Tentative Mending

Fort Weyr - Weyrwoman's Office


It’s a few days after the flight, and things have kind of settled down. Kayeth is spending a lot of time on the Star Stones or on the ledge of the Senior’s weyr, though moving is going slowly as trusted drudges pack up all of Dei’s things to move them into another empty weyr so Nyalle can move into the Senior’s weyr. It’s a slow process, but Nyalle doesn’t seem to mind. The young Senior is in her office this morning, sipping tea and eating some porridge from the kitchens, though a tiny bowl of fruit suggests she’s used her rank just a /little/ bit. Having sent word for Inri to meet her, Nyalle has a small selection of tea satchels laid out and ready, beside a small cream and gold tea cup with matching saucer. Cream and sweetner sit nearby in small silver dishes with matching silver spoons. Proper. Polite. Ready. The woman herself is dressed in a long sleeved, down to the ground gown of cream and blue, the laces of her bodice done up neatly, and her long, silky dark hair pulled away from her face in a half runnertail. And she waits, flipping slowly through hides and papers on her desk.

Inri clearly approves of the idea of tea, from the expression on her face; it’s a quietly pleased smile rather than an outright effusive one, but it would be a lie to say she’s not a tiny bit nervous. Her own dress is typical functional-but-nice for Inri: knit dress over smooth tights, hair up in a bun — that as of yet has not started to fall out. She has put on the guise of formality in her movements as much as possible, aware that’s what Nyalle prefers, and when she steps into the doorway her usual friendliness is overshadowed by official motion; she stands up straight and all that comes from her mouth is, “You wanted to see me, Weyrwoman?”

Nyalle watches Inri - her Junior, eep! - enter, and the weyrwoman pushes smoothly to her feet with a soft rustle of fabric against the wood of her chair. “Please, Inri, join me. I thought it would be nice for the two of us to have a chat. Every morning, if possible, with you, myself and Jajen.” But today, it’s just her and Inri. “A morning meeting, if you will. Was that something Dtirae did?” Gesturing for Inri to sit, Nyalle moves to the kettle by the fire, removing it carefully with a hot pad and carrying it back to gently pour some hot water into the tea cup. “Please, help yourself,” she says graciously, with a small smile before the kettle is returned to the fire. “I think it best if we skip over any social chatter and get straight to the most pressing matter - the issue with the holds. Could you please update me? I’ve read all of the reports, but is there any new news? Th’ero also mentioned that he might have access to a runner that, perhaps if we gifted it to Breakwater (that’s the hold name, right? I forget so much and don’t have access to my logs here!) it might smooth things over. What are your thoughts? It is your home hold, is it not?” And then the young Senior stops rambling with a slight blush that she tries to hide behind her cup. She’s nervous, but she’s pretending to be anything but.

“Not officially — we had breakfast together a lot but more out of,” Companionship? Coincidence? “Convenience and habit.” It was a C word Inri wanted, anyway. She sits when indicated to, and does help herself — at least Inri’s never been particularly shy, and she likes tea. “It’s a good idea, though. Keep things more cohesive.” And it’s a chance to try to spend more time around one another, which might end up resulting in even Inri and Jajen getting along better. It’s possible. “Well, most everyone’s been a bit tense and kind of noncommittal, waiting for the leadership situation to shake out. I think a lot of these relationships can be salvaged with a careful touch, since while I don’t think anyone blamed Dtirae directly, things are different now and they know it. Breakwater — yes.” To both questions, really. “I grew up there, and the Holder’s heirs are all within my general age range. I think Telyss would be pleased by that gesture, especially if we were offering the start to a new quality breeding line.” Which would be a good plan, says her tone and expression as she smiles around her teacup. “We’ll have to make formal introductions. Between you and the Holders.” Sorry.

