It becomes cold enough at night now for the first frosts to settle in and summer is truly waning and autumn settles in to claim dominion. Morning is chill and though the skies are clear, clouds loom on the horizon and promise to bring cold, cold rain later in the day. At least for now the roads are dry for travelling and many are making use of the last of the non-wintry seasons to do so. Harper Hall has just begun to stir to life again, with classes in full swing and Harpers of all ranks bustling about. Yet down in one room, a quiet little nook filled with low tables and pillows and claimed by Apprentices and Senior Apprentices for their own "getaway", sit two individuals, Harper and Healer. Rayathess is with Laurali that morning, both having secured a free day. He for his preparations and her because she is in limbo, to a degree, as things are arranged for her posting with Journeyman Sarah. Rayathess did write to Ezra, informing him to come to the Hall if he could. Truthfully, this could have been resolved through letters, but he respects his brother enough to want to discuss this with him face to face. At the moment, Rayathess and Laurali are talking to one another, but even with their voices hushed, there's obvious tension.

Ezra was in the weyr, so it's not hard for him to secure a quick ride to the hall. A few questions, a few directions, and he makes his way to this room and this nook. Tapping softly on the door, he steps inside and closes the door behind him. "Oh, hey," he says, surprised to see Laurali there and yet also pleased, offering her a smile as he walks forward. "Brother, Laurali. What's up?" That tension is not missed.

"Tell him this is madness, Ezra!" Laurali exclaims before Rayathess can even breath a word of greeting to his brother and she'll earn a narrowed look from the young man. However, for once, she doesn't cower from him and stares him right back, her expression grim and as tense as both their postures. In the end, it's Rayathess who looks away first. "Do you mind, Laurali? I think I can speak to my own brother without your meddling—- ow!" He's struck upside the head then by a thrown (or whipped) pillow, as Laurali gets to her feet and storms off in a fit of temper and swirling skirts to go and sulk in the nook under the stairs. Fine! If Rayathess wants her quiet, she'll… apparently go to her corner? "… sharding women… moody as a proddy green…" Rayathess mutters under his breath and gestures for Ezra to just… seat himself anywhere. He might want to steer clear of Laurali though — she looks in a mood to bite. "I know where Lyreh is and I'm going to go find her and talk to her, before she vanishes again…" Rayathess explains, not bothering with the usual greetings or beating around the bush. Why bother, when it's been all laid out?

Ezra is startled by Laurali's outburst, iving her a long look before he leaves her be and walks to Rayathess, though he does frown for his remark about her being moody as a proddy green. That wasn't nice. "Oh." Well then. Ezra frowns, running fingers through his hair. "And I can't go with you." He continues to frown.

No, it wasn't nice but then Rayathess isn't nice when he's upset. He's about to answer again, only to be interrupted by Laurali despite the look he gives her. What did he SAY? "Of course you can't go with him! Neither can I. Instead he's taking Hazelon, of all people! Do you even trust him?" she scoffs from where she's huddled in the nook, her knees drawn up and her arms wrapped around a pillow that she hugs to her chest as she glares at Rayathess. She's upset and probably for good reasons, but she's silenced by a warning gesture from Rayathess. "You need to stay here, Ezra. Stonehaven needs you. Laurali, you've your posting and studies to focus on. Neither of you can be spared and honestly… I don't think there will be trouble." he mutters with a smirk.

Ezra glances at Laurali and then back at his brother, surprised. "Hazelon? I thought you two hated each other…" Don't they? "I'd hope you wouldn't be going if there was going to be trouble," he says firmly, studying his brother's face. "Stonehaven needs you too, brother," he says firmly, "so don't get yourself hurt."

