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 not sparkling clean or spotless, but they are relatively tidy. The boy has been making an effort in trying to get over his hoarding ways. There are still piles of *stuff*, but it's stacked neatly in corners or beneath furniture. The floor is now visible and the couch, table and chairs are usable. There is also a fireplace that is kept very neat and free of ash, 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, making a little nest for him to sleep in. The dresser and wardrobe are full of clothes, though he's made some effort to sort through it all. The rooms also have an overabundance of glowbaskets, which are placed on many of the surfaces and kept filled and bright constantly. He might be just a little afraid of the dark.

Ezra's room is now clean and neat, almost obsessively so. Sure, he's a teenage boy, so things aren't perfect, but from what the room used to be…it's a big switch. Zoi rests on a plush rug that rests near the fireplace, a cheery blaze bringing warmth to the rooms while Ezra sits at the table…doing homework.

Rayathess had sent the letter concerning his acceptance into Harper Hall, but he did not warn his brother of his arrival. Not that he really needs to? Maybe he assumes Ezra will always be happy to see him. At least he has the decency to knock, before trying the handle to the door. If it's unlocked, he'll just waltz right in as if this were his room too. And if it isn't? Well. He'll just have to wait! Either way, Rayathess will look eager but also fidgety, as if nervous. Excited and happy but… nervous. Oh the conflict of emotions!

It's Ezra's room. It's always locked. Some things change, but others…don't. Eager to abandon his homework for something else, the young heir calls, "Who is it?" through the door. And in the interest of not taking three rounds of poses to open a door, when Raya says it's him, Ezra opens it with a grin and ushers his brother inside (door close, door lock) and offers him a hug. "Congratulations, Harper!"

Rayathess should have known but he will only be relieved once Ezra calls out. "It's me!" he answers and the moment that door opens, he's slipping inside and allowing his brother to lock the door before accepting that hug. Returning it, he draws it out and almost crushes his sibling to him in the fierceness of it. "Heh, thanks! That title still sounds so odd…" he admits, letting Ezra go to breath and stepping back. He's wearing the knot even now, along with some clothes that actually seem to fit him and are of decent quality rather than whatever ragtag leftovers he found in the storage caverns. "Did I catch you at a bad time? I'm sorry I didn't send warning that I was dropping in…"

Ezra gaks a bit at the hug, but he returns it just as fiercely. "You look good," he says, stepping back to admire his older brother, looking both pleased and proud. "Miss you here, though. How's the Hall? And naw, I'm just working on this essay…" And he grins at his brother, in a 'maybe you can help?' sort of way, but he doesn't voice it. "You're always welcome. What's up?"

Rayathess blinks for a moment and looks down at himself and then clears his throat, fidgeting a bit with his clothing. Conscientious? Just a wee bit. "Uh, thanks! Figured I'd… get some new stuff." he mutters and then exhales softly. "The Hall is — it's a lot to get used to. I got lost a couple of times, especially in their archives. You should see it, Ezra. It's incredible and the one here pales in comparison! It's all underground…" He's rambling and he coughs a bit, taking a few steps to find a couch or chair upon which to flop down on. "And essay? For your lessons?" he asks, curious and pleased to know that he's focusing on his work again. That grin is given a level look, one that reads 'maybe, but for good reasons only'. "What's up? Uh, not much… I just wanted to check in and say hi." It's not the whole reason either and Rayathess frowns as he looks away towards the fireplace. "So you're okay with me being… gone? The Masterharper didn't give me much of a choice and it just seemed to make sense that for the first little while I'd be staying at the Hall."

Ezra grins, flopping down on the couch beside his brother. "Yeah, for the lessons. Get this," smirk, "the topic is the history of a local hold or cothold. Most people are doing Fort Hold." How unoriginal. "I think she assigned it on purpose…" You think? He eyes his brother for a moment. "I'm okay with it," he says with a shrug. "I mean I miss you but…I know where you are." Not like last time. And he knows he's safe. Not like last time.

