Va'os, R'zel


Talk of sick riders and a long-dead harper leads to sorting out a little matter for Ocelot Wing.


It is afternoon of the fourth day of the eighth month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.


Archive Library, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 29 Mar 2018 23:00




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.

Another dreary wintry day and at least it suits the morale of the Weyr of late! While activity bustles elsewhere, here in the library it's predictably more subdued and quiet. Perfect for Va'os' needs and it's not all "work" related for the Weyrleader. He's probably sporting another mild hangover, but it's certainly an improvement from his brush with whatever it is that has gone through (and killed) some of Southern's riders. Sitting on one of the overstuffed chairs, he's surrounded by a few dusty looking ledgers but the book he's currently holding and casually reading looks to be something more like a journal.

The door opens and R'zel enters. He's carrying a bundle of hides and his writing case. He does not wear the face of a happy man as he sits down and arranges all these on a table; in fact, he's looking more than a little worried. The hide that he's got directly in front of him is Ocelot's roster, the one that records who's in the wing, annotated to show when someone is sick or injured. He stares at it for a minute, but its contents stubbornly refuse to change. Then he gets up and makes for the food-cart, murmuring, 'Afternoon, sir," as he passes the Weyrleader.

"Afternoon, R'zel." Va'os quips back without so much as a quick peek over the edge of the journal. "Y'know… I'd be mortified if I'd left my personal journal in a place as public as this. Never know who'd read it." Like him! But the journal (which is not his), is snapped shut and it's set aside without another look. "And you also look like somethings eating at you." Nothing new, right? They're all in the same boat and all coping in their own ways.

R'zel presses his lips together and turns back towards the Weyrleader. "I've just come from the Infirmary." He keeps his voice low, as befits a library, while he returns to where Va'os is sitting. "Ocelot has three people in there at the moment, none of them from Fall. It's all this sickness. Keitrill's… really not doing well." The brownrider in question is the person R'zel chose as an acting wingsecond while K'vvan was out through injury a while back; she's known to be as solid as the proverbial rock in Threadfall.

Well there's some sobering news and it comes as no big surprise to Va'os. Rather than gesture for R'zel to sit with him, he'll rise to his feet. Hopefully he has no issues with personal space, because he'll reach out to clasp his hand firmly to the younger bronzerider's shoulder in a supportive, sympathetic manner. He's careful to keep his voice lowered as well. "I'd heard more where ill but hadn't got the official report yet…" Though this may count as it. With his free hand, he'll suggest they go to where R'zel had set up. "And I'm sorry to hear of Keitril's condition. When did she and the others fall ill? I'd three go in Jaguar, not long after we turfed the refugees."

"I should think two thirds of us have had a bit of whatever it is, but most of us were better after a day or so, or just sick on and off. But Keitrill was ill for several sevendays, and she seemed to be getting better at last. She was pestering the healers to declare her fit to fly yesterday, and today she's unconscious." R'zel shakes his head as if he can scarcely believe it. "P'her and Whitney both got sick last night, but they're not as bad as Keitrill, thank Faranth. How are your three doing?"

Va'os grimaces, "It's not something I'd want to revisit anytime soon…" he admits, from his own personal experience with falling ill. He points to the hidework R'zel brought with him and quirks a brow. "You mind?" If he takes a peek… since he's already settling into one of the chairs. A low sigh, "Damn, that is real rough about Keitrill, R'zel. Let's hope she recovers… I don't know how another death is going to go over. It's a wonder we haven't had an outcry over it." Maybe there is and it's just a quiet one? "Last report I got on my three is that they're stable. Not recovered but not… worsening either."

"I hope they'll be out of the woods soon, then." R'zel pushes the roster across to Va'os. Fortunately, there's only one out injured at present - though poor G'lee and brown Kurlith are still on the list with their entry annotated with a date of death - Ocelot's most recent casualty. "It's such a peculiar thing, the healers not knowing what it is. I can't help wishing I could send my sick people somewhere else to recuperate. But then, if it is infectious, I suppose we might spread it." He frowns at what he's just said.

