What: They discuss whether or not they are going forward.
Where: Records Room
When: Day after the announcement
A decently-sized room, the records room has a curved outer wall in which two large windows are placed. The floor is carpeted in rugs that muffle footsteps. Tall shelves are built in, slanting in from the outer wall except where the windows interrupt; there, shorter, perpendicular shelves stand. Lining the inner wall are a series of simple desks, each with an inkwell built in.
About three inches under six feet tall, Alshain has a slender build, leaning to wiry rather than muscular; he doesn't look to have done much heavy physical labor during his forty turns. His hair is his most distinguishing feature: it's shoulder-length, straight and limp, colored a dark brown not yet touched with grey. Around his face are a few shorter layers, like bangs half-grown out, which, despite frequent attempts to tuck them back, are almost constantly in his tanned face. The years have been relatively kind to his physical appearance, as relatively few lines mark his strong features: the beginnings of crows' feet around his eyes, a few faint laugh lines around his thin-lipped mouth. His nose is long and narrow, a bump telling of a past break, while a day's growth of stubble usually marks his thin cheeks. Alshain also has a rich tenor voice that carries well, suitable for a harper.
Alshain's manner of dress is shabby, none of the items new or even particularly tailored to his thin frame. Everything's a little big on him, as though it were a hand-me-down or he'd lost weight recently. Still, he's done his best to pull the outfit together, belting his heavy dark brown pants snugly and rolling the sleeves of his shirt up to keep them out of his way. Though his brown coat is showing its own age in the patches on the elbows and the fraying edges and button holes, it's well-made and looks to have been tailored especially to fit him. While his dark green shirt looks to have been mended once or twice as well, pants more than that, his boots have definitely come off worst: the leather's creased and scuffed, soles wearing thin. Still, a sense of himself, a natural stage presence, goes a long way toward his appearance; he has an ease of movement that comes only from age and acceptance of who he is.
It's a nice afternoon outside, but not everyone has the luxury of being out there to enjoy it. One of those unfortunate people cooped inside is Alshain, seated at a desk by the window, nominally working over a few papers. Of course, the work is interspersed with frequent glances out to the window, watching goings-on outside.
Zakias enters the room, carefully stepping down the stairs. He shifts his rucksack onto the nearest desk, and starts unloading it: a box of freshly made vellum, and what appears to be a large jar of ink. Lifting his head and registering Alshain, he asks, "Alshain, where are all of the apprentices?"
Alshain is looking out the window again when Zakias enters; he starts when the other man speaks, then glances sheepishly down at his work. "Ah. I haven't seen them in a few minutes," he admits. "Do you need them for something?"
"Ah," Zakias echos and looks down at the pile of stuff. "I just wanted someone to stitch pages into the records and refill the inkwells." He quirks his lips and then decides to take a seat halfway closer to Alshain.
"Ah. Well, they should be back soon," Alshain remarks evenly. His papers are pushed back, at least, so he can look over at Zakias again. "How are you doing? Things have been a little... Well. Some revelation, huh?" is his synopsis of the over-dinner announcement a few days earlier.
Zakias continues the calm tone, but pauses to scratch his chin. "I've known... I've known for some time that dragons can move through time as well as space when they between. And that Margia was from the future. So perhaps the better question is: how are you doing with it." He props his head up on his wrist to look over at the other man.
Alshain's brows arch, surprised. "Really. I didn't know that," he says, shaking his head. "Huh. Well, I suppose I'm doing... all right, considering. I've been trying to see what I could find out from everyone else, how they're feeling--there's a few, of course, that are ready to do it now, but it seems like a fair number realize just how big a decision it is." Pause. "And then there's the ones," he adds dryly, "who are more caught up in why they weren't told before rather than what they're going to do now."
Zakias mmms, and says, "Secrets are like that. They corrupt the faith people put in their leaders." He looks down at his hands. "Iopeian told me, but I had almost figured it out by the time Margia arrived." He lets that sit for a moment and then says, "It is a big decision." Zak sighs and looks away, stretching his booted feet out across the rugs.
