OoC: Continued from on-list beginning.
Luckily only a few minutes passed by before the door opened. Or rather was flung open and then shut loudly as the Weyrwoman came in like a whirlwind. She glanced at Nayari, her lips pulling back slightly as she debated whether the Candidate Master would make her life easier or harder. Then she looked back at Ysolde and her gaze was murderous.
"What the feck do you think you were doing in there?" she snapped. She stood still, but there was almost an energy vibrating around her, barely contained.
As the door clattered open and closed, Nayari inclined her head in polite greeting at the Weyrwoman. Her eyes however, narrowed slightly at the sudden demand, anger she could understand but she still would have expected a little decorum. Instead of interjecting, Nayari turned her attention to Ysolde who had gotten to her feet as the Weyrwoman arrived. The Candidate glanced at Nayari before turning her attention back to the bristling Goldrider.
"I was leaving, ma'am." she said calmly, meeting Kassia's eye. "I apologise if I caused disruption, but I felt it was best that I leave."
“You were not dismissed,” Kassia said, her words having a bite. She looked like she was wound tight as a spring. Ysolde hadn’t chosen a good moment to piss her off.
Ysolde’s own face was tight, jaw clenched and for a second, only a second, she almost let loose. But what would that achieve? Nothing, except maybe a deeper hole to bury her in. “Then I apologise for leaving abruptly and without your permission,” she said tightly.
“What made you want to leave?” T’rif broke in before Kassia could blurt out what was on her tongue. He recognized her state and was trying to avoid her doing something she’d regret.
T’rif asked the question that they were all wanting to ask. Although Nayari half regretted what Ysolde might say. She had already seen how quick the Candidate could be. Too smart for her own good, was that one. And it was going to land her in trouble.
For a moment, Ysolde seemed to be considering her words very carefully. As well she should be. “I decided that it would be unlikely I would be deemed acceptable and therefore felt it was better not to waste anyone’s time.” Her voice, though still a little tense, had the defined note of someone trying to be honest. And doing their very best to keep their head.
Kassia narrowed her eyes, but at least she wasn’t yelling as she considered the girl. She wrung her hands in front of her. Some might have taken it as fear nerves, but it was really a way to release some of the energy pent in her body.
“You don’t get to decide that,” she said, voice more controlled now but with that hint that she could blow again at any moment. “I haven’t gotten to your name yet. Even if you choose to not see the gold eggs nows, if I don’t approve, then you don’t Stand.”
Nayari observed the tense energy rippling off the Weyrwoman. She had never seen her like this. She looked a second away from exploding. However, she kept the majority of her attention on Ysolde, scrutinising the girl carefully. The Candidate gave off the impression (no pun intended) that she was holding herself in. Probably so she didn’t really put her foot in things.
“I appreciate that, ma’am.” Ysolde said finally after several seconds of taut silence. “I appreciate that in these situations, there is potentially a far more… significant control on who is given permission to be anywhere near the eggs and make attempts to weed out anyone who doesn’t have the mettle.”
Kassia didn’t believe her. The answers were way too smooth. That made her even angrier. She unclasped her hands, just dropping her hands by her sides in fists, but she made no attempt to get closer to Ysolde.
“Right now I’m leaning toward not even giving you the...the...the meeting.” Her mind slipped away from the conversation to imagining the eggs Hatching, to who it might go to, to who it might not go to. She shook her head, trying to keep her concentration on the subject at hand. “Why...why should we talk? Why should you Stand?”
It was taking every ounce of self-control to not stand there and tell the Weyrwoman that she was sick of her playing favourites. Every calm and measured response took careful pre-thought so she didn’t completely throw herself into the fire like a complete fool. “Well… I…” Ysolde began and Nayari leaned forward.
“I think it would be fair to say that Ysolde would be willing to accept that she would completely understand if you no longer wished to offer her the meeting,” The Candidatemaster spoke smoothly but shot Ysolde a firm warning look not to argue. Ysolde closed her mouth and nodded mutely, turning her eyes back to Kassia. “Yes ma’am. I would understand that. I understand it is a privilege and not a right to be allowed to Stand. Regardless of why I think I should be allowed, the decision is ultimately not mine to make.”