Rayathess tilts his head to the side and listens, only to scoff. "You're kidding me." he remarks with dry sarcasm. "All the local holds and half your class is picking Fort Hold? Too easy! But I think she did it on purpose for sure. Let me guess… you chose—?" he drawls, eying his younger sibling. Another predictable end? Rayathess sobers then and his shoulders sag in relief as he sighs heavily. "Yeah, I figured you would be. I was worried still since it all seemed to happen so fast! You get heir and then suddenly I'm gone again to the Hall." He shrugs and then smiles sheepishly. "I miss you too and I miss Anrila as well." He mulls something over in his thoughts and then nods. "You'll always know where I am. I'll keep in touch, visit often… and you can always reach me through Gren and Cervena. Never thought I'd have firelizards. You get one and next thing you know…" Pern's version of potato chips! You just can't have one.

"Sweetwater," is Ezra's fast answer, but the smirk that goes with it has a very 'duh, what did you think I chose?' quality to it. Then he shrugs with a little smile. "Well…it was weird, but. I've got D'ani and stuff, so. It was okay. And Anrila." Of course. He grins, "For sure. Plus it's not that far. I can borrow a runner and go visit and stuff, or hitch a ride…" Hitching a ride on dragons. Imagine. Growing up he was lucky if he saw four dragons a turn. Now…he's just hopping rides.

Rayathess eyes his brother for that fast answer. "Sweetwater?" he echoes and then smirks as well. Couldn't have made it a bit less obvious. Snorting, his mouth quirks into a grin then. "Need me to raid the archives or do you think you've enough material?" he asks with a knowing look, only to settle comfortably against the couch now that he is no longer so tensed and fidgety with his nervousness. "I know you've got good support here." But he's still going to act like an older brother and worry! Always worry. Maybe it's Rayathess who is struggling with the separation? "Hitch a ride! Aren't you the lucky one!" he says, giving his brother a teasingly shocked look and maybe a touch jealous. "It's not that long a ride by runner!" How much their lives have changed!

Ezra chuckles. "As Holder, I'd hope I'd have enough material," he says, tapping the side of his skull. Lounging, he grins at his brother and then looks a bit concerned. "And you? Do you have any support there? How are they treating you?" Oh, Ezra misses Rayathess like mad. He didn't sleep the first night he was gone. But he knows it's what Raya wants, and that makes it all possible.

Rayathess smiles crookedly and huffs softly, amused. "I'd hope so!" He looks back towards the fire then, his hands now folded loosely in his lap and he shrugs his shoulders again. Trying to act nonchalant and not quite pulling it off. "They're treating me just like they'd treat any other Apprentice. With respect and no special treatment given my past. I'm just like any other… only older. I've support — I think?" Does he? Rayathess hadn't thought of that and he frowns again, only to smirk faintly. "I guess from Harper Garan? I ran into him when I was turned around in the classroom halls. He seemed genuinely happy to see me there and offered to help, if and when he could." No doubt the first few nights were very hard on Rayathess too, but he's not about to tell Ezra that.

Ezra eyes his brother for a moment, and then nods, taking him at his word. "I'm glad Garan is there, just in case." The teen is almost obsessed with having people he trusts around, and who can blame him. He assumes his brother is the same way. "So you're in the apprentice dorms? Do you sleep at all?"

Rayathess stares right back. It was the truth! He's not been an Apprentice long enough yet for anything to go amiss and it's probably still sinking in that it's all really happening. That it isn't a dream! Maybe once that hits, things will be different. "You are? I didn't think Garan was so well known…" he murmurs, frowning a little. He is the same way and the only reason he trusts Garan is from the Harper's involvement with the holdless. "Yeah, they put me in the dorms. No special treatment, remember? So no private rooms and I bunk with all the other boys." he smirks. "I sleep sometimes, when my fellow apprentices aren't snoring or muttering amongst themselves. They leave me alone though, at least."

