Autumn can be such an unpredictable time weather wise and a day can start out sunny and clear and then turn cloudy and overcast, gloomy and oppressive by the afternoon. Today is one of those days and a biting wind has picked up along with it. Fires have been set in the hearths to ward of the chill and those who don’t have to venture outside huddle inside, muttering about the oncoming of winter.

In a large room that could be considered an office or even a study, two figures wait in an awkward and tense silence. That sort of expectant quiet between two who have little to say to each other but have to wait it out as their presence there hinges on something important. A small fire keeps the room warm and casts a pleasant glow about the modest furniture: a desk, a few chairs (two occupied and one left empty), shelves with books and a bookcase filled with scrolls and records and one lone tapestry to hang on the wall.

Not the cheeriest of locations, but the room will serve for privacy at least. A message was sent to Ezra sometime ago, delivered by Rayathess’ brown firelizard. It was a simple letter, written in a cramped and neat script:

‘We need to talk. Actual official stuff.
Can you come by the upper wings, around
where the Headwoman’s Office is? Door will
be open a bit.


And so there Rayathess sits, uncomfortable and growing increasingly more impatient and fidgety as the time ticks on. As for the man behind the desk, he is content to simply wait there in silence, showing no signs of discomfort. At one point though, he does speak up in a soft tone. “You’re certain he will come?” To which Rayathess just answers with a pointed look and frown that edges on a glare. “Yes.” He hopes so.

Ezra was in his lessons when the firelizard arrived, and - having snuck out of lessons enough - the Harper wouldn’t let him go even for ‘official stuff’. So Ezra had to wait until the lesson was over to take the stairs, several at a time, up to the upper floors. “Raya?” the teen calls as he looks at the office doors, some closed and some not. Moving forward, he absently tugs on the sleeve of his jacket and runs fingers through his hair.

Rayathess almost bolts upright from his chair at the sound of Ezra’s voice in the hallway, which only draws an amused smile from the man sitting behind the desk. He gestures though with a slight rolling ‘go on’ motion of his hand and Rayathess grimly pushes to his feet and strides to the door. “In here, Ezra.” he says by way of greeting, opening it enough to allow him to step through. Once he has, the door is promptly closed and locked. “What took you so long?” Rayathess hisses to Ezra in as best of a whisper as he can manage. The man behind the desk has gone about pretending to shuffle and organize the papers in front of him.

Ezra jumps a bit at Rayathess’ call, ducking his head and hurrying after. Though he frowns when the door is locked, squirming a bit. “Am I in trouble?” he hisses back. “I was in lessons, he wouldn’t let me go.” And then he eyes the man behind the desk, shooting his brother another narrow eyed and nervous look. Silently (and strongly!) asking, ‘what is going on here?’

It’s an ambush! Or an intervention! It’s — neither of those things. Rayathess smirks, “No, you’re not in trouble. And you told him it was urgent, didn’t you? Ah well. You’re here now. Go sit.” And he waves at one of the chairs, while he shuffles back to the one he vacated to get to the door. No explanation is given for that silent and strong look, save for Rayathess to look… almost sad before he glances away towards the fire. Maybe he feels guilty for what is about to be sprung on his poor younger brother?

The man at the desk looks up then, waiting until Ezra has settled himself before leaning forwards. Now he can be seen a little more clearly, both from fire and glow light. He’s older in age, a bit past his prime but still sharp. His eyes are bright and intelligent, though now they only show a gentle sort of kindness behind them. Long hair has been pulled back into a neat plaited braid and his strong features are softened just a bit by a well groomed beard. Neither of the Stonehaven’s know that the Senior Harper Journeyman sitting there is none other that Garan — Th’ero’s father. Rayathess just sought out the most trustworthy Harper he could cross paths with and Garan had been there during the trials… “Afternoon, Ezra. I’m sure you’re wondering right now why you’re here. It’s not for any trouble or anything like that. Just… a very important conversation. One Rayathess here has been discussing with me over the last few sevendays.” Garan goes on to say, keeping his voice gentle and level.

Ezra looks /really/ nervous now, eying his brother. “You’re not leaving, are you?” he blurts out - his worst fear. He does sit, but it’s slowly, perching on the edge of the seat like he’s ready to bolt at any moment. Pale green eyes shift towars the harper, and there’s a pause before recognition dawns. The Harper from the trial. “Yes, I am,” he says hastily, squirming again in his seat. Then he looks back at Rayathess. “For sevendays?” He has the sinking feeling he’s been left out of something. Something important, and that not only frightens him, it also angers him. “What’s going on?”

“I’m not leaving!” Rayathess interrupts right back when Ezra blurts out his worst fear, both exasperated but trying to reassure his brother. Garan only waits patiently until both Stonehaven brothers are silent again before speaking up. “It’s alright, Ezra. Nothing has been set in stone yet, we were just talking. But,” And the Harper holds up a finger now and smiles that bright, warm (if not slightly charming) smile of his. “That’s why you’re here now! Because what we — your brother and I, that is — were discussing has now hit a point where YOU need to be present. Hence why we’re all here. I am a neutral party, only to bear witness, if needed.” At least for this step. There will be many more steps involved, depending on how this goes. Garan falls quiet then and gives an expectant look to the eldest brother. Go on.

Rayathess grimaces still but it eases back when he turns to stare at Ezra. He fidgets and then exhales, “Listen, this isn’t going to be easy so I’m just going to say it outright and skip all the beating around the bush, okay?” he warns his little brother and with one last lingering look he takes a steadying breath and begins. “I don’t want to be heir of Stonehaven anymore. Maybe once, before… all of this. But not anymore. I can’t be, there’s just — too much,” Wrong with him. “Time gone. I’ve changed. Just cause I’m eldest isn’t a good enough reason to hold on to something I don’t want. So… It’s yours, Ezra. You understand? It’s yours if you want to take it.”

Ezra relaxes - but only a little bit - when Rayathess reassures him he’s not leaving. Glancing at Garan, the teen squirms, and then looks back at Rayathess. Bear witness? Blink. What’s going onnnnn. And he’s glad his brother doesn’t try to ease him into it either - he’s already nervous enough. So when Rayathess lays it all out like that, Ezra visibly startles. “Are…are you sure?” he whispers softly, glancing at Garan and then back to Rayathess. OH. /That/ is why there’s a Harper there. To make it /official/. That’s when his heart really starts to pound. “Will you still help me with it?” he asks, squirming again. “Do you still want to be there?”

