Fort Weyr - Library Archives

Surviving the ages is something that books are known to do, especially if they are left untouched for just as long. In this room, that's exactly what has happened. Put aside as trivial information or simply determined old enough to not impact present day life, these numerous articles stored in ceiling high shelves are the forgotten histories belonging to Fort.

Miraculously, the design of the room itself has prevented any of the books from damage. The rock base of which the room's foundation is actually one of the toughest rock known to man and cannot be surpassed by any creature living, while a layer of tiles of the smoothest stone gives this room a vibrant and mysterious appeal. The door itself on the room was sealed tight and allowed for a minimum amount of circulation, thereby preventing natural decay, although most articles may be brittle despite this. White marble has been used to create an insulating layer wall against the natural rock, giving the room an unnatural brightness and a enchanted atmosphere - while also giving it four distinct walls. The ceiling as well has been made smooth with an arching apex.

As for the books and mounds of information stored in this vault of information, the organization is clear. Books bound with hard covers are kept alphabetical in the towering skybroom wood shelves, where step ladders and scrolling ladders actually attached to the shelves move to assist a person in selecting a volume. The shelves are ornately carved, many crafted with a mastery none have ever seen. Meanwhile, scrolls have a sectional shelf where each scroll based on how they were itemized has a cubical square into which they are kept in. This shelf alone has over a hundred squares in which the scrolls stick out of. As well, any loose bits of information have been assembled in files that are stored in boxes along the back wall. Apparently, recording history takes up vast amounts of space and every where one looks in this room one would find a wealth of information. The ancestors of Fort live here.

It's the same day of the Great Gathering Expedition, and the Weyr is abuzz with people who are excited about the influx of fruit that they're getting. M'lo has already dropped off Galina, and once she wandered away for her tea and bath, he went back for another load of fruit. Only then did he allow himself the same luxury of getting himself clean and having something to drink and eat. A message arrived for Galina, wherever she was, to meet him in the library. And here he is, slouched in a chair with his head tipped back to rest on the wall behind him, long legs sprawled out in front of him, fingers laced across his stomach. Taking a catnap, waiting for Galina to arrive. When he's still like this, it's easy to see how young he really is, but darker circles beneath his eyes hint at how hard he's been driving himself. Silence pervades the library. Somewhere lost amongst the shelves, someone quietly turns pages, but otherwise, there is only a great stillness.

It's not hard to find her, even when she's one that's not in the mood to be found. There's always someone, somewhere, who has an inkling of where the healer-turned-candidate has sequestered herself — moreso now than ever, given the typical candidate visibility. When Galya arrives, she's clearly been through the baths and has reverted to her more familiar white blouse, black skirt and black slip-on shoes. But, for once, her hair is not up in a bun; rather, it's hanging down her back in a still-damp braid, while both hands are curled around a mug of some species of aromatic tea. It doesn't take her long to spot where M'lo is — whether by good intuition or using another set of borrowed eyes in the form of one of her companions, it's hard to say. Silent as any ghost, she arrives … and simply stands in front of the lightly drowsing assistant weyrlingmaster with her shadow spilling over his face.

M'lo snoozes on for a good few seconds, simply relaxing more and more deeply into his sleep. But whether she made some noise, or the scent of the tea tickled his nose, or he somehow was able to just sense her presence, he comes out of his sleep. He blinks open his dark eyes and spots her rather immediately. "Galina," he says, his voice rough with the almost-sleep he had. He clears it and sits up, yawns and stretches, and then stands and stretches so more. He twists and the vertebrae in his back pop, and he groans. "Ahhhh, that's better," he mutters. He gestures to the nearest table and the comfortable seats. "Have a seat," he offers to her.

She's silent as she claims the offered seat, cup moving to one hand to allow her to sweep her skirts properly under her before she's settled. Once settled, Galina cups the mug in both hands anew, blows on the still-steaming contents, and takes a slow, contemplative sip of the stuff. It has a faintly floral twist to it, some blend of chamomile with something else — likely devised to calm frazzled nerves — and a subtle coil of vanilla throughout. She just blinks at him, once and with excrutiating slowness, while leaving the speaking floor to him for the moment.

