Rolling in the Deep

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrleaders' Office
Office and retreat, this is the domain of Xanadu's Weyrleaders. The door is in the southern wall, quite close to the western end while the northern wall is dominated by big, expansive windows, framed by sumptuous deep blue drapes edged with a brilliant gold braid and tied back with a thick rope of braided gold and blue cord. In between, the western wall is covered floor to ceiling with shelves that house all sorts of records, manuals and supplies that are used on a day-to-day basis.
The southern wall has the Weyrleader's desk — plain fellis wood, well polished and masculine. From behind his desk, the Weyrleader can look straight through the windows and out onto the main airspace of Xanadu. The eastern wall is where the Weyrwoman's desk resides: a lovely piece of furniture made of warm cherry wood. From her seat, a glance sideways gives her an equally good prospect out the window. There are a few other seats, some comfortably arranged around a low round table for small, informal meetings while there also some that can be drawn up to one of the desks.
On the west side of the door, the space is occupied by a low oblong table where refreshments can be set without someone needing to intrude. There is also an 'incoming' tray where incoming correspondence or similar items can be left.

Bright and early. Ka'el's days usually begin in both of those ways, unless the day is dark and dreary. Luckily, today's not one of those days and indeed the sun that is just beginning to peek out from over the horizon is bright. The smell of breakfast wafts down the administrative hallway, boasting of eggs and toast and ham and the sweet undertones of pancakes. Ka'el, having had an early sort of morning, has already taken his and is now reviewing what the day has in store for him. Meetings in the morning. Checking in with Comet mid-morning. Another meeting before lunch. The 'plague' situation at least seems to have calmed, even with the onslaught of pink in random places and randomly on people. Luckily, his office has not been stained, though gratefully has been sterilized. He glances to the Weyrwoman's empty desk, then jots a note down on his calendar, hungrily eyeing the two empty hours in the afternoon that have gone unclaimed. But before that time comes around, there will be meetings and this first one of the day is set to begin in a handful of minutes. A breath is exhaled, expression steeled.

Kiena stays true to her word from the day before. Ka'el wanted her here first thing and so the Weyrsecond arrives, on time. Those tempting smells of breakfast are ignored, her stomach rebelling against the thought of food. Her path leads her down that administrative hallway, now so familiar and almost home-like, before she comes to knock on the Weyrleader's office door. If it's unlocked, she'll let herself in, gently nudging it shut with her elbow. "Morning," she greets, a touch stiffly but warily too, as she remains standing with the door at her back. She appears calm and controlled, but there is a tired look at the corners of her eyes and mouth. Signs of lack of proper sleep but not entirely unusual for the bluerider.

The door is indeed unlocked, and Ka'el is looking that way once Kiena arrives. He nods to her in reply to her greeting. "Good morning," he says in return, shifting his calendar to the corner of his desk before he rises and gestures to one of the cushioned chairs that sits in front of him. "Have a seat, if you'd please," he offers before his arm lowers back down. "I don't aim to keep you long … Though, truth be told, whenever those words come out of my mouth, 'long' tends to describe the meeting. But, in my own defense I'll do my best to be brief and get to the points that I think need to be discussed. But," his mouth twists a little, "I'm not going to yell at you as you did to me yesterday. I haven't yelled at anyone in any meeting I've had as a Weyrleader. I don't think it's helpful, and in every case it's only been hurtful. And as Weyrleader and Weyrsecond, I'd think the both of us would be above resorting to … a shouting match. Agreed?"

Kiena's eyes drift to those cushioned chairs and briefly she is tempted but in the end shakes her head. "No, I'll stand, if this meeting is to be as brief as you said," she drawls with a smirk, tilting her head a bit to peer back over her shoulder to… the door? It's true, that standing where she is affords her a quicker escape but her eyes do not stay there long. Soon enough she's back to watching Ka'el and there's no mistaking the caution there. It's a wonder she's not pacing! Brows lift and then knit. Yell? "I'm well aware of how to behave like an adult," she remarks dryly. "But if you think that I was yelling at you…? Heh. Hardly. Half the Weyr would've heard if I had yelled. Moot point now, but I won't make any promises I can't keep. I can try to keep my temper in check." And she usually does.

