Courage Is


Ahnika.jpg Darros.jpg Isilna.jpg Nenienne.jpg

Date: 8/13/10
Location: EW - Outside the Weyrling Barracks and then in the Living Cavern
Synopsis: Nenienne and Ahnika encounter Isilna and discuss the circumstances of the lady's arrival briefly before she heads off. Neni and Ahni then continue their conversation over klah in the Living Caverns
Rating: PG
Logger: Ahnika

It's evening in the Weyr, after the day's chores are well and truly done. It's warm, but drizzling, lightly enough that it isn't more than a minor inconvenience, and may even be pleasant for those not trying to keep dry. Neni is one of those who isn't afraid of melting as she stands outside, looking up at the sky.

Ahnika isn’t exactly afraid of a light drizzle, but she doesn’t want to get sick. And so the redheaded candidate is meandering back toward the weyrling barracks along the bowl here with a light hooded jacket, her hands stuffed in the pockets. Largely, she seems interested in watching her footing, not wanting to slip, so she is almost upon Neni when she realizes the other young woman is standing outside in the rain. Ahnika opens her mouth to speak and then looks up into the sky with her as if trying to see what Neni is trying to see. “What is it? Not a dragon, I hope. Aren’t they still grounded?” Ahnika asks.

The rain is yet another reason for discomfort for one of the newest candidates at Eastern Weyr. Isilna's crouched under a borrowed rain slicker as she scuttles across the bowl. Her firelizard doesn't seem to mind the weather, the young bronze chirruping as cheerfully as one of his kind would do, considering the circumstances. Isilna's ankle turns slightly in the darkness, a glowbasket dangling from her hand, and she hisses and pauses her walk near Nenienne, squinting through the gloom to see who's there, lifting the glowbasket and spotting Ahnika as well. "Hello…?" she calls out uncertainly.

Nenienne seems completely unaware of her surroundings until Ahnika's voice pulls her from her reverie. "Just trying to see the stars through the clouds," she says quickly, shaking her head. Then she hears the hiss and glances over in the direction from whence it came. "Are you alright?" she asks, concern evident in her voice even if her usual frown doesn't change.

Ahnika squints her eyes against the overcast night sky. “Stars. Right,” she says, though not mockingly, more a mixture of cautious esteem for Neni trying anything of the sort, and confusion for why she would want to. Not immediately realizing Isilna turned her ankle, Ahnika’s attention is first for the glowbasket as the eyes are usually wanting to go to the source of light whenever there is pervading darkened area. “Hello,” Ahnika greets in kind easily enough and then draws a slight frown as Neni asks if Isilna is okay, “Did you go and hurt yourself?” Because Ahni seems to be quite aware of how that can go. “Do you need help?” She catches glimpses of the bronze firelizard and it distracts her attention well enough from the other two candidates as she tries futilely to follow it with her grey-eyed gaze.

Isilna nods as she gingerly tests her weight on the ankle, finding the loose stone she'd stepped on and hadn't seen earlier. "I fear I do not know the layout of the Weyr as well as I do my Hold," she explains as Mellon croons with mild worry, his eyes pinpricks of brilliance in the night. "I think I shall be all right… on that score," she adds quietly with a gentle sigh. Peering at the other two with the air of someone trying to fix names and faces together, she says in a quiet and subdued tone of voice, "I am Isilna."

Nenienne nods vaguely. "I met you briefly the night you came here, but the circumstances weren't exactly the kind for remembering names. I'm Neni." She doesn't comment further on her stargazing, or the alleged attempt to do so. Her eyes, though, are slowly drifting upward, toward a point beyond Isilna's shoulder.

“Well, surely not if you’re going about finding your way on your back,” Ahni says to Isilna, a master of naive innuendo, but her tone had no genuine bite to it, more like gentle ribbing and teasing. She smiles genuinely and nods in welcome, “Mind the edges of the tables, too; they enjoy rising up and giving you sound knocks about the head when you least expect it,” as Ahni can attest to. “I’m Ahnika. Nice to meet you, Isilna. If you like, I’ll help you to the Infirmary.” There is a brief glance made to Neni, and then Ahnika says to Isilna, “Sorry to hear about your sharded-up nuptials. Y’settling in alright since? Well, all things considering?” That being the death of two dragonets before they hatched, of course.

