Seeking Advice from a Trusted Friend

Summer in the South - Month 2 of Turn 2717
Xanadu Weyr - Garden
An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place.

On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.

Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.

The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also alluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic.


Lani has been neck deep in weyrling training for awhile now and things are getting to the nitty gritty. It is not just about practice anymore but dragons are flying, and some even with their lifemates and betweening! In a month or so they will graduate and become Full Riders. Still when a message comes in from a friend with that level of urgency, Lani finds some time to break free and is waiting at the landing field. Weyrlinghood has been good for her, standing there with a bit more confidence than she ever expressed outside of the Infirmary.

R'sner has been neglectful in visiting and, while he now can use the justification of an imminent Hatching as to why he hasn't come by, he really has no excuse for the previous absences. Except, perhaps, knowing better than most how demanding and draining the life of a Weyrling can be. But whether it is because he feels Lani can handle it, or he is just /that/ desperate for council from a close friend, Toith is soon seen winging her way down from the Xanadu sky and landing promptly upon the field designated for just such a thing. And at least Res did not come alone, but brought a familiar, furry companion with him. Sava has grown accustom enough to riding Toith (and even going Between) that the little canine is not at all bothered by the trip, and is soon bounding around green legs and booted feet as R'sner dismounts and heads toward the waiting weyrling. "Lani," he offers in greeting, a curl at the corner of his mouth that suggests a smile, though it does not touch his eyes. It is the perceptible change in demeanor that momentarily catches him unawares, bringing a hesitation to his steps and a sort of double-take before he offers a complimentary, "Impression has been good for you. How is Rosalyth?"

Lani gives a wave as Toith lands and starts to approach as the wind settles. By time Sava's feet touch the ground, Lani is crouched and waiting to receive her. "Hey my little furry beast, you been looking after R'sner for me?" She asks as she scoops her up to encounter a squirming armful of facelicking pup. "I missed you too Sava.." She says before looking up to the Rider as he approaches. She notices the look in his eyes but nods to the words, "It has. We have progressed well over the last turn…Can you believe it, she is 1 1/2 now? Where does the time go?" In lessons, lessons, lessons. She tilts her head towards the gardens, "Want to go have a seat in the gardens and catch up?" She says and extends a hand out to him, holding Sava with her free arm now that she has calmed down a bit. "She looks good R'sner, thank you."

The enthusiasm with which Sava greets Lani is inspiration enough for a more genuine smile to spread across the weyrlingmaster's face. Animals; they will always be R'sner's kryptonite. "It does not seem to pass quite as quickly, from this side of things," he notes in a dry tone of voice. The offer of going to the gardens is accepted with a quick, "Sure," and the taking of her hand; a friendly squeeze of calloused fingers that lingers for a moment or two. "Good. She must be about full grown, if she isn't already," he notes for Rosalyth. And while very clearly this is more than a casual visit, he's more than happy to discuss the young green, or anything else that Lani wishes to talk about.

"See for yourself.." Lani says as they approach the gardens the green is lounging outside of. Indeed she is longer than Toith even now by a couple of metres. Her leafy green hide nearly camouflages her against the garden foliage. There is a lift of her head and a warbled greeted comes from her to the other green. Lani gives those fingers a squeeze and her own have strengthened though she has tried to keep from too much calouses. Don't want to lose an healerly edge! Gloves are key! "She is amazing, she has finally settled into herself emotionally and physically and there is no stopping her." In many ways describing herself as well. She leads the rider into the gardens and to a secluded bench before taking a seat and looking up to him, "What's wrong?"

