A Bit of Truth

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns

A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.

The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.

A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

It's the lunch hour, and the caves are full of activity. Practically every table is taken by someone hurriedly grabbing a meal in the brief break they have from their duties. Among them is R'zel. He's enjoying a sandwich with a happy smile on his face, apparently in a very good mood. The area around him is presently unoccupied.

M'nol enters, his hair mussed, his eyes puffy and red. He gets a few odd looks from people who know him, but he just keeps walking, absently grabbing something from the table (it turns out to be a sandwich as well) and settling into one of the few unoccupied chairs. It happens to be next to R'zel.

R'zel glances over to see who has taken the seat beside him. He seems a little surprised to see that it's M'nol, seated without so much as a hello. Still, he's in a good enough mood to let the lack of a greeting slide without comment. "M'nol!"

M'nol starts a little when R'zel speaks, then takes a bite of his sandwich, chewing and swallowing without really tasting it before he says, "Hey Ruz… didn' see ya there."

R'zel seems too cheerful to notice M'nol's poor mood straight away. "Ah, no big deal. It's a beautiful day, isn't it? I haven't seen too much of you lately… you been busy? I sure have." He says with a broad grin. Only then does he begin to pick up on the fact that something might be wrong. "Hey, you okay? You look hungover."

M'nol nods, "Been sent all over sharding Pern lately…" He glances up when R'zel mentions being hung-over and shakes his head, "Nope… no alcohol involved… just too stupid…"

"Yeah, I hear that. I've had a lot of travel lately myself… at least you're not in Comet wing." R'zel says with a little smile. "We have to travel every single day. Ah well, there are worse things… so, what's got you so tired? You pull an all nighter with Phy?"

M'nol's hands clench, tearing his sandwich in twain. It's another moment before he finds his voice, and all it can manage is a quiet, "I wish…"

"Mmmm. I hear you there." R'zel says with a little bit of a chuckle. Still, he's starting to realize that something more serious might be wrong. "Seriously, you okay?"

M'nol shakes his head slowly, "yesterday I… I woke up with another woman…" His poor sandwich is quickly becoming mush.

R'zel blinks a little at that. "Huh. Didn't think you were the type for that, M'nol." He tries to keep that comment from sounding too reproachful. He's certainly not one to talk. "Anyone I know? Have you told Phy?"

M'nol's sandwich is now definitely inedible, as he nearly shouts, "I'm /not/! I literally woke up there with no idea how I got there… She didn't know either… Phy's… upset…"

"Hey, hey, quiet down…" R'zel says with a bit of a worried frown, making the 'quiet down' gesture. "No sense making an even bigger scene over this… so, was it a flight? Strong drink? Something like that?"

M'nol nods and sighs, speaking more quietly, "I don't know… I know there /was/ a flight… because Farry told me there was, but she wasn't in it… she's not even a rider. All I had was water… I'm waiting on some…" A brilliant blue flit pops from /between/ and chitters at M'nol, extending his leg. M'nol takes the letter from Mercury and the blue disappears back to /between/. He skims it quickly and sighs just a little, "I… /We/ were drugged… some Istan herb that makes people loopy and… inclined…" he motions towards his crotch. "The girl… Izarra… she doesn't even like guys…"

R'zel goes wide-eyed. "You slept with /Izarra/?" Apparently the name isn't unfamiliar to him. "Huh. Yeah. You guys must've definitely been under the influence of something. Shards. Any idea how that ended up happening?" He asks, with a scowl. "Well, that sure isn't right. Phy shouldn't be angry with you. She should be angry for whoever drugged you."

M'nol nods slowly, "Neither of us remember anything. Her first time and she doesn't even remember it… just the soreness and the shock of waking up next to someone you don't even know…" He sighs, clearly feeling just as guilty about what he did to Izarra as he feels for hurting Phy, "Chaton thinks someone thought it would be funny. I'm not sure if Phy's mad so much as so hurt she's not sure how she feels… I just hope… I hope she can forgive me…"

R'zel looks quite angry now, his brow furrowed. "That's not right. Nothing 'funny' about that kind of prank. It's a crime, and whoever's responsible should be find and held accountable. It's not fair that you should catch any flak over it… do you want me to talk to Phy?"

