Fort Weyr - Ledge of Autumn's Flame
The second ledge reached along the long and narrow flight of stairs is now Kayeth's. Hundreds of turns of Senior Queens have rested their heads along this rocky outcrop, and Kayeth lays where Holth, Wiyaneth and countless others once did. The second couch of the weyr is often empty, unless Kayeth is entertaining visitors. This vast cavern looks out across the bowl towards the lake and the rockslide, and the setting sun often bathes this ledge in amber and rose hues. Annexed to this large cavern is both the Council Room and the Records Room, the latter reached by a flight of descending circular stairs.
A curved couch has been set up inside the cavern, forming a small quiet reading nook with a view of both dragon couches and the weyr. A bookcase behind it holds the records she uses most often, so Nyalle doesn't have to work her way down the narrow stairs. Beside the hearth is an old wood china cabinet filled with a few pieces of precious china, each tea cup and saucer different from the others.
A short hallway and a door separates the weyr from Nyalle's sleeping room, and beyond that is her bath. The portion of the chiseled stone which sits directly beneath Tooth Crag has been curtained off, and forms a little lounge/office, where Nyalle and work or entertain visitors.

Zhirazoth's return is as quiet as it can be. Of course he'll be recognized and of course there will be immediate gossiping about it. The bronze isn't feeling so brash and bold though and sedately glides to the northern bowl to land and allow his rider to dismount. He'll then leap into the air again and soar up to a ledge nearest the Star Stones where Kayeth is resting but he doesn't join her — not unless he's specifically invited. Meanwhile, Mr'az heads in one direction and keeps his head down, jaw clenched as he's aware of the eyes on him. The sooner he can get out of the public eye, the better! And at least he knocks by way of warning before entering Nyalle's weyr.

Kayeth welcomes Zhirazoth to join her, but she does not allow him too close. There will be distance between them for a little while. Below, Nyalle bids Mr'az to enter, lifting Zanelle into her arms and turning so the little girl can watch the doorway.

Zhirazoth will join her and get as close to her as possible without actually angering her. Does it help if he makes soft little sounds too? Totally trying to sweeten her up! Carefully. Below, Mr'az steps inside and seeing Nyalle standing there with their daughter brings a hesitant but genuine smile. He'll pause long enough to carefully set the rucksack he was carrying down before walking towards them. "How is she?" he asks quietly, going for neutral territory to start. They'll get to the difficult stuff later.

Nyalle smiles gently, glancing at him and then down to their daughter. "Good," she answers, holding the little girl out towards him. Zanelle responds with a little smile and one waving arm.

Mr'az will reach for Zanelle when Nyalle offers her, moving slowly but holding her with ease. "Hello to you too, sweetheart," he murmurs when he gets a little smile. He can't help but smile back, as he cradles her close and securely. "Have you had her for most of the day?" he asks Nyalle, glancing up at her curiously.

Nyalle nods. "Yes," she replies, moving around the weyr to tidy up, now that someone else has the baby.

Mr'az takes that as a hint, though he almost says something more. He keeps his mouth shut, but will entertain Zanelle for now and allow Nyalle some peace of mind or at least some time to do whatever it was that was neglected until now.

Nyalle moves quickly around the weyr, doing what needs to be done, until there's nothing to be done anymore. It doesn't take more than five minutes of 'free' time, either, before she's wandering back to the couch. "How're you?"

Mr'az will turn back towards the couch, still holding Zanelle in his arms and Nyalle's question has him glancing at both daughter and weyrmate. It's awkward, trying to have this conversation with their infant daughter present. Not that she understands but it's a distraction — or a necessary one? "I'm…" Better? Sort of? "… alright." Understatement. Carefully, he sits down next to Nyalle and gives her a look. Does she want Zanelle back? "You?"

Nyalle inhales and then exhales slowly, watching their daughter. Oh yes, a necessary distraction. At least for her. "I am…glad you are better."

He wouldn't exactly have put it that way. It's not like a sevenday away in exile is going to magically fix everything. Mr'az isn't stupid, nor is he about to let things get any more awkward between them. "We should probably talk more… soon. When Zanelle is sleeping or — does she go to her nanny?" Or fosters.

Nyalle lifts her brows at him. "Why can't we talk with her around?"

Mr'az frowns but mostly because he really DOES have to think for a reason why. "I don't want her to be upset?" Does he expect an argument to come of their 'talk'? Maybe. Or at least some not-good energy.

Nyalle frowns. "Do…you think we're going to yell or something?"

Oh boy, this is going so well so far, isn't it? "I… don't know? There's a lot we need to talk about and maybe it could get heated," Mr'az admits with a grimace and a bit of sadness lurking there in his eyes. He wish there wasn't that chance and he's not even thinking of Nyalle being the problem. He knows full well it'll be him. Still, he continues to hold Zanelle, his focus shifting to her from time to time and maybe with some guilt. "Not that I want it to. You know that, right?"