A lift of his gaze, and R'sner spots the lounging green. A soft laugh is uttered, dry and somewhat amused, at the apparent sudden materialization of the young dragon. "Hello Rosalyth," he extends courteously. Toith is hanging behind, attempting to goad a few of the younger males into a wrestling match, though she'll happily chortle a greeting back to Rosalyth; deep and throaty and distinctly unfeminine. The squeezing fingers are somewhat reassuring, and serve to settle some of the anxiety stirred up by the nature of his visit. Or… perhaps it is the anxiety that has brought about the visit in the first place. "I am glad," he offers truthfully, though anything else he may have to say is kept to himself. It is when a seat is taken, his own posture somewhat stiff though not uncharacteristically, that Res sighs and scrubs at his face. It turns into a rake of his fingers through his hair before he exhales a low, "Where do I begin?" that is resigned and somewhat apprehensive. "I don't know if… 'wrong' is the right word," he murmurs, frowning as he wrestles his thoughts into order. It is a pause that stretches for some time, for despite knowing almost immediately that Lani was the one with whom he could discuss these things, finding himself in the moment where they must be /uttered/ is challenging his ability to do so. Eventually, there is a somewhat cryptic, "I find myself in a unique situation… and I just…" and there comes a shrug and an almost apologetic smile, "I need a friend. And you are the closest one I've got."

Lani is quiet as she watches R'sner collect his thoughts, looking relaxed if a touch worried for the man before him. To seek her out? It must be something very important! She leans forward and places a hand light upon his knee. "Begin at the beginning and the story will flow." She suggests, clearly spending too much time with Rosa in bookland. She doesn't push or press, she has learned that with R'sner, but waits receptively. She smiles at the last words, "That I am, and you can fear no judgement from me." Sava for her part is settling into the space between them belly up in the air and her enthusiasm somewhat settled between her owner and her caretaker. Her two favorite people!

"Is there a beginning?" R'sner wonders aloud, dry and somewhat sardonic. "I suppose the simplest explanation is to say that I have met someone? But that gives the wrong impression," he decides with a snort and a sudden scowl. Another pause comes and poor Res, but he looks so twisted up and befuddled; at a total loss and completely out of his element. Aloof and reserved; stoic and withdrawn. /These/ are the things he is comfortable with, and they have been his armor for so long that to find them missing, and a new and alien sense of apprehension and uncertainty… "When I lost my weyrmate… I didn't think I would survive it," he begins. Perhaps that really /is/ the beginning of the story. The moment that birthed the person he is today. "And I didn't. Not really. I am not the same person that I was…" Another pause; and suddenly there is a jitteriness to him; a bouncing of his leg and an antsy-ness borne of being at such a loss. "I am trying to take your advice, Lani," he says finally. "I am trying not to close myself off, but to be perfectly frank the idea of letting /anyone/…" it's terrifying.

When the lead into the explanation is that he met someone a touch of relief comes to her eyes. Of course healer brain was coming up with all kinds of things that could bring him here urgently. He is dying, Sava is dying, Toith is dying…yeah, she did go there behind the mask of calm. How she would handle such a conversation with S'van vs R'sner no doubt quite different. For now she lets him speak, to not scare him off the topic. "Grief does change a person, everything that happens to us does, but grief most profoundly. Two had become one.." She makes of a gesture of her two hands coming together to clasp… "Then in Grief become one in a different way which feels weaker.." As one hand drops away leaving one hand groping for the air. "To feel like it can never grasp another again." No doubt having witnessed death in her time as a healer and in her studies. As he starts to get ansty again she rest his hand upon his knee again, a light touch, reaching out. "But it is time you reach out for another hand or has one reached out to you?"

The next pause in speaking comes with a side-ways look and a briefly skeptical expression before R'sner decides, "You've been reading too many books." Which is saying something, considering he loves to read. But it is the metaphor behind the words that would have him almost amused, if he wasn't so caught up in the tumultuous thoughts rolling through his head. Another time, another situation, and he might have laughed. But here? Now? Far too serious for such things. "It isn't that I didn't feel capable…" he corrects, "It is that I didn't want to try. I didn't…" and there's a flash of grief; of profound pain that Res will never truly escape. "I can't go through something like that… again." And the safest way to ensure he doesn't? Never let anyone in. It is the last bit that has him uttering a humorless laugh; dry and self-deprecating. "Reaching out? More like crashing into me with the force of a falling dragon," he decides, employing his own metaphor. "Oh fuck, Lani," and his hands scrub over his face once again. "I can't decide if I should run away, or let it happen."

