How to Make Friends?

Fort Weyr - Weyrsecond's and Jr. Weyrwomen's Office
Aged by time, just like the other offices carved into the stone, these ones have lived through the ages of Fort with the only change given to time being subtle ones to the decor as new staff come to fill the space. Situated next to the Weyrleader's Office, the small cavern leads into a spacious alcove of sorts before branching into two separate directions. On the right it leads to the Weyrsecond's personal office, a modest sized room complete with all the necessary furnishings required, along with a few shelves, a book shelf and storage for records and reports. On the left, it leads to the Junior Weyrwomen's offices and this larger room is set with three desks rather than one, along with all the other necessities needed. Both offices have small hearths built in to offer some warmth in the colder months and as there are no windows, several glow baskets have been installed to offer enough light and a few tapestries hung to offer a touch of color. Doors have also been painstakingly worked in, allowing some privacy if needed, though often they are left open.


Oh, the joys of blizzard weather. Nyalle hasn’t been at Fort for that long, and already it’s attempting to keep her here by bringing in a blizzard to snow in the entire weyr. Dragons have been grounded and wings recalled, though Thunderbird is on standby in the event a message of distress reaches the weyr. Inside, things are merry and buzzing as people take a lunch break and talk about the weather, or stumble in and thaw out, or steel themselves before venturing out if needed. Inside the offices of the Junior Weyrwomen, Nyalle is alone, sitting at the desk that recently became hers. She has removed the computer and is working through hides by hand, a stylus twirling between her fingers as she stares at the hides. Curled up in a little basket in the corner of the desk is her still unnamed bronze firelizard, muzzle under tail as he sleeps contentedly.

It's not a place where a lot of people are big on computers! Inri's desk still has hers, but from the look of it she doesn't use it much; there are meticulously piled notebooks and fancy pens instead. And lone knitting needles, not apparently connected to any knitting. That's about to change, as Inri slips in with a bag full of yarn over her shoulder and a platter in her hands — lunch, as it were. Meatrolls and soup. And tea. "Oh," she says as she weaves her way to her desk to set her things down (which barely fit amongst her organized but crowded menagerie of items), "Sorry if I disturbed you —" She knows who Nyalle is, but hasn't so much gotten a chance for a one-on-one conversation and thus is just slightly cautious in how she speaks.

Nyalle looks up from her work and then stands, dipping her head in a clear gesture of respect to the older junior. “Ma’am. No need to apologize, we all share this space. It’s nice to have someone else to work with,” she admits with a sad smile as she settles again, smoothing out her skirts. Then she looks back at her work, tapping her stylus thoughtfully on the paper.

"Inri," replies the other goldrider, "is fine, I don't outrank you." Normally she wouldn't allow a stranger first-name basis after her experiences with Lana, but she's softened slightly to the brownrider over time and — well, Dtirae always had her calling her Dei from the start, didn't she? "Especially since that would mean Jajen ranked me, and —" Solemn shake of the head, followed by a more friendly smile. "That giving you trouble? — Also if you haven't eaten there's enough here for everyone, sometimes I feed D'ani."

Nyalle considers for a moment before she answers quietly, “Junior Jajen /is/ the most senior Junior here,” she points out gently. Though that thought gives her pause just the same. Because…it’s Jajen. “Inri, then,” Nyalle answers with another low dip of her head, pushing dark hair away from her face and tucking shining strands behind her ear. “This? Oh, no, not at all,” she assures, “just lost my train of thought for a moment.” Her eyes flick towards the door and a little smile touches her lips. “The Weyrsecond seems very kind. And thank you, but I am fine.”

“He’s a sweetheart,” Inri replies of D’ani; she is not actually going to offer any encouragement as far as Jajen. “Mostly everyone in the leadership is — at least tolerable if not nice.” Since N’hon isn’t Wingleader anymore, at least; not that she had a problem with him before. “Of course in a lot of cases I’m biased since I Impressed with people or we were friends before. Snow welcoming enough?” she teases softly, since if anywhere rivals Fort for its winter weather it’s going to be High Reaches.