Garan says nothing, he only observes and quietly so. If he holds any judgement or opinions, he’s withholding it all and all but fades into the background for now. This is between the Stonehaven brothers and the Harper is not about to interrupt this crucial discussion. He may mediate but not until he’s called upon for it. Rayathess only spares Garan a quick glance before looking back to Ezra and some of the tension leaves his posture, mostly when it’s obvious that his younger brother is catching on — and not throwing a huge fit. Was that what Rayathess was so afraid of? “I’m sure.” Rayathess says without hesitation, his expression still grim but that could be from the stress. He almost laughs though for Ezra’s questions, but manages to keep it to a quirked and crooked smile. “I told you I would help you with it. I’m still going to be a Stonehaven, Ezra. Just not THE Stonehaven. And I want to be there. I do. Eventually… There’s just something I have to do before that. Or that I want to do…”

Ezra stares at his brother for a long moment, pushing fingers anxiously through his hair. He even smiles a bit, hesitantly, when Rayathess smiles. “What? What is it you want to do?” Of course he’s going to ask. He wants all the information before he makes his own decision.

Of course! Rayathess expected that but of course he hesitates at this part, turning to glance to Garan. The old Harper only nods his head and gestures for the eldest Stonehaven to continue. Nothing said now will hinder anything. “I’m going to apprentice to the Harpers.” Rayathess explains, his voice lowering and yet confident still. “Harper Garan…” Another darting look, though the Journeyman only smiles at his name. “Says I’m a good fit to be accepted. Going to study law and… things like that. Not so much the singing part and all. No offence.” That’s to the Harper, which brings a chuckle from the man. “None taken.” he murmurs. Rayathess exhales then, heavily, as if some great weight has been lifted from his shoulders. “I can be posted to Stonehaven then, Ezra. Or at least that circuit. I’d be able to help you in… in legalities and all that. Let you focus on more important matters.” They’ll be a team! Sort of.

Ezra blinks, more startled at this than he was at his brother giving him heir. “A Harper? Why?” is his first reaction, darting a guilty look to Garan and mumbling an apology. “Just…doesn’t seem like…you…” he mutters lamely. “Law? Well…it’d be…great having a Harper in the family…” He’s faltering a bit, struggling to come to terms with how his future plans have just drastically shifted.

Garan only shakes his head and gives Ezra a reassuring look. Honestly, no offence given! If the Stonehaven’s only knew of half of what the Harper had to go through, they’d know that their “insults” are not even close to being what they think. Rayathess only sighs, lifting a hand up to rub at the back of his neck and then scrub roughly at his hair. “It just feels… right. And I’ve changed Ezra and so have you. All this changed us. Maybe back then, I’d not be a Harper ever. I’d still be groomed for heir and probably take to it just fine. But now?” Not now. That life was forever altered thanks to Laris. “Yeah…” Rayathess murmurs, only to give his younger brother a frank look. “You’re not sold on it, are you?”

Ezra shifts a bit, chewing on his nails in nervous habit. “I…well. I mean when you were…” dead, “gone, I thought I was heir, so I planned for it. Then you came back and I gave it up again. But now…you’re giving it back to me. I want it. I do,” he says without hesitation. “I want Stonehaven and I want to get our home back to how it was. Better. I want to open the mine again and I want to craft things again. I want to…I want to go home,” he mutters, glancing away, a bit ashamed at his heavy emotions.

Dead. Rayathess’ expression shifts, darkens and one corner of his mouth appears to faintly twitch as his mind flinches. But he only grips his chair firmly and keeps himself from spiraling down that path. No, not the time to do that now. “Yeah, I know. I could tell… and I don’t blame you. You had, how many Turns? To plan. My focuses shifted to other things.” Like just surviving. Gritty, raw and primal. Surviving, staying alive and most of all keeping Anrila from harm. Didn’t leave him much time to think of the future. “See? You’ve already got a game plan in motion. I don’t. Stonehaven will do better under you, since you’ve got it as priority here.” Rayathess points to his chest, at the heart. Get it? His expression softens then, saddens and even Garan has to pretend to look elsewhere as Ezra tries to express such heavy emotions. One both of them understand, to different degrees. “I know. And YOU will. We both will. In time. But for it to start Ezra, it has to be done. Official. So folk stop looking at ME as heir and start calling you by that title.”

Ezra nods. “A few,” he mutters. Time to think, time to plan. Something to hold on to to keep him moving forward. To keep him from spiraling into depression. A goal to work for so he had a purpose and didn’t feel so alone. “We both will,” he says firmly, fixing his brother with an intense look. Taking a deep breath, he lets it out slowly and nods. “It’s where I’m supposed to be,” he murmurs. “There’s…no job for me here, in the weyr.” No dragons have looked his way in all the turns he’s been here. It’s clear - to him - that’s not his destiny. “How…do we make it official?” And now he looks to Garan. Understanding fully, now, why the Harper is privy to this conversation.

He had his goals and Rayathess had his own, many of which have been achieved and now the eldest Stonehaven finds himself feeling a bit lost and drifting. This… plan of his gives him purpose again, at least. Something to ground on and start rebuilding. “We both will,” he echoes back again to Ezra, not balking or dropping his eyes from his brother’s intense look. Rayathess exhales heavily again and begins to sink back into his chair, a little more relaxed than he was before. “So you’re for sure set on this Ezra?” he asks, not doubting but just for the sake of hearing it. Garan looks over to the younger Stonehaven brother and his smile is gentle. “It’s both simple and… complex. To start, the agreement will need to be heard and witnessed. A lot of signatures and formalities and, of course, paperwork…” And the old Harper’s hand taps at the papers stacked neatly on the desk. “If you are serious and have come to a decision, then we start with the announcement of the title of heir switching from Rayathess to you. You may be required to hold a meeting with the Lord of Fort Hold but perhaps not.”

Ezra looks at the Harper and then to his brother, before he nods. “Yeah. I want to be heir. I want Stonehaven, if you don’t want it,” he says quietly. He’s confident in his decision. It’s what he was meant to do. But he squirms again, eyeing the paperwork. Better get used to it now, kid. “Okay. Announcement…where?”

