Catryn, T'ral


T'ral is working on the shipweyr when he gets The Summons to attend Catryn.


It is morning of the seventeenth day of the fifth month of the seventh turn of the 12th pass.


Southern Weyr

OOC Date 14 Mar 2016 07:00


catryn_NotBuyingIt.jpg t-ral_surprise.jpg

“Darling, when I said ‘give me a hand’, I meant give me your hand.


Archive Library

Where once books reigned supreme, this open space is now dominated by a stalwart skybroom reaching to the sky through a broken ceiling. What was once evidence of collapse is now ornately carved with engraved ivy, matched by a clever contraption of stone that allows the gap to be closed in inclement weather. A small garden occupies the space around the tree-trunk, all manicured bushes and flowering shrubbery enclosed by a grated gutter. The walls are lined with bookcases, while a spiral staircase leans on the western wall to wind upwards to the second level. Tucked in the corners and scattered in the main areas are tables and chairs, cafe-style, and comfortably worn overstuffed armchairs. It is the perfect place for individuals to gather, to enjoy the offerings of the food-cart or a spirited conversation.

It is late morning of the nineteenth day of the fifth month of the seventh turn of the 12th pass. The day is dreary and overcast. A warm autumn rain is falling down in soft drizzles.

The skylights are closed this morning and the soft pattering of rain can be heard against the glass high above the library. Apprentices are busy shelving books and tidying up study carrels, Master Greivan is manning the reference desk, the Weyrharper is bustling about from meeting to meeting to and from the War Room, patrons are quietly reading and murmuring over their klah and scones — it’s a typical rainy day at Southern and an average day in the library. Except for one thing. Catryn is in labor.

Not active labor, but she had her first true contraction over a candlemark ago. She’s pulling a wooden cart filled with books through the stacks when, finally, a second contraction causes her to stop what she’s doing and wait for another. Nothing. Catryn blinks. Something’s… different. The sensation isn’t like anything she’s felt before during her pregnancy, but she hasn’t time to think about it. There are books to be shelved and these items need to go in a very specific location. Twisting a bit, she grabs hold of two books and reaches upward to slide them onto the shelf.

Meanwhile, Maktaba winks ::between:: to find Esanth.

T’ral has been up since before dawn and at the site of the strange mooring on a green terrace in Southern’s autumn drear. He’s a familiar sight to the crew building the shipweyr, lo these several sevens it has been taking shape. He’s not exactly in the way, but after the third time he struck his hand with a hammer, they set him to less injurious tasks. The apprentices love him. And hate him. Love him because he sets to tasks they’re dreading with gusto, hauling, sorting and cleaning. You know, non-hammer stuff. Hate him because he sets to tasks they’re dreading with gusto. Who likes hauling, sorting and cleaning? A man building his home is who. And while he got rather in the way of more skilled and focused workers, T’ral has become the defacto foreman of the grumbling apprentices who he has in his short tenure drilling them forged into an angsty teen dynamo force. Which suits the journeymen just fine… wrangling apprentices is no fun.

Unless you try to make it fun. T’ral is taking his turn at pushing a wheelbarrow down the jouncing trail from above the shipweyr to the mound of tarped-over caliche that’s in the shelter of what will soon be Esanth’s couch. There’s an apprentice in the belly of that barrow, holding on white knuckled as they careen down the hill, racing another pair. T’ral makes a feigned kick at the other apprentice pushing and the other wagon responds — this time — by putting on more speed rather than evading. The gaggle of them make couchfall within paces of one another, but the relay isn’t over. Shovels rattle and bite into the pale, chalky slope, dishing dusty shovel-loads into vacant barrow bellies. T’ral is on tarp duty when Maktaba blinks in and whirs around Esanth’s head. The blue sits calmly observing the work of the Smiths and his rider. He rumbles at Maktaba’s arrival. Shouted exhortations to T’ral’s partner continue, but he is watching Maktaba. A thrill licks up his spine.

Maktaba chirps a few times to attract Esanth’s attention before settling ‘tween his two favorite silvery blue neckridges. The site of the little brown isn’t anything new, but the way he’s trilling is different. He’s almost nervous. Antsy. Twitchy when he starts to chitter at his big blue brother. What would normally pass as A Moment between dragon and firelizard turns into something serious when Kitap winks in from ::between:: next. He looks lost, poor Kitap. That is, until he spots Esanth and begins to circle him. Very rarely does Kitap ever venture out of the library without Catryn close by — something is odd about all of this. Both flizzen, however, are bombarding the blue with images of Catryn and a strong sense of confusion — what’s wrong? What’s wrong with Catryn? Why does she stop to take deep breaths? Why does she feel nervous? Why, why, Esanth why?