"Of course, for the longest time it was the only way I could get Rosa to do anything. My repoitoire has increased significantly." Lani responds with a soft laugh at the 'insult'. As he then continues to explain how he feels Lani shifts closer to him. "I can't even imagine what it is like to lose a love like that in the way that you did…but…" She grips his knee a bit, "He loved you…do you think he would want you to live behind a wall forever? Alone and without anyone to care for you like he did? I doubt it." She can't help but smile at his description of the force and reaches up to take the hands from his face, "If you have to ask, you know the answer. What is their name?"

"Better than wondering when the next attack might come," R'sner decides, of reading books to Rosalyth. But it has been many, many turns since Toith outgrew her ability to tackle him. But that light bit of humor is short lived as he sinks down into the issue at hand. And really, it is a precarious edge on which he finds himself, teetering between the thrill of budding emotions and the desperation of self-preservation that wants to throw up walls and reasons and shut himself away from the world. But there are friendly hands, pulling his own away from his face and removing the physical barrier that so neatly represented the emotional one. "Before I give you /that/ piece of information," his name, "you ought to know the rest," comes with another dry sort of half-laugh. And this at least has him looking pained all over again, though it is not the grief and despair of before, but rather a grimace and resignation and almost guilt. "He is… young." Wince. "Really young." And because he is sure the question is coming, he offers, "He says he will be nineteen in a few months." A shake of his head as he continues, "and though he has assured me that it does not bother /him/… I can't help but wonder if I ought…" whatever he ought to do goes unsaid, and instead he asks the second question that seems to plague him. "Is it wrong, Lani?"

Lani grips his hands so he can't hide behind them again. She smiles reasuringly to hear the rest of what he has to say, encouraging him to speak on with a nod. "Not that young. Old enough to know his heart…and maybe it is but a flash of passion but oh R'sner, take hold of it. Enjoy it while it lasts for as long as it does. You deserve it." She smiles again, "That day in the bar where you saved me from that woman and well my own drunkeness, I very nearly …crashed into you then and I was younger than he." There is a look to her lifemate and it is clear where the focus of all her love is just now before she turns her gaze back to him. "It is never wrong to love. The heart has no prerequisites. I never thought I could love a dragon as I do Rosalyth. They were but barriers to my success as much as I liked being around them. The eggs…held so much fear and uncertainty for me…but then I let myself be open for the experience thanks to you and other friends who helped me see there was more to life than just a healer's textbook. How is this any different?"

And he would, too. Hide behind his hands and shut out the world. Block out anything that could threaten the sanctuary and security that comes from isolation. Instead, R'sner must deal with the situation he has found himself in. Which… is exactly why he came to Lani in the first place. For advice. For reassurance. For a sound mind to tell him whether he has lost his own. Her admittance of feelings, or at least the potential for them, is met with a sharp glance; surprise and shock for the revelation. For a moment, he is distracted by the might-have-been's; lost in a twisty trail of supposition that serves to at least steer him back from full retreat into his head. But it is only a moment, before he is back to the presence, and focused upon the answer that she provides. There's a release of breath that comes with a release of tension; a relief that floods him at the assurance that the age-gap is not so big a deal. It's enough of a relief that there's a fleeting sort of smile that whispers across his face; the beginnings of hope. "This is not Impression," he notes, for the comparison. But there is no disrespect in his tone, rather a faint amusement. "But I understand your meaning. And… I am /trying/," he admits, though it is clear the prospect has him terrified. A deep breath; to steady and ground him once again. "His name is Nassir. He is a tailor assigned to Igen Weyr. If you are able to attend Half Moon Bay's hatching…" and there is a glance for Rosalyth, as if she could tell him whether or not that is a possibility, "Well. He will be there." An invitation to meet him? Yeah; that's significant.

