A Plan
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Xanadu Weyr - Wildflower Boutique
Whitewashed walls form the canvas for the colourful array of flower, garden and decorative goods that are to be found lining the shop's polished shelves and smooth granite countertops. Around the edge of the room, a slim metal frame supports deep glass buckets in which a variety of freshly-cut flowers sit to be selected for bouquets and arrangements from as few as half a dozen stems to much grander affairs. Above them, shelves contain a selection of clay, glass and stone vases, handheld gardening equipment and decorative stock, such as ribbons, small cans of waterproof paint and fancy paper wrapping. Fertiliser, pots and troughs are kept on display outside and beneath an adjustable awning in-case of rain, a wider range available upon request.

Three islands in the centre of the shop floor provide space for gift items and the like, including metal flower pins, single ornamental stems for vases, and taller metal blooms to be stood in gardens. A price list notes them as crafted by Ka'el and also available in precious metals such as gold and silver. Other items on the counters include a range of small bouquets deliberately designed with firelizard delivery in mind, meadow-themed silver jewellery, and small gift-baskets containing the seeds and markers needed to start small herb gardens and plant window boxes.

The main service counter is situated along the back wall, where a list of bouquet prices and other fresh flower products, including circlets, arrangements for special occasions, and petals by the bag can be seen on a large chalk board hung on the wall.


The Wildflower Boutique is quiet this afternoon, so quiet at this moment that there's nobody but Marel present in the shop, who is taking the calm as an opportunity to get new stock onto the shelves. It's not anything that requires heavy lifting, since she continues to be in not much of a position to lug things about, her focus on the gift items and the more expensive jewellery instead of tubs and pots and garden equipment. By now, she's abandoned the cane, but her limp is still rather pronounced, the more so because she's stopped using her walking aid, and that she's keeping the various counters between her and anyone who might wander in to purchase something can't be a coincidence.

Mur'dah wanders in to his twin's shop as he's apt to do these days, at least a few times a seven, with two mugs of steaming liquid in his hands. "Hey, Mare," he greets lightly with a crooked grin, lifting the mug he holds in his left hand. "Your favorite." For him, it's mulled cider that steams with delicious scents of clove and cinnamon. Leaning against the nearest counter, he sets her mug down and smiles. "How's business?" He's dressed in a charcoal gray turtleneck sweater and black trousers tucked into boots - nice clothes, especially for him.

"You sure you've got them the right way around this time?" Marel teases dryly, reaching out with a grateful murmur of thanks and hands that leave behind arranging a necklace and curl around the offered mug instead. She makes a show of sniffing the contents of the mug, her choice of cider of a sweeter, less aromatic mix that threatens to cause cavities with only a few sips. "Working out more or less as I expected," she replies over the rim of her mug, taking a cautious sip. "Well-crafted, smaller items selling and bringing in most of the marks, with the bigger purchases keeping slower sevens profitable." She smirks. "And that's before the flowers." With a gesture towards his attire, she enquires, "What's the occasion?"

Mur'dah grimaces with a nod. "Yeah. I hope I never make that mistake again." Hers is far too sweet for his tastes. Leaning a hip against the counter he glances at the items for sale and nods with a smile. "Good," he murmurs, pleased. Then he glances down at himself. "This? Oh." Cough. "I just got back from meeting with someone about a runner." Truly. "There's a colt up north I'm looking at bringing down for breeding stock. Thinking about having a small racing stable. And a farming cothold I can lease out." He shrugs, glancing around the shop. "Want to get my marks to work for me instead of just sitting around."

"And get your marks to work for you while you're sitting around?" It's meant in good humour, and slightly uneven steps carry Marel towards her twin, where she seeks to loop an arm around his neck press a kiss to his cheek. "Even boarding other people's runners would earn you enough until you find all your own stock, if you charged enough," she supposes, stepping away to lean back against that same counter. "I don't know what to do with the rest of mine, or what's we're going to keep getting," the brownrider confesses. "This place is mostly supporting itself now. Buying more stock for the sake of it is a poor move."

Mur'dah ducks down to accept the kiss with a grin, returning it before he lets her go. And he laughs. "No. I like Comet, but…it's just a wingrider's salary. Might as well do something else too, since we can, right?" They are rather fortunate. "Boarding is a good idea. I'll have to think about that. And…save it? I don't know. I've hardly done anything with mine but. I'm trying to be careful about it." Not just jump into things, like he usually would. "Yeah, it would be," he agrees. "And it's good that it's supporting itself. You still enjoy it?"

Marel takes a longer drink from her mug and falls into a thoughtful silence. "…Do you ever feel bad?" she asks quietly, shooting a sidelong glance at him. "I mean, we could both potentially have three or more sources of income each before we're twenty. We've just said we don't know what to do with all the marks." She gives an awkward shrug. "I just… wonder if it would be better to help people… or if that would be patronising. Or set a bad precedent. I don't know." A sigh is not the usual response to someone enjoying their work, but it's probably more a response to the former topic, not the latter. "I'm glad I chose this," she confirms. "Wait, have you thought about a riding school? Runners. Boarding and training and racing. More marks."

"Feel bad?" Mur'dah considers that and then his small smile betrays his answer before he speaks it. "A bit. I mean, we didn't /do/ anything for this. Not really. But…help? I don't know. Just giving marks away is kind of…yeah, patronizing. Egotistical. Like you said, we don't know what to do with all our marks…that's hardly endearing to folks." That's why they're so quiet about it. "A riding school?" He hadn't considered that, but he is now, his mind rolling with the possibilities. "Here? Or just outside the weyr maybe? Find some land…a riding school and retreat…lots of people like to ride on the beach. Romantic and all that stuff." He slowly nods, a small smile spreading. "I really like that idea, Mare!"

