Fort Weyr - Weyrleaders Offices

It's the morning after the opening ceremonies and the skies are overcast, promising of a heavy snow fall later this evening. Another promise is being upheld too and the Weyrleader is seated at his desk in his office, the thick and heavy door left open just a crack as a hint to his awaited guest that he is in and waiting on his arrival and audience. A fire crackles in the small hearth, keeping the room comfortable and warm. Th'ero has even gone as far as to be sure some fresh fruit, a few flaky pastries and sweet breads and a muffin or two are set on a small table, along with some klah, water or tea. See? He's a good host.

Ezra is here on time, dressed in a set of nice clothes, his knot pinned neatly to his shoulder, and his gold firelizard perched on the other. "Sir?" he asks, gently knocking on the door and poking his head inside.

"Come in, Holder Ezra." Th'ero states in his usual reserved manner, glancing up briefly just to confirm it is Ezra who's poking his head in to the office. "Close the door behind you, if you don't mind. Take a seat," The Weyrleader gestures to the vacant chairs. "And help yourself to the food and drink, if you wish." Make yourself comfortable. While Ezra settles himself, Th'ero will finish writing the last of a report and then promptly set the paper aside to allow the ink to dry. Only then does he lift his dark eyes to focus them intently on the young Holder. "How are you this morning?"

Ezra steps inside, darting his gaze around once, briefly. Was it in this room where he'd asked the Weyrleader for a knife? He straightens his shoulders and closes the door. He is no longer a child. Walking forward, he considers the food and drink before pouring himself a cup of klah before he seats. "Thank you. I am well, sir, and yourself?"

It was. This office has seen so much in so few Turns. Th'ero is reflecting on how much Ezra has grown and changed, studying the young Holder curiously but a touch warily. The Weyrleader hasn't forgotten the heated exchange of words from the night before. "I'm well, thank you. Good to see that you could make it to the ceremonies." And that's where the formality ends. Time to get down to business. Leaning forwards in his chair, he will clasp his hands together on his desk as he levels Ezra with a flat look. "So, your grievance from the night before concerns Healer Sr. Apprentice Laurali, I take it?"

Ezra nods, straightening up in his chair when Th'ero gives him that look. Be calm. You're no longer a scared little boy. His chin lifts. "Yes, it is, Weyrleader," he answers. "She is assigned to Stonehaven and as her Holder I felt it was…improper to not be informed of her interrogation. I would have been there had I known, and vouched for her innocence."

Laurali may yet make Ezra feel like he's some errant child by the time this meeting is done. "Is she officially posted to Stonehaven? Or does she reside in the Hall at this time?" he asks in a low and steady voice. His eyes remain fixed on Ezra, watching him closely and mentions nothing about it being improper that the young Healer was interrogated. Not yet.

Th'ero may yet make Ezra feel like he's some errant child by the time this meeting is done. "Is she officially posted to Stonehaven? Or does she reside in the Hall at this time?" he asks in a low and steady voice. His eyes remain fixed on Ezra, watching him closely and mentions nothing about it being improper that the young Healer was interrogated. Not yet.

"She is officially posted to Stonehaven, under the guidance of Journeyman Healer Sarah. Who is also posted to Stonehaven," Ezra says, reaching into a pocket. "I have paperwork if you wish to verify it."

Th'ero waves off the paperwork with a dismissive flick of his hand. "Not necessary." Which means the Weyrleader trusts Ezra enough to believe the young Holder wouldn't lie about something like that. "While I was not aware of her posting to Stonehaven, it doesn't negate the fact that Laurali was on Weyr territory when the… incident occurred. She was present at the time of the crime and thus suspect to questioning. I do regret that you were not informed, but there are protocols to which the Guards follow and when the theft was reported, they acted accordingly. As to why someone failed to inform you, I'm not certain." he murmurs, pausing for a moment as he leans back in his chair. "She was not accused of any crime, Ezra. Nor was she detained or held against her will. She was question and she agreed to it." So… what's the problem?

"She was frightened," Ezra protests. "You, sir, of /all/ people, know her background and know how frightening that must have been for her. She should have had someone there she trusted." That's the problem. That plus him needing to be informed.

Th'ero frowns and levels Ezra with a long look and one that is very difficult to read, especially for someone as inexperience as he is with the Weyrleader's strange moods and crypticness. "I'm well aware of Laurali's past." Since he's the man who exiled her father. Oh yes, he knows Laurali well. "And do not need to be reminded of it." He takes a moment to gather his thoughts and then exhales, "It's a shame she was frightened, but it was protocol, Ezra. She was present at the exhibition and thus she is suspect. The questioning was just standard issue and she is not on the lists for further questioning."

Ezra exhales softly, pushing to his feet and setting the klah mug down on the Weyrleader's desk. "I'm glad to hear that she will not be questioned further. I would appreciate being told, next time. If there ever is a next time." And hopefully there won't be.