Whatever feelings she has of the might have beens are clearly replaced by Rosalyth. Perhaps one day soon she will look outward again, but she is living her truth right now. Neither looking nor hiding, but living and experiencing in ways she never let herself to. Indeed she looks more relaxed with herself than ever before. No longer in the chase for the next Achievement. Next Rank. Next Skill. She grins at his response, "Is it not? He clearly has left an impression on you." She says with a grin and shakes her head, "I have been told this by so many people…Stop trying. Just feel the moment and enjoy it." Says the girl who could only involve herself in a candidate prank if it was safe and involved something educational as well…cue Herb dyed 'salt' glitter. She releases one of his hands now it looks like he won't hide behind them again. "I will be there. We have between lessons tomorrow. Half Moon Bay will be my first stop after. I suppose I should make Harper Hall a stop too and Monaco…Ok, So I will be busy tomorrow." She says with a laugh as her once consildated group of friends are scattered around the globe now. "Nassir. So what is he like?"

Feel the moment and enjoy it. The irony of those words coming from Lani does not escape him, and is cause enough for a short huff of laughter; dry but amused all the same. "I feel as though we have had this conversation before, but in reverse," with R'sner telling /her/ to enjoy her life in the moment, rather than wait for the elusive 'someday' when all goals have been fulfilled. But the words are no less true now than they were when he spoken them in the past. "Just be careful," he cautions, for the various places that she intends to visit after her Between lesson. "I know you will take this lesson seriously, and I am confident in your studying," he prefaces, "but don't over-extend yourself. There will be plenty of time to visit all friends and family," but there is a bit of a smile for her laughter. For a moment, Res simply watches her, considering the differences that are so prevalent between who Kelani was, and who Lani now is. Good changes, but changes all the same. But when the question comes, there's a flicker of a smile that has nothing to do with the woman beside him, and everything to do with the mention of the Igen tailor. "He is…" and his words fade off as the weyrlingmaster contemplates how best to describe him; how to put into words all that Nassir is. "Bright. Like a light in the darkness. A bit wild and free-spirited. Verbose and rather… forward in his flirtation," is noted with a curl to the corner of his mouth. "There is a boundless sort of energy to him. He makes me forget… he makes me forget how dark the world can be." Until reality comes crashing back to remind him.

Lani can't help but smile, "Yes we have. What is good for the goose is good for the gander." She replies with an arched brow, "Unless you say you gave false advice?" She teases and gives him hand a squeeze before releasing it as well and resting them on the sleeping Sava between them. At his concerns expressed she smiles, "I know, we will evaluate ourselves after each jump before we move on. I will pack some clothes in case I have to stay the night." Ah the old Lani hasn't completly left the building. The planner. She settles back in her seat and listens as he describes the man , "He sounds wonderful and I can not wait to meet him. There is brightness in the world and we are both learning to see it I think. It is scary…but its fun too and so worth it." To make the leap. Even if for her its more about embracing a new life focus rather than an Igen Tailor.

"Of course not," for giving false advice, and R'sner even manages to look appropriately insulted, though he can't hang on to the expression. There is too much relief, too much /joy/, for him to hang on to negative emotions. Even feigned ones. The planning and preparation is met with approval; in this Lani and Res are rather similar. His planning just does not extend to the course his life will take. Clearly. Which is how he has found himself in the situation that has him almost grinning like a fool (he does manage to hide it well, even if there is a particularly bright gleam in his cobalt-blue eyes). Oh, there is still doubt. There are still worries. There is still the shadow of pain that will haunt him, and may haunt him for the rest of his life. But there is also a growing willingness to /take/ that advice; and simply seize the opportunity presented to him and hold fast to it; no matter what may come. "Thank you, Lani," comes with true gratitude. And it will even come with a hug; a two-armed embrace that seeks to draw her in and hold fast. "Really. Thank you."


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