Fort's Forests — Fort Weyr
Somewhere in the forest, between Amethyst in the Pines and the main paths and roadways leading towards the Weyr…


(Continued from Talk of Past and Present)

Of course it's no! Rayathess swears out loud as he dashes after his brother, weaving in and out of the trees and through the underbrush. He may not know this forest well but he's certainly figured out a few tricks on how to move through one. "Just wait until I get my hands on you, brother!" he calls out again, mockingly threatening.

Ahead, Ezra's laughter suddenly comes to an abrupt stop, and the boy is standing stock still at the edge of a small clearing. And for good reason. Inside the clearing is a small camp, disguised brilliantly to not be seen from the air, or for a good distance around, unless you happen to literally stumble into it. Like Ezra just did. Smoke rises from a tiny fire, a little tendril quickly dissipated by the breeze, though it seems that the camp is desserted - for the moment.

It will take some time before Rayathess figures out where Ezra has gone, but thankfully he doesn't shout out his triumph when he does spot his brother. In fact, it's the way his brother has gone silent and so still that sets off alarms instantly in his head and he slows his stride to a stealthy and quiet approach. A few seconds more and he's spotted the fire, eyes widening and with a bit back curse that escapes as a low hiss he reaches out to try and draw Ezra away and put him more at his side and behind him. "Back up. Slowly." he whispers harsh and urgently. Playful older brother is being replaced by very protective and alarmed older brother.

Ezra shifts backwards, moving with slow, steady steps and glancing from his brother to the camp and back again. His heart pounding in his chest, his body trembles with the rush of energy and nervousness. But then there's a sound behind them. "Stop," a low, female and slightly accented voice says. "No further." And there's the unmistakable sound of an arrow being drawn back, the slight hum of the bow's string stretched to full tension.

Rayathess can't reassure Ezra now, though he can feel him trembling and his grip will only tighten as he begins to retreat away from the camp. At that sound, so deadly and unmistakeable, he freezes. His hands will spasm, the only sign of his fear that Ezra will know and then the young man is shifting his weight to put as much of his body between him and the one pointing an arrow at them from behind.

Somehow, he finds his voice and deep down he's thrilled with how level and steady it sounds. "We're unarmed and are no threat to you." he tells the mystery female. He'll tilt his head down, not quite turning it but still trying to get a sense of her position. Then his eyes will look downwards, likely trying to catch Ezra's eyes and convey so much in the vain hope that his brother will understand. Don't panic. Be quiet. Be still.

There's a pause that might seem like an eternity, before the voice says, "Turn around," sounding almost curious. Almost. Glancing up at his brother, Ezra will wait to see what he does, but if they do turn around, they'll be facing a young woman about Rayathess' age. A young woman that just might be familiar to the older Stonehaven.

Rayathess will just keep his eyes fixed with Ezra's through that uncertain eternity, trying to mask his fear and hide how tense and rigid his body has become. His grip may almost be painful where his hands now clasp his brother's shoulders. He exhales a bit as the request to turn around is uttered and he gives the subtlest nod to his sibling. It'll be okay. "Alright." he agrees out loud to warn the mystery female that they intend to move. Slowly, he turns and is mindful to still keep his body between her and Ezra, though he will still have a clear view around him all the same. He keeps one hand on his sibling, but lifts the other with the palm held outward. See? No weapons. Recognition hits fast and swift, as effective as a hard slap to the face or a bucket of ice cold water. Now Rayathess' voice fails and all that escapes is some strangled exclamation of shock and disbelief. It's you! But does she recognize him?

Ezra is stiff and shaking beneath his brother's hand, though he desperately tries to believe that it will be okay and they're not about to die horrible deaths. It'd just be unfair if they did, after all they've been through. He turns, shifting a bit and not arguing when Rayathess puts himself first, though Ezra does peer around. And then visibly jumps when his brother reacts the way he does.

The girl reacts similarly, though thankfully she doesn't lose her grip on the arrow. Instead she just lowers it slightly, pointing more towards their knees than chest height. She blinks and stares at him, and then lifts the arrow a bit more. "Name," she demands, voice breaking slightly in her surprise. Maybe she's wrong…

Rayathess hasn't quite forgotten his brother, even if his eyes remain fixated on the bow wielding female standing in front of them. When Ezra jumps, his hand only tightens sharply with its hold on him. He begins to relax as she lowers the arrow, only to tense up again and lift both his hands up. Easy, easy… "Setha." he replies, barely flinching or showing any sign that he's lying or using an alias. Whoever this young woman is, it's clear she would not know him by his true name. How he wishes he could warn Ezra, but he can't. "Lyreh?" Rayathess pushes forwards, hopefully before she may notice any reaction on his younger brother's part. "It's you, isn't it?"

Ezra blinks again, glancing between the two of them in a rapid jerking of his head, back and forth, before he's taking longer looks at each of them, but still looking back and forth. He flinches at the tightening of his brother's arm, shifting slightly until the hand is removed. Then he just looks more nervous, edging back behind his brother ever so slightly. Setha?

Lyreh blinks a few times but still looks very wary and suspicious. "Why…how are you here?" she asks, before she briefly pierces Ezra with a narrow eyed glare. "And who is that? Stop, Setha. Don't come any closer until you've told me what you're up to."

