Warning! Strong language - adult content
Xanadu Weyr - Holding Cell
Out near the stables, far enough away that the smell isn’t too bad except when the wind is in just the wrong direction, there’s a small stone hut with iron bars over the single window. The door is oak with iron braces, locked and bolted from the outside. If it weren’t for the locks and bars, it might pass for a garden shack, but the only rakes here are ones who drank too much and have been thrown into the holding cell to sleep it off. It’s often unoccupied, though kept in good repair in case of miscreants.
Inside, there’s a hard cot and a chamberpot; the essentials of at least somewhat civilized life, if not comfort. This - unlike the stable - is for holding people, not animals.
Cyrus had been taken from Kiena's office directly to this cell. He had never really paid much attention to it before, but now he is paying a great deal of attention to it. The guards had been officious and not rough. He hadn't struggled. Once he was left in the cell he just looked around. He's certainly roomed in worse places over the years. It isn't remarkably different in size from the room that was his as a child. Part of that is comforting. He can keep the world at arms length in here, but part of it is terrifying. It took him awhile to calm down and he went over the interaction with Kiena over and over again in his mind in some sort of grim playback experience. Though for now he just sits and waits on the cot. Not much else he can do. He has no books, no paper, and no one has come to see him. He doesn't think anyone will come. He wasn't well liked and he has no illusions about that. He does hope Kera comes. That is the oen person he really wants to see and the thought terrifies him. What if they don't let her come? That would kill him.
The headwoman's day has been a busy one - early morning with the making of klah and overseeing the breakfast scramble in the caverns, then to her office where she'd checked her schedule and made out the duty roster for the assistant headwomen, met with them, dispersed them to their tasks and then she'd been off to do her own duties, one of which dorm inspections in the residents and crafters quarters. Somehow one of the rooms got a more thorough check for reports of splintering wood and thumps have landed on her desk. The room… is passed, but with a notation about some chips and cracks in the wardrobe, a few deep scratches in a bookcase. That'll be entered into a damages report for the steward and left in his inbox later. At any rate, she'd been away from the administration hall when Cyrus and Kiena had their little meeting, missed the shouting, the guards and the arrest. She has no idea who's in the cell that claims an occupant, she only knows dinner is over and she can now take the first meal - and other items an inmate will need for inhabiting the comfortless place. And so it is that she slings the straps of two jugs over one shoulder, takes the armful of things in the other, a basket looped over one of those arms and strides out to the stables to get the chore over with. There's a guard posted, but he's standing off a ways; they nod to each other in passing and then Darsce, approaches the cell, and calls, "Yo. Eats are here!"
Cyrus has never been arrested before…obviously…and so how it works in the jail is all a mystery to him. He figure that they wouldn't let him starve, but he hasn't seen anyone to ask and if he did he doesn't know if he wants to know. He does recognize the voice though. Oh no. It's Darsce. That isn't the last person he would want to see, but she wouldn't make it onto any of his top 10 lists either. He rises up off of his cot and moves to the door of the cell and looks out through the bars, "Thank you." he says. No sense in not being polite.
Darsce wouldn't be privy to Cyrus' rap sheet - even if he had one - but the voice, she recognizes and so squints into the dimness to see who- Ah. He's moving her way and as he comes into the light she stares, blinks and stares some more. "Suuuuure," she says uncertainly because she's actually too surprised to do anything but respond automatically. And then rather than begin unloading the things she's brought, she simply stands there looking at him, then flicks a look towards the guard over yonder (that guard by the way, is strolling further off, likely assuming he can stretch his legs while the headwoman is there). Back to Cyrus with another long look. Silence. Then finally a brow lifts quizzically, and she drawls, "Is this…some kind of…mindhealer experiment you're conducting Cyrus? To… better get inside the criminal mind?" She may sound flippant, but she's genuinely dumbfounded to see him in that cell and really wants to know.
Cyrus never would have thought in a million years that this would have happened. He might not always be the nicest person but he isn't a criminal. And if you asked him he would still say that. From his perspective he was about as kind as he could stomach. He doesn't believe that he should be here but that is neither here nor there at the moment, "Afraid not. Actually here. Have been for a few hours now." he says softly. If only it were an experiment. He would be so much happier, "I'd offer to help you bring those in, but…" he taps the bars of the cell, "…I am detained. Slightly."
