IC Date Reference: Set immediately after “But I’m Right!”
After talking to R’tal, Kassia knew what she had to do. She’d calmed a bit as she’d talked to the Weyrleader, but her fury came back as she had to trudge over to the Candidate Barracks yet again. She couldn’t risk upsetting Foreth by bringing in someone else to the Caverns, so the Barracks it was. The walk wouldn’t have been a pleasant one on a normal day, but being pregnant made the trek worse. Never mind her strange behavior.
Kassia was huffing and puffing by the time she reached the Barracks and headed straight for Narayi’s office. She didn’t bother to knock. If there was anyone else in there, they’d have to wait. Weyrwoman’s prerogative.
Finally a minute to herself. Maybe some lunch. With a sigh, Nayari had sent Vecna to the kitchens to have a small basket sent to her. Oh, and get some more klah going. Then she could… but whatever she might have had planned came to an abrupt halt as Kassia burst into the office. Immediately her stomach turned to ice. Shells, what now?
“Weyrwoman…” she said, in polite but tentative greeting.
Kassia wasted no time. “I’m closing the Caverns,” she said. Next to her Brogan leaned into her to try to calm her.
Nayari balked. “I’m sorry? You’re what?” It was clear that she was waiting to be told that something else had happened and she stared at the Weyrwoman in confoundment.
“I’m closing the Caverns,” she repeated. “I promised the girls who passed that they could see the eggs and I’ll allow that with extra security, but I will not do further meetings so whoever I didn’t get to is out of luck. After that no one outside approved people working for me will be allowed into the Caverns until the Hatching.”
“What’s prompted this so suddenly?” Nayari asked, still trying to wrap her head around what in the world was happening. Yes, the woman had obviously been angry when she had last left her, but her punishment had been issued and it would be carried out. So where had this come from?
“I’ve had more time to think.” Kassia started pacing and she shook her head. “The attempted attack on me, the fecking idiots that went on the Sands, the recent lack of...of respect for me. I’m sick of it. I don’t want to risk danger to the eggs. I don’t want to risk that Foreth will eat someone. I’m stressed. I have the gold eggs to worry about. I’m pregnant. I don’t need this fecking stress.”
Nayari’s brow furrowed in concern. “Forgive me Weyrwoman, but I fail to see what the recent attempted attack has to do with this equation here. As far as I can see, that has nothing to do with the actions of three irresponsible Candidates, all of whom will be suitably disciplined for their behaviour - regardless of any sustained injuries. I can appreciate the concern you have, but that seems a rather obscure connection to add into things here. If it’s more discipline over the Candidates, I can assure you, I already have every intention of speaking to them en masse in the immediate future and making it perfectly clear that unacceptable behaviour between now and the Hatching is going to see them on an immediate final warning for expulsion. If you’re concerned about individuals going into the Caverns alone, then I was already considering numbered groups escorted by an Assistant Candidatemaster for no longer than a quarter candlemark at a time in order to relieve the stress of being stared at on Foreth.” Nayari had no idea if she was going to have any shot at changing Kassia’s mind, but she was shelled if she wasn’t at least going to try. Already she could taste the bitter taste of anger in the back of her throat. What were the Candidates thinking of late?
Kassia’s lips pulled back and she all but snarled, “My point is that I want the Caverns protected, whether it’s from an attack or stupid Candidates. My other point is that these Candidates need to learn their place in this Weyr. Seeing the eggs is a privilege and it can and will be taken away from them.”
If she looked carefully, it almost felt a little as though she could see her previous words disappearing over the Weyrwoman’s head. Whatever was going on with her, the twitchy pacing, the erratic thinking, it was clear that the Weyrwoman was on knee-jerk reaction right now. Nayari’s expression was neutral as she regarded Kassia. “Very well. I will inform the Candidates the first thing in the morning.” Inwardly, she was not entirely fond of this emphasis of her charges “learning their place”. Shells, that was a dangerous mindset to be getting into and then some.
“I’m sick of the disrespect,” Kassia said. “The next Candidate who doesn’t get that message will find themselves looking for a new home.”
This was a can of worms that Nayari did not want to be opening. And she was getting the distinct impression that when the Weyrwoman was like this, there would be no reasoning with her. No matter how calmly it might be presented. “I will make that abundantly clear to them,” she said carefully.
Kassia nodded. “Thank you.” The words were still angry, but she did mean it. Then she turned and blew out of the office with as much anger and energy as she’d come into the office.
As the door clattered closed behind Kassia’s veritable whirlwind, Nayari leaned back in her seat with a sigh, pinching the bridge of her nose. Now that the wher had left, Vecna reappeared with a chilly blast from Between, settling herself in front of her Mistress with an inquisitive chirrup. The Candidatemaster could feel an unpleasant blend of anger and embarrassment coiling in the pit of her stomach. In mere days, the Candidates she took so much pride in had let themselves and her down in phenomenal fashion. And whether she liked it or not, they were about to hear some very unpleasant home truths. Things were about to change. And not potentially for the well-liked.
= End =