Nyalle nods thoughtfully, and then she nods more definitively. “We’re going to meet every morning,” she says. “Here, or elsewhere, but…usually here.” With another sip of her tea, she sorts through the papers on her desk before finding the one she wants. “The weyr has given them the marks they spent on the runners, right? And refunded the shipping costs? I’ll have to speak with Th’ero about this runner of his that he’s thinking of giving to them. Fact is, we can not sustain this. We /need/ to open trade with the holds again.” She glances at her Junior. “I would like you to escort me to Breakwater as soon as is convenient for you and for them. Today, if possible, or tomorrow. If you could send word that I would like to come and meet with them, I would appreciate it. And I will speak with Th’ero and try to formalize this runner…gift, I suppose. Yes, of course. I need to tour the holds - all of them - but I think Breakwater is the one to start with. I’ve already met with Fort Hold.” That was day one, for her. “Do you think you can accomplish that?” And reading between the lines, does Inri think that’s a good idea?

“Yes, that’s been done,” Inri says confidently; she knows the budget like she knows her own hands — makes sense, considering her hands are on it most days. “It mitigated things slightly, anyway.” With the others; less so with Telyss, whose chip on his shoulder has remained except when the situation is entirely undiplomatic. “I can do that immediately by way of my brother, if you’d like,” and Kouzevelth is already seeking out Zemnenith, aiming to use Se’ras as messenger. “Make sure they know we’re arriving by the time we’re ready to leave. He goes back and forth pretty often, and they don’t see him at all as a representation of the Weyr most times, just a boy who Impressed and gets homesick.” Inri also gets homesick, but is less inclined to act like it. Tensions are tighter between her father and her than they are with her brother. “So if you’re up for the trip this afternoon, I’d be happy to make it. If they’ll have us.”

Nyalle looks relieved that the weyr did that at least - paid back those damages. “Excellent. Yes, that is a priority so I would be up for a trip this afternoon. Thank you, Inri. Yes, if they’ll have us, certainly. What shall we take as a hostess gift?” Because that’s proper, right?

It is, and Inri looks glad to see she was consulted in that regard. When it comes to Breakwater’s Holders, she can guess — all thanks to her parents’ line of work. “Lady Melyssra — she’s the one whose Blood it is, Tellan married in — is very fond of all manner of white wines.”

Nyalle inclines her head, a gentle smile touching her lips. “Then I will have to see what white wines we have to offer.” The Senior pushes to her feet with a smile. “I shall see to the runner colt and the wines, and have Kouzevelth bespeak Kayeth when you are ready to depart. Thank you, Inri, for your attention to this matter.”

Inri’s “Of course, Weyrwoman,” is actually proper and doesn’t contain any hint of begrudging the use of titles; she’d always found it unusual that Fort didn’t, and so it’s more a matter of falling back onto old habits than creating new ones here. And if Nyalle prefers ‘ma’am,’ or eventually wishes to be on a first name basis, she’ll get there when she gets there. “It’s no trouble. I’ll see you soon.” She’s only slightly meticulous about making sure she is leaving behind an empty mug and no crumbs.

Time passes, and the day shifts into the afternoon…Nyalle makes her way out onto her ledge, having spent a little bit of time grooming and oiling Kayeth until the fiery queen gleams with health and beauty, her rich autumn colors a stark contrast against the snow and mud. Nyalle is not vain, but she knows the power of her lifemate’s presence, and she intends to use it. Kayeth nuzzles at one of her wings, adjusting the sails while they wait for the word to go.

Nearby, Kouzevelth — lingers at the edge of her ledge, recently bathed but not quite so smoothly oil-sheened as Kayeth. Her mental touch extends a tendril of wind and the scent of recently-fallen rain to the other gold, lacking in words but not in message: they will go, as soon as the senior queen says she is ready. Inri has changed into her leathers and a knit hat, bun having transformed into a whipcord braid. “Don’t scare any of the cattle this time,” is directed at her dragon and not anyone else, at least.

Kayeth rumbles softly at the older queen, neck arching proudly. She is going /out/ and she is /happy/ about it. « We are ready. Lead on! » she encourages as Nyalle nimbly climbs into the straps, adjusting her skirts for riding and buckling in. Spreading her wings, Kayeth surges powerfully off of her ledge and soars into the skies, waiting for Kouzevelth to join her before they wink between.

