Who

Hannah, Valenia

What

Valenia has been sent on a mission and finally tracks down her quarry. Initial thoughts and worries are shared.

When

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

Where

Leadership Courtyard, Southern Weyr

OOC Date

 

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Leadership Courtyard

Nigh palatial, this gorgeous sweep of cultivated bowl: a courtyard proper, a fountain bubbles in the middle of a grove of orange-trees, next to a stone bench that has weathered many a turn. Rare metal stands out at the sweep of steps upwards to the landings of queens'-weyrs and other administrative personnel; handrails to prevent… mishaps, and sparse doors of spiraled cast-iron to lock out any vagrants.

It is the fifty-second day of Autumn and 63 degrees. The night is clear and bright, stars twinkling merrily in the darkness.


Dusk falls upon Southern weyr, flaring deep azure across a sky that slowly drains of light into the midnight blue of coming night. Stars dot across the darker skies, disappearing like brilliant diamonds against the deep, almost painful blue of the setting Rukbat. Belior and Timor are but ghosts upon the horizon; little light fares in this courtyard save for the glows that are strategically set to light those who would linger in the grove of trees. Hannah is one such lingerer, settled on a bench and seemingly staring off into space with one hand settled loosely in her lap and the other holding a fresh, steaming mug of klah that carries more than a hint of spices. For once, the rains have broken over the weyr, though they leave the tingling hint of freshness that touches the senses.

Valenia has been in the Weyr since the morning before, but isn't until she slowly enters the courtyard that she gets her first glimpse of Hannah. After spotting the other woman, her footsteps become more regular and rapid, her path definite as she aims for the rider. "Ma'am," Val says, loudly enough to travel as she continues to approach, steps only slowing once she's within the bubble for polite conversation. "Excuse me, please, but are you junior weyrwoman Hannah?" Her knot bears the pattern of a Healer master, as unlikely as that might seem in this day and age.

The chill of autumn's night's breath pulls at Hannah's attention as much as Valenia's arrival. The junior weyrwoman is ghostly against the deep azure of the blooming night, with her pale hair hanging around an equally pale face to frame pretty green eyes. Dressed in sky blue, the colors of the dress are washed to a shade of grey against the shadows of the growing darkness. Still, puddles of light dot here and there, islands of gleaming sanctuary. Tilting her head in Valenia's direction, her gaze briefly falls to the woman's shoulder knot, but when she raises them the smile that touches her lips carries only a hint of rueful to muddy the waters of what's truly the warmth of welcome. "Yes?" The light, easy lilt at the end is all that indicates the interrogative of a single query. The wetness of her eyes catches the light of the glows. Curling both hands around the mug she's holding, the weyrwoman lifts its rim to her lips and sips. It's an air of easy, languid grace that clings between them. Perhaps, she's stopped running from Valenia.

Valenia primly folds her hands in front of her and regards the younger woman for a long moment. There is a moment while she takes in Hannah's appearance with all its small details, then she motions toward a spot on the bench beside the rider. "Do you mind if I join you, ma'am?" It is polite, perhaps even subdued. "My name is Valenia. Another of your riders asked for my presence, but I wasn't sure if that meant you would be expecting me. It seemed prudent to wait until after Dhiammarath rose in flight." She leaves the "why's" implied and simply refolds her hands, waiting for Hannah's reply.

White teeth peek out to grip her bottom lip in a brief hesitation, but Hannah has better manners than to deny the healer. Scooting over, the goldrider nods her head and indicates the seat next to her. The wind carries the hint of rain and the scent of soaked greenery, eddying around their ankles and ruffling the small hairs at the temples and the nape of the neck. "Please," husky voice is quiet, contemplative, indicating that she's not entirely surprised by Valenia's appearance. "Have a seat. My apologies if I did not come to find you sooner." A false note rings within the sincere regret that lends further evidence that the junior might have been avoiding the Master. "It's been a busy day." Ruefulness filters into the expression the woman gives Valenia before she crosses her ankles and settles the intensity of her expression on the healer. The night is still and quiet and offers that particular feel that secrets told will be held safe by the solitude of coming night. Overhead, a dragon bugles, but it is far and away and offers only the slightest of distractions. "Thank you — for waiting. Proddy is always an interesting… ah, time." The sanctity of her klah is grabbed, burying the moment in a sip, which gives the woman something to do.