"It's not that I hate him…" Rayathess begins, only to have Laurali's voice interject and drift over him. "… they're both being so stupid about it." There's a moment of silence where Rayathess glares at the young woman until she quiets down, her expression dark, frustrated and troubled. He snorts, "Hazelon is the only one that I can think of that is… neutral enough that Lyreh won't feel threatened." he explains, only to give Ezra a level look. "I know. I'll be fine, brother. You both are worrying yourselves for nothing." What possibly could go wrong?

Ezra snorts. "Well can you blame us?" he asks a bit flatly.

"He's not going to take that into consideration," Laurali retorts in a tart and snarky tone from where she's huddled in her nook.

Rayathess' temper flares and he snaps at her again, "Why do you even care? Lyreh left you too, Laurali, so I don't see why you want—" He has to stop again and duck this time because another pillow is flying for his head. It misses him and he scowls at Laurali, who just glares at him. It's a stare down and eventually both look away, with Laurali just wrapping her arms around her legs and resting her cheek against her knees, effectively turning her head in a way that her features are not visible. Rayathess makes sure she has no more objects to throw (and certainly nothing heavier or harder than a pillow) before he looks to Ezra. "No, I can't blame you and I'm not going to be entirely alone with Hazelon. I have to travel with a Journeyman and it just so happens that Harper Garan is going that route. We'll be with him and he'll be at the hold while we travel to the outskirts." Simple!

Ezra shifts his weight a bit, silent as he watches Laurali and his brother have their little tiff. He knows better than to try and get in the middle of /that/. So when they're done and Raya is speaking to him again, Ezra just frowns, but he nods. "Alright, well…nothing we can do to convince you otherwise, so…" Why try? "Just be careful alright?" But he's puzzled now, looking around. "Is this…the only reason…?"

So he's learned well! Laurali is quiet now and stays quiet, though the tension coming from her corner of the room is palatable. Rayathess' mood seems to improve but not by much. Despite all his reassurances to Ezra, to both of them, he's nervous about this. Nervous about the whole project, of travelling so far and with strange company and to meet with a woman who spurned him and he figured he'd never have to see again. Could be why his temper is so short too. "Thanks. I know… I know this isn't easy, but it's something I have to do…" he mutters and then nods, grimacing. "Promise." Frowning, he tilts his head. "The only reason…?"

Ezra glances at Laurali, then back to Rayathess. "You called me here. Seems…we could ahve done this through letters. Not that I mind, not in the least, any reason to come visit you two." Yes, Laurali too. He looks back at his brother.

"I wanted to tell you in person. It just seemed more respectable that way," Rayathess mutters. It would also give Ezra the chance to voice his concerns and any objections in real time rather than wait on letters. Yet he seems to be taking it so well and so Rayathess can only shrug. "I enjoy our visits too, Ezra. So… now you know. I'm travelling north and eastward, towards the coast and past Fort Sea Hold. It's a small hold, kind of nestled between them and the other cotholds by the mouth of Ruatha River." Which would be several and many hours of riding from Stonehaven. Almost as long as a trip to the Weyr, only going east instead of south. Laurali says nothing, though occasionally she'll look over at them and briefly her eyes will meet Ezra's. She looks hurt and troubled, if not a little scared.

Rayathess thinks for a moment and during that time, Laurali will notice Ezra's outstretched hand and she will quietly slip down from her nook and join him, sitting beside him after taking his hand and gently holding it for a few moments before easing her grip as if to pull away. Maybe she thinks Rayathess will disapprove? Not that he's paying the least bit attention to what her hand is doing and moreso his stare is for her sudden arrival there. He leaves her be though and just turns his gaze to Ezra. "Within the next day or so. For the day, maybe overnight. I don't intend to linger too long." Short and sweet. Bittersweet. "And… brother, there IS something else. I… In order to get Hazelon to agree I had to - to barter a few things. I offered to take his name from the lists and keep them from my work. He will fade into anonymity…" Ezra will feel Laurali stiffen beside him. Uh oh. "… Hazelon asked for terms of his own. He wants to come to Stonehaven." No skirting around the truth! Rayathess just lays it all out.

