High Reaches Weyr - Junior Weyrwoman Nyalle's Weyr

Autumn is brief in High Reaches, and the winter comes quickly. While snow drifts down outside it doesn't yet stick, but the air is biting and chilly. Nyalle is working in her weyr, tending to paperwork that the Senior has asked her to tend to. A warm fire burns in her hearth, and Kayeth's autumn glow is freshly oiled as the queen sleeps deeply in her couch. The firelight gleams off her hide, and Nyalle has to frequently force herself to look away and not waste all her time fawning over her queen's magnificence. The Junior is dressed in a simple outfit - a long wool skirt and a thick sweater to keep off the chill, as well as a small head covering over her dark, silky hair. Comfortable yet proper.

Usual protocol and manners would have had Itorith waking Kayeth to ask if Nyalle would mind his rider's company. The Weyrleader is in no mood however for that song and dance and it could be that R'lor wisely knows that such a forewarning would give the young junior weyrwoman a way to refuse his invitation. So he will brave the biting and chilly winter weather and arrive unannounced to knock on Nyalle's door or announce his arrival in some manner. He's not so brash (or foolish) to simply barge his way in, but he's determined. Yet when she'll come to answer or greet him, his narrow face will be shifted in an an appropriate mask of humble apology for his interruption of her work. A man well into his fifties, his greying black hair has been swept back neatly and he is dressed in his thick winter riding gear. Proper, as is his posture and his behaviour — for now. "Have I come at a bad time, weyrwoman? My apologies for not having sent word through Kayeth, but Itorith informed me that she was deep asleep and neither of us felt it so urgent as to wake her from her needed rest." he will say to Nyalle upon greeting her, hands clasped behind his back and an expectant air about him. Won't she let him in?

Nyalle hastens to the door of the weyr, pulling it open to only blink in surprise. "Sir," she says, snapping off a most respectful salute and then dipping into a curtsey. "It's no trouble at all, I appreciate your and Itorith's understanding in not waking her. It's very kind of you." A fond smile, not for him but for his consideration, is offered before she's stepping aside. "Please, do come in, sir, and warm up. May I get you something to drink or to eat? I can send to the kitchens," she says, closing the door behind him and gesturing for him to choose his place in her neat and tidy little weyr.

R'lor's smile is reserved but only as a front. It never reaches his eyes, which are flicking with shadows of other emotions and ones far less appropriate. They'll follow her as she curtseys and steps aside and with a gracious nod he will stride forwards. Even for a man his age, he still moves with grace and strength. He's a man of power and he acts as such, if not driven to egotistical levels. Having lost Weyrleader had wounded him, but now that he and Itorith are back into their long held position, it's swelled his pride to new levels. "We look out for each other here and we would not wish to risk Kayeth's comfort or health." he murmurs, his dark eyes scanning the neat and tidy little weyr. "No thank you, weyrwoman." R'lor has moved further into the weyr now and his eyes alight on her desk or where her paperwork lies. He does not take a seat yet, but he does feign curious interest. "Have I disrupted your work?" he asks, looking contrite enough to seem genuine, the snake that he is. No wonder he and Pandara are so well matched.

Nyalle follows after the Weyrleader, smiling graciously as she does so. "Just some paperwork that Pandara asked of me," she says with a small wave of her hand. "It can wait," she reassures, giving him a smile. Her expression is open and innocent, eager to please and expectant. "What can I help you with, sir?"

R'lor's expression flickers for a moment at the mention of Pandara before he can slip his mask back into place. He smiles, that smile that appears normal and yet brings a tiny thread of unease. His dark eyes drift to the paperwork and then he makes a soft sound in his throat. "She's not asking too much of you?" he asks in idle conversation as he strides away from where her work rests. Now is he going to sit himself done? Of course not. Her open and innocent, eager to please expression draws him in. She makes this far too easy. R'lor's smile broadens and his dark eyes this time scan her in a way that is teetering on inappropriate, especially for one so prim and proper as she is. "How sweet and kind of you to ask, Nyalle." Nyalle. He's dropped their formal use of titles, just like that as he stops to hover within her personal space. "Always looking out for others, so eager and willing to help. Admirable traits in a woman and doubly so for a young goldrider." Kind words if it came from any other man that R'lor. He, however, speaks them not to flatter her for her sake but for his motives. "Perhaps you could help me…"

Nyalle shakes her head swiftly, pushing dark hair behind her ear. "Oh no, sir, not at all." The use of her name has her brows lifting, looking at him curiously with a little smile. The scanning of his gaze makes her fidget slightly, something inside of her turning just a bit, but she doesn't show it. It wouldn't be proper to balk. "It is my duty to serve," she says with a small dip of her head, looking at his boots before her eyes lift to his face once more. Waiting for his request, though she does not approach any closer, hands clasped neatly in front of her.

Oh yes, she makes this far too easy. R'lor's eyes flash and now his smile is genuine but on his narrow and thin features it comes off twisted and smirk-like. She hasn't balked from him or shown any inclination that she is catching on to his little game or the trap that he's laying out around her so effectively. "Mhm, yes. It is your duty to serve, isn't it?" he muses with a low, dark chuckle. Poor Nyalle, does she not know how easily she walked right into this? Her submissiveness has him brazenly stepping forwards and now he is all but touching her with his body. Daringly too, he crosses those lines and slips his fingers under her chin to lift it. "Such a bright and proper girl. Kayeth chose well on the Sands." R'lor goes on to say in a cool whisper. There is no love in his voice, no fawning adoration. He's viewing Nyalle, sweet young Nyalle, as a trophy. A prize to obtain and gain, to have firmly under his grip (or under his boot, whichever) and HIS to control. "Look at me." he asks and not tenderly. It's a command.

Nyalle inclines her head. "Yes, sir," she murmurs. "It's only proper. It is my place." How warped her thoughts have become. Her natural desire to do what she can for others, her cothold upbringing, their training, and Kayeth's slumber all feed into this moment. When he steps forward she stiffens slightly, inhaling her breath as she comes to realize what it is the Weyrleader is seeking. But this is her duty, is it not? While her mind struggles with that, his order comes, and she obeys, lifting her jade green eyes to meet his. And she is quiet.

R'lor chuckles gruffly. "So it is." he agrees with another one of those creepy smiles of his. That Nyalle has stiffened slightly under his advances does not matter to him. She's obeyed so far and all of her replies so far have given him no worry in any retaliation. Something he was unable to obtain with Cari but with Nyalle he stands a chance. "So young." Too young for him. "But you will make a find Weyrwoman someday." Meek and submissive but hopefully HIS to mould and control. He turns her head a little to the side with his fingers still curled under her chin as if inspecting her and satisfied he will loop his other arm around her to pull her against him. All but in the trap now, R'lor is looking down on her with an expression of desire. "A far better Weyrwoman than that volatile woman. Pandara cannot hold High Reaches forever. As has already been proven!" So what does that prove? Why is the Weyrleader here? To lay claim to the only junior left to him, of course.

Nyalle swallows thickly, nervously, stiff beneath his embrace with her heart hammering, vein throbbing in her neck. "Thank you, sir," she murmurs to the compliment. When he turns her head she resists a bit, her brows furrowing. "What…why are you here, sir?" she asks, a frown pulling at her lips.