So it won't win much points in the creativity department, but when you're faced with seconds to scrabble up a name… you get odd ones like Setha. Rayathess will have explaining to do, he knows it and not just to the agitated young woman who is still eyeing them warily and suspiciously. He only shifts his weight a bit, lowering one hand down so that he can put his arm across Ezra defensively when Lyreh marks him. "He's no threat to either of us and someone I trust. You can see he's not armed either." Or much of a threat. Sorry, kid! "Can you lower your bow at least? Please? And then I'll talk." He'll wait until she does or at least reassures him in some way that he doesn't immediately risk being shot through with an arrow. Sighing, Rayathess makes his decision quickly — hastily some may say. His logic is simple: he can tell the truth and die for it or risk pushing her suspiciousness with crypticness and lies and… die. It's truth he goes for. "Remember the Gold Hill raid? You know I went with them and you must've heard it went bad. That's where I've been. I was caught with the rest of them. And I'm here because…" He has to pause to swallow thickly and gather his courage before he straightens his shoulders and steels himself. "Because my name isn't Setha, Lyreh. I'm Rayathess. Rayathess Stonehaven. So I have been in the Weyr since that day." Not entirely by choice.

Ezra reaches out to hook his hand into the back of his brother's tunic. Really it's the only thing he can hang on to without either tying up one of Raya's hands or grabbing onto his pants. Which would be weird. So he goes for the tunic and watches the exchange with wide eyes.

Slowly, Lyreh lowers her bow and loosens the string, but she still keeps it held and at the ready as she watches him with an unwavering gaze. She just nods at the mention of Gold Hill, and she grimaces slightly. She was not a fan of that raid, and tried to talk him out of going. But when he tells her his true name she blinks, eyes widening in surprise and hand shifting on her bow - though she doesn't raise it. "You lied to me."

Rayathess looks as though he wants to be anywhere but here right now and having this discussion. It's moving too rapidly and he doesn't feel in control and that is a bad thing when it comes to him. He fights off the need to fidget as his anxiety grows and Ezra's grip suddenly tugging at his tunic is the only thing that grounds him for the moment. Right. His brother. He can't screw this up! "Yeah, I lied and you're smart enough to know why." he tells Lyreh bluntly. Harsh truth but maybe she can stomach it. She did live in the very same camps as he did. This is probably a type of speech she's all to familiar with. "I couldn't say who I really was. Laris would have me killed and little Rill too if he had found out. So I went to Gold Hill on the chance I'd escape and get help. I wanted out." Duh. "Just like lots of us did."

Ezra is frozen in place, unable to hide his fear anymore. Lyreh glances swiftly at Ezra and then back at Rayathess, and she frowns sharply at his blunt words. Silent for a moment, she then asks her next question. "Did you ruin the Gold Hill raid? Is it because of you that they got caught? That we all got caught?"

Rayathess will shift, cautiously, until he can loop his arm around Ezra's shoulders and hold him closer to his side. Reassuring but also so visibly obvious as a protective stance. Especially when Lyreh glances to his brother again. He both expects and respects that silence, standing with a grim look on his features until the young woman speaks up again. His mouth then twitches into a bitter smile. "Shards, no!" he scoffs. "I kept my head down like a good grunt. It was the idiots Laris trusted who botched it. He forgot how easily some men can be warped by bribes and shiny things. It was doomed to fail from the start." There is a pause and now Rayathess' confidence wavers and guilt flickers across his eyes. "I may have helped lead the Weyr to Drake's Lake. But not directly." No, they figured it out themselves even if all he did was put them on the right side of the planet.

Ezra is hauled, but he's shaking against his brother's side, unable to get a grip on his fear. Where's Zoi? Silly canine ran off somewhere…

Lyreh snorts, shaking her head slightly. "Idiots," she mutters, before her eyes narrow on Rayathess again, and she shifts the bow, slightly drawing back on the string. "My father died during that attack," she says, voice slow and going cold. The arrow lifts up a notch.

Might be best if Zoi stays away for now, at least until the tension is gone. Not that that is likely to happen soon, with Rayathess digging a very, very deep hole for himself. He holds Ezra tighter against him when he feels his brother shaking and has to resist the urge to let his gaze and attention drop from Lyreh to comfort him. He's about to open his mouth to agree with the young woman and go on with his explanation when his eyes widen and his body goes stiff with apprehension and fear. His eyes focus on that arrow now and he swallows thickly. "Lyreh, please. Lower your bow. I'm sorry about your father. I really am." Even though he's not the least be responsible.

Ezra squeaks, his eyes widening. And he just might have peed himself. "No," he whispers, a strangled little cry as he clings to his brother, terrified.

Lyreh lifts the bow a bit more, her eyes narrowed on Rayathess' face. "You lied," she says quietly. "I trusted you and you lied to me the whole time. And then you gave up the camp's location and my father died because of it. I should kill you to even the score."

Rayathess would not blame or shame Ezra if he did pee himself. He's beginning to feel something close to terror gnawing it's way to his gut and he feels sick to his stomach and both hot and cold at the same time. Feverish. He will cling back to his brother but he will also stare down Lyreh, arrow or not. "Because I HAD to to save my sister!" he snaps at her, anger and guilt, regret and hurt welling up too fast for him to control and escaping in a heated burst. "I didn't GIVE the location. You know none of us knew where exactly it was. I actually led them completely off trail. They figured it out themselves because Laris was dumb enough to leave a foot print of abandoned camps all through Fort! That's how they found out!" When she threatens to kill him to pay blood for blood, his eyes narrow and grow cold. "You'd only ruin your chances of freedom, Lyreh if you did that. But if you must, then at least let my brother go. He's suffered enough at Laris' hand and played no part in this."

Ezra clings to his brother, and very nearly tries to climb him, his grabbing hands and arms tug on him so hard, as if holding him close will keep him from being taken. "No!" he squeaks again, tears streaming down his face. "No no no, please no, no," he babbles, hands tearing at Rayathess' tunic.

Lyreh has to look away from Raya for a brief moment when Ezra wets himself and starts to cry and cling, and the woman's hard eyes soften marginally. Enough, perhaps. "This is your brother?" she says, staring at the child and then back to Rayathess. "Where is Rill?"

