Bully For You

Xanadu Weyr - Observation Level

Dark blue seats form a semi-circle around the sands below, the lowest row separating from the sands themselves by merely a railing. The seats climb upwards, each row a bit higher then the previous, and they are broken up into sections by 3 sets of staircases. Lights are evenly spaced along the outer wall, lighting the seats and the sands easily, though they tend to be dimmed unless a major event is taking place. A large balcony looms overhead, darkening some of the seats, providing a place for observers of the draconic kind to watch without obstructing the view for others.

When one looks over the railing, the oddly hued sand below can be seen easily, the circle-shaped area of the sands spread out to the far walls, the sand itself a unique mixture of red and white grains.

The eggs grow harder and Seryth less broody as they do, although she still wants her rider near for the better part of the day. And so it is that Thea has been with her all morning, scritching and oiling carefully avoiding spilling on the sand by using an economy of oil and a sponge rather than a drippy paddle. Replete with the attention, the gold drowses and her rider has retreated to the cooler observation level with some paperwork where the young queen can still see her should she awake. It's nearly lunchtime, but the junior makes no move to leave; deep into her task, she's apparently forgotten the time.

While not particularly his chore for the day, when one of the kitchen staff asked for a Candidate to bring lunch to the weyrwoman, Natishen leapt at the chance. He scurries into the observation level, balancing a tray filled with light finger-foods and a mug of juice. "Miss Thea?" he calls softly, eyes flickering over the few heads watching the Sands before he picks her out. "I brought you lunch."

Mutter, mutter, "Oh if they think for -one moment- I'm approving that-" Thea's pencil is hovering over a requisition of some sort when Natishen's voice draws her eyes from the task at hand and she brightens. "Did you now?" She leans back into the seat she's occupying, eyes flick between the tray and the bearer appreciatively before a hasty 'declined' is scribbled on the paper and it is set aside. Her smile of welcome is warm, "And what did you manage to wangle out of them?"

"Some meatrolls, some fruits - they say y' wanna stay hydrated out here, so they sent juicy ones. And some juice, too." Natishen places the tray on a nearby seat and offers her a hesitant smile. "I made sure what you got was fresh. Uhm." He hesitates, glancing bewteen her and the Sands, clearly anxious about something. Finally: "Miss Thea," he bursts out, "I got trouble. Bad trouble."

Pleased, "Ooh, thanks Natishen!" Thea lifts the tray, sets it on her lap and pats the seat next to her. "True, hydrated is the way to go," her head bobs an affirmative to that sentiment and she follows that up by lifting the mug, silently saluting the lad and taking a long draught. "It's nice and fresh, yes." Puzzled by that hesitation of his, she waits, then frowns, "Trouble?" Perhaps sharper than she'd meant to say it, she softens her tone, "What sort of trouble?"

Natishen hesitates again, shifting anxiously as he swings around to fully face the eggs, studying the clutch. "I didn't want t' tell you. But Satoris - he says I gotta, that it's not right." He turns slightly, studying Thea's face out of the corner of his eye. "There's… some boys… Candidates. They're…" He falls silent, struggling with his words, and himself, to complete his answer.

"Satoris told you to tell me?" One brow lifts, clearly puzzled by this. Watching the boy with a gentle concern while the mug she's holding is lowered and set on her tray, she leans forward so she can see his face better, "You can tell me anything, Natishen." She waits patiently for a time before an encouraging, "They're boys and they're doing…?"

"Bullying." The word is whispered, and shame washes across Natishen's face as he rubs at his shoulder. "They bully me, and some o' the younger candidates and the weyrbrats. They always have," he adds, looking away from her. "But even after they were Searched… they hit, sometimes. They'll trip us. Sometimes they'll make us do their chores. Clean up after them. They made one o' the other Candidates look out while- while they did some mischief. I dunno what," he insists. "Wasn't me an' I wasn't involved."

Thea listens in silence, remaining relaxed even when the word 'bullying' is spoken. She hmms in her throat now and then, nodding as Natishen fills her in and she's not looking at all surprised. "We get some of those every Search," she murmurs. "Of course it always happens when the AWLMs are not in the barracks, doesn't it?" Quiet and sympathetic, she's keeping a lid on it for his sake. "Have any of the other Candidates stood up for you all?"

Natishen sniffs. "Naturally," he replies, with a surprising amount of bitterness. "If the Weyrlingmasters are around, they're all sunshine and puppies." An interesting metaphor, though not likely one of his own choosing. "Satoris offered - I'm not even sure the others noticed, but he, well. He kinda found out. But that'd just get them in trouble. Can't fight, y'know," he adds, with considerable irony. "And Satoris don't need trouble, he's gotta be down there so his dragon can find him." He gestures to the Sands and the clutch below.