Rayathess is only sparing quick glances to Garan, his attention focused mostly on Ezra and watching him carefully, despite what relief has sunk in from his brother’s agreement. “I don’t want Stonehaven, not as heir. I WANT to go home, some day just…” Not as the one in control of it! He smirks when Ezra begins to squirm, having to bite his tongue though it’s Garan’s laughter that fills the room. “It doesn’t have to be a formal announcement. Could be a quiet affair if that is what you both prefer. Just the necessary letters going to the right people and the rest spreads by the usual channels.” he murmurs.

Ezra shifts a bit. “Like…a party? We throw a party for it?” Wow. What a party. Let’s see. Anrila, D’ani, Inri….uh… Woo? Good thing the cothold is remote.

Garan can’t answer this and so the Harper just goes back to sorting out the papers again into three neat stacks. Rayathess only stares at Ezra for a moment. “You’d really want to throw a party? Where?” he asks, curious and yet hesitant.

Ezra blinks. “Well, I thought that’s what he meant…a quiet affair. Doesn’t that mean a party? I…don’t even know if I’d /want/ a party. Seems kind of…mean. But…” He’s lost again. “I don’t know. Just tell me what to do,” he finally exhales, thumping back into his seat.

Rayathess only stares at Ezra and long enough that Garan steps in, “No, it means that we just quietly do the start of the paperwork here. Rather than have it shouted out, say… with you both front and center in the living caverns or in the Great Hall of Fort Hold.” he points out, perhaps a touch sympathetic for how lost the younger brother appears. Rayathess only shakes his head and grimaces, “Ezra… you’re about to take on Stonehaven. You’re going to be past a point where you should be asking folk what to do and just DOING it. Or asking our advice. There’s a difference.” he mutters.

Ezra blinks, and then blushes a bit. “Oh. Yeah. That sounds much better. Doing it here.” Then he looks over at his brother with a frown. “Yeah, well. I’m not there yet and I don’t know how all this works. So, please, Harper,” he says to Garan, “guide me through this?” Then he looks at his brother. Good enough?

Rayathess now looks confused, giving Ezra a long and lingering look. “So, what is it then? You want a quiet announcement? You’d be able to tell D’ani and Inri, Anrila too in private first. Then I guess… a party.” he murmurs though he seems hesitant on the last part. Are parties not his thing? He frowns then, but anything he was going to add is interrupted by the Harper speaking up. “Garan. Harper Garan,” he corrects Ezra and then chuckles, giving the youth a warm and reassuring look. “I can’t guide you through everything, I’m afraid. I will help you with this step though. So, I suppose we start at the very start: what has you confused or uncertain so far?” Is he going to regret asking that?

Ezra blinks at his brother, shaking his head firmly. “No. I don’t want a party, Raya. I just…I thought that’s what Harper Garan meant. I thought he said we had to have one. I don’t want one. Quiet is good. And I just want to know what we do now, to make this official. Paperwork, I’m guessing,” he says, eying that stack again.

Both Rayathess and Garan shake their heads, though the eldest Stonehaven only smirks while the Harper keeps his features neutral but warm and friendly enough. “I didn’t mean to confuse you,” he apologizes. “I meant that you won’t have to be dragged in front of a crowd and all. Effective, but not necessary in this case. Quiet it will be then. And yes, paperwork.” And he pushes forwards a stack of paper each for the Stonehavens. Not that it’s much, maybe at most three pages. “Read them over carefully. It’s basically a long winded explanation of everything that was mentioned here and agreed upon but with… much more flowery pose.” In other words: Big Legal Words and Lots of Filler. “If something doesn’t make sense, let me know and I’ll try to explain it, though I’m not THE best Harper for these sort of details.”

Ezra takes the papers and peers at them, squinting with a bit of a frown. “What does this mean?” he asks, pointing and reading slowly. “‘The aforementioned Ezra Stonehaven, heretofor referred to as ‘the heir’…’” Ahh, legal jargon.

Oh yes, legal jargon. Get used to it Ezra! And Rayathess too, though he knows full well what he’s about to get himself into. He’s picked up his stack and appears to be reading through it with little trouble or… he has the same question as his brother and just feigns mild interest as he peers up over the edge at the Harper. Garan clears his throat, “It’s a very fancy way to say that You, Ezra Stonehaven are from now on referred to as ‘the heir’ of Stonehaven. Anything after that pertains to your rights and expected duties as a holder, etc and so on.” he murmurs. Make sense?

Ezra blinks at it. “Oh!” he says. “So instead of saying Ezra, they’re gonna say ‘the heir’, and it’s me, right?” He looks up, pleased he’s (he thinks!) figured it out. “This…looks good to me I guess?” he says, looking at his brother. He’s the one losing this. It has to be right by /him/.

“Yes, that’s correct.” Garan tells Ezra with another one of those smiles of his. “This paperwork is all written in the context that it is YOU,” he points to him. “Who is to be the heir of Stonehaven. There is a small part there that explains the exchange.” And the Harper finds it, so that he can point it out. Indeed, it’s all there in writing — flowery prose again — but it’s there. Truthfully that is the ONLY important line of all of that jargon. Rayathess has set his papers down and is quietly watching the exchange, only to look over at his brother when Ezra asks him that question. “Everything that’s needed to make you heir by law is there.” So it’s right. “All we do is… sign it now. And then…” It’s official. “It’s done.” Rayathess at least smiles a little then and it’s hard to really pinpoint or read his expression. Could be there are simply too many flickering there for now.

Ezra leans forward, studying the paperwork and nodding at the line Garan points out. Then he looks over at Rayathess, and after a moment’s hesitation, reaches out to rest his hand on his brother’s arm. “I’m ready if you are,” he says quietly. He wants to make sure his brother is /sure/, because after this…he honestly doesn’t know if he could give it up again.

Rayathess blinks at the sudden gesture from Ezra and then smiles vaguely, reaching over with his other hand to rest it over the one on his arm. No, there will be no sudden and abrupt changes, no last minute second doubts. He’s firmly set in this and has been for some time. “I’m ready.” he says firmly, looking up from Ezra and then staring intently at Garan. The old Harper only nods and produces a writing tool for them all. “Then consider it done. Just sign and it will begin the process. We’ll have to do a more… formal meeting.” Which means more signatures. “With the proper amount of witnesses necessary to oversee. But this is the first step.” And from his tone, it cannot be undone. Not easily.