"There is no need to apologize," Valenia insists, smiling as she seats herself beside Hannah. Her back is straight, knees together, ankles tucked under with the same attention to etiquette that she gives to detail. "We all have our lives to live, and I was not asked here by you." She once again folds her hands, this time resting them in her lap as she turns her full attention on the rider. "I was, however, asked here for you. I would like to be as forthright with you as I can be, so if you have questions, please ask, knowing I will answer as fully as I can. For now, I mostly wanted to get our introductions out of the way," she adds with a friendly smile. "Beyond that, we can talk as much or as little as you like."

By contrast, Hannah is as free as the breezes that eddy through the courtyard, strands of moonlight pale hair tickling her cheek as she listens and notes the things Valenia says. "Well met, Valenia," the warmth of friendliness colors her tones and the lines of her expression, though the goldrider does drop her eyes to her lap. Setting her klah mug aside, she winds her arms around her middle and leans forward a tad. "G'deon." She breaths the name as one would breath with the fondness of several lifetimes of friendship that hold to the ribbon of time strung out between them. "I don't know how much you can do," Hannah's confession comes with the bite of her lip. "I'm afraid that I will unravel like Vergora." That admission, slipped through the lanced opening of a festering sore of fears, seems to startle Hannah. Enough that she brings fingertips to her lips.

Valenia neither confirms nor denies that first breathed name. When Hannah mentions the second, the healer goes still, eyes keenly focused on the junior weyrwoman, watching the movement of Hannah's hand before she finally shifts, even if it's a bare moment of her hands, perhaps a tiny rock from left to right, a release of the keen gaze. "That is a topic close to my own heart," she admits after a few seconds of thought. "Though I would imagine for vastly different reasons." Confidentiality doesn't just go two ways, but all ways. She looks up to regard Hannah again, the darkness doing much to soften her expression. "Are there any particular reasons for that fear, Hannah? Or is it more a feeling?"

Silence is left to puddle between them, aided by the shifting shadows of night and the eddies of cooler air that sinks to their ankles. For whatever the reason — whether it is to allow Hannah to gather the gumption to speak or the junior is gathering her thoughts — she takes a bit to actually answer Valenia. "I don't like to talk about it," she admits, but it's not a refusal. It's more of an explanation. "When I Impressed, Thread was still falling. It was after nearly losing Dhiammarath in a dragon plague that Ista's senior from the future came to bring me forward. To the time that everyone jumped. Fifty turns is not that many, when you think about how far forward we already have shifted." Rubbing her hands over her face, she turns to give Valenia her full attention, emerald green eyes haunted. "I am haunted by the lives I would have lived, by the actions I've hated since moving forward and sometimes time feels strange. Like an elastic band that twangs in odd moments." She bites her lip, and adds softly. Like an admission of guilt, "And at night I used to have these horrible nightmares. They stopped once Thread started."

Valenia listens to all of this while again sitting perfectly still, like some sort of human recording device. This continues a few seconds after Hannah finishes, when the Healer shifts again. "Time is deceptive," she begins quietly, tone softly musing. "It is all entirely subject to our emotions and perspectives at any given moment. Your own has shifted many times in a relatively short period," she continues, looking away for another moment's thought before she resumes, eyes narrowing as she mentally views the various pieces. "If we thought of time in this case as blocks rather than minutes and hours, you left a block of Pass, entered one Interval's block, made a far vaster jump to another, then reentered another block of Pass. So in that sense, at least that particular sense of time might have normalized." She glances at Hannah toward the very end to gauge her reaction. "Which only really touches on the nightmares, I suppose. Those were likely your subconscious trying to find new footing in something too foreign. While the others only jumped from Interval to Interval, and are handling the Pass as something entirely new."

