There's no offer to sit, likely due to wet and muddy clothes. He doesn't sit either and instead leans against the edge of his desk, considering him. "Look at me." Because his head and areas above it are not his eyes.

Mur'dah drops his gaze to look into his friend(?)'s eyes, biting his lower lip briefly. He says nothing, his expression reserved, just staring at the Weyrleader. Waiting to see what Ka'el has to say, perhaps. But if the silence goes on too long, he'll speak up. He is the one in trouble here though, so he waits for now.

Ka'el inhales and exhales softly. This is going to weird. He's never had to be in this type of … Weyrleader Mode before. But well, this likely will not be the last time he has to get authoritative with a rider, friend or otherwise, so it's good practice right? "I've had a while to think about what happened," he says as he lightly grips at the edge of his desk. "And to think about whether or not I've handled it well enough. Some think I was light on you. I'm inclined to agree, especially when it seems as if you're enjoying what you're doing instead of your route." His mouth twitches, a vague downward pull. "I've questions for you. Why do you think it was appropriate to do what you did?"

Mur'dah lifts a brow slightly. "Do you believe that someone being miserable is proof of a good punishment? It has given me plenty of time to think, sir, and it wasn't appropriate to do what I did. Why /did/ I think it was appropriate at the time?" For that, there's a small shrug. "You were stressed. I sought only to make you laugh, to smile, to relax for a moment. Clearly I went about it the wrong way." /Clearly/. "I apologize."

Ka'el lifts a hand to lightly rub at his forehead. "That there is what miffs me, Mur'dah. You wish to make me smile and relax, so you figured the best way to see that done is to sneak in here in the middle of the night to bring chaos, when clearly the only reason I'd still be here so late and not in my own bed or at least in my own weyr is because I'm working? I'm the Weyrleader. With your ma having been the Senior for as long as she has been, your da once a Weyrsecond, and your brother Weyrleader himself, I'd've thought you'd know that the work that happens in offices usually isn't something we can afford to play around with." His mouth twists a little. "Even more than that though is how you figured bringing a new resident here for a joke was okay. I've never met the girl before, and she's never met me. And now we're both left with a sour impression of one another."

Mur'dah shrugs a shoulder slightly, considering his words. "Bad judgement," is his only defense - and it's not even a defense. Just a response. "I thought this place could use a little fun." Then he flinches, a blush coloring his cheeks. "I greatly regret bringing Raelii into it. I…things did not go as I had envisioned them going." Clearly. "She is not to blame, she was trusting me and I…it was a bad decision. She is a good person and a hard worker, and Xanadu is lucky to have her and her family to care for the camilid herds. I hope it has not soured your opinion of her to an unrecoverable point. She's a remarkable woman."

"There's a problem there," answers Ka'el as he leans away from his desk now, hands drawing away. "This isn't your place to bring fun into. Not everything is about fun. This?" A gesture to the office, "is work. My work. This is my job, Mur'dah, and what you did made light of it and all that I've been trying to do. What does she think now? That the Xanadu leadership is nothing but a joke. Laughable enough to play pranks on in the middle of the night." The frown that tugs on his lips shows and lingers now, not as easily vanished as his last. "This is not a joke to me." As for his opinion on the girl, he makes no comment. That'll depend on her future actions. Thus far? He's little impressed. "With all of this, I realize there are some shades of gray that need to be cleared between you and me."

Mur'dah shakes his head, "I agree with you sir, and I've apologized. I'm doing my punishment. It won't ever happen again." What else can he say? He messed up. He knows it. He can't take it back. As for not everything being about fun, well. That's debatable but Mur'dah isn't going to argue it. "That's not what she thinks, sir. Not at all. Xanadu's leadership is not laughable. It was a grievous error in judgement and I apologize." Again. "I'm sure she recognizes that I am the laughable one in this situation," he says with a frown, eyes downcast for a moment before they lift. "Gray, sir?"

Ka'el may be taking mental tally marks on how many times he apologizes, just for the record! Maybe. He listens to him without interruption, though without any visual recognition either. He's saving those nods for later. "Gray," he confirms. "As opposed to black and white. Blurred lines, as opposed to a clear division." A breath. "I am your Weyrleader. Like it or not, respect me or not, angry with me or not for what I've done or not done, I am your superior, and the expectation is that you treat me as such regardless of what audience you may have with you. If the fact of that troubles you still after the months that it's been since the start of this, my only suggestion to you is that you transfer yourself somewhere else until my time with this knot on my shoulder is over."