"Admiring you." R'lor lies through his teeth and than thin, unsettling smile broadens and his eyes glint with something far different from admiration. "And please, Nyalle. Call me by R'lor? I don't think we'll be needing titles and formality soon." he murmurs, letting his fingers slip from under her chin to brush up against her neck as his hand comes to rest against it. A seemingly tender gesture, but truthfully it's there to also keep her in place should she attempt to evade the kiss he then lowers his head for. "Is it not obvious?" he says with a little laugh, his tone almost mocking.

Nyalle shivers beneath his touch, but not in pleasure. This is duty? This? Now? "Please, sir…R'lor…no," she says softly, trying to lean away from him. "I…my duty is to the winner of Kayeth's flight…" Which is Mr'az. "If…when Itorith wins Kayeth, then…then I'm yours." Wake up, Kayeth. Wake up… and she presses against her queen's mind, pushing…

R'lor clucks his tongue in frustration, his smile slipping for a moment to a sneer before he can recover. No? "You are so proper, Nyalle!" he chides her now and his grip on her only tightens. He is not going to let her go and it's obvious that her refusal of him has had the opposite effect. Rather than have him back off, it's only made him desire her all the more. To have her submit to him. "And do you not have a duty to your Weyrleader?" he asks in a falsely sweet tone. He does not want to wait for Kayeth's flight. Again, he tries to kiss her and should she evade him this time too, R'lor may go as far as to give her a small shake in frustration.

Nyalle makes a soft sound of protest but he manages to kiss her, and during the kiss she lets her thoughts shift fully to Kayeth, using that moment where their eyes are closed and he can't see her to /shove/ at her queen. Wake UP but be quiet about it… The queen shifts in her wallow, separated from the inner weyr by two doors and the stone. She barely twitches before her thoughts reach to Zhirazoth. « Mine calls for yours, » she whispers, as if it is a secret. « Itorith's is… » and the queen is rather confused by her rider's tumultuous thoughts, « he is making her very uncomfortable and afraid. »

For a seasoned rider, R'lor is certainly a fool to have forgotten that Nyalle would call on her gold should she be pushed too far. Yet his mind is sufficiently distracted when she yields in kissing him and he does not relent even then. His hold on her remains and he is rough in his handling of her. "I will have you, Nyalle! You and I together can see this Weyr run as it ought to be." Itorith remains oblivious to Kayeth's awakened state, but Zhirazoth hears her and the younger bronze's mind darkens with the swiftness of an oncoming storm over the churning ocean waters below. « What is Itorith's doing there? Mine comes! Tell yours not to be afraid. Help is on the way! Zhouth's rider comes too. »

Or he knew that Nyalle never, ever awakens Kayeth when her queen is sleeping. She fawns over her lifemate like nothing else. Or perhaps he told her that it was unwise to force a queen to wake. Nyalle gasps softly at his rough handling, trying to get her hands against his chest to push. "No!" she says, a bit more firmly. A fearfully, her eyes wide. « He is trying to mate with her, » comes Kayeth's clarification, still confused but now agitated though she does as her rider asks and remains 'asleep'. Her spinning eyes hidden behind lowered lids.

Those are probably causes as well as to why R'lor feels so confident and assured in his motives. Nyalle's hands will reach his chest and for a moment he is stalled but not for very long. He may be in his fifties, but he's still strong, fit and seemingly without effort he overpowers her. "No?" he scoffs, lifting his head back to fully sneer at her. His eyes have gone hard and narrow now, but they are still full of heat and determination. Perhaps some small shred of him his guilty for making her fearful, but it's a necessary evil. "Is that any way to behave, Nyalle?" Across the Weyr, Zhirazoth stiffens on his ledge, his tail suddenly lashing out with a furious slap against the stone as his talons click and scratch at the stone. His mind rumbles with thunder and the winds begin to build along with his anger, which is fed further by that of his riders. « He has NO right! » the young bronze exclaims. « If she does not want him as her mate, she does not have to choose him! Tell her that, Kayeth! It's not her duty to lay with him! » Across the bowl, Mr'az and V'sev are both picking their way over to Nyalle's ledge but it will be Mr'az who beats the other bronzerider to the door. Mr'az is not so kind as to knock as R'lor has and promptly barges right through the door when he discovers it unlocked. What he sees only has his face twisting into a furious glare at the Weyrleader, skin flushed hot and red as his fists clench and through gritted teeth he growls. "What is this!?" Get away from her!

Nyalle is confused and conflicted, and Kayeth's sudden flood into her mind has her eyes unfocusing and body briefly relaxing in his embrace as her thoughts shift to her dragon. "I…" she begins, knowing the answer he /wants/, but she is so confused, so in the end she just doesn't say anything except to look at him with eyes wide. When Mr'az bursts through the door Nyalle sags in relief, so very, very glad to see him. V'sev is quick to follow, closing the door firmly behind him and stepping up behind Mr'az. He doesn't say anything but his hand is on his dagger hilt.

R'lor's mouth draws back into a triumphant grin when Nyalle relaxes against him, misreading the signals and the unfocused and confused look in her eyes. "That's better." he praises in a falsely soothing tone. Be a good little pet now and submit to him! Just as he's about to push things further while she remains so absorbed by her confusion, the door is bursting open and Mr'az is standing there. Snarling, he immediately whirls to face the bronzerider, but pins Nyalle to his body with one arm across her and her back pressed to his front. A shield. He's using her a a shield! "How dare you just barge in here, Wingleader!" Mr'az only glares at the Weyrleader and takes a hesitant step forwards. "Let her go…" he begins to say in a low and level tone that also serves as a warning. Then V'sev is arriving and Mr'az darts a look to the other bronzerider and down to where his hand is on his dagger hilt. Will it come to that? R'lor curses as V'sev arrives and finding himself outnumbered he roughly shoves Nyalle forwards and free of his grip. "This concerns neither of you!" The Weyrleader snaps, infuriated to have been thwarted again when he was so close! With Nyalle now freed, Mr'az will step forwards in an attempt to draw her into his embrace and pull her safely aside, leaving V'sev the "pleasure" of confronting R'lor.

Nyalle stiffens once more when things all swirl back into focus again, and she squirms against R'lor's hold, her eyes wide and fearful. Pleading, almost. Men come to rescue her. This is right, isn't it? Stumbling forward, she's caught by Mr'az and she sags into his embrace with a soft whimper of fear. Girl needs a backbone. But right now she's just hurt and confused. So very, very confused. Once Nyalle is 'free', V'sev steps forward, his free hand clenched into a fist. "How dare you," he hisses. "How /dare/ you try and take advantage of her!"

She does need a backbone or at least some common sense knocked into her to know when a man has overstepped his bounds well before the trap is set. Mr'az isn't there to reproach her and scold her though and as she sags agains him, the bronzerider simply holds her and nothing like R'lor hand done. His hold is fierce, but gentle and caring. Meant to support and comfort her, not trap and snare. Mr'az rests his head by hers, whispering low by her ear. "It's alright, Nyalle. It's alright." And all the while he's glaring daggers into R'lor's back.

R'lor sneers at V'sev, unflinching even as the bronzerider steps forwards. "How dare I? I should ask the same, to accuse me of such! You think that you and Mr'az can just barge in here and interfere with private business that is none of your concern?" he fires back, eyes hard and cold as they narrow and lock on to V'sev. There is no respect shared between the Weyrleader and once-Weyrsecond.

