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The future

Who: Miniyal and R'vain
Where: Records Room
When: Middle of the night on day 4, month 3, turn 4 of the 7th Pass.
What: Miniyal retreats to familiar comforts alone in the middle of the night. Her peace is interrupted by the arrival of the Weyrleader and she offers assistance.



8/3/2007

At High Reaches Weyr, it is the middle of the night on day 4, month 3, turn 4 of the 7th Pass.

In the still of the night. . .Well, the Records Room has always been a quiet place in the middle of the night. These days even more so as with all the turmoil in the world people are less enthused about researching much of anything. Especially when they could be drinking or sleeping or what have you. Miniyal has come back home, as it were, and haunts the Records Room nearly every night. She's supposed to take a fellow weyrling with her, but it's not like she follows the rules. Tonight she doesn't anyway. When she comes here it is usually to work. Writing up things she has no time for during the day. However, the writing is done now and she seems uninterested in reading anything and so sits at a table where she can watch the door without being close to it. Scrap hide is on the table before her and she every now and again will dip a nearby pen into ink and draw lines on it. Life carries on around her and the only change between this Miniyal and the one who spent turns doing this up until not so long ago is that every now and again this one has to pause to wipe a black sleeve across her eyes.

R'vain's footfalls are like they are almost always: heavy, loud. They pause on the far side of the records room door, then the door creaks open and those footfalls come through. The door creaks shut, and there's a moment's silence.

In the tight quarters and low light of the records room, with the walls closing in and the air thin and stale, there's no room for anything else one's terrified of. Just the one thing, all-consuming. It's a relief, really. A chance to be one-minded.

The Weyrleader sucks in a chest-swelling breath and heaves it out as a sigh. His boots move again. He prowls slowly between tables, around a catty-wompus chair which he pushes into place with a careless motion of an enormous paw, down the ends of the stacks. He doesn't dare the paths down those stacks. He barely sees what's before him, but he must see enough to make out the shape of Miniyal at a table with her pen and ink. The red man rumbles a low warning, not ungentle, and is looking down those undesireable dark courseways between the shelves as he passes them by after that; looking elsewhere as he approaches, in case she should look up.

Normally she's more aware of her surroundings. But it's records in the middle of the night and it's become her cocoon. Miniyal retreats from everything here and focuses on whatever task she's assigned her brain to the exclusion of all else. That must be why when it does register that someone is coming he's had a chance to make it to the table before her head comes up. And then she blinks. And then she blinks again and rubs her eyes and peers around. "I know I'm not sleeping so this can't be a nightmare, but either way I'm not sitting in your lap." Her voice is quiet, like always, quieter because she's in records mode which involves near silence. "Do I need to go?" Who knows why he would come here. Likely some indecent nefarious purpose. As she asks the question she looks down at the current scrap of hide she's working with. An outline of a map of something.

"Ain't planning on putting you there." But R'vain will not otherwise, apparently, spare Miniyal the torment of his near presence. He rounds the end of her table behind her, moving a little quicker and not /too/ close, heading for the chair around the corner from hers rather than directly across. He pulls back that chair with the same careless paw that tucked in one on the other side of the room, and looks down as if he's surprised by what his hand's just done. "Nah, y'fine." His gaze slinks up from the seat of the chair to the edge of the table, then across to the hide before the woman. "Goin' somewhere?"

She doesn't watch him as he moves around the table. Instead she focuses on what she's doing which is gathering up scraps of hides. "Got nowhere to go. Unless you're going to send me somewhere." Miniyal looks over once he's seated and blinks away a moment's flash of concern that is out of place after all. "Is something wrong? I don't recall this being your favorite place." Now a pause and she finds some teasing to add to her tone. "We don't carry many picture books."

"Ain't." Going to send her somewhere. Or it ain't his favorite place. R'vain's shoulders lift and roll in indifference and he steps around so he can slump into the chair he's chosen. Academic, dry and wooden, the chair loses its identity entirely, dwarfed by the small giant it now holds. "All kinds of shit wrong," he notes, still staring at the map-thing Miniyal's been adding lines to; then he glances up at her, eyes wide and open and green. This is brief; they narrow sharply, turn keen and emerald, and his wide mouth thins. "Ain't that joke old yet?"

"I read in a book that people retreat to familiar things when their life is in crisis. That is brings comfort." Miniyal leaves it unsaid if she's trying to comfort him or her. Because clearly it would be her. "Sorry. I'd have come up with something better, but my heart's not in it anymore." Setting her pen down atop the hides she folds her hands and stares down at them. Maybe if she pretends he's not here he'll go away or something. Or not. "Umm. Did you want to talk about it? Or something."

