'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.

Fort Weyr - Ezra's Room

Is there anything that smells *quite* like a teenage boy's room? The room that Ezra was given after his rather abrupt arrival at Fort Weyr is one that does not suit his station, but speaks to the sympathy his story brought up in people. One of the larger residential rooms, it actually consists of both a living room and a private bedroom. The rooms are dirty, being that Ezra has not allowed a drudge in here in turns, and covered in *things*. This boy is a bit of a hoarder, there is no denying that. But beneath all the stuff, there are some pieces of furniture. The living room has a small table and two old chairs, as well as a lumpy couch that is covered in clothes and other various things. It also has a fireplace, the smoke drawn up through a tunnel in the rock.
The bedroom has a large bed with rumpled, messy sheets and lots and lots of blankets and pillows, as well as piles of more stuff that cover the dresser and wardrobe. There are tools, bits of wood, fabric, technology parts, old bits of cloth, and a hundred other random things. There is also food stashed everywhere. Much of it has gone bad, but until Ezra's firelizards can sneak it out, it remains to rot. Another thing the rooms have in abundance are glowbaskets, which are placed on every surface and kept filled and bright constantly. He might be just a little afraid of the dark.

Going *Between* before he'd really thought he'd given Dremkoth the go-ahead and knowing they're really quite a bit lower than M'icha would approve, has refocused D'ani just a wee bit. The coordinates of the bowl given firmly to the bronze as higher altitude - the way it should be. Impact with stone or another dragon would serve little purpose and so their arrival looks normal to those left milling restlessly in the bowls, though their landing is much more steeply-angled and the descent rapid. Dremkoth's landing is a rough one, necessitating a running few steps to slow his momentum. D'ani is undoing his clips and swinging down before the bronze is fully stopped, hitting the ground at a run, ignoring any clinging hands reaching for him and questions about the alarm that scrambled the wings. Scanning the living cavern, he slows to a rapid stride to the residential caverns, making his way to Ezra's door and knocking sharply. Calm, he should calm down! A deep DEEP breath is taken.

The knock is greeted, as usual, by a flurry of barks that are switched off when the boy shouts. Hauling on Zoi's collar, the boy opens the door a crack and peers out, one eye visible. "Who is it?" he asks, but he recognizes D'ani right away and, with a grin, shuts the door so he can take off the chain latch and open the door wide. "Hey, D'ani! What's all that comotion?" He's been hiding in here, but he looks happy to see his friend, eager for news.

Normally D'ani would grin at that one eye he sees. Today he is sober, grimly waiting while the lock chain clinks free. He'd also normally ask to come in but not this time. This time he steps through the door taking Ezra's forearm gently and moves the lad backwards without answering. Without taking his eyes off Ezra, he closes the door and then shifts both hands to the boy's shoulders. How does one prepare a person for what he's going to say? "Ezra." His fingers squeeze - but gently so - "Your brother Rayathess has been found." He's trying to look neutral, but failing to keep the grim from creeping in around the edges. "He's alive."

Ezra picks up on D'ani's mood instantly, and the boy frowns, brows furrowing. If anyone else took his shoulders and moved him back into the room (and closed the door!) he'd be pitching a /fit/, but it's D'ani and so he goes without verbal protest or physical resistance. And then the news is given, without preamble or preparation. He blinks, for a moment fumbling to even register and understand what was shared, and then his shoulders stiffen beneath D'ani's hands. "H…w…what?" he stammers, blinking up at the bronzeling, his expression a swift mixture of all sorts of emotions. "How…but…"

Yeah, that's been D'ani's exact reaction as well. "I'm not sure if he really is who he claims to be, but he looks like he could be related to you. And he has some of the same mannerisms." His hands drop from Ezra's shoulders and he paces the clear area before the door to recount what he knows. "The alarm came though while I was shadowing Nishka with Thunderbird Wing. We arrived late-" He shoots Ezra a questioning look, "You know Gold Hill was attacked right? The fighting was well underway already and the Weyrlings were tending wounded and prisoners." The weyrling shoves a hand through his hair. He's not covering his agitation well and he knows it. He takes another deep breath. "One of them refused to answer any questions. He demanded to see Th'ero, said what he had to say was for his ears only. Th'ero was hu- busy. So when we told him we'd transport him to a cell to wait, he claimed to be hold-heir Rayathess Stonehaven."