And Kitap? T’ral’s shouting falls off and he’s watching the two ‘lizards flit and settle, chittering at Esanth who relays the images they’re sharing. Is it time? There’s a flash along nerves, adrenaline. The tarp rustles and T’ral’s gone, the words: ‘It’s time,’ hanging in the air where he stood moments ago. Thump thump thump. T’ral is banging on the wall separating couch from living quarters. “Journeyman! Koeganak! It’s time!” The Journeyman sticks his head through the door, all sawdust and splinters, a glow affixed to his visor, “Well what are you waiting for, son?” T’ral blinks. He twitches, a successful attempt to move in every direction at once. “Go!” T’ral shakes himself and hollers a farewell at the apprentices as he streaks by. “We’ll have this ready for ya!” The Journeyman’s words follow T’ral as he clambers up Esanth’s straps. The blue is already rising, lumbering up to pivot and launch off of the terrace half a pace ahead of him. Hang on to your tails, flizzen!

Two more contractions. Fifteen minutes apart. Catryn in in the middle of a stretch to place a book on the top shelf when another contraction tightens and relays a stronger sense of discomfort this time. Whoa. That one caught and kept her attention. She almost fumbles the book as she leans against the shelf for balance and to breathe through this one. Long, slow breaths. In and out. In and out. Catryn glances at the wooden cart and then motions for one of her apprentices to draw near. A young gal hurries over and notes that look in the archivist’s eye, quickly collecting the book from her hand before it’s dropped. “Briella, finish shelving these books please. In this section only.” The apprentice nods just as Catryn starts walking through the stacks toward the reference desk where Greivan sits. He looks up at her from his glasses and then promptly takes them off when he sees her pausing to let another contraction pass, this time right in the middle of the library where people can see. “Catryn?” She waves a hand at her superior. “I know. I’m going.” That last bit said upon an exhaled breath. And when the sensation passes, she hurries — as fast as a pregnant woman can — to her office. Greivan looks a bit irritated as he eyes the doorway expecting a certain someone to burst through in a fit of flames.

From out in the hall the sound of ringing bootheels and voices raised in alarm and affront. Another voice raised in what sound like ameliorating tones. Cue that fiery entrance. BAM! Impact. The door swings open, not slamming due to its great and august weight, but swinging wide with a distinct CREEEEEEAK and whoosh. A vanguard of firelizards pour in over the head of T’ral who spills into the room, rolling across the door on his shoulders. Momentum carries him into a skid on the runner that sits athwart the door and only a pinwheeling arm keeps his balance. The other arm is flung out, a valise hanging as counterweight to headlong career. “Where is she!?” He needn’t ask, the firelizards are streaming towards Catryn’s office. He beats feet, pages of hides fluttering from tables in the wind of his passage. There might be something like a greeting tossed at Greivan as the bluerider passes. “Cate?!” Greivan’s response: “Shhhhhh!” The old archivist toad looks down, muttering imprecations to himself.

When T’ral opens the door, the archivist isn’t sitting behind her desk, but rather off to the side in a visitor’s chair as she breathes through yet another contraction. Her eyes are closed, both hands are on her belly, and she’s focused for next minute until the discomfort passes. She flicks open her eyes and glances over at the sandglass before looking over at T’ral with relief. “Oh good, you’re here.” Hefting herself to her feet, Catryn grabs her coat from the coat rack and begins to slip her arms into the sleeves. “Darling, we need to go to the infirmary.” A beat, “Would you give me a hand?” The firelizards sense there’s something going on given how they’re all perched in various nooks with glittering reddish-brown eyes. Maktaba chirps. He chirps at T’ral, a tone that’s a mix of agitation and helplessness.

Adrenaline is pumping along nicely. He’s been drilling for this. And here it is. The valise is set down and Catryn helped to her feet, into her jacket. He guides her hand to his shoulder as he crouches and fishes in a side pocket of the valise. “Mak. C’mere. It’s okay.” Sort of. Catryn is going to be miserable soon. Scritches delivered. A note attached. Did Catryn notice T’ral trembling? It’s the adrenaline. “Off you go.” The flizzen are called in succession, sent off to notify the relevant parties. Maktaba to Elyse (if he’ll go). Chicarinae to Mathias. Kitap to Colton (Colton might not get the happy news for a while — that’s what the Journeyman gets!). Esanth will notify Sahizath and Niamyth and other dragonriders. Alhena to the Weyrsmith. Renalde is in the infirmary and they’ll see him soon enough, so Alarph remains with T’ral and Catryn. The little blue hops from one foot to another, his eyes a rapid swirl of many colors — a palette of emotions likely sampled from his person. Checklists flicker through the bluerider’s mind. Summaries of Healer Hall reports. Plans. Contingency plans. T’ral is prepared. Mechanically. “How far apart are they?” He straightens from his crouch, offering Catryn his arm, dark eyes intent as they stick on the sandglass.

Maktaba actually listens to T’ral this time and pops ::between:: to deliver one very important message to Elyse, who is probably lecturing in a class or busying herself with the other Harpers in the craft complex. Catryn draws in another breath when she can feel another wave of discomfort about to grip her body and then grabs hold of T’ral’s elbow. “Darling, when I said ‘give me a hand’, I meant give me your hand.” She swipes T’ral’s right hand and squeeeeezes it during the worst part of the contraction, but doesn’t let him go just yet. Maybe not again until this entire event is over. “They’re getting closer. Ten minutes or so, it’s difficult to time them when my eyes are shut.” Already she sounds a bit breathless. “Let’s go. Send Alarph to find Tristram?” The man’s been buzzing about all morning.