M'nol shakes his head slowly, "She said she'd come back tonight… I'll talk to then… if… if it doesn't go well I don't know what I'll do…" He sighs, "Of course it's not funny… Chaton's note says he's trying to find out who did it."

"Well, if I can do anything to help, you just let me know. It's not fair someone should do something like that to you. You're a good kid, M'nol." R'zel says with a frown and a nod. "And you and Phy… well, seemed like a good match to me. Shouldn't let something silly like this shake it up."

M'nol nods, "You and Jessa both've made that insistence now and I'm sure you'll know since there are very few people I could go crying to." His eyes unfocus a little, "I love her… I do… I'm going to cook dinner and do all I can to get us through this."

"Well, we're friends, M'nol. Always will be. Y'know that, right?" R'zel assures with a smile, trying to cheer the boy up a little. "Cooking sounds like a nice move. You any good at it? I usually just pick up wine from Benden. Harder to mess that one up."

M'nol nods, "I know, Ruz… 'course I thought that about Ro too and now I hardly ever see him…" He shrugs then, then blushes, "Considering our last encounter with alcohol, I'm betting that would be a poor decision… and a baker came through yesterday taught me how to make these things she called kabobs."

"Yeah… Ro. Whatever happened to him? Haven't seen him since the hatching." R'zel ponders that for a moment, then shrugs his shoulders. "Well, good luck with the whole thing. Maybe you could take her on a trip someplace to reconcile. I bet I can get Farrah to give her a couple days off."

M'nol shrugs, "He and Tali ended up together… I think he's focusing on her…" He nods, then realizes that he's no longer holding a sandwich but instead a squishy, mushy thing and sighs, "Right now I just want her to agree to stay… I can't drag her away until after that… but if she'll stay I'll do anything to make her happy."

"Well, that came as a surprise to nobody." R'zel says with a little smirk. He tries to look supportive as to the other issue. "Look, I know you can do it, M'nol. You had something crappy done to you, but it really sounds like you didn't do anything wrong. You can get this fixed."

M'nol chuckles at Ruz' comment, "True… so true." He nods, "I know I /can/ the question is how to do it best? How can I make it so she knows without a doubt that I didn't want or mean to?"

"Well, M'nol…" R'zel says with a little smile, leaning in. "… you have the most important argument of all on your side: the truth. You didn't do anything wrong. Someone drugged you. Just impress that upon her, and make sure she understands how very special she is to you. Do that, be genuine, and it'll work out okay."

M'nol nods, "I'll try…" he sighs, finally dislodging the last of the sandwich from his fingers, "It couldn't have happened at a worse time… she came back from her time with F- Tenebrous to /this/…"

R'zel is clearly out of the loop on some things. He raises his eyebrows a little. "Who is Tenebrous? Some healer master?" He asks before taking a sip of his drink.

M'nol shakes his head, "Journeyman… you met him, I think, Fetch." He shrugs, "He's teaching Phy a lot."

"Fetch is a healer?" R'zel seems a little bit taken aback by that revelation, perhaps concerned by the prospect of that man healing people. "Huh. Well, guess you really can't judge a book by its cover."

M'nol nods, "He is… that vile Fraille is his master… he's… a lot more than he seems. Even Thea trusts him… and she hates healers."

R'zel frowns a little at the subject of Fraille. "Yes, she's certainly a… stern woman. I can only hope Farrah doesn't turn out like that once she's a master." A slightly dreamy smile comes over his face. "But I don't see how she ever could."

M'nol chuckles a little, letting R'zel's mood improve his own, "How /are/ things going with you and Farrah?"

R'zel smiles even brighter when M'nol's mood appears lifted. "They've been going fantastic. I suppose she and I are different in some ways, but really… she has this wonderfully creative side to her as well."

M'nol smiles lightly, "I'm glad for you. What do you two do when she's not working?"

"Well, we took a trip out of the weyr to gather samples…" R'zel thinks for a moment. "… well, I guess that actually technically would be considered work. We spend time outdoors, at the beach. Have dinner together, drinks…" He grins a little more. "She's been modeling for me, too. She's a great subject."

