"It's Not your Fault!"

Fort Weyr - Dragon Infirmary
This huge cavern of smooth stone arches upwards to a rounded ceiling, high enough for even the largest of Golds to fit comfortably. Along the walls of the cavern are many carved out and worn smooth couches for injured dragons to rest on, most with a cot alongside for the dragon's rider to sleep.
Tables line the other walls, movable so they can be taken to the dragon instead of making the dragon come to it. Bolts of cloth, thread, needles and cabinet after cabinet of remedies and equipment take up the rest of the space. Two huge double doors lead out to the Center Bowl.


It's not too long after the accident, and after Th'ero and Hazelon have left. Kayeth dozes, and Nyalle still frets, pacing up and down in front of her lifemate's fiery muzzle. One Dragonhealer on duty is doing paperwork at his desk, while the others have departed, leaving the queen to rest and heal, her neckridges bandaged and soothed with various medications and numbweed. Nyalle still has not changed out of her riding gear, though the scent of the flamethrower's gas and the flames themselves still cling stubbornly to her leathers and her riding skirt. She paces.

How much will they have to answer for, when they arrive? Zhirazoth emerges from Between and in a flash of bright metallic hide he is diving down to the Weyr in such a reckless way that he's liable to have the Watchdragon warbling in alarm. He has it under control though! A flash and flare of wings, a daring twist of his body and he abruptly halts his downwards decent as he angles up sharply in the bowl and then lands heavily to his feet. Record time! He'd totally boast! If he wasn't beside himself with worry. Mr'az dismounts, swearing a blue streak under his breath and once on his feet, he rushes in a brisk half-jog into the infirmary. "Weyrwoman?" That's Nyalle pacing, isn't it? Hello, guilt. He rushes forward, reaching out in an attempt to gently clasp her shoulder. "Is she alright? Are you alright? What happened?"

Nyalle whirls around when Mr'az and Zhirazoth arrive - finally? - and she's taking swift steps towards him. He doesn't touch her shoulder for long before she's flinging herself at him, arms around his waist, face buried against his tunic. "Mr'az," she whispers, her voice trembling. Her rider's sudden rush of emotions and loss of control has Kayeth awakening with a start, lifting her head and then hissing when the movement tugs on her tender hide. "She's hurting," Nyalle whimpers. "Her neckridges are burned, I did it. /I/ did it…"

Mr'az looks surprised when Nyalle flings herself at him and he wraps his arms around her tightly. "Easy, easy…" he soothes, stroking her back a little as he holds her and rocks her very gently. Kayeth is awake now and Zhirazoth croons from outside, low and soothing. Be calm, be calm… Everything is alright! "How did they get singed, Nyalle?" Mr'az murmurs and carefully he will guide Nyalle over to where the gold is resting… or should be resting. He will continue to hold her, but if she needs to step to Kayeth's side to comfort the gold, he will let her go.

Kayeth's head lifts higher, twisting at the junction of neck and scalp rather than her entire neck moving - that stays still - as she looks towards the exit. « Zhirazoth, » she calls, pained and hurt. « Am I no longer desirable? Why are you outside? » Why isn't he beside her, as he always is? Nyalle shudders with Kayeth's pain, mental and physical and emotional, leaning heavily against Mr'az. Moving to Kayeth's side, she rests a hand against her queen's shoulder, whispering soft things to her until she lowers her head once more, muzzle across her forelegs with a low sigh. "It was that sharding flamethrower," Nyalle whispers, swearing softly. "We were practicing for the contest, and…I don't know. The wind, or I turned it wrong…something. The flames blew back over her neckridges. Burned them." And she shudders. "It was horrible."

Oops. « Of course you are desirable. More desirable then ever! I am outside because I was unsure if my company is permitted. May I? » Zhirazoth will wander into the infirmary then, daring any of the Dragonhealers to stop him as he settles himself beside Kayeth and instantly he will lower his muzzle to nuzzle hers in a soothing way as he whistles softly. « I am here now. Easy. Be calm. » Mr'az frowns heavily and when she shudders during her explanation he will hold her closer to him and murmur a few more soothing words as he strokes her back. He knows she's upset if she's swearing! "I can imagine… Will Kayeth be alright? I'm sorry we didn't come right away. I've been so worried! Are you alright?" He asked that once, but it can't hurt to ask again? "Shards, I'm glad it was not worse…"

Kayeth rumbles softly when Zhirazoth arrives, the young gold shifting her weight to lean against her clutchmate, her friend. « Thank you, » she whispers, her thoughts edged in red, her usual landscape still, without life to it. Nothing moves, except for a faint throbbing of red around the edges. Nyalle takes a shuddering breath, clinging to Mr'az's tunic tightly. "She…she will be. With time. Her neckridges might scar…" And there's another shudder for that. Every time she rides, Nyalle will see those and feel that guilt. "I'm miserable, Mr'az," she whispers. "I feel so, so horrible. How could I do this? It's all my fault, I hurt her. I hurt my /dragon/, my beautiful, elegant, perfect queen…" And she starts to cry.

