Fort Weyr - Ledge of Autumn's Flame
The second ledge reached along the long and narrow flight of stairs is now Kayeth's. Hundreds of turns of Senior Queens have rested their heads along this rocky outcrop, and Kayeth lays where Holth, Wiyaneth and countless others once did. The second couch of the weyr is often empty, unless Kayeth is entertaining visitors. This vast cavern looks out across the bowl towards the lake and the rockslide, and the setting sun often bathes this ledge in amber and rose hues. Annexed to this large cavern is both the Council Room and the Records Room, the latter reached by a flight of descending circular stairs.
A curved couch has been set up inside the cavern, forming a small quiet reading nook with a view of both dragon couches and the weyr. A bookcase behind it holds the records she uses most often, so Nyalle doesn't have to work her way down the narrow stairs. Beside the hearth is an old wood china cabinet filled with a few pieces of precious china, each tea cup and saucer different from the others.
A short hallway and a door separates the weyr from Nyalle's sleeping room, and beyond that is her bath. The portion of the chiseled stone which sits directly beneath Tooth Crag has been curtained off, and forms a little lounge/office, where Nyalle and work or entertain visitors.

Nyalle has locked herself in her weyr. And locked is a literal definition of what she's done. She is literally locked in her weyr, curled up on the couch, fretting. Kayeth rests above on the Star Stones, her usually fiery color more grayed and washed out as she surveys the weyr below, thoughts divided.

The first indication of a guest about to descend upend her isolation is Zhirazoth circling and boldly landing beside Kayeth before even asking (politely!) if he can join her. He croons in gentle concern, noting her colour. « What's wrong? You do not look happy. » Thanks, Mr. Obvious? Down below, Mr'az climbs the stairs up to Nyalle's weyr and frowns when he finds the door locked. Unlike his bronze, however, he knocks.

Kayeth welcomes Zhirazoth's arrival with a low rumble. « Mine is fearful, » she says, scooting closer to the bronze. « She fears she has brought the illness back to Fort. » Down below, Nyalle's voice is muffled. "Who is it? I'm not accepting visitors!"

« Why? What is there to fear? Is there trouble? » Zhirazoth asks bluntly of Kayeth before she finishes explaining, even as he settles in close beside her and nuzzles at her neck in comfort and reassurance. « Sickness? Mine goes to see her now. He will help her! » Down below, Mr'az isn't so easily deterred. "Nyalle, it's me! Can't I come in?"

Kayeth shifts, exhaling softly. « I do not think she will let yours in. There is sickness on Pern, have you not heard? Mine was exposed to it at Healer Hall of all places, and she fears she has it, and has brought it here. » Below, there is silence for a moment, and then Nyalle's voice on the other side of the door. "Mr'az? I…no, no, you can't come in. I might have the sickness!"

Zhirazoth snorts. « Of course we heard! Mine did, anyways and that is why he is here. We were on sweeps to the south, near Boll. But the sickness is supposed to be on the islands across the ocean, not here in Fort! » the bronze intones with disbelief. Them, sick? Pfft. Below, Mr'az sighs and does not give up. He knocks again and calls to Nyalle through the door. "And what kind of friend would I be, Nyalle, if I left you alone when you could need someone to tend to you, if — and that's a big if! you have this sickness. Please, let me in? I won't come close, I'll keep my distance if that makes you feel comfortable."

Kayeth rumbles. « It is at Healer Hall now. » Which is /close/ to Fort. Below, Nyalle hesitates. "You promise not to get close? Mr'az, I don't know what I'd do if you caught it from me and something happened to you…" Her voice wavers.

Zhirazoth nuzzles her again, whuffling half-apologetically and comforting. « Healer Hall is still some distance between us. » he states confidently. Below, Mr'az does not hesitate, his shoulders sagging in relief when Nyalle finally relents a little. "I promise! I just want to talk to you and make sure you're alright. I won't catch it. I'm pretty good about these things. Please, Nyalle. Trust me!" Let him in.

Nyalle slowly unlocks the door and then hastens back, letting Mr'az open it for himself. When he steps inside he'll see her, and she looks a mess. Guilt is written clear as day across her face, her hands clench in front of her, wringing, and her weyr…it's messy. Not at all its usual tidyness. "Stay back," she warns, lifting a hand and taking a few steps back herself. "One of the riders at the numbweed boil had it."