Nyalle nods her head slightly, clearing her throat. “And the one they call the weyrthird. Kimmila. The…bluerider.” She frowns. “Is she as dependable as D’ani has told me? Not that I have any reason to doubt him, but she /is/ the Weyrleader’s mate. It looks suspicious to say the least, especially since she only rides blue.” Then she chuckles, pushing at her hair again. “Dremkoth is sweet as well, or so Kayeth informs me. How is your Kouzevelth responding to another gold in the weyr? So far it seems as if everyone is getting along, but.” She shrugs with a frown. “Kayeth has been known to take the attention of the bronzes, and some of the more jealous golds don’t take kindly to that.” Case in point! She’s here at Fort. Though the rumors are giving /lots/ of different reasons for that. Then, a light laugh. “The snow is welcome.”

It’s a good question and Inri purses her lips for a moment, trying to get more of a response than rainfall’s coolness from her lifemate. “Kouzevelth is — wary,” she admits, “but that’s not at all because of Kayeth personally. She doesn’t actually much like male attention unless she’s actively proddy, so that isn’t a concern. She’s a bit of an odd one, but she takes after Velokraeth some in that.” Which does not appear to bother Inri, who seems to care more about stirring her tea than her lifemate’s ungainly build. “She’ll be quiet a while, and I apologize if she rebuffs a friendly overture with silence. I’m sure she’ll warm to her, though, eventually. As for Kimmila, I’ve always been a big fan. She’s helped me through some things.” Like her maiden flight. And dealing with violence. And other things that are somewhat embarrassing. “I would trust her more than Th’ero, to be honest. Not that I don’t like him, and he’s a wonderful Weyrleader but difficult to — casually relate to.”

Nyalle nods, giving the other goldrider an understanding smile. “Kayeth is a bit of a flirt,” she admits, cheeks coloring slightly. Then her brows lift in genuine surprise. “You don’t trust the Weyrleader all the way?” she gasps, scandalized. “Why not? He…his reputation is flawless. And is it required that a leader be someone you can relate to?” She frowns. “I don’t think a leader should be too approachable. They have much on their mind, they should be somewhat aloof. It’s expected.” A moment’s pause and then an awkward attempt at a subject change. “So who are you and Kouzevelth mated to right now?”

Inri, as it turns out, is also a bit of a flirt, but she isn’t going to say that — and not just because of the hint she’s gotten that Nyalle might not be a fan of that idea personally. “Which I’m sure Zel will appreciate, it takes attention off her — anyway. As a Weyrleader, unequivocally. I’ve never known another one and I’ve always liked him. On a personal level Kimm’s a lot more approachable. As a friend.” Inri just wants to be friends with everyone. “But I’m sure it makes sense, yeah. I probably would be kind of stony too if I’d been made Weyrleader of a different Weyr not so long after graduating …” And then there’s that other question. Which she should probably answer, and because it’s Inri: honestly. “Dremkoth won her flight, but uh — okay, embarrassing — D’ani was actually involved with Dtirae at the time. So we’re — on our own. Disappointment to my family as it is.”

Nyalle pauses, giving the other junior a long look. “On a…personal level? A friend?” It sounds like this concept /baffles/ her. “We ride gold. We don’t have friends except other goldriders.” Inri just /broke/ her. Nice going. “You’re friends with a bluerider?” She seems…almost insulted. But she covers it up with a swift smile. But it /wavers/. “But. So. Wait.” Blink. “Dtirae should be mated to Th’ero, but that bluerider is his chosen mate, so Dtirae has the Weyrsecond? What a shame, she deserves to have the Weyrleader as her mate. And that leaves you with nothing. That’s not right.” /Frown/. “I’m still mated to Kayeth’s last winner, back in High Reaches, and will stay faithful to him until her next flight.”

