Paint Badges

Xanadu Weyr - Beach
The unerring range of subdued white rises and falls in a multitude of sandy dunes, creating an endless amount of tiny valleys constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of a dragon. Smoothing out as it slopes gently to the edge of the deep blue water, the sand darkens and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect. The beach itself is set along a low cliff - the height lessoning as one heads eastwards, blocking a portion of the beach from direct access.
The wide wide stretch of water opens up to the east, the far distant shore way beyond the horizon and the beach curves ever so slowly round to east and west, distant arms of land embracing the wind-ruffled Caspian Lake. East leads up to the mouth of the Rubicon River, where the protecting cliff is merely an arms length higher then the sand, and beyond that, a winding road leading out of Xanadu's territory. Westwards, the beach narrows as the cliff swings out, leaving a path wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to the sheltered cove designated the Weyrling Beach. However, cut in the cliff face to the north are a variety of rough, wide staircases, providing access to the clearing and to the meadow.

Summer is beginning to lose the battle to autumn though on a day like today it certainly seems the victor. It’s the last hurrah, perhaps, before the colder weather comes in. The skies are clear, the winds are low but when they do rise the air is comfortable. Not too hot, not too cold. One of those rare days and one that should not be wasted! Now that all their belongings are unpacked and setup in their new home with their foster parents, Kiena’s twin girls Eliana and Ezsrisa are free… to be kids. Which means Kiena can stop by to gather them up after they’ve finished with the Harpers and their lessons. It’s just shy of midday, not quite time for lunch and the bluerider is dutifully ushering them down towards the beach and down towards one of the coves where the water is gentle (and most importantly… reasonably shallow). The girls are full of spunk and are racing ahead, their voices carrying over the wind while Kiena follows, a rusack over one shoulder. “Slow down, you two!” she calls at them and completely in vain. Sigh.

Ujinath has already made his little wallow in the sand, sprawled sentry like and rumbling low as the girls approach and, of course, his beloved rider. Only then does his mind extend to that of a brown he has come to more or less recognize over the Turns. « Is yours on his way, Kalsuoth? They have arrived at the little cove. » he informs the brown in a voice not entirely stiff and standoffish. He’s mellowing out! Honest.

Kalsuoth’s forested thoughts reach back to Ujinath’s, his voice distant but pleased. « He will be there soon! » And so will the dark brown, landing a short distance off and walking the rest of the way with his odd hopping gait, settling down nearby with a happy rumble. Mur’dah is not far behind, three boxes held in his arms, stacked on top of each other. Dressed in casual clothes and barefoot, the brownrider is a good example of ‘casual beach day’. “Hey!” he calls to Kiena and the twins with a crooked grin. “Who wants their turnday present?” MOB TIME.

Ujinath will raise his head up to watch every single step of Kalsuoth’s arrival and though he was welcoming (to a degree) in his mental call, the blue is still wary at first until the dark brown settles down nearby with a happy rumble. The blue will exhale heavily, but reassured as his head lowers again to the sand. Kiena is busy setting up a little spot for them to sit down (ha!) on the sand, near to the dragons so that they have some shade from the sun or it’s just comforting to the bluerider to be close to them. “Hey, Mur’dah!” she calls back and salutes in that same half-assed way she normally does around him. Kiena would have added more, but then he says The Words and she only stares at him. Dude… you crazy?

Eliana and Ezsrisa instantly freeze. Presents? Blue eyes dart to brown eyes and then they’re off, bare feet kicking up and spraying sand as they do mob poor Mur’dah. Complete with shrieks of delight and circling of him. Sharks, is what they are! “Can we see, can we open them now?” they call almost in sing-song unison. Can we, can we, can we, pleeeease?