Mur'dah frowns sharply at that, the first real expression to cross his face. "I'm not leaving Xanadu," he says, voice curt and firm. "And I have no issues with you as Weyrleader. I fucked up ONCE, Ka- Sir. I've been nothing but polite, respectful, a /good/ Wingrider save for this one incident."

"I'm not asking you to leave," answers Ka'el. "I'm only telling you this because I won't have any of my riders undermining me because they're unhappy with who is leading them. That is an option for you, because I'm not quitting this. And to be honest, I don't believe you did what you did because you think I'd find it funny. Why on Pern would I think it be funny? You came to me and you told me that I wasn't worth the effort of trying anymore. That I wasn't reaching for you, or doing things with you. After that, I've hardly spoken to you. So I'm to believe that after months of nothing, you think I'd laugh at you sneaking into my office and making a fool of me in front of a new resident, a Junior Weyrwoman, and the Headwoman?"

Mur'dah sighs heavily, shaking his head firmly. "I am not undermining you and I am not unhappy with you being Weyrleader, sir." There's a clench of his jaw and a nod. "Yes, sir. That's exactly what you're to believe. Except for the part about Sori and Darsce. Sorry," he corrects himself, "the Junior Weyrwoman and the Headwoman." Maybe this is challenging for him precisely /because/ he has grown up with all of these connections to rank. He /knows/ they're human, behind the knot. Maybe Ka'el has forgotten that. "I didn't think they'd be there. I didn't /think/. I saw the ball, I got the idea, I ran with it. That's it. Don't think this was some sort of deep, elaborate plot for me to undermine your authority and make you look a fool and subtly jab at you for our lack of friendship. I'm not that deep, sir. I thought it'd be a fun prank, I thought we'd get a laugh out of it. I was wrong. Obviously. Dead wrong, and I'm sorry."

Inhale. Exhale. "I hope not," Ka'el answers in response to Mur'dah's unlikely plot of ruining him from within. He approaches him now, departing his desk altogether to walk and stand a few feet away from the muddy rider. "It's only one incident, you're right," he says, nodding. "One that I don't expect to be repeated, else the consequences will necessarily be more severe. The seven is nearly over, and you'll be back on regular duty in Comet. You'll be posted on the schedule as usual." He watches him, expression the same as it has been, practicedly stoic, gaze steady. "Over the days I've thought a lot about what you said to me the day you visited. I've thought about Weyrlinghood to now. You are a good rider, Mur'dah. I would hate to lose you because of issues like this or misunderstandings. I don't know if you still believe that being friends is not worth your time or effort, but I believe it'd work better for the both of us if you see me as your Weyrleader and nothing more."

Mur'dah stands still as Ka'el approaches, watching him move forward and keeping his eyes on the bronzerider's face. As requested. "No, sir. Never again," he promises of the prank not being repeated. Though it /was/ a nice way to get the office clean. He starts to say something regarding the friendship, but then Ka'el's words hit him a bit like a blow, and he flinches. It's brief, fleeting, small, but there. Perhaps there was still hope in him that they could work it out. Alas. It's not to be. He bites his lower lip and then just nods. His, "Yes, sir," is soft. Weak. Sad. Consequences. This, perhaps, is the Mur'dah Ka'el wished to see when he assigned the punishment? This is far worse than drudge chores for a seven.

"Thank you." For what, though? For not making this more difficult than it already is? But Ka'el isn't making it look exceedingly hard. Perhaps that's what that stoniness is for. A practiced mask. His eyes turn from him now, flitting to the Weyrwoman's empty desk, then the rainy window splattered with continued raindrops, and finally back to Mur'dah. "That is all. If you need anything further, you know where to find me." His door is open to riders, be them personal friends .. or not. He steps back then and, although he hesitates for a moment, heads back towards his desk and the sleeping lizard on it to retrieve that parchment from moments ago. Back to work.

Mur'dah takes a slow breath and nods. "The same goes for you. Sir," Mur'dah says, before he's turning and striding out, closing the door behind him with a soft click.

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