Ezra watches his brother for a moment longer before he nods and takes the stylus in his hand, bending over the paper to sign his name very, very carefully. “Ugh,” he says then with a sudden frown. “That doesn’t even look like my signature…looks like a five turn old wrote it.” Garan doesn’t happen to have /another/ copy of the paperwork, does he? Maybe a Xerox machine in the back?

Nope, no copies and Garan only laughs. “A signature is a signature. No one is going to really notice, so long as it says Ezra Stonehaven. Trust me,” he almost says ‘boy’ and promptly corrects himself. “You’ll have plenty of time to perfect the art of signing your name.” Oh joy? Rayathess meanwhile manages to sign his copy and simply pushes it over to the Harper with little more than another darting glance. So? Garan holds his hand out for Ezra’s copy then. Looks like the five-turn old signature will have to do!

Ezra glowers a bit at his signature before he passes his paper to Garan with a low sigh. Fidget.

With all the papers now in hand, Garan quickly double checks to be sure each is signed as it should be and then satisfied, slips them all into a protective leather folio. “It’s done. These will be presented to Fort Hold’s Lord and the Weyrleadership here, as well as to Masterharper Moyrel. You both should expect to have to sign more and appear for formal meetings and discussions in the next few days. But if you wish, you may tell close friends or anyone you feel needs to know now of the change to come.” he tells them, his keen gaze shifting from brother to brother before settling on Ezra with a broad smile. “Congratulations and the best of luck to you.” With his services no longer as needed, the old Harper begins to push to his feet, but not before addressing Rayathess. “And I will speak with you later concerning applying for Apprenticeship. Is there anything more you two wish to ask of me before I take my leave?”

Ezra shifts again, and gets to his feet when the Harper stands. “Thank you, sir,” he says formally, offering his hand to shake. “I think we’re good?” Look to Rayathess. Right? Though his insides are squirming, he’s not sure if he wants to celebrate or go throw up.

Poor Ezra! Rayathess just looks completely collected and calm, though withdrawn. He stands as well when Garan does, offering his hand as is polite but it’s done automatically. “We’re good. Thank you for your help and time, Harper Garan.” he murmurs and the older man only nods his head and flashes them both a smile before tucking that folio under his arm and taking his leave. Now it’s done and as the door shuts with a click, there is no turning back. They did it. Ezra is heir and Rayathess is free of the title that weighed so heavily on his back. For a moment, the elder brother can only stand there, staring at Ezra. Waiting, perhaps?

Ezra stares at his brother when the door clicks shut, shifting his weight. And he waits. Awkwardness begins to settle on the brothers, and then Ezra takes a little step forward, arms lifting. Someone wants a hug.

Ezra can be so adorable sometimes! Even if he’s, you know… not a kid anymore. Rayathess doesn’t seem fazed by the awkwardness settling in, either accustomed to it or just not caring. But when his brother steps forwards, arms lifting well, it’s obvious enough and he won’t deny his sibling. Not when they’re in a private room. The hug starts tentative at first and then rapidly grows fierce and tight, almost uncomfortably so as Rayathess all but crushes him in his embrace. Is it from relief and joy? Most likely. And that slight hitched sensation to his breathing? Is nothing. It’s just because he can’t breath from… holding Ezra so tight. Yup. That’s it!

Ezra grunts softly when his brother’s hug intensifies, but he’s a man now, so he just squeezes back tight and fierce. Glancing up at his brother, he tries to see if that hitch is crying. Certainly his eyes are getting a little moist, as he buries his face in Raya’s tunic and squeezes all the more, fingers curling tightly into his tunic.

You’re not a man if you don’t hug fiercely? Rayathess won’t yield his current state quite so easily and when Ezra looks up at him, he has his head turned slightly down and away, eyes closed though his brow is knitted heavily in a frown. He looks to be struggling, either with some thought or concentrating on keeping himself together. Squeezing back, his fingers will curl and dig against Ezra’s back and at last he speaks up in a voice that is low and a bit gruff and thick, despite his attempt to swallow and clear his throat first. “Thank you.” Rayathess begins. “… you’re going to be a good holder, Ezra. I know it. You’ll bring Stonehaven back to what is was, if not better than before.” Geeze, way to put pressure on your brother’s shoulders! Or maybe he means it to be kind.

Ezra’s breath catches and he presses closer to his brother. “I know,” he says softly. Ego? No, just dedication and /decision/. He’s going to do his very, very best to make Stonehaven back to what she was. “I…you want to go get an ale?” he asks then, peering up at his brother. “You’re okay?”

Rayathess doesn’t consider it ego either, knowing (and perhaps that is HIS ego) that his brother is better than that. Ezra, to him, is not power hungry. If he had shown traits like that, or anything troubling, he’d not have relinquished heir to him no matter how much he despised the title himself. “An ale?” he says, voice wavering with what sounds like a chuckle and he’s only wiping at his eyes because he’s tired. All that paperwork, right? He steps back a bit, his arms slipping back to his sides. “Yeah, I’m okay. But since when do you drink ale?” Time to switch things to a normal casualness.

Ezra knows what just happened, but he doesn’t tease his big brother about it. Usually he would, yes, but today? No. Then the teen just grins. “Never? But I just got Stonehaven, it’s not really an occasion to celebrate with juice.”

And for that Rayathess is grateful. The young man is still touchy about certain things and apparently even showing a few happy and relieved tears is considered a weakness, regardless if it’s his brother who witnessed it. “Alright. So have you ever drank at all?” he goes on to ask instead and with a small little smirk.

Ezra stiffens, straightening up a bit. “/Yes/,” he says in teenage indignation. “Inri’s mixed me drinks before.” He’s not a /kid/. Even though part of him wants to stomp his foot.

Rayathess snorts as Ezra stiffens and postures defensively. Oh, he makes it too easy! “Ha! Mixed drinks? That’s beginner stuff.” Wuss. Oh yeah, he just implied that. If he’s not a kid… then it’s time to play with the big boys? “Let’s go get an ale then. Though maybe I should make you sip mine first to be sure you’ll even like it!” he teases, reaching for the door to pull it open. After him!