Darsce might have! But that'd just be her being cynical and unkind. Right now, she's…being professional because she is, after all, here as part of her headwomanly chores. "Oh!" The food, right! She yanks her attention back to dispensing that first. She hasn't the key to open that barred door - and likely wouldn't use it if she did. Not that Cyrus would make a jailbreak or grab her, but the headwoman is aware some types might. There's a six inch slot though, for just this thing. "Here." The folded linens get passed to him first. They're nothing special - a rough, homespun, unbleached muslin, maybe a touch scratchy, but clean. There's no pillow, but there's a towel and washcloth that he can hang on the nail beside the water bucket and cake of soap left in the corner if he pleases. She'll wait until he's got those situated to give him the food. "So… what'd they arrest you for…?" She's still nonplussed.
Cyrus has no intention of escaping. If they had left the door open he wouldn't have left. He certainly wouldn't hurt Darsce. She's not exactly a friend, but she's never given him reasons to want to see her hurt. In fact there are several occasions where he has helped her heal from various things. He politely takes the food and the linens. He isn't really interested in comfort right now. Whatever is fine. He smiles politely and nods, "Thanks. I do appreciate it." As for her last question it's bound to be around the weyr already. Gossip travels so fast and he hopes that they are being truthful, "I confronted Kiena. She didn't really like what I had to say." Is the shortest way he can describe the chain of events that got him here. He takes the linens and food and places them on the cot before returning to the bars of the cell, "I hope it wasn't too inconvient for you to bring those things. I know you are busy."
Truthful? By whose standards? Surely not the martyr's behind the bars. Because see, Darsce hasn't heard the gossip, if indeed there was anyone taking note of his escort cross-weyr to this cell. Does anyone out there even know who Cyrus is given he never leaves the infirmary? There's a little snort of disbelief, one of the corners of her lips curls in skepticism for his answer, "Really?" She's not buying it. Becaaaause those bars. They do not lie. She passes the two small jugs through that slot - one is drinking water, the other is a tepid pea soup. No spoon, because prisoners aren't allowed utensils they could try to pick locks with. He'll have to pour that into his tin mug to sip. "No problem," she says absently polite because, well, it's her job! Besides, she's still trying to understand. "What'd you say that got you arrested and not just…punched instead?" She knows a thing or two, living in Xanadu Weyr and petty injustice isn't practiced by the leadership. Even if they did make her headwoman.
Cyrus takes the soup and the water. He lowers them down and places them gently on the ground for now. He would rather not talk about it. Not because he is sorry he did it. He is not. It's just a 'difficult' topic to talk about. He had a hard enough time talking about it with Kera. He licks his lips and sighs. Darsce might understand. She isn't a rider and she's married. And he knows for a fact their relationship, while he doesn't understand it, is solid. "Ummm…" he starts, "You've met Kera right? She's my apprentice and she's my friend." He is proud that he has a friend, "And I…" he pauses again, "…I…Moncerath had a flight and Kiena won. Kera and I talked and she said she didn't want it. I could see she was hurt. I had to protect her honor and her. I went to Kiena and told her to stay away and she….things got a bit heated. She says I threatened her, but I told her flat out I wasn't going to hurt her." Cyrus in all the time he has been here has probably never been what anyone could call emotional, unless that emotion was mild irritation. But this is real. This is the man underneath all that, "Darsce. Kera is the only person in the world that I give a damn about."