Ezra squeezes her hand and then loosens his grip, leaving it up to her if she wants to pull away or continue. His brows furrow and then lift in surprise. "Why does he want to come to Stonehaven?" Shifting, he glances at Laurali, and then back to Rayathess. "Is Hazelon the only one whose name is going to be removed?"

Laurali would have pulled her hand away but something about Rayathess' news upsets her, though Ezra's likely caught on to most of it. So her hand reaches for his and her grip is firm, if not tense. She doesn't burst out in protest, though her dark eyes are fixed on Rayathess and he remains… oblivious. "He said he felt he owed it to you, for whatever reason. Could be he just wants out of the Weyr. I told him I'd speak with you, but that it wasn't my choice to say yes or no. That you've final say as to whether or not you accept him." he murmurs with a grimace. He frowns, "Yes. Only his and it's not something I do lightly but it was the only way…" Compromise. He's too wrapped up in himself and his own thoughts that he doesn't see how Laurali's eyes close for a moment and her jaw clenches tight. How she swallows thickly and takes a slow, steadying breath. Hazelon gets his name removed. Laurali does not. That has to sting and sting badly, that Rayathess would not even be so kind as to offer her that same anonymity.

Ezra looks at Laurali and then back at his brother. "Raya. What about Laurali?"

Rayathess frowns and his look says it all. What about her? His eyes dart to her and then he clues in. His expression falls, mouth drawing into a grimace and his posture tense and awkward. Damn. Something like guilt flickers in his eyes and laces his voice as he speaks, "I can't. It's bad enough I'm taking Hazelon's name out… but I literally cannot with Laurali's. There's… there's too much. I'm sorry. With the connections to her father, Hatskel and everything else between… not to mention Xanadu's records — no, I can't." His hands really are tied in that sense. Laurali says nothing through all of it and only lowers her head a bit, resigned and grudgingly accepting in her silence. Of course she'd not escape so easily.

Ezra frowns. "Why not use a different name then? Rayathess, there are going to be a /lot/ of people who don't want their true names included in this thing. Im…I'm worried for your safety on many levels, if people who want to move on are suddenly pulled back in…labeled…"

"It's not that simple, Ezra." Rayathess stresses, already sounding impatient and not liking the guilt that is building up inside. The sudden though that perhaps his brother is right. "Not everyone went by false names. Very few did. Not that it matters now anyways, they've already BEEN recorded once. The trials have been on record since they started. Their names are on lists and ledgers and censuses. It'd be impossible, unless their names already slipped through. Like Hazelon's." He spreads his hands helplessly and Laurali finally speaks up in a voice barely above a hushed whisper. "It doesn't matter." Leave it be. "I overcame it. Why bother burying it all now?" Even though it would be so nice to know her name is cleared. Yet at the same time… why did she bother to fight all these Turns, just to have it so easily fixed? As stung as she is that a youth like Hazelon gets it, she wouldn't be who she is today if not for her struggles.

Ezra frowns, bristling a bit more as Rayathess continues to refuse. Until Laurali speaks up, and Ezra wrestles it back. "Fine," he says quietly, but he gives her hand a firm squeeze.

Rayathess nods his head to Laurali and some of the tension in his posture eases when he is no longer challenged by her or by Ezra. "If I could change things so easily, I would." he says softly, some guilt still lingering in his eyes. "You both understand too that I risk a bit of my position as Harper to have things… changed. As it is, the fact that Hazelon's name slipped through is unsettling." Are there other errors too? Laurali's mood seems to have calmed and she'll squeeze Ezra's hand in return.

Ezra frowns a little bit, shaking his head. "Makes me wonder what else slipped through. And if it did on purpose, for a reason, and if someone might go to certain…lengths to keep those things hidden." He eyes his brother, worried anew.

