Fort Weyr - Stonehaven Cothold
Ezra's Room and various other locations within the hold.

NOTE: This is a continuation from the scene here: Safe at Last?

The Healer does return, and time passes. Each half candlemark they awaken Ezra, he mumbles a few words, answers a question or two (though he’s still quite confused) and sinks back into sleep again. His body temperature rises and he seems stable, but there’s still the lingering question of his mind, and any possible damage there. It’s some time in the very early morning, candlemarks before dawn, that a gentle knock comes at the door and a Journeyman Harper - one of the posted ones from Fort Hold - walks in. “Rayathess Stonehaven?” he asks quietly, dipping down in a slight bow, keeping his voice soft out of respect.

Rayathess will be there for every moment they come in to wake Ezra. Each time he will be relieved when his brother wakes, only to have it falter and fade when he seems so confused and out of it. It’s a tense and emotionally draining stretch of time and Rayathess stays true to his promise. He does not leave Ezra’s side. Not for long, at least. Just for the basic of needs and even then only when they’re most pressing and urgent and cannot be ignored any longer. By the time morning comes, Rayathess looks worn and haggard. Exhausted from lack of sleep, his hair is a ruffled mess and his clothes are rumpled but he doesn’t care. Some part of his mind is nagging him that he needs to report to the Hall but he cannot find the drive to do it or the desire to leave Ezra. Yet here’s a Journeyman coming to him? Rayathess straightens a bit where he had slumped against the wall, wincing as his stiff muscles protest the movement. “Yes?” he mumbles, his voice soft and low but hoarse. He grimaces to the bow. Shouldn’t he be doing that. “Is there something I can help you with, sir?” Apprentice to Journeyman. “I’m afraid my brother is not yet well enough to deal with any legal matters or inquiries.” That’s why the Harper is here, right? Hold matters. Minecraft matters.

The Harper glances at Ezra, sympathy in his eyes before they flick back to Rayathess. “That’s actually why I’m here.” Because Ezra is not well enough. “To discuss things regarding Stonehaven. You are his elder brother, yes? Rayathess?” Not an Apprentice. A Stonehaven. Slowly, the Harper moves further into the room, dipping his head in a nod to the Healer, and he sits on the floor a short distance from where Ezra and Rayathess rest. “Fort Hold has sent me.”

Rayathess may have offered more curtises if he was more in his right frame of mind, but since the Harper doesn’t protest about sitting on the floor, he doesn’t bother going through the hoops of ‘host’. “I am Rayathess Stonehaven.” he confirms and then scowls at the man. Fort Hold? Apprentice though he is, he’s studied enough to catch on to a shred of a reason why the Journeyman is here and seeking him. Not Ezra, but next of kin. Something as cold as ice seems to settle in his chest and his next words are clipped and wary. “Why are you here?” Spit it out.

The Harper nods. He won’t dance around it. “Fort Hold is concerned about getting the matter of Stonehaven’s continuing ownership resolved, so there is no contention for the hold.” Not that there should be, but one never knows. “I know this is not the best time, but since there is nothing on record, Fort Hold needs to know. Would you be heir and holder if Ezra does not survive or is no longer fit?” He has paperwork, and he reaches into his satchel to fetch it.

Here’s another one of those moments that Rayathess just goes numb, as if struck dumb and silent by the Harper’s words. ‘Be heir and holder if Ezra does not survive’. Does not survive? Fear awakens in him again, the thoughts he had been trying so hard to suppress now roaring to the front. What if, even after all of this, Ezra dies? Or is… damaged from his injuries. What then? By tradition and law, Rayathess would be heir again. Does he want it? No. But could he leave Stonehaven to fall, after all Ezra’s done to rebuild it and keep it alive? No, he couldn’t do that either. He is caught between. He is trapped. Now the Journeyman is reaching for the paperwork and Rayathess begins to shift and fidget, his already frayed nerves set to twitching. No, no he’s not ready to face that decision! “Can Fort Hold not wait, for Faranth’s sake?” he hisses angrily at the Journeyman. “At least a few more days! Give my brother a chance to recover. It’s been ONE night. One shardin’ night!” He’ll be pardoned for his rough handling of the man, right? Scowling at him, he makes no effort to move save to shift uneasily.

