As Times Change (Vingette)

Western Weyr - Various Locations

Note: This vingette has no set date as it takes place in various points in time, ending a few days before 'Disaster Clutching'.

When she is born the girl is a sickly baby and it is believed that she will not make it through the night. And yet, somehow, she does. It is not something that had been expected and even though she has made it through that first night she is not expected to last. For the first three days she does not even have a proper name, her mother thinking that her daughter being nameless will help with her inevitable death. Yet she does not pass away and on that fourth day, when her mother finally starts to allow herself to hope, she gives her a name. Naris.


Childhood is not kind to her. Despite surviving she remains sickly, never able to be outside as much or run and play for as long as the other kids. This makes her a target of sorts. There are some that feel the need to take their anger out on others, what better outlet than this weak little girl that probably can’t even stand up for herself? For a little while during her earlier turns Naris tries to fight back, saying that she’s just as good as the rest of them, that she won’t let them pin her down. But that doesn’t fix the physical advantage they have over her. It doesn’t make them stop.

Eventually she begins to avoid other children no matter how lonely she might get at times. She starts to label people as bad, not to be trusted, out to hurt her. As time passes she becomes skittish, maybe a little unfriendly, and as time wears on this slowly begins to fall to coldness. Maybe if she is cold she’ll be strong, maybe they won’t make her as sad, maybe if they can’t truly get to her they won’t be able to hurt her.

Never mind how lonely she starts to feel.


It is in her turns before she would become a teenager that Naris discovers work. Her ‘socialization skills’, if one could even call them that, have not gotten any better but it at least gives her a chance to /do/ something, a way to prove that she isn’t useless like they say she is. Although she grows farther and farther away from others as far as emotions go she manages to shine in the lower caverns, even if only through how much effort she puts in.

Naris begins to put on a proud, slightly haughty, rule-abiding mask, like she /always/ knows what is the right thing to do. Rules become a form of unbreakable code for her, something she can look to even when everything else seems to be falling apart. Yet in the end the mask is just that, a masks. For even with all her strengths, strengths that Naris has forged for herself, she is built on insecurities and doubt. Sometimes she wonders if she is useful, if those kids were right, if she really is just a waste of space. But she refuses to let it show, because if it shows it means that they won. If it shows it will mean that they are right. What she needs to do is distance herself from emotions, and she likes to think that she is good at distancing herself.

Throughout all of this her loneliness grows. No matter how socially awkward she is, how skittish she can be, she does crave human interaction. Not that she will admit it to herself, of course, but it is the truth none the less. Being alone for too long can hurt anyone, and in her case it is slowly tearing her apart.


Things get better. Or worse, depending on how you look at it. For her part Naris has trouble deciding which one it is most of the time. She meets people and starts interacting a bit more, and even if they don’t like her too much it does help her. Yet she also fears that she may be making enemies, and somewhere deep inside there is that irrational fear that things will return to the way they were during childhood.

Eventually she is promoted to assistant headwoman. This is, without a doubt, a cause of great joy to the girl. Yet it doesn’t help her social life too much, for she flings herself into her work more than ever. That is not to say that all it does is hurt though. She finds herself feeling much more confident that she is useful, is not a waste of space, and does help the Weyr in at least some way. This combined with the slightly shrinking loneliness helps to make her a little better, even if it does not show too much on the outside.


Naris is searched.

Naris is searched and does not impress.

She doesn’t make a big deal of it, she doesn’t talk about it too often, but the fact remains that it happened. While she tries not to think about it as well sometimes she does and ends up feeling numb. Does it mean something, that she stood on those sands and yet was not chosen? But she /was/ searched, which is more than most people can say, right?

In the end she blocks it from her mind as much as possible, not wanting to face that many questions she doesn’t have an answer to.


The next months pass by in a haze of doing normal activities, keeping her head down, and a few awkward conversations. It is all brought to a stunning halt, however, by the actions of one goldrider by the name of Liora. Naris is absolutely /horrified/ when the order is made over the radio and actually finds herself shaking with barely-suppressed rage when she first hears of it. Thankfully that little event is smoothed over soon enough, but that doesn’t mean that everything is fine, dandy, roses-and-peaches.

When dealing with a drunken Liora making a scene and threatening to cut ties with high reaches in the Tiki Lounge Naris manages to hold herself together for the most part. And even a little while after that she manages to hold herself together. She goes to a healer, gets her arm wrapped where the goldrider has managed to scratch it, and clings to her little pieces of dignity throughout the whole thing.

It is when she returns to her room in the lower caverns that she allows herself to fall apart. She flops down on her bed, horrifically exhausted, allows herself to go limp, and just stares at the ceiling while trying to think happy thoughts. The assistant headwoman does not try to look proud and dignified, does not try to look like anything other than a stressed, exhausted, saddened young woman that feels like she is going to fall apart at the seams.

Even then she does not allow herself to cry. There is no one to see her, no one to tease her about it or call her weak, but at this time she feels like it would be a betrayal to herself.


Naris does not like Jarinad. He is not kind, he is not intelligent, he doesn’t really listen to what she has to say. In fact he insults her all too often and has a way of making her feel even worse about herself. Yet he is handsome, and even though she is not too vain he is more than she had accepted, and he gives her the time of day, as in he’s happy to have her on his arm. It is not because she likes him that she goes along with it or even completely because of his looks. It’s because he shows interest in her, which is more than she expected, and somewhere she wonders if maybe someone like him, pretty on the outside but empty inside, is all that she deserves.

The relationship does not last long. They talk a bit, are seen in public every now any then, and go on one ‘real’ date. The location of the date is chosen by him, a bar, which Naris isn’t exactly thrilled with. It is during this date that whatever relationship they had been cultivating is brought to a screaming halt by Zi’on butting in, asking her for the time.

Oh, she gives him trouble for the interruption, because she is Naris and for her not to do so when interacting with the Weyrleader just might be some sort of crime. Yet he gives her a way to escape the interaction she is having with her ‘date’ and in a moment of daringness she takes it. The bronzerider proceeds to make many comments when she confronts him, several of which are not correct, but one of them both surprises her and makes her feel happy. That she can do better than him. For a moment, for one blazing moment, the insecurities she is built on fall away. Yeah, if the night is mentioned again she’ll probably say that she isn’t very happy with him interrupting her date, but the truth is that she will never be upset that he did.

At the end of the night, which she does /not/ spend with Jarinad, who she would officially break up with in the morning, she goes to bed feeling happy. Maybe she’s not perfect. Maybe she’s not the strongest person in the world, maybe she’s not the most charming, maybe she’s unfriendly, maybe she’s cold, maybe she’s lonely but doesn’t know what to do about it, maybe she bites off more than she can do, maybe she’s a little broken. But as she lays there, slowly falling to sleep, she allows herself to think that maybe, slowly but surely, she is getting better.

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