Brows raise fractionally. "That…" Ka'el pauses there, shaking his head slightly as he lifts a hand. "Fine." He settles back down in his seat after that, fingers lacing as his hands fold upon his desktop. He watches her. Brief seconds tick by with silence ruling the gap between words. His expression is easy to read today. It's not a happy one. Not sad or even angry, but generally unhappy with the situation at hand as seen in the vague crease in his brow and the subtle downward curve of his lips. Discontentment. "There aren't a great many things that upset me. Generally, I've to let things roll of my back else I think I'd spend every day in this office grieving over very little thing that didn't go quite as I'd planned in my day. But, there are some things that aren't as easy for me to brush off. You've seen some of these things that've been difficult for me. Probably more than most people have seen. It's one of the reasons why I chose you to be my Weyrsecond over someone who's been a member of Quasar longer than I've been riding. But, I chose you because of the people that I worked with, I felt I could come to you with .. heh, any old thing, really. The things that roll off and the things that really get to me. Things that we could accomplish together, as a team. But," a faint twitch of his nose, "I don't feel very much like a team anymore."

"And that hasn't changed," Kiena points out, almost interrupting him and is swift to hold her tongue again. She'll remain standing where she is, watching him with an expression that is difficult to read. His last comment brings another lift of her brows but what follows is no scoff or raised voice — it's laughter. Low and gruff in the back of her throat as she just fixes him with a baffled look of disbelief. "Through no fault of mine is that! I've been nothing but supportive and loyal, hard working and dutiful. To you, to Xanadu! What more would you want of me? I've always been there. Always, through good and bad!" That laughter is gone now, never truly voiced in amusement and she frowns. "Explain to me, then, how I've so utterly failed you, Ka'el. I'd really like to know, given I've devoted most of my life for… oh, I don't know how long now, to Xanadu and, I suppose in a way to you as a Weyrleader and friend?"

He waits through her laughter. Through her retort with fingers still laced and expression the same as before. "I was getting to that," Ka'el answers after her. "Though the word 'failed' isn't one that I used." His brows furrow faintly. "This," he gives as yet another answer. A simple, one-worded thing that requires more words to explain. "This is what's concerning to me, Kiena. This is why I feel we're no longer a team. As I told you yesterday, I try to be an honest person. I felt as if you wished for more of a reaction from me with your news of your weyrmating Mur'dah. I don't hold him in high regard, as you know, but I congratulated you regardless. And though you nor anyone needs my approval for who they choose to weyrmate, and believe me I don't want the added burden or paperwork, as a friendand knowing what you went through Zi'on, I couldn't stand to let you go without one last.. without letting you know of just how" He pauses, making a slightly scowled face for the lack of words. "He gives me a feeling. An ill-feeling of distrust." His head is given a slight shake. "If it was wrong of me to voice that, then so be it. What's done is done. But it wasn't even your reaction to that. Of course I didn't expect a smile and hug afterward. But, I valued our friendship enough to be open with you, and it was what you said after that doesn't sit right with me even today. I've known your for turns, Kiena, and for you to disregard everything I've ever done for you, or said for you, or been through with you so easily.. That's what got to me. To say that I haven't been a friend to you. That I was less of a man. It was as if everything we've ever done isn't worth anything to you now. Is that how you feel?"

Kiena smirks, "Sorry, but to me it sounded as though I was a failure. That, somehow, despite my Turns of service as Weyrsecond and a friend I am suddenly no longer team-worthy." She'll listen again, brows furrowing and her posture shifts, tensing a moment before she moves her weight to her other hip and is still again. "Well… yes, I expected more? We're friends, aren't we? You say your honest and I know that — but you're still not seeing the true issue here. I tried to talk to you about how I am happy again and it's brushed aside like it was nothing to you. THAT is not something friends do!" She points out, only to lift her chin as if readied to stagger back from the words that follow from him. Now she's just staring at him in disbelief and a hint of anger. "That you are going as low as to place Zi'on and Mur'dah at the same level is… I don't even have a polite way of answering that!" Kiena has to pause then, lower jaw working as she struggles with her temper. "You are wrong to voice that. Far, far more wrong than you think. You told me once that you'd hope I'd ever speak up if you were making an idiot of yourself. Well, in the case of Mur'dah? You are. A very grand, foolish idiot of yourself. You've NO idea of the valuable rider you're so blindly ignoring and misjudging. You haven't even given him a chance! You judged him, unfairly, and that's that, is it?" Kiena snorts, shaking her head and she levels Ka'el with another narrowed, heated look. "You're putting words in my mouth, Ka'el and I don't like that! I'm not so cruel as to disregard our friendship or past like that. I value our friendship but you've not exactly been open and welcoming to me of late!" She spreads her hands out, almost in a helpless gesture. "I can't even bring up important things of my life without you going distant and cold and that's even putting this whole… immature issue you have with Mur'dah aside." Her hands fall back to her sides. "So is that you're answer then? Because you cannot get over your hang-up with whatever it was Mur'dah did, all my hard work and my loyalty and my devotion to this Weyr as Weyrsecond is meaningless to you? Is that it, Ka'el?"