The Journeyman pulls out the paperwork - pages of it - and gives Rayathess an understanding look. “We can’t wait much longer. It needs to be on record, on file, just in case. I’ll leave it here for you to look at. I’ll wait here, in the hold, until you’ve made your decision.” There’s a moment’s hesitation. “If you do not wish to take it, I highly suggest you write down someone who will.” So it’s not in full contention and out of his control. Pushing to his feet, the Journeyman dips his head at the Healer and steps back outside.
The Healer gets to his feet and walks over to kneel at Ezra’s other side, his look sympathetic for Rayathess as he reaches out to gently nudge Ezra awake. “Ezra,” the Healer murmurs. “Ezra, wake up.”
Ezra’s eyes blink open, bleary, hazy, confused. “Ugh.”
“Ezra, do you know where you are?”
The teen’s eyes focus on the ceiling, shift, look at his brother, then back to the Healer. “Stonehaven,” he mumbles.
“Do you remember what happened to you?”
Ezra takes longer with this question, frowning deeply. “Avalanche,” he answers.
“Thank you. Go back to sleep now, rest,” the Healer says. Getting to his feet again, he walks around towards the door. “I’ll be right back.” Giving Rayathess time.

Of course it’s pages of paperwork! Rayathess glares at the Journeyman, as if all of this is HIS fault and not just the poor man’s duty. There’s those words again: “just in case”. His mouth draws into something close to a sneer, his temper and mental state in a bad way. The desire is there to just throw a few snarky comments but he holds his tongue. Some logical reasoning remains and so he clings to it like a man drowning. The Journeyman will escape this time and the paperwork is left untouched for now, eyed by Rayathess as though it’s the deadliest thing he’s ever encountered. He’d have remained like that, huddled where he is against the wall and starting at a stack of paper if the Healer hadn’t stepped in. Snapping him from his dark, brooding thoughts, Rayathess’ mood alters so swiftly when Ezra wakes. Hope and relief, supported by his brother’s answers, even as long as they take to come forwards. They’re correct! Nodding mutely to the Healer, Rayathess slumps back into place. He had edged forwards, resting on his knees to watch this now clockwork routine. Now his energy wanes and his thoughts drift back to the paperwork and the decision that now rests heavily on his shoulders. Or is it a noose around his neck? It isn’t what he wants. There was a reason he gave heir to Ezra! He wrestles with himself and despite himself his hand picks up those papers…

Does Ezra sleep? Or will he see Rayathess sitting there, for what may seem like eons, at times reading the writing on those sheets and more often seeming far, far away in his distracted gaze. His features seem stuck in some sort of grim scowl, tense and making him look far more aged than he is. Sometimes he moves, to scrub at his jaw or run his hand through his hair but they’re agitated movements. Unsettled and uneasy. He begins to fidget more and there is one instance where he looks poised and ready to just toss the whole stack of papers into the fire in a fit of rage that subsides as swiftly as it comes and is replaced instead by grief and fear. Reluctantly, Rayathess will settle long enough to grab that writing tool after a spell as he flips to the necessary page. His hand hesitates, hovering there. No one to witness the way it shakes, right? Good. Again, he resists the urge to rebel. He could put Anrila’s name in, in a move that not only would be so cruel to their sister but a rather stupid one on his part and only send Conclave into uproar. He’s not that much of a cold hearted bastard and so he scrawls his name, his eyes watching while the ink dries as he sets the paperwork aside again.