Ezra shifts backwards a bit when D'ani lets him go, moving to sit on the edge of the couch and bury his hands in Zoi's thick fur as she leans against his legs. "Gold Hill was? I…no. I've been in here." Out of the way. Safe. "Was it /him/?" he asks, clearly meaning Laris and his eyes narrow, flashing with anger. "What did he look like? Was he, like…" And he fumbles, shaking his head and struggling to remember. And failing, in truth, to remember much about his brother. And certainly unable to put such vague concepts and thoughts into words. Hands dig deeper into Zoi's fur, but the canine must be used to it as she doesn't protest the discomfort.

Here and safe. Thank Faranth for small miracles! He's glad, but D'ani frowns all the same. "I thought the entire Weyr knew the wings had mobilized," he says and now he's kicking himself for not breaking that particular news more gently. "Laris," the word is almost growled, "could have been behind it but I didn't ask. It was renegades and they were subdued, that's all I know." He watches Ezra for several moments while the silence stretches. "He… looks like he could be related to you, yeah." He shakes himself out of his own speculation about the sudden-seeming appearance of a hold-heir for the deserted Stonehaven and stalks to the couch to sit abruptly beside Ezra. "He… asked about you," he says finally, awkwardly and very reluctantly.

Ezra nods a little bit. "I knew something was going on, but I didn't know what," he admits. Watching as D'ani shifts, the boy reaches out for the older man's hand, needing something else to hold to. "What did he say?" he asks, whispered as he stares blankly at the floor. His brother is alive. With that comes joy, certainly, and hope, but also a tilting of his world. Where has he been? Why didn't he come? What's going to happen now? "He was at Gold Hill?" Wait. Something clicks and his hand tightens. "He wasn't /with/ them was he?"

D'ani allows his hand to be taken, curls his fingers around his friend's hand and squeezes. Oh if he could reassure the boy! But he's always been honest and now is not the time to change that. He drops his head and that floor gets a second pair of eyes staring through it. "Yeah, apparently he was," he says with a voice that crackles before he clears it, turns his head and meets Ezra's eyes. "He wouldn't tell me why or where he's been all this time, but you can be very sure I asked him." The young man's eyes narrow at the recounting and his hand tightens enough to hurt before he recalls himself with a blink. "He's being brought to the Weyr's cells."

Ezra shifts a bit, but his hand doesn't withdraw. It just squeezes back as the boy tries to keep himself together. "I…he wouldn't answer? What did he say about me?" he asks, finally glancing over at D'ani, even if all he's looking at is the side of the man's head. Then he shifts again. "I…should I go see him?" He sounds so uncertain. It's hardly a jumping for joy reunion.

D'ani's brain is trying to sort through the tumult of the past hour and the roller coaster of emotion that went with it. "I wasn't exactly… nice to him," he admits his mouth grim. "I'm not sure I believe he is who he claims to be for one. And secondly, why he'd be involved in attacking a hold." Then he falls silent while he tries to recall exactly how the one who calls himself Rayathess had acted, "He seemed very surprised and shaken to hear you were alive," he says at length. "He wanted to know where you were and if you were safe and I… I-" he mutters something which is probably a curse word or two and changes what he was going to say to, "Someone has to identify him, Ezra." Dark brows lift questioningly. Does he want to do it?

Ezra shakes his head, still lost. Confused. And his hand tightens on D'ani's again. "You what?" he asks, staring at his friend. No, he won't get away without answering. Then he pales. "I…uh. Well. No one else can." It has to be him.

"I asked him where he was when you needed him," D'ani sums up those questions he'd hurled at Rayathess that way, turning his head to meet Ezra's eyes without trying to hide the anger at the absent big brother, the worry for his friend will be hurt and the very faint hope that this is… better than it appears. "Probably not," he agrees, "unless the Weyrleader has seen him before? He could do it. But regardless, I'm pretty sure he wants to see you."

Ezra shakes his head, "I don't think anyone….maybe Elara. But that was…a long time ago…It has to be me." And the boy is already trying to gather himself for the task. To draw himself together in preparation. "Will you take me to him?" When D'ani admits what he asked, Ezra's look is grateful, his hand convulsing into a tight squeeze again.

