Majel, Mayte


Majel and Mayte have their first real conversation since meeting as candidates. Spoiler alert: They still struggle to relate to one another.


It is evening of the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month of the first turn of the 12th pass.


Mirror Cavern, Igen Weyr

OOC Date


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Mirror Cavern

Cordoned off from the lake under a cape of stone is a sheltered grotto sized like a dragon weyr. Running water dribbles over the entrance not in any great torrent but lesser strings of liquid. Within, isolated waters assume a perfectly protected calmness pitching prisms of refracted light onto the walls and dome-like ceiling. How they flash when the pool's crystal clear surface is disturbed, serpents of light scattering like tunnel snakes from a lantern. Surfaces are naturally unfinished which explains the varying depths, 2-12 feet, and ability to be comfortably seated. As with any small cavern sounds have a way of being amplified be they swim strokes or nuggets of gossip.

In Igen, autumn does not herald cool nights like in northern weyrs. Instead, it rains down heat like so many water drops, heat that sticks and mocks perspiration by trapping it to the skin. Ergo, when the day's work is done, it's common for many to seek refuge where they can, in cool climes. However, seeking coolness in the lake requires getting there, which requires going out into this miserable heat, so the crowd at the lake shore is smaller than one might expect, and the crowd in the Mirror Cavern is even smaller. In fact, Mayte has a lot of time and room to practice her backstroke, huffing along like a runner as she goes around in one circle, then figure-eights and changes the curve direction for a while. In a few laps, though, she VTOL-lines to a conveniently ledged place, dips her head in the water, and pauses for a few moments, looking absently through the Caverns.

Mayte's hardly the only weyrling having a restlessly warm night; following afternoon classes and an early dinner, Majel's been up-and-down between the bowl and Dyxath's new ledge for the earliest part of the evening, hauling little items from the stores and more notably, small pieces of furniture from the bazaar under her adopted grandmother's watchful, rheumy eyes. Her approach into the cavern is done smoothly in long, even strokes; she aims for a ledge in the shallows, eyebrows lifting briefly upon espying her fellow weyrling. It's a bit late to silently change course for another area without looking rude, however, so she gives a steady, "Good evening, " instead.

Whatever is bringing Mayte to swim restlessly around in circles has apparently not burned off. She runs a hand through her hair to shed as much water from it as possible, and looks only mildly disgruntled to see another person nearing her: as it turns out to be Majel, Mayte watches her quietly for a moment and then offers back, "Hello, Majel." What's that? Tones not in tune with being utterly delighted to see a fellow Weyrling? Mayte's breathing slows a little as she stands there, leaning against the rock wall. The silence but for the laps of water against the wall and a few murmurs sits heavily for a moment before Mayte ventures, "I heard you moved into your new weyr." As one who's been preoccupied with her own on top of other things. "Do you like it?"

"Moving, " Majel's quick to correct. "I'm not quite all moved in yet, but I did sleep up there last night. It's an acceptable arrangement and Dyxath likes where we're situated. I don't immediately adjust well to sleeping in different places, but I'm sure the quiet will grow on me." Somewhat awkwardly, she leans against the ledge, turning an appraising look onto the other. "Do you and Rhiscorath like yours?"

Mayte huhs quietly in acknowledgement and nods, but she does sound curious: "I would have thought over the Bazaar would be loud; y'know, boisterous. But then," there's a quirk of a grin on the edge of Mayte's frown, threatening to at least draw it even, "Anything's quieter than living with thirty-nine other dragons and their riders." The young woman reaches up to scratch idly at her shoulder, and shrugs, staring out over the water again. "Rhiscorath likes it. She wants more sand on her ledge, though." Because Rhiscorath's going to be difficult like that, says Mayte's sigh and then she coughs out a laugh (or maybe some water): "At least Igen isn't short on that, right?"