M'nol smiles, "That's good… I'm glad… I just need to find that with Phy, I guess… making dinner… yeah…"

"Well, you two must have things in common, right?" R'zel asks, curious. "I mean, what drew you to her in the first place? Had to be more than just her looks, right?" He asks as he sips his drink.

M'nol chuckles softly, "Her eyes… but really we just sort of… happened…" He shrugs, "We mostly talk about eachother and our lives…"

R'zel thinks for a moment, then shrugs again. "Well, I suppose the key is finding common interests. Something you can do together that will keep you both engaged."

M'nol ponders that for a moment, then sighs, "We both love helping people… and taking care of our friends…"

"Well, sounds like enough of a basis for something. You've just got to get over this rough patch. It happens." R'zel thinks for a moment, leaning back in his chair. "So, Phylicia's really sold on this whole monogamy thing, then?"

M'nol nods and shrugs at the same time, "She understands about flights and things like that… she'd be less hurt if it was another person from the flight… but when it comes to relations by choice, yeah… monogamy… and I like it better that way, too. We'll get through this… I know we can."

R'zel nods a bit. "Well, if it works for you both, then stick with it. Farrah won't touch it. Works just fine for both of us." He says with a little chuckle. "Anyways, I think it's fair to say you were monogamous. Getting drugged into doing something you wouldn'tve done otherwise certainly shouldn't count."

M'nol nods, "I think you're right… doesn't make it any easier on me or Phy though… I know I hurt that … Izarra, even if neither of us were 100% responsible for our actions… and all Phy seems to be processing is that it happened… and that I feel bad for hurting Izarra as much as for hurting her… and that bothers her too, I think…"

"Yeah… how is Izarra taking it, anyways?" R'zel asks, a little concerned. "I have to admit, I made a pass at her once before I realized… well, you know. I've never been shot down so quickly in my life. Now, I may not be the best with women, but I think the fact that you got anywhere proves that something went wrong."

M'nol sighs again, "She… we both kind of panicked… I think she's doing okay. We talked a bit and she wanted to meet Farry… I told her to send me a message with her flit if anything… happened… because of it." he leaves potential happenings unsaid.

R'zel winces a little at that possibility. "Ah. Right. I guess given her usual preferences, contraception wouldn't really be on the top of her list of priorities. Best of luck on that."

M'nol nods slowly, "I… I hope nothing happens like that… or anything else… she seemed nice."

"Yeah. She's very nice. A little timid, but a very creative and artistic young woman." R'zel says with a smile. "Well, you could've done worse, I suppose. But I really do hope there aren't any more complications."

M'nol nods slowly, "At least she didn't chase me off with a knife like F'yr's mom…"

R'zel just looks confused. He's silent for a moment, scratching his head. "… you slept with F'yr's mom?"

M'nol nods, "Her green rose at Fort… Farry caught her. Next morning… knives and threats on my life."

R'zel tries to restrain laughter, but it doesn't work for very long. After a good chuckle, he apologizes. "I'm sorry, but that's pretty funny. Shards."

M'nol nods, grinning a little, "It is looking back… before…" he motions dejectedly, "this she was the only other…"

"I can imagine." R'zel says with a smile and a shrug. "Well, I haven't met her mother, but F'yr's cute. If there's a family resemblance, you could've done worse."

M'nol chuckles, "Rupa is… was… is, older… a lot older than F'yr…"

R'zel raises an eyebrow slightly. "How much older? F'yr's still pretty young."

M'nol shrugs, "I don't know exactly, but she looked older…"

R'zel shrugs his shoulders in return. "Ah. Well." He finishes off the last of his meal, then scoots his chair back from the table a bit. "Shards. Lunchtime's nearly over, and I've got a delivery… but if you need any more help with all this, you know where to go. Okay?"

M'nol nods, "I should get ready to start cooking soon… safe skies, Ruz, and I'll be in touch."

R'zel rises from his seat and nods to M'nol. "Right. I expect to hear good things. When you get things worked out, you two should join Farrah and I for drinks sometime. Could be fun." He gives a wave goodbye, then heads out.
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