Starlight and Living (Vingette)

Western Weyr - Weyrbowl


The air is cold as she heads outside. Well, cold for Western, but then again it doesn’t ever seem to get truly cold at the island Weyr. What she experiences right now is nothing, just the faint chill that comes with the night. That and the fact she she is currently in her nightgown. To anyone watching it might seem very odd to see Naris entering the Weyrbowl horrifically late at night wearing her nightgown.

But thankfully there is no one around right now. Her reasons for coming out are simple, she can’t sleep and needs to think. At the time the stars seemed much more appealing than her dark ceiling so here she is, stepping out into the ‘bowl onto to walk to the side and lean against the wall moments later. Her head tilts back as Naris gazes up at the stars, lost in thought. The events of that day, or maybe it’s yesterday considering how late it is, were… dramatic. Awful. Left her reeling and scrambling to pull herself together.

It could be assumed that Naris had inflicted more damage on Rhysanna than the woman had on her, but that didn’t mean that the Assistant Headwoman wasn’t damaged herself. The insults she had flung at the other woman had been turned around and thrown at herself. Insults that mirrored some of her own insecurities and pulled her doubts back to the surface. Crossing her arms she whispered to herself, “I’m not empty. I’m not.”

And it was true, wasn’t it? She could feel, she knew she could feel. She had felt earlier that day, the general coldness that she had surrounded herself with had been starting to thaw over time. But this event had begun to remind her why she had tried to make herself so cold and unfeeling in the first place. Naris didn’t blame Zi’on, she honestly didn’t expect any different and if any tiny, pathetic part of her did that part was foolish. It was her own fault for letting herself care too much anyway. She wouldn’t let her heart break though, she wouldn’t be one of those girls that moped around over something that probably wasn’t ever going to happen anyway. As for Rhysanna… she should have been more careful with what she said to her. Should have picked her words better.

The truth was that when you didn’t let yourself feel or care, when you forced yourself to become empty, it could stop the hurting. Sure, it hurt in its own way, but a good deal of the time she found it possible to push that hurt away. With this it was strong, overpowering, ate away at your mind, and even though it wasn’t as long-term it still made you feel awful in the meanwhile. This is what she had been avoiding by hollowing herself out on the inside. Interesting how it had turned around and backfired, causing so many more problems for her. Sometimes if you go too long without caring or being human you just forget how.

As she gazed up at the night sky the tears that she had not let fall began to well up inside her eyes. Naris crossed her arms over her chest, a bitter smile crossing her face. It’s so big, she found herself thinking, it makes us all look so small. Insignificant. When she had let herself fade away inside herself it didn’t matter as much that she really didn’t mean much. Nothing seemed to matter inside the dull shell of a world she had trapped herself. But now… now she just didn’t know.

“So this is it,” she whispered, “hurt but live or feel nothing at all but be nothing as well.” Because that was what she was when she was hollow, wasn’t it? Isn’t that why Rhysanna’s implication that she was empty inside had hurt her so much? Because now that she looked back the idea disgusts her. The thought of what she is worried she might be makes her want to cringe. If you can’t hurt you also can’t feel any of the good things, and when you can’t feel those you aren’t really alive.

For a few minutes she just stands there, leaning against the cold stone of the Weyrbowl and staring up at the sky. Part of her wonders if the stars ever feel insignificant, looking out and seeing how many other stars there are, all the people on Pern. It’s stupid, she knows, stars aren’t sentient. But still, she wonders, if they were…

“If the stars can cope,” she eventually whispers, “so can I.”


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