Ezra smirks, aiming a playful punch at his brother’s arm. Ahh, boys. “Don’t be a jerk,” he says, kicking Rayathess’ boot before he darts out into the hallway.

Rayathess just takes the punch and the kick in stride, his once vague smile now becoming something far warmer and genuine. He chuckles as Ezra darts out into the hallway and he is hot on his heels, lengthening his stride so he can nudge back at him and then try to ruffle his hair. He won’t be able to do that much longer, Ezra is probably growing to match his height by now! “Bet you won’t even finish a small pint!” he drawls in another taunt, before taking the stairs down to the living caverns and then striding right on through to the Shenanigan’s Lounge.

Shenanigan's Lounge

The natural walls of this cavern haven been completely covered and replaced by straight and sometimes curving walls of brickwork. There's method to the madness of covering stone with stone. It's as simple as the electric buzz in the room. New grade electric lights dot the fancy brick worked walls, with wires cleverly hidden behind, allowing more focus to be centered on the rest of the room rather than the numerous strings of wire needed to operate the lighting. Each bulb roosts in a bronzed metal flowering fixture, giving the room a rich atmosphere. Still, the walls are not the only place which has stone on stone appeal. The floor has been run smooth, the surface now slate rock, creating an imperial cast.
Beyond the actual foundations of the lounge, the luxury continues. High backed wooden chairs with padded white seats have been stationed all around the room. Between the individual chairs are benches fashioned out of the same rich wood with pillows made to flatter the cushions. There are low lying coffee tables or end tables near the individual chairs, while there's larger dinning room sized tables with chairs to match scattered as well, giving much variety to those who find themselves in the room. Decorative hangings and framed artwork has been neatly hung around the room, but to offset the meticulous method of the room, there's some pieces that give a sporty feeling to the room - such as a fishing rod or a snow shoe.
Of course, the final appeal of the room comes in the form of it's purpose; athletic competition. There are several games of darts lining the walls, various decks of dragon poker cards available, a large velvet lined pool table centered to one side of the lounge, a mat area surrounded by ropes, and an area that keeps track of all the runner races around the world via radio signal, giving constant updates on the status of the runners. Lastly, there's a bar here, small and built with brick as well. There's usually a bartender on duty willing to mix drinks during the evening hours.

Ezra smirks. “Just you watch!” He’ll give himself his first hangover just to prove his brother wrong, as he walks in and climbs up onto a stool. “Two pints,” he orders, much to the startlement of the bartender. The man looks around - for an adult, likely - and then sees Rayathess. “Two?” he confirms. “Which kind?”

Rayathess will either be pleased in some weird way to have been present (and the cause) for that milestone or very much regretful if he winds up with his own hangover from this. Nodding to the bartender, he amends. “Two of the pale ales, please.” Taking a seat, he jabs at Ezra’s side with his elbow and then smirks. “You sure you wanna give it a shot? I’m not going to have to drag you back to your room, drunk off your ass, am I?”

Ezra shakes his head, looking almost alarmed. “I’m not doing a shot.” Misunderstanding ftw? “I doubt it. It’s just one ale…” And pale at that! And only a pint. When they’re set on the bar, Ezra pulls out the marks to pay for both, and lifts his mug. But he fails on coming up with a toast. Uh.

“Oh sweet Faranth, no, we are not doing shots! I meant if you’re sure you want to even try the ale! But you don’t mix liquor and ale, unless you are aiming to be sick.” Rayathess exclaims with a dry chuckle and then shakes his head. Oh, poor Ezra. Just one ale? He says nothing and lifts his mug. A heartbeat or two passes and he comes up with a toast: “To Stonehaven’s new heir!” And promptly drinks to it! A good, deep swig too and only a slight grimace from the kick back. “Not bad.” he admits.

Ezra looks relieved that they’re not doing shots. “Don’t mix liquor and ale…but isn’t ale liquor?” Ahh, the finer points of booze. Best to learn now, right? His cheeks color slightly at his brother’s toast, and he echoes it before adding, “to the future,” and drinks a sip of his with a slight grimace. “I like Inri’s mixes better…” Of course he does.

“Ale is like a beer. And the rhyme goes… liquor before beer and you’re in the clear. Beer before liquor and you’ll ever be sicker.” Rayathess points out with his apparent deep wisdom in booze. That or he’s just repeating stuff he’s heard! “To the future!” He adds to his toast as well, taking another sip and then all but laughing at Ezra’s reaction. “Thought so! Knew you’d not like it. Probably should’ve started you on ciders.”

Ezra still looks confused. “But isn’t ale alcoholic? Liquor is alcohol, right?” He doesn’t get that liquor means /hard/ liquor. Then the teen looks stubbornly at his brother, and pointedly takes another sip. “I’m going to drink it,” he says firmly.

Rayathess will set him straight! “Liquor is hard liquor. Vodka, whiskey, rum… you know, those sort of things. The alcohols for your mixed drinks.” Cue a wrinkling of his nose, just to tease Ezra a little further. Taking another sip, he eyes his younger sibling and then grins. “Bet you won’t get half through it before gagging.”

Ezra just looks all the more stubborn, even as comprehension finally clicks in. Lifting his ale, he eyes it and then tips it back. Chug. Chug. Chug…

Rayathess grins when Ezra becomes stubborn and begins to tip back his drink again and gradually it begins to waver. Uh… “You might not want to do that. Ezra? Woah, slow down!” he warns, setting aside his drink and trying to lean forwards to grab his brother’s pint and forcibly lower it if he doesn’t stop.

Ezra’s ale is forced down, and then the teen turns a bit…green. “I’ll be back,” he mutters, wobbling off the stool and tottering towards the latrines.

Rayathess grimaces and then sighs as Ezra wobbles and totters off towards the latrines. He hesitates… then promptly knocks back the rest of his ale and then wanders off to go find his younger brother. Thankfully Shenanigan’s isn’t overly busy and the latrines are hopefully not very populated either. This is awkward and embarrassing enough. “Ezra? You okay?” he calls, concerned.