Ezra nods slowly. "Well sure. I mean…he seems nice. I don't know him, but. Yeah. It's nice to know someone there?" Then he shakes his head with a grimace. "That must suck though. I wouldn't want to bunk with a bunch of strangers." He'd never sleep. "But that's good they're not, you know. Making fun of you or anything."

Rayathess makes a thoughtful sound. "He does seem nice enough. Familiar too but I can't quite place it. You're right in a way though… he IS someone I know. Not that everyone at the Hall will be strangers for long." Or so he assumes! Time will tell. Chuckling dryly, he rolls his eyes a bit. "No different than when I was…" he falters and promptly switches topics, cheeks flushing a bit. Yeah, not going there! "Making fun of me? I think they're too intimidated by my age. Give it time, they'll pluck up the courage and start. I personally don't care." Yeah right, sure he doesn't!

Ezra is nodding along until he cuts off his line of thought, and though Ezra glances swiftly at him, he doesn't press. Nope! La la la. "Maybe…if you made friends with them first?" he suggests gently. "Then maybe they won't ever start."

Rayathess glances sidelong to Ezra, likely expecting to be pressed and when his brother doesn't, he sighs in relief. Dodged that! He laughs, gruff and a bit harsh. "Me? Make friends first?" he scoffs, giving his brother another look. Really?

Really. Ezra's return look is a bit sheepish, but earnest too. "Yeah. Why not try it?" The alternative hasn't worked out that well for Rayathess up to this point, so…time for a change in tactics?

"Because I suck at that sort of thing?" Rayathess counters and then grimaces, realizing how stupid that sounds. He's going to be a Harper some day! Honestly, he can't keep being anti-social. Scrubbing at his face, he sits up on the couch only to rest his elbows against his thighs as he leans forwards a bit. Change of tactics, indeed! "And you've seen my track record so far with my 'friends'. I got shot in the foot for that. But I suppose I better start picking out some friends, hmm? They're all so young though! It'd not be so bad if I were Senior Apprentice."

Ezra shrugs a bit. "Being a friend doesn't mean you have to spill your life's story, Raya. You can help with their homework and just..hang out. You can be…light friends. People are less likely to pick on people they know."

Rayathess scowls a little, almost as if caught by Ezra's remark. Is that what he assumed? Or is he simply afraid to allow people close, even for something as simple as casual acquaintances? "People ask questions over time," he mutters stubbornly and then snorts, having to nod his head as he reluctantly agrees with his brother's logic. "I guess so. It's… a start, at least?"

Ezra shrugs, "If they do, give them another answer. Or be vague. Or say you don't want to talk about it. People don't have to know everything." He reaches out, giving his brother's arm a little squeeze. "You're worth getting to know, Raya. I think…I think you need friends there."

Rayathess's mouth sets into a firm line, a clear sign he is stubbornly struggling against his brother's good advice and yet is not wishing to argue or fight with him. Not now, when their time is so limited. "No, they don't have to know everything but that won't stop some of them from trying. And once they're tired of my lack of response, they'll just go back to their groups." Which… is the whole point? He sighs then, looking away when Ezra squeezes his arm and his expression is conflicted and mixed but a touch sheepish for his sibling's confidence. "Am I?" he mutters and then smirks. "Yeah, I know. I can't… not have allies. I get it and — I'll try. I guess it can't hurt?"

Ezra is quiet for a moment, thinking something over before he sighs. "You shouldn't…predict what people are going to do, Raya. Otherwise…you never give them a chance." He smiles warmly at his big brother, nodding. "It can't hurt. It can only help."
"It's hard for me not too, Ezra." Rayathess explains in a lowered voice, almost as if distracted as he frowns and stares ahead as if deep in thought. "I don't trust people anymore. Not after what I've seen what they can become. What they can do. I'm suspicious and wary and it's something I've been trying to fix. I have to fix it now or I'll make one shardin' lousy Harper." he murmurs with a smirk before exhaling heavily. "Yeah. I know…"

Ezra scoots over towards his big brother, just like a little kid edging nearer to a person he loves and respects. Hi. You have a little brother leaning against you. "I know it's hard," he says softly. "I know. And you will. But be patient with yourself. It takes time…" He gestures. "I still have five locks on the door. This stuff…takes time."