Mur’dah knew what was coming. He did! And he just laughs as he crouches down and gently sets all three boxes onto the sand. “Ma’am,” he drawls teasingly to Kiena, giving her a sharp (the sharpness means sarcasm) salute in return, but his eyes are warm. “One second, girls, one second,” he says to the twins with a laugh. The first box is removed and set down and gently opened, revealing brushes and lots of little cans of paint. “We’ve got a project to do, ladies. Here, this one is for you, and this one is for you.” The remaining two boxes - not wrapped, but he’s a guy - are handed to the girls as if each one is /especially/ for her. They’re identical though, inside. Little boats on a string, sanded wood polished and sealed, but without any color. That’s what the paints are for! “Weyrwoman Soriana and I got these for you in Rubicon River Hold. What do you think? I thought we’d paint them and then let them dry, and then later we can play with them in the water. And you can /name/ them, just like all the important boats on Pern.” Glancing up at Kiena again, he gives her another grin. Is he doing okay?

Kiena rolls her eyes and wrinkles her nose a bit at his use of the formality. Ugh. “Call me that again and you may regret it!” she teases him, tossing in a crooked grin to show that it’s all for jokes and fun. Especially for the twins benefit! Not that they’re paying any attention to their mother. Mur’dah is the focus of their world right now and so are those boxes. Presents! They peer curiously into the one filled with paints and other supplies but are happily grabbing their boxes and as kids their age do they are a touch rough until corrected. “Easy, you two. Calm down! Shells, you’d think they were fed nothing but straight sugar this morning…” Kiena mutters as she comes to stand next to Mur’dah. Never fear, backup is here? Yet he’s doing fine! Both girls open their boxes and are delighted by the little boats inside. “Really!? Just for us?” “Where’s Rubi—Roo… Ru-bi-con? Hold?” And they’re going to paint? And name them!? Eliana looks shy but very pleased and is already clutching her boat possessively to her chest as she inspects some of the paints. Ezsrisa looks fit to explode with joy and awkwardly holding her boat in one hand, she will try to hug Mur’dah. Which may just end up more like an awkward glomp of his legs. “Thank you!! Can we start now? Are you painting too?”

Mur’dah grins crookedly at Kiena and gives her shoulder a bump before he’s sitting down after patting Ezsrisa on the back. Pat, pat, pat. “It’s…uh. That way.” Point. “I can help if you want me to! But I was going to let you girls do whatever you wanted.” He grins, happy at their enthusiasm, especially when he sees Eliana clutching her boat so tightly. That makes him feel all warm and fuzzy inside, for sure. “So how’re you doing?” he asks Kienna as the girls get occupied with the paints, ignoring the grown ups for the moment. “Glad they’re here?”

Kiena returns the shoulder bump with a crooked grin of her own and then makes a slightly disgruntled sound as the twins begin tearing into the paint with gusto. Hey, they were given permission! “Girls, wait a second! You’re going to get sand stuck to everything.” Sigh. The bluerider hurries off before the girls lose what attention spans and patience they have and returns with a large and worn looking blanket. Spreading it out, she has the twins settle on it instead to paint away. It won’t take long before there’s paint everywhere. Blanket, on them, on the boats… Everywhere. Maybe Mur’dah doesn’t want to get involved. “I’m doing alright. Been busy.” Kiena murmurs quietly to him and then smiles softly. “Of course I am. Still doesn’t seem real but… it is. All thanks to you and Ka’el. I can’t thank you enough for coming.” Even though it went so smoothly. Almost too smoothly. Kiena has been edgy ever since but today it seems to have vanished. “How’re you?”

Mur’dah leans back when Kiena goes to get the blanket, coughing a bit. Oh, yeah. Sand. Sand is a problem? He grew up in the sand, it doesn’t bother him a bit. He does watch the girls paint with some trepidation though. Shards. They’re messier than he is. “Good, I’m glad,” he murmurs, giving her another warm smile when she returns. “Of course I’d be there.” He can’t speak for Ka’el. “More than happy to go stand by you and bring them here.” Home. “Me? Doing fine. Settling back into duties now that my punishment is over. Had to kick Kalsuoth’s butt a bit. He got a little lazy that sevenday.” To which the dark brown snorts. He did /not/.

