Fort Weyr - Lower Caverns
This volcanic bubble is smaller than the Living Cavern, but no less well crafted. The walls are smooth, with electric lights placed into niches that used to hold glowbaskets. Another hearth burns here, with a pot on always keeping water hot for making tea or cider. Worn but comfortable couches and chairs are arranged by the hearth around a few tables where game boards and a few packages of dragon poker cards are laying.
From this cavern you can get to many other places - the tunnels of Fort Weyr having been dug far back into the caldera where the Dragons make their home.

The day after Jajen’s exile from Fort Weyr down to the island in Drake’s Lake in the Southern Continent, Nyalle is still uncertain about her decision. Was she too emotional? Did she just react based on Kayeth’s anger? Or did she make the right decision? While Kayeth sleeps on the Star Stones with Wiyaneth, Nyalle makes her way through the weyr, searching for Ha’ze the old fashioned way - by asking people if they’ve seen him.

The reverberations of the gold’s flight linger throughout the weyr, hitting very keenly a particular bronze dragon who had taken the demands of the gold’s dismissal very amiss. This has driven Ha’ze into the weyr itself, and he sits near others, though not very close, in a corner sharpening his knife. He does not join into the gossip about Jajen’s dismissal, and his face is closed off. Slowly, oh so slowly, the stone grates against the metal. Even when he hears Nyalle’s approach, he doesn’t look up.

Nyalle finds her way into the lower caverns, close to the living cavern. Off to the side, it offers relative privacy for a quiet conversation. “Ha’ze,” Nyalle says quietly, her hands clasped in front of her. “May I have a word, please?” She seems almost nervous, red-rimmed eyes darting around as she fidgets with her skirt.

The scrape of stone against metal continues unabated for long moments after Nyalle has spoken, giving the illusion that Ha’ze hasn’t heard the weyrwoman. His expression doesn’t flicker- that knife has got to be the most interesting thing in the WORLD. Finally though, he raises he eyes to look at the weyrwoman. “Can’t stop you if you’re wantin’ to talk.” He shifts a bit, leaving an opening for the woman if she wishes to settle down next to them. Oh Nyalle, Ha’ze is not a happy camper when those rains of his lifemate fall in his mind.

Nyalle does so, settling beside him with a respectful distance between, smoothing her skirts over her legs. She is silent for a long moment, staring vacantly across the passageway to the stone wall beyond, to the flickering glows as she takes a slow breath. “How well do you know Jajen?” she asks quietly, not looking at the bronzerider as she asks. Her hands clasp, fine boned fingers lacing around each other as she keeps her hands settled in her lap.

“Depends on the type of knowin’ you’re askin’ about.” His speech is slow, as if he is being very very careful about what he actually is saying. Perhaps this moment is Ha’ze finding out exactly where he and Kainaesyth stand. “She was in the camps. Which is somethin’ all of you are knowin. And she’s a brat, which is also known. So are you askin if mayhap I know somethin’ more that’ll make what happened out on the bowl be makin’ a lick of sense?” His gaze finally moves upwards, to lock onto Nyalle’s face, noting how she avoids his gaze. “Because if I’m goin’ to be bein’ honest ma’am, it don’t make none.”

Nyalle sighs softly. “She tried to claim Senior,” she says, her voice low and quiet. “And she refused to control her queen.” Dangerous. So, so dangerous. Nyalle shivers at the very thought of how yesterday could have turned out. She could be dragonless today. “I’ve sent her to Drake’s Lake to try and learn some self-control, but.” Now she looks over to Ha’ze, and briefly the young Senior looks lost. “I don’t know if this is the right way to get through to her. But everything else I’ve tried hasn’t worked either.” She’s come to him for help.

“She was wantin’ somethin’ that wasn’t hers.” Ha’ze… isn’t particularly surprised. “And when she didn’t get it she threw a fit.” That at least checks out. He scrapes the stone across his knife, that edge becoming slowly more sharp as he goes. “What else have you tried?” Ha’ze isn’t one to give advice, not… well, almost never, and never without knowing the whole picture first.

Nyalle nods her head slightly. “Yes, that’s exactly what happened.” Then she pauses, thinking for a long moment. “I tried befriending her, tried giving her more responsibilities, gave her chances to prove herself, encouraged her…then I took things away, punishment, gave her choices…nothing has worked. She seems so…angry.”

