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Rumours Of His Death...

Location: North Weyr
Time: Evening on Day 22, Month 2, Turn 4
Players: Roa and Penny
Scene: Penny alerts the Weyrwoman to the current state of the Headmaster.

It's a little bit after dinner and the weyrwoman is spending the eating hours in her weyr reading over a stack of hides that has begun to accumulate due to hours spent with things (and very small people) that were not weyrwork-related. The very small time-sucking person is asleep in a nest of blankets on the couch and Roa is reading nearby. On a stone couch a bit away, Tialith reclines, eyes open, gaze thoughtful and whirling a little bit more quickly than her relaxed curl warrants.

Penny makes no effort toward speed as she approaches the weyr, trudging through the snow with a sort of monotonously steady pace. She climbs the steps to the Weyrwoman's ledge, eyes seeking out the lights in the gaps of the heavy curtains keeping out the cold. She makes no attempt to hail the Weyrwoman, perhaps trusting to Tialith for once to detect her presence as she approaches. She just looks tired, underneath all her layers of winter gear, and underneath the weariness, she looks stretched about to the point of snapping.

Tialith has done her job, or the snapping of the curtain has, and Roa turns her head as a bundled Penny appears. She pushes up to her knees to peer over the back of the couch. "Come in," she instructs. "You'll have something hot to drink and then tell me what's happened now."

Penny lifts a gloved hand to wipe at her face, as if brushing away cold and snow and the past several hours all at once. "You've heard--" she begins, letting her hand fall again and blinking at the weyrwoman. "What've you heard?" Numbly, stiff fingers make to pull off her gloves, rather clumsily.

"Nothing useful at all," Roa sighs. She double-checks the blankets around Jashin and that they'll serve as a bumper if he wriggles, and then she stands and moves over to the fire to pour two mugs of bollian tea. "He's dying. He has a toothache. He's attending an ailing student. He's getting Neiran expelled..." she scowls down at the steaming water.

In the clumsiness of cold fingers, Penny drops one of her gloves, but rather than stoop immediately to pick it up, she just stops, head angled down so that she can stare at it -- and, conveniently, have a reason not to look at Roa. "He's not dying," she says, in a small sort of voice. "He's not-- He's... had surgery." She stops long enough to breathe, take a slow breath, swallow. "Appendicitis, says Neiran. He-- he cut him open and--" Now she does close her eyes, wrenching herself back into control with an effort. "You're making tea, right?" The last is an attempt to inject some form of humor into things, an outlet that won't leave her crying on the poor weyrwoman again.

There's a small nod for the final question. "I am," she agrees softly. "Appendicitis. But if he's through the surgery," she swallows as she watches the water in the mugs slowly darken, "then he'll be fine. Neiran's very good at what he does." Unaware, one hand brushes lightly over her own belly before falling to her side. "Come sit down for a moment. If you're here you've been chased off anyhow and that means he isn't seeing anybody yet." There's another pause before she notes, "We should write to Kelar and the others."

Too late, perhaps, Penny casts a glance at the little Weyrwoman, eyes flicking to the jumble of blankets on the couch that holds her son. She says nothing, though, doesn't try to apologize for her reference to the somewhat barbaric act of cutting people open, and instead crosses her arms across her midsection, hugging them to herself. "I don't -want- to write to Kelar," she says, and this time there's a wobble in her voice, making her sound quite petulant indeed. She must hear how she sounds, however, for she gives an exasperated noise in her throat and moves across the room a little, toward the hearth, where she can strip off her coat and stare at the fire. "Roa, I've known him my whole life. I've never seen him--" Her lips tighten. "He's supposed to be the--" Hero? Penny doesn't finish the sentence, fingers tightening as she crosses her arms once more, dropping her coat to the floor next to the hearth.

"He is who he's ever been. He just happens to be drugged out of his gourd at the moment while being it." The weyrwoman picks up the two mugs. "Off with your coat," she instructs as she carries the tea over and holds one out to Penny. "If he's placed you on a pedestal that you don't wish to be on, then maybe this is an opportunity to demonstrate that your feet can manage a bit better on the ground than he thought."

