Renalde, T'ral


At the waterfall, father and son discuss life, death and trajectories.


It is sunset of the nineteenth day of the fourth month of the first turn of the 12th pass.


Southern Weyr

OOC Date


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The lush Southern rainforests hide snake-like rivers that wind through the thickest part of the underbrush; it is one such river that provides a view that must be seen once in a lifetime. Powerful, the waters spill over the edges of the cliffs, falling from high, high above to land in a large swell of water that feeds into the Black Rock River. On a sunny day, a kaleidescope of colors can be seen as the light of Rukbat is refracted in a rainbow array of vibrant hues. At the base of the waterfall, where even a dragon would feel dwarfed by the towering cliffs and thick plume of falling water, the swell of water is surrounded by greenery of all kinds: trees, flowers, ferns, moss, lichen. As the point where the waterway narrows into a feeder stream to the larger, Black Rock River, a tiny little bridge spans. All around, water roars, eclipsing even the sounds of wildlife.

It is the seventy-ninth day of Autumn and 84 degrees. Still dark and overcast, the autumn rain has picked up and become heavier, albeit still pleasant.

The sky seems to rain, though this time the practical Southern Headman has brought along a bit more protection. He wears a well oiled coat, and a hat which sends the warm autum rains to each side. Once again, as happens once a year, the Lower Caverns are left completly in the hands of the Southern Assistant Headwoman as the Headman makes himself scarce for a day, leaving early and arriving home late. This year has brought him to the waterfall near the river. He stands, face impassive as he watches the water roar down from the height.

Soft tread through the rain-spangled growth comes through over the steady thrum of the autumn rainfall. T'ral's own raingear sheds water in streams off the trailing ends of a gray poncho. He walks up to take a place at his father's side and stares, not at the waterfall, but off at the darker gray of clouds promising more than the steady rain. Storms.

Renalde doesn't speak right away, though he clearly heard T'ral's entrance to his bastion of solitude. The rain picks up just a touch, but as it is so warm, it is hardly noticable. "There is another on the way." Renalde finally breaks the silence, though he does not look up to where T'ral does.

T'ral takes a deep breath, breathing slowly clean through the fluttering that would make it a sob if he let it and lets it out. She loved storms. He lets the breath out. "MMmmm," he agrees, turning his attention to the roaring waterfall. All the rain has made it impressive and mist from it's thundrous crashing mixes with the rain making it even wetter.

In contrast, Renalde is completly composed. Perhaps the water falling from the sky is enough emotion for the southern headman. Or perhaps he did his mourning earlier. Either way, he simply stands stony as his talkative son does little to encourage conversation. His hands are folded behind his back, black leather gloves which clearly have seen some use covering them.

What is there to talk about except the obvious? Loss. Gaping holes in hearts. Things too painful to look at or speak about directly. Things shut away in wooden boxes so that they weren't let go, and certainly not enjoyed, but not present enough in the day-to-day to have the sharp edges rubbed smooth with time. T'ral's eyes flick down to see if his father has the whatever-it-was he had last year in his hands. Hard to tell. After raiding the Headman's office there was a short list of what that might have been. He stands in silence, remembering the woman that had held him and laughed in the storms. He could really use her now.

"The seacrafters are finding it increasingly difficult to get out between Falls and the rains." They could talk about business. The Weyr specifically, where Renalde has placed his heart. His gaze traces upwards, and as it tilts raindrops escape the cover of the brim to fall upon his cheekbones and slide downwards, almost as if Pern itself is supplying the tears for him.

"Ships?" Falls. The weather. The syllable is voiced as a question, but mostly rhetorical. T'ral lets out an incredulous little laugh - just a puff of breath. "This is a poor remembrance if all we can manage is Weyr business." Though she's brought them together at least.

Sorry T'ral, Renalde is not a mess this year. Instead, he turns towards T'ral, his voice drier than the western deserts. "Or she would be pleased that we survived another year to simply be able to speak of such."

T'ral's flown four Falls now. A fact Renalde is likely to be cognizant of. Only taking a wound in the first one. It had become a habit to leave the Headman a report of the Fall, a way of signaling his return. Any such report was really Nora's turf and not T'ral's to deliver, but… it wasn't really a report. The young man hmms an agreement. "I don't want to talk about ships."

"The grubs should help." There, it isn't ships. "The weyrleadership is much relieved to have them. Should make things easier for the riders and reduce casualties." His gaze drops back down so that rain no longer peppers his face. A slight shrug of his shoulders makes raindrops swirl downwards from their shoulders.