“There ain’t one of us that ain’t angry weyrwoman.” Ha’ze’s tone holds a tiny bit of wry amusement, though none of it is happy. He finally stops sharpening that knife, and sets the stone aside to reach for a soft cloth. There’s a hint of violence just right under Ha’ze’s skin, that he cannot quite keep within. Not directed, just there. “She couldn’t stay. Not if she was going to be upsettin’ everyone as much as she was.” Meaning, if something shook Kainaesyth up, Ha’ze cannot imagine how badly it must have shaken up the rest of the weyr. “She was more angry than most of us. If she’s anythin’ like me?” He arches an eyebrow upwards, “she wasn’t ready to be a rider.” Still isn’t ready, and Ha’ze is slowly realizing how utterly inadequate he is to ride the bronze that chose him.

Nyalle sighs softly, shaking her head and fidgeting, pushing a long strand of dark hair behind her ear. “No, she couldn’t stay. But. I want to help her and I just don’t know how. And no, she impressed far too early. Far, far too young, and just out of the camps, and to /gold/ at that…” Just a bad situation all around. “I feel awful for her. But I don’t know how to fix it.”

Ha’ze listens to the weyrwoman, and watches her fidget as he smooths the cloth across his knife. “We go back to what we know. Jajen, the rest of us, what we know is how to scrape and fight. We know how to survive. All of this?” And he raises his eyes to look up at the weyr, “this is a trap for people like us. The only thing that makes it worth it is the dragon, and if Jajen’s dragon is one what wants authority?” Ha’ze pauses to take a moment to be grateful that Kainaesyth lacks ANY desire to lead anyone anywhere, “There’s gonna be conflict. Always.”

Nyalle nods. “So perhaps giving her run of the island is a good thing. She has some manner of control over her life, over what she does.” SHe’s starting to feel a /little/ better about her decision.

“You sent her to Drake’s Lake.” Ha’ze levels a look at Nyalle. He knows how he feels about that particular patch of land. Kainaesyth would say that the stories attached to it are ones that maybe are good to be forgotten.

Nyalle turns to look at Ha’ze, her brows furrowing. “Yes?” There’s a pause, and then a glimmer of understanding. “She wasn’t at Drake’s Lake. She was in the weyr well before all of that…”

A rather inarticulate grunt is Ha’ze’s response to her reply. “Well enough then. Mayhap it won’t hold the same issues for her what it holds for some’ve the rest of us.” He lifts the knife upwards and turns it, as if looking for invisible nicks. He seems to find them because the sharpening stone is taken up again. “Are you gonna go talk to her?”

Nyalle nods. “Of course I will,” she says, quick but quiet. “She’s still my Junior, even if she’s not here in Fort. I just hope…” SHe trails off, shaking her head slightly with a low sigh.

That quiet gridning noise is going to get old really fact, but Ha’ze doesn’t seem to mind. “Hope? That mayhap she’ll be growin’ up a bit? Learnin’ some responsibility? Realizin’ that an accident of birth puts her in a position where she’ll be disliked or liked for nothin’ to do with herself?” So much sarcasm in Ha’ze’s tone…

Nyalle winces a bit at Ha’ze’s words and his sarcasm. “No,” she says quietly. But what she was /going/ to say now sounds so selfish, that she doesn’t say it. “I want her to be content - happy, even - with her place in life. And not be so angry at things that were outside of her control. And to learn how to handle the things that /are/ in her control…” She turns to look at Ha’ze. “Despite someone’s upbringing, when the dragon chooses them, it’s a /new/ beginning. The past no longer matters.”

“You can’t erase someone’s history Nyalle.” Ha’ze’s tone is almost gentle when he says this, and he looks up to meet her eyes squarely. “A dragon isn’t a magic arrow what makes everythin’ perfect all of a sudden. We went from havin’ no control over ourlives to havin’ even less if we don’t carve it out ourselves. Then again,” and Ha’ze shrugs, “Kainaesyth says I’m bein’ stiffled and I ought to go walking till I find what I’m lookin’ for.” So, maybe not the best person to ask.