Va'os gives a small appreciative nod when R'zel hands over the roster and he'll be silent while he goes over the notes. G'lee's name and the annotation has him lingering there a moment before he moves on, mouth set in a grim line compared to his usual wry smirk. "Plus Healers don't usually like to move their patients. They've never settled on whether or not we should be going into quarantine or not. It's strange but… has there been any news on illness in Black Rock? Or anywhere else?" he comments off hand, only to grimace and shake his head. "Faranth help us all if it does spread. We can hold Southern for now but…" If it spreads to the north?

R'zel shakes his head again. "I don't think it's happening elsewhere. I specifically asked the journeyman who's looking after Keitrill about that, because my mother wants a visit and I really don't want to be responsible for spreading it to the Harper Hall. But apparently there's no evidence of anyone catching it from anyone else." Mentioning the Harper Hall sets some thought process in operation; after a few seconds, he adds, "He said they're running out of things to look for."

"Has… anyone given thought to how odd it is that it's centralized?" Va'os' is frowning heavily now, very much in the state of sensing something but unable to put an exact finger on it. "I mean, I'm no Healer and I've faith in the ones we have here and in the Hall but it's just… Something is off about this. You think they'd get offended if we requested a full list? Or if we have someone actually write it all out. Who got sick and when and how many times. Recovered, not recovered and…" A slow inhale of breath to be exhaled on the final note. "Dead." His shoulders shrug. "Just an idea since these…" His finger taps on the roster R'zel handed him. "Are important but separated by Wings. Maybe if we stick 'em all together… we can see a pattern?" His gaze lifts to meet R'zel's, to see if the bronzerider agrees or has his own suggestions.

R'zel bites his lip for a second before speaking. "That's a good idea. When I was an apprentice, they taught us a bit about investigating things, and looking for patterns was something that used to come up." He takes a deep thoughtful breath. "Our instructor used to quote an ancient Master - one of those people that's so far back in time that the only thing we know about him is something he's supposed to have said. It was something like, 'If you eliminate the impossible, then whatever remains, however unlikely, will be the truth.'"

Va'os' smirk returns, "Huh. Not a bad way of putting it…" he admits after a moment and carefully slides the roster back over to R'zel. Leaning back, he folds one leg over his knee and settles his hands folded in his lap. The look he gives the younger bronzerider lingers, almost studious as he mulls something over in his (not empty!) head. "Who's currently leading Ocelot?" It's a TRAP! He'd know the answer, but he's up to something.

R'zel looks a little puzzled at the question; perhaps he thinks it's the kind of thing a Weyrleader might naturally know. "Well, until such time as you make an appointment, I am. I was 'second before Vani, so…" So he is, even if nothing was officially said about that. "I've been leading in Fall, and we've carved up the other duties between us."

"Want to make it official, then?" Va'os does enjoy throwing a good curveball into the mix of things and now is no exception! R'zel might've expected it, maybe? Or not! "I'll count it as 'making an appointment' by just straight up asking." It may upset a few folk, but then he's used to that too. He didn't exactly start his tenure as Weyrleader without stirring the pot quite thoroughly by stealing D'wane outright from Ocelot! "If you've been 'leading 'em for awhile now, don't see why you're not a good fit."

R'zel doesn't really have to think about that: whether he expected it or not, it was clearly at least a possibility, and he's done a fair bit of thinking and heart-searching about how he'd respond if the offer were to be made. Still, there's a moment of silence before the reply. "Thank you, sir, I do, and I'll do my best by the Wing."

And just like that, Ocelot has an official Wingleader! Well, R'zel will still have to get the right knot but in Va'os' head the arrangement is done. "Sounds like you already are, if you ask me…" he remarks with a crooked smirk. Rising from his chair, he'll nod to that roster. "And maybe the first order of business will be to look into gathering what information we have. Recorded and rumoured and we'll go from there. Maybe there's some hope for an answer…" He shakes his head. "I need to get back to some other issues. Clear skies, R'zel and let's hope those in the infirmary recover."

"Yes, indeed." R'zel's response to that hope is heartfelt. He stands politely as the Weyrleader moves to depart, gathering up that roster as he does so. Knot or no knot, the hidework is still going to get done.

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