Kera? Darsce blinks. "Whut?” Now he's throwing questions at her out of left field? But Cyrus continues on and Darsce actually listens, tilting her head as she tries to comprehend. She nods a few times - flights, yeah, Kera, well she rides a green, so yeah. Flight again, uh huh, she copies. Ohhh Kiena's Ujinath won! Comprehension for his incarceration dawns in iceblue eyes and she bites back a grin. Ohhh Cyrus! She can't help it - there's a splutter of bright laughter at 'protecting her honor.' The fingertips of her free hand lift, pressing glossed lips to stifle that, the gesture meant to convey 'sorry - don't mind her - please do continue!' Which the mindhealer does and when he's finished the headwoman is silent for all of ten seconds. Then she drawls rich sarcasm, "You…. doodled during the Understanding Dragonriders 101 Class at the Healer Hall, didn't you, Cyrus?” Then with a smirk, “And I'll betcha probably slept through the Weyr Ethics one." She's still holding the basket, so she reaches inside to take out a cloth-wrapped demi-loaf, the bread (sorry - it’s stale) is passed to Cyrus through the slot. The basket is then set down on the ground at her feet so she can free both hands to tick off points on her fingers, "First, you don't tell a weyrsecond to do anything, second, Kiena can no more avoid a wingrider than you can making an ass of yourself, third, of course Kera didn't want it, you bozo, Moncerath did." A twist of distaste - not for Cyrus, but for the topic of flights - replaces her smirk briefly, but oh then her big shit-eating grin is back, "You're a sorry excuse for a mindhealer, Cyrus, you know that?" Blunt honesty, but it's said with what might almost be a fond ‘you’re hopeless,’ for at the same time her hand reaches through the slot to patpat his arm in genuine sympathy.. "Kera's probably fine, but I can see you aren't. You want to talk about it?" He can pretend that hard cot is a couch while she listens and takes notes?
Cyrus isn't stupid, nor is he crazy. Just because something has been /this way/ for ages doesn't mean it has to stay that way. He is well aware he is in the minority opinion. He hasn't exactly been shy about his thoughts, but neither has he been extremely forceful with them, until now. And only then it was because it hit so close to home. He isn't hurt by what Darsce says. There has already been so much pain that there just isn't room for that much more. He takest he bread from her politely, "I'm well aware of 'how things work.'" he responds with a sigh, "But just because thats the way its been doesn't mean it always has to be that way in the future. And just because 'everybody does it' doesn't mean I have to give it my stamp of approval." he adds. He can tell that Darsce, in her own Darsce way, is trying to be helpful and since she is here and honestly no one else will probably come he might as well talk to her, "I am generally unlikeable." he affirms. He knows this and has for years, "But I am not terrible at my job." Not that it really matters anymore, "Darsce. I'm pretty sure I'm doomed, and I'm scared."
At this point both of those assumptions are debatable - at least as far as Darsce - and perhaps the weyrsecond are concerned. He is after all, locked up for a reason. He's not here because he has an opinion, wake up and smell the roses Cyrus! EVERYone around here has those and some, like the woman who brought his dinner, do not exactly mince words. And while Darsce is often (okay usually) acerbic, sarcastic and brutally blunt, she's not cruel. She's really not here to taunt Cyrus but oh, she might actually come close without…planning to. She can see he's upset, so she's listening. And oh, he says he knows how things work and though there's a puzzled tilt of her blonde head, she doesn't interrupt. He finishes. Whut? Doomed? She rolls her eyes and snorts, "It's not like they're going to hang you at dawn, Cyrus." Then she sighs - this… is going to take awhile; she might as well sit down. The guard's chair, well it's a stump really, is there right outside the cell door, so Darsce tips it on its side, rolls it over in front of the bars that separate them and plops her bottom down upon it. He knows how things work does he? This requires clarification, "I assume you mean flights, not how to respect weyr authority because you do know if you spoke to one of your masters like that they'd remove your knot and kick you out of the healercraft so fast and hard your nose would bleed, right?" Her brows lift, twitch a bit in silent query. They're on the same page? "So… Kera. You said she's the only person you care about." Then more gently, "Are you… in love with her? Is that why you're scared?"
Cyrus sits himself on the floor leaning against the bars. He is aware that they won't kill him, its not like he murdered anyone. Though there are other consequences that could be just as bad, at least for him, "Yes. I am." he states simply, "Before you start to try to ring wedding bells it isn't like that. I don't love her that way, but I do love her all the same. I can't really explain it yet." Being connected to other people is something that is new to Cyrus. He never really cared about that sort of thing before, "I just know how I feel, and its all so new. Darsce, I've never given a second thought to other people. I was always too busy. I had to study. I had to work to get to where I am. It wasn't just given too me. And now…its all different." It genuinely confuses him. And he knows what she said is true, but in this case he had to try…he had too. It's what a man is supposed to do for a woman thats close to him. Regardless of the cost.