Majel makes a noise of agreement. "We chose a place that's fairly high up for that reason, to be honest. We get a good view without being hit by too much noise. What I meant, though, is that I'm the only person breathing in my sleeping quarters for the first time in two decades." Neither the dormitories nor either of the two barracks has really allowed for such isolation. There's a little, amused tug at the corners of her mouth: Igen certainly isn't short on sand. "Did the sandstorm we had this afternoon not deposit enough to suit her fancy?" she asks lightly. "If sand is what she desires, you're fortunate to be weyred here and not at say, Ista."

Mayte nods thoughtfully while listening and hums. "I've never been in a weyr over the Bazaar," she admits, hands falling to play in the water a little, flicking water back and forth. Jazz hands. The quiet that comes with sleeping alone again? Mayte slowly grins and shakes her head: "No more buckets getting knocked over in the middle of the night. No more flatulent noises, dragon or human. How could you miss it?" the last line is facetious, but Majel's next question gets a mildly unladylike snort, "I had to keep her from sitting out in it for a while. So far, she's keeping the sand out and the books in, but we'll see how long that lasts." The mention of Ista draws a curious glance: "Ista doesn't have a lot of sand? I thought it was an island Weyr." That's right, Mayte's a real Weyr-ite now, her mind thinking of where dragons live right off.

Hazel eyes narrow slightly as Majel takes in Mayte's admission, the play of her hands in the water. "You've been in a weyr that doesn't overlook the bazaar before, " she deduces carefully, "although I suppose you could be referring to your own. And no, I don't miss hearing things go bump in the night from all directions. Two of the pairs who took alcoves near mine snored something dreadful." Rhiscorath's preferences continue to amuse, but the bluerider returns Mayte's glance with an expectant look. "Ista has sandy beaches, but I don't think they get to experience regular sandstorms." Surely some geography was covered in harper classes, says that raised eyebrow.

Catching that look from Majel, Mayte flushes and purses her lips. To admit, or not? Well: "I had a friend, once. Had too much to drink or whatever, so I made sure he got home okay." There's little more to explain to that, but the tanned face is flushed a little, lips thin and tight. And yes, she's heard the rumours: "That was it." As for Mayte's lack in lessoning? Well, she can't look much more embarrassed: "It was a long time ago." Does this mean she didn't do so well that class? Her lack of explanation might indicate that. Time to turn tables: "So, we're gonna be going between soon, right? Ready for it?" Mayte wonders, as subtle as a tunnelsnake in a chicken coop.

There's no censure from weyrbred Majel who notices Mayte's flush and subsequent discomfiture, only a tilt of a nod for the short elaboration. "That was sensible of you to look after him, " she says at length, shifting slightly so that she can better prop herself up on the small ledge and lift bare feet from the water. For betweening, "I believe we will be, if mental precision is really all that's required." She doesn't exactly look pleased about it, however, clearing her throat faintly. "I've only been between a handful of times. I can't say that I like it."

Relief flashes over Mayte's face when the bluerider doesn't want more details and a brief smile curls her lips before it vanishes under a briefly pained look. "Thanks," she says softy before straightening a little at Majel's response. "I've done it a few times but yeah…" she trails off for a moment before adding, "It's kind of scary to be the ones," being dragon and rider, "doing it ourselves, right? Rhiscorath only seems a little interested, and," Mayte draws in a breath and shivers her shoulders, "I have to get her more focused before we do anything that big. I bet you don't have that with Dyxath, though," and here the younger woman turns to look at Majel expectantly.

Majel has never been one for squeezing sordid details from others; gossip isn't a logical thing in which to engage. Still, there's more to read in another's reactions than in their speech, so the expressions that play out over the goldrider's face are all carefully observed, even as she listens to her concerns about achieving their next milestone. "Dyxath's focus is quite honed, " she replies, "despite his casual manner." Brows knit briefly together before she adds, "Find her motivation. People - and dragons, too, I should think - focus best on what they want the most." Almost delivered as an afterthought: "How's your own concentration holding up? They keep promising that the theory alone is going to be taught heavily and thoroughly tested before we even get close to creating a real visual with their help." Solicitous concern, or a subtle probe to investigate the other's mental state?