"Exactly which words am I putting in your mouth, Kiena?" asks Ka'el with a vague tilt of his head. "When you claimed I haven't been a friend to you? Or when you claimed that I'm less of a man? Those were your words, not mine." He inhales another breath through the nose, releasing it the same, quiet way. "You're making this about Mur'dah. I brought him up because he was relevant to this situation, yes, but he's not the issue. The issue is all of this. The way you're speaking to me now. Your accusations. Your quickness to take a side. There aren't … 'sides' in this, Kiena. I need a Weyrsecond that I can trust to not belittle me when I need to discuss something important with her. You feel as if I disregarded your happiness … what is it that you wanted, Kiena? I'm not a woman who'll squeal in delight, no matter who the person was. I gave you congratulations. I wished you well. Knowing how I feel about him, I'd expect you'd know I think you could do better. But again, he isn't the issue." His hands unlace. "The issue is what I see today makes me feel as though he will always be made to be the issue. You brought up one thing, your weyrmating, and yet you speak as if there's never been a single thing you've been able to open up to me about. You've alienated yourself, Kiena. You put all of your trust and faith and hope into one person, and the rest of us are said to be cold, distant, or unapproachable. That isn't the truth. I haven't gone anywhere. Yes, things have changed. Thea died." A frown. "I had a child. I've had to step up to issues beyond myself and my personal life. But I've been here. Friendship is a two-way road, and I don't recall you approaching me with opened arms either. The difference is, I'm not accusing you of being heartless, or cold, or dismissive, or idiotic. I'm not blaming other people for my own short-comings."

"I said those in a moment of anger and temper! You know how I am," Kiena fires back at him as a small example as her temper bristles and she has to spend the next few moments in silence less she lose more of her control. Again, she shakes her head and spreads her hands out in a frustrated manner. "I never wanted him to be the issue! But you felt the need to be honest and tell me how you feel and now I am telling you how I feel! At least I can agree to disagree and move on, as we've had in the past." Smirking a bit, she runs one of her hands through her hair before letting it fall again to her side as she just gives him another long, baffled stare. "I'm not aiming to belittle you. What I wanted is a friend, Ka'el! Yes, you congratulated me and wished me well but then there was nothing! Nothing of the Ka'el I remember or see around others, so of course I assume I am at fault. I tried to discuss weyrmating, being that you are weyrmated yourself but again — nothing! Do you not see how that looks to me? It's like that time on the ridge not long after Thea died! I was hurting Ka'el and I was hurting bad. I knew you were too! Shards, the whole Weyr was!" Kiena explains and her emotions run high, her voice growing rougher and her cheeks flush with colour. Agitated, her hands begin to gesture too but that soon settles. "I thought we could talk about it and we almost did. I thought you could see… but there was no warmth there. Maybe I misunderstood, I don't know! There was a time when you'd have pushed me and reached out. You suggested a vacation and yes, I know I reacted poorly. Belatedly, I followed that advice." She exhales heavily and some of the tension drops from her shoulders, "I've been here too, Ka'el. Always have. Nothing in that respect has changed but I can't always be the one reaching out! Our friendship is something I've always valued, otherwise I'd have never accepted your offer of Weyrsecond, nor would I devote so much of my time to the Weyr! But I have. None of that has changed. " Her eyes level with his again but lack any sort of anger, replaced by honest and sincerity now.