Ezra sleeps, only to be awoken every half candlemark. The same questions, the same confusion…sometimes different questions, questions that give him more pause, and he does not answer every one correctly. The current Weyrwoman of Fort, he said Deitre. But who could blame him for that one? His age also confused him - he said twelve. Otherwise he sleeps into the morning, until when the Healer leaves, he does not drift back to sleep right away. This time, he seems a bit more coherent, not teetering on the edge of unconsciousness, and he turns his head to look at Rayathess. “You’re here,” are his first words to his brother, and they speak volumes about the state of his mind the last 24 candlemarks or so.

Has the Journeyman Harper come for the paperwork? Rayathess’ mind is so scattered and tumbled that if the man was quiet enough or said nothing to raise his temper or put him in a defensive way, he could sneak in and get those signed pages. Rayathess is worried over something far more important to him and he will be by Ezra’s side for those half candlemarks. Hope falling when those questions are answered incorrectly, only to return again while Ezra sleeps. Only he doesn’t sleep this time and calls to him. A few simple words but they do speak volumes and Rayathess is quick to shuffle to his brother’s side and touch his good shoulder. “Yeah, I’m here.” he says with a weak smile. He hasn’t left. Not for very long, anyways.

No, the Harper has not yet come for the paperwork. It’s a few candlemarks before lunch. Ezra’s eyes search his brother’s face, unfocusing and refocusing before his vision stabilizes. “Thanks for being here,” he murmurs. Brows furrow in thought, confusion on his face. “What…happened?” he mumbles, trying to sort things out within his mind but clearly things aren’t quite adding up.

Who is keeping track of time? Rayathess doesn’t care if it’s lunch or morning, evening or night. He’s withdrawn into himself, to a degree, as he falls back on his old tactics of self preservation in high levels of stress. Yet for Ezra, he will appear stable and calm. “You’re my brother,” he says with another faint smile. Of course he’ll be here! Good luck to anyone who tries to convince him to leave. Frowning, he gives his brother a long look. “You and brownrider Lana were trapped in an avalanche and cave-in.” he explains in a low and gentle tone.

Ezra frowns, thoughts struggling to compile themselves. “Lana…Lana. Is she okay? Cave-in? I don’t…” He reaches up to gently touch his head, wincing. “Bandages. Am I hurt?” He eyes his brother, and despite the worry in his gaze there is also an element of ‘tell me the truth’. “Were you there with us? Are you hurt?”

Why would Rayathess lie? He’s too emotionally drained to even fight against his brother, so even if he tried and Ezra pushed, he’d give in. He’ll save them both some time though and just go with the flat out truth. “Lana is hurt pretty bad too.” Just how and where… he doesn’t know and there is guilt for that too. His friend is there, a room over and he’s not gone to see her once. When Ezra goes to touch the bandages, Rayathess makes a grunted sound of warning and tries to reach for his brother’s hand but is too late. “Yeah, you are. Don’t touch it. You’ve got a bad wound to your head. Your shoulder was pretty bad too. You just gotta rest now.” And get better, damn it! He doesn’t want to lose his younger brother. He doesn’t want to face that loss and everything that will come down on him from Ezra’s death. “I’m fine.” Physically. “I wasn’t there, no. You went alone with Lana.” There’s an unspoken question there but he doesn’t pry him for it now. “I was at the Hall when Cala found me. I sent Cala for D’ani and he, Th’ero and some Minecrafters and wherhandlers and Healers came to help rescue you and Lana. D’ani came for me when he could and brought me there. I was there when they brought you and Lana out.”

Ezra winces again. “Is she going to be okay? Shit. I…shit.” He shakes his head a bit, confusion and not being able to remember clealry making him anxious. “Shoulder…shoulder…” He shifts it, grimaces, but it’s back in the socket so it’s not a searing pain. “Why…why would I go alone with Lana? I don’t even like Lana…” Was he trying to make amends? Trying for some alone time to chat with her about Rayathess? He can’t remember, and that makes him more frustrated. “Cala…D’ani. Is he here too?” he asks, shifting a bit to look around the empty room. “I’m glad he brought you.” He looks down at his body, tucked neatly in blankets. “I feel…I feel bad, Raya,” he mutters, sighing softly and closing his eyes. “What of the cave? Is it…is it gone? It was a good cave. Good for storing feed…” That much he remembers.