Jazz-hands again absent-mindedly for a moment. "Dyxath seems like he was born all grown up," Mayte says finally, but pauses while seemingly on the bring of saying more before nodding and changing again: "Yeah, I've been trying to find ways to… relate it to her, right?" There's a search for words, "Sort of making it real, right?" It's taken a while but most of the tension in Mayte's body language has relaxed, until the last question. She cleverly disguises it by crossing her arms over her chest, but Majel continues, to Mayte's relief. "Um. It's okay." Nope, not brisk at all. "I'm doing fine." Oh hey look, new things: "I'm sure the Weyrlingmasters will be really thorough." There's a very brief smirk, "I know of three greens who'll do fine without K'ane so close by…"

"He still walks like a hatchling who doesn't quite have his bearings, " Majel remarks with a little shrug, "but I suppose - they all grow in their own ways. Aren't there bigger archives at the larger weyrs that you could visit? If she finds books enticing, play to her appetites. More essentially, how is she going to protect you during Threadfall if you get injured?" Lips purse faintly for Mayte's defensive posturing, the too-quick responses. Here is where she'll press; this is more important than learning the extent of the other's experience in other people's weyrs. "Are you? You've seemed more serious lately in classes, but that's something I don't recall seeing as much previously." It comes out surprisingly gentle for all of her matter-of-factness.

Even Mayte knows not to comment on another woman's dragon, but she will grin quietly, until the comment of other archives has her looking speculatively: "That might just work, you know." And then an even brighter look, "And they must have maps there. Rhis'll go for that." And just as quick as Mayte brightens, she shuts down again, dragon-poker-face of old customer-service in place: "Yes, thanks. I'm getting a bit better sleep," all of one or two nights' worth, "now and…" One wet hand reaches to scrub the side of Mayte's cheek, an unconscious gesture as she unfolds a little: "Well, you know how you find out who your friends really are when you go away?" Mayte's gonna get crow's feet early from how her eyes harden and her voice is tight with several tones, the #1 being suppressed anger.

Majel waits patiently for Rhiscorath's to stop deflecting; she, herself, is excellent at it, and easily spots the same behavior in others. There's a neutral look for that opening of a prompt, gaze measuring. "They did warn us that Impression comes with many sacrifices." Sorry, Mayte, she isn't the warm and comforting sort. She is, however, a sharp listener who turns after a moment to gauge how well they might be overheard by the few people who linger in the cavern yet some distance away. "I should head back up to at least try to get some sleep before our morning run." It's abrupt, and not a little awkward. "If you think an outsider's dissection of what happened would help … " This is the part where a more outwardly compassionate person would say, 'I'll gladly listen.' " … then you should talk with someone who isn't in your head." And that's her calmly delivered advice, even as her gaze briefly unfocuses for Dyxath.

Well fine, Mayte didn't want to confess anyways. Her absent-minded retort is that, "Yeah, I didn't think one of those sacrifices was gonna be getting called a wh…" And as soon as the first syllable starts to cross her lips, Mayte stops it and swallows, her face freezing for a moment as she realizes what she was about to say. The freeze ends and Mayte tells Majel in a voice that seems to climb out from a hollow place, "I'll be fine, thank you." Because what else is there to be. Mayte cuts out smoothly into the water and pauses a few strokes away from where she and Majel spoke, turning to say, "Good night, Majel. My regards to Dyxath, and I hope you sleep well." And with that, the Weyrling gives a brief smile and then continues out of the Mirror Caverns towards home.

The line of Majel's jaw tightens as Mayte's face and words freeze, but the only reply the younger weyrling receives is a raised eyebrow: She wasn't born yesterday. She's familiar with that state of being fine. Very familiar, indeed. Nevertheless, there's a nod and an even, "Good night, Mayte, " returned as her fellow makes her way out of the cavern. It's only once she's out of earshot that the bluerider murmurs, "I hope you're right." A short time after, she follows suit, angling for the lake shore where a dark blue awaits to ferry them to bed.

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