Oh, it’ll get better! Just wait. He thinks he’s seen messy? He doesn’t know the twins very well. Right now though they’re picture perfect, painting away and both of their boats now donning rather garishly rainbow hued hulls. Apparently ALL the colors are their favorites. “I figured as much,” Kiena murmurs and returns his warm smile. Laughing, she darts a quick glance to Kalsuoth before eyeing Mur’dah again. “Just his butt?” she teases. Suddenly there is a indignant wail from one of the girls… Eliana by the looks of it. Ezrisa didn’t want to share a color, so smeared said paint on her sister’s arm. Disgusted (irony, that) with being painted, Eliana retaliates. That ends with them taking swipes at each other and Kiena mutters under her breath. “That’s enough, you two.” Stop that! She’ll have to intervene and it takes but a few seconds to have the girls settled again. Now Kiena has paint on her too, hands and on her pants. Dang it!’

Mur’dah grins, very pleased as the girls paint jobs on the boats, happy with their drippy rainbow hues. He’s about to reply to her with a laugh when the girls start swiping, and he blinks in surprise. Uh…what was that? “Plenty of paint for both of you,” he adds, trying to be helpful.

That was a mini scuffle between siblings! Did he and his sister never fight? Kiena grimaces as she attempts to wipe some paint from her hand. “Won’t matter how much you give them, they’ll still squabble.” she tells him, even though the girls have happily gone back to working. That’s when the bluerider strikes, when she figures Mur’dah is distracted and promptly smears her painted hand right across his arm or wherever he has exposed skin. She’s not going to be so mean as to get his clothes. Snickering, she’ll promptly sidestep away and give him a slightly taunting look. Haha, got you!

Hardly ever, because whenever they did and Marel started to cry, Mur’dah would be filled with such guilt that he’d do whatever she wanted to make it right. But…then…hey! “What was that?!” Mur’dah says with a yelp and a laugh, looking down at his arm. And then he’s lunging after her, getting some of that paint onto his finger and aiming for her cheek. So…kids…don’t do what the grown ups do?

That was Kiena being playful! “You made it too easy!” she taunts him, only to laugh and dodge his attempt to lunge at her. Not that she goes far, she’ll just run circles around where the girls are painting. Or were! They’re watching them now, their grins broadening on the new game! Too late. They gather some paint in their hands and with giggled-shrieks of delight they join in the chasing too! At least their boats will dry now? Eliana goes for Kiena, Ezsrisa goes for Mur’dah and both are equally threatening bundles of paint and sand. Kiena begins to laugh all the harder, “No. No, girls don’t you dare!” Now where does she run?

Mur’dah yells a laugh as he sprints after Kiena, kicking up sand. “Get her!” he calls to the girls when Ezsrisa goes for him, and he points a finger at their mother. “Get herrrrr!” He’s no help at all, is he? He does try to scoop Ezsrisa up though, tucking her under his arm so they can run faster.

Ezsrisa hesitates for a moment when Mur’dah is suddenly points at her mother and then her grin turns positively devilish when it dawns on her what he means. So she’ll allow herself to be scooped up, yelping in delight and stretching out her paint smeared hands in a menacing way. Eliana comes up from the other side and Kiena is soon left with no where to run and only the choice to move on the spot, trying to find a way to dodge around them. “Not fair!” she protests with a breathless laugh. “You guys play dirty!”

Mur’dah laughs, “That’s the POINT!” he says. Getting dirty is FUN, everyone knows this. He keeps Ezsrisa /just/ out of reach of her mother though, so Kiena doesn’t have to worry about paint all over her clothing. He, though…he dressed for the occasion so he doesn’t care. “Ready to play with the boats?”

Kiena is dressed for the occassion too but that doesn’t keep her from wanting to be somewhat paint free! Ezsrisa may be held back from her target (which may earn Mur’dah a pout or result in him getting paint covered when the girl begins to squirm) but Eliana will manage to get a few smeared handprints all over Kiena’s pants. There, there and there! “Can we?” Ezsrisa pipes up and that draws both girls away from their “attack”. “Are they dry enough yet?” Kiena asks Mur’dah curiously and all while she grimaces down at her clothes. Well, so much for that?