Rayathess can't ignore Ezra when his younger brother is all but clawing at him and climbing him in his panic. So he will turn, keeping his side to Lyreh and ever mindful of where she has that arrow pointed or her mood. She won't get an answer right away — at least not a verbal one. But just the way that the young man interacts with the younger one should be proof enough. "Ezra, easy. Calm down. She's not going to hurt you." he says in a low and as convincing of a reassuring tone as he can manage. He'll try to grip him by the shoulders too to steady him and even crouch down a bit to meet his brother at eye level. "Look at me Ezra," he says in that classic older brother tone: listen to me. "There's just a lot of confusion going on, alright? Just stay calm." Straightening, Rayathess turns back to face Lyreh now and there is a fiercely protective look to his eyes. "This is my brother, Ezra. And Rill… Anrila… she's…" His feature twists and his gaze drops. Which may be a foolish move. "…Missing."

Ezra is panting, eyes wide and the teen is in a full blown panic attack. Soooo not helping. "She's going to kill you!" he squeaks, gripping his brother's tunic still, nervous and shifting and unable to keep still. "You can't have him!" he yells shrilly at Lyreh. "I just got him back!" Then he balks, drawing back as if stung, afraid he's said something terrible. So he just starts to cry again and buries his face against Rayathess' tunic, clinging to him and sobbing. Tough guy.

Lyreh grimaces when Ezra flips out, shaking her head firmly, wrestling with herself. But then she lowers the arrow again, just a notch, and frowns. "She's missing?"

Having been through many a panic attack of his own, Rayathess can see that one has his brother in its steely grip. He gives Ezra a firm, brisk shake, just once or twice to try and snap him from it before he simply allows his sibling to cling to him and sob. Even with the threatening young woman still armed, he will wrap his arms around Ezra, comforting and strong. "I'm not going anywhere!" he states firmly to his brother, before shooting a narrowed look at Lyreh. Now his patience is wearing thin. "Lower the damn bow, Lyreh! You see we're no threats. We're not like Laris' men. We can actually talk without killing each other." Sensible enough, right? Rayathess' expression twists again and his voice is laced with guilt. "Yes. I snuck her in with a Trader's family and they were due to come through to Fort a long time ago. They never did and the trail has just… vanished. We had begun to search for her but then — then they found Drake's Lake. Then came the trials." Enough said there and implied that he figures he does not need to explain himself further.

Lyreh hesitates again, and then lowers the bow a fraction more. "I-" she begins, but just then Zoi appears, the massive canine leaping out of the underbrush and snarling at Lyreh, bristling and HUGE. Teeth bared, she advances, and Lyreh screams, startled…and lets the arrow go.

She must be new or terrible at archery, as her arrow flies no where near the threatening target. Which may be just as well, because if it had hurt or killed Zoi that'd just be heartbreaking. Where it lands is just as bad though, maybe a wee bit sad and later it may be one of those funny stories rehashed around the hearth. Right now though it's anything BUT funny. Rayathess is startled by Zoi arriving too and he clutches all the more to Ezra even as he calls to the canine that isn't his. "Zoi! Back down. Ezra, get her to back dow—" The word is jolted and cut by a gasped intake of breath, pained and shocked all into one. Ezra will feel Rayathess' body jolt with the reaction, jerking more from surprise than actual pain. That'll hit seconds later, as he finishes that word with a breathless yell. Staggering, he ends up falling sideways as he finds that his one foot is to blame and soon finds out why: the arrow bolt is now sticking out of the top of his boot.

Lyreh was pointing the bow down. That's her excuse. There is then a ton of confusion as Zoi barks, Ezra screams… clutching to his brother, Ezra looks down and then goes pale, on the verge of fainting. Though he doesn't, hauled back to reality by Zoi's continued barking and threatening behavior. "Zoi!" Ezra finally calls, voice cracking, and the canine backs down as Ezra looks at Rayathess and begins to hiccup. And in the commotion, Lyreh tries to run.

Rayathess just writhes and rolls a bit on the ground, clutching as his calf as his lips draw back in a pain and twisted grimace. At last he recovers his breath and begins to swear a torrent of curse words that grow steadily more fowl and insulting that it'd put even the most fowl mouth person to shame. Then his mind shifts from the blazing white-hot and all consuming pain to rationality as adrenaline and shock kick in. Gasping, Rayathess struggles to sit up and not jar his foot while doing it and despite the injury, he's very much alive. Pale, hurting and PISSED OFF but alive. "Lyreh, don't you dare!" he shouts as she tries to run. A blur of brown and green wiz by then, two firelizards diving in to try and play interference and trap her in a dizzying whirl of wings, talons and shrieks. "Ezra." Rayathess calls to his brother then and will repeat his name more sharply if he has too while his hand reaches up to try and grasp his brother's arm or hand. "Help me up!"

Ezra turns around in a circle, literally, before he's grabbing for Zoi's collar and holding on tight. The canine could run with him if she wanted to, but she's too attached to her human to do that, and so she just tucks tail and folds her ears back. "She shot you!" Ezra babbles, trying hard to focus as he reaches for his brother's hand, darting nervous glances at the arrow. "The bitch shot you. She shot you!" Yes, Ezra, we get it. "Are you okay?" Finally he asks that question.

Lyreh yells and bats at the firelizards, trying to get through, but their technique is effective and she rocks to a halt, turning to glare angrily at Rayathess, her cheeks burning but unapologetic. Even though it was an accident.