Isilna nods and fixes the stargazer's name and face in her memory. "Weyrwoman Randi indicated you are one of the candidates as well," she remembers audibly, nodding once more, and Mellon alights on her shoulder, his eyes calming their whirling and shifting color into more of a green than yellow. At Ahnika's barrage of comments, the former Lady Holder shakes her head, very much unused to the less formal manners of the redhead, and she opens her mouth automatically to correct the other on the matter of rank… and closes it, lowering her eyes in shame. "I am all right, thank you," she says in a softer tone of voice. "It was a momentary thing. I will learn to better watch where I am going." The question is answered with a shake of her head. "I have no idea why I am here."

Nenienne says, "Do you need help finding anything, or were you just on your way back to the barracks?" Neni's eyes drop briefly to look at the firelizard before once again staring off into space. To Isilna's last statement she says cryptically, "Join the club."

Yes, Ahni can be about as blunt and tactless as a sledgehammer sometimes, but the redhead usually means well. Usually. “Momentary things can have interesting consequences,” Ahni says, sounding like she is waxing prophetic, but she’s probably thinking more about accidentally putting too much flour in the cake mix, knowing her. “I’m sure you will,” Ahni says encouragingly, “Figure anyone who has your kind of courage must have a good amount of smarts to her, too.” She nods to Neni and then to Isilna again, “Right. Few do.”

Mellon snakes his head around to peer toward Neni, and he chirrups a polite greeting, and Isilna unconsciously reaches up and strokes his eyeridges. "I beg your pardon. This is Mellon. Other than the gown I wore at the wedding, he is the only thing I have left." The other question goes unanswered for the moment, and she shakes her head to what Ahni says. "It wasn't courage. Courage would have been doing my duty and staying for my people's sake."

Nenienne says "Hello, Mellon," as if she'd just been introduced to a person. She nods somberly about the pet and the gown being the only things Isilna has left. "That must be hard, going from a Lady to a candidate. It was quite an adjustment for me, and I was a mere journeyman. Although," she adds, the comment coming from nowhere, "If being a Lady is like what Andi had to go through when her brother," this with a fainst hint of distaste, "was here, then I don't know that I wouldn’t be relieved."

Ahnika gives the little firelizard a wave in hello as Isilna introduces, but that’s about it. She’s not frightened of him, just not sure what to make of him, not having seen many as bonded to a person that is. She’s polite about it, though, if nothing else. She shakes her head a bit, commenting, “Forgive me, but I disagree. You’ve got your health—eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and hands and feet. And your wit. Plus now you got yourself a whole weyr who’d go down swingin’ to try and keep you safe, and new friends, and new horizons. I’d say you have a lot more, personally,” but Ahni shrugs, “I guess courage is different to different people then. Standing up for yourself. Starting a new life without knowing hardly no one in your new home? Takes a bit of courage to do that, in my mind.” Then another shrug, as if to say, ‘but what do I know?’ Then she blinks at Neni, “Andi’s brother was here? Shard it all.” She looks visibly worried, “Is he still here?”

"It is actually a bit more intense as the actual title holder," Isilna says, frowning a moment. "Andi… Andromeda of Southern Boll? I thought I had seen her briefly at the wedding with her parents and her brother. Liril?" Her lip curls faintly, her eyes hardening, but she doesn't speak ill of the other at this point in time. "No… relief is not what I feel, Neni," she admits. "Guilt that now my sister has to endure what I could not. At least the Hold remains nominally in my family's Blood, although, a Bitran…" She shudders delicately. "Lord Voronis was smooth-tongued to my father or in public… but in private, he was… not." She's careful to use the man's title, as much as she might despise him. Mellon also returns Ahnika's greeting with a pleasant chirp. "I have not seen Liril here, but I am glad that I have not." She listens to what Ahnika says with something of a dubious expression. "I had rank and duties to attend to. You did not hear how angry my mother was, and Lord Gregor of Fort Hold. Only the Harper and a couple of the Ladies seemed to be in favor of my departing. Although," she adds with a slight smile, not malicious, merely tired, "Lord Gregor got into a shouting match with Lord Risdan of Nerat that will have the drudges talking about for sevendays." She lets loose a deep sigh. "I should get on with this chore I was assigned. I have no idea how it is to be done, but I will try to find a way."