Penny takes the cup of tea gingerly, but does not sip from it yet, instead watching Roa as she speaks. Her mouth tries to smile for a second, and she gives a sound a bit like a laugh, and then quickly shakes her head and says in a rush, "He put me up there for a reason, I can't--" But she stops herself, head tilted down again. "They told me he was -dead-, the first I heard was that he'd..." Perhaps she's already cried herself out somewhere else, or perhaps she's merely a bit tougher than she was the last time she was here, for though her voice wobbles, when she finally swallows and lifts her head again, her eyes are dry. She lifts her cup finally for a cautious sip of the tea, restorative, calming. "I've already told a few of the students that he'll be fine, so hopefully the rumor mongerers will get ahold of it and take care of it for us. I've told Bailie." Not even a flicker, for that name. "But Kelar-- yes. They'll need to know, before they hear something else." And, like Penny, have to spend heart-stopping moments not knowing Sefton's fate.

"Did you," Roa replies, her own tone equally bland when it comes to Bailie. "That was kind of you. I can write to Kelar, if you think that'll be all right. I could...should I go, do you think? Or would that be over-...too much?" She turns her mug slowly in her hands before taking a small sip of her own. "You're stronger than you give yourself credit for, I think."

"I don't know," Penny replies, sinking down to sit on the edge of the hearth, her back to the fire as she hunches a little over her mug. "Perhaps send a message, and visit yourself when you have good news to tell them." There's no 'we' involved in her words at any stage -- apparently, she's not leaving even to visit home. Roa's words earn her a bit of a rueful smile, a little of Penny's usual color returning to her face. "Not when it comes to Sefton," she says, wryly, clearing her throat when it rattles a bit. "It's all right. My father used to tell me that strength is, now and then, greatly overrated." Coming from the powerfully-built Mastersmith, odd advice indeed.

There's no immediate answer forthcoming as Roa moves to seat herself. She takes up a spot on the couch again, leaning forward so as to better face Penny. "I suspect when they get the news, Kelar will be here in a blink anyhow whether he's sent for or not. Strength is...I don't know. It's give and take, I guess. When one person falters, the other one steps forward, and back and forth. If you can manage to be strong for him, do it. If not...then not."

While I was waiting there all I could think about was that the last thing we did was -fight-." Penny says the word as if it's something truly distasteful, and as if to wash it away she lifts her mug for another swallow of tea. "I think..." She hesitates here, lifting her gaze so she can look at Roa. "I think I always thought that somehow this was all going to change. The some time in the future we'd... figure it out, or something, and things would change." She shakes her head, eyes lifting to the ceiling for a moment. "There's no change though. It is what it is." She's quiet a second following that, and then takes a quick breath, manner changing and giving way to briskness. "Well. I don't want to stay, he just told me that the weyrleaders should know, and-- well, I thought -you- should know. Neiran will probably try to kick me out again if I go back, but I want to be there anyway. I know what it's like waking up in that place alone." Though the irony is not lost on her -- Roa, of course, knows the feeling well herself.

Roa shifts in her seat and swallows down another mouthful of tea. "Of course. Go. Penny will you...if it's truly not going to change...what will you do?" She sets the mug down on the table to reach, instead, for hide and stylus. "I'll write him now. I imagine he'll be here by morning. Steel yourself, and warn Sefton if he wakes enough for such things. I'd...if you don't mind, I'd like to know when he's accepting other visitors."

"I... don't know," Penny murmurs, eyes focused somewhere in the intervening space between her and the weyrwoman. A moment later, her gaze snaps back into focus, and she looks back up at Roa with a rueful sort of smile. "I really don't know." She hauls herself to her feet again, with a little groan, scooping up her coat as she goes. She drains the last of her tea despite its temperature, and sets the cup down. "Don't worry," she says, a bit of fondness in her nod toward the weyrwoman. "You'll be the first. I'll keep you posted as best I can. And-- thanks for the tea." She slips her arms back through the sleeves of her coat as she makes to leave.

"Of course," Roa agrees. "Thank you for telling me. I wish he was feeling better. It won't be good hitting him upside the head when he's incapacitated." The weyrwoman smiles faintly and shakes her head. "Go. And stop in again if you need somewhere quiet to be that isn't the infirmary. Well," a tiny glance towards the little boy sleeping in the blankets, "usually quiet."

The smile quirks wider for a second. "Thanks," Penny says to the offer of a place to hide out. Her gaze follows Roa's to the sleeping baby, and the smile touches a bit lopsided. "One of these days I'm going to have to meet him properly, aren't I?" she murmurs. "Just-- not today, I don't think." That last is said somewhat wryly, and she lifts a hand in farewell before picking a wide route around Tialith and making her way back out into the bowl.

"One of these days, I'd like that. So would he." Roa lifts her hand in a wave. "But not today." As Penny slips away the weyrwoman turns her attention to Kelar's letter and, with slightly furrowed brow, begins to write.




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