Rayathess hasn't forgotten and when Ezra edges closer, he shifts as if to lean away but it's only so he can pull his arm back and ruffle at his brother's hair before snaring him in a brief hug. "You're speaking like an adult and much wiser then your Turns, Ezra!" he murmurs, teasing and yet not. At the gesture, he peers at the door only to quirk a vague half smile. "Not an even six?" he jokes, only to add with a low exhale. "It'll take time. I just feel like… I don't have the time now. I'm going to try and open up the other Apprentices. And if not them, maybe some of the Senior Apprentices. I may not have the same knot but I do share their age group!"

Ezra ducks his head at the hair ruffle, but he doesn't protest it. There were nights when he would have given /anything/ to have his hair ruffled by his big brother one more time. The hug, too, is returned. Then he chuckles with a little nonchalant shrug. Not much to say to that. "Just start by saying hi. Talk about lessons, complain about the homework… easy stuff."

Rayathess will give Ezra's shoulder a playful nudge too while he's at it, for having ducked his attempt at ruffling his hair. Honestly, they're both grown men now and such gestures should have been set aside but he can't bring himself to do it. Ezra is still his younger brother… so young, in his eyes. "You make it seem so easy," he grumbles, slouching back in his corner of the couch. "So just the basic things. Work, weather. Neutral topics."

Ezra can't either. The hand holding, the snuggling…it's like he's making up for time that was lost. Even though he's almost sixteen, sometimes…he's eight again. Ten. Needing that touch and that reassurance of his brother. "It's not easy, but it's possible. It's not terribly hard either. And yeah, basic things. Listen to what they're talking about, and add your own things in."

When they're alone, who cares what the age is? Those close to them would understand, anyhow. So much time lost! Rayathess shakes his head and then sighs, holding his hands up in a warding gesture. "Alright, alright! I'll give it a shot." he says with a crooked smirk. "And I'll listen and try to be sociable and not such an ass. Faranth knows I'll need help in some of my lessons. They make us pick three studies to focus on, but I've all the other stuff too."

Ezra nods, giving his brother a little, but loving, smile. "I know you'll do great, Raya. I know it. I'm so proud of you and so happy you're doing what you want to do." Finally. Finally they're both happy! Nervous, of course, with all the newness of it - but happy at least. "And you're doing…history, voice and law?"

Rayathess doesn't shy from it and maybe even returns that little, but loving, smile before looking away again. "Thanks, Ezra. That means a lot! I'm… proud that I achieved this so far. I'm going to do my best to stick to it and see it through as far as I can go." he says with a firm determination in his voice. He has a goal now! One he feels fits him far better than heir to Stonehaven ever did. Nodding his head, he smirks again. "Yeah. Law and history I'm excited about. Voice… not so much. It was hard to pick a third — I had almost no interest in them. Why I went with singing… though I don't think that's all of it."

Ezra smiles, "I know you will. And…if it's not the place for you, well. You've always got somewhere to call home." Home. Their home. Always with the doors open for Rayathess, of course. "Maybe it's speaking too? Or you could switch to an instrument…"

Rayathess shoulder bumps him again with his curled fist, just a gentle but loving gesture. "Yeah, I know I have somewhere to call home now. I'm not afraid of that." He may be, just a little! But he won't tell his brother that. No need to make him worried! "I don't want to fail though, Ezra. I'm set in this. If I fail, I can't Apprentice into another Craft and then what will I do?" he murmurs and then frowns. "Speaking? Huh. You know, it might be that too. And no, I thought of that and I just… can't see myself playing an instrument! Other than the drums and anyone can do that." Right?