Nyalle continues to frown. "So if you don't want it to, then why will it?"

Good question! Mr'az doesn't have an answer or a good enough one. He just sighs and there is no fight in him — again he's still holding their child. "I don't know." he says lamely. Hardly a satisfying reply but it's all he has.

Nyalle nods, settling onto the couch and gesturing. "Then let's talk."

Now would be the perfect time to start! Except Mr'az readjusts their daughter in his arms while gesturing with a tilt of his head to the rucksack he left near the door. "I've something for you. Both of you." He take a page from Th'ero's handbook (or was it the former-Weyrleader's meddling? He DID hint that he had seen Mr'az while in exile)? "You can go look… or I can get it, if you'll hold her?"

Nyalle reaches out eagerly to take their daughter back, feeling calmer and more at peace with the baby girl in her arms. "Go ahead…"

Mr'az carefully hands Zanelle to her mother and then slowly stands, walking to where the rucksack is resting. Opening it, it doesn't take him long to find what he seeks. It's obvious what part is for their daughter as it's not wrapped. It's a handmade toy, appropriate for a baby her age. Nothing she can choke on, but something that can be grasped and is brightly colored and patterned and even different textured. It rattles a bit too. He holds it within Zanelle's reach, to see if she's interested. "Here, let me take her…" Just so they can swap. He'll take the baby and Nyalle can get her wrapped gifts!

The first is predictable and likely obvious from the faint scent coming from it: it's a small wooden box of tea. A selection of them, neatly labeled on their tags and all southern varieties. The second gift may be a slight surprise? It's jewelry, but nothing flashy. Also hand-made and local to the southern continent. It's a bracelet of supple woven leather, several bands of different weaves but made to be a singular piece. Here and there, little rings hold beads and other charms of various materials in place: bone, shell, gemstone and a few metal pieces too. Most of them look to be replaceable or easily switched out. Simple and yet not.

Nyalle passes the baby back, and she takes the toy as well, only to drop it and instead grab for Mr'az's shirt collar. Tug. Nyalle quietly unwraps her gifts, and Mr'az is rewarded (?) with a small smile when she sees them. "Thank you," she says quietly, turning the bracelet over in hre hands.

Mr'az patiently leans over to grab the discarded toy and set it in his lap while Zanelle instead entertains herself with the collar of his shirt. That's fine! He's watching
Nyalle anyhow and yes, he had expected as much. At least she took the gifts? "I traded for all of it." he explains quietly. "Favours." Meaning payless and likely menial work — kind of. He DID get what he was wanting out of it but it certainly wasn't marks. "I thought you might enjoy them."

Nyalle nods, "I do, thank you," she murmurs, triwling the bracelet between her fingers. Then she sighs. "What…happened to you, Mr'az?"

And now it's back to serious business! What little of a good mood Mr'az may have been starting to feel evaporates almost immediately when Nyalle asks that question. What DID happen? "I can't tell you," he mutters but for once has something of an explanation for it: "I'm still figuring that out myself. I guess I changed…" No, really, Mr'az? His grimace widens and he looks away.

Nyalle sighs. "You did…you weren't…my Mr'az anymore. I don't even know if you are…again."

Mr'az fidgets and licks at his lower lip, a habit of his when he's truly uncomfortable and upset. Her words sting and more so because he knows it's true and he let it happen. "I'm still the man you love," he tells her or at least promises that he will be again. He looks down at Zanelle, unable to look Nyalle in the eyes right then. "… I made mistakes and bad choices. Terrible ones. But the part of me that loves you never changed. I can be that much." Just not a Weyrleader, HER Weyrleader, apparently. And, after a stretch of silence: "I never meant to hurt you in this." No, instead he just about destroyed the Weyr.

Nyalle sighs quietly again. "But you did, Mr'az. You…I…I handled it poorly, too. I kept believing in you…"

"I know that," Mr'az admits unhappily. "And I let you down." Which is more important to him than letting the whole Weyr down — that's a close second. He frowns, catching on something she said. "Don't you go blaming yourself for the mess I caused." That isn't fair.

Nyalle shakes her head a bit. "I know I'm not to blame. But. There's more I could have done to try and protect the weyr." From him.

Mr'az can get the hint and figure out what's not been said. He repositions Zanelle again, resting her against his chest now with one hand rubbing her back. "You did what you could. I — I don't know if I would have listened. It had all got to my head, Nyalle. I thought I could handle it."

Nyalle smiles faintly at him, and the unsaid is, 'you couldn't'. "And…all it took was a sevenday away for you to realize all this?"