Nenienne nods to Isilna's retreating figure. "It was Lord Liril. He came with her after the wedding. Fortunately they made an exception to the ban on travel when the Materharper and Fort's Weyrleader came here, and he was allowed to go back with them. The clothes she had to wear… they looked so uncomfortable."

Lapsing silent as Ahnika listens to Isilna, the redhead’s expression shifts a little from intrigued to mild deer-in-glowlight look as Isilna drifts into what lord said howdy-do to which lady and why. Instead, Ahnika seems to latch on what she, herself, deems important in all that: duty and an angry mother, and she seems ready to launch into one of her commentaries about such things when something, either something said or a look given, stalls her, and she opens her mouth only to shut it once more, saying nothing. Ahnika frowns a little, next, at something Nenienne says, but not at the other candidate herself, and so Isilna has taken herself off already to do a chore after dark that she doesn’t understand before Ahnika even has a chance to offer to help, which is very much Ahni’s way. “What did she pull for chore duty, today?” Ahni asks Neni. “I should probably go help her.”

Nenienne says, "I'm not sure, but it's awfully late to be doing them anyway. Maybe she was already looking at tomorrow's chores." With a shrug Neni ponders. "The rain is getting to me, though. I think I'm for a mug of klah. Want to join me?"

“You think?” Ahnika asks Neni, looking into the darkness where she last saw Isilna. “Well, if that’s the case, someone will be sure to tell her to start on it tomorrow instead.” And thus Ahni doesn’t have to worry about her anymore. The invitation to have some klah and dry off puts a smile on Ahni’s face and she nods, “Sure. Could use some, too.”

… . a short while later, in the living cavern … .

Nenienne is a creature of habit, and tonight is no exception. She heads over to the klah pot and pours herself a mugful, adds milk, and gulps it down before pouring herself another and looking for a table. Luckily this late at night the place is mostly empty.

Ahnika follows the other candidate to the klah pot and pours herself a mug full, fixing it the way she likes with a little bit of milk and sugar and then looking around for a table while Neni gulps hers down and makes her second mug. The redhead gestures to one of the nearest empty ones, the better to refill their mugs if they are so inclined, and heads there, shaking off some of the rainwater from her light jacket at the same time.

Nenienne goes over to Ahnika's table and sets her mug down. She is beginning to sit when she apparently had second thoughts and heads back to the stewpot. A bowl of stew and a slice of bread in hand, she finally sits down.

Ahnika seems content with the klah, having already eaten, though she does take the time to remove her light jacket and let it dry on the back of her chair, and waits patiently for Nenienne to return before asking, the question that has been predominant on her mind for the last few days, “Have you heard of any new updates to the search for the culprit? Any leads?” She keeps her hands wrapped around the side of her mug, her eyes straying to the braided bracelet of runnertail hair around her wrist. She knows Max has been extra busy lately attending to the security of the weyr, but despite the sound reasoning for it, the young woman worries, and sighing, says, “I can’t wait for this whole thing to be overwith and the mad brute found.”

In a rare display of emotion, Neni says sharply "mad brute" is far too kind for that… I don't know if there's a word exists which decribes the depravity of whatever did this." She doesn't even say "whomever", which is odd for her. She takes a moment to calm herself a bit, then says "I've heard nothing but rumors. I just hope they find it" again not assigning a human pronoun, "before it can strike again, at this Weyr or anywhere else."