M'lo waits until Galina is settled before seating himself as well. He calmly watches her sip her tea. He can smell it, and the scent alone is soothing, so he lets himself take a couple of deep breaths. For a few seconds he just lets the silence cocoon them, and when he speaks, it isn't much. "So tell me," he says quietly. "Why you accepted the knot, when you so obviously don't wish it."

The answer is a prompt one, issued between cooling breaths on her tea: "Because I promised Lyuba I would." And it is what it is, left to hang there for him to consider, contemplate, and mull as he will. Galina inhales slowly, likely using the aroma in much the same way that M'lo is; just breathing it in and allowing it to pick at the tension that's started working through her shoulders again. There's a bit of silence, the kind that all but hums like a plucked gitar string, and then: "She could never give a satisfactory answer to 'why' when Allochkath would insist in turns past. So. She made me promise to accept if another rider asked me to."

M'lo furrows his eyebrows. "Who is Lyuba?" he asks Galina. "And why is it so important for you to have the answer of /why/ a dragon Searched you? What are you looking for, in that answer?"

"I owe her more than I could begin to explain," Galina intones, one corner of her mouth distorting slightly. "Technically speaking, she is a greenrider for Ierne and a craftrider for the Healer Hall. More personally, she is the reason I became a healer." Pale eyes flick from M'lo to the tea, a thin crease forming between her brows. Her words come slowly, well-measured as if drawn from a well. "I cannot trust her judgment in that detail alone. She is biased and I refused her based on that bias. It was important for me to know why she wanted to search me, but, in all fairness, there was no answer she could give that I could trust." Pause. "Maglinoth's rationale, as relayed by Ely, was … sufficient. Her green did not know me, so it was acceptable."

M'lo nods once and is silent for a few seconds, thinking about that. "I find it hard to comprehend a relationship wherein you owe someone more than you can explain, but then don't trust them, or their lifemate." He turns his head to the left and back to center, half a shake. "But okay. So you accepted the knot in order to keep a promise. Now. Tell me what's been troubling you, Galina."

"Do not misunderstand. I trust her implicitly in all other things. But, in that, I could not be assured that it was Allochkath who was making the determination and not Lyuba herself who was making that choice." A subtle distinction, perhaps, but one that's clearly settled for Galina. The knot on her shoulder is given a glance askance, that crease between her brows deepening. The resulting silence is filled only with the slow sound of her taking a breath, holding it, releasing it … and then repeating the action, as if physically gathering her thoughts. "It is complicated. Part of it might be more easily understood by Pralius, given our respective positions." She pauses, frowns, and then slips her shoes up to allow her to pull her feet up under her, tucked under her skirts. Head down, brows furrowed, she remains silent, but not obstinantly so.

M'lo tilts his head to one side a bit, considering Galina's fine distinction. "Well, I'm not Pralius," he tells her. "But I'm here, and I'm willing to listen." And then he falls silent. He leans back in his chair again and lets her think as long as she wants, lets her sort through her thoughts and get her head in order. Lets her speak when she needs to, without pushing.

Galina finally exhales, mouth pulled slightly to a side while she starts off on what might seem to be a particularly odd tangent: "I am fond of children's stories. Particularly the fantastical ones, with monsters in the forests and terrible people who meet appropriately terrible ends. This," the knot is tugged gently before her hand returns to her mug, "feels a lot like one of those stories has finally been birthed from a book, purely to swallow me whole. It is, in a way, akin to walking a very familiar path, only to discover someone has found a way to fork it … and you do not know which fork you must take. One leads through friendly woods. The other, through gnarled and weather-beaten trees. Good judgment demands passage through familiar territory, but the bidding of another compels you down the darker path." She sucks in a breath, her eyes fixed solely on her mug by now. She's retreated somewhat, her voice dropping to an uncharacteristic whisper, "A part of me — a very large part — hopes that path will curve back to something familiar in the end. But, if it does not, then I do not want to disappoint the one that sent me down it in the first place by doing poorly."