Zhirazoth will try to share some of the cooling, salt-scented breezes of his mind to sooth some of that throbbing red in her mind, wrapping himself around it. Not to take it away (because he can't), but to block some of the discomfort. « Anything for you, Kayeth. » Mr'az will shift his weight and hold Nyalle against him steadily and firmly. "She is young… she may heal just fine." he tells her, trying to counter some of that guilt. Time will tell, won't it? "Nyalle… No. No, it wasn't… Don't." Too late, she's crying and he sighs heavily, gathering her to him as he draws her away to a private corner close to where Kayeth and Zhirazoth rests but where he can sit with her. "Hey. Hey, now… It's not your fault! Oh, Nyalle… it was an accident! She is still your beautiful, elegant and perfect queen." With singed ridges.

Kayeth rumbles softly, soothed by both his mental touch and especially by his presence. « Anything? » There is a pause. « I hunger, » she says, almost whispering it, as if she wishes to keep it secret from her rider. Lead off to that corner, Nyalle is weak in his arms, slumping into the chair. "It was my fault," she whispers, pressing her hands against her face as she cries. "I hurt her, Mr'az! The flames…I…" She shudders. "I will never forgive myself."

Never fear! Zhirazoth is here. And he understands her whispered request and with a gentle nuzzle to her muzzle he will quietly slink away from her side and slither (as much as a bronze dragon can, anyways!) out of the infirmary before anyone can notice his abrupt departure. Mr'az will see her settled and himself seated next to her. Distraught, he tries to gently pull her hands away from her face so that he can cup her cheeks with his hands and brush away her tears. "You hurt her but it was an accident, Nyalle! How were you to know the winds or… something would go wrong? You couldn't predict that outcome. Accidents happen…" he tells her again, trying to comfort her.

Nyalle notices Zhirazoth leaving, and she frowns, immediately thinking the wrong thing. A quick mental touch reassures her though. He isn't abandoning Kayeth, so Nyalle doesn't question it further. Hands pulled from her face she looks at Mr'az with red, puffy eyes and tear stained cheeks. "I feel horrible," she whispers.

Mr'az will try to lean forwards and gently kiss her forehead, his hands drifting to rest on her shoulders now in a firm but gentle grip. "Of course you do," he whispers. "We never mean to hurt the ones we love. But this was an accident," he stresses again, lowering his head to try and meet her gaze. "And no one will blame you for what happened. We all make mistakes. You were just trying to practice…" Maybe he shouldn't have encouraged her so much? If anyone should be feeling guilt, it should be him as well. He's so focused on Nyalle that he doesn't noticed Zhirazoth's return or that his bronze has gone to hunt, despite having just eaten recently.

Nyalle closes her eyes to his kiss, shaking her head with a sigh, slowly regaining control of herself. "I'm not going to compete." No kidding. "I just…" And she shifts a bit, closer to him. "Hold me?" she requests softly. This isn't something she'll let go of easily.

Mr'az is not surprised in the slightest when Nyalle tells him that she is no longer competing. "I wouldn't expect you too," he murmurs softly and her request is heeded without pause. Gathering her gently into his arms, he will pull her close to him and hold her in his embrace and against his body. Resting his head beside hers, he will stroke his hand over her back in a comforting way. Just then, Zhirazoth returns and there may be a bit of disgruntled protests from any Dragonhealers on duty or anyone in general as the bronze strides in with the fattest, juiciest herd beast he could pluck from the pens. With utmost care, he deposits it right by Kayeth's muzzle, so she doesn't even have to shift her head much to eat. He rustles his wings, looking mighty proud of himself and waiting for praise from her. He's not getting it from Mr'az right now, since he looks just… downright embarrassed.

Nyalle leans against him firmly, letting herself be comforted by his embrace. When Zhirazoth brings in the beast, she sits up abruptly, gaping. "He…he can't bring that in here!" she protests weakly. Protests that are swiftly silenced as Kayeth rumbles and begins to carefully yet ferociously rip and tear and /eat/ the creature. Messy. So very, very messy, but the Senior gold does not care and Nyalle makes /no/ effort to restrain her. Kayeth humms in pleasure, soothing some of her own anxieties with food. She's hungry, yes, but she is also emotional eating. Her mind reaches out to Zhirazoth's and latches on tightly, holding him there by her side. Stay.

