Sudden Change (Backdated)

Fort Weyr - Weyrwoman's Office


No one ever knows when it’ll happen. Folks say that living in a Weyr, you get used to it. Riders and dragons grow old or the young are foolish. It happens.

It doesn’t mean it’s any easier. Not in the least and not when it’s the last person you would think would pass on.

The keening began as news spread, as it always does, between the dragons. Voices upon voices carrying the grim news, often nothing more than the paired names and their fate. Today the name carried is not of Fort but still of importance: « R’en has died and Sindrieth gone Between. They are no more. »

Velokraeth is on his ledge and then soaring up to the Star Stones to add his voice to the keening that has riders and weyrfolk alike pausing in their work. The Weyrleader is no where to be seen, but there is one bronzerider who is climbing the administrative steps as fast as he can. Mr’az is probably a better option than Th’ero right now.

Nyalle is sitting at her desk, tears streaming down her cheeks as she stares vacantly across the room into the distance. High on the Star Stones Kayeth spreads her wings and keens with the rest of the weyr, lamenting the loss of a bronze and of a friend.

Zhirazoth’s voice is among those keening as well and for once the bronze doesn’t try to outstrip everyone else. He is modest in his grief. Mr’az will just stride right into Nyalle’s office with an absent minded knock on the door frame though he’s quick to close the door once he’s inside. “… Nyalle…” he gruffly calls her name, his throat thick with grief he doesn’t so openly show. He never knew R’en but that doesn’t mean the bronzerider isn’t feeling the effects. The Weyr’s going to be roaring drunk tonight, right? He takes a few steps towards her desk and decides in the end to take a page right out of Zhirazoth’s book by walking around her desk and just reaching for her, seeking to pull her into a comforting embrace.

Nyalle does not protest. When he reaches for her she simply leans to the side to fall into his embrace, a quiet sob escaping parted lips. “R’en…” No, she didn’t forget Mr’az’s name, it’s a quiet call of grief for her friend.

Mr’az doesn’t take it the wrong way when she calls out the name of her lost friend. When she leans to fall into his embrace, he’ll crouch down and awkwardly rest against the side of her chair. He can ignore the discomfort for now and focus on comforting her instead. “I’m so sorry, Nyalle…” he whispers gruffly, trying not to flinch with how lame and canned his response is. What else is there to say? Not much. So he holds her while she cries and outside the keening finally begins to die away, leaving a rather eerie and heavy silence in its absence.

Nyalle leans, and lets herself cry while Kayeth keens with the others. As the dragon mourning fades, so do her tears and finally she straightens with a heavy exhale. “Is there any word on how he died?” she asks softly, reaching for a handkerchief to dab at her eyes.

Mr’az will straighten as well but he won’t stay still. While she dabs at her eyes, he’ll rummage through the office. Surely she has some tea laying about or even better… alcohol? A gift maybe? “No, nothing yet. I suspect that… will come later.” he tells her grimly.

No, no alcohol in here. In here there is tea though - always tea and a kettle warm on the hearth. She sighs heavily, leaning back in her chair and letting her eyes follow him as he moves around her office. “I just can’t believe he’s gone…”

Tea it will be then, even if Mr’az is wishing there was something stronger. He at least has some idea of which may be calming (or it’s a pure lucky guess). Setting the kettle back on the fire to warm, he’ll bring her her tea while it’s still steeping. “It does seem sudden. He was a young rider, wasn’t he?”

Nyalle nods. “Fairly young, yes. Healthy…I mean he was Weyrleader. It’s not like he was at the end of his life…” She sighs heavily, taking the tea with a small smile of thanks for his thoughtfulness.

Mr’az will sit on the edge of her desk, facing her and remaining close but not to the point that he’s suffocating her. His arms fold loosely over his chest and his expression remains grim. “Weyrleader does not make a man invincible… and there were no reports that he’d fallen ill. Stuff like that makes news or gossip. An accident then?”

Nyalle winces slightly at that, a subtle reminder that Th’ero isn’t invincible either - and he takes far more risk than any other Weyrleader she’s ever known. “It would have to be an accident. I can’t…I can’t imagine it’d be anything else.” There’s always the thought of murder, of a grab for power, but she can’t vocalize it.

It’s a wonder Th’ero has survived for as long as he has. Mr’az can visualize the thought of murder for power. He was from High Reaches, after all. Though he thought such petty ways were more for the Lord Holders than actual dragonriders. “Until we find out more… if we ever do…” He can only shrug his shoulders and shake his head.

Nyalle sighs. “I suppose it would be in poor taste to fly there and ask how he died…”

Mr’az grimaces, “It might be too soon for that yet, Nyalle. Can Kayeth not bespeak one of their queens, perhaps?” he suggests though there’s a hint of doubt in his voice even with that idea.

Nyalle shakes her head. “I mean, she could, but I don’t want to intrude on their grief. Not now. Maybe once some days pass…I can’t imagine to suddenly lose a Weyrleader like that…”

“I don’t think it’d be as intrusive as visiting in person. Don’t the Queens usually keep in touch?” Mr’az clearly hasn’t much experience in this field. He nods his head, “Perhaps in a few days then. And… no, I can’t imagine it being good for the morale of the Weyr. Igen — would be suffering right now.” Not exactly a cheery way to put it but how else to explain it?

Nyalle dips her head slightly. “Sometimes… And yes. In a few days.” She exhales softly. “I suppose we should put out more booze tonight…”

Mr’az smirks, “I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that. Th’ero’s either covered that or the Headwoman and Steward know what to do.” So this means they can escape, right? Yeah, maybe in a perfect world.

Nyalle nods. “You’re probably right…” Sipping her tea, she wipes her eyes again and looks up at him. “How are you doing?”

Mr’az shrugs his shoulders but his eyes remain troubled and his posture is tense. “Holding up. Zhirazoth has settled again.” What he means is the keening has stopped and he can focus again, no longer bombarded by emotions of grief and loss. “Are you alright…?”

Nyalle nods. “I’m glad,” she murmurs softly, taking a slow sip of her tea. “I…I will be. I mean it was so sudden. This is never something you expect to happen.”

“Of course not. No one would ever wish for this to happen.” Mr’az speaks in a softened tone, watching her as she takes a sip of her tea. “I feel bad for Igen right now. And… I’m sorry you lost a friend, Nyalle.”

Nyalle smiles softly at him and stands. “Thank you, Mr’az. Shall we go back to my weyr?” She wants to cuddle - wants his reassuring closeness - and that is something she will not do in her office.

Mr’az was waiting for her cue because he’s either a gentleman or a stupid man for never making the assumption Nyalle would want his company any more than it is now. Never mind they’ve been together… how long now? Turns. He knows her well though. “Of course.” he murmurs and offers her his hand as he pushes away from her desk. Lead on?

Many turns by now. But considering Nyalle is skittish at best, it’s not stupid for Mr’az to not assume. Setting her tea aside, Nyalle takes his hand and then slips in closer to lean against his side, looping her arm through his before she leads him back to her weyr.

Mr’az will support her easily and follow her lead out of the office and up the few steps it takes to reach her weyr. For once he doesn’t care who sees him escorting her. “Do you want me to send for some food?” he asks softly but uncertainly. Does she even have an appetite? Regardless, he will remain with her for as long as Nyalle desires his company and until his duties as a Thunderbird Wingrider pull him away again. Tragedy or not, Fort Weyr will continue on.


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