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Don't Listen

Writers: Miriah, Yvonne
Date Posted: 4th February 2022

Characters: Orifa, R'hil
Description: R'hil does his best to comfort Orifa
Location: Dragonsfall Weyr
Date: month 11, day 5 of Turn 10
Notes: Mentioned: K'aur
Happens after DFW: Less Flighty?

R'hil wasn't a particularly observant boy, but even he couldn't miss Orifa's tear-stained cheeks as she pushed past him in the hallway. He
hesitated, his arms full of clean sheets, then he sighed and turned to go after her. "Orifa?"

"Leave me alone." Orifa hurried towards the barracks, little Lalorth frantically following while trying to both rub her head against Orifa's legs and not get tangled up in them.

The candidate sighed and went after her, careful not to trip on Lalorth's tail. "Slow down. What's wrong?"

She was used to following directions, so when he told her to slow down, Orifa did, her feet dragging. Her lower lip trembling, she finally stopped, bending to wrap her arms around her little green. "I'm dumb!"

R'hil blinked. "You shouldn't say that about yourself," he said automatically, mouthing the words that his Ma had said to her boys like a refrain. Of course, then his Ma would usually follow up with a smack upside the head, but that wasn't something he could do to Orifa.

"I didn't think I was, but...but..." Orifa wiped her eyes, "K'aur said I was! We were talking and the dragons were playing and his brown jumped on Lalorth and I got upset when I didn't need to and I even apologized for being upset and then there was something said about me being too flighty and he said I didn't have to be so dumb. I was just..." She burst out with another sob.

R'hil stared at her helplessly. "Uh... you were just?"

"Talking! I was just talking!" Lalorth crooned in an effort to calm Orifa, her eyes whirling rapidly in shades of yellow and orange. "I was going to help him bathe his brown and we were going to do it together and then he said that and I left!" Watery eyes turned up to him. "Do _you_ think I'm dumb?"

R'hil took a step back. "No?" It seemed like a trick question. He decided to try chaning the subject before he got in trouble. "Want me to beat up K'aur for you?"

Orifa shook her head, eyes wide. "We're not allowed to fight each other. And..." She wiped at her eyes and then looked down. "Maybe I am dumb."

Beating up K'aur seemed easier than this conversation. R'hil shifted uncomfortably. "Why are you listening to what K'aur says, anyway? Its not like he's so smart."

She didn't notice his discomfort one bit as she continued with a heavy sigh. "Because he's actually smart. And he knows things. And he's from Amber Hills like me. " She stroked Lalorth's little sides glumly. "And I don't do so well in lessons. Everyone knows that. "

"He's still not that smart," R'hil muttered. He wasn't doing great in his classes either. "Look, don't listen to what he says. He's been brainwashed by the Harpers anyway. It's better not to listen to the lessons if you can help it."

Orifa looked up at R'hil with an almost shock at the suggestion. "But we're supposed to be _learning_. Like, how to fly and do drills and stuff. We _have_ to listen." She lowered her eyes. "Like about /betweening/ and stuff too."

"Sure, but that's not taught by Harpers. But all that stuff about Holds and Halls and Weyrs and who is more important than everyone else for no reason... blah blah blah." The weyrling rolled his eyes.

Orifa stared at him for a long moment and rubbed her nose trying to soothe a random itch and quell the runniness. "What's wrong with
Harpers? They play music and they're nice."

"They play music, but what do they really want?" R'hil stepped close to Orifa and lowered his voice. "They're always _watching_. You can't trust 'em."

Her eyes widened even further and she clutched Lalorth a little closer. "Why are they watching? Are they watching me too? What if I mess up on something? Will they tell on me?"

"They watch everybody, all the time. I just... try to stay away from them, and not listen." Realizing that he was spooking her, R'hil
shifted his load of sheets so he could put a hand on Orifa's shoulder. "They probably told all about you already and since nothing's happened yet you're probably fine."

"But...has something happened to you?" Her voice stayed soft as she looked horrified at the thought. "But...you're so nice. They wouldn't do anything to you, would they?"

He shrugged, although the question bothered him. His Ma had always told him to beware of Harpers and now he was surrounded by them. As much fun as he was having with a dragon of his own and being around people his own age who _weren't_ his brothers, he often felt... hunted. "I'll be fine. I'm just glad that nothing's happened to _you_. I mean, if you think _I'm_ nice... you're _way_ nicer."

She immediately perked up, the alarm in her eyes fading at the compliment. "You think I'm nice?" She suddenly beamed at him and rose, moving to hug him. "Thank you!"

R'hil nearly dropped the sheets when she touched him. Her body was soft and warm, and he felt his face heat up uncomfortably as he
tentatively wrapped his free arm around her. Looking at girls was one thing but this was _different_. 'Uh-- ok?"

She squeezed her arm around him and quickly reached up to peck his cheek lightly. "You're very nice." She stepped back, eyes warm. "Thank you for cheering me up, R'hil." She took a deep breath and lifted her chin. "I feel much better now."

"Oh," R'hil mumbled. He looked down at the now-crumpled sheets in his arms. "I...uh, should do... this."

"Want some help?" Orifa nearly chirped, her sad mood completely gone now with the distraction. "I don't mind helping!"

"....sure?" R'hil's voice cracked a bit. He cleared his throat and tried to remember what he was doing. "Just... uh, delivering. These. To the laundry closet."

"Okay!" She grabbed an armful of washing, lightening his load considerably. "Lead the way!"

R'hil started down the hall, then turned and went back the other way when he realized that he was heading toward the Laundry instead of the closet he was supposed to fill. Suddenly the classes about dragonriding relations seemed _far_ more real. He just hoped that he'd find something else to think about before they dropped off the laundry.

Last updated on the February 10th 2022

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