Who: Nala and Rori
Where: Nala and Rori’s Weyr, Honshu Weyrhold
What: They try to talk about the S’ven issue. It doesn’t go well.
Rori has done her best to keep her distance from Nala – giving her the space she had requested after the news was shared. She returns late that night and chooses to sleep on the sofa, rather than bother Nala and Cinder in their bedroom. When she wakes up in the morning, she once more prepares breakfast and klah forthe two of them. She’s still dressed in her clothes from yesterday, which is out of character for her, but she’s determined to wait until Nala is ready to speak to her rather than force her to talk. She’s sitting at the table once more, sipping her klah, and looking at the biscuits she’s made without eating any of them.
Nala has had precisely not a single word to say to anyone, and such is her bond with Jynth that he, likewise, has not reached out with anything that he might share. When she supposedly wakes, it doesn’t much look like she’s had any sleep at all, but she goes about bathing and dressing as she normally would before heading through to sit down opposite Rori. She keeps her chair at a distance from the table, her hands folded in her lap. “None of this is about me,” she states first. “It would be selfish to think it is. But then, it seems I am the last to know what was going on, when some… suggestion of logic ought to say I would be the first. Which means either you do not trust me, you believed I would attempt to land a knife in his back, or you think me too weak to have handled it. I do not like to insult you with the thought that you contemplated his offer. You did not tell anyone, but you especially did not tell //me//, suggesting you do not think I am capable of offering you counsel or support, and I grant you I have given you evidence enough for that. My last weyrmate left me because so simple a thing as her screaming child reduced me to panic. But then the question remains why you wanted to marry me, if you did not think I was even worth confiding in.”
Rori looks at Nala the entire time that she speaks and she does nothing more than let all the words be said that need to be said to her. She waits until she is certain Nala has reached a natural pause in the conversation for her to talk. “I know you may not really trust the truth, but I’m going to give it to you either way.” She fidgets briefly with her klah mug and then shakes her head. “I didn’t confide in you because it felt like a matter I was handling. I don’t know if you’ll believe me on that point. I didn’t hide it from you because I thought you’d react in the ways you’ve said. And I certainly didn’t hide it from you to protect you. The matters were a lot smaller than they now appear to be //because// of what S’ven did to Priska and B’lian. It’s one thing to have a man subtly try to pressure you compared to outright threatening you.” She takes a sip of her klah and sets the mug down. “I know that it was more than Aislara’s baby that ended what was between you. And part of that I believe had to do with my relationship with you. Please do not use this as a way to pull away from me or try to end what is between us. I wonder if we can learn from this and how better to communicate in the future?” she looks hopeful as she asks that question. “I’m not going to say how I handled it was right. But it felt like the right thing at the time. Whether or not you can forgive me for it, is up to you. I married you because I love you.”
“He might have chosen one day to do what everyone assumes he intended to do to Priska to you first,” Nala says slowly. “You were putting yourself at risk. I do not mean to say that you are at fault for his behaviour… but if you had spoken about it to someone, perhaps they could have better highlighted that what he was doing meant you were in danger as much as she and B’lian were. There is no matter of my forgiving you… I only have to decide whether I agree with what you did… and I find that cannot.” She ducks her head. “When I have suffered the worst, I have come to you. You have seen me…” She bites down on the inside of her lip and has to bitterly force out, “undone,” with the first flicker of emotion she’s demonstrated. “And you chose to suffer alone. It means the failure is mine. That I cannot be trusted. Relied on. I have no intention of trying to end anything… but what I have always thought is unavoidably the truth. I am too damaged to be useful to you.”
“I wasn’t suffering!” Rori’s voice is sharp and raised as she snaps at the idea of the way Nala is painting what happened to her. “I was handling someone who kept trying to present various scenarios to me as not a solution. How is it suffering to tell a man no? Is it suffering to remind him I’m married? It is not as if I was facing this the entire time I held the knot. I was not in danger, I was not–,” she presses her lips together and silences herself. “You are //choosing// to see this as some slight to you. To our relationship. I dealt with it. I was not… so distraught… or angry by any of it. To be honest with you, Nala? I just did my job. For Honshu. For Aerishani and O’rlen… for //you//.” She stands up abruptly. “You are not damaged,” her eyes are sharp on Nala’s. “You’ve been through trauma. You have worked hard to get through it. There is nothing innately inside of you that makes you unlovable or someone I cannot rely on. What’s hurting me the most,” her tears are present but do not fall, “is that you have somehow twisted this entire situation into something it simply wasn’t. It is easy to say in hindsight, ‘you might have’ or, ‘if only’. I wasn’t and I didn’t and it’s //done//.”
“Well, precisely. You have said it: you concealed it partly for me.” Nala tilts her head slightly, but does not look up at Rori as she stands. “I am not //choosing// anything. The fact is, you do not want to think that what you did was anything but right, because by informing someone – anyone, not even me – you might have prevented what happened when Yedrith flew. To do your job would have been to report that he had made repeated advances on you and was determined to keep his knot. If it had been some little thing that was not serious, perhaps you would have been more willing to speak of it, but something about it worried you enough that you did not.” Lifting her dark gaze to her, she declares, “In your silence, you either avoided or anticipated this. That I would not agree with your choices or assume that you felt I would not or could not support you. And only now, after the fact, as you are determined to make it, have you made yourself correct. I do not agree with your silence. I condone none of what he did and in no manner is it your fault, but the rest… Your reasons are your own. You chose to make of it what you will… and I am permitted the same.” Standing, she tucks her chair beneath the table, raising her voice only the slightest bit when she states, “If you believe that your //job// is to disregard that kind of behaviour and put up with making advances so much as to kiss you, then I believe you have misunderstood your role.”
Rori recoils from Nala at her last statement, taking a step back from the table as if a slap had been issued. “Well,” she says all too calmly, “that would be the reason why I am not suitable for a Senior knot, is it not?” She turns from Nala then and strides out of their weyr. She does not go far, choosing to sit outside of their home on their small porch. She’s got her back pressed to the wall and her knees curled up towards her chest.
No footsteps sound after Rori, not until a good twenty minutes or so have passed and Nala emerges from the weyr, a bag slung over her back and Cinder trotting at her side. She allows the canine to roam on ahead while she pauses only briefly at her wife’s side, simply for long enough for her to state, “It is your choice of mate that has made you unsuitable for a Senior’s role; something that plainly stings. In that case, I urge you, as I have before, to reconsider.” With that, she turns to follow after Cinder and, from his distant perch, Jynth launches into the sky to soar over the Weyrhold and away. She doesn’t look back.