M'lo stares at the table in front of him while Galina speaks, and tucks his hands underneath his arms just to keep them from fiddling and fidgeting. "Uh-huh," he finally says, his voice coming out slowly. "So… you're afraid of failing? Either you can stick to something familiar and minimize the risk of failing, or your can walk the…" he tries not to smile at the imagery. "… the darker path, into unknown territory, where you feel compelled to go, and where you fear you have the greatest chance of failure. Am I right?" He looks up at her. "But have you considered, Galina, that /not/ taking a chance on something wonderful, and embracing the experience to its fullest, is a kind of failure in and of itself? A failure to /live/ your life." He trains his eyes on her, a steady, unwavering gaze. "If you go into this Candidacy with the same reluctance you've been showing, the same sour face and grimaces, do you really think that you'll have /not/ failed this Lyuba of yours? I would suspect that she wants you to obey more than just the /letter/ of your promise to her."

And she's silent all the while, pale eyes lifting once he speaks to settle, unwaveringly, on his face. The blank mask is in full force, the look of one who may or may not be listening at all — it takes the slight inclination of her head when he's done to indicate she's even aware that he's finished. Galina blows on her tea again, takes a sip, and turns the mug slightly between her palms. "Failure is not — and has never been — an option. However. Failure to impress allows me to return to a familiar path, to the path and life that I have chosen." There's subtle emphasis on 'I' in that phrasing, significant for as mild as it is. "So, in that sense, there is no failure." Blandly uttered, that. "It is easier to keep my sights on that as an eventuality, than to consider the distant probability of the alternative. Forgive me, then, if my steps are grudging on the unpleasant path, and if my eyes stray to familiar things just at the corners of my sight." One corner of her mouth jerks, forming a not entirely pleasant half-smile that withers quickly. "Tell me, then, what it is that you expect of me, if not dutifulness with regards to chores and obedience to the rules as they have been set forth?"

M'lo sighs through his nose and shakes his head. "Galina," he says, his voice almost gentle. "I cannot make you enjoy the experience. Obedience I expect, and will have from anyone who wears that knot. But know this - things are going to be difficult enough for you and the other candidates, without you acting as it the entire thing is an /ordeal/ for you. You don't have to smile, but I'm asking you to stop grimacing and frowning and… and stop saying how you don't want to be doing this. It will make the others feel down. When it's time for you and them to step onto the Sands, that kind of thinking will have no place there. Everyone is going to need to be alert, and on their toes, and willing to face what comes - whether that is disappointment, or a fundamental heart-deep change in who they are, because of the merging of your self with your other half. And if you do have another half waiting for you, Galina, do not fail him or her by not believing in yourself. He or she, if they're out there, will need your strength." He stands and looks down at her for a few seconds. "I need you willing, or I don't need you at all," he tells her gravely. And then he leaves her to her thoughts.

For a long moment, the grinding of whatever gears are at work in her mind might well be all but audible as they work through unfamiliar gyres or threaten to seize. But, for the length of the silence and the odd, pinched look that claims her brow and sets it to furrowing, there is only a muted, "Understood," from her. And Galina lapses into silence again for the span of three heartbeats, remaining seated and with her hands still furled protectively around her mug. When she speaks again, her voice might be hard to catch, though her tone is a wary one: "Is it acceptable if I replace the blanket and pillow on my chosen cot?"

M'lo stops at the door and blinks at Galina. "Yes," he says. "Yeah, that's fine." He grins at her. "Not a problem at all. I'm sure the other candidates will do the same thing, if they haven't already. Any other questions? I've got an errand I need to run."

"I see." There's a beat, two, then a slight, mechanical shake of her head in immediate response that might go unseen. Ultimately, she intones a flat, "No, that is all." Pause. "Thank you, M'lo. Be well." Galina drops into silence again, this time in earnest, and like as not to intending to burrow all the deeper into whatever thoughts she has.

'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.