Ezra grins, rocking a bit at the shoulder bump. "I don't think you'll fail, Raya. You're good and you're determined." Stubborn and determined. "What will you do? Come be my Steward," he says with a crooked grin. Teasing, perhaps, but it's tossed out there just the same. Rayathess will always be welcome in Stonehaven. "But you won't fail," he says again with a shake of his head. "Drums would be great! Not everyone can. You have to have rhythm."

"Determination only goes so far," Rayathess points out but he's smiling faintly all the same. He's touched by his brother's faith in him and that only bolsters his desire to do good in his studies now. If not to fail himself, he won't fail his younger sibling. At the mention of Steward, he laughs gruffly. "I forgot about that! Suppose I could take up that mantle if this Harper business doesn't pan out?" Teasing but serious in the same breath! He knows he would always be welcomed. "I'm pretty sure I don't have the rhythm required for their level of expertise!" he drawls and then blinks. "Huh. I wonder… I may learn drum code!"

Ezra shrugs, "Well yeah, but you've also got talent. And of course you could," he says, grin crooked. "Well, then…voice sounds like the best match for you, for your third study. And that would be great! Not many people know it, what with the firelizards and the dragons and the radios and stuff…"

Rayathess laughs softly, "I guess it is a good match? Not that it matters. Once I walk the tables, I get to drop down to two studies so I can shed Voice and just focus on Law and History." he points out and doesn't even realize that he said once he walks the tables. Not if or maybe. When. "Always good to have backup, in case all those fail. Firelizards tend to vanish in the worst crisis, we may not have a watchdragon and radios… Shards if I know how to use one." Technology!

Ezra nods, "I think learning drum code is great. Maybe if we had known drum code…" And he trails off with a little shrug. "Stonehaven will have a drum," he says firmly.

Rayathess's expression drops, turning grim and dark though he reaches for Ezra's arm and grips it firm, reassuring and comforting. No, don't think like that! His eyes seem to plead it silently, though all he says is: "It'd not have changed anything…" It would still have been too late. Easing back, Rayathess returns his hand to his lap and quirks a brow curiously. "That'd be useful, I think. You figure it's possible?"

Ezra just nods, returning the look and reaching back to return that squeeze as well. "Possible? I'm sure it is. We've got a spot for it, we just…need a drum and someone that knows how to do the codes."

Rayathess falls quiet as he thinks it over, brows knitted and mouth drawn into a thin line. "Easy enough to find someone or teach someone the sequences. You probably should learn too, as holder! Only makes sense, right?"

Ezra nods, looking eager. "I want to learn. You can teach me. We'll practice together and I can test you." Or…that's how he thinks this should work at least.

Rayathess laughs and this time it is a genuine laugh even if brief. "Alright, I'll ask the Journeyman and Masters if we learn drum code and if not… if I can. Then I'll pass on my knowledge to you and then you'll have no problem in securing folk for Stonehaven!" Maybe he had it right? Sobering, he goes quiet again and this time at some length before he's awkwardly clearing his throat. "You've… not by chance seen Lyreh around lately, have you?"

Ezra grins, eager to learn, nodding his agreement. Then at his brother's question, the teen exhales a sigh and shakes his head. "Not since that dance thing," he admits. "Why?"

Rayathess will see that eagerness in his brother and for that reason will not forget the promise made. He will get his crash course in drum codes! He grimaces a bit, aware of how awkward it was of him to ask and awkward still to even discuss it. "Right. I figured as much…" he mutters and then shrugs his shoulders before evasively answering. "Because I figured I'd let her know somehow of where I've gone. Not that she'd care I guess. Just… thought I'd owe her that much at least." Never mind that she stormed off on him the last 'talk' they had.