"If y'heart was ever in it I'll take it as some kind of backhanded compliment." R'vain widens his knees and plants his paws upon them, then pulls the chair forward with himself in it by power of his legs. The chair's feet make low scraping noises on the floor, but it's the middle of the night: who's here to shush him? "Yeah." Not that he begins, after this confession. Instead: "That why you're makin' a map? Familiar, I mean. Comfort."

Looking at her little maps there's nearly a nod of her head. "Can't drink. Can't sleep. Tired of-" Something. Miniyal rolls her eyes and finds some kind of smile that shows up for a moment and then disappears into the gloom. "Shush." Habits. "I suppose teasing you about wanting the job and this is what you get would be out of place right now?"

"Naw. It'd be right as rain. Pointless, though, thought've it a few hundred times a'ready." R'vain shrugs again and looks back down from Miniyal to her maps, brows furrowing slowly, lethargically, the only part of him more tired than charged with the nervous electricty of the pointlessly outraged and afraid. "What I /want/ t'do is gather up you and th'lil'Weyrwoman and a couple of th'men t'th'Tinwright and never come back any th'lot of us, but I don't figure we'd get off with it."

"Well, it could be worse." Miniyal offers this will little actual belief in her voice. Followed by a shake of her head as she adjusts her position just enough to almost be watching the weyrleader. "It could be worse," is offered again with something that sounds as if she believes it now. "Oh, please. You'd leave me behind. Figured it served em right whoever came to have to deal with me. I'd make them wish they'd never set foot in my home whoever would come." She would too. Just by being herself. There's some small comfort or something.

"Suppose if you volunteered it like that I'd leave you..." The Weyrleader would have said more, even if just to complete the sentence, but his gaze slips past Miniyal and her maps into the distance for a moment, and when it snaps back into focus his mouth is downturned, slivers of white teeth bared. "I tell you what, if they barge in here I'm goin' t'have fire and knives waiting for 'em. Fuck. Min'yal," and now he looks at her directly again, "Fuck. It /can't/ be worse, can it? Not without bein' untenable. Why's it so-- damned-- quiet?!" It's not quiet just then, of course; his fist hits the table on 'quiet' and defies the very meaning of the word. But the echo's absorbed by the stacks and the table, old but sturdy, quavers for only a split-second before standing firm again, and it is, in the middle of the night in the records room, quiet.

He's watched again and there's a thoughtful look in her eyes. "Fuck, R'vain. I wouldn't expect anything else. They try to come in here fuck them all. My home is all I have." Miniyal shifts in her chair somewhat when he looks at her. While she seems comfortable enough almost watching him it's not the same at all if he focuses on her. "It can always be worse. That's what I tell myself when I feel like dying. That it could always be worse so I shouldn't quit now." Please to be ignoring a slight break in her voice in there somewhere. "So, make some noise. Let them know we're here and we don't approve. Why wait for their move? Preemptive strike."

"You got people." R'vain's focus sharpens again, from the broader perspective that encompasses Miniyal specifically to the features of her face; his eyes search hers, but look away after a moment as if to spare her the need of doing so herself. "You," he says, but stops, looking at her maps. "What kind?"

"It's not important." Her, clearly as she slips it in before he looks away. "Go public. With anything and everything. Hammer them with everything we have on any of them. None of them clean." Miniyal looks at the little map and shakes her head. "S'lien. Every hold that sent guards to watch the Instigators and never thought to see if maybe they were doing things they shouldn't. Don't go for the people in the Grand Conclave. Not the ones making the decisions. Their heirs. The ones who want their power. Turn them against each other. We don't need support right now so much as we need them distracted. Remind them how things have been going. First they toss out Odern in secrecy. Now this. What's next? /Who's/ next? Which one of them will be turned on?" Coming to a stop she blinks. "Sorry."

"S'lien's done. But--" He needn't go so far as to say that the rest of what she suggests has merit. R'vain's eyes narrow; a keen vengeful thoughtfulness says it for him. They slowly come back to Miniyal, to looking at her, not too closely. The Weyrleader draws breath, swelling his chest, and lets it out slowly through flared nostrils, soft. "We ain't going t'get their support," he says, lowly. "But I don't want t'piss off th'heirs. I want t'win 'em." His eyes are emerald slits now, framed by lurid lashes, brilliant in contrast. His tongue wraps up over his upper teeth and slips soundlessly back again. "But that's exactly how t'do it. Let 'em hear. Let 'em know everything. And when support f'their fathers starts t'fade, we'll kick 'em out."