"No. Being exiled did." Mr'az grimaces and exhales heavily, "And I'm not sure I've come to terms with everything." In other words, he's still at odds with himself. Part of him still believes he was right but that part of him is starting to quiet down. It won't happen overnight though.

Nyalle nods, sighing softly. "I…feel like I don't know you ight now, Mr'az…"

Mr'az frowns and his eyes darken though he's careful to keep them turned down from Nyalle. Luckily he can pretend to be tending to Zanelle again. "I'm still yours," That hasn't changed! He looks up and there is hope there, even if faint. "What can I do to make it right again?"

Nyalle sighs, fidgeting with the bracelet some more. "Show me…that…you haven't changed?"

How can he do that? Mr'az frowns again and then carefully shifts along the couch to sit closer to Nyalle's side. Not to the point that he's smothering her but certainly closer than anyone would be. Carefully he sets Zanelle between them, safely supported, while he tries to rest his arm behind her on the couch and unless she moves away, he will chastely kiss her. Not pushing. "I'll show you that I haven't changed. Even if I have to court you all over again." At least he'll show devotion?

Nyalle closes her eyes and sighs softly. "You…have to earn back everyone's trust, Mr'az. You…burned a lot of bridges."

"I'm aware of that," Mr'az says and maybe just a touch defensively. He's well aware of what he's done even if he's still struggling to come to terms with it all. "I'll come to that when it comes." Which will be tomorrow, when he has to figure out where he's to go, Wing wise — among other things. IF he can even approach or work with other Wingriders right now.

Hard to tell. And that's nothing that Nyalle can help him with. However, he has to earn back /her/ trust, too. "It's difficult for me to distinguish between you, my mate, and you, the former Weyrleader…"

Mr'az is troubled that he's strained things so badly, even between them. Losing the faith of the Weyr and those within it is one thing. But to loose her trust too? That might be a bit of a slap to the face. "If you give me a chance, I'll show you." he murmurs.

Nyalle nods, looking down at their daughter and then at him. "Of course, Mr'az. I've…I've missed you so much." Him. The real him. The old him.

"I've missed you too," Mr'az may have only been exiled for a sevenday but it was enough. Enough of a taste that he does not want to experience it again. He gently hands Zanelle over to her mother. "Do… you want me to stay here tonight? I can help you with our daughter." And sleep on the couch if she's not wanting him sharing her bed.

Nyalle nods again, offering him a small smile. "I'd like that," she says softly. "You can help with her at night, change her while I get ready to nurse…"

Mr'az looks relieved that he's being permitted to stay and he won't complain. He nods, "I'll be here then, for the two of you." Whatever she asks of him. He has, technically, been issued a weyr of his own but there's no furnishing in it, save for the very, very bare basics. If he wants nice things, the Weyr seems to have decided that he'll need to earn it all back. That'll be there revenge on him.

Harsh. But realistic. Th'ero didn't get any of his things either. With a little smile, Nyalle hands their daughter over and stands. "Then you change her whle I go get ready."

"Alright. Can you show me where her stuff is?" Mr'az asks while he stands and carefully takes Zanelle back in his arms. Once he knows where to go and where to find everything, he'll set to work and do a passable job at it.

Nyalle will be impressed, and will welcome them both into the bed to nurse their little girl, gazing down at her in quiet wonder.

Mr'az wasn't expecting to be invited to stay while Nyalle took care of that. He figured she would want privacy but he's not about to turn it down either. This is more than he could ask for! Maybe he's still half expecting Nyalle to dismiss him and kick him out.

She still might, but…she really did miss him. And not just while he was exiled, either. His slow descent into crazy Weyrleader land was hard for her to watch, even when she was naively trying to convince herself he wasn't changing at all.

Poor Nyalle. Mr'az will slowly come to realize just how badly he screwed up and how in the end it wasn't hard for others to work against him and use his delusions to fuel his fall. Nothing he didn't deserve! For now though he is quiet and thoughtful while Nyalle tends to their daughter. He's wisely doing his best not to say or do anything to jeopardize the peace.

That's good because she's not a great nurser. She will nurse but if anything distracts her, off she comes and it's a process to get her latched again. Alas, Pern has no formula so it's Nyalle or a wetnurse.

Just her luck then that Mr'az is content not to do anything to disrupt them. He may even drift into a bit of a light sleep, until he's needed again. Faranth only knows how exhausted he may be or how much he slept while outside the Weyr.

Nyalle won't bother him as she gets their daughter into her nightclothes and settles her into the small crib beside the bed. Then Nyalle will also sleep, for a time, but she won't snuggle close to Mr'az. No, she faces their daughter. For now.

Mr'az might have hoped for a little closeness and he may push his luck as far as gently resting a hand against Nyalle's upper back but when she pointedly faces away and to where Zanelle sleeps, he won't go beyond the caress. He'll settle as comfortably as he can (facing her back).

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