Of all the people I've ever roleplayed, particularly relationships with,
the person who played Laynard will be missed the most. Nard's player chose
to live within reality rather than gaming on a mush, even part time, and I
think it was the hardest decision for them to make. No part time idea would
work, it was too tempting to just play on.
This is to Laynard, probably the best ic relationship I've known. He was kind
and gentle, not demanding at the least. Understanding of life, and also of
how far I was willing to go. No question, no expectations beyond a fade to
black, and no expectations that I would have time for him all the time. It was
refreshing to find this, unasked for, in a couple-type situation, and it will
be sorely missed. Take care, old friend, wherever you are.
Laynard walks in from the inner caverns with a thoughful look on his weary face.
Junni wrings her hands in delight and hustles her way across the living cavern.
"Smells like _fresh_ herdbeast for me tonight, none of this carried on the
sands junk..." she's almost singing and it almost sounds good.
Laynard looks up as he hears Junni's voice and his thoughtful expression
deepens even more. "Hello, Junni, love." No loving insults in his voice,
just a sense of distraction and worry.
Junni stops, all desire of herdbeast freezing and she turns about. "Nard,
wherry-dunking little snot-face. Are you okay?" She sounds truely concerned,
even with the love-dotted notions.
Laynard shakes his head as his hand ruffles through his hair, swallowing back
something as he looks at Junni as if drinking her in. "I'm fine, really, just
well, I gotta leave. So long."
Junni frowns a little further then she says, "I thought you were going to help
me move that sand table tonight... away from the bathing areas so it doesn't
clump. Won't be long, will you?"
Laynard swallows again, blinking back suspicious looking moisture from his
eyes. He reaches for the goldrider and says again. "I gotta go, Junni, I have
to leave, and leave tomorrow, early. Back to Boll. I can't move your table, I
Junni's face falls and she grabs his wrist tightly. "You ca... go? I don't
understand. Why Boll? I mean... was it something I did? The sands? I'll even
stop calling you dork or putting my cold toes on you."
Laynard limply holds the hide in the hand that is caught. "My ma." He says
dumbly, shock settling in. "My ma." His voice cracks "She well, she fell off
the fishing boat. I told her, don't be goin' on that fishing boat, Narl can do
it, but she wouldn't listen, Junni, she wouldn't!" His free hand roams up
through his hair as he admits. "She can't be moving from her bed, the healers
say I gotta come and take over for her."
Junni lets loose of that wrist just long enough to wrap her arms around Laynard
quickly. "Oh ... Laynard. I'm so sorry to hear it. Really sorry.." Her voice is
quiet then she squeezes tightly. "She'll get better soon... and when she does,
you can just send note and I'll come get you. I can visit every day if you
want. Right after I'm done doing wing duty... even a little earlier some days."
Laynard swallows and nearly loses control as Junni's arms wrap around him but
again, he swallows hard, blinking back tears. "Junni." He whispers. "It's bad
and she ain't gonna get any better. Her legs, they don't work no more, and
won't work. I gotta stay there, Junni." He steps back a step to look Junni
squarely in the eye. "I won't be coming back, the minor Holders of my area are
telling me, I gotta come back and take my duties over our hold."
Junni's eyes widen and she shakes her head, "don't you have brothers or
something? What about that Kn.. K, er... that other guy? I mean... " She stops
suddenly then brightens. "I have a dragon, I can come there. That'll work."
Laynard swallows again, growing up a turn by the minute, or so it seems and
again he shakes his head, reaching down and gently lifts Junni's chin with a
finger. "Junni, there is no one else. Narl is my cousin, half daft, worse than
me, he can't run the hold, he'd run it into the sea in a sevenday. And we got
lots of people we are lookin' after." Already, his loyalties are shifting, even
in his speech. "I ain't commin' back and Junni?" Realization makes his voice
crack. "You can't be coming after me, you gotta stay put. You got duties here,
girl." He winces on every word.
Junni pales then shakes her head, "noo... Nard, but.. " She then closes her
greenish eyes. "I don't want duties. I want you. You and your left-on-the-table
wilted posies." She had noticed.. or at least someone noticed for her. "It's
Laynard takes a deep breath, willing his voice not to break. "Junni.." Speaking
softly , his love caressing the words, he says. "Wherry-breathed, dork brain,
you know, I love ya, you know I want to stay here, but I can't, I gotta go.
And you can't leave here either. You gotta stay, you can't be traipsing around
Pern when you gotta help them leaders upstairs. And it's not fair." He stops
and finally wipes at his eyes with his sleeve. "It's not fair at all but that's
how it is. Promise me, Junni, you'll do your duty. I can't be worrying about
Igen and worrying about home. You gotta keep here going for me."
The young woman's eyes start to glisten from the moment she opens them and
tears drift quickly down her cheeks. She's not stopping them and can't. "If...
Laynard, ... oh shards.." She uses the heel of her hand to wipe a tear, "I'm
crying like an idiot." She shakes a little then manages to say quietly, "I love
you. Everything that is you. I will .. only if that's what you want."
