Payment

Late morning and autumn has settled into the Weyr. The temperature dropped low enough overnight for a hard frost to settle in but most of it has melted off by now as the sun rises ever higher in the sky. Over the last few weeks and month, Mr'az has been keeping a low profile. He visits as often as he can with Nyalle and their daughter but once he was reassigned to Haast, it's almost as though the Weyr is having a joke on him and giving him the worst possible schedule. Not to mention the less favourable jobs! To be reduced to a messenger and transport is… really not that bad but for Zhirazoth and Mr'az it is a bit difficult to swallow.

Having finished yet another late shift, Mr'az came back to his 'weyr'. What little there is to it. Another "payment" he has to work through. He didn't want to wake Nyalle as he sought some sleep himself so she'll have to come and visit him for a change. It's probably not a good idea he sleeps the whole day through, right?

Yet Nyalle does nothing to try and change it. In fact, she's been keeping a low profile as well, letting her juniors handle most things, while she meets with Ha'ze only when the Weyrleader requests meetings. Which isn't often. People seem free to return to their regular duties but things seem to be getting a bit…lax. Without a strong leadership to live up to, people are doing whatever they want and the Weyr is looking a bit sloppy. Nyalle notices these things as she and Kayeth make their way up to Mr'az's weyr, the gold settling onto the ledge with a low rumble to announce their arrival.

Zhirazoth isn't on his ledge or in his wallow as the bronze has long since sought out some sunlight to bask in while he sleeps. Even so, Kayeth's rumble is enough to wake Mr'az up. He never could sleep soundly and he's just beginning to stir and sit up groggily when Nyalle may enter. There's definitely little to see here in this weyr. Literally… there is no luxury items here. Furnishings? Pfft. He has one small table and two old, uncomfortable looking chairs (in fact one looks a bit dodgy, like it'll break if you so much as sit on it wrong), a chest and his 'bed' is current a pile of whatever he could grab and make into a makeshift mattress of sorts by the hearth. There's the faint glow of embers coming from it, so at least he's not freezing?

Nyalle looks around with a deep frown. "Our brig is better furnished than this, Mr'az," she murmurs. "Is this some sort of self-imposed punishment?" She is not pleased. And if it's something having to do with the stores, well, she's even less pleased and will make sure it is remedied right quick. She remains standing by the entrance, hands clasped, not even wanting to enter. It's just…wrong.

"What?" Mr'az is barely awake here and already she's plying him with questions? Though part of him is further piqued and embarrassed she had to see… whatever this is. He'd begun to scowl but he quickly switches that to a sigh and a faint grimace. "No, this isn't self-imposed punishment. It's — what I deserve." Isn't that the same thing? "Payback. And it's not as bad as it seems." Liar. "It could be worse." He might have a point there? Slowly he crawls out from under the furs he used as blankets. Those look… new? Someone was busy in the south.

Mr'az just gives Nyalle a look. Who else? She's smart enough to put two and two together. It's the Weyr. He did some bad things, it's a wonder he's even allowed to step foot back in here! "It doesn't matter," he tells her as he shuffles over to that lone chest and opens it, gathering some fresh clothes — or at least a fresh tunic.

Nyalle scowls, shaking her head. And with that, she turns and leaves, climbing up onto a rather surprised Kayeth. Already?

Mr'az and Zhirazoth are both equally as startled and Kayeth may hear the bronze warble gruffly from above her. Meanwhile, Mr'az hastily changes and is still straightening that tunic as he follows Nyalle out onto the ledge. "Where are you going?" he asks, looking quite confused (and still a bit bedraggled).

"To the store rooms. Back up." And that's all the warning he'll get before Kayeth tips off the ledge and soars down to the ground once more, where Nyalle can vanish into the caverns.

Mr'az doesn't have time to protest as he's smart enough to back up enough out of Kayeth's way. Once it's clear where she is going, the bronzerider sighs. "I knew it…" This is why he was trying to hide this from her. Zhirazoth glides down and Mr'az will mount up to give 'pursuit' to the Weyrwoman. Before some poor innocent soul is ripped into.

Nyalle doesn't rip into anyone. She is polite and firm as she requests a bed be found, repairs made, and it taken to Mr'az's weyr by this evening. And people hop to it, because she's Senior and they'd better do as she asks. All she gets is the bed, tho. He's a big boy. If he wants more he knows how to make it happen.

Mr'az also knows that just getting the bed this way from her is going to have a few people grumbling. He is a big boy, but he's not exactly fighting the judgment fed to him either. Truthfully, he HAS what he really wants. Kind of? If Nyalle has warmed up to him at all over the last few sevendays. "Nyalle…" he murmurs quietly from the storeroom doorway when he does catch up and figures out what she's done. "… You didn't have to do that."

Nyalle turns to look at him with a frown. "No rider of Fort sleeps without a bed," she says firmly. So…perhaps it's less about /him/ and more about Weyr pride.

