After M’gal left, Kassia was left with her own thoughts again. She kept replaying the images that the dragons had shared with her in her head. Somehow the whole thing felt surreal because she couldn’t be there in person. Someone was dead. Two golds Impressed. Her older daughters Impressing finally. So many things to think of.
N'shen was too dark to look properly pale, but there was an ashen hue to his skin when he made his way into the Infirmary up check in with Kassia. He had been prepared – or so he thought – for an outside attack. Not for one of the Hatchlings to… well. He would not soon be forgetting that sight.
"Hey, Kass," he greeted her. "Are you… How are you feeling?"
Kassia offered him a small smile as he came in. She gestured with her good hand. “Sit. I’m...doing okay. I only got to see the Hatching from dragon images, so I’m probably better than you are.”
"It feels like we finally deserve a break. Some peace. But the universe doesn't work that way, does it?" N'shen tried to smile, but the expression was off. It most certainly did not touch his eyes.
"Congratulations on the two healthy golden girls," he said. "Truenoth is pleased as punch. He, uh… he doesn't… he's already forgotten about the blood. He didn't have to see it. But I… don't really know how he could put the smell out of his mind so easily. He only cares that the eggs Hatched. Well done, good and faithful soldier…"
“Foreth’s thrilled and she’s even happier that she can vacate the Caverns finally,” Kassia said. “She didn’t see the worst of it. I got it from Ozayith’s eyes and I’m sure it was worse in person. Thank you for being there, though. I hate that I wasn’t able to be there.”
"It's… It's a difficult way to begin a class. The girl, ah… Trifali. She's Tr'foshe's girl, yes? He, ah… he should know how to help her. Yes?" N'shen wished he knew how to help. But he supposed that was why Tr'foshe was a weyrlingmaster and not him. Or was he a Candidatemaster? N'shen might have let that separation of responsibility be a little too separate.
“He might, but she’s really in the AWLMs’ hands now,” Kassia said. “That reminds me, I need you to do me a favor. I need you to check in and make sure that Asheran is given punishment for sneaking onto the Sands. And I want to know about anyone who helped him as well.”
"Asheran," said N'shen, committing the name to memory. So many things he needed to memorize. Tr'foshe was with the Candidates. He would need to check with the Weyrlingmasters then to make sure they had this in hand. But then, of course, they would. And that was really not his place. He had enough on his plate already with trying to oversee the investigation into who was attacking the Weyr. They could handle this. He had to trust they would.
And if someone had sneaked onto the Sands… that implied another hole in their security.
"I'll make sure it happens. Your girl, Shalia, she was one of the ones who got hurt, but she's all right. Not like… nowhere near like the other, the boy. Or even the other girl. Ysolde." So many names to remember.
"I thought for sure she'd have gotten one of the golds." He chuckled, but his heart was not in it.
“She didn’t stay here, so I know she can’t be too bad off,” Kassia said. “I thought there was a chance she’d get a gold, too, but blue fits her so much better. One of the girls who get Mendl helped take care of Foreth. I think she’s a good match. I don’t know the other one. We’ll see how things go.”
"Oh, of… of course, you'd have heard," N'shen nodded. Why was he so rattled? Why was he taking everything, all of these things, as though he was at fault, as though he should have somehow been able to keep them from happening?
"It's… This isn't at all how I pictured True's first sired clutch." He laughed this time. More nervous than humorous.
“This...sadly is not so far out there for one of Foreth’s clutches,” Kassia said. “Maybe not Candidate dead...but crushed eggs and general chaos.” She frowned. “I wish I’d been there. Maybe I could have had Foreth stay in the lower Caverns and we’d have been there to stop...that from happening.”
"Don't blame yourself." It was easy for N'shen to say that and mean it to Kassia. Why so difficult for himself? How many dead now under his watch, not even counting Fall? The crushed eggs, the boy… And would the girl keep her arms? Not a death, but perhaps a half-life. And True was still blind.
Why had N'shen ever thought he wanted this?
"I'm going to find them. The ones who started this all. And I… We'll make them… We'll see justice done. They're the ones to blame for all of this. For the stabbing, the explosion, the crushed eggs, the blinded dragons, the… the dead kid. I won't let them get away with it."
“They’d better hope they’re never caught,” Kassia agreed. “Getting staked out to Thread will be a mercy to what I’d want to do to them.” Kassia had lots of knives and would be glad to try every single one out on whoever was responsible. “But for now, we take care of our injured and our Weyrlings and we prevent anything else from happening.”
"Whatever they hope, I will find them. They've dashed too many hopes to ever have any more of their own," said N'shen resolutely, and a bit of the color returned to his complexion.
"And I will see that you do have your way with them before Thread does. There will be no more. I'm not going to rest. Play defense. They can't hurt us if they're caught."
“We’ll figure this out,” Kassia promised. “I should get some more sleep though. Thank you for checking in on me. And let me know what you find out. I want to deal with this myself...in a couple of days.”
"I'm sorry to keep you up. Rest well, my friend, you've done well." N'shen reached down to gently squeeze her hand. "I'll see you in a couple of days."