Hannah listens to Valenia, withholding further comment until the mindhealer has finished her explanation. Tucking her legs up to her chest so she can wrap her arms around her shins, this is used as a stalling tactic while the goldrider gathers her thoughts. "I do feel more comfortable being in a Pass. It does feel normal, even if this isn't the right Pass and it's not the same Pass. Thread, fighting, flaming… these are all things I remember. Three turns ago, I was fighting Thread in a wholly different time in a wholly different Pern, but it wasn't so much different once you were up in the sky facing down our ancient enemy." Hannah's voice is quiet, thoughtful. "I am glad that the nightmares stopped." She pauses, then clarifies, "They're still there, somewhat, but not as violent as they were, but that's normal." Once again, she turns her eyes to Valenia, some inner desperation seeking to cling to the threads of what she feels must be normal. "To fear what will come with Thread. For those around you, and the people you're protecting." Biting her lower lip, "I feel like I'm putting down roots now, in this time. I've got love, and soon I'll have a family — as much as a rider can, anyway." Underneath the silt of the conversation lies the unspoken fear of finding an end like Vergora's, for age-related senility is not really something a youthful Hannah can really understand.

Valenia has not forgotten about that part of the conversation, though this time when she listens, it is with a more relaxed posture, turning on the bench to view Hannah directly. "And that… your new roots. Has that seemed to help at all with the other sensations? The haunting twangs?"

Slowly, Hannah nods. "Lately, especially." She takes a moment to think, but it's been long enough that people are going to find out sooner rather than later. "I am pregnant," she gives a half-smile for Valenia, at once terrified and at once sweet. "I've been so focused inward these days that I do feel like…" The words are hard to quantify, to be spun from such nebulous things as feelings, so the drifting off of her thought is possibly to be expected. However, the goldrider gently picks it back up with the tentative words of, "Like I'm settling. The more time passes, the easier it gets, I think. But sometimes I still feel like I am running against a different frequency of time. Slow or fast when it should feel normal, but I suppose that will ease with," ironic humor is infused here, "time." Really, Hannah is worried about seeming to be crazy, and that fear - while not stated - is shown in the uncomfortable shift of her body and the downward cast of expression.

If anything Hannah's words seem to relax the healer as Valenia sits back slightly, nodding once while she listens. From both posture and expression, she understands, or at the very least thinks she has a grasp on it. "Tonight might not be the right time to dive into this," she says at first, voice low, almost lulling in its cadence, "and while many things spring to mind, the foremost is this question. How often, Hannah, do you take the time to quietly sit, such as you are right this moment, and think about all that you are feeling right at that moment?"

A nod slowly dips Hannah's head, the topics are not easy and are rife with complexities. As for Valenia's question, the goldrider nibbles the corner of her mouth, "Not that often," she admits, quietly. "Lately, I guess, more. Since the flight and the pregnancy and the start of Threadfall, but usually there's just so much to do and so little time in the day in which to do it." Rueful is the look passed the healer's way, "What little free time I have, I usually spend it doing stuff." Fun stuff is what's implied there.

Valenia smiles softly at the mentions of free time, though she does not comment on them. Not directly. "I would love to meet up officially, Hannah. However it might best fit with your schedule. I will remain in Southern for at least a month, perhaps longer. In the meantime, I do recommend taking several moments throughout the day to examine your feelings. It does not take a lot of time. Five minutes. Two. Even just one. Just stop whatever it is you're doing, and find a quiet place. Close your eyes, and examine where you are that very moment, emotionally. It is every bit as important as coordinating the Weyr," she adds, perhaps with a touch of humor as she gets to her feet. She gives Hannah a last nod in parting, smiling warmly, then sees herself out of the courtyard, angling toward the other caverns.

The junior weyrwoman soaks up Valenia's words like desert sands soak up life-giving water. Hannah slowly nods her head, a quiet assent given with the briefest touches of a smile. "I'll find you," is what she murmurs, though as Valenia parts ways, Hannah is doing exactly what the mindhealer has mentioned: turning inward. The mug of klah is picked up again and while outwardly, the goldrider is staring at the little grove of trees sipping the now-chilled liquid, inwardly she's focused on things far, far away. As quiet as the night was when Valenia arrived, it remains quiet for many candlemarks to come.

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