"Nyalle, I'm sorry! I don't know what got into him! I didn't even realize…" Mr'az begins to apologize, his hands still lingering on her arms even though she's sitting up now and he has even turned to look in horror as Kayeth messily feeds and the Dragonhealers can only watch on. Embarrassed, mortified even, he sighs. "I'll clean up… I'll take care of it. Sorry. Don't worry about it, okay? I'll deal with the Dragonhealers too." And his bronze. Later. Zhirazoth's wing rustling suddenly stops and they pin to his sides and he will hover close to Kayeth. He wanted to to begin with, but her mental hold on him keeps him firmly rooted. No amount of nudging from his rider will get him to even twitch his tail out of place.

Nyalle blushes crimson, turning to bury her face against his shoulder. "Thank you," she says, muffled against the fabric of his tunic. "She was hungry, she didn't tell me," Nyalle murmurs, shaking her head with a frown. Why? Because Kayeth is shielding a bit, trying to keep her rider calm. Which bothers Nyalle, but it's something she'll have to deal with later. Kayeth continues to feed messily, but she eats the /entire/ thing. Hide, bones, horns, everything. All of it, she gnaws on, breaks up, rips, tears, and swallows. Finished, she relaxes with a sigh, her mental hold on Zhirazoth easing with a soft rumble and an offered nuzzle if he moves his face where she wants it. Trying to keep your neck still is /hard/.

Mr'az will rub his hand along her back and up against the base of her neck when she buries her face against his shoulder. He's still too shocked by Zhirazoth's behaviour and only mutters a distracted 'you're welcome' before he's frowning. "She didn't tell you? Why… We could have had some meat prepared for her." Though that would have taken time and if Kayeth was so hungry now? He sighs, still displeased with his bronze and yet not, since the gesture was well meant. Zhirazoth will lower his head once Kayeth eases her hold on him and he will return her nuzzle fondly. Then he will carefully groom her, if she's willing. Cleaning her muzzle, her forelimbs, anywhere where her hide is dirtied from her meal.

Kayeth stretches out, exhaling in a soft sigh and rumbling in pleasure as Zhirazoth begins to groom her. She does not object at all. She wishes it, welcomes it, his grooming soothing to her as she begins to drift to sleep again. Nyalle shivers, shaking her head. "She…I…I don't know. We're both so upset…" Communication breakdown anyone? "Zhirazoth is so wonderful to her," she whispers. "Thank you."

Zhirazoth will continue grooming Kayeth until she is spotless and until she is sleeping deep and restfully — or as close to it as she can. Only then will the bronze be satisfied that his work is done and carefully walking around her, he will lower himself down and curl around her. Communication breakdown is right but Mr'az doesn't call Nyalle on it. She's had enough upset for one day and so he holds her close again and kisses the top of her head. "She's resting now. That's all that matters… And you should too. Do you need anything, Nyalle?" he asks softly, taking a page right out of Zhirazoth's book. There's a small smile regarding his bronze. "He cares for her. And you're welcome… though I'm sorry he startled you."

Nyalle takes a few deep breaths. As Kayeth's thoughts receede into sleep, Nyalle manages to get a grip on her own thoughts and emotions, wrangling them back. "It's okay," she says quietly, glancing up at Mr'az with a little smile. Struggling to sit up, she does, pushing hair away from her face and wiping her eyes with the sleeve of her jacket. Only then does she seem to realize she's still wearing it. "I should…I should go bathe, and change. Eat something," she murmurs. Did Hazelon bring them food? She can't remember, her mind is a jumbled mess.

Mr'az will lean back as well and watch her quietly as she composes herself. No food was brought, but Hazelon did bring tea for her. Offering her his hand, he will smile softly. "Come on. I'll come with you, if you want? Zhirazoth will stay here with Kayeth. I can see about getting you some food and some tea too while you bathe and change. How does that sound?" he murmurs softly. Bronzerider Mr'az, at your service?

Nyalle takes his hand and lets him pull her to her feet. "Please," she says softly, color touching upon her cheeks. "Thank you, Mr'az. I'm so glad you're here." Taking his arm, she lets him help her back to her weyr, confident that Kayeth is resting well and that Zhirazoth will protect her from whatever irrational fears Nyalle can come up with. None will bother her beautiful queen while that bronze is around, of that she is certain.

Mr'az will take Nyalle's hand in his, squeezing gently as he laces his fingers through hers. He smiles to her when she thanks him again and then he is gently and slowly leading her out of the infirmary and out towards the northeast bowl where the steps up to the administration complex and her weyr await.


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