I Lost a Friend

Now I knew I lost her —
Not that she was gone —
But Remoteness traveled
On her Face and Tongue.
-Emily Dickinson

Ista Weyr - Lounge

A comforting warmth, not stifling even in the Istan heat, surrounds this cozy room. One large tapestry covers the entire right side of the room, curving with the cave and displaying a large portion of the Istan Island as seen from dragonback. It can easily be called a Weaver masterpiece: individual trees are seen on the shoreline where waves break and crash against the sand, the Weyr woven at one end with its jagged heights and a colorful wing of dragons aloft, pinpoints in a cliff-face of a Hold, and the smoky top of a volcano in the distance.

Lining the entire wall and curving out into an L-shape to stop near the doorway are dark red couches, stuffed for people to sink into them softly and littered with little golden pillows. Firmer square footrests lay haphazardly around the couches, tucked under or between round bronze tables that are set at the perfect height. Some are small, others larger, and a few hold a clear vase with a fresh assortment of plucked flowers. The tallest of the polished tables sit around the edges of the room, decorated with large glowbaskets to give the area a warm lighting. A larger dark mahogany table rests on the other side of the door, constantly being replenished with a platter of light snacks, a few sweet cookies, a large pitcher of klah and clean mugs. The rest of the room has large cushioned chairs, facing the left wall with a small fireplace that is only lit for the coldest of Istan days.

There's only one place where one can pretend to do work and still be relaxing, and that's this little nook in Ista. Which is exactly why Ysa spends a whole lot of time in it, especially lately when she wanted to hide indoors from pretty much… well, everything. With Ellamariseth on the sands and more work piling up, the Senior had more reason to procrastinate. She's mostly alone, only one other brave weyrfolk hidden in a chair with a book that might be asleep, and her legs are propped up on a footrest while she has gazes down at a thickly bound records book that looks like the Weyr's inventory. If anyone's coming in, they'll be quick to notice her eyes glazing over and her cold klah left untouched.

R'miel usually taught class in the mornings. He was normally up early anyways, so why not? The afternoons were mostly free to help the weyrlings practice or to take care of whatever else needs to be taken care of. Or whoever else. He usually will eat lunch with the boys, then maybe check in on Ysa and Ella if they're on the sands. While Arinith isn't out helping the weyrlings he sits with his weyrmate on the sands. But today Ysa isn't out with Ella, nor is she in the records room, so there's only one place she can be. Ram though comes in with a fresh pot of klah and a box of pastries, which he sets down on a table before heading over to the weyrwoman. "Hey.."

There's a young woman dressed in riding leathers in the doorway, having arrived without a sound. She stands there, almost reluctant it seems, to enter the room. For a long moment she waits, taking it all in, perhaps trying to measure the mood of the person she has come to see. Finally, she clears her throat and attempts a quiet, "Ysa?" But even before the Weyrwoman answers, Thea is striding across the room. Hey green eyes flicker to R'miel and there's a smile for him, but it is Ysa who concerns her at the moment and a bit of doubt vies with hope as they swing back to her.

It's either the sound of her weyrmate's voice or the smell of the pastries (yes, even from all the way over on the couches) that seems to stir her from her thoughts. Or maybe she was sleeping with her eyes open? "Huh?" Ysa asks all intelligent-like, blinking up as R'miel approaches. "Hey yourself. Not that late, is it?" she asks right before yawning widely, trying to hide it behind a hand. Her teary eyes afterwards snap at Thea as she finally recognizes just who it was. "I don't think there was a meeting I suddenly forgot about today," she says, eyes narrowing as she sits up tense, voice colder. But then her eyes slide to R'miel, since he had also arrived around the same time, more questioning… Did she forget?

R'miel blinks as someone else says his weyrmate's name. He looks over to spot a weyrwoman of a different knot, and gives Thea a smile and a wave. "Hm? No, it's still the afternoon. And I don't know about any meeting, but I'm a bit out of the loop, love." He waves Thea in though, opening up the box of pastries and offering one to his weyrmate. "Have something to eat, Ys. It'll help wake you up. I'll get you some fresh klah." He pours three mugs of klah, actually, getting rid of Ysa's cold cup. "How are you, Thea?"

"I'm not here on business." Thea says quietly as she nears the couple. She's noticed the tone, the narrowing of the eyes. Her head lifts as she takes the next few steps and though her face is solemn, her eyes are soft. "I came as a friend, if you'll allow it, Ysa." She gives R'miel a faint smile, "I am well, how are you both?" She remains standing for the moment, her relaxed stance belies her inner turmoil, at least she's hoping it does.