Ahni’s lift of the mug to her lips is paused at Neni’s reaction, and then after a moment she continues, taking a long sip and then setting the mug back down again with a concerned look for Neni now. Whether it be because Ahni hasn’t had more than a distant look of the eggs, not having had the opportunity to touch any of them, or for some other reason, her own reaction – while appropriately distraught and griefstricken over the matter – is not quite as severe. “I’m sure they will,”Ahni says in an effort to be encouraging for the other candidate, but there is a catch in her timbre which suggests she’s not entirely sure about that. After all, there was some gap of time between the tragedy and the weyr being locked down. “At least the one likely to have actually physically done it is well and truly gone,” meaning the body, “Just need to find the other one, or ones. What I don’t get is the why of it,” Ahni considers the surface of her klah and then continues, “If they were only after hurting the weyr or hurting our ability to shield Landing and thus AIVAS, then why not strike the easier of the two clutches? But they went after Kaseth’s instead.”

Nenienne pauses for a few seconds, until once again her impassive frown is in place. "I'm not so sure the dead body was the thing that did it. And if it was, we'll never know why it did it. What I don't understand is how it could have targeted any dragon eggs at all. Even the worst of the the traditionals acknowledge that dragons are essential, especially now with two Red Stars." Once again her voice takes on a sad tone as she says, "Even though Kaseth's was more guarded usually, all of the bronzes who usually guard it were off at the stupid wedding. It may boil down to the fact that Rauzath wa awake and Kaseth was asleep." She adds hastily, "Not that I know if Rauzath *was* awake, just that it may have figured into why it was Kaseth's clutch. I just wish that whatever it was that did it didn't just go for AIVAS. Except that it's well-guarded. But then again, how could anyone make a leap from destroying AIVAS to murdering dragonets?

Watching Nenienne as the other candidate speaks, Ahni settles back in her chair a bit, lounging as she considers everything said. There are a couple moments where the redhead blinks a few times extra, trying to follow something Nenienne said in all that, and either able to keep up, or whatever it was that distracted her Ahni just didn’t think it was important enough to pursue. She sips her klah again, and setting it down, says, “Well, and so. My point exactly. I think this was largely personal, not just a matter of trying to hurt the weyr and thus Landing and AIVAS.” She considers a moment longer, sliding her thumb along the exterior of her mug gently, and then adds, “I think when I take my next batch of sweetcakes to Randi in the morning, I’ll talk to her about it. More than likely she’s already considered it, but,” Ahni shrugs, as if to say, ‘worth a shot’.

Nenienne appears not to notice Ahnika's distractions, but muses on something else. "Almost all of the rumors say that weyrwoman Randi saw something which really affected her and that the smell was horrid. But the body couldn't have been too decomposed if it was only there for a day. At least I think not, anyway. I almost hope it wasn't the thing which did it, or if it was, that it has an accomplice you we can catch it and find out *why*." Suddenly she remembers her food, and she morosely dips the bread into her stew and nibbles at it.

Frowning thoughtfully a little at the comment about Randi being affected and the smell being bad, Ahni sets her mug back down on the table after having started to take another sip and deciding not to. “Oh, well, I think there was more than one. That one did the other in, I should think.” Or so Ahni assumes, and then she nods to the last part of Neni’s comment, “It would be a shame if the other one gets eaten or staked out for Thread before we find out the why and how behind it. How can we protect ourselves in the future if we don’t know everything?” She shakes her head a little, “Part of why I don’t get those traditionalists wanting to destroy AIVAS. We need to learn everything we can. You never know what’s gonna come around that next corner.”

A little humor creeps into Neni's voice as she quips, "From what I understand, you never know what's going to come out of AIVAS either, and most of the time you can't understand what it's saying."

Chuckling, Ahni dips her head to Neni’s little zinger and adds, “Hopefully, the technicians working on it will riddle it all out in time. Better late than never.” She lapses quiet once more, contemplating things, and suddenly seems a little broodish in her klah, sipping at it a couple more times before saying, “I guess we’ll have to wait and see how everything comes about,” and she means with the current investigation, too, though she doesn’t clarify that verbally.

Nenienne nods. "Our whole life seems to revolve around waiting these days." There's no bitterness in her tone, though there is a hint of resignation.

