Kneejerk Reactions

Half Moon Bay Weyr - [TP] Fallen Tree Field
Not far from the weyr and the feeding grounds is this swath of land that was once clearly part of the jungle. It's been completely leveled and any evidence of its once tall and proud residents have been removed, save for two. An enormous felled tree lays in its relative entirety right smack dab in the middle of this reclaimed area, otherwise the field is either tilled in preparation for the next planting season, or is in some stage of crop growth. The reason as to why this lone tree was allowed to remain is not immediately clear, but it has been there for quite some time considering the graffiti that has been carved into its aged and weathered trunk, along with dozens of little cuts that makes it seem as if someone had been aggressively attacking it with a hatchet. Most of its branches have been removed completely, or have been chopped away in segments. Perhaps whoever is in charge of this project has decided to take their time. The stump of another tree lingers nearby, this one with clear purpose, as a pile of firewood for the kitchens has started to pile up beside it. An axe sits, embedded in the center, as a stack of unsplit logs rests within reach. The grass around both sad remains of what was once dense and green, is browned and crunches beneath any who tread here, growing more and more sparse towards the fallen tree until it gives way to dull gray barren ground. The soil there is found to be more clay than fertile farmland, which may explain the lack of a rush to clear it out.

It's late in the afternoon the day following the gather at Blue Fire Hold, with nary a sign of a certain bronzerider who we shall call J'en. Searching high and low in the weyr proper bares no fruit, but rather old haunts that prickle at old memories perhaps long since faded. The stripped down figure wearing no more than riding pants and thick-soled boots may be a familiar sight, except the nineteen-turn-old standing in that angry boy's place was hardly the same person. A riding jacket is hung off the fallen tree, the knot for Archipegio's Wingleader most definitely pinned to it. Well, that's weird, right? A sharp and inhale (which sounding more like a growl) is probably distracting enough to bring attention away from this. Holding an axe up high above his head Jae proved that he was nothing but muscle, taller certainly, once pale skin now tan. There was another tattoo as well, the newest taking up the better part of the left side of his body, resembling a tree spreading from the place over his heart and spreading up and out from there, even the side of his neck, a bit over his back and down the entire length of his arm to the back of his knuckles. Axe brought up, a snarl brings it down, cleaving a circular log into two.

And is that R'hyn, seeking out said old haunts in the pursuit of memories turns gone by? Oh. No. The figure sprinting through the empty field is much too small by far, and all wrong to boot, pale-skinned and grey-eyed and raven-haired, ensconced in a pale green dress. Hysterical shrieks immediately precede a fit of giggles as the little girl is caught up to, caught period, haulted up into muscled arms no less tattooed than J'en's. That is R'hyn, all floppy hair and sunbright laughter, fighting against the armload of suddenly wormy-squirmy five-turn-old as the rider continues the path away from the weyr, closer to the figure busily making log-mountains out of woodpiles. The near-violence of it all attracts the gaze of a youth that sees too much, writhing fit slowing to a halt with a squealed, "Lemme go, R'hyn, lemme go! It's not fair, you cheated, you—ooh!" Kiric quiets for a moment, watching J'en go at his current log, grey eyes wide and observant. Beat. Two. Then she leans closer to R'hyn, body turning so she can cling to shoulders in order to pull herself in, as though decreasing their proximity might somehow make her less easy to hear as she says, at completely normal volume, "What's uncle Jae doing? Why doesn't he have a shirt on?" Another beat, eyes widening with childish fear as she draws her own assumptions. "Does he need one?" Said eyes fasten on J'en, compassion in their depths as she adds, "Mom can sew one for him!" R'hyn bears this all with the sort of wince one reserves for when they're trying real hard not to laugh, blue-grey eyes sparkling as he flicks a glance over Jae's form, the jacket hanging nearby, clearly unspotted by Kiric, before shrugging shoulders great big for the tiny Ilaniece. "I dunno, sweetness. Why don't you go ask him yourself?" Down he sets her, strolling along behind as she zips ahead, stumbling to a stop a healthy distance away (but also, you know, behind Jae) before shouting, "Uncle Jae!" And in case he doesn't hear her, she stomps one small foot and repeats herself, "Uncle Jae!" And then she waits, expectant, for his attention.

J'en was BUSY cutting WOOD and perhaps this was the reason that he doesn't appear to notice the little one in all her shrieking glory, for no sooner is the log split, that the pieces are taken up in turn and given the exact same treatment. Right down to the growls and the snarls. Though, it's the 'Uncle Jae' shouted from behind him that startles the ever loving shit right out of the teenager, nearly dropping the axe as he wheels around to find a mini-Ila girl thing staring at him with those grey eyes he just can't seem to get away from. "I 'eard ya the first time kid," he growls low as she stomps and repeats, thwumping the axe blade into the stump shortly there after. Darting golden eyes find R'hyn soon enough, letting out a long and suffering sigh. "I ain't drunk enough for this, man. Take yer little she-Ila'den and fu…" Gaze returns briefly to the child and he actually winces, "Go." A towel is plucked out of its hiding spot, used to wipe the sweat off his face and the back of his neck, discarded in favor for a jar of water he removes from a shadier part of ground. This is unscrewed and then drank from, deeply.