Thoughtfully, "Picking fights and sticking up for yourself are two different things." Thea's still mulling things over even as she's nodding about Satoris. "All he'd have to do is growl at them - he's good at that." A small grin of amusement at the miner's expense accompanies that remark. She picks up a meatroll asking just before she takes a bite, "What happens when you resist them?"

"They hit," Nash replies, finally wandering over and settling down. He pulls his legs up to the edge of the seat and wraps his arms around them, chin resting on his knees as he stares at her with wide green eyes. "Pinch sometimes. Or they wait, and get you back when you least expect it. They tripped me th' other day, while I was serving. Made me spill several dishes of food." The embarassment and shame of the memory sends color flooding into his cheeks. "Miss Thea, I don't wanna be trouble. I don't wanna cause trouble."

Chewing, swallowing and finally managing, "You're not being or causing trouble," Thea replies staunchly. "They are!" The meatroll is lowered back to the plate and she takes the napkin, wipes her fingers, using the time to think. "You know, when people do something like this to others, it's usually to cover up some sort of insecurity in their own life." She tilts her head, to meet his wide eyes, "If you are afraid, it gives them some sort of power over you. The trick is to resist them."

"Oh, but I am," Nash replies miserably. "When they find out I told, it'll just get worse." He falls silent for a long moment, his emerald gaze tracking away from the weyrwoman out to the Sands, to the clutch below. "I'd be stupid not t' be afraid of them. Look at me." He jerks his chin at his chest, indicating his gawky form, where only hints of the muscle of adulthood have begun to form beneath the sparse flesh. "You know them," he adds flatly. "Dorovan and his two friends. They're big." Thick and meaty - like any good bully stock.

Thea holds up a forefinger, the ice green flashes in her eyes, determined to get her point across, "One, you're not -causing- trouble. Two-" and she smiles reassuringly, "They'd have to find out you told. Who's gonna tell them? I'm not!" She picks up her mug and sips, clears her throat and amends, "Being afraid is understandable, yeah. Letting it control you, though, is not." Regretfully, "Sometimes you have to endure hard things to gain freedom."

Natishen , does not, oddly, quail from Thea's sternness. He meets her icy gaze full on, his own green eyes wide but unafraid. "They'll know someone told if they get in trouble," he points out logically. "They won't care who it is, they'll just ramp it up." He sighs softly. "Meh. What would you suggest I do, Miss Thea? Hit back?"

Satoris is on break from his serving duties. Maybe he's just too efficient, or maybe there just wasn't as much to be done as usual. He's found himself in the kitchens quite a bit lately. So much food! Taking his own meal to a quieter locale, Sat mounts the steps two at a time and crests the top easily, blinking briefly to find the observation seats already occupied, even if only by two people. He settles somewhere nearby; not close enough to be imposing, but not so far as to appear avoidant. Once settled in, the miner-turned-candidate begins to eat.

"Who said anything about them getting into trouble?" Thea lowers the mug but doesn't set it down, rather she holds it with both hands and give the matter some thought. "No-" she starts to say but then Satoris passes and her eyes follow the miner until he sits, although she doesn't say a word to him, it's entirely possible that he can feel her eyes boring into the back of his head. Oh yes, avoidance clearly noted, she, for the time being allows him his facade of peace. "Natishen." The weyrwoman says crisply, returning her attention to the boy, "I'm suggesting you resist. There are other ways to do that than hitting them."

Natishen is starting to look a little frustrated. As Satoris enters, he perks a little, though all he does is offer a slight gesture to the older Candidate, halfway between a "hello" and a "come here". "Like what, Miss Thea?" he asks, laying his cheek on his knee as he looks at her. "Maybe I'm just stupid, but I dunno what yer gettin' at. What else can I do other'n say no, which gets me popped, or hit 'em back, which'll prolly make 'em laugh at the attempt - then pop me anyway?"

Satoris glances over to Natishen, then Thea. He draws to his feet and stretches briefly before picking up his food and approaching nearer. A glance to the younger candidate, thoughtful. "It got worse?" He lowers himself into a seat nearer to them and goes back to eating. Nom nom nom.

