Rumors of My Death Are...

Xanadu Weyr - Resident Dorm
This is a broad hall, lengthy and spacious. Many doors lead to the private quarters of various residents and each has a name plate, board or card set on them. Two big sets of double doors lead to the dormitories with cubicles for residents who do not need rooms and a door at the far end leads into a bright, spacious nursery where the Weyr's small children can be left safely while their parents go about their work. Set between doors is an assortment of chairs and benches, some comfortable and other not.
Lights are spaced between the large windows, for illumination no matter what the weather outdoors, each of the glass-paned structures having large, heavy drapes which can be pulled over to keep the warmth in during the winter.

"…no," Soriana says for the eighty-fifth time to the little girl who's staring at her expectantly. "A dragon wouldn't fit in here." She's standing in the residence hall, in one of the little lounges. Because someone said that he'd meet her here, and someone isn't here yet. Apparently, when T'bor said he had to talk to someone first, he meant a prolonged sort of conversation, not just a quick chat. The little girl continues to stare up at the Weyrwoman. "But won't she die?" Soriana blinks. Twice. "What?" she asks, and is answered, "My brother says dragons hafta stay with humans. Or else they die."

It probably isn't good practice to keep a Weyrwoman waiting, buuuut, T'bor had just one more quick thing to tend to. Too bad it involved him talking, because it's usually hit or miss with him and conversations. Usually? Misses. But working with Comet has helped him a little with his social awkwardness (emphasis on a little), though he could still work a little on his punctuality. Case in point: Now! He's late. And so he's hurrying to get to where he needs to be, spotting Soriana and a child. Good! At least he's not lost. Being late is one thing. Being late and lost is adifferent sort of problem. He huries up to the two of them, blinking at the tail end of what the little girl says. Did someone say die? "Who died? Ah, darnit, will there be a ceremony? Notices of death are the worst to deliver. The tears and wailing. I never know what to do."

Probably not, but Soriana's been waiting for minutes already. What's another round of moments (and questions)? "That's…" she begins to the child, then looks up at T'bor. "There you-" Soriana blinks. "Nobody's died." …sniffle. Sniff. That's the little girl, with wide eyes. "I din' mean…" Now what have you done, T'bor? Soriana pats the girl awkwardly on the head. "Nobody's died." SNIIIIFF. "I dun want her to be deaaaad!" …what. Soriana tries again, louder. "Nobody's died." Honest. She's telling the truth here! …but the little girl looks about ten seconds (that's three questions worth) from a full-scale meltdown.

Nobody's died? Oh well that's a relief! No deliveries and tears and.. wait. It looks like there might still be tears. T'bor looks down at that little girl who seems adamant that someone is dying. Someone is about to die. Someone who she doesn't want to be dead! …. Oh. She must be speaking of a family member! The poor tyke. He clicks his tongue and goes down on one knee, placing a consoling hand on the girl's shoulder. Don't worry Weyrwoman. He's got this. "Look here, girl. Death is a part of life. Life ends with death, always. Could you imagine how it would be if people weren't to die anymore? We'd age and age and age, and we'd get weaker and stooped. Our muscles would deteriorate and our skin would sag. Our vision would go and our hair and teeth would fall out. We'd barely be able to get around or see or enjoy life. Not to mention how crowded the world would be. So. Now do you understand why things must die? Why she will eventually die?" Whoever 'she' is. He has no clue. (in general)

There'll be no swathes of black fabric for mourning-clothes and veils and curtains. No flowers dipped in ink (or however it is that they get those subdued blooms, and the pale lilies that contrast with them so). No… sniff. No happy times, because apparently, life is death. Death, death, the inevitable grim reaper waiting for everyone. The little girl's eyes grow wider and wider with every word. Sagging aging lumps of dead flesh. Dead bodies walking, every one of them! Just lurching around waiting for death. And she'll die to. And, and… the little girl stares, thoughts of death dancing behind her eyes. The grim fandango! The danse macabre! The- "Waaaaaaaah!" She's apparently not yet rotten and still able to get around just fine, because she lurches past T'bor and flings herself at Soriana, clinging to the Weyrwoman with both arms and blubbering against her legs. Soriana… stares at T'bor. Right lecture, wrong time? "F…aranth." Sori's giving T'bor the 'what did you say?' look, even though she knows perfectly well what he said, because she was here.

Hm. Maybe she doesn't understand why things must die. T'bor probably should explain it in greater detail. That will definitely make the tears stop! Because nothing cheers a child up like the knowledge that she and everyone that she loves will be dead some day. He stands again, brushing off his knee, and turns sad eyes towards the little girl. "You don't und-.." he begins, but then he stops himself. Hm. Why is she clinging to Soriana so tightly? Why is she crying against her so dramatically? So heartbrokenly? So… He blinks, eyes wide as they flick from wailing girl to incredulously staring woman. "It's you?" .. Wait, what? At his sides, his hands clench into slow fists. It makes sense! Her adamant cries that no one is dead. She's right. She's not dead….yet. But she's dying! And she's putting on a brave face now to keep heartache down to a minimum, he's sure! "Soriana … Oh, Weyrwoman," he says, face looking pained. "Does anyone else know?"

Maybe next, T'bor should talk about the various ways people die, because knowing all the ways she could kick the bucket while walking across the Weyr is sure to comfort the little girl rather than making her hide underneath her bed and not come out for weeks. Oh! And he can explain how all these weeping and wailing won't bring them back. And that they rot underground and… "What?" Soriana voices that aloud as T'bor leaps to the obvious (to him) conclusion. What… is he saying? What… is wrong with him? (…what… is wrong with her? Since she's dying and all, and has chosen to reveal this to a small child who… she can't even name, but who's continuing to wail. It's probably consumption. Or diptheria. Can you even die of that? Or it might be spotted dragon-fever.) "There's nothing to know." The wtf look is shading into a glare. "I'm not dying." To which the little girl chimes in with, "You are sooo! Ev'r'body is!" Aww. She was listening! And now she's crying.