Rayathess is breathing heavily, sharp and short pained breaths as he shifts to get his good foot under him while Ezra wrangles in Zoi. Gripping his brother's hand firm, it's very strong (and may actually hurt) as he hauls himself up, only to wobble and stagger and poor Ezra may find himself having to hold up his elder brother. Mercifully not ALL his weight, but enough. "I'm fine. I'm fine. Just hurts." No, really? Another string of curses let lose from his lips. "Yeah, she shot me." he growls and now his tone sounds hurt too. She DID shoot him! Yet… "Get back here, Lyreh! Damn it if I'll let you run off. We're even now, you got your blood." Not really. Rayathess has to pause to catch his breath, his body beginning to tremble a bit from shock and pain. "Here's the deal. We'll all calm down. It was an accident. You'll drop the bow and I call off my firelizards. Ezra will keep hold of Zoi and you will come get your arrow from MY foot!" Wait, what? Is she a healer? Maybe she knows enough? He glares angrily right back.

Ezra staggers a bit but he holds firm, leaning on Zoi a bit to help. The canine is used to this and shifts before holding steady, the rock at the end of this teetering line of humans. Pale still, Ezra glances at the arrow again and then at Lyreh, glaring with hatred.

Lyreh clears her throat and shifts, before she backs down. "We're not even," she says, bristling. But she can't just leave him there…she needs to be free and clear, and her desire to go is strong. And to go clearly, she needs to do what he wants. "Fine," she snaps, taking a cautious step forward. "No one will stab me or bite me while I work." right?

Rayathess alternates between clutching at Ezra and clinging to him, silently thankful that his younger brother can support him. Even through his furious anger and conflicted emotions he can sense his sibling's hatred and that only compounds the whole situation. On top of all of this, his head has begun to throb from the stress. Oh, how he is craving to just go and lock himself away. His eyes watch Lyreh warily and when she bristles, so does he. "Then drop the whole revenge thing for now, damn it!" he snaps back and the snorts, only to hiss in pain as his foot is jarred as he shifts his weight against Ezra. "For the last time, we're NOT armed! And Zoi will behave. Take out the arrow and I'll let this go as the accident that it was." Deal?

Ezra gets his footing and then holds steady, drawing on his anger to stabilize him. Focus on the anger and he can push the rest aside for now.

Lyreh inches forward, watching them all warily until she's in front of Rayathess, and then she sinks to her knees and begins checking out the injury. "Hold still," she says before she cuts open his boot around the shaft, and then twists the arrow out of his leg. That's going to hurt. Bad. Once the arrow is out she pushes a clean cloth on it that she pulled from the satchel, and while she holds that with one hand she prepares another cloth with redwort. Then that one is put on, and wrapped in place with a bandage. She must have Healer training, even if informally, as she works swiftly and cleanly. though her bedside manner needs a lot of work.

Rayathess is using his emotions to anchor himself as he leans on Ezra for support. His breathing, still heavy, is at least a bit more stable and his eyes are sharp and keen as they follow Lyreh's progress. As she sinks to her knees and begins to poke and check the injury, he grits his teeth and bites back a few more grunted curses. "Ezra? Your belt. Can I have it?" he asks with a note of urgency to his tone. What does he need it for? He doesn't explain, but if he gives it up, Rayathess will just wrap it around his hand. Maybe it's like having a stress ball? Something to haul on anyways. Lyreh's warning has him taking a deep breath but it's not enough. Not enough by FAR. Rayathess' yell of pain echoes through the trees, sending his firelizards into another tizzy and poor Ezra may find himself being leaned on again and heavily as his older brother wavers a bit. Oh shit, he's not going to faint, is he? Nope. He holds on, but it takes a longer for him to bounce back. Paled, shaky, he breathes in shallow breaths. Try as he might to watch Lyreh, he can't bring himself too and instead stares at Zoi. "Nng… you almost done?" he gripes at the young woman. She must have some sort of training, something he either knows or witnessed (or both) that he can trust her enough to do this.

Ezra has to let go of Rayathess to undo his belt, his other hand still holding tightly on Zoi's collar, since the canine is watching Lareh suspiciously. The teen still stands for Raya to lean against, but until the belt is handed over the boy's hands are occupied. Then he grips his brother again, trying to steady him. He blanches and grimaces, closing his eyes tightly at the sounds, wishing he had hands to cover his ears and block out his brother's pain. Tears leak out from beneath his tightly shut lids as he holds it together, trying to be strong.

Lyreh wraps the injury and then stands, eying the brothers. "You need to get to the Weyr," she says firmly. Clearly she won't be helping them. "Elevate it, numbweed, all that shit. I'm going."

Rayathess still has Ezra's belt wrapped in his hand after the whole ordeal is said and done and he clutches to his brother with his arm draped heavily around him. Poor Ezra. Once again the younger sibling is left with the larger burden and harsher end of the stick. Sure, Rayathess was shot in the foot but it's nothing compared to the emotional upset the other is facing. "Yeah," he growls as if to agree. "Screw that. Lyreh, where are you going to go? Why not come back? They're just going to find you."

Ezra shifts his weight slightly but he's going to hold up his brother or die trying. Lyreh snorts. "I'm going to go somewhere other than here. Somewhere I can start over. Find a place for my mom and I."

Rayathess looks… disappointed, hurt (in a different sense), frustrated? It's hard to tell. Even he can't quite place it. He glares at Lyreh. "Restart here! The Weyr is safe. So is Fort Hold. You'd be by the Healer Hall." Why is he trying to convince her to stay? After all that has just happened? He keeps his grip tight on Ezra, glad for his support and yet guilt for all he has had to witness. Oh, he is going to have A LOT to answer for later. "I… I could see to that, you know. THAT can be my repayment for you and your mother."