Rayathess frowns as well and then shakes his head, "We're only human, Ezra. I doubt there was a motive behind it. An error, most likely, when work had to be rushed as the holdless were held in limbo too close to the winter season." he mutters and Laurali's sigh confirms that she believes it to be the same. No hidden conspiracies. No jumping at shadows. "And what of Hazelon's other offer?" she mutters, looking first to Rayathess and then to Ezra. "Are you going to accept him?"

Ezra is good at jumping at shadows, but he'll let this one go. When Laurali asks her question, Ezra looks down at her. "What do you think?" It's not a sarcastic question either. Not a, 'what do /you/ think, huh?' It's a genuine question, as she is Stonehaven too. "Do I have to decide now?" he asks his brother, brows knitting thoughtfully.

Laurali doesn't take it as sarcasm but she is surprised all the same when Ezra asks for her opinion and she darts a look to Rayathess. When it doesn't seem like he is upset about it (and in fact trying to subtly motion her to go ahead), she will exhale thoughtfully. "I don't see why not? I'd check his record with the Headwoman and Steward. Even if he slipped through the trials, he's bound to have some record now if he's been working as help in the Weyr. If he's a good worker though… with skills… You could always accept him on a… a temporary basis? See if he fits." And send him packing if he doesn't. Harsh and yet the easiest way? Rayathess snorts, "No, you don't. I didn't confirm anything with him. Just that I'd let you know and see what could be done. In return, he comes with me."

Ezra nods, listening to Laurali and clearly taking her opinion seriously. "I could do that," he agrees. "I've nothing against him." YET. He nods to Rayathess. "I'll have to check with the Headwoman, and then of course talk to Hazelon as well, to see what it is he's looking for."

Rayathess doesn't not seem bothered that Ezra is taking Laurali's word and opinion seriously. If anything, he's trying to hide the smile that's threatening to curve his lips upwards. Neither of them seem to have anything against Hazelon… YET. Laurali nods her head, "Couldn't hurt then." Oh, but how it will! She'll squeeze his hand again and shuffle a little closer to Ezra's side, while Rayathess snorts, "Good luck, brother. Maybe he'll give you a better answer. I tried, but he's determined to be miserable towards me." Gee, and Rayathess doesn't deserve that? Of course he does! He's just too thickheaded to realize it.

Ezra shrugs a bit. "You've got a history," he says quietly to his brother. "I don't." He can start fresh with Hazelon. Kind of. "I guess we'll see what happens with that after you both get back from your trip." When Laurali shifts closer, Ezra lifts their hands to rest hers and his on his leg, so it's not squished between them. "Is there anything you need for the trip?" he asks.

"No, I'll only need a day's worth of supplies." Rayathess tells Ezra with a crooked smile and a thankful look to his eyes for his brother's offer. "I'm not planning to go for long. We'll be going with Journeyman Garan and he's only planning to be at that particular hold for a short bit and we're to return home with him." He makes it sound so simple! Ride out, find Lyreh, talk to her, agree to set up a method of correspondence and return back home. Done and done, right? Laurali will subtly lean against Ezra's side and her voice is quiet as she speaks. "I don't remember much of Hazelon, myself."

Ezra glances at Laurali and then back to Rayathess. "Sounds simple. Just be careful." Has he said that enough yet? Looking at Laurali again, he nods. "He seems…the sort that can kind of vanish when he wants to."

He's said it plenty of times and enough now that Rayathess just gives his younger brother an exasperated look and a crooked smirk. "I said I promised I would! I'll even send Cervena or Gren to you when we get close. Alright?" Famous last words! Those will come back to haunt him later. "Now if you two will excuse me… I've some preparing to do and business to take care of." He's pushing to his feet, brushing his hands over his clothes and his mood turns mischievous then and teasing. "You two have fun." he drawls, only to chuckle when Laurali whips a pillow at him again. It's tossed back to the pile and Rayathess will wave his hand in an almost mocking farewell gesture as he heads for the stairs. "Most of the holdless are like that," Laurali mutters belatedly to Ezra.