Kassia slid Nayari a look that wasn’t friendly. She had a feeling the girl would break given enough questioning, but the Candidate Master had cut her off from pushing without completely pulling rank. She was coherent enough to know that finding good Candidate Masters was hard and she didn’t particularly want to make that effort on top of everything else.
“I want a written formal apology,” she said stiffly. “And extra chores. I don’t care if you have to do them around all the classes going on now, I want them done. And I will think very hard on whether I want to talk to you again.”
Nayari met the unfriendly gaze steadily. No, she didn’t know what was going on with Kassia but she also was quietly glad that she had come around the corner when she had. She looked to Ysolde, giving a small nod that she was to answer.
“Yes ma’am.” It was a small, straight-forward answer with no argument, no snide tone attached to it. Simple and to the point. Arguing was only going to make things worse. “I will ensure you receive the apology as a matter of urgency. I will report to Candidatemaster Nayari regarding the schedule for chores.”
“And I will be more than happy to document their completion and issue with a formal report as to Ysolde’s conduct during,” Nayari said as well. “Ysolde may use my fireizard personally to ensure that your apology reaches you and I can ensure it has been done. I will chase it up personally to ensure it is not delayed.”
Kassia nodded. “I expect the letter to come within three days. The extra chores will continue until at least a sevenday before the Hatching.” That was probably as reasonable as Ysolde could expect in that moment.
“Yes ma’am.” Another small, tight response from the girl who had the decency to cast her eyes down to the ground but Ysolde was still bristling with anger, pursing her lips together to stop herself spitting out any words that would damn her further.
“Oh, and one last thing I forgot to mention,” Kassia said. “You’re not allowed to see the eggs until Hatching Day...if you ever get to at all.”
Just as it seemed it was coming to a close without any further casualties… Even Nayari’s head had jerked around to look at the Weyrwoman, almost in tandem with Ysolde’s own snapping back up. The Candidate’s face was white with anger. Before Nayari could do or say anything, Ysolde had opened her mouth to speak. “Yes… ma’am….” Spoken through teeth so tightly gritted together, it was a miracle she had been able to be coherent at all. But it was out there. Angry? Oh most definitely. But it could have been a thousand times worse.
Kassia didn’t miss the tone, but she’d gotten as close to what she wanted without risking a real blow up. It would be Ysolde’s behavior from there on out that would determine if and when she got to see the eggs.
“Very well, dismissed,” she said. “Nayari, a moment please.”
Getting to her feet, Nayari glanced to Ysolde. “Wait for me outside please, Ysolde. I will walk you back to your room.” The look the woman gave the Candidate held no room for arguments. The girl nodded at Nayari, giving both Kassia and T’rifoshe a stiff bow before she left the office, the door closing behind her. When Nayari came out again, sure enough, she would be there waiting.
Nayari watched until the door close before turning back to Kassia. “Yes, Werywoman?” she asked politely.
Kassia took a moment to gather herself. Now that the Candidate was gone she wanted to unleash her anger on someone. Anyone. She held in check with the Candidate Master. At least for the moment.
T’rif inched around them both to let himself into the hall. He could keep an eye on Ysolde there and avoid witnessing the Candidate Master being dressed down.
“It seems to me that Candidates could use a refresher in how to treat people of rank,” she carefully. “Believe it or not, I’m being lenient. If the girl does what she’s supposed to, she’ll likely get a chance to Stand. I’m well in my rights to dismiss her from the program entirely, or even the Weyr if I really wanted to. A Candidate has a place in the Weyr only so long as it is allowed to them. Living here and Standing at the cost of the Weyr’s marks is a privilege, not a guarantee.”
If Kassia wanted an opponent to vent her own anger at, unfortunately all she would encounter with Nayari was an impassive aura of calm. If she was someone who easily ruffled, then she wouldn’t have gotten her job. “I am well aware of those facts, Weyrwoman,” she responded calmly. Her tone was low, deliberately so. The last thing she wanted was to escalate the situation and wanted this meeting to end as, well, as calmly as was possible.