And Kouzevelth does not need to be told twice; as soon as Inri has mounted comfortably enough — which with a spindly, pointy dragon is not always the most comfortable — off she goes, her takeoff consisting of all the grace her awkward form never has on the ground. She’s happy to fly alongside Kayeth for a moment before she blinks out, just stopping in to say ‘hi’; an easy, companionable moment between potentially territorial dragons. Flying’s fun: they can bond over that.

It’s no surprise (at least to Inri) to find that when they re-emerge over Breakwater, it’s raining.

Kayeth is happy - thrilled - to be flying, her mind brushing contentedly against Kouzevelth’s as they blink between and emerge above the hold, and it’s raining. The fiery queen adjusts her flight easily, shifting her wing strokes to contend with the rain as she seeks a spot to land. « They know we are coming? » she asks as she circles down. « There? » she asks of one of the fields close to the hold itself, seemingly empty and perhaps used for this purpose.

« They know, » Kouzevelth reports diligently — using actual words, as opposed to a simple passage of concept, something she has not done much of yet with Kayeth. She’s opening up. « Zemnenith’s told them. He was here earlier. He is here often. » And that comes with a picture, though a clearly manufactured one (she can’t possibly remember an entire turn) of the brown settled in the same field they are above across the seasons. As for where to land, that is an unspoken ‘yes,’ the older gold circling in for a landing.

« Good, » Kayeth replies, and the senior queen hangs back, letting Kouzevelth land first before she fans her wings and settles into the soft, squishy grown of the landing field. Keeping her wings spread for a moment she strikes a pose, paused there, glorious and bright and brilliant despite the rain, neck arched and rumbling contentedly as if there is no where else she’d rather be than right here. Crouching then, she lets her rider dismount, and Nyalle is quick to shed her helmet and goggles, shaking out her skirts and her long, thick cloak and making her way forward, squinting through the rain towards the hold, waiting to see if a welcome committee emerges. Draped over her arm is a satchel, within which are two skins of excellent wine - Telgar, but still superb vintages even though it’s not Benden. Fort has no Benden currently. Priorities.

It’s unlikely that Melyssra and Tellan are going to mind, though they are also not present in the entryway of the hold proper — there are some of the Holder family hanging about, but in the form of soft-voiced, gentle-eyed second in line Telyar and little Myra, along with another girl in her early teen years who looks quite a lot like Inri. She almost spoils the moment by giving the junior weyrwoman a hug, but Inri’s face calls her off. “Weyrwomen,” Telyar says, with a welcoming smile for them both. Albeit a cautious one; is that a hint of nervousness? “Thank you for coming. My parents are in their study — they’re very much looking forward to meeting you.”

“Let me introduce you properly, anyway,” Inri cuts in, with a no-really-we’re-old-friends grin for Telyar. “Telyar of Breakwater, this is Senior Weyrwoman Nyalle of Fort, gold Kayeth’s. Weyrwoman, Telyar is Lady Melyssra’s second son.” The young man, just about Inri’s age, offers his hand to the senior goldrider, nervous smile not faltering.

Nyalle notices, with a slight frown, that the Lord and Lady are not there to greet them. Hmm. She gives a wide, warm smile to the ones that /are/ there though, extending a hand to Telyar, her palm down and fingers curled. Not a handshake at all. A lady-like grasp, or, if he’s truly bold, a kiss. “The pleasure is mine, Holder Telyar of Breakwater, honestly.” Though being referred to as ‘of Fort’ has her cringing inwardly. “Originally of Fairfield, in the High Reaches region,” she adds with a warm smile. Perhaps her cotholder background will help this delicate situation.

As it turns out, a kiss was what Telyar had in mind, but it is a cautious and very polite one — bold to start, but nothing particularly daring or presumptuous. “My parents may know of your family, then,” he says, and offers another little grin. “Let me lead the way. And take that bag from you, unless you wished to carry it?” He doesn’t know it’s a gift; she might just be burdened and he’d hate to stick her with it. Inri, as soon as she gets close enough for Nyalle to be the only one to hear her, whispers, “He’s the nice one. The girls are Myra and my sister Aifric.”