With that, Ahnika eyes the braided runner-hair bracelet around her wrist and a slow coy smile of the memory of receiving it creeps into her features, "Some times the wait makes it all the more special." And then she remembers herself and straightens, clearing her throat and sipping her klah with a nod to Neni, "Like the Hatching. I'd love it if I Impressed," and her voice sounds it, "but after those two eggs being … well," she can't seem to find an appropriate word for the tragedy, so she continues, "I think I'll just be happy to see the rest of the dragons Hatch and Impress other Candidates and are no longer quite as vulnerable." She looks about the living caverns briefly, this being late in the evening and it largely vacated at the moment. Only the two candidates and a small handful of others spaced about.

Nenienne is nodding uncertainly when the eggs are mentioned again. Impulseively she says "Both were eggs I touched. And there was such a feeling I got… I wonder if the dragonets were already meant for someone, or if they weren't far enough along to be yet." She looks unhappily at her unfinished stew as she admits her worry.

Arriving into the living cavern looking about as dirty as usual comes Darros, the farmer having obviously been out working in the dirt somewhere, likely nearby, since the Weyr is(was?) on lockdown. The man comes in wiping his hands off on his tunic and then grabs a hopefully clean corner of tunic to wipe his face off to try and make it so he doesn't taste dirt when he makes his way over to the klah pots. For the moment the tanned young man remains quiet, simply drinking and replenishing fluids before he looks over towards Nenienne and offers her a smile and a wave… well he starts to, until he catches her expression and the subject matter being discussed is overheard. A frown touches his bearded face and Darros moves to sit on his lonesome at an empty table.

“Such a feeling?” Ahnika prompts gently, looking a mixture of compassion and eagerness to hear Neni’s take on the touching of the eggs. She lapses quiet as the other girl continues, sipping her klah, and then offers, “The way it’s been explained to me, it’s less a matter of pure luck or fate or whatever, and more what the dragonet feels they like or need in a lifemate,” there’s a little unconscious emphasis on the word ‘need’, “and that’s why they sometimes goes for a second choice if their first choice isn’t around.” And then Ahni shrugs, saying, “But who knows, really. I think dwelling on what might have been is a waste of time.” Physician, heal thyself! “We should be focusing on the security of the weyr, the eggs, the people in it, first, and then look for the people responsible, and then worry about how to make things better so it can’t happen again.” She punctuates this with a nod. Practical, Ahni. And that’s when she notices Darros’ wave and smile to Neni and Ahni says, “Friend of yours?” as he sits elsewhere.

Nenienne struggles with herself for a few minutes before noting, "It's not the same for everyone. One of the eggs I touched was so wonderful, but it horrible for Uveline. But that one… I felt like there was something there which had complete faith in everything — me, the world. I could almost hear bells ringing." Her musing turns to raw anger as she says "Ironic that something so trusting died at the hands of treachery." She finally notices Darros and gives him a distracted wave.

A bit of the sternness in Ahnika gives way after hearing Neni talk about that egg and her heart goes out to the girl. She reaches across the table a moment, trying to take Neni’s hand if she allows it and says softly, “I’m sorry, Neni, that can’t be easy … to deal with.” She lets that sit a moment in appropriate quiet before Neni’s wave to Darros captures Ahni’s attention and she exhales softly, “I have to go take care of something I promised for the Headwoman now that my candidate chorework is done. You going to be okay?” There’s a meaningful glance for the young man who waved at Neni, with Ahni reluctant to leave Neni in any position to have to fend off unwanted advances.

No worries about that, Darros is sitting off on his own and simply eating what cold food he can and drinking down some barely warm klah. He isn't watching the pair nor is he giving any indication of an intent to intrude at all. In fact, the young man finishes his meal in rapid order and then stands up to start heading down towards the western halls, muttering something about needing another bath.

Nenienne shakes her head, though her eyes are misty. "I'm fine," she croaks, then lapses back into silence. After Darros leaves she looks around at the empty room and says "I need to get back to the barracks and try to sleep, myself."

“Alright,” Ahni says, finishing her mug of klah and only just now noticing Darros left, “but if you have trouble sleeping, you should go to the Infirmary. They’ll have something that can help.” She stands up, “And I’ll check in on you later, when I get back from my errand.” She moves off then to put the mug in the dirty dish bin, and with another concerned look at Neni, she heads out.

Closing Credits Theme Music: The Strange Familiar - "Courage Is"

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