Ezra frowns. "You don't owe her anything," he says, stubborn and harsh. But he's quick to huff and add, "but if I do see her, I'll tell her? Or you can leave a note or something, and I'll deliver it if I can find her…"

Stubborn, harsh and almost entirely true but it has Rayathess scowling at his brother, lips drawn back in a tense and grim line. "I owe her more than you think. She was there and helped…" he begins and then only scoffs, shaking his head and looking away. "… Things got screwed up. Soured somehow. She's got her reasons to be pissed at me, Ezra. If you do see her, if you want to, you can tell her or — yeah, I guess I could leave you a note. But I hate to make you my go-between messenger."

Ezra shrugs, "I can do that," he says firmly. "Just give me the message, I'll do it for you." Not for her. For his brother. Because really…she shot him in the foot. How much love can Ezra have for a woman who did that?

Not much and Rayathess doesn't blame him at all for holding judgement against Lyreh. "Alright." he agrees, looking a touch relieved but conflicted still. "Though I still think it's weird to make you messenger again. I really should just let it go and move on but…" He shrugs. He just can't?

Ezra shakes his head. "It's fine, Raya, really. Don't worry about it, I can do it for you. And…well, if you can't, then you can't. It's…hard to let some things go."

Rayathess snorts and looks ready to protest or argue something, only to let it go with a heavy exhale. "If you say it's fine, then I won't let it brother me. Thanks… for being reasonable about it." And not prying too deep. Maybe that surprises him and maybe it doesn't? Running his fingers through his hair, he chuckles dryly and maybe a bit bitterly. "That I know all too well…" he mutters.

Ezra smiles warmly at his brother. "Of course," he says reassuringly. He's decided not to pry because he knows he might not like what he hears. So he's decided to just be supportive, and that's it. Then a smile, and reaching out, he gives his arm a squeeze. No words are said - none are needed, really. He knows too.

One day, Rayathess will bare all or crack and have to spill it out less it gnaw away any further at him. Today won't be that day though and he will only smile when Ezra shows his support through that simple gesture. His expression says it all: he knows his younger brother is there for him. He knows and understands that now and the trust is there. He just can't bring himself to open up that much. Not yet and his expression becomes a bit closed, a bit guarded. Not yet. "I should probably be going, before they start hunting me down. I'd promise I'd look up a few records in the archives too…" Oops?

Ezra looks a bit sad, but only for a moment before he hides it. "Okay," he says, scooting up to get to his feet. "I'm so glad you came by, Raya. Any time you're here, okay? Let me know, even if you're stuck in the archives. I'll come hang out with you. Okay?" Eager for time with his big brother, clearly.

Rayathess hides his sadness well too, as well as his reluctance to leave. Once he goes about out there, it means he heads out on runnerback and back to the Hall and Faranth knows when when they'll next let him escape. But this is what he wanted and part of him is chomping at the bit to face the challenges set before him. He won't forget his family though, his younger brother and sister left to the Weyr. Standing, he will attempt to embrace Ezra again in a full and fierce hug. "You know I will, Ezra! Always. And be sure you come by the Hall sometime! Bring D'ani if you'd like or just come alone. I'll show you around, alright? We'll keep in touch." he says, reassuringly and so firm in his belief! Letting him go, he'll gather his jacket and slip it on, before stepping towards the door and it's five locks. "Take it easy, alright? I'll uh… write that note and send it to you with Gren later. Thanks… for that and for the talk. See you around, brother."

Ezra never turns down hugs. He returns it just as full and fierce, fingers even curling briefly into the back of Rayathess' tunic in a brief cling. "I will," he promises, with a grin. "And you'd better! Harpers send /lots/ of letters I'm told," he says with mock sternness. "You take it easy too, Raya. I'll see you again soon." Walking his brother to the door, he offers him one last hug before he's gone.

Rayathess laughs at his mock sternness and returns that one last hung, followed by a swift bump to the shoulder with his curled fist and a sneaky attempt to ruffle his brother's hair again. He's going for it all this time! "We'll see each other again soon," he promises and once the door is open, he will slip back out into the hall and then walk away at a brisk stride. Back to the Hall, back to his studies and this time he will be just a little more confident in facing the new day.