“I… don’t know.” Rayathess admits with a guilty look towards the door. “I figure she will be? Weyrleader Th’ero looked upset but not grieved or in a fit of anger.” Small comforts? “She couldn’t seem to walk very well…” That much he noticed and remembers (vaguely). Again, he makes a disapproving sound when Ezra begins to move too much for his liking. “Dunno why you went alone or went without trained minecrafters,” he says, his tone a little dry for that statement. He can’t help it. “D’ani isn’t here, not yet. Later though, when you’re a bit stronger.” he murmurs, only to frown again in concern. “Bad how? Do I need to fetch the Healer?” Bad physical, mental or emotional? There is a lot up in the air! “Dunno. You’ll have to ask the Minecrafters. Sorry, Ezra.” Rayathess clearly does not give a flying… well, he obviously doesn’t care about that stupid, thrice blasted cave.

Ezra frowns again. “My fault she’s hurt,” he mutters, turning his head a bit to look at the door, as if considering going to see her. But nope. His body objects before he’s even begun, so he stays right where he is “I hope she’s okay,” he mumbles. Closing his eyes, he is quiet for a moment, just focused on his breathing. “I’ll see D’ani later.” Right. Good. That’s good. “Bad…I…my head is all fuzzy. It aches. It’s…I…” He frowns. “Hard to concentrate. Hard to speak…” His words are a little slurred and he pauses again. There’s a sigh. “I liked that cave…was a good cave. I’ll have to…to ask the minecrafters.” He totally misses his brother’s distain for the cave. “Are you okay?”

“No it’s not.” Rayathess won’t let Ezra so much as think he’s going to get to his feet, let alone walk the distance it’d take for him to get to the room Lana is in and that much is conveyed from the look he gives his brother. Especially when Ezra goes on to describe how he feels. “You’re hurt bad, brother.” Bad enough to get Fort Hold’s attention. Bad enough to be considered critical. “So you need to sleep…” he murmurs, his hand gripping his brother’s good shoulder again. “Don’t push yourself.” Is he okay? “I’m fine.” Rayathess repeats again, expression closed and guarded. Sorry Ezra, but he won’t open up quite yet. Not with him still so injured and struggling even with the conversation they’re having now.

Ezra frowns, shifting a bit. “Am I?” he murmurs, glancing around again. And he spots the papers. The official looking papers. And he frowns even more. “What’re those?” His gaze flicks to Rayathess…unfocuses, focuses. “You’re not fine. Have you slept? Is Lana okay?”

“You are.” Rayathess repeats again with a soft sigh, his mood dropping a little further when Ezra seems to become confused again. His eyes dart to those papers and his expression darkens. “Nothing.” he says flatly. So much for not lying? “Nothing important right now. And I am fine and will be fine.” Now he’s being stubborn. “A bit.” Truth again. He did sleep… in fitful spurts. Which, technically, doesn’t count. “I don’t know about Lana, Ezra.” he says again, patiently but worriedly.

Ezra frowns. “How bad? How bad am I, Rayathess?” he demands, his expression worried for himself. He knows things aren’t right. His body aches, his head throbs, and his thoughts scatter to the winds only to come back for brief moments of comprehension before soaring away again. “What are they?”

Rayathess looks down at his brother and grimaces, focusing briefly on those bandages. “Bad, Ezra. They had to stitch the gash to your head and you’re probably suffering from a concussion to. Your shoulder was messed up… dislocated if I heard right but they popped it back in.” That much should be obvious. Back to the papers, Rayathess will give them a dark look and wish that that Harper Journeyman would return to take them away or else he really WILL throw them into the fire. Closing his eyes, he sighs heavily and his mouth and jaw are set in a tight and tense way. “It’s… really not important right now.” he says in a slow, measured tone and his eyes open again to peer at his brother. “What’s important… is that you rest and recover.” So he won’t have to be heir. “Alright?”

