$away seems to completely ignore the 'You have been marked as away" and "You are no longer marked as being away" messages.
(make sure we aren't away to begin with)
//away . | echo -a $away
//away | echo -a $away
//away . | away | echo -a $away
ly mIRC updates the status of $away instantly. I think mIRC may do this so as not to confuse various scripts setting away (ie: an 'autoaway on idle' script could flood the server with aways if it didn't receive a prompt reply from the server). You'll also find if your network has a server-side alias for away (like /A) that using this will not update mIRC.
(edit: eye speel funniey :P)