"Again, what.." Ka'el's eyes briefly closes, and a tenseness is there that soon fades away. "What more did you want? What would have satisfied you, Kiena? … Picture someone that you truly, truly dislike for reasons you're unwilling to forgive. Picture that same person weyrmating a friend of yours. How much joy do you think you'd feel? How happy could you pretend to be? I chose honesty over falsity. That's who I am and who I've always been. You shouldn't've expected any less from me. And the day on the ridge? Quite honestly, I hardly remember the day. There've been so many days, and we've spent so many of them on the ridge, but I can only imagine, if it was after Thea, I didn't want to talk. I barely spoke to anyone then, for what was there to talk about but sadness? And Kiena, really..why should I have to have pushed you speak to me? If you really do or did value our friendship as much as you said, why should it be so difficult? I met you when I was…shell, I don't know. Seventeen, eighteen turns. I'm twenty-two. After so many turns, why would there be a need to drag anything out of you, still?" He sits back in his chair a little, not quiet slumped, but a little less rigid before. But he soon sits forward again, eyes resettling on her. "What happened today and what happened yesterday will not happen again. I won't stand for your yelling, or elevating your voice, or whatever you wish to call it. If you've a problem with me or what I say to you, or if you think you're being treated unfairly we'll talk. Civilly. With the Weyrwomen in attendance if needed. Tempers are for children, and if you can't find a handle on yours, give me your knot now. A Weyrsecond is just as replaceable as a Weyrleader. As limited as my time is as one, I don't want to waste time and energy arguing with someone that I'm supposed to be able to rely on for anything. I'll be honest with you now, what we had before will not be the same because of your weyrmate. I don't trust Mur'dah, and as his mate, I feel as if my personal levels with you will be far less .. personal. But, you do your job well, and I owe at least that to the Weyr. If that doesn't sit well with you," he nods to his desk, "you can leave it there."

Kiena stares at him blankly for a moment and then frowns. "You don't think I know how that feels? Do you forget about Cyrus — C'rus now and how he and Kera remain together? Do you think I am entirely pleased that she continues to associate with him? I'm not. I won't ever forgive C'rus for what he did or his behaviour, but for the sake of my friendship to Kera I looked passed that and I continue to support her regardless. Because come good or bad, she'll need someone there for her. So perhaps I was wrong to assume you'd value our friendship enough and respect me enough, even as one of your own riders if need be, to just let it be!" she tells him, spreading her hands out again before tucking them under her arms as they fold over her chest. His next words stun her and there is no masking the hurt that briefly shows before she steels herself and hardens her expression back to neutrality. "That's just how I am, Ka'el and I don't mean to be. I don't… and I try to change but I am not perfect. I relapse, I fall into old habits. I thought you'd know this by now or at least understand…" She lapses silent again as she's lectured, scolded, like an errant child and she can only stare at him, dumbfounded and too numb to even show the hurt that is lurking beneath. All of which she bundles up and clamps down on, her jaw firm and her expression grim and her eyes remain locked on his but soon lower to his desk, then to her shoulder where her knot is pinned. For a long time she seems to mull over her racing thoughts but in end her posture droops and her eyes drift to where he sits and try to hold his gaze. "Why are you doing this to me, Ka'el? Why now, when I finally was happy again?" Kiena asks of him and she reaches up, fingers deftly unpinning her knot. She takes a hesitant step forwards, trying not to let it show how her hand shakes as the knot is placed on his desk. "It's breaking my heart to have to leave Xanadu without a Weyrsecond, but I cannot and will not follow a Weyrleader who cannot respect his own riders, least of all the one who is supposed to be his closest confidant and aide. I've done nothing but be loyal and hard working to you, to the best of my abilities and did what I could to overcome my faults. I made mistakes, I can see that. After all I've sacrificed, of all the time I lost with my own family and friends to help you…" Kiena pauses, chewing at her lower lip and briefly closing her eyes as she inhales slowly, then exhales in the same rhythm. Calm. "You're not the Weyrleader I remember, Ka'el. Nor the man or rider I remember. You've changed… and I cannot bring myself to stand by your side any longer. I'll grieve the loss of a friendship, one I once and do still consider, in a way, almost brotherly. But I just can't bring myself to kneel and bend and submit the way you want me to." Kiena takes a step back, away from the desk, away from the knot that meant and still means so much to her. She meets his eyes again and she wears no masks. Regret, hurt, anger, distrust, confusion, betrayal, grief… they all play out though, at least for now, she remains civil. "I'd have done anything for this Weyr. Anything. If this is how you repay loyalty, then so be it. I wish you all the luck, Ka'el… You're going to need it, if this is how you treat your riders." Now she glances towards the door, just for a moment, before looking back at him and her expression has gone blank. "May I be dismissed, sir?" she requests flatly but not entirely in disrespect.