Ezra tugs gently on his brother. "Raya," he whispers urgently, "we have to go." He doesn't like the look of his brother's coloring. Lyreh hesitates, as if she's actually considering it. But in the end she just nods at Ezra. "He's right. You need to go. I'll think about it," she says before she's trying to vanish once again into the trees, and Ezra gently shifts again. "Rayathess, please…"

Rayathess is stubborn it seems and only shakes his head, trying to step forwards after Lyreh but being restricted by Ezra. "Wait." he tells his brother, only to lift his voice to plead again with the young woman. "Lyreh, wait! At least promise me to give me your choice? Three days from now at the ruins." She'll know which ones, even if he's being completely vague with the details. He'll wait on her answer then.

Ezra is getting irritated now. She just SHOT his brother, and now he's…pleading with her to stay? Lyreh turns to give Rayathess a pained look, and then she nods. "Fine," she says, giving a sort-of-promise before she's well and truly gone. "Let's go," Ezra says firmly, shifting beneath Rayathess' arm. He'll have to go with him or he'll be walking on his own.

Rayathess doesn't expect Ezra to understand and he isn't quite certain if he even has the words to explain right now why he's trying to plead with Lyreh. Maybe it's the shock? Thin excuse, but he'll use it until they have a chance to recover. Handing back his belt, Rayathess sighs heavily and nods. "Alright. Alright! We'll go. Just… don't say anything. Yeah she shot me and she's going to pay for that but not now. If anyone asks I… stepped on something sharp in the camps, okay?" He gives Ezra a look then, narrowed and yet just as pleading as he was with Lyreh moments ago and yet… different. It's close to begging. He's asking a lot of his brother!

Ezra can't really put his belt on right now so he just shoves it into his pocket. He'll have to pull his pants up a lot, but…what else is he to do? "Don't say anything?" he asks, gaping at his brother. "But…but…what? Stepped…but…that doesn't even work." Shaking his head firmly, he gives Rayathess' arm another tug. "Please, Raya, let's just go. Healers. Back to the weyr. To the dragons." Where it's safe.

"I don't want her chased half way across Fort or the world, Ezra!" Rayathess blurts out, exasperated, his temper short due to the throbbing pain in his foot. He tries to stand straight, to ease the strain he knows he's putting on his younger brother (physically, at least) but he can't quite manage. "Then we'll find some story that does work. Maybe I was trying to use a bow and shot myself. Anything. I owe Lyreh that much at least. Her mother isn't… well. She won't be able to travel fast if they're hunted down by the Guards or riders. Bad enough she's blaming me for her father's death. Don't need her seeking vengeance for her mother too." he mumbles, rambling on because he just doesn't have the strength, mentally, to clam up. Ezra's tugging is finally listened too and Rayathess steels himself for the long trek back to the Weyr. "Alright, alright. You're going to have to help me walk. Don't want to go to the infirmary though. My room or… or your room. Somewhere quiet." And safe. Obviously safe.

Ezra shakes his head firmly. "I don't /care/!" he snaps, "I don't care about her at all I just want to get you safe!" Shifting to his brother's bad side, he offers himself as a makeshift crutch, arm around his waist. He has to let go of Zoi, but with a sharp word has her walking submissively alongside them for that long walk. "No Healers?" he whispers, nervous.

Rayathess will find some sort of odd, shambling and half skipped walk that minimizes his discomfort, aided by Ezra's support on his bad side. A walk that is usually just a short span is now dragged out considerably longer and by the time the Weyr walls are just coming into view, he's quite pale and exhausted. Sweat as begun to dampen his brow and the hair there, but he grits his teeth and pushes onward, with his firelizards swooping overhead and crooning encouragement. "If you care about me, Ezra, you'll do it." Rayathess mutters, hating the harshness of it but it does have SOME truth behind it. "We're safe. See? There's the Weyr." Which still seems SO FAR. He has to bite back a groan. "No Healers IN the infirmary. They can come to wherever you take me. Alright? Safe and… and private. One thing I hate about the Weyr is the gossip. Swear you can't sneeze without someone knowing about it."

Ezra blanches at his brother's harsh words, but he holds his silence for now. "My room," he decides, grunting a bit. Conversation will have to wait. He hasn't the strength to talk right now. He leads them into the weyr tunnel, and the Guard on duty looks up in alarm. "Just hurt his foot," Ezra supplies swiftly with a little grin. "Thought he could keep up with me." With a laugh, he eases the Guard and the man lets them pass with a 'Good luck!' call.

Rayathess nods his head and exhales shakily, conversation waning on his end as well as he focuses on taking each step and ignoring the pain shooting up his leg. He'll stiffen a bit as they reach the weyr tunnel and spots the Guard there, already noting the man's alarmed look. Somehow he manages a convincing and lopsided smile to play along with the little story Ezra's concocted. "Yeah, lesson learned!" he mumbles, as if sheepishly embarrassed. Once they're passed and out of range, Rayathess with sigh and the tension will leave his body. "Thanks." he whispers to his brother. Not that that covers it. Not in the slightest.

Ezra just nods, ignoring the other folks as they hobble into the caverns through the back way. A bit longer, but better than going through the living caverns. Unlocking his door, Ezra helps Rayathess to the couch, only having to move a few pillows before he can lay down. "I'm going to get a Healer. Zoi, stay." Guard. She knows that tone of voice as she sits by the couch, alert. Ezra's room is much, much cleaner. There are still piles of stuff but it's been tidied and cleaned up, and the scent of rotting food no longer pervades. Teen boy smell still exists though, because he is.