Nyalle smiles, pleased at the kiss. Atta boy! “Possibly, though I doubt it, we are a very small cothold. Not as prosperous as this,” she says, tucking a little compliment in there. “I’d rather carry it myself, but thank you. It is a gift, from Fort to Breakwater. One of two, actually, but the second is not here.” And if he offers his arm, she’ll take it, darting a glance at Inri with a slight nod. Outside, Kayeth reaches for Kouzevelth’s mind with a question. « Is yours Blood? »

Telyar allows Nyalle to keep the bag without any further questioning, though he does take her arm with no small spring of pride in his step: he has the Weyrwoman by the arm, and not his older brother, look at that. Even if he’s still the sort of gentle and shy where it only barely shows. It’s a short walk before they reach the office that Breakwater’s Holders share — Inri breathes a sigh of relief when Telyss isn’t yet present. Melyssra and Tellan were both sitting, but as the goldriders and their son arrive they stand. “Hello,” Melyssra offers cautiously, eyeing Nyalle as if she might be about to pull a weapon. Inri cuts in with a, “Good evening, Lady Melyssra, thank you for having us,” that softens the Lady almost as quickly as she grew harsh. “Of course,” she allows, instead. “Please do have a seat, both of you.” Tellan doesn’t say much of anything, but he doesn’t seem to be any angrier than Telyar. Kouzevelth’s response is muted, almost an uncertain thoughtful, as if she has to clarify what the right words are: « No. It is a small Hold, they are friends. Her mother is … handmaiden, to the Lady Holder. Assistant? » The mental image might make more sense to Nyalle: Ciara helping the Lady Holder with her things, washing her hair, tending to her rooms, serving as confidant.

Nyalle walks alongside Telyar with her chin up, looking at the hold and remarking about a few small things. She is not gushing by any means, but dropping small compliments as is proper when you are a guest. Letting the son’s arm go when they’re presented, Nyalle dips low into a curtsey, head bowed before she straightens and steps forward, offering the bag. “Thank you for seeing us, Lord. Lady. I bring some wine from Fort’s stores, for your pleasure.” Then she sits, smoothing her skirts and trying not to look nervous. She’s poised and calm, as if she does this all the time, but inside she’s quaking. This. This is /important/.

The gift is perused, and Tellan and Melyssra exchange glances that can’t easily be read by people who aren’t them; Inri takes her seat with the same practiced poise and gives Nyalle a cautious smile. Telyar takes a chair at the other side of the table, and the lack of Telyss appears to continue. Once the Holders have sat again, Inri speaks up: “I wanted to formally introduce you both to our new Weyrwoman, Nyalle.” Tellan nods, repeating, “Weyrwoman Nyalle. Thank you for coming to speak to us.” And then both of Breakwater’s leaders appear — expectant. Nyalle must have something to say, surely?

Nyalle inclines her head respectfully to both Lord and Lady, and she smiles. “Certainly. I wanted this to be one of my first stops, as Fort’s new Senior. So I could apologize - again - for the weyr’s gross mistake with the transport of your runner stock.” No need to beat around the bush, right? “And I hope that you will allow us to begin to re-build the relationship that I am told your hold and the weyr shared before, which was very close and beneficial to all.” A subtle reminder, perhaps, at what /they/ are losing in this? “I also came to offer you another gift, an apology and something that will hopefully mend things more than marks could. I’ve been told that the weyrleader’s own runners, a stallion and a mare housed in Keroon, have had their first foal. A very fine blue roan colt. A good, sturdy runner that would work both as a work runner or as a riding runner. The first, again, of his line. Is that something that might interest you? Another gesture of apology and something the weyr wishes to offer to help begin the process of re-building this relationship.”

(OOC) http://www.barrelhorses.biz/Midnights13C90613RSwf-web.jpg ← Here’s the runner foal!
http://www.horseclicks.com/img/adphotos/462/409462_friesian-cross-sporthorse_photo_1_img.jpg ← He’ll grow up to be this build. A cross between a riding and draft runner.