Mr'az nudges the door open just enough for him to slip through and then he closes it behind him. He'll see how disheveled she is and that only brings more concern from him and the guilt so plain on her features. The weyr, or the state of it, is hardly noticed. He holds his hands up in return, palms outward. "I know! I promised. I'll stay back." But he'll make himself comfortable. He starts to strip off his jacket, keeping a careful eye on her. "Which rider? Did you get close to them?"

Nyalle takes a few more steps back, nodding. "C'vryn. From Igen, of all places. I was close to him, yes, even though we both had masks, R'en quaranteened everyone that was there, but I'd already left. Left and…" She gestures helplessly with a hand, "came back here, walked around, talked to people…" Her hands lift to cover her face. "Oh, Mr'az, what have I done?" she whimpers. "What if I brought death to Fort?"

Mr'az's frown deepens. Igen? So far from Half Moon Bay. He keeps his mouth shut on that thought, since it would only distress Nyalle further. "You had a mask on?" THIS is better to focus on! "You took precautions then. Have you washed your hands in redwort? I hear it makes an effective disinfectant. The clothes you wore too… we can store those away or have them specially cleaned?" he asks softly, only to blink when her concerns take such a dark twist. He wants to go to her, to hug her and hold her and sooth her but he can't because of his promise. "You've done nothing wrong, Nyalle! Nothing. We don't even know if you're sick yet and there's no sense fretting yourself needlessly. You are blameless in this."

Nyalle wrings her hands, nodding. "Yes, yes, redwort, I took a hot bath," nearly scalded herself, "and my clothes were dropped between." She paces, back and forth, and then flops onto the couch with her face in her hands. "I shouldn't have gone. I shouldn't have…"

Mr'az relaxes and nods. Good, good! He turns to the hearth then, to tend to what fire she may have going or starting one if she hasn't. He's going to brew her some tea, something comforting and soothing. "Nyalle, how were you to know? You did as you ought to have done. Healer Hall is tied to Fort Weyr, you went to support this event. It's not your fault!"

Nyalle tucks her legs beneath her, curling up into one corner of the couch. "I just hope it doesn't go terribly wrong," she whispers. There is fear in her voice. True, honest fear. Fear for herself, for Kayeth, for the weyr. And for him, now, having been in semi-contact with her.

Mr'az steps over into her kitchen, if she has one and finds where she keeps her teas. He'll browse through them, likely looking for a specific kind. Surely she has something close to chamomile or equally as soothing? "We won't know that and we can't know that," he tells her truthfully, but sensing her fear, he adds in a gentle voice. "What we, and you can do, though, is start preparing. I know you don't want to see others right now but you can send letters or have Kayeth bespeak your wishes. You're not powerless in this."

Nyalle has /all/ the teas, and yes, she has some soothing ones. Curled up on the couch, she looks up at Mr'az, brows furrowed. "Prepare? For what? How?"

"Well, with the Healer Hall now compromised, no doubt there will be specific orders coming from them. You will need to organize how to respond to whatever their demands are. You will also have to be sure that Th'ero and the others in your administrative team are aware that you've quarantined yourself as precaution and put one of your trusted Juniors in as spokesperson in your stead. You give her orders, she does them for you, including speaking to the weyr populace…" Mr'az begins to ramble on, keeping his tone gentle and level as he finds the tea he wants. A chamomile blend, but it'll do. He proceeds to set up a kettle and set it over the fire, while her more favourite tea cup waits to be filled.

Nyalle winces a bit. "But I don't want one of my juniors to step in for me…" There's a sigh. "I guess it'd be Inri. Or Elara, if she's feeling up to it. Kayeth has told Velokraeth, I think…" But she's not positive. "Speaking to the weyr?" She blanches at that idea or some reason, even though she knows it's true. The weyr /has/ to be told, and beyond rumors.

Mr'az shakes his head, "I don't mean actually step in for you. More like a… a… shards, what's the word I'm looking for? She'd not be your puppet but she'd be your shadow perhaps?" Does that make anymore sense? He isn't so sure and grimaces. "Then Th'ero will be wanting his answers soon. And yes, speaking to the Weyr." he confirms. "Not literally! That's why you write your letters and have others spread your words for you."