Nyalle is learning, slowly, the difference. She stays beside Mr'az, her arm wrapped around his waist, hugging her friend, her mate, the winner of her maiden flight. V'sev bristles, taking another step forward and then stopping, out of arm's reach. "You were going to take advantage of her," V'sev hisses heatedly. "You were going to claim her as yours. I know how you work, R'lor. I've seen what you do to other riders in this weyr. I will /not/ see another goldrider ruined by you and by Pandara."

Mr'az will hold her close, protecting and comforting his friend and mate, having the right to call her that since Kayeth's maiden flight. HE earned it and never abused his friendship with Nyalle in an attempt to claim her. He slept with her prior to that flight by her request, but beyond that he has been ever respectful of her. Even now he keeps his affections minimal, save to hold his head close to hers and whisper some soothing or comforting word now and again while his eyes watch the scene between R'lor and V'sev unfold.

The Weyrleader has begun to pace restlessly in front of V'sev, prowling as he keeps his eyes fixed on the bronzerider. "So what if I was? It wasn't as though she was entirely unwilling! She even said so herself that it is her duty." R'lor snaps and his dark, cold and mean eyes shoot to glare at Nyalle. "Didn't you, weyrwoman? Tell them just how you view your duties." As R'lor whirls back on V'sev, Mr'az will clutch the young gold rider closer to him and he whispers low but urgently into her ear. "Don't answer him, Nyalle or bluff! But for Faranth's sake, don't give him that to hold power over you." R'lor hears nothing of the exchange, focused as he is on V'sev. "So you seek a bit of personal revenge then is that it? I thought better of you, V'sev." he scoffs and pauses in his restless prowling to just glare at the bronzerider. "You know as well as I that Cari's fate was dealt more by Pandara's hand than mine! Do not lay blame on me for that woman's paranoia!" he hisses angrily.

"Because /you/ trained her that way!" V'sev says. Somehow, this situation has given him the freedom to speak his mind, and he's going to take it. While R'lor paces, V'sev stands still, hand still on his dagger. Nyalle opens her mouth to answer R'lor - she /has/ been trained to answer - but Mr'az's hushed words have her balking, and she remains silent. So, so confused, her thoughts and emotions are whirling. Guilt and shame, uncertainty and anger. "This isn't about revenge," V'sev hisses, his eyes narrowing and flashing angrily. "This is about preventing you from ruining /this/ goldrider with /your/ paranoia."

It's because R'lor hasn't denied V'sev his chance though from the way his skin darkens in a furious shade of red and his eyes flare hot, the bronzerider may have crossed that line. "You are out of line, bronzerider! I will not suffer to hear such… such ridiculous claims!" Because it's the truth and the Weyrleader knows it! He laughs then, high and harsh. "My paranoia? You think me so insecure that I go out of my way to ruin gold riders? Please. We know who does that in this Weyr! And you do best to remember that!" he snaps and without another word he storms from the weyr. Unless V'sev would dare to try and stop him, but R'lor knows when he's lost a fight and before it can be rubbed in his face he'll take his leave. Mr'az continues to hold Nyalle, though one hand has begun to caress along her back in slow, soothing strokes. He cannot see how confused and hurt she is, but he can assume enough. "Bastard." he'll growl once R'lor is gone.

As R'lor storms out, V'sev grits his teeth. "Stay here," he says sharply to Mr'az and Nyalle. Sure, they both outrank him, but his position as Weyrsecond and Weyrleader are still imprinted in his mind as he stalks out after R'lor. Not to seek him though. No, he's going to the head of the snake. To the Senior, and make the case for sending Nyalle to Fort. Not for Nyalle's safety of course, but for the Senior's continued hold on her weyrleader. At least V'sev will play it as such.

Back in the weyr, Nyalle sags against Mr'az when V'sev slams the door behind him, and the young goldrider starts to cry. Clutching at his tunic, she sobs against him, trembling, body shaking with the outlet of all the emotions at once.

Mr'az starts at V'sev's sudden order and scowls. "Why? What are you intending to do?" he asks, but it's too late. The other bronzerider is already gone and he is only left with an uneasy feeling. Part of him wants to chase V'sev down to question him, but he won't leave Nyalle's side. Especially not once the young gold rider begins to cry. "Hey, hey… Don't, Nyalle. Don't cry! You're alright. It's all alright now…" he soothes, kissing the top of her head as he hugs her close. Carefully he will lead her to the couch where he will sit with her and there he will continue to hold and comfort her so long as she desires it. "You've done nothing wrong. It's… it's all his doing." Yet little does Mr'az know just what this encounter will set off and that upon hearing of R'lor's attempt to take advantage of the young goldrider, the Senior will be all too willing to see the "troublemaker Nyalle" off to some other Weyr.

Nyalle clings to Mr'az, moving limply with him to sit on the couch and press tightly against him. "It's…but…" she whimpers, guilt and fear and shame gnawing at her. "But I denied the /Weyrleader/. He's going to punish me I know it. I should have…but…I'm /your/ mate," she murmurs, rambling a bit in her confusion. Across the weyr, V'sev is playing his part well, the dutiful wingsecond telling the Senior that her grip on the Weyrleader is slipping. Suggesting Fort. Getting things in order. And inside, thanking Faranth that it's finally happening.

It pains Mr'az to see and hear that guilt and fear and the shame gnawing away at her and he voices another low and soft sound to sooth as his hands reach up to cup the side of her face and reach back to stroke through her hair. Comforting and reassuring, he holds his body close and supports her that way too. "You are my mate, Nyalle and it's me you chose." he tells her, not to stroke his own ego or boast but simply laying out the truth for her, to guide her from her confusion. "You've every right to deny the Weyrleader in this because he broke the rules and stepped well over the lines of what is appropriate. He's abused his power, can't you see?"

Nyalle shudders, turning her head to look up at him. So confused and so innocent. Naieve too, but that's slowly beginning to change. "I did choose you," she says softly, "and Kayeth too. She chose." She frowns then at his words. She /is/ a bright girl, her views are just a bit warped. "He…but. Why? Why would he want to?"

Mr'az's eyes are saddened when she looks up at him, so confused and so innocent. He feels aged and worn, worse yet because she is so young and should not have had to experience this. Not to this extreme but he's powerless to stop it, only capable of helping her heal and recover. "She did. You both did." he says with a small smile and briefly does his expression warm to one of admiration and happiness, of pride. Then it promptly sobers again and he hugs her close. She IS a bright girl, Mr'az can see that and has tried to nurture it in her and to undo some of the warped views that have been, more or less, taught to her. "Because, like Pandara, R'lor is corrupt. He seeks to gain only for his benefit, not that of others. Why in Faranth's name he is Weyrleader, I've no idea and I am certain it is only because of Pandara and the old, old traditions that he stands in that place rather than a bronzerider far more capable and just." Like V'sev. Possibly even like himself, though Mr'az would never dare to voice such a thing. He's content with Wingleader, but would make one reluctant Weyrleader.

Nyalle sighs, shaking her head slightly and then resting it against his chest. "I…so. He just…wanted sex? And he was just going to take it? To…to play on what he knows are my sense of duty to weyr, just to get me to sleep with him?" She's getting angry now, and in the wallow Kayeth lifts her head, tail lashing slowly back and forth against the worn stone of her couch.