Hands rest on the table so nervous ring twisting can commence. "I know he's done. But I still think he deserves to be outed. Fucker." Biting her lip Miniyal glances down at her hands. "You're going to have competition, you know. Everyone's favorite headmaster is already trying to take over the world." Her head tilts to one side and she smiles briefly. "Of course, he doesn't have me so is doomed to fail. Of course you'll need someone to talk to these people. Or at least get the right records to them. Wait." Something registers suddenly in her brain and she sits up straighter and just stares at the redhead. "You like my plan? You don't think it's wrong or too sneaky or something?"

"Sefton ain't my competition, he's missin' something y'need f'my job." But R'vain's brows furrow; the deeper implications of the headmaster's plausible ambitions are, perhaps surprisingly, not entirely lost on him. He does, after a moment, reiterate, "He don't got t'be competition t'me," and this time the statement is a thoughtful one, cogs clicking. The Weyrleader is a little distant before realizing there was more to what Miniyal's been saying; he looks up from her maps, to which his gaze had once more drifted. "No. Yeah. I like it fine. But you ain't goin' t'be th'mouthpiece. Just a junior, and biased t'th'Reaches." And suddenly there's light in his eyes, so bright and cruel that it forces his lashes wide and a turn or two of his age is peeled back by the opening of his expression. "We'll use their competitors."

"Even I didn't think you were dumb enough to use me." Miniyal's eyes roll and she watches the monster she's helped take his first little baby steps. And then something else registers and she shakes her head. "Not him. R'vain, you can't- nevermind. Nevermind. I just have the ideas, that's all. Not my job to do them. I'm sorry, you know." Conversational subject shifts are expected, yes? "For being a bitch and always giving you a hard time. That's just. . .anyway. Like I said, get the ones in power to not trust each other or anyone and they screw up. They screw up someone takes advantage of it. You just have to make sure it's someone who looks favorably on us."

R'vain leans forward, putting up an elbow onto the edge of the table, paw hanging off. "No," he says, eyes narrowing, normalizing. "Ain't what I mean. -- Him who? -- No. Every Weyr, every Hold, every Hall's got someone waiting. A me, Min'yal. Or better'n me, I hope. An E'sere," and for that revelation he makes a face, like the exiled bronzer's name tasted pretty bad. "We get the information to them. Put the power in their hands. Play it to the public after that. Need someone who's willing t'take on Harper." Still looking at his junior, the Weyrleader falls silent, tongue lathing his lips and then slipping behind them.

Hands pulled back into her lap where she can twist her ring unseen Miniyal looks across the room at nothing. "Harper politics are so weird. I know someone there who could probably offer assistance and at least let us know what's going on. Who's doing what and the like. I write to him all the time so it's not going to draw any attention if I contact him for you and see if he would be willing." Blinking and lifting a hand to push hair from her eyes she nods once. "If you get out of line, of course, in all this I'll be forced to take action. I mean, that goes without saying." This time her pause is more thoughtful as the ring goes round and round. "What do you want to happen at Five Mines? Why didn't you do anything before?"

"Write him, then," is easy for R'vain to say, to slip in there before Miniyal changes tracks from Harper assistance to moderate threats. At the moderate threat the Weyrleader straightens his back, elbow slipping off of the table, and blinks-- and then another question comes before he can get out much of a reply besides a surprised little grunt. "Five Mines," he says, as if he has to head the topic with a title. "Sort out refugees from real criminals and handle 'em each by turns. S'what I /want./ What I /could do/ then-- " He looks at her maps, suddenly, the first time that he turns his gaze away in order to hide his own eyes, not to spare hers. Much more quietly of a sudden, he goes on. "-- I didn't do, because I had too much t'lose."

"I'll get a letter out tomorrow." Just like that. Well, the one thing she is good at is writing letters after all. She watches his reaction to his other words with a neutral expression as if Miniyal could care less what he decides about anything. "It's all right you know. To not do something. Even if it turns out it was a mistake. We all make mistakes. Sometimes the mistake is made when you do nothing. Sometimes when you do anything." The last sentence is one of those that doesn't have to be anything but simple because it's clear she speaks from personal experience. Done, at least for now, with tossing out one question after another she settles into silence and staring across the room.

"It ain't all right," rumbles R'vain, remorselessly. Nor is he resigned. He looks up, grinning, to find that Miniyal's looking elsewhere; he grins at her anyway. "But s'done. Ain't goin' t'go back and muck with it. Now-- " His chin comes up and in an uncharacteristic way he looks at her down the bend of his nose, brows lowering. "What d'you mean, bout me getting out of line? What line you got in mind?"

Miniyal's attention remains on the room around her. The silence and the dark and the smell that were not welcoming to the Weyrleader wrap her up like a blanket and keep her safe. "Nothing," she answers without even turning to look at him. He does get a shake of her head between one statement and the next. "Old habit. Sometimes things just slip out and don't mean anything. I'm not going to cause trouble. Give you my word on it."