Ysa waves the pastries away with a hand, pretending that she's more interested in Thea. Which is partly true, except for the wrinkling of her nose as the food gets closer to her face and only in more brighter lighting would someone notice her face getting a shade paler. Tough, considering her dark skin. "Stop being such a host, Ram, and just sit down," she snaps at him before taking a deep breath and rubbing at her eyes, getting the sleepy tears and trying to focus more. "Friend isn't the term I'd use after the last time I saw you. I almost thought Niva would be stupid enough to send her new kid Weyrleader instead to come for a chat." It seems that the fact that the young Xanadu Weyrleader is Ista born is already long forgotten by this goldrider. She doesn't answer, certain that the bronzer will do well enough for both whether she likes it or not, and turns to flip the page on the book in her lap with a bit too much force, causing a little rip.

R'miel frowns at his weyrmate, but sits down. He waves to the seats. "Have a seat, Thea. Some klah for you, have a pastry or two." He sighs at Ysa. "Stop that, Ysa. What is she going to do to you? She's not Niva. She's got no jurisdiction here, and you're the sharding weyrwoman. And I'll play host if I want to." The bronzer then smiles to Thea. "We're doing good, thanks. How's like at Xanadu? I heard R'sul is taking some time off as weyrleader over there. You've got an Istan bronzer instead filling his shoes. A friend of my brother's."

Thea sinks into one of the chairs, her arms relaxed upon the rests, as she considers Ysa carefully. "You might not. I would." There a bit of a stubborn tilt to her chin although her face remains calm as she speaks to Ysa in an even voice, "I'm really not here to speak for either Niva or D'son." A deep breath, "They… didn't know I was coming. I didn't ask." She looks to R'miel, "Klah? Thanks, it's late back at Xanadu." She lifts her mug and sips, "It goes… Busy." Her lips quirk in a wry smile at that understatement then, "D'son is -your- brother's friend!" As if a light goes on, "He'd mentioned…" She doesn't finish that. Instead, "He seems to be quite level-headed. I'm impressed."

"I'm not going to kick her out," Ysa replies to R'miel with a roll of her eyes, as if Thea wasn't even there. "She could sharding stay if she likes and ya do what ya want," she says quickly, though now the glare turns on her traitorous weyrmate. "But even as Senior 'm not about to play nice unless I have to. Especially not to someone that stood around quiet while I was being insulted. Go ahead, make her feel all warm and welcome." She scowls at Ram before turning her eyes back to Thea, suspicion still there. Though there's a flicker of surprise when she mentions that the Senior Weyrwoman was unaware of the visit. Just brief. And then she's back to flipping pages, not really focusing on what she's reading anymore.

R'miel nods to Thea. "Well, you did say you weren't here on business." He picks up a pastry for himself and bites into it. Then he chuckles. "Yes. They were clutchmates, though D'son is a few turns younger than my brother. My brother said he wasn't surprised to hear he's taken up the big knot. K'ael made him a wingleader here a turn or so ago, so clearly he knew he had potential. I don't know if it's my brother or that dragon of his, but they know what's going on, right Ys?" He sigh at his weyrmate's reaction. "She's here now though."

Thea refuses to play the 'she's not here' game, "Weyrwoman Ysa." It's quietly said, part reminder, part plea, "I did speak for you, but you'd left. She simply ignored what I had to say." If the weyrwoman is looking Thea's way, she would see the lips pressed together in an unhappy line, the frown on her brow. "I wasn't pleased with the decision and that is putting it mildly." Perhaps the forceful tone of that admission will serve to offset the blandness of her words. She lifts her mug, sipping and there's approval in her eyes as she looks at R'miel over the rim of her mug, "He handles himself very well." A quick flicker towards Ysa, then back to R'miel, "Represents Ista well, you can be proud of him." This last bit said firmly and it is evident that she hopes they are.

"If I recall, I was kicked out," Ysa says in a dry tone at the memory with a roll of her eyes. "Anything that was said later was obviously way too sharding late." She's actually moving! To grab a pen from the little table next to her so that she can make a note on the book, keeping her eyes down on the page instead of the riders next to her. The new mug of klah is left again to grow cold, as well. "I've never met the kid," she finally says in regards to the conversation without any emotion in regards to the Istan bronzer and the goldrider's compliment, though she's trying her best to sound distracted as if she's not following it at all. "He's part of Xanadu's crop now."