With her head pressed to his chest, she'll hear how low and almost growled Mr'az's voice has become as his anger flares as well when the truth comes to light. Holding her to him, his embrace becomes protective without him entirely conscious of the change but likely fuelled by his own emotions concerning Nyalle and Zhirazoth's possessiveness of Kayeth (though he doesn't often show it, save for his boasting and teasing banter). "Yes." Mr'az answers Nyalle, though the word sticks bitterly in his throat. "He's trying to bring you under his control and it wouldn't be below him to use your views on duties to attain that. And it's wrong what he does, Nyalle. You were not wrong in denying him! Don't ever think you cannot deny a man's advances! An honourable man would back down or cease trying."

Nyalle shudders, her body twitching. "I feel so…dirty," she whispers with a grimace, shaking her head. Reaching up, she touches her jaw where R'lor held it, and she shudders again. "It was wrong," she agrees with a small nod, she's coming to terms with this as well. "He was…wrong." That's something she struggles with a bit more. The Weyrleader. He's wrong about something? He was trying to /use/ her? She bristles again, twitching against him and then she's sitting up, pushing to her feet to pace, restless. Hands running along her arms, chafing.

"Don't." Mr'az whispers back without hesitation and he will watch as she touches her jaw and the bronzerider bristles, anger flushing his cheeks for R'lor's audacity. He'll hold his tongue however, now is not the time for him to go into a heated ranting about just how exactly he despises the Weyrleader at this very moment. How he desires to see if there is no way to have him removed. Justly, of course. Nor is it his place to try and erase those lingering feelings she has of the Weyrleader's touch and replace it with his own. "Very wrong." he agrees, supporting her gently as she slowly comes to terms with it. When she sits up, he doesn't hold her back and shifting to perch on the edge of the couch with his hands curled tight against his legs he will watch her pace, restless and troubled and it will break his heart just a little more to see her like this. "Nyalle…" Mr'az calls to her softly. Talk to him! He waits patient and expectantly.

Nyalle sighs, coming to a slow stop and shaking her head. "I feel so…betrayed," she admits softly. "So used, so…so /cheap/. Just…like a /thing/. I…it makes me wonder about /everything/ he's ever said. Was it all a lie? Was it all to lead up to this? To this…" and she gestures with fine boned fingers at the place where she and R'lor stood. And she shudders again, arms crossing tightly over her chest. "I-" she begins, only interrupted by a knock at the door. Just a knock though. V'sev will wait.

Mr'az pushes to his feet when she goes on to say how cheap and used she feels, reaching out to take her hand or grasp her arm. He wants to hold her (and so much more) but he will let her choose as he always has as to how far she wants his affections. She is not a thing to him but a person and one who is more than capable to choose for herself. "From his mouth? It could have been." he says with a heavy sigh. He won't sugar coat or protect her from the truth. She's old enough to hear it but it still hurts him a little to say the words. "What did he tell you?" he asks softly. Then they're interrupted by the knock on the door and Mr'az steps closer to her side as his eyes linger there. "Do you want me to answer it?"

Nyalle lets him take her hand, but she doesn't move any closer than that. Not yet. "He said I was good. I was bright, proper…that it was my duty to serve the weyr. That I'd make a better weyrwoman than…" and she trails off, shaking her head. "That we could make Reaches great…" Then at the knock she looks at the door and then to Mr'az, nodding for him to go ahead and open it. And when he does, V'sev is there, hides in hand, flushed and grinning. But it's not a happy grin. It's a bitter, victorious, scathing smile. "Ma'am. Sir. May I come in? I have news." He has slipped back into his position as Wingsecond, but there is an /energy/ to him, a burning within him that shows through his every gesture.

Mr'az will squeeze her hand firm and reassuringly, pleased to have been given that much. His eyes darken, clouded and troubled with anger and outrage for how far R'lor's mind games have gone. "Oh Nyalle…" Now it all makes more sense to the bronzerider as to why she was so confused and guilty. Now the Weyrleader has gone and warped the truth and Mr'az is uncertain on how to undo it without her becoming even more muddled. Before he can even begin to try and speak again though, Nyalle nods to him and he dips his head in understanding and strides to the door to open it. "V'sev? Yes. Of course… if you do not mind, weyrwoman?" Mr'az says with some surprise and not so much by the Wingsecond being there but the other bronzerider's mood. It has him both on edge and intrigued and once V'sev has stepped inside he will close the door and return to stand closer to Nyalle. The hides are eyed warily but there is a curiosity there too mixed with apprehension. He stands tensely, waiting and his eyes drift to the young goldrider. This is hers to ask, not him.

Nyalle shakes her head, gesturing for V'sev to enter. He's always been kind to her, and his care of Cari has Nyalle trusting him - at least a bit. When Mr'az returns to her side her arm slips through his, hugging it against her side. "What is it?" she asks softly.

V'sev's hands twitch restlessly as he holds up the hides. "I have a transfer for you, Nyalle. You're going to Fort Weyr. Away from here. Out of this Faranth forsaken, goldrider breaking weyr. To Fort. /Fort/!" he says triumphantly, shaking the hides and letting out a whoop that echoes in the weyr.

Nyalle jumps a bit, and then frowns, confused and startled. "F…Fort? Why? I'm…I've been kicked out of High Reaches?" One more thing to pile onto the poor girl.

Mr'az starts as well both from V'sev's news and the whoop he lets out. His reaction is not as exuberant and he is clearly conflicted. Obviously he's glad that Nyalle has a chance for safety. But Fort Weyr? A transfer out? He's confused and torn between knowing what is right and needed and his personal feelings. She is his best friend, a lover since Kayeth rose and now she'll be off to another Weyr. He has to choke back his sudden possessiveness and selfishness to keep himself from blurting out something he'll regret. He wants to say 'no' but he forces his mouth to say the words. "You're not being kicked out, Nyalle. At least not in the truth of it, no matter what story is given. You're going to go where its safe, as V'sev has so put it." Yet when Mr'az looks to the Wingsecond, his eyes are narrowed and not entirely thrilled with the result. Could he not have waited to discuss this?

Nyalle shakes her head slowly, gripping Mr'az's arm more tightly. "Why…how did this happen?" she demands, some anger and frustration leaking out.

V'sev stops his pacing, rounding to face them both. His eyes are slightly wild, but with a long pause he wrestles himself back under control and holds out the hides. "You knew I sent you to Fort to meet them. Th'ero is a good man. Their goldriders are /sane/. You'll be /safe/ there. You'll be taught properly, not warped into this…this!" he says, gesturing around with a jerk of his hand. "So after R'lor pushed himself on you I went to the Senior. Told her of what happened. Twisted things a bit, and she's agreed to let you go. Let you /go/, Nyalle, don't you understand?" And he takes a step towards her, but she shrinks back against Mr'az's side. "Why didn't you ask /my/ opinion of this!" she shouts, reaching out to snatch the hides from his hands. "I'm being sent away like I was no more an object than R'lor thought I was! No say in my own life?" Furious now, she grips the hides and lets Mr'az's arm go, standing there rigidly, staring at the hides.

Mr'az lifts his hand to place it firmly against her back and between her shoulders. Truthfully he wants to sweep her into his arms, clutch her close and keep her safe but he resists. His eyes focus instead on V'sev, brows lifted high in incredulousness but before he can say a single word, Nyalle is shouting at the Wingsecond. Mr'az can only smirk, more on the young goldrider's side for now though he will try to give her a look when she moves away to stand rigidly with the hides in her hands. He says nothing, waiting to see what V'sev has to say to answer for himself.