"No. Things slip out but they mean something, that's th'first thing 'bout you." R'vain bends forward again, using a bend of his knees to drag his chair a little closer to the table so he can prop his elbow farther onto the surface this time, and crutch his chin in his palm. "Min'yal, I got t'know. What line?"

"Why? I said I wouldn't cause trouble. I'm not going to stab you in the back." Miniyal blinks and refocuses on what's close. Table, maps, ring, R'vain. "What exactly do you think you will be doing that you need to know?" But he doesn't get time to answer. Instead she closes her eyes a moment and then speaks. "Don't turn into them. Don't work so hard to defeat something that you become what you were fighting against."

"I dunno, because I got no idea-- " But then she's speaking, and spoken, and R'vain sinks back into the embrace (inadequate as it is) of his chair, arms folding. His expression is mixed, brows furrowed, one corner of his mouth twitching like the threat of a smile. Inhale. Exhale. No smile comes out. "What /am/ I, Min'yal, y'figure?"

"What are you? An ass. But I've told you that already repeatedly and you're bored of my best lines." There's a little sigh as if it's so much work. For Miniyal it is always so much work to carry on a conversation. One booted foot kicks at the stone underneath with a scuffed toe. It serves the fidgeting requirement as she's got her hands folded still in her lap.

"Min--" He does not mean to nickname her; it's just that he begins a protest using her name as its form, and gives up protesting before more than one syllable's accomplished. He sighs, too, heavily and largely, then picks up his chin. "Should get sleep," he rumbles, palms on the table's surface but not yet pressed down in the manner of one getting up, not yet. "Try t'make a plan for goin' t'th'hold." Is there any question what hold he means?

"Yea. I should, I don't know. Sit here some more. A pleasure talking to you, sir." He gets no sarcasm, but there's been very little of it tonight anyway. Miniyal's just off her game and everyone suffers for it. A shame. A tragedy. Since he's announced his departure she doesn't have to move and so doesn't. Other than to breath. Since she's not dead and all.

It might be up for debate. "Min'yal," he growls, though the growl is a complaint more than a warning, like the growl of a worried beast too fond of its troubled carekeeper. Up and down he looks her and lets out a huff of steam through flared nostrils; for lack of better entre he asks, "What're th'maps?"

Looking down at the scraps of hide is a good excuse to not look anywhere else. "The hold." If he won't name it Miniyal won't either. "Talked to people who'd been there. Lived there or had family and such. Piecing them together. Can't guarantee accuracy without going there myself. Surrounding area as best as it is remembered." One finger taps the scrap on the top. "Just trying to stay busy, sir. Trying to hold on."

R'vain looks at the maps some more, now that he knows what they are, or what they should be. "If I wake up thinkin' this wasn't a dream--" And now he does get to his feet, pressing himself up with those palms readied on the table's surface, a small pop sounded somewhere in his lower back. "-- we're all goin' t'be busy enough soon, I can't help but figure. And holdin' on like th'wind ain't never blown."

"Yes, well, it's just-" Stopping here she shakes her head and pulls the scraps closer. "Don't get too excited. I didn't find too many people. I thought we might have a map in here, but we don't. It's possibly inaccurate. If I could go there. . ." But she can't. And wouldn't try because it's not her way at all. "Busy is subjective. I'm sorry, sir. You were trying to leave. I didn't mean to keep you."

"Ain't about those, Min'yal. You keep finding people, make 'em th'best you can f'now." R'vain unhands the table and slips out from between it and his chair, tucking the latter in with that same careless motion. "You don't forget," he remarks, airily. "What I said before. Little at a time. I know some of those men, seconds and also-flews. I got t'sleep. Got t'be ready t'talk." He winks. /Winks./ Half-nods to her, and turns to start his slow, careful (as if the shelves, the tables, the walls might fall in upon him) walk out.

She sits still and waits for him to leave. There's a little nod as if he only nodded and there was no wink. It's only when the Weyrleader has left records that Miniyal shoves scraps of hide aside so there's room for her to fold her arms and rest her head on them. Easy to sit still and easy enough once her eyes are dry to take up her work again.

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Comments

( 2 opinions — Say it like you mean it. )
roatelgari
Aug. 5th, 2007 01:57 am (UTC)
Oh man, this was so incredibly sweet. I really enjoyed how furious R'vain is in contrast to how woeful Miniyal is. I think they've reached a new peak where they're actually allowed to be openly friendly towards one another.

The plan makes me glee.
miniyal
Aug. 5th, 2007 05:24 pm (UTC)
Sure, the plan makes you glee. I bet if Min had told Roa the plan she would have been told she was too sneaky for her own good! :p

( 2 opinions — Say it like you mean it. )