Mur’dah looks down at the boats and then at the paint smeared girls. “I think they will be once they’ve washed off a bit? And washed the brushes, too, I borrowed those. First one to the water’s a rotton egg!” he calls, sprinting to the very edge of the water, keeping in the very, very shallow part.

Wait, they’re swimming? Kiena groans a little. She didn’t think to put them in swimsuits! Too late. Mur’dah takes off and he has the two girls trailing after him like rainbow hued shadows, squealing and laughing in delight as they splash into the water and promptly become soaked. The bluerider just shakes her head and gathers the paint brushes, calling the girls over to help wash them clean. “Mur’dah is the rotten egg!” Ezsrisa sing-songs, causing Eliana to giggle and wrinkle her nose. Eeew! “Of course he is,” Kiena tells her girls with a wry little grin. “Teenage boys always are a bit stinky.”

Doesn’t everyone go swimming when they go to the beach? /Duh/, Kiena. Mur’dah is swift to follow the girls, keeping between them and the deeper parts, ready to scoop them up if anything goes wrong. Though he laughs at the girls’ teasing, nodding his head. “Yup, always,” he promises with a grin. “Let’s get these brushes clean, and you guys clean, then we’ll float the boats!”

Hey, cut her some slack! Kiena’s mind has been scattered lately, given all that’s landed on her plate. First she’s had to deal with her injured hand (now healed), followed by her sudden choice on accepting Weyrsecond or not, followed by having at last brought her girls home to Xanadu. Is it any wonder she forgot something as trivial as swimsuits? “Why do we have to be clean to play with the boats?” Eliana asks, looking a bit pouty from where she crouches and dips a few brushes into the water. Ezsrisa is quick to pipe up after her sister. “Yeah! Aren’t we just gonna get wet again anyways?” Kiena only snickers from where she stands in the shallows, quirking a brow at Mur’dah expectantly. Well?

Mur’dah shakes his head. “/You/ don’t have to be clean. But the brushes do, so we can use them again and they don’t get ruined. /You/ just needed to get wet!” And he splashes them slightly, just a few drops, and playful. “Are the brushes clean yet?”

Ooh! Now the girls understand and they’ll squeal in protest to his splashing. Playful though he was, they are too. Only they’re four and don’t know better and so he’ll get water tossed at him! Doubly so. “Girls, don’t drown him, please? After he’s been so nice to you, getting you presents and the paint to paint them.” Kiena chastises them but while laughing at the same time. Hello mixed messages? The twins chime their apology and then hold up their brushes for inspection.

Mur’dah shields himself with a lifted arm, laughing as he inspects the brushes. “Looks good!” he proclaims. “Let’s go see if those boats are dry. If they are, you put them in the water and gently pull them along with the strings.”

Off the girls go, having barely stood still long enough to hear all his instructions or even grasp them. Kiena just shakes her head and offers to help Mur’dah store the brushes and supplies away after the boats are inspected and deemed ready for sailing. They may be a little damp along the surfaces not in danger of being in contact in water and she gives the girls the go ahead rather than face a tantrum from impatience. As they speed off to the water’s edge again, Kiena spares a quick look to Mur’dah and smiles. “They’re really warming up to you, you know.”

Mur’dah follows after the girls, giving Kiena a slightly sheepsih grin. “I like kids,” he admits. “They’re easy to figure out…but thanks. I’m really glad they are. They’re sweet girls. Sometimes,” he adds wringing out his tunic and flicking paint off his skin.