What a trio they make! A sobbing little girl, bewildered Weyrwoman, and dumbstruck rider who may be on the verge of tears himself. Their Weyrwoman is secretly dying! How could this be? He went through Weyrlinghood with her. As common as death may be (or as common as he tried making it seem) he's actually never known anyone who died before. And why her? She's always been so nice to him! And…and…and she's not dying? Blink Blink? "Bu-" he begins but is cut off by little wailing girl. Oh, hooray! She did learn something. The first step towards death is being born! And thus, every living being is dying.. But Sori isn't immediately dying! Or so she says. He still looks skeptical. Is she merely saying that so he won't worry? Or maybe it's for the child's sake. Or maybe, just maybe, she actually is perfectly fine! "Little girl, it's alright. Our Weyrwoman is strong. Everyone has a time to die, and hers is a long way off. This was a false alarm! Everything is okay and fine." See? He's smiling! An extra toothy sort of grin.

If only there were someone here who had any sharding clue what they were doing! But… no. Not so much. Soriana gives that little girl a 'really?' look. Of all the times to listen! She couldn't have listened before, when Soriana was trying to explain things. Oh no. She had to listen to the depressive doomful gloom of T'bor. Who - let's be clear - really should know better, and so it's not long before Soriana transfers that look to him. Not dying. Would a dying woman have a glare like this? …probably. But would she be using it like this? …maybe. Soriana doesn't know, on account of she's NOT DYING. …except insofar as everyone is all the time, thank you ray-of-sunshine-T'bor. "Yes," Soriana agrees. "A false alarm." The death alarm! The deadly knell of… and this is the moment when Toral pops in from between, with a mournful keen as he glides for Soriana's shoulder. "We-" Soriana stops. Mid-sentence, or maybe mid-word. She looks at Toral. Like, really looks at him. That's not a very happy sound he's making. If he were a dragon… but he's not. They're not. No dragons are dying either, but there's Toral, with that keen, and there's Soriana, with a distant expression that's starting to gain clarity and look distinctly not-fine. "…shit." The little girl's calmed down enough that she looks up with wide eyes at the swear. Soriana doesn't notice.

T'bor certainly does know better! His mouth merely gets in the way sometimes. And the words he says sometimes are the cause for awkward situations or awkward silences. But crying definitely is not silent. And now he's not so sure just how to get her to stop. "Um…" He rubs his palms together slowly, trying to think of a way out of this. She's learned about death (a good thing!) and the inevitableness of it. She also now knows that people don't randomly die. They go when they're supposed to go! So maybe he should convince her that unless she sees signs of death she needn't worry about it? Great idea! Let's make her even more paranoid and believe that every shadow or fluttering black avian she sees is the sign that a life will soon be over. Luckily for everyone, Toral makes his appearance. But perhaps it isn't lucky at all, considering the sound he's making. It's enough to cause T'bor to pause and frown, and the look on Soriana's face plus the expletive are more blatant clues that things are most assuredly not fine. He steps forward, though it's for the small girl that he reaches, clamping a hand on her shoulder. "It's time for you to find your mother or fosters, little girl. Ask them to sing you a song about life." He smiles slightly at her, but when his eyes return to Soriana, there's a concerned look to them. "Everything alright?"

Lucky for… well, T'bor… Toral's a distraction. Probably lucky for the little girl, too. She got to learn a new word! And not get a list of death-omens to see in every shadow. For Soriana? Well. She doesn't start bawling like the little girl, but that might have something to do with the fact that her hands have curled in on themselves enough to make the nails dig into her palms. "What?" she says to T'bor, in the too-cheerful voice, as Toral coils himself to her shoulder and nuzzles, keening, into her hair. Not that Soriana didn't hear T'bor the first time, it's just… she's sort of stuck on what. But no, no, there's… "Nothing to worry about." For him. Or for the kid, who's confused enough by the change in Soriana's demeanor that she lets herself be pulled away. For Soriana, well. "I'll… we can reschedule." She's gonna pull rank on that one and say that they totally can, and she flashes a very fast smile before her face goes back to nope-not-upset. "I've just got to… see something. Just… to check on…" Not that anything's wrong. She's just rescheduling, for no reason, as Toral keens firelizard sad. "…bye." And she shuffles off this hallway. Except she's moving a lot more briskly than a shuffle, and as she leaves the caverns, she eases into a near-jog as she heads for home.

Nothing to worry about? Toral's actions say otherwise, but T'bor doesn't question. If it was some big dire thing, his own dragon would be keeling in his mind, as would dragons everywhere. And firelizards? They're so … sometimeish. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they do things for random and unknown reasons. Still though, T'bor looks unconvinced that everything is as a-okay as she's making them sound, but it isn't his place to question. To rescheduling, he nods and salutes. "I'll send notices," to whoever needs to be notified of this sudden change in plans. He straightens and salutes her swiftly, but his hand lowers down slowly as he watches her hurry off. Inhale. Exhaled sigh. The little girl is looked at again, having not exactly skittered off to find her guardians as instructed just yet. Silent. Staring. "Well. See you." With that, he turns from her and begins to stride off too, glancing in the direction in which Soriana departed in after a few steps, brows vaguely furrowed.

Continued in Far Too Quiet

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