Nyalle shakes her head slowly, an odd glint coming to her eyes, her shoulders and spine straightening slightly. “No, but you can overcome it.” There’s a strange little twist to her lips then. “Freedom is in the eye of the beholder. I am Senior and I probably have less freedom over my time than anyone. And yet I’m still happy, and I still find joy in it. She’s taking out anger from her past on us, her new family, when we’re here to help.”

“Not all of us are wantin’ to be part of a new family. Can’t be. Sometimes the piece of the puzzle is cut just a bit too wrong, or wasn’t suppose to be there in the first place.” Ha’ze has a feeling that he and Nyalle aren’t ever going to see eye to eye on this philosophy- bourn of his own inner angst and nights to talking philosophy out with Kainaesyth. “Did anyone ever just… let her be? Or is that too dangerous with her ridin’ a gold?”

Nyalle shakes her head again, brushing hair away from her face. “And that’s fine, but it still doesn’t mean she can lash out at us. Keep to herself, that’s fine, but not…not this.” Not what she did. She is quiet for a moment. “I wasn’t here when she first Impressed. I don’t know how Dtirae handled her, but…” There’s a frown. “I have a suspicion that it wasn’t handled well. I’ve tried to let her be, but she will always have responsibilities, duties…but all I ask of her is simple things, and being at our morning meeting every morning. The rest of her time is her own. I don’t breathe down her neck…as long as she gets her duties done, then I leave her alone. But the problem comes when she chooses not to do her duties, or does them wrong…”

“No, and I’m not sayin’ it does.” The deep philosophy segment starring Ha’ze is over, and he returns his attention to the invisible nicks on his knife. “What’s done is done. Knowin’ Jajen? I doubt she’ll ever be comin’ back.” Have a tiny bit of pessimism mixed there.

Nyalle is quiet for a moment. “You don’t think she’ll come back? Or you don’t think we’ll allow her to come back?”

“I doubt she’ll be changin’ enough for any of you all to be wantin’ her back.” Ha’ze breaks again to look upwards, though his hands continue the rhythmic work. Maybe it’s soothing. “Would you accept anything less than a complete turn around? Her suddenly turnin’ into the perfect weyrwoman you want her to be?” He arches an eyebrow upwards, very seriously curious. It would speak to how they would feel if Ha’ze did follow though on Kainaesyth’s suggestion to just… go.

Nyalle looks a bit surprised. “I just want her to control her dragon, and not not be so angry all the time. I’d like to be able to work with her. I don’t expect her to suddenly love me and want to go have tea and shopping.” Her nose wrinkles a bit. “I just want her to do her job.” Without endangering the other dragons of the weyr. Especially not Kayeth.

“So a turn around when it’s comin’ to work. Don’t it seem a little strange, that if we’re suddenly impressin’ we got to no longer be us? That we got to forget everythin’ that made us what we are?” He doesn’t really seem to be asking Nyalle the question, as his eyes fall again and the words are mumbled. “I don’t know what to be tellin’ you Nyalle. Jajen’s got a reason for her anger, and for wantin’ what she claimed. I ain’t never needed to control Kainaesyth.”

Nyalle shakes her head firmly. “Of course you don’t have to forget everything that made you who you are. Dragons don’t turn you into a brand new person.” She’ll answer it anyway. “She has a job to do. A duty to this weyr. With golds it’s different. You saw how things happened yesterday. You know, first hand, what one rogue queen can do to a weyr.” She pauses. “If the weyr isn’t for you, Ha’ze, then you can go independent. There’s more options now, without thread. More things for riders to do, more places for them to go. Jajen, unfortunately, doesn’t really have that option. She’s a goldrider. She will always need to be in a weyr.”

“Maybe. Hard to be without a place to be settling roots.” Knowing Kainaesyth though, it’s an attractive thought, to just be able to wander a bit, find a place here and there, to not be tied down to just one place. “Can’t see Jajen not wantin’ a place to be settled anyway. Mayhap she’ll grow up a bit and settle away from the pressure of everyone expecting her to be a particular way.”

Nyalle pushes to her feet with a small nod. “We can hope. Thank you for your insight, Ha’ze. Have a good rest of your day.” And with that, the young Senior takes her leave, moving back through the corridors again.