With very dry sarcasm, "Well then. I'll cancel my plans to take Kera ring-shopping in Ierne, shall I?" Darsce just looks askance at him when he says he can't explain it. "So, like, you love her, but you don't think she's hot?" She'll just ignore the bit he tells her about never having cared about or understood other people. Nevermind he's a mindhealer and he's supposed to have been good at that, nay, claims to be good at it. She's going to choke down her awareness that his profession is helping others with their relationships, and the fact that the Healer Hall let him escape with a journeyman's knot despite his social…inadequacy. She quivers for a second, lips pressed between teeth to keep from snickering in his face. "So, she's… like your kid sis?" She can understand this whole mess if that's so. Going back to his earlier comment about 'everyone does it' and 'always been done', this time genuinely trying to understand, "So lemme guess. You hate it that Moncerath rose to mate and Kera wound up having sex with someone she didn't prefer right? I mean, it does suck. My parents are both riders, I can tell you how much it sucks." He get a flick of iceblue eyes, quite honestly sympathetic, likely the first genuine, open expression she's allowed him to see in them as she adds quietly, "But there's nothing you can do to change that, not really."
Cyrus hoenstly doesn't really know how to put a label on his feelings. It was a big enough deal for him to admit that he loved anyone…other than his mother of course. Who doesn't love thier mother? "Of course she's attractive." he says indignantly. At least he can be open with that, "But its just…new." he explains. It could be just as she says that he views her as a kid sister, or something along those lines, but the feelings of protective go along with that, "You should have seen the look on her face when she told me…" A feeling of relief floods him, he finally found someone that seems to have a glimmer of understanding. He doesn't have to be alone anymore. It was an awful feeling, "I do. I hate it with every core of my being." Yes! She gets this and as he listens her own regret becomes apparent and he can certainly commiserate, "I'm sorry Darsce. Truly." That last part is something that he can't accept. There are always answers even if they are not readily apparent, "Kera and I talked and we are going to try to find a way to…cope." He isn't sure what that looks like. Keeping everyone happy here is a difficult issue in the extreme. He sighs and looks at her with a sad smile, "Darsce. I'm sorry I was ever short with you in the past. I know I can be difficult. But you being here and saying this to me means more to me than you can ever really know. Thank you."
"So you do think she's hot, "Darsce crows at the indignant rebuttal from Cyrus. "Uh huh, Riiiight," she says of 'just new'. She's not buying that for one second. It's so not kid sister-affection then, because there'd be denials alllllll over the place if it were. But she doesn't needle him further on that because she doesn't really care what the two are - brotherly affection or lovers. Instead, she crosses her ankles drops her head to study her manicured nails as he speaks of Kera telling him and how her face did at the time. "Well, duh, it sucked. She probably looked awkward as hell." Then she mutters a heartfelt, "I'm glad I'm not a rider." But then he's talking about hating it and…coping. Her head jerks up. He's given a mighty strange look and then she bursts out laughing. When she can get her breath, "Coping isn't marching to the weyrsecond's office and accosting Kiena for her dragon's win, Cyrus!" He's so funny! But also she does understand - at least a little bit, and so she pushes her amusement back down, striving for sincerity rather than the sarcasm that wants to rise, "Kera's a rider. Kiena's a rider. You do know that the mindlink between dragons and their lifemates is the strongest during mating right? The riders… aren't in control of what they do. They're one with their dragons to the point they are the dragons. It…sucks, but they… really can't help it." And though her iceblue eyes dance, she's quite earnest when she adds, "And you can't chase down and yell at every rider whose dragon catches Moncerath from here on out." His apology is waved away with an uncomfortable mumble; she's apparently never felt annoyed because they haven't been buddies. "Sure, no prob."