“I can tell,” Kiena murmurs and then laughs. “When they’re young they’re easy. I’m dreading when they hit their teenage Turns.” Because if they’re anything like she was? Ooh boy, they’re in for it! Everyone beware! “I tried to warn you,” she snickers again and finishes stacking the materials away, keeping a watchful eye on her daughters. Eliana and Ezsrisa have gone down the shoreline a fair distance now and seem to be racing each other. All is well until Eliana lets out a startled shriek that just as swiftly erupts into a wail of pain, enough to set her sister off in a worried fit of crying too. Ujinath reacts too and is instantly on his feet, bristling and tense and so very protective, on high alert and ready to pounce and tackle whatever it is that has upset the twins. Giving Mur’dah a confused but alarmed look, Kiena jogs off to go corral her girls and pull the boats ashore before they float off. Ezrisa is hovering around Eliana, who has now sat herself down on the sand and is bawling as though she’s just lost a limb. When in reality, all that is wrong is the girl has a large sliver of something - driftwood perhaps - embedded in the tender skin of the arch of her foot. That certainly does NOT tickle. “Mur’dah, can you hold her?” Kiena asks as she nods her head to Eliana, much calmer now that she’s identified the problem and attempts to shush and sooth Ezsrisa.

Mur’dah is about to reply when the wail of child-in-distress reaches his ears. He stiffens and runs alongside Kiena with a worried sweep of the water, while Kalsuoth also rises up onto all fours, wings half unfurled and /watching/. Is there an active threat? His mind brushes against Ujinath’s, ready to forge a link if they need to get mentally close to attack a common foe. Alas…a splinter isn’t something that needs dragon interference, and the brown settles again with a low, concerned rumble. “Yeah,” Mur’dah says, awkwardly lifting Eliana into his arms, one arm around the girl’s butt and the other around her shoulders, holding her back against his front so Kiena can get to the girl’s foot. “Shhh, you’re going to be okay, kiddo,” he promises her, resting his head against her hair. “Mom’s fixing it, you’re going to be okay.”

Ujinath’s mind brushes back against Kalsuoth’s, the blue’s thoughts humming with electric tension that eases once his rider’s calmness of the situation feeds back over their bond. With a rumble so low it is almost a growl, the blue settles himself again into his wallow of sand. No, a splinter is nothing they can help with but Ujinath is still a bit on edge. Eliana does not protest Mur’dah holding her and soon the brownrider will have a teary eyed and sniffling Ezsrisa hovering by his shoulder too as she peers down at her sister. Kiena gently takes her daughter’s foot in her grip, which only has Eliana squirming in Mur’dah’s hold and whimpering. “Hush. You have to hold still.” she tells her as her eyes study the splinter closely. Her lips draw into a thin line but she says nothing. It’s Ujinath who speaks privately to Kalsuoth. Smart! « Yours may have to hold the little one tight. She will have to use a small blade to work out the splinter and she is worried the little one will not understand and struggle. She cannot struggle. Is yours okay with this? Or would he prefer if a Healer is summoned? »

Mur’dah kneels in the sand so he’s not having to hold her while standing, and he shifts the little girl a bit so his hand can reach down to grasp her calf, leaving the foot to Kiena. « Mine is fine with that, » Kalsuoth assures Ujinath. Even if he wasn’t, he is now, because to be squeamish about this wouldn’t do anything for his reputation. “Do you know this song, girls? The song about the kitty and the puppy that went on an adventure?” It’s a call and respond song, and he starts it off by singing the first line and waiting expectantly for the girls to respond - if they do.

« Good. » Ujinath replies to Kalsuoth and for a moment, just a brief moment the blue seems very pleased and relieved that the brownrider will help. He trusts them and just as soon as that begins to filter over the bond it’s gone like the flicker of a light among the shadowed canopy of leaves. The blue has sealed himself off again, his mind ringed by that high and foreboding fence. The girls do know the song that Mur’dah starts, though it’s Ezsrisa who answers in a tear-thickened voice complete with little hiccups and Eliana just whimpers and fidgets against Mur’dah’s hold. She’ll mumble a few words too, though at the sight of Kiena pulling out one of her thinner knives her eyes grow wide and she begins to squirm again. “Shh, Eliana. Hold still, you’ll be alright! Think of the song, look at your sister not at me.” she murmurs, trying to keep her voice level and calm as she grips her daughter’s foot firmly. She’ll have to wait for her to settle before she can even attempt at working the splinter free and even then it’s a long and nerve wracking procedure. Eliana keeps twitching and squirming, new tears falling as she protests. Poor girl doesn’t understand! Eventually Kiena will succeed and the sliver is yanked free and swiftly inspected to be sure it’s not something bad. “Just some wood. See?” And she holds it in her palm for Eliana and Ezsrisa to peer at curiously.