"But that's it… we didn't do anything for this. Profit from here, yes, but…" Marel gives a helpless shrug. "Oh, I don't know," she says again. "Maybe one of us needs to start having kids, so we can spoil them rotten. I'd feel better about that." She must be joking, since her delivery is so carefully, perfectly deadpan. "Or hope Jethaniel and Darsce have lots of babies so we can spoil them instead." Leaning in against her twin, she props her chin just shy of his shoulder and peers up at him from beneath his shoulder's curve, like some creature lurking beneath a rock. "Outside would probably work better, depending on what land's available. There would be so many ways to turn it to profit, if you started out right, and that way you'd get the racing involved and everything."

Mur'dah blanches slightly at the thought of either of them having kids, and surely the flick of his eyes to her stomach is just an illusion. "Uh." That's what he's got to say about /that/, but he's blushing a little bit. Looking down at her when she leans, he slips an arm around her and grins a bit. "I could give free lessons to kids in need, and you could give flowers away sometimes. Donate that way, instead of just marks. And I really like that idea. I've got a few spots in mind already, but I'll have to see who owns them and if they'd be suited for a ranch…" He nods, grinning. "Could train and ride and race and breed, have a few little cabins for folks to come and stay and ride for a few days or a seven, have camps for kids to learn to ride…" A dude ranch!

Marel doesn't miss the direction of his gaze, and it earns him a nudge of her elbow and, "Oh, shut up. And don't pretend you're some little chaste thing either; you've been flirting with girls for turns." If not always effectively. "Trust me, I'm good with spoiling Alishe for now." As Mur'dah's lifts an arm around her, she loops one of hers around his waist and continues to comfortably lean against him. "If you'd hold competitions and riding courses, I'd be happy to donate the prizes and rewards. Some kids need to see material gain involved to want to make progress." She nudges him again, though this time it's more encouraging than in jesting reprimand. "See? All that would keep you and your marks busy. I don't know if either of us are meant for great rank as riders, but… with these sorts of things, we can achieve more than we might."

Mur'dah shakes his head with a laugh. "No, I'm not pretending to be chaste. I'm not a virgin." Not even outside of flights. "But flirting does not automatically mean sex! Just…thinking of us having /kids/…" They're still kids themselves! Giving her a squeeze, he grins. "That's a great idea. I can hold competitions. Maybe the kids come for a seven, and at the end they show off what they've learned, and win prizes…I'll bet I could find some cheap runners to use for that, too, for the kids. Older ones, placid ones, ones that are good with kids and for light work but little else." Mur'dah's runner retirement home! "I really like that idea. There's so much I could do with it…" Then he laughs. "I could call it Hot Sands." Instead of Cold Stone. "No, I don't think I'm good for rank. Ka'el wouldn't give it to me anyway. Which is fine. I'd rather keep life simple and have time to focus on my own stuff. What's important." There's another squeeze.

"As if you weren't ever hoping it might lead to that!" Marel accuses, laughing brightly. "I am going to laugh myself silly when you end up a father before I'm a mother," she teases. "…I'm not saying now, but… I've a home and a weyrmate and finances aren't a problem… one day, maybe that picture will need kids. When things are better." When she's figured out what the events of past months have left her with, and all that they've done to her and Isyriath. "Just please tell me that you're not going to call yourself Mur'dah Hot Sands. I am never going to be able to call you that with a straight face." It's not something she manages then either, smile curling one corner of her mouth. Sobering, she tells him, "You're going to be a good man, you know?" Whenever they both leave behind that awkward time of being not children, but not yet entirely grown-up either.

Mur'dah snorts with amusement, shaking his head. "Dunno, sometimes it's just nice to flirt and dance and say goodnight. And you never know, Marel! You've got a home and a weyrmate and a business and marks…I don't even have a girlfriend, so. Looks like you're well on your way." And he winks at her with a smile, giving her another squeeze. Then he laughs. "Mur'dah Hot /Moves/," he says teasingly, shaking his head. "No, of course not. I'd call it something…else. Something nice. River Sands Ranch or something…I dunno. Depends on where I put it." Because it's a Plan, now. Then he blinks, surprised, and looks down at her. "Am I?" he asks with a small smile. "Thanks. You're a real good woman. I'm proud you're my sister."

"You mean you haven't asked that girl out yet? Faranth, Muir, you better get on with it, or I'll ask her," Marel threatens, though then she's of course pretending to be disgusted by his twist on that name and sticks her tongue out at him. She hugs him closer, tightening her arm around his waist. "Of course you are. You are now, only more people will know what I know. And I'll always be proud of you, even if we don't always agree." For what he says of her, she leaves her mug on the counter and aim to hug him properly, hiding her face in against his shoulder before she steps back and tips another smile up to him. "How about you help me with this lot, then we go and see Mama?"

Mur'dah shakes his head a bit. "It's…she's…I'm taking it slow," he mutters, but his blush should be clue enough that he /wants/ to. He just hasn't yet. Setting his mug down, he hugs her back tightly and bends to kiss her hair lightly before he grins. "Thanks," he murmurs. "And yeah, that sounds like a great idea." And so they shall.


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