Nyalle leans back slightly against Mr'az's hand, but she doesn't do anything more than that. V'sev blinks in surprise, gaping at her and then at Mr'az. A silent request for help. "I…because you'd have never agreed to go. Nyalle. Ma'am," he corrects when her eyes narrow, "I was trying to /prevent/ that," he says, pointing to that spot. "You are too good for this weyr. It will ruin you. You'll have a chance in Fort. Don't you see? You can get /out/. Goldriders so rarely transfer and I made this so you could! I worked /hard/ for this chance for you! Because you're our queen. Kayeth is our queen." His and Cari's, and his emotions waver for a moment, heart clutching painfully before he masters himself again. "I was /not/," he whispers, voice rolling deeply, "going to see you broken like Cari has been. I got you out, Nyalle," he whispers. Nyalle inhales slow and deep, swallowing. Her mind is still struggling to come to grips with it, but her emotions clench painfully at his words. Then she turns to look at Mr'az, the hides still clutched in her fist. "What do you think?" she asks softly. "I can't say no…" Not if the Senior has ordered her away. She opens her mouth and closes it again with a snap. About to ask if he'll come with. But she knows better. He has his wing. He can't follow her.

Mr'az lowers his head to listen to V'sev, his brows knitted together in a heavy frown that is almost a scowl. It all makes perfect sense and he too will not miss the emotion caught in the other bronzerider's voice when he reminds them all that Kayeth is his queen. Zhouth and Esereth's. The Wingleader sighs heavily. He saw what became of Cari over time and no matter how strongly he feels towards Nyalle he cannot bare to suffer to see the same happen to her. Still, it hurts him. She already knows he cannot follow her because of his rank, something both he and Zhirazoth hold dear. If he were to loose it though… oh, he would follow her in a heartbeat. Knowing how R'lor and Pandara work though, they will keep him here. "No, you can't say no. I see why V'sev did what he did. I may not fully agree with the tactic but… R'lor did force this. You have to go, Nyalle." Mr'az lifts his gaze to look at her, trying to keep his expression neutral but his eyes still flicker with conflict. "V'sev is right. The longer you stay here, the more you're in danger of being sucked into their mind games."

Nyalle exhales softly, looking at V'sev and then at Mr'az. Taking a deep breath she lifts her chin and straightens her shoulders. Drawing on Kayeth no doubt for stability and confidence. "Then I'd better pack. Mr'az, could you help? V'sev…" and the look she gives him is conflicted. Pained. "You're dismissed." That's all she can manage right now as she turns to vanish into her bedroom.

Mr'az knows the moment that she lifts her chin and straightens her shoulders, looking confidence and certain that her decision has been made and he can only lower his head in an attempt to mask the emotions that surface. To say he's not a bit smug when V'sev is dismissed and he remains would be a lie, but he'll at least nod crisply to the Wingsecond before turning to follow Nyalle to her bedroom. Later they'll talk but for now Mr'az wants to speak privately with the young goldrider. Lingering by the doorway, he will wait until V'sev is truly gone before he speaks up. "Nyalle…" I don't want you to go. "… what would you like me to help with?"

Nyalle doesn't start to pack right away. Instead she just walks in and sinks on the edge of her bed, her confidence fading away now that V'sev is gone and she's left with her best - her only - friend. "Mr'az," she echoes, looking up at him with sad eyes. "I'm…" She doesn't want to go. Instead, she just lifts a hand towards him, hand open, palm up. Come to her?

Mr'az will not hesitate in joining her. Once she holds her hand up, he moves and taking it in his he will sit next to her on the bed. But what he won't be able to do is resist holding back and he abandons holding her hand in favour of sweeping her up into a fierce, tight hug.

Nyalle gasps softly when he embraces her, and her arms are swift to wrap around him in return. Holding him tightly, fiercely, clinging to him and not wanting to let go as the tears start anew. Her shoulders shake, trembling as she sobs against his shoulder, face pressed tightly to his neck. Out on the ledge Kayeth croons a soft, sorrowful sound and her mind reaches to Zhirazoth's. A sad, mist-laden beach. Soggy, with the waves erasing all the tracks of footprints etched into the sand.

Mr'az's breath shudders slightly when she clings back to him and when her tears start anew, he has to close his eyes shut tightly and grit his teeth, jaw clenching as he rocks her gently. "It's alright, Nyalle. It'll be alright…" he whispers hoarsely. Even though it feels anything but alright right now. What else can he say? Zhirazoth is picking up on his rider's mood and even the skies above his ocean filled mind have turned a sombre and depressing steel grey, draining everything of colour. With Kayeth's permission, the young bronze will glide over to her ledge and croon soft and low, just as saddened by the news.

Nyalle takes a few shaky breaths to steady herself again. "I don't want to go," she whispers. "I know…I know it's what's best but I don't want to leave you, to leave Reaches. This…this is my home, this area…I'll be farther from Mother and Father, from Fairfield…I…" and she digs her fingers into his tunic, clutching tightly. "I'm going to be alone…" Except for Kayeth of course. The queen scoots aside, welcoming Zhirazoth into her wallow so she can curl up with him, tail over his, muzzle across his paws.

"I don't want you to go either, Nyalle but there is no other way…" Mr'az sighs, swallowing thickly as his heart clenches a bit as she clutches at him. His arms wrap around her, his fingers curling into her shirt and his head lowering to press his forehead to hers. "I'm sorry this had to happen to you." he whispers and then in a firmer tone he adds, "But you will never be alone. Your family will still be here in Fairfield and I am certain Fort will not begrudge you a visit now and again. Nor will you loose your allies here in the Weyr or me." He has to pause for a moment to collect himself and his thoughts and drawing his arms back he will grip her shoulders firm and tight beneath his hands as he looks down at her. "And I will always be your friend, Nyalle. Even if I must remain here for now. Our friendship has not changed…" Zhirazoth slips inside Kayeth's wallow and settles himself quickly by her side, curling his body comfortingly around the young gold. His muzzle will lower and he will nuzzle along her neck, trying his best to sooth her.

Nyalle sighs, lifting her red rimmed eyes to gaze at him, studying his face closely. "And I will always be yours too, Mr'az," she whispers in reply. "Always, always." She hesitates, biting her lower lip for a moment. "If they ever took Wingleader from you…" Would he follow her? In the wallow, Kayeth rumbles softly as she rests closely to her friend and her mate, soaking in his attentions.

Mr'az won't hide his face from her close studying and she will see the upset lingering in his eyes. He's not happy about this and already there is concern and worry gnawing away at him, among so many other conflicting emotions. Lifting his hands up, he will cup her face gently, so long as she does not flinch or draw away. "If they did, I see no reason for Zhirazoth and I to stay here. We can be Wingrider's anywhere on Pern." he tells her and he means it! He would follow her. "But even though you are… are going to be in Fort Weyr now, that does not mean we cannot come and visit you." Right? Zhirazoth cuddles close to Kayeth, coiling his tail with hers and resting his head over her neck in as close to an embrace that two dragons can get.

Nyalle doesn't draw away. She trusts him. And her trust for him runs deep. If she can't trust him then she can't trust anyone. And she smiles. "Okay," she murmurs softly, nodding. That's something for her to hold on to. That he /would/ join her if he could. "I'm going to miss you so much," she whispers with a soft hiccup, a few more tears leaking from her eyes. "I can't believe I'm being sent away…" It's all so much to take in at once. A few candlemarks ago life was perfect.