"Xanadu will continue on without a Weyrsecond," Ka'el answers as he leans forward to take the removed knot, sliding it closer to himself before lifting it from the desktop. A drawer in his desk is opened and it's placed within. Quietly, it's closed again. "Xanadu has been without a Weyrleader, for a time. Brief, but.." he gives his shoulder a mild shrug. "It's unfortunate that you believe I'm asking you to 'submit' to me when really…all I want is someone who can handle emotion, be it good or bad, without immediately going to the extreme. It isn't helpful in positions like the ones we hold. It's probably better for you to work back with your craft, if that's what you choose to do." He rises then, his expression not entirely…sad. Or hurt even. Happy? Of course not, but perhaps this moment isn't something that he's deemed unexpected. Preparedness! That's key. Or something. Or so they say. Weyrleadership surely isn't all fun and games, he's learned that over the turns. But with hard-knocks come lessons, right? There is a lesson to be learned here. The two of them may be learning different ones, but knowledge will be gained in some way or another. "I'm sorry that your opinion of me has soured so much, Kiena. I don't think less of you. I expected more from you, yes, but as a person, I have no ill words to say about your character. I've never doubted your duty to the Weyr. My confidence in the strength of our friendship was shaken, and.. given what you've said now, maybe it's been shaken for good reason. If this is how you feel then I wouldn't want you to stay. It wouldn't benefit Xanadu to work without harmony." His eyes shift momentarily to that calendar. "The details of your change of wing will be sorted through later. I know the Smiths will be happy to have you back working full time with them .. if that's where you choose to go." His eyes are back on her now. "I do appreciate the time you gave to me, Kiena, and I regret that it's ended on a sour note. But, know this: You've worked with me long enough to know that my riders are treated with due respect and fairness. I doubt I'd've lasted this long if they weren't. Isolated incidences don't speak for the whole." He dips his head to her, politely, then reclaims his seat. "You may," he answers. "Good day to you, and good luck."

Kiena listens to him speak but it's clear she does so distractedly and dispassionately. In one ear and out the other, as they say and could she be blamed? She's numbed and her eyes don't even lift to Ka'el as he goes on. They're on the spot, on the desk, where her knot had been once. His well wishes bring nothing but a scoffed chuckle and when she does look up at her, her eyes are over bright and she continues to back away from him. "If you so much as had any respect or thought highly of me in anyway, you'd not have done what you did. I can't make you see your faults, I realize that now. I know my own and as I said, I tried and I wasn't aware that my "lack of control" on my emotions was such a serious issue with you. Not that it matters now. You have what you want and I hope you are happy with it." She gives him a searching look then and again, her head shakes slowly. "No, Ka'el. You don't treat your riders with due respect and fairness. You distrust one of them. You made me turn in my knot because I cannot help but love who I love. A true Weyrleader would not distrust his riders, any of them, and if he did, then he'd work to resolve it and not harbour some childish grudge. So tread lightly, Ka'el, because word spreads and you know how rumours are. I say this as a friend… what little that may mean now. If whispers get out that you're less than trustworthy or lack respect, well…" She shrugs, reaching for the door handle, opening the door. His farewell is met with another distant, numbed look and Kiena doesn't answer. Her eyes simply lower and look away, but not before there's a glimpse of such bitter disappointment as she turns to walk away.

"The choice to turn in your knot was yours," remarks Ka'el to Kiena, or two an empty room. Though it may just as well be an empty room, considering. He smirks a little, a whisper of a look, as his eyes turn to a timepiece on his desk. Black sands in an hour glass. A minute glass, actually. The in-scripted words are glanced over, smiled at. He reaches to turn the piece over, watching the sands shift down through the narrow opening to fill the bottom. Time. Both friend and fiend, time. It tends to get away and change things beyond recognition, but…well. What he does with the moments to come will be seen. What happens in tomorrow's minutes, no one can guess. The Weyr has been sick before and together, it's healed. It's been through sadness before, cried its tears, and moved on to a future that it couldn't ignore. Leaders will come and go. He's not immune to the cycle, but .. despite Kiena's words, he's not fearful of it. What will come, will come. He'll face it and rise, hopefully. And if not, at least he's willing to face it with those who are here to stand with him as he stumbles to learn what makes a leader. Thea had faith in him. He has faith in himself. Words from a past voice echo in his mind. He looks to the Weyrwoman's desk and smiles a ghost of a smile. "Lesson learned, Thea," murmured. "How many more do I have left?" Exhale. He closes his eyes and lets his mind drift.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License