Or grubs. But T'ral can't refute the weight that had lifted from his shoulders at the announcement of their presence. "The grubs are a relief to be sure." For everyone. Not just Weyrleadership. T'ral takes another deep breath, this one even and smooth. He shifts on the spongy ground, altering the topography of his poncho, runnels of water shifting streams. "Parallel, our paths. And so different." He looks out on the water where the fall pounds the stones.

"You are too young to have that be reality T'ral." There is a sense of disappointment from Renalde, an emotion that has not been directed at the bluerider for a very long time. "You have many years left to find what would make our paths parallel."

"Maybe." T'ral's old enough to trust Renalde's wisdom. And coming into his own that the disappointment doesn't grind on him like it had turns ago. At least, not in a way that makes him bow up like he used to. He looks at the older man sidelong, "How many points does it take to plot a trajectory?" Answer. Not many.

"You will have to speak to a sea crafter about that T'ral." Renalde steps forwards towards the river which works to burst its banks, and pulls off one of those gloves. He kneels carfully, and slowly, he's not as young as he once was after all. Reaching forward he dips the hand into the cool water, lifting it up to allow it to drip down again.

"Mmph," T'ral grunts. He tenses at Renalde's stoop. On alert. The river looked calm, but those waters were pure treachery and it didn't matter young OR old if you fell into them. A hand moves forward slightly, ready to steady or pull back. Mournful remembrances and navel-gazing speculations clouding the blue eyes burn away under wary watchfulness.

"Would you transfer north, if offered?" Renalde allows the question to roll out, no judgement attached, just simple statement this time. The water falls from his fingers, though invisible among all of the other drops which the sky provides the scene.

He blinks, straightening. "I suppose it would matter why the offer was being made." He looks out over the river, at the Waterfall. His feet are wet, stockings squelching between his toes and he hasn't felt actually DRY since… well, Igen. But… "This is home. It used to feel … happier. But for good or ill I'm here." He stills. Renalde walked the halls of power here at Southernm "Am I being transferred?"

"You would have to ask Q'fex that T'ral, I am hardly on the short list of those who know that." Renalde cups the water one last time before pushing himself back to his feet and slipping the glove back onto his hand. "Southern has become home."

T'ral nods, a wry twist to his mouth, "Right. You don't hear things." But a palable relief floods the young man and he relaxes. "I was worried for a moment," a hand crept to his belly falls away. Tight smile turns on the formidable Headman, a flash of bright teeth in the tanned, tired face, "When did that happen?" Southern, becoming home, that is.

"No particular time." Renalde admits this as he brushes non-existant dirt from his long coat. Really, someday he should bottle his secret for being able to walk through a wet jungle and not get dirty at all. "Though I suppose when I am too old to headman I will return to Benden."

It's genetic. T'ral doesn't have the spotlessness down, managing to look (ahahahahaha) rugged (stop laughing) from his jungle jaunts, but still immaculate. Except for the hair. Usually a mess. T'ral peers up at the sky, Pern supplying his tears now, "You would? That's years away, but I'd like it if you stayed." What? "I know we've not gotten along so well." Because I've been a pain in the ass and you're a withholding ice-hearted human glacier, "But, ah, could we do this more than once a turn?"

"Maybe." Renalde throws out to T'ral as he turns away from the waterfall to actually look at T'ral for long enough. "As for staying, it would be good to be closer to my nieces and nephews T'ral. I regret being so far from them."

Way to commit, daddio. "Maybe? What's in the way? It's important enough to make time for or it isn't." Ah, the cousins. Growing. Starting their own families. Settling down. Bickering. Bolstering. Together. "I can see why you'd want to go back." Happier times, dimly remembered. A happier future, certainly. T'ral sniffs and meets Renalde's eyes steadily, agreeing, "It's nice to be near family," a sad and rueful smile. He takes a deep breath -blue eyes, dark, so different from Renalde's subtly shift- a bleak look of disappointment crossing tired features, boyish planes cast into a gray and far flung future. "You know. I'm getting tired of having to force this," he waves a hand between the two of them, "to happen." A thousand glows alight at once. He smiles shaking his head, pain of the realization twisting in his side. The upright posture wilts. He's been here before. And not that long ago. "All the people I love most want the same thing from me. Nothing." He turns away, towards the river, scrubbing a hand across his face, blinking away the rain. It's rain. Totally just rain. "I'm the world's biggest idiot." He holds out a forestallig hand to Renalde, eyes rolled to the side, he can see his father in periphery. "Just…" he shakes his head and drops his hand leaving the statement unfinished. A pent breath expelled, T'ral looks out over the sluggishly churning water.