Mur’dah holds her tightly, firm, but without pain as he continues to sing, his voice soft but strong. Distracting, hopefully. “There you go, that’s a good girl,” he praises, leaning forward to look at it too. “See? Your mom got it all out. Don’t you feel better now?” Then he glances at Kiena. “We should probably put redwort on it, and a bandage, don’t you think?” So bad stuff doesn’t get into the cut. He shifts the toddler in his arms, turning her against his shoulder and giving her a squeeze. “You were so brave,” he whispers softly to the child he holds, a gentle smile on his lips.

The singing is a perfect distraction and with the sliver now removed, Ezsrisa and Eliana’s shared worry and upset is dissipating fast as they take up their part in singing along. Singing is forgotten however once Kiena displays that sliver and now Eliana wiggles in Mur’dah’s grip but only so she can turn her foot to peer at where the thing once was. Oh! “Yeah,” the girl admits with a sheepish but relieved sigh and then promptly rests her head against the brownrider’s shoulder while her sister edges closer to Kiena and wraps her arms around the bluerider’s shoulders. Without even pausing, Kiena hugs her daughter close. “Probably a good idea. Hold on. Ezsrisa, stay here, alright?” And she will leave Mur’dah alone with both girls as she treks across the sand to where she left her rucksack and returns with a small jar, some bandages and Eliana’s shoes. “Here we are,” she murmurs. See? She came prepared in some ways! Crouching down, Kiena will swiftly tend to the rest. “I’m brave?” Eliana asks, peering up at Mur’dah for confirmation of this.

Mur’dah gives Eliana a little squeeze and smiles down at her, nodding his head. “Yes you are. You both are,” he adds, giving Ezsrisa a smile. “Now maybe it’s time to dig in the sand and relax for a bit?” Which might lead to nap time under the trees for the girls, maybe? He gives Kiena a smile as well, and a wink.

Both girls seem pleased with that idea and after Kiena has finished slipping Eliana’s shoes on to keep her foot protected, she shoos them both off to collect their boats and back to the cloth spread out on the sand. As they settle and begin to dig away and entertain themselves, Kiena pushes to her feet and dusts off her pants, smiling crookedly and chuckling at Mur’dah’s wink. “You were really good with them,” she murmurs in a thankful tone, resheathing her knife and making sure nothing was left behind. Stepping forwards, she’ll give Mur’dah a bump to the shoulder with her fist. “You hungry? I packed them a lunch but there’s enough to go around. That’ll probably knock them out too.” She must be expecting naptime too.

Mur’dah watches them go and he rocks with a laugh at the shoulder bump, returning it. “Thanks,” he says with a little blush. “I like kids, they’re fun. And your girls are super sweet.” He just wants to cuddle with them. Cough. “I’m always hungry,” he teases, grinning crookedly at her and flopping down on the towel, sprawling out on his side with his head propped up by his hand, elbow bent to support it. “I’m really enjoying myself,” he says, grinning at her and the girls.

Kiena takes the return shoulder bump in stride and grins at his little blush. If he wanted to cuddle the girls, he’d be welcomed to. The bluerider trusts him enough! “You say that now, but wait until they get older.” she teases him and then snickers. “Oh, they’re sweet now. Remember who their mother is.” Chuckling, she’ll settle herself on the cloth and begin setting out the wrapped sandwiches and other finger foods she’s brought to feed them all. The girls wash their hands and then settle themselves with the adults, quiet and subdued as they chow down on lunch. Kiena hands Mur’dah one of the sandwiches and then takes up the last one for herself. “So are we,” she tells him with a crooked smile and both girls make various half-mumbled sounds of agreement.

Mur’dah laughs, grinning crookedly at her. “Their mother is sweet when she wants to be,” he replies, returning the teasing. Taking the sandwich, he nods his thanks and takes a few bites before pausing to chew, lounging again. “Good!” he says contentedly, closing his eyes for a moment. “Have you decided about Weyrsecond?” he asks, his eyes still closed.