Ezra is better after emptying his stomach, and he comes back out a moment later, looking queasy. “I don’t like ale,” the teen mutters. “Think they’d bring us some crackers or something?” he asks, looking downright ashamed of his stupid behavior. Stupid stomach, not able to handle a bunch of unfamiliar ale dumped in it! It’s WEAK.

Rayathess steps back when Ezra comes out, not wanting to crowd in on his queasy looking younger brother. He only laughs softly at the muttering and shakes his head. “I warned you, didn’t I? You’re supposed to nurse ale slowly. Not like your mixed drinks, can’t just chug it back.” he murmurs. “Come on. I’ll order some flatbread. That should settle your stomach.” And he begins to turn back towards the lounge itself but moves at a slow enough pace for Ezra to follow.

Ezra just nods, shuffling alongside his brother and feeling stupid. Until. “Wait. Isn’t today your turnday?” he asks, peering up at Rayathess as he tries to work out the numbers in his head. What day is it? He gets confused sometimes.

Rayathess does not judge Ezra, just finding the whole situation a touch amusing but doesn’t tease him about it either, already sensing that his younger brother may not be taking it all too well. At the question, he only blinks and then smiles, pleased and sad in the same expression. “Now that you mention it… it is.” he admits with a shrug of his shoulders. “And I did not plan it out like that either.”

Ezra blinks at his brother and then gives him a little punch in the arm. “You’re supposed to /remind/ me!” As if it’s Raya’s fault that Ezra forgot. Huffing, the teen sits down again and peers thoughtfully at the bar top. “I didn’t get you anything, or make a cake…” He glances sidelong at his brother, a flicker of pain in his eyes. Turndays were always so wonderful in Stonehaven, with their father making the best cake ever, and their mother cooking…

“Hey!” Rayathess exclaims, rubbing his arm a bit where Ezra had punched him. Not that it hurt! “Yeah, well — other things came up too, alright?” Like organizing the paperwork they both just signed. “I forgot.” Lamest excuse ever but it’s the only one he can cobble together as he flops down on a chair next to his sibling. He sees that flicker of pain and has to look away, pretending that something mighty interesting is in the woodwork of the bar top. Rayathess remembers and promptly shoves all of those memories aside. Not now. “Didn’t get me anything?” he huffs and now his mouth quirks into a vague grin. “You did too.”

Ezra blinks, and then shakes his head. “I did not. I bought you an ale, that’s not a turnday present.” Pout. “What do you want? I can get lots of stuff.” He’s gotten good at that, during his time at the weyr. Resourceful!

Rayathess only blinks right back. Really? Ezra doesn’t realize…? He begins to laugh, low and soft but genuine before reaching over to nudge his brother with the tip of his boot to his leg. “Ezra, you dolt. You just gave me all I wanted by signing some small piece of paper! And you’re asking me if I want stuff?” he muses.

Ezra doesn’t get it, no. He thinks /he/ is the one who got the gift today. Stonehaven. He nudges Rayathess back with a sheepish look. “You really…you’re that happy about it?”
It’s a gift that works both ways! Rayathess sheds the title he was chafing under and earns his “freedom” to pursue a different path and Ezra gains the title he had thought lost to him. “Guess you can say I am happy!” he admits with a chuckle. Very! But he’s trying not to seem too joyous about it, unless he upsets Ezra by confusing his younger brother. “Been awhile since I felt… this happy.” He murmurs in a quiet tone and the promptly signals the bartender for another ale — but just for himself.

Ezra smiles, looking up at his brother with relief. “I’m so glad you’re happy, Raya. I…that’s all I want to see, is you happy.” Aww. “You excited to join the Harpers?”

Aww, cue a fuzzy moment! Rayathess ducks his head down, a bit sheepish and when the bartender brings the second ale, he’s quick to wrap his hands around it and stare down into the pale gold depths of the drink. “Well, you’ve made it so I’ll be far less stressed now…” he murmurs and then exhales slowly. “Yeah. Yeah, I am. But I’m also scared shit—- Just scared.” Sip.

Ezra dips his head down too, sheepish that he’s made his brother sheepish, and he orders tea for himself, and those flatbreads. “You were stressed?” Clueless, sometimes, but he’ll learn. “Why are you scared? I think you’ll make a great Harper.”

Funny how that works, isn’t it? One being sheepish making the other sheepish. Rayathess nurses a little more of that ale and then steals a piece of flatbread from Ezra’s plate. “Yeah, I was stressed.” he says, giving his brother a funny look. Did he not notice? Or did he hide it that well? “Cause I’ve no idea if I’ll make the cut. If I’ll be able to adjust… I’m going to be applying really late, you know? All the Apprentices are going to be Turns younger than me. Most will be Senior Apprentices by my age! And… and I don’t know how often they’ll let me leave the Hall when I first start.”

Ezra noticed, he just didn’t know it was because of Stonehaven. “I noticed,” he says with a faint, teasing smile. “I just thought it was…other stuff.” Alllll the other stuff Rayathess has had to deal with. “You’ll make the cut, you’ll be great. And at the Hall, you won’t have folks who already know you. It’ll be like a fresh start.” No one to judge, no one to know he was with Laris’ camp, no one. “That’ll just mean you’ll be more mature and better. And I’ll come visit! Lots, I promise,” he says, reaching out to give his brother’s arm a squeeze.

“Gonna have to be more specific! There’s a lot of stuff.” Rayathess drawls with a light tap of his finger to the side of his head. Lots and lots of locked away and hidden junk up there. And Ezra DOES remember this is the Harper Hall, right? “I don’t know about them not knowing. They’re Harpers. I bet they know a fair share but… you could be right too.” he murmurs and for a moment sounds hopeful. Blinking a bit as Ezra reaches out to squeeze his arm, Rayathess shifts so that he can clasp his brother’s arm back in turn. “I’d like that. And you know I’ll try to come visit you here too, as much as possible. I just started to adjust to Weyr life, too!”

Ezra shakes his head swiftly. “The /Harpers/ will know. But the kids won’t. You’ll make friends.” He hopes. Oh, how he hopes his brother makes friends. “Yeah, I know, but you’ve got to keep up with your studies!” he says in mock sternness, finger wagging at his brother with a grin. Then he takes a deep breath. “I’m going to miss you, Raya. We both are.” He and Anrila, since he’s assuming their sister will stay here at the weyr. “But I’m happy for you too. And…proud.”