Fort Weyr - Ezra's Room

Is there anything that smells *quite* like a teenage boy's room? The room that Ezra was given after his rather abrupt arrival at Fort Weyr is one that does not suit his station, but speaks to the sympathy his story brought up in people. One of the larger residential rooms, it actually consists of both a living room and a private bedroom. The rooms are dirty, being that Ezra has not allowed a drudge in here in turns, and covered in *things*. This boy is a bit of a hoarder, there is no denying that. But beneath all the stuff, there are some pieces of furniture. The living room has a small table and two old chairs, as well as a lumpy couch that is covered in clothes and other various things. It also has a fireplace, the smoke drawn up through a tunnel in the rock.
The bedroom has a large bed with rumpled, messy sheets and lots and lots of blankets and pillows, as well as piles of more stuff that cover the dresser and wardrobe. There are tools, bits of wood, fabric, technology parts, old bits of cloth, and a hundred other random things. There is also food stashed everywhere. Much of it has gone bad, but until Ezra's firelizards can sneak it out, it remains to rot. Another thing the rooms have in abundance are glowbaskets, which are placed on every surface and kept filled and bright constantly. He might be just a little afraid of the dark.


Rayathess becomes increasingly more agitated the deeper they go into the Weyr but once he realizes that Ezra won't be leading them through the living caverns, it abates and then all but disappears when they're in the tunnels again. Fewer eyes and so he is no longer glancing about nervously but his concern remains that someone is going to go whispering and word will eventually filter to those who don't need to hear it. For now though… they have a few moments. Rayathess will awkwardly lay down on the couch and this time he does groan a bit as he can finally take the weight off his foot. "Alright." he tells Ezra, though he gives his younger brother a long, lingering look. One of trust but concerned and worried all the same. Left then with Zoi guarding (and he knows better than to challenge the dog), he can only gaze about the room and note the far less cluttered look. The smell, it seems, doesn't bother him.

Ezra vanishes, and he's gone for about ten minutes before returning with a Healer journeyman. "He shot himself in the foot?" the Healer says as Ezra opens the door, waving off Zoi down from her guard position. "Then we had to walk on it. That's what I'm worried about," Ezra says as he closes the door behind them and lets the Healer move forward. The young man nods to Rayathess and will wait for permission before unwrapping the injury.

Rayathess had just begun to drift off in a semi-doze glazed with pain and troubled thoughts when the door opens again and he snaps back to alertness. Shifting on the couch, he tries to sit up but ends up really only propping his upper body onto his elbows and bending his good leg at the knee. His injured foot is left elevated and straight, if he can help it. His eyes dart first to Ezra and then to the Healer, who instantly gets a narrowed and suspicious glance over. Nodding back, he grimaces. "Stupid mistake," he mutters which is a half-truth but suits either role. He jerks his head then to give permission, even though he looks grim and reluctant doing it.

The Healer doesn't ask questions that are not immediately related to his cases, which might be why Ezra chose him. Unwrapping the bindings, he just nods, giving no outward indication to how bad it might be. More redwort and then finally numbweed as he pokes and probes. "Stitches," he says with a little nod. "But thankfully it looks like it missed the bone. But there's torn muscles in there that will need patching, and then the skin of course. Hope you're comfortable because I don't want you getting up for at least a sevenday while it heals."

Ezra has good tastes in Healers then! Rayathess will grit his teeth and bite back the curse words he wants to utter as the Journeyman sets to work and begins to unwrap the foot. It's only until the numbweed kicks in that he at last sighs in relief, though there is still some dull aching in his leg. "Great." he mutters bitterly at the first diagnosis, listening to the rest and his eyes widen a bit. "A sevenday! Stuck to a bed?" he exclaims, already looking rebellious. But he made a promise!

The Healer looks at him sharply, and then to Ezra for support. "A sevenday," he says firmly. "Elevated as much as you can. Don't even walk to the bathroom if you can help it. Do that here. You might need to use a cane for a while too, to support yourself as it heals up more." Ezra shifts and nods. "I'll take care of him," he promises softly, giving his brother a pleading look.

"And what if I don't?" Rayathess challenges almost the moment both the Healer and Ezra are finished talking. It's not meant to be a threat — not entirely. But he has to weigh his options and know of the consequences of his actions if he risks it and does go against the orders given him. He flops back against the pillows and stifles another groan at the mention of cane. Couldn't be more obvious that he's hurt going around with that! For a moment he meets Ezra's gaze but he can't stand to see that pleading look and promptly looks away again.

The Healer blinks, a bit surprised. "If you don't?" Why would someone go against Healer's orders? "The foot could heal wrong, or not at all. Infection, swelling, misaligned muscle and bone, further tissue damage. You could really mess it up if you walk on it." Enough reason? Ezra just fidgets a bit, staring at his brother even after he's looked away.

Rayathess would go against many orders, it seems. Where once he would obey, now — not so much. The Healer proves his case well though and the young man can only mutter some oath before lifting his hands up to scrub wearily at his face. "Fine, I get it. Don't walk or risk gettin' crippled for it." he mumbles, already beginning to shift again on the couch so he isn't quite laying flat on his back. "That's all then?" he drawls to the Healer.

The Healer just nods, handing Ezra a jar of numbweed and redwort. Instructions are given to Ezra in a low voice, and the teen nods. Then the Healer is gone, and Ezra closes the door, locks it, and turns around to just look at his brother. For the moment, that's all he does. Just looks, unable to do much else.

Rayathess scowls a little when the instructions are given to Ezra and not him and spoken low enough that he cannot overhear. It does little to improve his mood and once the door is closed and locked, he will slam his fist against the side of the couch. Not overly hard, as the gesture is awkward but it provides the only outlet for his frustration, save to start swearing and raving. Which may still happen, if he loses his grip on his temper. "Well, isn't this just great." he mutters after some time as he glares up at the ceiling, chuckling bitterly.

Ezra jumps a bit when Rayathess hits the couch, and the boy checks the lock on the door again before he walks forward to sink bonelessly into the chair that sits next to the couch. Looking at his brother he clenches his jaw, though that doesn't stop his lower lip from trembling. Wrestling with it, he takes a deep, shaky breath and asks, "You hungry?"