Nyalle doesn't draw away. She trusts him. And her trust for him runs deep. If she can't trust him then she can't trust anyone. And she smiles. "Okay," she murmurs softly, nodding. That's something for her to hold on to. That he /would/ join her if he could. "I'm going to miss you so much," she whispers with a soft hiccup, a few more tears leaking from her eyes. "I can't believe I'm being sent away…" It's all so much to take in at once. A few candlemarks ago life was perfect.

She can trust Mr'az and he trusts her in return. He would never do anything to hurt her, not intentionally at least. He smiles at her when she whispers that he'll miss her, a sad one but he's touched all the same. His thumbs brush away her tears and then he leans in to kiss her. Soft and gentle, brief and respectful. "I'm going to miss you too." he whispers back and his hands lower to reach for hers and clasp them between his. "It all happened so fast…" he agrees softly, only to flush with anger again. "That bastard R'lor! He just couldn't stay away. If it weren't for him, you'd not be forced into transferring out! Why… why couldn't Pandara's gold have remained infertile! V'sev and Cari would have remained our Leaders and we could have been happy here." he rambles, venting out his frustration though he knows he shouldn't. This won't help her but he's at a loss of what else to do or say.

Nyalle closes her eyes and she leans into the kiss. Welcome - so welcome - after R'lor's /taken/ one. "So fast," she whispers. And then she sighs, shaking her head and squeezing his hands. "He is…not a good man." She's realizing that. Realizing that all the rumors and the whispers, that everything she had denied about the Weyrleader out of respect, out of duty, out of /her/ never seeing that side of him…it's all gone. "I don't know why," she says softly. "Poor Cari…" The two of them were semi close, and then her mind slipped. "We could have been," she says, giving him a sad smile. "So many possibilities…" Gone, now. Then she squeezes his hands again with a tight grasp. "We should pack," she says softly, leaning in to offer him another lingering kiss. "Then, maybe…one more time?" She doesn't say one /last/ time, because they have dragons and he'll surely visit. But she has a feeling that after today things are going to change. He'll be spending time with other riders, as will she. And who knows, he might fall for someone else. So might she. The physical nature of their relationship was temporary anyway. Still, she wants one more time with him.

Mr'az squeezes back with his hands and his eyes will linger on her as he listens quietly, letting her come to terms with her new outlook on R'lor. One that may have come too late but he does not chide her on it. "No, he is not a good man." he mutters. "But all things come with a price and there will be a day that all the bad that R'lor has done will come back on him three fold." Mr'az seems certain of it. Karma will not be kind on the Weyrleader! Returning her sad smile, he can only let that slide without comment. So many possibilities gone. Neither of their lives will quite be the same. Holding her hands tightly, he exhales shakily. "Yes, right. Is there anything you want me to help you pack?" he asks softly before returning her kiss, letting it linger for as long as she desires. Her request is met with surprise and he sweeps her into another fierce hug. "Whatever you want, Nyalle." Mr'az will not deny her of that or deny himself of that chance. It won't be a /last/ time but neither is the bronzerider any fool. Their relationship was temporary, but he had hoped Zhirazoth would catch Kayeth again when she rose. Now his chances on that have slimed to almost zero. Yet no matter what happens, even if they find their own partners in time, Mr'az will always retain his friendship to her.

Nyalle nods against his shoulder, caught up in his hug and returning it tightly. Then, slowly, reluctantly, she lets him go. "If you could find some boxes…some traveling crates, things I can use…" She doesn't really want to leave her weyr right now. "And I'll get started with my clothing and things. I guess it's good I don't have much. I won't need to take any furniture, right?" She's so uncertain but there's nothing to do about it except press on.

Mr'az lets her go reluctantly as well and at her request he stands, nodding his head. "That I can do." he murmurs but before he hastens off to find her what she needs, he lingers long enough to cup her face with his hand again. Just one last gesture before he slips out. "No, not unless you have something sentimental here you wish to take with you. Like a chest or some heirloom piece. Otherwise Fort will or should supply you with all you need." he murmurs, trying not to grimace as his emotions surge again and make his stomach coil in knots. It all seems so surreal to him, to be even speaking of it. To be helping her with this transfer. Right now it hasn't fully sunk in and probably won't until she and Kayeth are gone. Then it will hit him like a ton of bricks. "I'll be right back, Nyalle." Mr'az steps away then and smiles soft but reassuringly before he leaves. He walks briskly out of her weyr and down the steps to the bowl. Gone for perhaps close to a candlemark, he'll return almost overburdened with packing supplies which he has to bring into the weyr in stages. She'll have quite a bit to work from, but better than being short, right?

Better than not having enough, and when he returns he'll see that she has not been idle in her packing either. Though she has lacked things to pack into, she's laid everything out in neat piles, ready to be put into those boxes and closed. Her clothing, her shoes, books, her leather working tools, more books, and the few small pieces of jewelry she owns in a simple wooden jewelry box her mother gave her when she impressed. It's all laid out rather forlornly in the middle of the cavern, waiting to be put into boxes. The only thing she hasn't touched is her bed. She's waiting to do that last. "Thank you, Mr'az," she murmurs when he returns, and as he takes his trips she sets to work putting everything away. "Is anyone…does anyone else know?" she asks softly, darting a glance at the door.

As Mr'az enters on the last trip out to gather one last lone crate, he'll close the door and latch it before turning to stare at all those neat piles set so forlornly in the middle of the room. He has to look away hastily, as his throat tightens and his hands clench into fists. Never will he ever respect R'lor, not that he ever has. It will be very hard for Mr'az to be a Wingleader under a Weyrleader like him. He has his worries too that R'lor may retaliate against him in some way for his interference earlier. "You're welcome," he murmurs as he steps close to her side and will help her pack should she not protest to him handling her belongings. Silence to her question should be answer enough, but Mr'az doesn't hold back the truth. "Pandara is making sure it's known. Word is already spreading… I'm sorry. It… it might be best if you leave late tonight or early dawn. I can't for certain say if they believe the words she is spouting but you know she has her loyal followers."

Nyalle sighs softly as she gently tucks books into a sturdy crate. "So she is spreading malicious things about me. The truth…no one but us will know the truth." And that pains her. It truly does. Her reputation has been good up until now. Until now. With another sigh, she shakes her head and goes back to packing. It doesn't take long. "Late tonight probably," she says softly. "I'll go visit Fairfield and then go to Fort. I don't…wish to linger in a weyr turned against me," she says with a sigh, standing in the middle of the empty room and gazing around at her belongings in boxes.

"Some of us will know the truth. There will be me, V'sev, Cari and those of us not stupid enough to see past Pandara and R'lor's corrupted and twisted views. You'd be surprised how many allies you may have, Nyalle." Mr'az tells her softly. Yet none of them can help her now. Well, they could but that would result in the unspeakable: a full out rebellion that tears the Weyr apart. Still, Mr'az will defend Nyalle even when she is gone to Fort. Once the packing is done, he will step in beside her and slip his arm around her waist and pull her to his side. Kissing the top of her head, he murmurs softly against her hair. "Late tonight then." Too soon. All too soon.

Nyalle turns to press her body against his, arms around his body. "Maybe tomorrow morning," she whispers, looking up at him. Pained, worried. Scared. "One more night?" she asks softly.