Junni's tears undo Laynard completely and he gathers her into his arms, not
ashamed to comfort his girl and lets his tears intermix with hers. "I love you
too and I'm glad we got one night, even though you slept and hogged the covers,
I got ta wake with you in my arms one last time Junni, girl."
Junni can't help it now, but starts sobbing into his shoulder, knowing in her
mind that he's right even as her heart tears apart. She swallows, it's a hard
sense. "Nard... " She says quietly, "you're a Holder lord now." Hiccoughs
through the words, gently, "you need... to find a lady sometime." She looks
back, red-eyed, "I can't let you go ... without letting you know that I
understand, and you're... you're... " The sobs return and she squeaks out,
Laynard is taken aback and he visibly pales. "Oh shells, not Larania, shells,
let her be married. She's got cross-eyed. I can't be.." He shakes his head and
rocks Junni back and forth. "Can't be thinking about that and you can't be
either. You do your duty here, be happy. Don't be pouting around here, I'll
make sure Lucid spies on ya, to make sure you're behavin' yourself."
Junni shakes her head, her hair falling in front of her face and sticking to
the tear trails. "Nard... you're the Holder- you get to pick that... but we've
gotta think of that." She snuffles but ignores blowing her nose. "You've..
you're not having to be just my guy anymore." Words finally out, her nose and
face all turn red with the effort of surpressing more sobs. "An Lucid can spy
all he wants. I don't have to behave."
Laynard swallows hard. "Nay, I don't always, Junni, not when there is that
section of land my ma has been hankering for on the east bay.." He shakes his
head firmly. "But I'm not gonna think about that." He pulls out a semi clean
hanky and passees it to Junni. "Junni, I -am- your guy, forever." And with all
his eighteen turn heart, he believes every word. "Forever. You'll always be my
dork-faced June-girl don't you be forgetting it but you get on with your life,
you here?" He emphasizes every word. "You gotta live your life good, Junni, or
it ain't gonna to work, I'll be worryin' too much about you if I here you are
pinin' away here for me. Find yourself some cute bronzerider, that T'asu feller,
maybe not tomorrow, but don't be dragging this on forever."
Junni shakes her head and squeezes her eyes closed. "I can't promise that... I
can't promise to love anyone else. I'll do my duty, I won't go off... because
you asked me not to, but I can't give my heart away if I don't have it to give."
She looks downward and gasps quietly, "who's going to ... " the thought isn't
Laynard chuckles. "Whose going to want the cutest girl in all of Pern and the
bravest one too, even though she hogs the furs and snores on occasion? Trust
me, you'll have them lined up outside your weyr, taking numbers, when you see
them. And I ain't tellin' ya to fall in love tomorrow. Shells, I hope you
don't. let me get packed and out of here first. But.. don't be lookin' in the
past like them aunties by the hearth who all they do is belly ache about lost
loves and they don't see the good they got right in front of their noses."
Junni smacks Laynard in the shoulder. "Tasieth won't let them. Shardit all
to... don't think that. It ain't no ... it's not any good." She finally lets
her gaze fall to the floor. "Just when I get off the sands. Your timing stinks,
Laynard chuckles at both the blow and the insult. "Now that's my June-girl.I
thought you'd gotten all soft on me or something" He turns as a voice calls his
name from just outside the cavern, and looks at Junni, shaken. "My ride, the
watchrider from Boll is here, love."
Junni blinks then looks toward the entry. "Nard, they weren't supposed to be
here till tomorrow morning! I wanted... I mean, you coul.. by the first egg!"
She's growling then she drops all the expressions to look at Laynard tenderly.
"I'll keep an eye on you, love, even from that far away."
Laynard shakes his head. "I can't Junni, I gotta go. My ma, Junni, she's well,
you know?" He reaches to sweep Junni into a lingering, hungry embrace not
wanting to let go. "I know you will, I know and I.." Again, his name is called
and as the watchrider walks in the entrance, Nard glance over, notes the look
of worry on the rider's face and hugs Junni again. "I have to go, now."
Junni nods just a little, her head against Nard's shoulder so it's more felt
than anything. "I'll have your things sent tomorrow morning... " Even her own
voice sounds tinny in her own head. "You'll do her proud, Nard. I wish your
Laynard lifts Junni's chin again to kiss her tenderly. "You do me proud every
day, even before you got that gold up in that ledge of yours. And I got
everything I own, right here, down to the boots I'll be keeping for good. Just
send my new assistant steward clothes down to me when they get finished, they
are down at the seamstress's. I left word with Kyris and Shilarra." He stumbles
as he releases Junni. "I love you, don't ever forget that." With one more
fierce stare, as if willing himself to memorize every aspect of Junni, he begins
to walk away. "See ya kiddo."
Junni swallows and holds her chin firm. "See ya, wherry-brain..." The words
quaver a bit, but her green eyed gaze is solid.
Laynard strides out, after the rider, not looking back, shifting his small
backpack over one shoulder. With a new note of determination in his voice, he
slaps his friend on the shoulder. "Let's be going, you can fill me in on how
bad it really is on our way back."
Laynard walks out to the Bowl.
Laynard has left.
Junni's knees fold and it's only luck that there's a chair behind her. She
stares at the door, quiet, sad. Not crying, but stunned as her world goes away.