"You're not stupid," Thea assures Natishen with a sympathetic look for that frustration on the boy's face. "Don't say no and don't hit back." She lowers her mug to her lap, peering at the liquid thoughtfully. "You can seem like you're trying very hard to do what they want, just… do it wrong. Do it verrrrrry sloooooowly. They'll get frustrated and give up." She tilts him a twinkling look, "Outsmart them, I'll bet you can." Satoris gets a narrowed look when he speaks, "What exactly has been going on, Satoris?"

Natishen frowns over Thea's words, clearly picking them apart. "I could try, I suppose," he finally agrees, dubiously. Clearly, he doesn't think much of his own intelligence - or perhaps, of his acting ability. When Thea turns her gaze on Satoris, however, he winces and shoots the other Candidate an apologetic look, though he doesn't dare speak outloud. Coward.

An eyebrow rises as Thea's accusatory glaze falls to him and Satoris settles into a seat near the other two, clearing his throat slightly. "Natishen is being bullied," he states simply. "I do not know the exact nature of the situation, nor precisely who the aggressors are." A pause and he looks briefly to Natishen, then back to Thea. "I picked up on it when I encountered him one evening in the barracks with a bruise on his eye and have been attempting to offer what advice I can without making the issue worse." A slight shrug and he leans back a little, glancing sidelong at Nat once more. "I did, mind you, offer to teach him some basics of self-defense, but I don't feel that was out of line. Everyone ought to be able to defend themselves."

Thea nods in agreement with Satoris, "Absolutely everyone should!" She sighs, sliding a look over at Natishen. "I don't know what to tell you other than to try and fool them. If you fight back you're gonna get beat up. If you give me names, they're gonna know." She picks up a meatroll, plays with it, "I'll be happy to speak to the AWLMs that are supervising you lot, but I don't know if that will help." She considers, then adds, "Or you can try to group together and try to outnumber the bullies. Passive resistance, so-to-speak."

"Maybe I'll take you up on that," Natishen mutters to Satoris, ears turning slightly red. "I guess I can try that, Miss Thea. I'm sure we'll find some way to work it all out." It's clear by this point that he very much regrets taking Satoris' advice and approaching the weyrwoman about the problem - but what's done is done, and he is, at least listening to and considering Thea's words.

Thea eyes the silent miner before turning her attention back to Natishen. Earnestly, "I promise I won't say anything unless you want me to." Hoping to reassure the boy, she asks, "Did you have anything in mind you preferred me to do?" Floundering just a bit here, she strives for lightness, obviously joking, "Beat someone up? Bribe them?" A bit of a wicked smirk forms on her lips, "Clean my crossbow in front of?" Surely he's heard the rumors about a certain brownrider and her crossbow cleaning.

"I don't know." Natishen just sounds weary now, as he rests his chin on his knees and stares at Thea dully. "I don't think I expected you to do anything. I guess I just needed to tell you - tell someone. I just can't help but keep asking myself - What would D'had do? I don't even know why, it just feels like the right thing to wonder."

Her smile fades and Thea bends to make better eye contact with Natishen, her expression utterly serious, "Well, you know, I ask myself that a lot too. He doesn't use a lot of words, but he's got a good common sense." She hesitates, then offers, "Why don't we go ask him?" She doesn't look at Seryth, but she surely must have asked the sleepy queen to ask Siebith where the Weyrsecond is, for she adds brightly, "Let's bring him some lunch!"

Natishen hesitates again, though this time for a different reason. Clearly, the good opinion of the goldrider is important, but the idea of telling the Werysecond of his problem… Swallowing, he studies Thea's face for a long moment, then nods slowly. "Okay. Hopefully - " He stops there, unwilling to voice the rest of the thought. But the trepadation on his face says it all - hopefully D'had won't scoff at him. Too much.

Satoris glances between the two before getting to his feet. "If you want self-defense lessons, let me know. We can always set it up as a group project or something, to keep them from knowing what's going on." He studies Natishen for a moment as he gathers up his lunch; likely to eat it on his way back to his chores. "Anything else I can do, also, just tell me."

Thea sets her mug on the tray, giving the miner-candidate a little grin as she does so, "You can glower and growl better than anyone I know," she says lightly. What a compliment, hmm? "Maybe more of that?" She rises, tilting her head at Natishen, "Come on, Seryth says he's alone in the office. All the others are at lunch." There's a conspiratorial twinkle in her eyes, "He'll welcome an interruption, trust me. Paperwork is not his thing." And since she's got that tray in her hands, she doesn't take the boy's hand, clearly expecting him to follow, she starts down the stairs, talking cheerfully as she goes, "We'll get him something special, shall we?"

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