Mr'az looks down at her and again he has to swallow thickly as his throat tightens painfully at the look in her eyes. "One more night." he murmurs softly and stepping away he will take her hand, lacing his fingers through hers as he leaves it for her to lead onward. He will follow, supporting her as always in her choices even now. With each step they take forwards it's a promise for what will come. One more night and he will make it one that she will hopefully remember. A bit of happiness and pleasure among all the hurt, pain and uncertainty, to erase all R'lor had done. It will be a moment, too short no doubt, to forget that come dawn, life will change. Nyalle is bound for Fort and Mr'az to his fate here in High Reaches. But for now, they have a few precious moments left and Mr'az intends not to waste them. One final happy memory before he will have to face a very difficult farewell.

Time Passes…

Nyalle shifts a bit, curling her body into a tight ball as she cries it out. In the wallow, Kayeth croons softly, sadly, her thoughts closely intertwined with her lifemate's. She's here, Nyalle will never be alone. It's a fairly long cry, minutes at least before Nyalle begins to regain control of herself. Shifting, she reaches for the nightstand where her neat stack of handkerchiefs usually is, but she's packed them. That makes her breath catch again but she forces her emotions back down and instead stands, shuffling towards the bathroom with soft hiccups.

Zhirazoth will croon low in his throat, echoing his rider's sadness but also trying to comfort Kayeth as he strokes his muzzle along her neck and then affectionately against hers. Something he would only ever dare with her, the gold he so rightfully caught and sired a strong and healthy clutch with. Back inside the weyr, Mr'az can only helplessly continue to caress her and do all he can to make her comfortable as she cries and cries. Then she is standing and he sits up, reaching for her but missing as she shuffles towards the bathroom. He does not follow, figuring she wants a moment of privacy but it leaves him waiting anxiously in the bed. His hands lift up then to press the heel of his hands to his brows and run his fingers back through his damp short hair as he exhales shakily, eyes blinking back the hint of tears lingering there. It's starting to sink in now and he is balking at the thought that his best friend, his lover and confidant is leaving.

Nyalle returns shortly, with two glasses of wine in hand. His favorite and her favorite. A ritual, perhaps? Wine in bed? Offering him his glass, she slides into bed beside him and reaches out to cup his cheek, thumb stroking gently against his cheekbone. She sees those hints of tears. "We'll get through it," she says softly. "To us," she toasts softly, lifting the glass. "We'll talk. Kayeth can find Zhirazoth anywhere on Pern. And I'll write. And you can come visit." The more she thinks about it the less she thinks she'll be coming back to Reaches.

It is a ritual and one that brings a sad but pleased smile to his lips that she remembered, even if the gesture is now bittersweet. Mr’az will take his glass and when she cups his cheek he does not flinch or draw away, only closing his eyes briefly to hide the evidence of his weakness. “We’ll get through it,” he murmurs and lifts his glass as he opens his eyes again to meet hers. “To us.” Taking a sip, he will swallow slowly before speaking again. “Of course we will. This won’t change our friendship.” Not all of it. This or what just passed between them will, but the rest of the friendship, that part of the bond and the trust will not waver. “And I will visit you. We’ll keep in touch.” he promises.

Nyalle settles beneath the covers and scoots closer to him, taking a sip of her wine and smiling. “It’s okay to cry, Mr’az,” she says with a soft laugh. “Faranth knows I have. And…” she trails off for a moment, taking a sip of her wine and shrugging. “It’s nice to know you feel the same way I do.” She smiles and then leans over to offer him a sweet kiss. “No, our friendship won’t change,” she says softly. She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. “I visited Fort, on V’sev’s question. I never thought…that /this/ was why…I mean. I pretended to be interested in the idea of a transfer but…” She shakes her head and sighs. “I wonder if these rumors will reach there. My reputation…” She’ll have to build it very, very carefully. Be even more proper and more composed. To defeat any rumors of why she’s been sent to Fort. She sighs again, taking a sip of her wine. “Are you okay?” she asks Mr’az.

Mr’az shifts under the covers, settling himself comfortably but also to make it easy for Nyalle to scoot closer to him. With his free arm, he’ll slip it around her while the other remains at his side with his hand still holding the glass of wine firmly. He snorts softly, but despite her laugh (which makes him smile a little) and her reassurance, he doesn’t cry. He’ll come close at times, but otherwise is clinging stubbornly to the whole ‘tough’ image. Her sweet kiss almost does him in though and his exhale is shaky and choked. “I know.” he mutters softly. “And I do. This… It’s hard to accept that you’re transferring away.” Blinking, he turns his head to give her a sidelong look and his surprise is evident in his eyes and his tone of voice. “You’ve already visited Fort? Spoke with their Weyrleaders? How… when?” Apparently this is news to Mr’az and his brows knit together in a heavy frown. “V’sev… Shards, he did this all without Pandara or R’lor hearing word of it?” He’s impressed! Angered, a little hurt but impressed by the Wingsecond’s sneakiness. He sighs, “Again, you were but a pawn in all of this.” he mutters under his breath and hugs her close to his side. “Your reputation will be fine. The rumors should not leave here and even if they do, from what I’ve heard and seen for myself of Fort and Fortian riders is that they do not put much stock in rumors.” Mr’az could be telling the truth or stretching it in order to bring her some minimal comfort. “But if any do surface, I know you will handle it just fine. You are and you can be strong, Nyalle.” At her prompt, he only smiles softly and kisses her forehead. “If I said yes, I’d be lying but I don’t want you to worry yourself. I’ll be alright.”

Nyalle scoots closer, resting against his side and finding so much comfort in his warmth and his embrace as she sips the wine. “I did. V’sev sent me there to meet them and discuss a possible transfer, but…it was all so vague, and I never thought it was /actually/ true. I thought he was just giving me a break from things here. Letting me go on an official but non-official trip out. And yes, I guess he did. Because now she thinks it’s her idea. It’s…really quite clevar. And…I mean I’m upset and I’m sad and I’m scared, but I’m also rather…flattered that he wanted to protect me like that. It’s…I might have a chance, now. I’m…” She sighs. “It’s going to take me a long time to work through this.” Closing her eyes at his kiss, she opens them again to look up at him. “You know you can take another lover, right?” she asks softly, with a sad smile. “If you want to. I mean. Kayeth is going to rise again in Fort…I’ll try to call you when she does. But.” So awkward. - pawn

Mr’az finds the same comfort and warmth with her resting against him and within his embrace. Sipping slowly at his wine he will listen carefully to the words Nyalle speaks and his frown eases back a little. “That wasn’t fair of them, to not at least warn you that the transfer had a very good risk of being true.” he murmurs, still not entirely pleased of how she had been played in that regard. Mr’az isn’t big on being sneaky and secretive, not really enjoying the games that politics play. He’d rather have it all out in the open so he can make his decisions easily and swiftly. Blach and white, no muddlesome grey area. Which makes him an effective Wingleader, but anything beyond that and he’d struggle. “Clever? I’m not so certain, but I suppose if it keeps Pandara thinking she is in control…” he admits with a grimace. What else can they do? It’s done. “Kayeth is Zhouth’s and Esereth’s first clutched gold. Of course V’sev feels a special… connection or bond to you. I can see why he did it.” Mr’az just wishes he would have been included on all this planning. His guilt is already high enough for not paying closer attention to R’lor’s growing interest in Nyalle. “You’ll pull through. You always do, Nyalle.” he murmurs and holding her gaze, even as his eyes flicker with sadness and understanding, he nods his head. “I know I can.” He doesn’t want too, not right now. That much is evident. “And so can you. That has always been the understanding between us. I… I know that Kayeth will rise in Fort. As junior, it will be open for all males. Zhirazoth will come if we hear the call in time.” But. There is always uncertainty and Mr’az does not hold his hopes too high.