“Wait wait wait wait ow!” T’ral grits his teeth through Catryn’s hand squeeze. She’s just born down on the hand he smashed (three times) with a hammer out at the worksite. He turns the grimace into a smile, voice a bit squeaky as he unclenches, “How long,” squeak, “Have they been coming?” He flexes his hand in Catryn’s carefully, working his jaw as is if that would fix the eye-watering pain by sympathetic motion. “Alhena’s gone to the Weyrharper.” She, like most other females, is enamored of the man. It made sense to send her. The little green probably ::betweened:: faster somehow. T’ral notes the time on the glass and nods. With no contractions to otherwise distract him, all T’ral feels is the flutter of nerves in his belly. Excitement. “I don’t think I’ve felt like this since right before I got to fly with Esanth the first time.”

“I had my first contraction a few candlemarks ago.” Catryn admits as they walk through the stacks en route to the door. “I didn’t know what it was at first, then I had another about a candlemark later.” Keep Alarph away from her hands in case she needs to squeeze something in a hurry. As they walk past the reference desk, Greivan is already up and out of his chair flagging down the pair as he rounds the desk. Catryn stops and looks at the older man, but doesn't have much time to react when Greivan is suddenly giving her a hug. A hug. “Let us know when we can visit.” After the baby is born, that is. “You will be missed.” Greivan let’s go of Catryn and might even offer T’ral’s arm a squeeze before straightening and clearing his throat rather officiously. “Well, don’t just stand there. Take her to the infirmary!” Gruff as ever, ol’ Greivan. Perhaps masking that moment he shared with his favorite Journeyman. “Thank you, sir.” Catryn says with a small smile and starts leading T’ral out of the library. And when they’re in the corridor, she’s able to spare a laugh. “I think you really do bring out the best and wor—” Squeeeeeeeeezing his hand again, she can’t finish her sentence.

A second surprise on a day of surprises, a hug from Greivan. T’ral stands very still, looking one way, then the other. This would be exactly when Sven’s murderer would pounce — when something as distracting as That Hug drew everyone’s attention. No shadows-lurking killer emerges and T’ral straightens under Greivan’s gruff exhortations. T’ral isn’t interested in lollygagging and only nods at the officious old toad… who’d revealed a gooey middle. Who knew? Out in the hall, brows lift with a bit of a wide-eyed blink. “Candlemarks? Plural.” What are we standing around for, indeed!? Catryn needs to get to the infirmary! It’s not that urgent until they’re closer, he knows, but … it could step up any time! Like, “Ow, Cap. OW. Wait.” Now. “Lemme give you my,” Hnnnghh, “Other hand,” he swaps the grip when Catryn’s contraction passes, puffing out a breath as he surreptitiously tests that squished and squeezed hand. He smiles, wincing. “There.” He gives her hand a shake and an experimental squeeze to test the grip. A nod. He brushes hair from Catryn’s brow. That feeling wells up again, the one that tests his equilibrium when he catches Catryn’s eyes. He opens his mouth to say something and finds himself at a loss, words dissolving into a nervous smile. That shifts rapidly to alarm, “The bag!” He forgot the bag! What a rookie move. He looks up the hall… no one. Down the hall… no one. Dammit. CATE.

“Well, go get it…” Catryn lets go of T’ral’s hand and keeps walking in the direction of the infirmary. She’s not that interested in lollygagging around either, especially when all she wants to do is sit down. “You’ll catch up before I even get there. It’s not like I can move that fast anyway.” One hand shoos T’ral back toward the library while the other smooths over the side of her belly when the baby presses against her hand. She turns and starts walking down the hallway again with her hand resting in that same spot. “That’s your father, darling.” Is then murmured to Mo. “Brilliant threadfighter, inept carpenter. Yet always thinking.” And forgetting something. Catch thee up, bluerider!

BAM. T’ral hits the door and disappears within, appearing moments later with an apology trailing behind him. NEVERMIND WHO HE BOWLED OVER. T’ral catches up with Catryn before she’s gone far, boot heels ringing and quieting alternately where the hall’s floor runners stop and start. Whew. There. NOW he’s ready. He holds his hand to Catryn, it’s almost like an invitation to dance. The procreation polka? No. The contraction can-can? NOT THAT T’RAL IS THINKING ANY OF THIS. No, his mind is rather full of thoughts and images, scenarios with one common through line, Stars, I love this woman. He should remember this sentiment and hang on to it as labor… intensifies. Through the hall, a crossing, dog-leg near the Caverns, the door to the infirmary is just there.

Catryn accepts T’ral’s hand as they venture down the corridor that leads to the infirmary’s entrance. When the door comes into view, her heart skips a beat when one single thought becomes very clear in her mind. The next time she steps foot into this hallway she’ll be a mother. And T’ral, a father. The door is held open for her and she steps through just as another contraction makes it difficult to breathe, prompting the healers to help escort her into the labor and delivery room with smiles and words of encouragement. Further down the hallway is the familiar clack-clack-clacking of heels and murmuring voices of those who are anxious to meet the newest member of their family. It’s only a matter of time.

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