It’s the right tactic to take; the Holders are impressed even before Nyalle offers them anything other than an introduction. “You, dear,” oh, look, an endearment; the Lady Holder seems to be warming to the new Weyrwoman, “Have nothing to apologize for personally. You were not present.” And that seems to be working in her favor. “We would be honored to accept,” she says, after a glance at Tellan for a nod, and Telyar for his little smile. “Such a thing will help begin to replace what we have lost.” There’s a heavy implication there that she doesn’t just mean the runners. Inri’s smiling, still, and when it seems no one else is looking actually grins at Nyalle.

Nyalle smiles, dipping her head slightly, as if a little abashed at the term of endearment before she lifts her head to meet the Lady’s gaze. “I speak for Fort,” she reminds her with a gentle smile. “Wonderful! I was hoping you would. The colt’s name is Wayward Stranger, and I will make sure all of his papers are in order. Now,” and here she pauses, with a slight, apologetic smile. She has to ask. “How would you like him transported?”

Awkward. The pause is palpable as the entire room actually goes completely quiet; no shuffling, no coughs, nothing. But it’s an honest question, and it’s Tellan who finally breaks the silence — “If one of the two of you,” that would be Nyalle and Inri, “or your Weyrleader or Weyrsecond would like to personally accompany him, I think we would find that in order.” Otherwise known as no, we still don’t trust Roc, but we will try very very hard to give Fort’s leadership a chance. Directly. (Inri breathes easier just that someone’s answered the question.)

Nyalle patiently (outwardly) waits through that awkward pause, and when the answer is given the Senior smiles, inclining her head. “Fort’s Weyrsecond was a Beastcrafter by craft, before he impressed. I am certain he is up to the task and will give your colt the best journey.” Whew. That’s over. Outside, Kayeth exhales a sigh of relief that her rider can’t right now.

There’s a pursed-lip nod from Inri, who is still only just starting to be relieved — she was on the same mental page. Not that she says anything about it just yet, though Kouzevelth can pass that along — and sort of does, in her wordless way, along with a little lightning bolt of excitement. It’s like a high-five for Kayeth. Inside, Melyssra seems mollified by this suggestion. “That sounds ideal, yes. Impressed with you, didn’t he, Inyri?” The older goldrider ignores the fact that her name is still being said the incorrect three-syllable way (the removal of that y changed a lot!) in order to nod.

Nyalle smiles, letting the two talk for a moment before she pushes smoothly to her feet, smoothing out her skirts as she rises. “We’d better not take away any more of your time, m’Lord. M’Lady. It was a pleasure and an honor to meet you, and I’m confident we can continue to rebuild relations between us. Thank you for your time in meeting me, but I have many other holds to visit this afternoon.” Does she? Maybe or maybe not, but that’s her claim.

Inside Inri’s head, she’s like, ‘we do?’ but maybe they do, and she’ll go along on as many introductions as she can stay awake and not starving for. Kouzevelth won’t mind the trip. “Do stop by again,” Melyssra says, as she and Tellan — and Telyar — both stand to see the goldriders out. “Telyar will see you to your dragons, I’m sure.” Telyar seems willing enough to do it, though he’s holding back as if one of them will cue him to stay behind. Inri doesn’t, for all that she stands when Nyalle does to flank her Senior. She’s just the backup greasing the wheels of friendship here.

Nyalle dips into another curtsey and smiles. “Thank you,” she says to them all, taking Telyar’s arm with a smile for the boy (man? He’s probably older than she is) and letting him lead them both to the dragons. As for other visits…they’re already out, aren’t they? And if Inri has the time, Nyalle would like to visit a few more. Perhaps some of Breakwater’s holds, to try and ease tensions. To be out, to be /seen/.

Inri does, and Inri is glad to swan around and be friendly with people, trying to mend broken bridges — as is Kouzevelth, who just wants the time in the sky. And if she gets the chance to convince Kayeth they should fly in leisurely circles around wherever their riders go next rather than just sit and wait, more’s the better!


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