“I sort of get on well with everyone,” Inri admits, “though my closest friends are probably D’ani and Ezra.” A non-rider entirely. Though his Blooded status might improve him in her eyes! “And then Dtirae, but I’m always afraid of bothering her.” She would definitely want to be Nyalle’s friend, but she does seem to be putting her foot in it a bit, doesn’t she? “Dei and Th’ero don’t really — get along too fantastically. They work together really well, but from what I was told, I wasn’t here, there were not the good kind of sparks at first. And she was involved with a different bronzerider — P’on, I think — he was sort of a jerk.” As for her: “And yeah, I’m a lonely only, and no, I’m not that big a fan of that, but.” Shrug.

Nyalle tilts her head, tapping the stylus on the paper again. “Ezra. He is…I know I know that name. I saw it in some records.” She glances up at the other junior consideringly. “Well yes, of course you’d be bothering her. We never bother the Senior.” Then another frown and a sigh. This weyr…is so backwards. “I miss my mate,” she admits quietly, fingers reaching up to touch the silver chain around her neck. Then there’s a sigh and a shake of her head. “I am almost looking forward to Kayeth’s next flight so I’ll get another one. But I wish he’d been able to come here with me…” Then there’s a blush.

That’s a mutual view — someone’s weyr is backward, anyway. Even if Inri had been surprised at first when Dtirae wanted to be her friend — before she was even Searched, just because she was good at drink mixing. “Well — you love him?” Inri inquires, gently. “Because I think if you’re happy with him, and Kayeth’s happy with his lifemate, there wouldn’t be a problem with him coming along ..?”

Nyalle blanches slightly, staring at Inri, eyes blinking. “I…it’s…” She sighs. “I do, but it doesn’t matter. I’m a goldrider. The next winner of Kayeth’s flight will be my next mate. And he can’t come with, he’s a Wingleader at High Reaches. He has his duty to his wing and his weyr. I don’t think they’d let him anyway. No, it can’t happen. I had dreams it might have, but then…” Her hand waves. “I’m here.”

The Wingleader part makes sense. The rest of it is making Inri’s squint just a little bit more pronounced. “Of course,” she concedes, nibbling a little on her food and seeming kind of sad about it, “his wing would come first, but — it does matter. Your feelings matter. You’re not just the weyr’s property to do with what the bronzeriders want — what if you can’t stand the next person who catches her?” At least she’s managing to remain soft-voiced and not becoming emphatic, even if she is a little bit horrified. This is where the bartending training comes in more handy than experience as a weyrwoman.

The young goldrider shakes her head with a small smile. “My duty is to the bronzerider whose dragon wins Kayeth. I would be his mate regardless of my feelings. It is my /duty/. And no, not all bronzeriders,” she says, and /this/ she says firmly, with a narrowing of her eyes. She’s twisted. Oh yes. Thank you, High Reaches Weyr.

“You will find that’s generally not how it’s done here,” Inri explains gently, pushing aside ‘horrified’ as it’s clearly not Nyalle’s fault she believes these things. “I promise I’m not some nutjob. This is the only Weyr I’ve ever been to and I was a lot more, traditional, I suppose, before I came here.” Her family would think Nyalle has it exactly right, for the most part. “I was always a settle down and start a family type before. This place kind of encourages independence and taking risks and trying new things. So long as your new things aren’t incredibly stupid.” She spares the gossip.

Nyalle exhales softly. Sadly. “I am seeing that it is not done that way here,” she agrees. “It is confusing. Very confusing. Independence? But we’re goldriders.” That title again. That /duty/. “We owe it to our weyr and our lifemates to mate with the winner and produce children so the weyr can carry on.” Whaaaat?

Inri wants kids. She does! And yet — “My parents would definitely like High Reaches,” she half-mutters, sounding entirely unsurprised. “I would love to have children. I’m not sure if that’s how I would want to do it,” she confesses, “but I mean. I’d like to. I never really thought of it as the main requirement of my job, though. Or Kouzevelth’s, even if it’s a much bigger part of her than it is me. She’s actually pretty mad I don’t have my own baby.” Inri has at least managed to refrain from asking Nyalle if she has children. “Our lives are dedicated to the weyr, sure, but … it’s not seen as a requirement for the goldriders to spend a lot of time pregnant. Was the ‘Reaches like that, really?”