Ezra nods, watching his brother leave, though he rolls his eyes at his brother's teasing. "Hmm?" he asks Laurali when they're alone again, her belated reponse lost on him.

Rayathess is gone and Laurali will wait until she can hear the door click shut firmly before she's squeezing Ezra's hand again and repeating herself patiently. "Most of the holdless can vanish. It's almost… necessary in order to survive as one. Just a part of life. Always on the fringes." she murmurs, looking up at him. Does that make sense?

Ezra ohs, nodding. "Yes, I'm sure it's a…a skill, almost." He exhales. "What do you think? You think he'll be okay?"

Laurali snorts but rather than be offended, she's smirking crookedly. "You could say that, yes." she murmurs, leaning against his side. She can only shake her head, "I don't know, Ezra. Honest. I don't remember him much but then I wasn't always in their camp. You'll… have to sort that out for yourself, when you meet with him."

Ezra shifts to slip his arm around her shoulders, gaze darting briefly to the closed door. "I've already met him a few times. I don't feel like I know enough to make any judgement, one way or the other." He exhales, and then smiles a bit. "Want to join me for a meal? Then I should be getting back…" Long trip for a fairly simple conversation, but he's glad it happened in person.

The door will remain closed and their privacy ensured. Laurali snuggles in close when Ezra's arm slips around her shoulders and she nods her head. "So bring him to Stonehaven for a temporary visit. See if he fits in or if you can learn more about him." Good luck with that! At his offer, Laurali's smile is bright and in complete contrast from her mood earlier and when Ezra first arrived. "I'd love to." she murmurs, already pushing to her feet and offering him her hand after she's smoothed out her skirts.

Ezra takes her hand and pushes to his feet, and unless she protests, he'll draw her close for a soft kiss. "I can't wait until we're in Stonehaven," he whispers with a sudden blush at his boldness.

Laurali doesn't protest at all when Ezra draws her close and she will lean against him as she returns his kiss. Her cheeks are dark now too from his boldness and from hers in response to him. "Oh?" she whispers back, a bit of a mischievous smile tugging at her lips. Do tell? "Soon we will be. Journeyman Sarah just wants me to join her out at the holds by the area Rayathess is going to." Which may explain why she was so upset that he passed her by for this unknown teen.

Ezra nods, "I do. I…I like the idea of having you around all the time. Almost all the time," he amends. "You're one of my closest friends." Her and D'ani. And that's not counting his siblings. "Oh? You'll be out there too?" He frowns a little bit. "But in the Hold?" Safe.

Laurali chuckles as he amends, "Almost all the time." she agrees, but there's happiness there in her voice and her eyes. "I'm excited." she whispers softly, as if it's some big secret and then her cheeks flush. A close friend? Suddenly, she's hugging him, unless he avoids her. "And so are you one of mine." Laurali will murmur, her words muffled against his tunic and she does not immediately let go from the embrace. "In the Hold!" she confirms. "And on their grounds… protected. They've some medicinal plants Journeyman Sarah is interested in harvesting, but she needs to do a few other things there too. She said it'd be a good… example of some of the work I'll be doing in Stonehaven." Prepwork!

Ezra hugs her against him, resting his cheek to her hair and smiling. "I am too," he replies quietly. "Okay. Great! Maybe we can plant some of those in our gardens." Leaning back a bit, he smiles fondly down at her. "Food? I'm starving."

Laurali hugs back and then laughs softly. "Possibly, if they'll take to the soil. It will be a… good project!" she muses and when he leans back and smiles fondly to her, she will grin in return. "Alright, alright!" she chuckles and then standing on the tips of her toes, she'll try to kiss him again, only a little firmer this time and a touch playful. "Come on," she murmurs as she leans back, taking his hand and starting to lead him to those stairs. "Let's get some food in you."