Cyrus isn't going to be sucked into that particular argument. Saying his feeling is /this/ or /that/ right now doesn't really make a difference to him. What matters is that it /is/. And Darsce seems to get this and thats good enough for him. More than he ever really hoped for from anyone. He nods his head in agreement with her comment about not being a rider. He would never degrade himself by doing that, "I do know that the link is strong. I also know that sometimes riders ask their dragons not to chase and they don't. I know that there has historically been some wiggle room. The issue isn't completely black and white and I don't honestly believe that Kiena had no control. I'm willing to admit that she was diminished in her capacity, but that is all." Which is part of the reason he will not ever forgive her. Add to that what she said to him in the office and you have a recipie for life long hating. "I just have to find the right way to make everyone happy. I know it sounds impossible…but Darsce for my own sanity I have to try. Even if I fail. I have to know I did everything. And think of how the knowledge that I could find could help everyone. Dragons and people alike!"
Darsce just eyes him in undisguised disbelief when he talks of asking dragons not to chase. Another laugh, this one harsh and flat, "You think she didn't try? I'll bet she did - before her dragon's mind took her over. And let me tell you something, Mr. Mindhealer." Uh oh she's angry now! Her forefinger, lifted to those bars, shakes at him just under his nose as she leans forward, eyes narrowed, "Sometimes dragons listen - but most of the times they do not. Ask my sister how hard that is!" Tears glitter in the icy look he's being given, her tinted lips twist in bitter pain, "You have no idea what you're talking about! That's asking something so nearly impossible that she-" No, she won't speak of it, besides Cyrus probably overheard the whole thing the day they all discussed it with Marel in the infirmary. Sanity? Hating a rider for something they couldn't control? That's hardly sane. And if he thought it was hard to make friends or get weyrfolk in for counseling before, just wait until the gossip percolates throughout Xanadu's people of just what his attitude is. She swipes angrily at one eye with the back of one hand, rises to go but manages to hear his last comment. He's given a hard, bitter look before she scoffs, "Like what, dragon psychotherapy to sever the bonds? Y'know that'd kill both of them right? Rider and dragon. Like Thea-" That's choked off and she turns away.
Cyrus never knew Thea. He never even saw her. He is sorry that she's missing, but there is little that he can do about it, besides he's had his own concerns. He completely understands her anger and responds simply by leaning his head back a bit. He didn't say that he was interesting in doing something that would be easy, this is hard, perhaps impossible, "I'm sorry for all of it." he says to her, "There has been so much suffering…" he has seen it. Thea, Marel, Darsce, Kera, and so many others have suffered…and died. But all the more reason to try. It's not like he can make it worse, "Not sever. Change." he says. He has no idea what he is doing, and he can't give her a detailed syllabus of his plan because it doesn't exist. Not yet, "Darsce, I have no idea what to do…I only know that I can try. You deserve better than whats happened to you in your life. So do all the others that have been hurt. If I fail we lose nothing. But if I suceed it can be a new era." It would be a brand new world.
If he'd ever left the infirmary he'd probably have seen her. But of course he's had his own concerns! While the entire weyr has been suffering loss, he's been wrapped up in his own personal drama, worried about his own sanity rather than doing what he could to help the weyrfolk. But he's a good mindhealer. Yeahright! Darsce's taken one step away when he speaks again and she stops, but doesn't turn around, not until he talks about changing the mindlink, which is even more… ludicrous. Oh yes, he certainly could make it worse! He's just said he has no idea what he's doing. He's not a dragonhealer. And yet he wants to muddle with things beyond his field. They could have mindless riders and dragons with chemical lobotomies, or wind up with all of them being susceptible to the whims of one person's mental command. It's at 'brand new world' that she gapes at him over her shoulder, turns to face him. "Y-you're crazy!" she spits out and backs away a few steps before striding off back towards the Weyr.
Cyrus hangs his head. He had at least a moment where he was understood. That happens so rarely that he will take what he can get. he picks up the bread and water and takes them back over to sit down on the cot. Just because he doesnt' know now doesn't mean he won't know in the future. Better to say you don't know than act like you do. He isn't has heard that he was crazy enough that he is somewhat desensitized to it. But it does hurt a little every time. Like being hit with a dart. He looks at the bread and water and sighs. It seems he knows what he will be eating for however long he is here. He glances back as Darsce stalks off. He feels he understands her a bit better now. She has pain too.