D'ani has had some time to regain at least a semblance of his objectivity. His fingers press, returning that squeeze. "If he is really your brother (though he's not entirely convinced it isn't some sort of self-preservation on the part of a renegade)," he says after a span of time, "you should go to him." Whether Elara would know Rayathess or not. "I'll take you to where he is, but he won't want me there," he says honestly. The whole thing worries him though, that much is clear by the pucker between his brows as he rises from the couch. "Just…"

Ezra lets D'ani's hand slide from his when his friend rises, gripping Zoi's fur again. "Just what?" he asks, looking up at D'ani. He's confused. Vulnerable, and looking to his friend for so much stability and guidance in this.

"Just… be careful, Ezra," D'ani says gently. "I can't shield you from disillusionment. People change sometimes and not always for the best. I don't want him to hurt you, but if he's family…" he shrugs not liking this helpless feeling washing over him. "…sometimes family can be a mixed blessing. You take the good with the bad - if there is bad - and work though it." This warning is awkward and vague and he knows it. "Maybe his reasons will make sense to you. Maybe they won't." He looks down at his friend, then crouches down beside him and Zoi and looks searchingly at the boy for a moment. Then he says earnestly, "You will need to decide whether he's telling you the truth and reconcile with whatever it is. Be aware that if he has committed crimes, others will ultimately decide his fate."

Ezra squirms a little bit, clearly uncomfortable and uncertain with the entire situation. "I don't know what to think," he finally admits with a deep frown, chin quivering briefly before he gets a grip on it. "I…it was easier…" When he was dead? He doesn't say that, giving his head a firm shake and swallowing thickly.

That makes two of them! This situation is difficult for several reasons, but for now D'ani focuses on Ezra's part in it. He can guess what that unfinished thought might have been but doesn't pry. "Sometimes easier is better. Sometimes it is not," D'ani says at last, pushing up to stand once more. "Do you want some time to think before I walk with you to the cells? They ought to be arriving soon, if they're not already back."

Ezra shakes his head, gulping once more and reaching again for D'ani's hand. Clutching it, almost. "No," he says quickly. "Let's…let's go. I have to see…" Even though his world is tilting, he can't very well just ignore the fact that it is.

Hopefully D'ani can be a stabilizing gravity for Ezra until his world rights itself. Hopefully it will return somewhat to rights for the boy, D'ani clings to that, faint as the possibility seems presently. "Come on then. I'll need to report to M'icha soon, I'm afraid. But I can see you to the cells at least. Rayathess likely wouldn't talk with me there anyway." And he leads the way on out, walking as slowly as Ezra wants.

Ezra nods his head a little, looking utterly dazed, confused, and lost as he clings to D'ani's hand and lets himself be led down to the cells. Where they're promptly told they can't see Rayathess by the large guards posted. Blank faced, Ezra just looks up at D'ani again. Help.

Firmly, "Ezra Stonehaven wishes to see Rayathess Stonehaven," D'ani tries as if this will be the 'open sesame' that will magically open the barred doors to the boy. It's dark and oppressive down here save for the flickered torchlight intermittently lighting the passageway. Leaving the boy here alone appeals less than it did before when he spoke to the boy in his quarters.

The guard shakes his head, arms crossing over his massive chest. "Have orders no one but the Weyrleader is to see 'em." Though he does look down at Ezra, a flicker of something in his eyes. Still, he's immovable on the topic. Ezra stands stiff, teetering on the edge of breaking - running at the man, clawing, /demanding/. But in the end he just tugs on D'ani's hand. "Let's go," he whispers, glancing around the oppressive walls.

D'ani can only nod at the guard, acquiescing to a higher authority than his. "Remember what Th'ero said," he reminds Ezra firmly as he turns to go, drawing the boy with him. He gently disengages his hand and slips a comforting arm about the boy's shoulders as they walk. "He said to come to him when you need something. So we will. If anyone can get you in there, it'll be him," he's saying this with the confidence that the Weyrleader will do what's best concerning the visit to the cells. "Or perhaps he'll arrange a better place than these dark, dank cells to see him." And the reunion won't have to happen in this awful place. And Rayathess, if you're listening, someone is looking after your kid brother for you.