Nyalle sighs, curling up tighter around herself. "I just don't know," she whispers softly. "It's all so overwhelming…" And frightening.

"I'm sorry, Nyalle… I didn't mean to set so much on your shoulders…" Mr'az murmurs and starts to step towards her. Promise or not, he wants to hug her! To comfort her. What stops him is the kettle whistling and with a muffled sigh, he goes to collect it and prepare her tea. "What do you feel you should do?"

Nyalle curls her arms around her legs. "Hide in my weyr until it's over," she murmurs, small. Weak. Vulnerable. Not a Senior. A scared young woman who has already watched those she love die from sickness and starvation.

Mr'az frowns as he walks over with her teacup and sets it on the table, sliding it carefully forwards. "No, Nyalle. You're stronger than that!" he tells her firmly and his lower jaw works silently a moment. He's warring with himself and then makes a decision. Promise or not, he moves forwards to sit beside her on that couch and try to reach for her. At the very least, he will open his arms in invitation.

Nyalle shrinks away when he offers, her eyes wide and fearful. "No, Mr'az!" she whispers painfully. "No, I can't, I can't risk you!"
"You're not risking me, this is my choice!" Mr'az tells her firmly though he does not move forwards when she so obviously shrinks away from him. "Let me hold you, Nyalle. Comfort you! I've made you some tea, a soothing blend, but tea can only do so much."

Nyalle whimpers softly, her eyes filling with tears. This is so hard for her. So very, very hard. "I…but…" she whispers. She /needs/ him, that much is abundantly clear. No doubt Kayeth has a part in the next movement though, as Nyalle seems to move not of her own accord, shifting to fall against him with a choked sob.

Mr'az opens his arms again when she moves and he will hug her fiercely and tight to his body. "That's it… Let it go," he whispers as he rests his head over her shoulder and just holds her in his arms, in his lap. Safe and protected.

Nyalle sobs. Sobs and cries, her body shaking from the emotional outpouring. What she's kept inside during the past few days. Her fears, her worries, compounded after R'en's firelizard informing her she might be infected, the thought that she might have brought it back to Fort and given it to others… She isn't quite letting it go, but she's giving herself a release.

Release is better than nothing and Mr'az will continue to hold her, saying nothing, just silent in his support and doing all he can to comfort her. Arms wrapped around her body, his embrace never wavers and he even keeps his physical touch minimal to brief nuzzling to her shoulder or neck. He will rock her though, gentle and slow and just be there for her.

Nyalle cries herself out in his embrace. When she's finished she just lays there sniffling.

Mr'az will let his embrace on her ease when it seems she's cried herself out and gently, ever so carefully, he will lean forwards to pick up her now slightly cooled tea cup and offer it to her, with her still seated in his lap and cradled against his body. "Here, drink this. It'll help a little."

Nyalle takes the tea cup, though her hands are trembling slightly. She takes a slow sip, and wipes her eyes on her sleeve. "I'm sorry," she whispers. "I'm sorry. I hope you don't get sick, Mr'az…"

"Don't be sorry, Nyalle. I hope neither of us get sick and I still doubt we will." Mr'az murmurs to her, honest and sincere. Not out of stubbornness, not entirely. This is just what he believes. He kisses her forehead and then smiles softly to her. "Don't even feel a hint of a fever to you," he whispers.

"Four days," Nyalle murmurs. "That's how long it takes to show symptoms. Three to four days…" She nestles in close to him. The barrier is already broken, and she needs his comfort. Badly.

Mr'az supports her and holds her, not letting her go and only easing his embrace in case he needs to reach for something or she needs to shift her position. Otherwise, he sits still and calm, a solid and anchoring presence for her. "Then we'll wait the three to four days, won't we? Wait and see." Though from his tone, he still doubts there will be much to see.

Nyalle exhales softly, closing her eyes and resting into his embrace. She doesn't want to do anything. She doesn't want to be Senior, doesn't want to talk to anyone, she just wants to stay here in his arms.