Tiny and demanding she might be, but a flaming paragon of spunk Kiric is not; though younger than her siblings, enough of her remembers the many weeks spent in fear hidden away in renegade camps that J'en's sudden, growling wheel-about immediately takes whatever fight she has right out of her tiny form. Grey eyes widen, well with tears, and with a whimper she turns and retreats back to R'hyn - R'hyn who is, for once, not smiling as he drops to one knee, scooping the five-turn-old up into his arms so small arms can link around his neck, Kiric swift to bury her face into his shoulder in an attempt to hide. Blue-grey eyes are flat, shuttered when they finally lift to flick over J'en's features, all of that faultless bluster he's worked so hard to affect over turns of the younger bronzer's attitude suddenly gone as he rises back to his feet. "You don't have to be drunk to be kind to children, Jaelyn," R'hyn says in a tone that brooks no argument, and that's definitely judgement in his gaze as he smooths a comforting hand over Kiric's back. "I honestly thought better of you." For more reason than one. Blue-grey eyes track pointedly back to the younger rider's jacket, lingering there just long enough to indicate he knows exactly what has changed about the garment before his gaze flicks back with a clipped, ultimately abrasive, "Sir." And then he does as he's told, turning to walk away with a low-rumbled, "C'mon, sweetness. I hear your momma's makin' sweet bread. Maybe she'll let us sneak a taste, hmm?"

"Wha…" Jae blinks as the child goes all teary-eyed and whimpers, a thing that even with a daughter of his own, he was not equipped to handle as well as he could people coming at him in the dark with their equally dark intentions. So, he stands there a second, staring at her wide-eyed and completely at a loss. His experience with actual children? Jemahnye, who was probably tougher than her old man. "Wait…I…" But she was being scooped up and there was suddenly judgement in eyes he'd never seen judgement in before and J'en must turn himself away. The stiffening of his shoulders welcomes back his old friend tension in full and although he had his back to R'hyn, he didn't have to see the disapproval to hear it in the man's voice, which does absolutely nothing to alleviate his level of discomfort. The sound of his full name uttered in that voice with that tone? Cue soft mutterings that are thankfully far too quiet to be heard, but undoubtedly held all the words like the one he had censored because of the child present. Somethings were a constant, such as everything that made J'en into the person he was. Like when he punches the tree before him hard with only a grunt of effort, but then sags against it as he splays his palms against the aged and decaying bark, "I know!" he says past clenched teeth, "I'm…sorry…" Said softer, his head coming to hang. The older bronzerider might as well have slapped him when he said he'd thought better of him, and again when he's called sir. He can hear footsteps on dry grass, the telltale crunch that means R'hyn is walking away, angry. "I din't even see 'er till…" Instant reaction, until he realized what was up? Yep. No surprises there. There was no excuse scaring a child, even if she had startled him first, but if there was anything that Jae was it was to act on instinct and impulse. It didn't mean there wasn't regret mixed in there the second after his kneejerk reaction. The next part is quieter, perhaps even unheard or dismissed, but it's said nonetheless, "I'm havin' trouble dealin' with ya, with…him…with the both of ya doin' the thin' ya said ya couldn't ever do. So, I'm sorry 'bout that too." A heart beat later, whispered, "I miss ya."

It's the apology more than anything else that halts R'hyn's progress, that slows his retreat until he's stopped again. There comes a soft snort from his general direction, not for the muttering or the punching, but in disbelief for the words that follow, hand still soothing its way up and down Kiric's back as he turns to face the younger bronzerider. "Didn't even see her until you turned around and told her you heard her the first time?," R'hyn asks, voice tense, brittle, words pressed through teeth with effort. 'Bullshit,' that tone reads, loud and clear for the observant. There might be more to say - his mouth even opens again to add what is sure to be bitter words to draw on one of their pasts or another as reference for just why that was wrong - but in the same way as J'en can only be J'en, R'hyn can only be himself. The older man takes a second to collect himself, chest visibly heaving with a sigh, eyes rolling skywards and lingering there before they lower again, this time to fix J'en with a level, humorless look, but one that is at least lacking in utter disappointment. "The whole 'act first, regret at leisure' thing worked for you when we were young and unimportant. You don't get that luxury now." Because he's a father? A wingleader? Possibly both, and R'hyn doesn't care to elucidate; lips press flat for whispered words instead, Heryn's features inscrutable as silence stretches, long, too long, borderline awkwardly so before he says, with equal quiet, "It happened, Jae. I didn't expect it to, but it did, and I'm not going to apologize for it." And that's that as shoulders lift, brace, arms shifting Kiric into a more comfortable position as he makes to leave again with an inflectionless but perhaps-attemptedly-humorous, "You won't have that luxury anymore, either. See you tomorrow for drills." And many days of working together thereafter. Will you miss him then, J'en? WILL YOU? HMM. We shall see. For now, long legs carry him away, head bent to murmur encouraging words to the toddler on his shoulder, reassurances carrying on in R'hyn's quiet cadence well after they're out of sight.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License