Kiena rolls her eyes a bit and grins back. “You best remember that,” she drawls in a mock threatening voice before chowing down on her meal too. He asks his question just as she’s taking a rather large bite and has to use the back of her hand to keep from the various greens, cheese and sandwich meats from spilling out. Hastily she swallows and with a soft sigh she nods, “I did decide.” she murmurs and after a slow inhale of breath she elaborates. “I accepted. I spoke to Ka’el not long before the date was set to pick up the girls. I’m to be knotted soon but for now… I am just arranging things. I’ll still be smithing, when time permits.” Was that a condition for her acceptance? Possibly.

Mur’dah nods, his eyes still closed so he misses the sandwich fumble. “I think you’ll do well at it,” he murmurs. “Ka’el likes and trusts you. It’s not that hard of a job, really. Just busy…administrative stuff and diplomacy sometimes. Wing disuptes and what-not.” His nose wrinkles slightly. “Glad you’ll still be smithing though.” He’s glad, if it was a condition.

Kiena snorts. “Everyone seems to have such confidence in me,” she mutters. Way to put more pressure on her? She shrugs her shoulders then, smirking crookedly. “I suppose he does, if he’s nuts enough to consider someone like myself for such a rank. Hah! Not that hard a job?” she scoffs at him and reaches over to smack his arm playfully in a rough nudge. “You make it seem like it’s a piece of cake! Administrative stuff… bah. Half that stuff goes right over my head!” She’ll demonstrate too by swishing her hand up over her head. Just like that! Letting her hands fall again to rest her her lap, she chuckles. “Oh, I’m not giving up my smithing. Never.”

Mur’dah laughs. “Well, what do you want me to say? That you’re going to be awful at it? Honestly you wouldn’t be my first choice for Weyrsecond, because you’re young and a bit reclusive. But you’ll either grow into it and be amazing - because that’s your personality - or you’ll discover it’s not for you and you’ll step down.” He shrugs, glancing at her. “Either way, it’s going to be interesting.” Then he snorts a bit, shaking his head. “Ka’el…” Then he shrugs. Not going to talk about the Weyrleader. “Well…I’ve never thought it was hard. Maybe you’ll prove me wrong. I didn’t /enjoy/ it but it wasn’t /hard/. And you’ll learn.” Then he grins. “Good. You shouldn’t.”

“Yes, exactly!” Kiena says and splays her hands. See! He gets it! “I’d not be my first choice either. Shells, I didn’t even think I qualified for Wingsecond, let alone a high rank.” she murmurs. “Not that I’m ungrateful or anything. Just…” It needs to sink in. “Promise me that if I start to act awful or look stressed or… I dunno… change, you’ll tell me?” she asks, looking down at him with a look that isn’t teasing or joking in any way. She’s serious. “Wait. You never thought it was hard? Did you hold rank once?” Kiena peers at him and then frowns. “Heir, right?” Did her memory serve her well this time? Snorting, she smirks at him and then nods. “Yeah. If there’s one thing I’m good at it’s learning… I guess.”

Mur’dah chuckles softly, opening his eyes finally to meet her gaze. “I’ll tell you,” he promises with a small smile. “And yeah, heir. Months of lessons…I didn’t like it but it wasn’t that hard. Just have to figure out how it works, is all. It’s like a big puzzle.”

Kiena looks relieved when he promises and smiles back to him. “A big puzzle, huh?” She likes puzzles or the challenge they give at the very least. She mulls over it and then shrugs, “We’ll just have to see, won’t we?” she muses. Whether or not she’ll be strong enough to handle it or fail. Time will tell. Eliana and Ezsrisa have been silent for awhile and when Kiena checks on them it’s obvious why. The two girls have curled up on the blanket and are sleeping, most of their lunch half eaten. Guess it was naptime!