“Unfortunately,” she began, “Tensions appear to have notched up amongst the female Candidates - particularly some of the gold hopefuls, when the rumours began running the Barracks that you had permitted members of your family to view the gold eggs before anyone else. Now,” Nayari continued to speak calmly but lifted a hand to waylay any interjectures until she was done. “That was entirely your prerogative to do so. However, I was not given any opportunity to establish any damage control to mitigate any further tensions. You of all people probably know best of all how anxieties amongst Candidates increase ten-fold when it comes to golds being in play. The claws come out amongst even the nicest, meekest of Candidates. I am not excusing the behaviour of any of my Candidates but unfortunately this likely didn’t help matters.” Nayari’s expression was neutral as she regarded the Weyrwoman carefully, trying to read her and predict what she might say but inwardly, she was suspicious of what was being said. And as willful as she had heard the Werywoman could be, it also seemed very out of character.
“I may have been the one to extend the invitation,” Kassia said, crossing her arms, “but Foreth was the one to ultimately decide and request that they come to see her eggs. Who am I to deny my Queen something that would bring her happiness after how fecked up the last couple of months have been to her?” Happiness that would get the gold off her back for a while.
“It was not my intention to stir dissension among the ranks through my choice,” she went on. “I would expect any girl who was worthy of Impressing would understand that they may not like a decision, but that they must behave properly anyway. A girl who throws a temper tantrum has no reason to Impress a gold egg.” She turned her gaze firmly on Nayari. “I have enough problems to look forward to with these gold eggs and who they Impress. I don’t need someone who would act out Impressing one of the golds.”
“And as I have said, it was entirely your prerogative to invite them. Especially if it was at Foreth’s request.” Nayari’s tone didn’t change in the slightest. “All I am saying in return, was that this potentially could have been avoided if I had known what was happening.” Nayari didn’t entirely appreciate that it felt a little that her point had been entirely discarded but she would still make it. “No one has stated that Ysolde’s behaviour was permissible, nor her punishment unreasonable. I have already stated that I will ensure it is upheld and keep you informed.”
“I didn’t think it was necessary to let you know,” Kassia said, starting to pace. “Again, I expect that any girl who is worthy of a gold should understand my choice. Or at least accept it. There are a lot of decisions I will make that may not seem right that a goldrider will have to deal with whether they like it or not. The right to argue against me is a right that needs to be earned.”
Nayari’s eyes narrowed slightly. She didn’t believe that the Weyrwoman was being deliberately obtuse. “Given that it is well known that members of your family - who were invited - are themselves interested in Impressing gold, your actions have very likely been interpreted as little more than favoritism. Something that will strike a very painful nerve regardless of the colour they wish to Impress. You have extremely high expectations of a group of individuals who are, in many cases, mere children whose emotions run hot and cold in the blink of an eye. A heartbreak today is forgotten about next sevenday. But that doesn’t mean it is any less real to them.”
The Candidatemaster paused, her face stern about the edges but her tone was still even and calm. “And no, you had no requirement to inform me. However, it would have been a professional courtesy so that I was aware that some Candidates had seen the eggs before others. Because I do know how their minds can work when they think their future might be hanging in the balance. Emotions already run high running up to a Hatching. It is myself and the other Candidatemasters left picking up the pieces when they interpret their dreams as dashed to pieces, asking themselves what they could have done to change the roll of the dice.”
“And what exactly were you going to tell them?” Kassia charged back. “I can’t help how it looks. Frankly, I don’t care. All that happened was they were given a chance to see the eggs first. Despite whatever rumors go around, there’s no connection to whether a Candidate who sees or touches an egg Impresses that dragon over anyone else, if that’s their concern. I’ve got enough problems without worrying about the feelings of a bunch of Candidates. They’re expected to be Weyrlings if they Impress and to act appropriately, why can’t I expect that from Candidates? Maybe they don’t need to be Candidates if they can’t live up to that.”
The aura of calm surrounding Nayari dropped in temperature by several degrees. It probably would have given a glacier a run for its marks. The firm set of her mouth thinned and almost imperceptibly, her back straightened, drawing her up to her full height. “As we appear to be going around in circles, Weyrwoman, I strongly suggest that we bring this conversation to a close. Lest either of us make a remark that we might come to regret.” Inwardly, Nayari couldn’t believe what she was hearing and the sad fact was, it had certainly altered her opinion of Kassia to some degree. Nayari stepped back slightly, a small and subtle gesture that she was ready to leave.
“Unless you have an immediate requirement of me, Weyrwoman, I do have Candidates to speak to and a Barracks to bring to order before the Hatching.”
Kassia grunted and gave her a dismissive gesture. “Dismissed,” she said and waited for Nayari to leave.
= End =