Nyalle shakes her head with a soft sigh. “A pawn, like you said,” she murmurs. “Moved around regardless of how I feel about it. Even V’sev did it, treated me like that, though his intentions were good at least…” She sighs softly, shaking her head again and sipping her wine. “I always do,” she says with a sad smile. “Everything…everything so far and now a move to Fort. It is a lovely weyr. So rich in history. And the people were very kind. But they have some oddities. A bluerider is something called the weyrthird. She’s the Weyrleader’s mate, which just seemed odd to me. But the Weyrsecond assured me she is capable. I guess I’ll find out for myself now.” She trails off again and finishes her wine, leaning away from him just long enough to set the glass down before she returns to his side. “I don’t want to sleep,” she admits, “but I know I should.” Outside, Kayeth is already sleeping curled up with her mate, and her tireness is dragging Nyalle’s thoughts down. The goldrider sighs, wiping tears from her eyes that she just can’t seem to stop from falling.

Mr’az’s expression remains saddened, both because of the truth and because of the lesson Nyalle has learned. “There will come a time when you’ll need to learn how to avoid being moved so easily like a game piece on a board.” he murmurs softly. “But that comes in time.” Not now. It’s too late now anyways and he knows it. No sense to linger on it. Draining the last of his wine, Mr’az snorts softly. “You call that an oddity? It’s a little strange, yes. Questionable perhaps… given if you’re correct that this bluerider is in an elevated ‘non-traditional’ rank and is the Weyrleader’s mate, it looks rather bad.” he admits. “But these are the adjustments you face as a new junior in a new Weyr. It’ll be alright. Fort holds most of it’s traditions.” Which means there will be some similarities at least. Setting his glass aside too, when Nyalle returns to him he will wrap both arms around her and pull her so that her head and most of her body rests against his chest. He sighs, “Neither do I, but you need your rest Nyalle.” Mr’az’s expression twists again, conflicted and troubled when her tears fall and he lifts his fingers up to brush them away.

Nyalle nods. “I have a lot of learning to do,” she murmurs softly. “I don’t ever want to be in…in that position again.” Then she just shrugs, not wanting to waste energy tonight focusing on Kimmila and Fort. Snuggling closer against him, she kisses his skin lightly and exhales quietly. She is quiet for a few long moments, feeling the tug of sleep. But there’s something she needs to say. The time for holding back is gone, just as she will be gone in the morning. Staring at her vacant weyr over his body, she takes a deep, steadying breath before whispering into the darkness, “I love you.”

“Live and learn, as the saying goes.” Mr’az murmurs with a smirk and then exhales heavily as he snuggles down with her, kissing back and then resting his head down next to hers. His eyes close but he does not sleep, simply laying there in the darkness with her pressed against his body and his arms wrapped around her in a gentle embrace. Then she whispers those words and there is the soft sound of him shifting on the bed as he turns his body enough to look down at her, his eyes capable of discerning some of her features in the faint light. He makes a broken sound, much like a laugh that ends in a chuckled cough though he’s far from amused. He’s anything but amused and in a different time or setting he would have been overjoyed to hear her say those three words. Instead his throat clenches painfully and his heart lurches. Why now? Why does she tell him now? “I…” Mr’az’s voice quavers but he steels himself, not that it stops the tears. Curse R’lor and his perverted and power hungry ways and doubly curse Pandara too! “I love you too, Nyalle.” he whispers back and sweeps her into a tight, fierce embrace. But it cannot be. She is destined to Fort.

She tells him now because if she doesn’t tell him now, she may never tell him. She loves him now. But she is destined to Fort and that love will not last. Not like this. In this moment, she does. In the future…she knows they will both change and move on. She will be mated to another, and she knows - figures - that he will choose another mate at some point. He will find another woman, and she will find another man. But right now, they are together. Sometimes Kayeth has too much influence on her, and sometimes she struggles with the big picture and seeing beyond the now. She lifts her head to watch his face, her heart thudding when he seems to hesitate. Has she made a mistake? Perhaps, as she returns his embrace and holds him tightly to her. Leaning up, she tenderly kisses his cheeks, kissing those tears away. Now she looks guilty. “I’m sorry,” she murmurs. “Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. But. I…I wanted you to know.”

Mr’az knows that their love cannot last, not like this or for the future to come. He figures she will move on, as he always knew might have happened if Zhirazoth hadn’t caught Kayeth. As for him, in time he may and at the very least he will take on other lovers. Whether or not he takes on a mate will remain uncertain. Twice now he’s been denied and both times by fate. It’s enough to leave the man to wonder if it’s just how he is destined to be. Right now though, they are together and he intends to spend the very last second that he can selfishly claim with her as his. He lowers his head to her kissing and he laughs softly, shakily but it’s better than the sound he made before. “Don’t be. I’m… glad to have known. I am happy to know this. Even though — even though things have changed. My promise to you still stands though. I will always be your friend.” Ever loyal in that sense.

Poor Mr’az! Nyalle kisses him soundly one more time and nestles in against his body, her head on his chest. “As does my promise,” she murmurs. “Always.” And she reaches up to touch the chain around her neck with a soft smile, and her eyes begin to droop as sleep - and Kayeth’s dreams - begin to claim her.

That confirmation of her promise brings a small but genuine smile to Mr’az’s lips and he kisses her back just as soundly. Assured that though she is leaving for Fort Weyr, she is not lost to him forever or completely. Nestling down beside her, he will hold her close to him while she drifts asleep and he will follow suit in time. All too soon the dawn will come and the time and as always he will be there to help her. Help her pack, to finish with the last details needed to be done and he will see her off, trying to keep his expression level and calm, maybe even happy if he can muster the strength for it. When she and Kayeth vanish, Zhirazoth will be there to support his rider and they will go about their duties, with a little more zeal from the bronze than usual but it’s sufficient enough to keep his rider distracted from his emotions and focused elsewhere. Yet Mr’az will still think of her often and will hope that she will find happiness in Fort and a good stable foundation upon which she can grow and flourish into a strong and confident weyrwoman, traits he has seen in her but would have been forever stamped out in High Reaches. Now she has a chance… And he can still be at her side, if needed.

Nyalle is sober and quiet when she awakes, accepting his help to pack and load up Kayeth’s straps. A few more times around her empty weyr to make sure nothing was forgotten in a drawer or the corner of a shelf, and then it’s time for the big, final (not-so-final) goodbye. Her hug is fierce and tight, almost clinging, and her kiss is salted with her tears. But when she pulls back she’s smiling faintly and she nods. “Clear skies, Mr’az,” she says softly. “I’ll be in touch.” She’ll write him many, many letters. With one more hug and one more kiss she climbs up into her autumn gold’s straps and buckles in, and when Kayeth takes to the skies and Nyalle looks back, all she’s looking back at is Mr’az and Zhirazoth. Kayeth gives the bronze’s mind a firm embrace and then they’re gone.