Good for Thea! She technically didn't have to take crap from Ysa. Even though Ysa was clearly going to give her tons of it anyways. R'miel sighs, again. "Well, what's past is past. We've left Xanadu and obviously we're not going back any time soon. So let's put all that mess behind us, okay? Even if we were kicked out, the move was for the best." At least for Ysa. Ram lost his cushy job as weyrsecond, but now had more time for other things. He shrugs a bit about D'son and his transfer. "I'll let my brother know, but I've never really met him either. Except a couple flights. I'm sure he's a good kid."

"Yes, you were kicked out. But not by me." Softly said, and sorrow is laced there in the tone as Thea says the words. "I spoke up for you, Ysa." Thea firmly repeats, or trying to say it firmly but her voice cracks. She takes a moment then, "What would you have had me do? Scream at Her?" Her head shakes, "Not my way to do that." That mug is lifted when R'miel speaks and she leaves it halfway to her mouth, "That -kid- has more patience with N-" Her lips press closed once more, "He's not a kid." It's muttered a bit of the rebellious in her tone and a flash in her eye now. The uptilt to her chin increases just a bit and she lowers her mug without sipping.

"Ya'll gave the boot, Thea," Ysa says in a firmer tone, green eyes flashing as she glances away from her notations to the younger goldrider. "When Niva stood there accusing me of something ridiculous and all ya can do was stand there quiet and let her toss me out without a little bit of defense." Her shoulders lift in a shrug, eyes turning away from Thea to narrow at Ram. "It's easier for ya to say that." She was the one stuck with the Senior's knot. The defensive tone from Thea about her new Weyrleader is ignored by Ysa, unconcerned whether the Weyrleader over there was a boy or a crippled old man. She dog-ears the page and moves on to the next. At least she was getting inspired to work some.

R'miel grunts. "It's easier for me? I had to leave my home too, Ysa." He didn't really see Ysa's knot as being a bad thing. He wasn't sure exactly what happened, only knew that Niva and Ysa had never gotten along very well. Then one day Ysa showed up and told them they were kicked out. At least she was, which meant they both were in his mind. "Can't we just work past this already? What good does it do pointing fingers?" He peers to Thea. "He can't be that much younger than you, that new weyrleader."

"There was no vote," Thea replies dryly. For a moment she drops her head, studies the klah swirling it in her mug as she considers, and when she speaks her voice is dry, devoid of all emotion and she is still studying the cup, "We aren't asked to contribute in the decisions of the Weyr. We are required to comply." There's no heat in the words, nor censure in her tone towards her Senior. It is just fact. She shrugs, one hand reaches for Ysa, palm up, "I spoke. You were there. The whole thing was utterly confusing Ysa and I still have no idea what she was accusing you of." Her eyes flicker towards R'miel and in them a silent apology, but she speaks of Ista's Rider-turned-Xanadu-Weyrleader, "It's not the Turns that makes the man." Those last words have a bit of a bitter twist to them; she's speaking from experience, though the bitterness has nothing to do with D’son.

Scribble, scritch… Ysa's eyes remain on the page in front of her, and if one looks closer she's going over the same figures over and over before moving on, nearly tearing through the page. "We're not mindless machines, either," she says in an equally emotionless voice, could almost be mocking of Thea's tone. "We're entitled to an opinion, especially if we're concerned for our own Weyr. But if that is your opinion, I won't be changing it for you, so long as you don't bring that into Ista." To her weyrmate there's a glance and a furrowed brow before she says, quickly, "No." She wasn't changing her mind anytime soon. "How many sharding months without a word," she grumbles as she turns back to the listing.

R'miel grunts more, then stands up and brandishes what's left of his pastry at them both. "You sharding weyrwomen are all the same. No compromises and none of you listen. Anyways, since neither of you have anything to say to me, and since neither of you are going to listen to anything I have to say, I'll leave you two alone to argue over something that doesn't even matter anymore. Thea it was nice seeing you, Ysa I'll see you at home." Then he shoves the rest of the pastry in his mouth and heads out.

"You're right, we aren't." Thea's voice sounds tired, "But I have found my opinion isn't wanted or needed. Xanadu is home. I do my job. I accept the terms." She places her mug on the table with a small sharp plunk. "I toasted you with Igen Firewater at the Tavern that day, Ysa…" She shakes her head at the results that had. She stands as R'miel walks out, her lips pressed together to keep them from trembling, "You might not agree, but I'm believing that the most important things in life are the bonds one forms. I don't so easily break mine." She turns away, "If you ever let go of the bitterness, Ysa, and you want to know why I didn't come sooner, call for me. I'm not too proud to come to you. But I'll not come again unless you do." She strides to the door and on out. Beside the mug on the surface of the table is one wet, clear drop.

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