Ezra grimaces. “Shards. Is Lana okay?” That question again. He can’t seem to remember the answer to that question. He looks over at the papers again, now well and truly curious. “But what are they? That’s the Harper…is it homework?”

Again? Rayathess’ lips press into a thin line and for a moment he is determined not to answer and leave Ezra to piece it back together. But he can’t. He’s his brother and… he can’t do something like that to him. “Lana is injured too and in the other room. Recovering, probably.” He really should go see her before they take her and Rauskazeth back to Fort. Yet he can’t find the strength or energy or will to leave Ezra’s side. Now his brother is asking after the paperwork again and Rayathess sighs. “No, it’s not homework. It’s… yeah, it’s Harper stuff. Just leave it be, alright?” he asks. Please?

Ezra sighs softly. “My fault,” he murmurs. He glances at the papers once more and then closes his eyes with a soft sigh. “I’m going to sleep again,” he mumbles. “Just…tired… you should sleep too…”

“Not your fault,” Rayathess counters. Not entirely. Just poor luck and poor timing. He’s already forgiven Ezra. He just wants his younger brother healthy again and back to himself. Not like this. Not with so much still up in the air and at stake. “Sleep. It’ll help.” And the Healer will be back soon enough to wake him again for the half-candlemark check. Rayathess smirks. “Not gonna promise I will… but I’ll try.” He won’t sleep. He can’t sleep.

Ezra exhales softly, nodding a bit as he closes his eyes. “Don’t…leave me…” he mumbles just as he drifts off into sleep.

“I won’t.” Rayathess promises and will watch, hovering by his side, while he drifts back off to sleep. Once he’s certain Ezra is in a deeper state, he’ll move, gritting his teeth as his stiff muscles protest at movement and his head swims a bit from lack of proper sleep and food. Grabbing those papers, not caring of some are creased by the rough handling, he’ll set them down equally as uncaring somewhere closer to the door. Further out of sight. Let the Harper Journeyman find them himself. Exhausted as he is, Rayathess’ thoughts continue to twist and race through his head and he begins to move about the room in a broken, restless way. Move. Pause. Move. Pause. Eventually he decides he cannot ignore his hunger for much longer and letting the Healer on duty know he slips away. Not that he’s slow about it either. Rushing is a better term, as he finds the nearest edible thing, wolfs it down and chases it with whatever he can get his hands on to drink too. Then it’s back to the room. Back where he can only watch over his brother, (not) think about those papers and be alone with his thoughts. Thoughts that swiftly turn dark again despite his efforts to remain positive. Worries become concerns. Concerns feed his anxiety. His exhausted brain magnifies these to a point that Rayathess almost can’t stand, bottling it up as he is. Neither can his stomach, which now churns queasily in protest to his too rapid intake of food and drink and seconds later a Healer may be surprised (or not at all), to see Rayathess fleeing the room to go be sick. So much for that snack.

The Healer frowns as he watches Rayathess leave. Moving forward, he checks Ezra’s vital signs and waits for Rayathess to return.
“Sir,” he says, giving Rayathess the respect due to his last name rather than his Apprentice rank. “You need to sleep.” He has slept, already on his second shift with a few hours to rest between while another Healer was sent in.

Rayathess is gone for sometime. After being sick, he cleaned up and rinsed out his mouth, only to linger with his back pressed to the bathroom wall by the closed door. Mostly to compose himself, half to make some attempt at gathering his shattered thoughts. Slow his breathing down. Walking out in the state he was in prior to being sick will only draw the Healers on him and is not in any mood to be fussed over. When he finally does walk out and back into Ezra’s room, he is instantly moving back to his original spot to resume his watch. Pausing when he’s addressed by sir (and that brings a slight narrowing of his eyes), Rayathess peers at the Healer. “I’ll sleep when I’m ready.” he says, neither agreeing or dismissing to the request.

Continued in: Slow and Steady Recovery