((Shuttleport - Walker, MN, Earth ))
::Alexii Moonsong was standing at the greeting area. He was a very tall man with tanned skin. His long dark hair was in two long braids over his shoulders. He was clad in a plaid flannel shirt and washed out jeans. He was holding up a sign easily seen over the heads of the crowd consisting of one word. “RUNE”.::
::The shuttle port was a little more crowded than Rune cared for, especially with Krystyan. But he didn’t seem to mind as he slept, securely strapped in the front baby carrier with his head against her chest. She was dressed comfortably in worn jeans and a t-shirt with a leather jacket.::
::She smiled when she saw the sign and then the man holding it.::
Jolara: ::as she approached:: Moonsong?
Alexii: You must be Rune. ::He dropped the sign and held out a hand.:: Alexii Moonsong. Raissa’s brother. Welcome and all that. Can I get your bags?
Jolara: I am. Thank you. ::motioning toward their bags:: We do not have much.
::Alexii made short work of gathering the bulk of her and Krystyan’s luggage, slinging it about like a pro.::
Alexii: I take it you’re a good friend of Ris’? She doesn’t invite just anyone here.
::There was no hesitation on Rune’s part. She had come to think of Raissa as a good friend, one of her very few in fact.::
Jolara: I would like to think so, yes. I understand she is a… private person. I am honored to have been invited. I have been looking forward to some much needed peace and quiet.
Alexii: You’ll certainly get that at the farm. ::he grinned::
:: Adjusting Krystyan slightly, she fell into step beside him as they made their way out of the shuttle port. She felt a little awkward being here but it would give her some peace and quiet, as well as the time she needed with Krystyan. ::
Jolara: How is she?
::Alexii led the way to a ground car and put Rune’s luggage in the back. There was even a special seat for the baby that he directed her to.::
Alexii: ::the smile faded from his lips.:: If you ask her she says she’s fine.
::The way he said that and the way his smile faded made her concerned. She waited until she had Krystyan strapped into the seat before digging deeper.::
Jolara: What makes you think she is not?
Alexii: She’s either meditating or sleeping or both. I can’t be sure. And she doesn’t eat enough to feed a newborn llama.
Jolara: Our last few missions were… difficult. Possibly more so on her than any of the others. ::smiling faintly:: I will speak to her.
Alexii: ::he looked at her curiously as they got in and he got behind the controls:: You think you can get through to her?
Jolara: I was a counselor once. I have my ways.
Alexii: Then I’m doubly glad to see you.
::The trip to the farm didn’t really take that long. They were soon out into the countryside. It was autumn in this part of the planet and the tree were at the height of color as they drove. The came to paddocks with odd looking creatures with thick fur grazing in the paddocks. There were two kinds of them. Larger ones that Alexii called llamas and smaller ones with cuter faces he called alpacas.::
::It was unlike anything Rune had ever experienced in person. It was certainly different than Al-Leya, or at least the part of Al-Leya Rune knew. She had grown up in what was considered the tropics on Earth where the air was always warm and the leaves had subtle color changes throughout the year. But it was the sense of peace that brought a smile to her face.::
::There were barns and more paddocks, some of which contained horses. The main building, the home, a large two story ranch home, or that was how it began. Wings had be added over the generations.::
Alexi: ::pulling the vehicle to a halt in front of the house.:: Welcome to LlamaSong Farms. Home of the Moonsong clan.
Jolara: ::smiling:: It is beautiful.
::A woman stepped out onto the porch, a welcoming smile on her face. The strong resemblance to Raissa meant that this could only be Raissa’s mother.::
::Rune got out of the vehicle, gave a wave and then got a now wide awake Krystyan before heading up the steps.::
Jolara: ::with a smile and an extended hand:: You must be Raissa's mother. I am Rune. Thank you for having us here.
Sasha: Call me Sasha, Rune. Welcome to our home. Please come in. You must be tired.
::Krystyan babbled and kicked Rune as if he understood exactly what she was saying. Rune winced but quickly smiled.::
Jolara: It has been a long journey.
Sasha: Leading the way inside. Then you’ll want to rest. ::She cood at the baby.:: Are you going to let your mama rest little man?
:: Krystyan babbled back and Rune smiled even more. ::
Jolara: He has been good about that lately.
::Sasha showed the way to the second floor with Alexii following with the luggage. Sasha opened the door to a large guest room full of warm colors. There was a wooden cradle beside the bed and the top of one of the dressers was set up as a changing table with diapers and other supplies.::
Sasha: I hope this will be all right for you. ::as her son set down the luggage.:: Alexii, go wake your sister and tell her that her guest is here.
::Rune was most impressed by how warm and inviting everyone felt. It wasn’t often she felt almost instantly comfortable in a strange place. She was already laying the baby down and checking his diaper.::
Jolara: It is perfect. Thank you.
::Alexii rolled his eyes and went out of the room and down the hall.::
Jolara: ::turning to look at Sasha as she began changing the little one’s diaper:: You are concerned for her.
Sasha: ::faint smile:: Why do you say that?
Jolara: I can feel it... ::turning her attention to Krystyan:: and I share it.
Sasha: What do you mean?
Jolara: It is a long story but we share a connection of some kind. Perhaps I can help.
Sasha: ::The older woman was silent for a moment.:: I hope you can. We can’t seem to get through to her. ::sighs:: She says there’s nothing wrong. But she’s never been this withdrawn before.
:: Rune frowned. She knew the last few missions were hard on Raissa. Perhaps she didn’t know just how hard. Of course there was still a possibility it had nothing at all to do with the missions. ::
:: Krystyan kicked and let out a squeal. Rune smiled. ::
Jolara: If I can not get her to come out of it, perhaps I know someone who can.