If Rayathess wasn't so busy wallowing in self pity and brooding over his conflicting thoughts and the whole affair, he may have noticed Ezra's boneless sinking into the chair and his current fragile state. But he doesn't and instead struggles with himself. He almost snaps then, ready to explosively tell his poor worried brother that, no, he isn't hungry and could care less about food right now. Some shred of his better half keeps him in check though and he only grumbles rather than start pitching a fit on the couch. "Yeah, I guess. More thirsty."

Ezra nods, heaving himself off the couch. "Okay," he says. "Zoi, stay." Guard. Then Ezra slips quietly out the door, closing it behind him. And locking it with his key. Not locking Rayathess in by any means, but locking it so that Rayathess won't have to worry about being across the room from an open door. And he's gone. And he stays gone for a good fifteen to twenty minutes.

Rayathess turns his head slightly, as if to protest, while he watches as Ezra goes to slip quietly out the door. He keeps quiet though and in those first few minutes of silence with no one but the ever faithful Zoi as company, he begins to rehash the day's events. Bringing up old memories and wounds with Ezra, all that emotional upheaval and conflict, then finding Lyreh and now being shot in the foot and ordered to bed rest but needing to be mobile in three days… Swiftly it becomes too much and in a random fit of frustration and anger he hits the couch again with his fist and then proceeds to launch every single pillow and cushion he can reach off in furious sweeps or (weak) throws. Not that he hits anything and hopefully Zoi is well away regardless. Left with nothing else, with a distraught half-groan, half-sigh he rolls over onto his side on the couch, putting his back to the room. His injured foot juts out awkwardly and he rests his head now in the crook of his arm, feeling no better for the childish outburst.

Zoi skitters away a bit when the pillows are thrown, but she's seen enough fits from her own human to not be bothered by it any more. She just lays down beside the couch, giving Rayathess' leg a little lick. When Ezra finally does return, it's with a tray. Meatrolls and fruit, as well as two jugs - one water, one klah. And he looks calmer. Maybe because he broke down and sobbed in the nearest empty room he could find. But now he's mostly back together, though his nose is running and his eyes are a bit red. Locking the door again, he puts the tray on the table and pours a mug of water to offer his brother. "Here," he says softly.

He may not have been the only one who broke down and sobbed. Rayathess may be quiet, but that is only due to his habit of having to be quiet. Well, partially at least. The other is entirely founded in pride and that men don't cry. Which is lie and he is, but he's making an effort to keep it minimal and most importantly: silent. Ezra may not even know anything is amiss, as his behavior on the return of his younger brother can be chalked up to him simply being sullen and angry. His back remains turned, his head tucked and facing the couch as well though he moves his arm a bit to reach for the offered mug. "Thanks." Rayathess mumbles, his voice quiet but a bit thick as he all but chugs back the water. So he wasn't lying about being thirsty, at least.

Ezra takes the mug again and pours another glass, handing it over again. Sniffling once more, he flops into the chair and stares at the food, and then at Rayathess, and then he sinks lower into the chair. Another sniff and despite trying to hold it back, he starts to cry. He can't hide it, but he does try to muffle it.

The second mug is drained a bit more slowly this time. Rayathess knows better then to chug it back as well and risk throwing it all back up again. If it was HIS room, maybe he'd not care so much. He blindly sets the mug aside, having to strain his arm in an awkward way to find somewhere safe to rest it. In those short seconds, he reigns himself in and wills his eyes to dry and the evidence not be so plain as day. Ezra's distress does not go unnoticed forever and guilt, along with regret and concern, have him rolling over — carefully — to face his brother at last. His skin is paled and though his eyes are glassy it could be explained away to lingering pain and discomfort. "I'm sorry." he mumbles awkwardly, unused as he is to be so forward with his apologies. And what else can he say?

Ezra shifts on the chair, and with another sniffle he tips forward to walk on his knees to the couch, burying his face against Rayathess' chest and slipping an arm around his brother's torso. "I thought she was gonna kill you," he whispers brokenly. "Right there, I thought…thought you'd go too…she'd kill you and you'd be gone and…and…and…" he hiccups.

Rayathess grunts in mild surprise when Ezra is suddenly walking on his knees and then burying his face against his chest and embracing him. At first he hesitates and then slips an arm over his younger brother's shoulder and back. Returning the hug, though gently and lose enough that he could easily wiggle free. "I was scared too." he admits, more for Ezra's benefit than for his. But why lie? He was able to feel his fear anyhow, when he had him gripped by the shoulders. "But she's no killer, Ezra. She was frightened too. Scared people do stupid things but… she was lowering her bow. I'm not gone or anywhere close to dying. Just got a busted foot." he murmurs, his voice low but steady.

Ezra shakes his head, rocking it back and forth. "I didn't know that," he whispers. "I…it…" He peed himself. And he's so ashamed of that. Of his fear. But he doesn't know how else he could have reacted to that. "It was so scary…"

Rayathess figures that his brother is ashamed, among other things but does not call him out on it. He figures that that would not help things at all and so he only keeps his arm around his sibling, his hand a firm but steady presence against his back. "And I'm ashamed and sorry you ever had to witness that. I really am. I didn't handle that well at all…" he mutters, grimacing. "Just throwing the truth at her like that. Shards, I'm an idiot."

Ezra draws back to look at his brother, eyes red and nose running. Charming. "You're not an idiot," he says firmly. "Lying would've been worse. She was so touchy. You did the right thing, saying the truth. It was the right thing, you weren't stupid. She was!" It's all her fault, obviously.