Rayathess frowns as he mulls over Ezra’s words and then snorts. “Kids. They’re all going to be kids…” he mutters and then grimaces, suddenly not at all certain that he’s up for facing that awkward challenge. It will be hard to make friends when everyone is so much younger! Or maybe that will help considerably. Rolling his eyes, he grins faintly at Ezra’s mock sternness and only playfully smacks at his brother’s wagging finger. “I’m going to miss you too, Ezra. You and Anrila. But I’m not gone… you know that right? I’ll be back.” he says after a pause, inhaling deep to steady himself. He sips back more of his ale and then looks sheepish again. “Thanks… that means a lot.” It really does. “I’m proud of you too, Ezra. Very proud.” he says in a quiet tone but firm. He means it.

Ezra shrugs. “There will be some older people there too…” Grinning, he pulls his hand back to tear a bite from the flatbread. “I know you’re not gone,” he says with a quiet confidence. “It’s okay. We’ll be okay. I know you’ll come back.” Ducking his head, he smiles. “Thanks, Rayathess. As long as I have you guys…it’ll be okay.”

“Not Apprentice rank though!” Rayathess points out and perhaps it’s the ale or his own worries, but he speaks like he expects to be completely segregated from the other Harpers entirely once he dons his Apprentice knot. “We’ll be just fine. Of course I’ll come back!” he murmurs and nibbles on some of that stolen flatbread and reaches over to clasp his hand to Ezra’s shoulder. “You’ll always have us. And you have your friends too now, too. Speaking of them… you gonna let them know?”

Ezra blinks. “Why wouldn’t there be? I mean there probably won’t be but you never know. You’re joining up older, you’re not the only one I’m sure.” Shifting beneath his brother’s hand, he grins widely up at him, happy and proud. “Of course. D’ani first, then Inri. Then…” Does he have any other friends?

Rayathess mulls over it and then can only shrug, unable to find a hole in Ezra’s logic. “I mean more like my lessons and stuff. Going to be in a class of kids mostly. It’s just going to be ODD. Though hilarious if any of them try to tease me…” he says, as if trying to slip in a bit of joking to make him feel better about it. Chuckling, he doesn’t look the least bit surprised as D’ani and Inri’s names are mentioned. “Going to tell them at the same time? And we have to tell Anrila. Then I suppose we’ve got to formally tell… the Weyrleaders.” Oh joy. “Might just send Gren or Cervena with a note.” They can do that, right?

Ezra chuckles. “Odd, yeah, but…seems like odd is normal for us,” he says, grin crooked as he sips his juice and nurses his irritated tummy. “If any of them tease you I’ll beat them up.” He’s kidding, right? “Yeah, Anrila of course. And maybe not at the same time? I’m not sure…we’ll see. And yeah, I can go tell Th’ero and Dtirae. I - we - should tell them in person, I think.”

“Or we’re normal and it’s the rest of the world that is odd.” Rayathess quips with a smirk and drains the last of his ale. Ezra may have had a weak stomach to it, but he seems to be handling it fine… for now. He orders a third and leaning to rest his arms crossed on the bartop, turns his head to keep his gaze focused on his brother. “Guess I could tell them my brother is heir to a hold! That might spook some of them off.” he teases. “Alright. I’ll leave that to you to decide. Your first official decision!” Rayathess exclaims and then takes a sip from the new mug the bartender sets down after it has been paid for. Doesn’t… he have anyone to tell?

Ezra laughs. “I like that better.” He eyes his brother when he orders a third ale (gag - literally) but doesn’t comment. Then he laughs. “Yeah, you could do that,” he says, grin crooked. “Or you could add the blood cord to your knot…Or you could just be anonymous.” Another grin. “I’ll tell them.” That’s an easy first decision!

Maybe someone should cut Rayathess off soon, though he doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of being overly buzzed or drunk. “Nah, I’ll probably add the blood cord. Why hide it?” he muses and then gives his brother a long, lingering look before smiling again. “Good! At least that is settled then.”

Ezra grins, “No reason to hide it,” he says confidently. “You doing okay? You’re drinking…a lot.” Sip of juice! Woo! Sitting forward a bit, he leans on the bar like it’s not juice he’s drinking, and smiles at his brother. “I should go tell folks…”

“No reason,” Rayathess agrees and then blinks, looking down at his mug and then to Ezra. “This is a lot? It’s my Turnday and I’ve just made a big step in my life. Why not celebrate a little?” he says. What he doesn’t say is that without his brother being here he’d… just go back to his room. Ezra has his friends, Rayathess has… acquaintances. And his family, of course. His siblings. But that only goes so far. So he only smiles back when his brother mentions going on to tell the others. “Heading off then?”

Ezra shrugs a bit. “I could. Unless you want me to stay here. Or…something else.” The teen looks restless for some reason. Anxious to be doing something.

Rayathess studies Ezra from over the rim of his mug and he is not so oblivious (or buzzed) to not pick up on his brother’s restless and anxious state. “You look fidgety,” he drawls, both amused and curious while he shrugs. “Your choice, Ezra. Again, I’m not going to always make your decisions for you. Gonna have to learn to do things for yourself and not always worry about what others may want.” he points out.

Ezra stills, exhaling a bit. “I am fidgety. And yeah, I /know/, but. I will always worry about what /you/ want, Raya. Plus it’s your turnday. You’re-” and he stops himself. They used to pass around the title ‘heir for the day’ (since Pern has no princes/princesses). But that doesn’t /quite/ work any more. “It’s your day,” he finishes.

“Why do you worry so much about my desires?” Rayathess asks, giving Ezra a bit of a funny look, as if that concept is above and beyond him. He flinches slightly, just a slight twitch when Ezra almost fumbles into that old familiar routine for Turndays and just as swiftly his features clear and relax again. “Not much else I do, really. Rather dull, I know. But I did what I set out to do. Now I will finish this ale and maybe another one or two and stumble back to my room.” he says, lifting his mug as if to toast before knocking it back. “Unless you have suggestions? I’m all ears.”