“You are treating this very foolishly.” Renalde fixes the gloves on his hands, careful as always to get the fit just right. No bunched fabric between the fingers for the perfectionist headman. “Stop trying so hard T’ral. You have too much of me in you when you have been hurt, and that is not necessarily a good thing. Your mother allowed heartbreak to roll off of her, consider that.” It is not a smile that alights on Renalde’s face, nor a scowl. Perhaps it is just introspection. The years in Southern are slowly thawing the stiff headman, as more people demand emotion from him outside of his official responsibilities, T’ral not alone.

Gee, Dad. I didn't think about it that way. "Thanks. I feel so much better now." T'ral's casts that across his shoulder, he's not looking anywhere towards the Headman to see the snugged gloves or the not-smile. An incredulous shake of the head and another sidelong look, "It doesn't just stop." It just doesn't stop? He shakes his head that inner thought, unvoiced. Either way worked.

“I did not intend to make you feel better T’ral, that is a choice you must make for yourself.” More fatherly advice is dispensed in Renalde's clipped voice. The rain is slowing, and Renalde looks upwards again, perhaps to check the clouds themselves. “You have chosen a path that was difficult. You ignored advice from several sources,” okay, maybe just one, “that could have prevented it. Youth won over logic, and now you feel pain from it. What choice are you going to make now? To linger in your pain, or allow it to harm you?” Renalde finally turns his gaze onto T'ral, folding his arms behind his back.

T'ral turns to face his father. "It could very well have not turned out this way. You couldn't know any more than I could." He presses his lips flat, "In point of fact, you could have prevented it." He raises his eyebrows, "So big surprise that this turns out like you predicted."

“It is spite which causes you to think so.” Renalde responds calmly, not allowing himself to be drawn into the blame game which T'ral seeks to begin. “What choice will you make now T'ral? Shall you allow yourself to become ice?” Apparently Renalde is more than aware of his own response to sorrow. “Or will you find happiness elsewhere?”

T'ral sits quietly with that for a minute. All of it. "Only the way I said it is spiteful and I'm sorry for that," his face is flat, tired. "But it's not any less true. You could have stopped it. And she wouldn't be planning…" he waves a worried hand off to the north, "Whatever she's planning." Standing and Impression worries him much less. Mostly because he hasn't grappled with the thought that Prymelia would be flying Thread if that's what it meant. He's quiet again for a time, looking down at the rain-pummeled grasses, "I'm young and foolish. It's expected of me." He peers, curious, at his father, an apologetic smile on his face, "What's your excuse?"

“Excuse?” This actually elicits a half laugh from Renalde. “There is little excuse. You seek my advice T’ral, and I have given it. It is the place of adults to make assertions which will be followed or not- our personal lives are not my lower caverns, to be organized with schedules. She would have been lost to you eventually T’ral.”

"I didn't actually." Seek your advice, "I came out here to be," he opens his mouth, closes it. "To be here for you." I barely remember her. He laughs, wilting again, "And I've done it again. You didn't ask me here. It simply never occurred to me that I wasn't needed." Wanted. Whatever. He laughs, a half-laugh similar to Renalde's but more at his own obtuseness which has manifested yet again. I really am an idiot. He looks down at the water, rain dripping off the point of his hood. He cocks his head, "Let's assume I did come for advice. Your advice to me," He blinks at the headman, "When I feel as alone and-" his breath hitches, helpless, "… as alone as I've ever felt is 'just stop feeling sad?'" T’ral’s brows climb, "And this just before you say we can't order our lives like the Stores." He shakes his head and shrugs, at a loss. For words. For what to do with that. For… anything. He looks off at the falls, "Did you need a ride back to the Weyr?"

“No.” Will he really deny his son even this small bit? “You need to decide what you are T’ral. You’re more than just my son. More than just a rider. More than Prymelia’s lover.” Renalde reaches up and fixes the hat upon his head. His bearing shifts, as he steps back into steel headman again. “Fair skies T’ral.” And he’ll begin to descend away from the waterfall, back towards the weyr and home.

Relief. Good. T'ral nods without looking at his father. The forced proximity of a flight, however brief, hit a little too close to home. A charade of closeness. There was plenty enough of that without grinding it in his face. But… that last, some good advice finally. Maybe. T'ral stands alone at the water's edge thinking. A spike of frustrated anger, he raises his arms and shouts at the falls, "Those are all good things to be!" His grins, watery, at the falls, "I'm supposed to be more? I'd settle for two out of three."

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