Rayathess pretends not to notice Ezra's red eyes and running nose or the fact that he's wearing the pants he wet himself in. His complete focus is on the discussion or evading the touchier parts of it. "She has her reasons for being so defensive," he says and then snorts, but his faint smile says it all. He appreciates Ezra's vote of confidence but it's harder to convince himself. He'll be worrying that guilt for some time. "Yeah, she was." he admits. Is he on his brother's side then? Not entirely. "Stupid to run too." Rayathess is silent then for a few minutes before he tries to lift his hand to ruffle his brother's hair. "You've been pretty smart and brave too, you know."

Ezra ducks his head into the ruffling, not protesting it for once as he snuggles closer again. "I wasn't," he protests quietly. "I peed myself. I couldn't think, I was so terrified. I just kept thinking that you were going to be taken away from me. That I'd lose you and…I couldn't handle that. At all. I just got you back…" He sniffles again, wiping at his nose.

Rayathess scoffs lightly and shifts against the couch, trying to sit up but not disturb Ezra too much. Awkward as he may be with all this hugging and snuggling, he seems reluctant to put an end to it. "So what if you did? Thing is is that, terrified or not, you stayed there. You could have run off or… or screamed or sic Zoi on her or something. You did what you could, even if terrified." He ruffles Ezra's hair again and then smirks. "You're not gonna lose me. Going to take more than a pissed off girl and an arrow through the foot to kill me." Speaking of Lyreh, Rayathess' eyes darken and his mood seems to shift. "Guess I won't be at the ruins and she'll think I've lied again. Then either she's going to be angry enough to stick around to level that score too or she'll leave."

Ezra pulls back when Rayathess shifts, sensing his brother's awkwardness. "I wouldn't leave you…" he says quietly. He's not totally reassured that he's not going to lose Rayathess - not today, certainly, but almost having your big brother killed in front of you is not something easily moved past. Then he frowns. "I…I'll go?" he offers, quiet and hesitant.

"I know you wouldn't." Rayathess reassures Ezra, giving his shoulder a slight bump with a closed fist. Trying to rekindle some of that sibling playfulness from earlier. Anything, to at least spark a hint of a smile in his younger brother. He knows it won't be easy, but he'll be damned if he'll let Ezra brood over it. Blinking, he's shocked speechless for a moment, mouth working silently until his brain finally catches up. "I… But, Ezra… No," he shakes his head. "It could be dangerous…" His mouth draws down into a thin line, brows knitting together as he begins to war with himself. Torn between desire and hope, then appalled that he is even THINKING of sending Ezra out to meet Lyreh alone.

Ezra smiles a bit at the shoulder bump, but it's fleeting. Then he blinks, watching Raya's struggle, not sure how he himself feels about the idea of going out alone. "But," he protests, "but what…maybe if I just took a note. Early. Left it there for her to find or something."
Dangerous, yes, and he loathes the woman, but at the same time…he just can not handle anyone feeling poorly against his brother. And he's also in that time in his life when things must be fair. And it wouldn't be fair for Raya to miss out on his meeting. Even though Lyreh caused it.

Rayathess gives Ezra a long, lingering look and then despite himself he laughs gruffly and just as fleeting as Ezra's smile earlier. "You and your notes," he muses in a teasing tone before he sighs, sobering up just as fast and back to looking conflicted and troubled. It wouldn't be fair, but that is life and Rayathess knows that the risks are high, that he is asking so much of his younger brother. And for what? The vain hope that he can reclaim a friend? If there was ever such a bond between him and Lyreh? Lifting a hand, he scrubs hard at his face and then runs it up through his hair. "It'll be dangerous, you know. You shouldn't go alone… even if you just leave a note. I know where you could put it." Of course he would. How many secrets does Rayathess have? "But if she's there or catches you going or leaving…"

"I could take D'ani," is Ezra's immediate suggestion. Because taking the Weyrsecond to meet a shady character…who probably knows exactly who D'ani is…yeah, that's probably not a good idea and despite his eagerness to share that thought, he's just as quickly shaking his head. "No, that wouldn't work…" All his friends are riders!

Would she recognize D'ani? Or any of the other riders not directly involved with the interviews and trials? Rayathess comes to the same conclusion as Ezra does, though is not as quick to lose hope. "Well… not if D'ani goes in with his knot and dress like a rider. I've no idea if she'd be able to pin him by sight. If she was ever interviewed by him." he murmurs thoughtfully, only to pinch at the bridge of his nose and shake his head. "All of this… And for what? That she'll stick around? I… I don't even know if it's worth the trouble. Maybe I should just forget about it. She'll show up, not find me and then leave. Disappear. And it'll be over."

Ezra shifts a bit, and then he shrugs. "I don't know," he finally says, looking at his big brother to make the decision. But, "It's good to have closure. When…when you can get it."

Of course it will have to be his decision. Rayathess can only stare at Ezra for what seems like an eternity, torn and so utterly conflicted over the whole mess and it shows. Both in his silence and the way that his jaw works, before at last he comes to his choice. "I can't have her caught or… or worse. She's smart but not in all aspects." Does that even make any sense? "If you think you can do it, then do it. Don't risk your neck though. Find someone to take with you… I don't care who or how. Just don't go in there alone."

Ezra nods. "I will," he says quietly, getting to his feet. "I need to go change though, and take a bath. I'll be back okay? You just…rest. Then we can write the letter later.

Rayathess waves a dismissive hand at Ezra, already leaning over the edge of the couch as far as he dares to snatch the nearest pillows and haul them back up to stuff behind his back. "Yeah, I'll be fine. Just drag the food over, will you? Since apparently I can't even walk to do that for myself." he grumbles. Rest will be all he can do, while Ezra goes and bathes (chalk that in for another can't do on his end). When his brother returns, they will write the letter and Rayathess will fill it with a whole bunch of coded lines and sayings which mean little to anyone else but him. Then he'll go into details about the 'ruins', the layout, what to watch out for and most importantly: all the exits.


'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.