Mur’dah nods. “Yeah, a puzzle.” Then he hesitates, clearing his throat a bit. “If you need help, let me know. I mean, you’ll have to come meet me somewhere,” he’s not going /near/ the offices, “ know. Yeah.” Lame. Awkward. But the offer is made, and then he’s pulled away from his own issues to look at the girls, a soft sigh escaping him. “They are so /cute/,” he whispers. “Bet they love your weyr, too…”

Lame? Kiena’s brows lift up and then it dawns on her what he is offering. Smiling warmly, she reaches over to clasp his shoulder firmly. “I know and I’ll remember that, Mur’dah. Thank you. It’s… nice to know that I’ll have help.” She leans back then and her smile morphs into a slow, wide and wry grin. “Heeeey,” she drawls. Uh oh. “If a Weyrleader gets an assistant… does a Weyrsecond too?” she teases him. Maybe unfarily but she may not realize exactly what she is doing. Looking back at her daughters, she will begin to tidy up their lunch. “Maybe I should let you babysit them some day. I don’t think you’d be using ‘cute’ or ‘sweet’ for very long.” she tells him and then laughs softly. “They do, but I also half to watch them even closer when they’re in there!”

Mur’dah nods, “Of course,” he says, before he /stares/ at her and blinks. Bliiiink. “You…think Ka’el would let you pick /me/ as your assistant?” He laughs, and though it’s short it’s harsh and a bit bitter. “Probably not,” he admits, glancing to the twins. “Well yeah, lots to do in your weyr…good and bad…” He’s thinking of that staircase and little bodies tumbling down it. Wince.

Kiena stares right back. What? “Wait. Wait, I actually CAN have an assistant?” she asks him, suddenly very curious. Only to frown when his laughter is so short and harsh. Bitter. Her expression falls a bit, conflicted and aware of the reason why. Unsure and uncertain if she can (or should) try to fix it. “Ka’el would just have to deal with it if I actually had a choice in the matter. If a Weyrsecond can even have an assistant. But,” And she holds up her hand. “He cannot control who I have as friends and if I want to go to them for advice well…” She shrugs. Who’s to stop her? “Exactly,” she muses with a chuckle. Those stairs, the loft with the open railing, the rope swing… Not very good for two rambunctious four Turn old girls! “Mhm. Speaking of weyrs… We will need to head back soon. They’re due to be returned to their foster family.”

Mur’dah shrugs, “Why not? But honestly I don’t know. Never paid attention to if any of the past Weyrseconds had assistants. The Weyrleader doesn’t always have an assistant either. So I don’t know.” He shrugs again with a little smile. “Let’s just see how it goes? I can help you off the clock if you need it.” He glances at the girls and nods. “Is it better to take them now, while they’re drowsy? Or let them wake up?”

Kiena shakes her head and nods, “Sure. And you know I’d not mind that at all.” About the off the clock help. “While their drowsy is best. Help me pack and then we’ll carry them. They’ll probably sleep in our arms.” she murmurs and begins to gather all the things and store them carefully in that rucksack of hers. There is just enough room, though the boats may need to be carried too.

Mur’dah tucks the boats back into their boxes, which he tucks beneath one arm before lifting one of the girls into his other, nestling her against his shoulder. “Oooof, shards, they weigh more than a sack of firestone when they’re asleep,” he mutters. His arms are going to be /tired/ by the time they get to the foster family. “Lead the way.”

Kiena laughs softly, “I tried to warn you!” she drawls as she bends down to scoop up the other and having to adjust the sleepy toddler a bit before she can even think about walking forwards. They’re both going to be as exhausted as the girls by the time they get back! “Come on, this way. It isn’t far.” And at least that is a truth! Not long at all and the foster family happily takes both Eliana and Ezsrisa off their hands (and arms). The girls barely wake up at the exchange and Kiena will speak a few brief words with the family, especially concerning Eliana’s foot before she’s turning to leave. Not, of course, without offering Mur’dah a drink at the tavern first. A bit of payment for coming out and being such a good sport?

Mur’dah will take her up on that offer for a drink, and maybe two before the riders part ways, Mur’dah heading off on a few runs to earlier timezones on the planet, wearing his paint badges with pride.

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