::The was a knock on the door and Alexii stood in the doorway.::
Alexii: Ris said, and I quote, “Tell them to come by tomorrow”. ::shrugs:: Same as she always says. ::pause:: I’m heading toward the barn. Nice to meet you Rune.
:: Picking Krystyan up, Rune turned and smiled at him. ::
Jolara: Nice to me you too.
Sasha: ::smiles and shakes her head.:: I’m sure you want to get some rest first. Supper is at 1700 hours. I am happy to keep an eye on your little one. My children have all failed to provide me grandchildren.
Jolara: I would appreciate that. He will probably be hungry in about an hour but there’s a bottle already prepared in his bag.
::Rune had to stop herself from running through an entire list of instructions as she handed Krystyan over. After all, the woman was a mother herself.::
::Sasha happily accepted the baby and his bag from Rune making all the cooing noises adults made to infants. She directed Rune to which door led to Raissa’s suite and then disappeared downstairs with the baby where she had set things up for him.::
::Rune freshened up a bit before deciding she would rather see Raissa before even trying to get any rest. Besides, there was no way she could rest knowing something was wrong with her friend.::
::Raissa room was larger and had an attached bathroom. It was the room she had grown up in so she was surrounded by the things she had loved and collected over her lifetime. To one side of the room was a large queen sized bed tucked beneath a large bay window. The bed was unmade and there as a sizeable lump in the middle.::
::Rune lightly tapped on the door and then entered without waiting for an invitation.::
::A head slowly appeared, thin and tired, the long hair captured in a braid was still messy.::
Jolara: ::stepping a little closer:: Yes.
Raissa: ::sits up pushing the blanket aside to show a heavily creased teashirt.:: You made it… :brushing hair out of her face.:: I am glad you have come… I will give you a tour. Give you a chance to relax.
::Rune moved to stand directly at the foot of the big bed. She tried to keep the concern out of her expression and her voice but it was difficult.::
Jolara: I am glad I came too. Are you feeling okay? It is such a beautiful day outside I am surprised you are not out enjoying it.
::Raissa didn’t quite meet her eyes. After all Rune was her guest and she needed to make the visit pleasant. The weather has been nice since she arrived and she hoped it would hold. She just had to pull it together for a few days.::
Moonsong: I’m fine.
:: Circling around, Rune sat on the edge of the bed. ::
Jolara: ::smiling:: You are not very good at lying.
::Her pale skin flushed. One should be wary of former counselors.::
Moonsong: I will be fine. ::faint smile:: You are not here to work. ::She took a breath and let it out.:: I take it my mother has absconded with your bundle of joy.
:: Rune couldn’t help but smile, even though she had to quickly stuff a wave of sadness. ::
Jolara: I am here as a friend not a counselor. But yes, your mother seemed eager to spend time with him.
Moonsong: I cannot wait to see him. I hope I get to spoil him a little. ::slight shrug:: I am sorry. I am a little overly attached to him. When you cannot have one of your own, babysit.
:: Tilting her head slight, she had to stop herself from intruding on Raissa’s thoughts. ::
Jolara: You have no need to apologize for that. He seems to love the attention, especially from you. ::standing:: So come on. Get dressed, then you can show me around.
::Raissa resisted the urge to bury her head beneath the blankets again. Rune was her guest and her mother had heavily instilled manners into her. Instead she pushed the blanket away.::
Moonsong: Right. Dressed. Give me a couple minutes.
:: Rune smiled, but it faded as she stepped out to allow Raissa to get dressed. She could feel her friend was hurting. She already made up her mind she would do whatever she could to help take that pain away and in turn perhaps it would ease some of her own. ::
::A few minutes later Raissa came out of her room, clean and properly dressed. Her long dark hair in a single braid down her back. There were still shadows under her eyes and she had lost some weight making her look thin.::
Moonsong: See? That did not take long.
Jolara: Not long at all.
Moonsong: So, we will check on your munchkin first then I will take you out to the paddock. ::she lead the way down the hall and down the stairs::
:: Munchkin? Rune had to think for a minute what she meant. Humans had the oddest ‘pet’ names for things. ::
Jolara: The paddock… I believe your brother pointed it out as we came in.
Moonsong: I meant to ask… have you ever ridden a large animal before?
Jolara: ::smiling:: It has been a very long time but yes.
Moonsong: Excellent. ::smiles:: We keep horses for riding.
:: They found Sasha and Krystyan in the living room. Krystyan let out a squeal as soon as they entered the room even though he couldn’t see them. ::
::Sasha had a playpen set up in the living room with plenty of brightly colored objects with different textures and colors to entertain him. She was also surprised to see her daughter up and about. If she had known Rune would have this effect she would have called her sooner if she could.
Sasha: Rune, did you get any rest?
Jolara: Some. But I thought fresh air would do both of us some good. I hope he has not been any trouble.
Sasha: Absolutely not. He’s a little treasure. ::she looked down at the baby and cooed at him.::
::A faint smile touched Raissa’s lips as she looked at the baby and cooed to him as well. If nothing else, it was clear Rune and her son were welcome.::
Moonsong: I thought I would take Rune to the paddocks.
Sasha: Good idea. Get outside for a little while.
:: Rune smiled and leaned over to kiss Krystyan’s forehead. ::
Jolara: ::quietly:: I will not be far little man. ::to Raissa:: Ready?
::Raissa waved her fingers at Krystyan, smiled slightly at her mother and then led the way out of the house. She led the way along the gravel driveway to the paddocks that lined it to the right. Several horses were grazing.::
Lt. Commander Raissa Moonsong