Ezra is easily drawn away, his body tense and rigid beneath D'ani's arm. "But wasn't he hurt?" he asks. Yeah, he caught that quick change of word earlier. "He'll be resting. Maybe tomorrow…" His confidence is leaving him it seems, as he glances around the hallway, skittish and nervous. His hand flexes and reaches out, and Zoi's head (she's been there the whole time, yeah) is there to press into his palm.

With a confidence he may later regret, D'ani says, "We'll go ask whoever is watching him. If he's awake and will see you, you can ask. If he's asleep, you can leave a note and he'll see to it when he is able." He's seen enough after their ill-fated visit to Stonehaven to believe the Weyrleader won't shuffle Ezra's needs to the back burner.

Ezra just nods, a little numb by this point. "Yeah. Okay," the boy agrees, taking two long strides forward…and then stopping. "Where is he?"

Very good question! "I… don't know," D'ani admits. He could take a wild guess and say probably his Weyr but he doesn't even know how badly the Weyrleader is hurt. He's alive - that much he knows because Velokraeth still is. Otherwise the dragons would have keened his death, something D'ani would have been aware of through Dremkoth even if the stones had muffled the sound completely. "We should check the Infirmary first."

Fort Weyr - Th'ero and Velokraeth's Weyr

This weyr is opulent, it almost looks like some of the ground weyrs. It is quite large, easily fitting two large dargons. The slight lip on the wallow allows for large blankets to be draped over it without sliding downward. The floor stone is smooth, having been wore down over the turns by many dragon and human feet. Towards the back of the dragon area there is a wall with a double door wide opening leading into the living area. On either side of the living area there are two smaller rooms. Towards the back there is an entrance to the washroom on the left and an open area for the kitchenette on the right.

The living area is quite large to match the dragon's area. There is plush carpeting covering most of the weyr, except for the dragon, kitchen and washroom areas which are tiled. The furniture left behind is in quite good condition. There is a sofa and a klah table in the center of the room, and couple of bookcases. Towards the back where the kitchenette is there is a rectangular dining table with four chairs. The spare room to the left has only a desk in it and a book shelf.

The kitchenette is well cared for. There are ample cabinets and counter space about made with good stone, though they are worn a bit by age. There is a stove and oven, ice box and a deep sink. The bedroom is of a slightly more modest size. The bed looks to be roughly a queen size, and there is a dresser with a mirror over it off to the right hand side of the entrance. Some of the area is consumed by a walk-in closet in the back right corner. The washroom is quite large and clearly designed for two people. There is a large basin tub with a small stand up shower next to it. The toilet has been partitioned off to the left corner, leaving space for a large vanity across most of the back wall of the washroom. It has a light colored stone countertop with two sinks carved out and a very large mirror on the wall behind. There is plenty of cabinet space underneath.

So discreet look-round at the infirmary turned up no Weyrleader, so D'ani tried to have Dremkoth bespeak Velokraeth. "He says the bronze is sleeping," D'ani says pushing down the uneasiness that rises. This is important to Ezra - he understands that like no one else will and thus his suggestion is, "We can knock. He probably won't hear it if he's sleeping." Or if he's dosed with something? The weyrling leads his friend to the ledge where Velokraeth sleeps and well… he isn't afraid to tread lightly, giving the bronze his space to knock quietly but resolutely on that door, requiring Dremkoth to listen in should the Weyrleader's bronze startle awake so he can announce them both before they get eated.

Ezra follows along, careful on the stairs and letting his fingers trail lightly along the rope railing. Putting himself on the other side of D'ani, he swallows and nods. He's been silent the whole journey up here, and now he fidgets with the lower hem of his Stonehaven jacket.

