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Can't Keep Them Safe

Writers: Devin
Date Posted: 26th March 2024

Characters: N'vanik, Talryne
Description: The stress of the past few months finally catches up with N’vanik.
Location: Dolphin Cove Weyr
Date: month 12, day 3 of Turn 10
Notes: Follows “Let Me Have This”


It was late when N’vanik got back. They’d scoured the Weyr from top to
bottom and found nothing. Either the man had escaped . . . Or he’d
gone back to hiding among them. At least they had a sketch of the man
who’d attacked the Candidates and every rider had gotten the image
from their dragons. By tomorrow there would be copies spread
throughout the whole Weyr.

Talryne sprang up from the couch as soon as N’vanik stepped inside.
“What happened?” She’d gotten some information from Loseth but it just
. . . It didn’t make any _sense_. But neither had the poisoning.

N’vanik could hardly breathe for all the rage inside him. “One of them
beat up a couple Candidates in a storeroom. Broke one kid’s arm, and
the other, she might not . . .”

That was as far as he got before his throat closed up and he choked on
a sob. He put a hand over his eyes. It was too much. It felt like the
world was crashing down around him, everything spinning out of
control. He stumbled deeper into the weyr, toward Loseth’s couch.

“N’vanik?” His reaction made panic claw at her and Talryne rushed to
him. She put an arm around his waist, helping him walk.

Loseth rose up, eyes whirling yellow with distress as he crooned to his rider.

“I can’t . . . I can’t,” was all he could manage between gasping
breaths. He made it to Loseth and collapsed against his dragon, face
pressed to his warm bronze hide.

Loseth curled around him, nuzzling his huge head against his rider.
}:He hurts very much,:{ he told Talryne.

She didn’t know what else to do, so she pressed herself against his
back and murmured soothing words. When N’vanik slid down to his knees,
she went with him, still holding him close.

“I can’t keep them safe.” His voice hitched and he couldn’t stop crying.

}:We guard the Weyr. We will protect everyone,:{ Loseth rumbled.

“Shuvan said they had people everywhere. Poisoning the hatchlings . .
. G’fand and Olisrath . . . Now these poor kids. When will it _stop_?”
He felt so helpless. So useless.

“_No one_ could handle all this on their own,” Talryne said. “No one
expects you to.”

“It’s my job to protect the Weyr and I failed.” Over and over. “People
and dragons are getting hurt. _Killed_.” Nothing but a useless
disappointment, just like his father had always said.

Loseth’s croon briefly took on a deeper note. }:Don’t think those
terrible things about yourself. You are brave and strong, and I love

“Your job is to fight _Thread_,” Talryne insisted. “Not a bunch of
deranged holders.” Right now she wanted to hunt them all down and kill
them herself for making him feel like this.

“If they kill us then we _can’t_ fight Thread.” There was a great
black pit inside N’vanik and the only things holding him up were
Loseth and Talryne. He breathed in the spicy scent of dragon, his body
moving with the massive bronze’s own breaths as Loseth’s flank
expanded and contracted. Talryne’s arms were tight around him, holding
him with fierce strength. “Right now they could be poisoning our food,
sabotaging our riding straps, killing children in the creche. . .”

It terrified her to see him so despairing. The worst part was that
N’vanik was right about the danger and she had no idea what to say.
How she could make him feel better. She had no responsibility for the
safety of others and she was afraid all the time that these
Weyr-hating people would hurt someone else, hurt _N’vanik_. He was
Weyrleader, of course he felt responsible for everything that went
wrong, blamed himself for not keeping the weyrfolk safe.

He’d been strong for her so often, but sometimes he needed Talryne to
be strong for him. So she took a deep breath and said, “So what then?
Give up? That’s not like you.”

He looked over his shoulder at her, eyes red-rimmed and wet. “No . . .
But I don’t know how to handle this.” He sounded so tired. So small.

}:We have a whole Weyr,:{ Loseth said to both of them. }:Many dragons
and riders. Many eyes and ears. Even the little cousins help.:{

N’vanik leaned back to look at his bronze. “Did you recruit the
firelizards?” Loseth often viewed them with mild amusement, though he
didn’t have much patience for their antics and he rarely communicated
with them.

}:They can go places dragons can’t. It was important. Some of them understood.:{

N’vanik managed a small laugh at the idea of Loseth commanding the
Weyr’s firelizards.

Talryne laughed too. “See? You have help. You don’t have to root out
all these tunnelsnakes on your own.”

N’vanik’s mood darkened again and he sighed. “But I don’t know who I
can trust.” Dragonriders, yes. And a few others like Calbarran. But
any of the Lower Caverns workers, the crafters, shards and shells,
even the Candidates . . .

}:We don’t know how each Thread will fall, but we fight anyway.:{

N’vanik patted his bronze. “You sound like a harper.” But he was
right. They both were. No matter what happened, N’vanik had to keep
fighting because giving up wasn’t an option. He half turned and put an
arm around Talryne so they were holding each other.

He pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Might need to fall apart now and
then, so I can stay strong out there.” He lifted his chin to indicate
the Weyr in general.

“Of course. Of course you can.” Talryne squeezed him. “You’ve held me
together plenty of times.” They’d seen each other at their most
vulnerable. Talryne had never expected to find that kind of trust with

N’vanik rubbed at his eyes. “I need a nice long soak. And then I think
I need to sleep with Loseth tonight. We can put down blankets, but
it’s not going to be the most comfortable.” He tilted his head up to
meet the bronze’s yellow-green eyes. “Just don’t roll over on us.”

Loseth snorted. }:I would never.:{

No matter how hopeless he felt, N’vanik had his dragon and his
weyrmate to lean on, and that was enough to keep him going.

At least until the next crisis.

Last updated on the March 28th 2024

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