Th'ero lifts his brows up as Ezra stands. That's it? He has nothing else to say? The Weyrleader is almost disappointed and yet rather impressed. He considers him young to be a Holder but so far… he's proving himself. Somewhat. "Unless she causes mischief in Weyr territory, I doubt she will ever be questioned again. However, Ezra…" He pauses for a moment, levelling the young Holder with another lingering look. "You cannot shield her forever, you know. Laurali has had a rough life, to be sure. If it is required though, she may be asked to testify… before a court. Clearly, you will be informed…" But?

Ezra just wanted to air a grievance, and Th'ero has listened. He holds himself still when Th'ero speaks, his eyes twitching a bit at the talk of 'shielding' her. Which…he totally is. "And I will be there."

"And if you're not permitted to be?" Th'ero asks quietly from where he sits behind his desk, his hands now folded in his lap as he levels Ezra with a long, questioning look. "And if you are, but are not permitted to interfere. Can you handle that, Holder Ezra?"

Ezra looks surprised. "Why would I not be permitted? If she isn't a suspect, if she's just testifying." He looks perplexed. "Not interfere?" He is silent for a moment before he takes a deep breath and squares his shoulders. "Sir, my duty is to Stonehaven and her people. I will do what is best for /them/."

Th'ero says nothing at first and Ezra may realize (or not) then that the Weyrleader had been testing him. And the result? He passed. He will smirk crookedly, but his eyes flicker with something more. Impressed? Maybe. "Good. As you ought to. Just remember that politics often are an unfair and difficult game, especially when Weyr and Hold or Weyr, Hold and Hall cross. It's a difficult balance and unfortunately in this, Laurali is caught in three webs — or was. I, personally, do not think she is in the least bit guilty. However, her past… transgressions of thievery could come back to haunt her, even though I personally pardoned her. Do you understand what I am getting at?"

Ezra might suspect he's being tested, but he doesn't let it show as he stands there. "I…am discovering that, sir," he admits quietly, with a faint furrow of his brows. Uncharted waters, this. He continues to frown. "I get the feeling she will never be able to escape her past," he says slowly. "None of them - us - can."

Th'ero dips his head to Ezra admitting that he is discovering the pitfalls of the political game. Good. Sooner he learns, the better! As for Laurali, the Weyrleader only sighs. "Not entirely, no. Unfortunately. Laurali's fate was marked the moment her father used her as a bargaining chip… And I'm sure you're aware of the rest. I am, however, pleased to see that she has settled somewhere."

Ezra sighs softly, shaking his head. "I feel…so awful for her. For all of them. Here I was…" There's that guilt again, but he pushes it down. "Yes, I am too. She has a craft, a home. A future."

Th'ero caught on to that guilt and he's careful not to let his curiosity show too clearly on his expression. Hmm. "Ezra, you were a child and one deeply scarred by your own experiences. You cannot fault yourself. We kept you — and Laurali — isolated. Not purposely and while it benefitted you in the end, it proved to be the wrong course with her."

Ezra shrugs a little bit, silent for a moment before he straightens. "Well, I'm making up for it now." At least with Laurali.

Th'ero will take THAT statement in so many different ways and it make explain why his gaze sharpens on the young Holder. "Is that so?" he drawls, his smile a touch wry before he sobers again and stands from his chair, hands now at his sides. He's not hurrying Ezra out of the office, but he does make it known that their meeting can come to a close. "It's reassuring to know she has found somewhere where she is comfortable." Maybe now Th'ero can shed his guilt for all that befell Laurali, when the Weyr Leadership and holds all but forgot about her and allowed her to fall into Laris' hands.

Ezra's brows arch, and then furrow. "Yes. I'm in a position to watch out for her, to give her a home, and I'm using it…"

Th'ero lifts his hands up in a slightly warding gesture. "Of course you are," he murmurs. "And I didn't mean to imply anything otherwise. If there is a change in the situation concerning the thefts… we'll let you know."

Ezra nods. "Thank you sir," he says. He hesitates for a second, awkward, and then turns to leave.

A second of hesitation is all Th'ero needs. "Oh, and Ezra?" he'll call out to him, before the young Holder has a chance to slip out the door. He'll meet his eyes, if he can and a small smile curves his lips. A genuine one. "Congratulations on attaining Holder and reopening Stonehaven. If you ever need Weyr assistance… do not hesitate to ask. Clear skies and safe travel for when you return home."

Ezra stops and turns back to the Weyrleader, looking briefly conflicted. He returns the smile though, a bit shy. "Thank you, sir. I appreciate everything Fort has done for me. And for Stonehaven. I hope…we can be close partners in the future."

Th'ero dips his head in a respectful manner to Ezra, his mannerisms befitting the young Stonehaven's new position and rank. "I'm sure we can be good allies, Holder Ezra. To that I've little doubt." he admits. "Send my regards to Laurali and your brother as well."

Ezra nods. "I shall. And to my sister." Lest she be forgotten. With that, the young Holder steps back into the hallway to return to Stonehaven.