“Are they riders?” Nyalle asks, watching the older goldrider. “I…never thought about it as something I wanted to do, or didn’t want. It is what I am /supposed/ to do. Alas, Mr’az and I were never able to…” She trails off with a small shrug and a disappointed downcast to her gaze. Another plan, gone. “It is a requirement for every gold /and/ rider to populate the weyr. It is…how it is.” She’s getting /very/ confused though, as clearly the ideals of Fort and High Reaches - at least how /she/ interpreated them - are vastly different.

“Oh, no. They’re holders. I mean — they live at a hold, they’re no Lord and Lady, they own an inn. Bar and hotel sort of thing? The entirety of Breakwater tends to go in there a lot.” A wistful sigh of Inri’s own: she’s not too happy about what’s been happening between Weyr and Hold, and it’s exacerbated tension in an already tense family. “My brother’s a rider here, though.”

“Breakwater?” Nyalle asks in surprise, turning to look at Inri. “Why haven’t you helped fix this situation with Roc and the runners, then?” She sounds accusatory. “If your family has sway there, you should use that to help the weyr.”

“They don’t, so much,” Inri admits softly, “I mean, everyone likes them, but I don’t know if the Holders are going to pay much attention to what they have to say — and they don’t pay much attention to what I do. Though to be honest I’m more on their side,” though really, who wouldn’t be, considering what it looks like happened? “I’ve tried soothing the ruffled feathers of the Blood, but outside of a personal connection I haven’t had much of any impact. Telyss likes me, but I can’t really change how the Holders feel. Or don’t feel. I do plan to start visiting more often and bringing presents, but that is the squeakiest wheel I can be.” The sweetest, squeakiest wheel: she bakes.

Nyalle sighs softly, shaking her head. “I get the feeling,” she says slowly, “that Fort is not an idle weyr. It seems as if Fort often has…many things going on at once.” And not all /good/ things from her tone. “I wonder why that is.”

That’s true. It’s almost an understatement, if not one outright; Inri echoes the sigh, pausing to sip her tea. “You’d be right. We’re chaos magnets, I suppose. Ever since the Stonehaven massacre, I think. If not before. The Hold was always pretty quiet, though we heard about that.” As for why — there’s a slight bite at Inri’s lips before she says, “I don’t know. I’d love to. Maybe we could fix it.”

Nyalle snaps her fingers. “Stonehaven. That’s where I heard the name Ezra before. He’s the survivor, is he not? I was reading the original reports, the poor boy.” There is pity in her tone. “He’s heir now, yes? Older brother is a Harper?” She’s done her homework. “Well, it seems that Fort has strayed quite a bit from a lot of the traditional ways of doing things. Perhaps that is why.”

“Correct,” Inri says with a nod and a soft smile. “That’s our Ezra. And we’ve got Rayathess and little Anrila here too —” The question of tradition is one Inri actually seems to take seriously and consider, rather than immediately brush off; her upbringing must’ve taken some kind of hold. “You may be right in part,” she admits.

Nyalle doesn’t seem surprised when Inri kind of agrees with her. The young goldrider just nods her head. “Well then, we’ll have to see what we can do to get those traditions back in place,” she murmurs, but her furrowed brows suggest deeper thoughts than the black and white.

“Fort has one thing going strong for it, as far as tradition is concerned — most people don’t use computers,” Inri’s is currently being used as something to hold a glass sculpture. “Though Roc’s new Wingleader is very good with them. I learned what I had to for the position but I prefer the papers.” She is nosy the way many others aren’t, and so she gently presses, only the once: “Have a plan in mind?”

Nyalle shakes her head, eying the computer with distaste. “I do not trust them. I have seen too many things lost to put that much work into them.” As for a plan, the goldrider shakes her head slowly. “No, I do not. But I will think on it.”

Inri’s tea is almost gone; the mug gets a sad look, but Nyalle gets a smile. “Keep me posted, yeah?” she suggests hopefully, though the look she’s giving her work probably means they should both get back to it soon.

Nyalle nods with a small smile, pushing hair out of her face. “I will,” she promises, before she’s bending her head back to her work. Well. That was a nice bonding time, right? Isn’t that how you make friends?


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