No worries, the bronze has gorged on herdbeasts, thus no risk of of being eated. Velokraeth does stir though as he was sleeping light and unsettled. Lids draw back from his mismatched eyes and perhaps some relief can be taken that they whirl in calm colors. No red or orange. But they too fix on D'ani and his charge with an intensity that could be unnerving. Rustling then, the sound of talons clicking as the bronze uncoils himself, wings ruffling as he continues to eye them both in silence. Then with a low, grumbling rumble Velokraeth simply waddles his way into the covered wallow with a dismissive huff. Looks like they'll have to knock?
Th'ero is indeed within though and not sleeping or drugged by fellis or any medication. No, the Weyrleader is currently facing the difficult task of a bath. Who would have thought? He doesn't balk at Kimmila's offer, though he gives her a long and lingering look, noting the gleam in her eye and smirking as he takes a seat. But there is amusement there, subtle, but there all the same. "How kind of you," he murmurs in a drawling tone, almost teasing.

Kimmila winks at Th'ero as she gets a rag and swishes it into the warm water before adding some sweetsand. Then she drapes a towel over his lap to keep his leg from getting wet, and walks behind him. "I'll start at the top and work my way down," she murmurs, bending to kiss the top of his shoulder before she begins to dribble water into his hair to wet her favorite curls.

Out there on the ledge, nothing is heard. At least Velokraeth didn't roar or growl? D'ani gives Ezra a sidelong look and knocks again, louder this time. "I'm pretty sure the worst he can do is say no?" he says by way of reassuring Ezra. "It would only mean you'd have to wait a bit, that's all." That's all, he says, but how hard would that be if it were one of his sisters? Pretty damn hard! He waits a beat and knocks a third time.

Ezra just shrugs a shoulder, fingers still fidgeting with the hem of his coat. "I guess," he mutters. "I just…why was he there?" That's the main question eating at the boy, as he reaches out with the toe of his boot to give the door a gentle little kick. Poke.

Th'ero starts to turn his head to watch Kimmila, eyeing the wet rag curiously at first and then with some unease. Who knew a sponge bath could be awkward? But leave it to him to find it too new to actually relax. "Makes sense," he muses, at least keeping /some/ humor despite his behavior. She has just begun to wet his hair and he has just begun to lean back in the chair and actually enjoy it when the second knock on the door has him abruptly sitting rigid and straight. "For Faranth's sake, what now… and Velokraeth is being difficult and is speaking in his cryptic riddles." he mutters to Kimmila. "Which means it's someone important enough to warrant the games." Th'ero twists then in the chair, grimacing. "My clothes?" Please? At the very least his pants would be nice. At the third knock and what sounds like a kick or another singular knock, the Weyrleader pitches his voice to be heard but not quite bellow. "Just a moment!"

Kimmila shoots a glare towards the door, swearing under her breath. Stalking out of the bedroom muttering about baths, she returns to give Th'ero his pants (and help him into them if he needs), as well as pulling on her own clothes. When they're both descent (dirty, bloody, unwashed and smelling, but clothed at least!) she goes to pull open the door, a deep frown on her face. "What?"

D'ani wasn't exactly expecting a joyous welcome. Having been there at Gold Hill he can well imagine the state he'd find the pair in. It's just as well he doesn't know about the almost-sponge bathing, he'd be red-flushed and stammering. Instead he's merely uncomfortable disturbing them. He lifts a hand to rub at the back of his neck, bobbing his head at the same time. "Kimmila, I'm sorry to intrude," he starts before adding hastily, "I hope Th'ero is alright. Ezra has something to ask of the Weyrleader." And he steps aside to give the boy room to step forward and make his request. As if he'd like a better view of the irate bluerider or something.

Ezra looks up at Kimmila and shies back, and when D'ani says /he/ has a question, he blushes and stammers. "I. Uh. I…um…" And he looks at D'ani again. Help!

Th'ero is similarily growing annoyed and irritated at being disrupted, though he gives Kimmila a thankful look for fetching his pants. Thank Faranth too that no one will see that he does, in fact, need help getting into them. His pride takes enough of a hit as it is, though the thoughts bubbling up are hastily shoved back down again. It won't help his mood though and as Kimmila goes off to answer the door, Th'ero will slowly and awkwardly get to his feet. His slower pace has him missing most of the discussion, what little there is and as he lingers by the archway leading back into the main living section of his weyr he tries to crane his head to see but also trying to catch Kimmila's eye. Well? Right now he's distracted, a hand on the wall to keep his balance as he clearly favors one leg. "Come in, then!" he calls, before the bluerider can warn him. They don't have all day err… evening!