Mr'az doesn't force anything upon her or say anything for a long, long time. Silence settles, comfortable and lacking any awkwardness. He holds her, his hand at times idly caressing her side or back. He has ceased in rocking, but he continues to keep her close. At last, he breaks the silence with a soft spoken, "I can stay with you, if you'd like that?"

Nyalle sighs. "I want you to, Mr'az, but I just can't help but worry about you getting sick too…"

Mr'az does his best to smile reassuringly to her, "You shouldn't worry about me, Nyalle. I'll be alright and so will you. I feel much better being here right now than on the outside. If there is a chance, a very small chance that you are sick with this… illness, then I want to be here for you and tend to you. It'd be the least I can do…" And he won't drive himself mad being on the outside, not knowing how she's fairing and knowing she is within and alone.

Nyalle sighs. "You're far too good for me, Mr'az," she whispers, nestling up against his shoulder. "Okay. Stay…please."

Mr'az chuckles softly. "I do what I do because I care for and love you, Nyalle. Of course I'd be here and not out there. I'll have Zhirazoth inform Niumdreoth that I cannot be present for sweeps and I'll make up for the lost shifts someway at a later time." he murmurs and shifts to stretch out on the couch and draw her with him. Nestled together, safe and secure on her couch and in her weyr. "I'll stay for however long you need me," he promises.

Nyalle blushes, pulled down with him and she sighs, nestling between his body and the back of the couch. "Thank you," she whispers. "I need you here. I can't do this alone…" Clearly.

Clearly, but Mr'az would never tell her such a thing. Instead, he boldly and so very unwisely, kisses her unless she recoils. "I won't leave you and you won't be alone in this, Nyalle." he whispers.

Nyalle eeps softly at his kiss, but she doesn't recoil from it. She just gives him a /look/. He shouldn't have done that. "Thank you," she whispers, sipping at her tea again. "What should I do now?"

Too late now! Mr'az just smiles at her for that look and maybe Zhirazoth is influencing him, because he tries it again. Just a brief kiss but no less loving. "What do you think you should do?" he counters with a soft chuckle.

Nyalle frowns at him again, but she blushes just the same. "Send Th'ero a letter."

Mr'az reaches up and smooths back her hair, gently cupping her cheek. "Instructing him to do…?" he prompts with a small, but gentle smile.

Nyalle shrugs. "Nothing. Just letting him know where I am and what's going on. He is more than capable of running the weyr without me."

Mr'az's brows lift and he gives her a long, long look. "Are you so certain of that?" he asks softly. "He may need you more now. A Weyrleader looks after the riders, but he cannot tend to the weyrfolk too. You know how traditionalist he is in some respects. He won't want to encroach on your "territory" in the hierarchy of things…"

Nyalle sighs. "Well, he's going to have to deal with it, because until I'm deemed well, I can't do /that/ much." Paperwork, yes, but other than that? Not much.

Mr'az chuckles and nuzzles her gently, not seeming to remember that she could be potentially ill and may not want such contact from him. "You'd be surprised how much you can do from within your own weyr, Naylle. You're still the Weyrwoman and they will still try to seek out your advice. Unless you want me to shoo them all away?" Which he will, if she so much as hints at being sick.

Nyalle shakes her head. "No, no. Right now I feel okay. I can still work, and I will. Just…in here." With him. She smiles a bit. "It's a good thing you have some changes of clothes…"

Mr'az smiles, "Of course you'll work in here. Which is where letters and firelizards come in handy." Then he laughs softly, almost surprised by that last remark. "And if I didn't? Guess that means I'd be in a tough spot, huh? Either settle to be in some frightfully grungy clothing or subject you to my nudity or partial nudity for the duration of your quarantine." Oh woe is her?

Nyalle laughs. "I think I could tolerate that just fine, Mr'az." The laughter brings some life back to her and she sits up, finishing her tea. "I should get to work on my letter to Th'ero."

Mr'az will sit up with her as she moves, pleased beyond words to hear her laugh. Laughter is better than those sobs he helped her through earlier. "Good to know! Perhaps I will take you up on that then, as I do not think I have any of my nightclothes here…" he muses. He nods, "I won't keep you then."

Nyalle smiles softly at him, bending to kiss his forehead after she stands. "Thank you," she says again quietly, before she's off to work.