Ezra blinks, returning Rayathess’ look. ‘Because…I love you and you’re my brother?” DUH. Uh. Suggestions, suggestions, suggestions…um. “We could…” Tap, tap, tap. “We could go visit home?” he offers, softly spoken. Doubtful his brother wants to do /that/, but…it’s what came to mind.

“Well, I know that. But that still doesn’t really answer my question.” Or does it? Rayathess seems to be prying for more, even though nothing more may be there to be said. He’ll nurse his third ale while Ezra tries to find a suggestion and when he choses, he only slowly lowers his half empty mug down to the bar. Home. Home? Has he even been back yet? “Right… now?” he asks softly.

Ezra eyes his brother. “Why do I worry about what you want? Because…because I /missed/ you,” he admits in a rush. “So now that I have you back, I want you to be happy. So happy. Because of everything you went through. You deserve it.” Too much? Then he shifts a little. “Yeah, I guess? I could ask D’ani…”

Rayathess flushes a bit and it’s not all from the ale that he’s consumed. It may have been a bit too much as his eyes grow strangely dark and distant for a moment. He’s slipping, automatically withdrawing back to protect himself. “I’ve missed you too,” he manages to whisper but it sounds a little choked and garbled. Blinking furiously, he snaps out of it next and promptly gives his head a sharp shake to clear it. Okay.. enough alcohol. He shoves the mug away and rubs at his temple with one hand. “I think… I think I’d like that. Don’t know about today though. Short notice anyways…”

Ezra glances away a bit, shifting. Well. He /did/ ask! “I could see if I could find him?” he offers quietly, hand twitching a bit but for the moment it stays put.

He did ask and Rayathess is just going to take time to absorb it. Though he has made much progress since being at the Weyr, he still relapses now and again into his old habits and flaws. “Why don’t we keep it for tomorrow, Ezra? We’ll have more time then and you can give D’ani some notice. We’ll … go up in the morning. Maybe bring some food and just — spend the day there? D’ani can stay or return to pick us up… I’ll leave that for you two to decide. I don’t mind either way.” he murmurs and then hastily drowns the rest of his ale, swallowing with a grimace. Ugh, now he’s looking a bit queasy. But not from the alcohol. “How’s that sound?”

Ezra nods. “Sure, Raya, that sounds good to me,” he says with a little smile. “I’ll talk to D’ani about it, and pack us a lunch and stuff…”

“Good! You’ll let me know if he’s available, then?” Rayathess smiles back and then grabs a little more of that flatbread, with a hand that isn’t quite as steady as before. “And I think I should return to my room…” he murmurs with another grimace.

Ezra laughs. “Of course I will,” he says. “I wouldn’t go without you.” This time. He has gone before. But not after inviting Rayathess. That’d just be mean.

Rayathess snorts softly. “I know that. But plans can still change.” he says and begins to slip off his stool — literally. His legs don’t seem to be wanting to really respond or support his weight but he forces himself to stay upright. “You off to tell them then?” he’ll ask, while trying to appear to casually lean against the bar.

Ezra slides down quickly, stepping close to his brother and sliding an arm around his waist. “Why don’t we go to your room first?” he suggests with a grin. “Then I’ll go and find D’ani.”

Rayathess begins to wave off Ezra’s help, but it’s feeble at best and he’ll wind up with his brother’s support whether he wants it or not. Oh, pride! Such a fickle thing. “I’m fine!” he mumbles, but begins to shuffle away from the bar all the same. “Alright, fine. Be he’ll be pleased to hear the news.”

Ezra has to think about that as he helps Rayathess to - and through - the door. “I…think he’ll be happy for me,” he admits with a little nod and a little smile. “And you, that you’re doing what you want too.” Win-win!

“I was speaking more in relation to you. You two are friends.” Rayathess points out bluntly and not out of jealousy. It is simply the truth of it. He only shrugs to the rest, which almost sends him stumbling into a chair. Cough. Moving slower and with a bit of caution, he threads his way with Ezra at his side towards the doors leading to the lower caverns.

Ezra frowns a little bit. Faranth he hopes his brother makes friends at the Hall. Leading Rayathess carefully back to his room, he nudges open the door and peeks inside. “You need anything?”

That will remain to be seen, though perhaps doubtful (there are so few Harper PC’s after all!) and all hinges on how social Rayathess is or how the other Apprentices accept him. As Ezra nudges open the door, Rayathess will try to work free of his grasp so that he can unshutter a few glows. What… little there are. He seems to enjoy a subdued lighting or just hasn’t gone about finding more. As for the state of the room it is… very sparse but lived in. Just enough to take some of the uneasy edge off but otherwise there is very little in the room. Usual basic furniture and little else. “Home sweet home,” Rayathess drawls with a bit of sarcasm as he totters towards the musty looking couch and flops down on it. “Not really? Gonna need water but I can fetch that myself.

Ezra lets him go and then looks around, before he smiles a bit. “Well, you’ll miss it when you’re stuck in the apprentice dorms with a bunch of kids….” Mean? Not intentionally! Realistic. “You sure?” he asks, looking around again.

Rayathess groans and scrubs at his face, “Ugh, don’t remind me! I swear, that may be what inspires me to work as fast as I can to attain my Journeyman knot the most. Getting out of the dorms. I almost wish there is a way I could escape the Hall. Learn here.” he mutters, plucking listlessly at a shallow tear in the couch. “Yeah, I’m sure. I’ll take in some water and then probably sleep. Not much to be done or offered…” he murmurs, glancing up at Ezra. “But thank you.”

Ezra nods, glancing around again. “You’re sure there’s not? You can’t apprentice under one of the Harpers already here?” Because that’d be /perfect/. Then he’s smiling again, stepping forward to clap his brother on the shoulder. “You’re welcome. I’ll see you in the morning, brother.”

“I don’t know. I could ask but… I’d rather not get my hopes up. Harper Garan seem to make it out that it’d be nigh on impossible. Since I have to be accepted by someone posted here and they may not have the time or desire…” Rayathess admits with another shrug and then begins to shift to stretch out comfortably. Looking up at Ezra as he claps him on the shoulder, he smiles back. “See you then, brother. Give my regards to your friends.” he murmurs.

Ezra hesitates just slightly, before he puts on a smile and nods. “I will,” he promises, before he’s slipping out and closing the door quietly behind him.

Continues in: Toasting Stonehaven