Kimmila looks from one to the other, and at Th'ero's call she takes a step back and motions them in. "It's D'ani and Ezra," she warns, glancing back at the pair. "This is about the man who claims he is your brother, I assume?" she asks Ezra, but glances up to D'ani a moment later.

D'ani ignores the awkwardness he's feeling and hauls Ezra in past Kimmila but only just inside the door. They aren't staying! He's brisk, keeping his tone firm even as he says again, "Sorry to bother you, Sir." Respectfully and without fussing about how the Weyrleader is feeling because it's pretty obvious it took him some time to appear, he gets right to the point, "Ezra would like to speak to his brother if he may." He'll ask Kimmila about all that blood later. When she's in a better mood. Over an ale or something.

Ezra is hauled in and he stumbles a little bit, but then straightens, looking from one person to the other, his green eyes wide and a mix of emotions impossible to pin down. In the end though, he just looks to Th'ero, and waits.

What better way to greet guests then some muffled swearing? Th'ero does exactly that and then promptly disappears deeper into the weyr again. Does that mean they're to get out? Not really — the Weyrleader only ventured back to his private quarters to fetch his not-so fresh tunic. At least his hair is partially clean? Hobbling back to the main room, Th'ero does his best to exude his usual reserved and controlled mannerisms. But no matter how much he'll hold himself straight and shoulders back and squared, there is exhaustion in his eyes and subtly in his expression. He returns just in time for D'ani's apology, which is met by a long look from the Weyrleader and his mouth tightens into a grim line, eyes gleaming with the first hints of resurfacing anger. "No." he says, blunt and with a harsh finality to his tone. But it seems wholly delivered to D'ani, not Ezra. When Th'ero's gaze drops to the boy, his voice seems less severe and even his features seem to relax a bit. No anger. "I'm sorry, Ezra. But it's too soon." he tells him, tone level and honest. The Weyrleader will limp forwards a bit then, until he can use the back of a chair to brace his weight or Kimmila, if the bluerider joins him. "We don't know who he is for certain. He needs to be questioned, privately, before we determine whether or not what he's claiming is the truth. Do you understand why?" he asks and then waits, meeting Ezra's glance unflinching.

Kimmila moves to Th'ero's side, sensing he needs some help, but not making a big deal out of it. And she'll even be quiet as she stands there, glancing from Ezra to D'ani and back again, her expression softening a bit. Poor kid.

D'ani would have to be blind not to see Th'ero's discomfort, but if it's one thing he knows, the man won't welcome attention being brought to the fact, so he says nothing to that. He endures the man's ire stoically, patiently but in his stance is a subtle, firm quality of unashamed resolve as he meets the Weyrleader's look steadily. He was asked to come on behalf of his friend and he doesn't regret that. He simply waits for Ezra to answer, then says quietly, "Thank you for seeing us, sir." He turns, nudging the boy to follow, pauses to say to Kimmila, "If there's anything I can bring you, please have Varmiroth bespeak Dremkoth." If neither of them call him back, he strides on out.

Ezra is rather numb, glancing up at Th'ero and blinking. "But…" he protests weakly. Eyes flick to D'ani when the bronzeling just accepts the judgement, and though he frowns, eventually Ezra just nods and turns to follow D'ani out, quick strides to catch up with him.

Th'ero will lift his head and glance up to settle it on D'ani once more as the bronze weyrling speaks and this time he merely nods his head in a respectful manner. Stiff and brisk, but respectful. "Of course," he murmurs, only to then look back to Ezra and frowning when the boy only appears numb. The Weyrleader frowns, but there's a slight shift in his expression. Sympathy, perhaps? Or guilt? It's hard to say and likely neither of them will ever know. Stepping closer to Kimmila, he rests a hand on her arm for support as he shifts more of his weight off his injured leg. "Ezra," he calls, hopefully before the boy is out of earshot. "We will speak again soon. I'll consider it." But not until he gets to meet the supposed Rayathess first.

Kimmila tightens her arm, turning it into a kind of mobile railing for her weyrmate, glancing at him and then the departing duo. If she's surprised D'ani backed down so swiftly, she doesn't show it. Nodding to the bronzeling, she even gives him a faint smile. "Thanks."