"So they do," Alshain agrees, mutedly. He's silent several seconds himself, glancing down at his hides, around the room, back out that window. "Suppose we'll see just how many will take it. It seemed like most of the leadership intended to?" He shoots a glance sideways at Zakias, curious.
"I don't know, I haven't spoken to any of them since the announcement. It wouldn't surprise me." Zakias says, unfolding a hand to palm-up and then looking at it for a moment. "This is why they came South, and they had more to lose than anyone."
"They made it sound like that, during the announcement," says Alshain, "though perhaps that was just for our benefit." He lifts his shoulders slightly, adds, "It might be what /they/ came for, but it's not why all of us are here, and even if it were? Leave behind everything you know? Or let them leave you behind, as though that were better?"
Zakias grunts, "That's it exactly. Well, everyone would be glad to be rid of L'ott, although -- he's not done as bad a job as people may have feared. The options are not good: stay here at Connell, at a half or quarter of its size, and an untested Weyrwoman, or leave behind everyone in the North you've ever cared about. Family and friends and collegues alike. To jump into the ravages of Threadfall."
"L'ott is..." Alshain just shakes his head, lifts his shoulders slightly as if to say, 'he is what he is.' He continues aloud, "Yes. I imagine it will come down to who has a greater sense of duty--or adventure, though I fear for those people. They're likely to get more adventure than they might even like."
Zakias rubs his eyes, and says, "Are we making predictions? We should wager some marks. My bet is that most of the riders jump forward, out of a sense of duty and pressure. Who wants to be known as the brownrider too afraid to face Thread? And many more of the residents will stay here and try to make the best of it."
"That sounds about right," agrees Alshain, offering a smile smile. "Besides, it's easier for us residents to stay here and do our own jobs--and /someone/ has to, anyway."
"You should think about jumping forward," Zakias blurts out, looking over at Alshain.
Surprised, Alshain's brows arch upward as he looks around at Zakias again. "Ah. You trying to get rid of me already?" he finally asks, with a half-grin, as though Zakias were joking.
Zakias says, in all seriousness: "No. If you decide to stay, I won't mind. Just that, in the future, no one would remember your past. Save for those Connell residents who already know. It would be a fresh start for you."
Zakias isn't joking, and Alshain's smile fizzles out as he glances down again, nodding slowly. "I know," he admits. "And don't think I haven't thought about it. There's a lot to be said about being able to put everything behind you for once and for all, but..." A shrug, mouth twisting wryly at what he fails to articulate.
Zakias nods at the end of the sentence and finishes it with a thought of his own: "I have a brother, and two sisters, and a half-dozen nieces and nephews."
"Yeah," says Alshain, nodding. "Same." He's silent again, several seconds. "You're not planning on going," he observes then.
Zakias drolly observes, "I can't say that I am." He seems uncomfortable with the admission, and shifts in his chair. "You're the first person I've told."
"I'm honored," Alshain remarks with half a smile. "I'm... going to have to do a lot of thinking about it. I'm not so good at this decision-making stuff."
Zakias waves his hand rather lord-ly towards Alshain, and then says, "You ... should think about it. I don't know if Connell will be the same without a Weyr."
"I will," Alshain repeats, with a nod. "Though, knowing me, I'll probably waffle around until it's time to go, then make a spur-of-the-moment decision. Probably the wrong one," is tacked on dryly.
Zakias says, "Well, knowing is half the battle." This is also said dryly. Then Zakias grunts out of his chair and says, "We should make copies of some of the important records too. As soon as I figure out what to do with them."
"Isn't it though?" replies Alshain, shaking his head. "Anyway, let me know which ones we'll need, and I can marshall the apprentices up to work on it."
Zakias nods and then says, "Indeed. Back to work, you." And he makes a shuffly little handwave at Alshain before grabbing his bag and heading up the stairs.
"Have a good evening," Alshain tells Zakias, delaying work long enough to watch him go. The effort he makes to resume then is negligible, his expression too thoughtful to concentrate just now.
PS: It would be nice if someone could put up the Announcement log.