Mr'az dips his head to that. How could he argue? Her frown is met with one of his own, but the bronzerider isn't looking for a battle of wills. If anything, he's feeling pretty embarrassed right now. Pride? What pride? That's slowly being shredded from him piece by piece. "… will you join me for a late breakfast?" he asks quietly. In the caverns, obviously. Unless she wants privacy but it'll have to be her weyr.

Watch Nyalle not care. He's getting a bed. Period. "Yes," she answers, offering her arm for him to take, to escort her to the caverns.

Mr'az takes her arm and where he would have once proudly walked into the caverns, his mannerisms are a little more subdued now. Not that he isn't proud to have her at his side but he's not rubbing it in everyone's faces. Not that that keeps a few people from glancing their way, as he leads Nyalle to the raised dais where she usually sits.

Nor should he. Nyalle doesn't want to be with someone who flaunts his relationship to her. It simply is. As she takes her chair, she quietly places her order with the drudge and looks to Mr'az to do the same.

Mr'az hesitates after she takes her seat. To sit next to her, there's only two options: either the Weyrleader's chair or the Weyrsecond's. Eventually, he settles into the Weyrsecond seat but he's far from relaxed as he places a quick order with the drudge. Not that anyone is openly staring, but a few do glance their way and it makes the bronzerider uncomfortable. Almost as uncomfortable as the lack of conversation between the two of them so far.

Nyalle waits until he makes his choice, and it's the right one. She offers him a small smile. "Are you doing okay?" she asks softly, when he sits.

Mr'az notices her small smile and it helps keep the worst of his nerves in check. He does scan the caverns nervously, but keeps it to a quick sweep before looking away. Better to focus on Nyalle, right? "Kind of," he admits honestly. "Didn't think I'd ever sit up here again. Not sure if it's wise."

Nyalle glances around and back to him. "What do you mean?" she asks, looking around again. She scoffs. "You're here as my guest. If it'd make you feel better we could move a chair and you can sit across from me?"

Mr'az fidgets and Nyalle should know by now that this is just his paranoid habits rearing their ugly heads again. He shakes his head to her offer, reaching out to lightly place a hand over hers if she'll allow the gesture. "No," he says quietly but firmly. "I want to be next to you." He'll deal with it.

Nyalle turns her hand to gently twine her fingers with his. "They will adjust," she says softly. "Nothing has changed between you and I." Tho many whisper that the Senior should have dumped him.

Mr'az smiles faintly when she twines her hand with his and he'll hold that gesture for as long as possible. "I know that," Even though he's had to carefully work his way back into her good graces. He's aware of the whispers and it makes him angry but what else can he do? Part of him does admit she COULD have found a much more suitable partner.

Nyalle could have. And to be honest (privately), she did think about it. But in the end…no one else knows her as well, or takes care of her as well. And isn't that what a relationship is all about? She is quiet, watching the caverns. "How do you gauge the mood of the weyr?"

Mr'az has known her for so long, including when she was just a Candidate in High Reaches. It'd have been difficult for him if she had spurned him in the end but he'd have accepted it. He'd be very bitter, but he'd accept it. As for her question, he doesn't have an immediate answer. Or is this a test? "I listen and I watch. Doesn't mean I can always get it right," No kidding. "How do you do it?"

Nyalle chuckles softly, turning to look at him. "I'm asking for your opinion. What do you think the mood is, now?"

"Oh," Mr'az clears his throat. Oops? Forgive him, his mind is sort of scattered. Luckily his mistake can be further swept under the rug by a delay in his next answer as the drudge returns with their food. The bronzerider waits until the drudge has left before he answers. "Quiet and calm. Has been for days."

Nyalle nods. "That's how I read it too. It's…nice." A nice change? She darts a look at him, and then back to the caverns as she begins to eat.

Mr'az exhales softly and begins to pick at his food, taking a few small bites. Yeah, he knows full well by now how badly he screwed up. Nothing like being brought to your lowest to FINALLY see the damage done. "Do you think it will stick?"

Nyalle chuckles softly, looking around the caverns with a fond if wry smile. "No." Does it ever? "But the reprieve is nice. The quiet."

Mr'az gives a faint snort of amusement too. "It is," he agrees and he's doing his best NOT to disrupt any of that quiet. He's even going about eating peacefully. He'll ignore whatever stares come their way or even the hushed whispering. It might not even be about them!
It probably isn't. Isn't that human nature, tho? To assume everyone else is talking and thinking about you when that's rarely the case. Nyalle also eats in silence, and when finished she rises to her feet. "Shall we go for a walk?"

That's what got Mr'az into so much trouble to start with. Anxiety and stress overtook him and it just warped his mind. Thankfully not permanently but the habits are still hard to drop. Her suggestion is met both with surprise but a hint of something else. Hope? Happiness? Either way, Mr'az is standing and offering her his arm, "I'd like that." When was the last time they could or did? He's been so cautious around her since he came back from his exile.

It has been a very, very long time. Taking his arm, she offers him a small smile before guiding him gently towards the exit and out into the cool autumn afternoon.


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