Familiar

Who: Ione and Riel
When: Month 12, 200 AT
Where: Nighthearth, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Riel Searches Ione.


It was sometime after the fire that Ione appeared at Honshu with one group of labourers or apprentices or some other group ostensibly meant to be helpful to the Weyrhold in one way or another, though whether she’s actually been at Honshu enough from day to day is debatable. In-fact, what role she’s taken on at her new home is not precisely clear, for others on various shifts may claim to know of her or know her name, yet find themselves unable to describe or tell anyone where to find her. This afternoon, however, she’s still (almost) and in plain sight, scrubbing the floor at the night hearth in a lull between one meal and the next. Ione has tied up her long hair in a messy bun, strands already escaping and wet through with the grey water that she rather liberally transfers to the stone flooring by way of brush and cloth. At least she’s not unenthusiastic about the whole thing, vigorous in her scrubbing at scuffs and stains, even if her method could do with some improvement.

Riel approaches the night hearth with a knitted blanket folded neatly in the circle of one arm. It looks freshly knitted or at least hardly used at all, if any. She offers a smile as she searches for the usual basket for blankets on which to add her own. “You look like you could use a break,” she remarks. “Would you like a cup of water? Can I fetch you anything?” She pauses, eyes sliding to the brush and cloth. “A mop, perhaps?” Riel studies as much of the younger woman’s face as she can, trying to place it, no doubt, given the quizzical expression on her face. “I swear I’ve met you before somewhere but, I apologize, I can’t place your name…”

Ione sits back on her haunches, still grasping her scrub brush, and stares up at Riel a little blankly for a few moments, a little too still for said staring to be an entirely comfortable thing. A few moments pass with her seemingly frozen there, until she blinks and reanimates with a broad, somewhat rueful grin. “Pretty sure I’m supposed to be the one asking you if you need anything, ma’am,” she replies, blowing a stray lock of hair out of her line of sight. “Wouldn’t mind a drink if you’ve a minute, but a mop’s more trouble than it’s worth.” She wrinkles her nose. “Or maybe I’m just clumsy. Either way, I don’t much mind being down here with the smudges. Easier to see them, anyway.” The brush is set down for a second or two while she tries to tie back wayward strands of hair, saying, “Ione, ma’am,” and pronouncing it ee-own. “Greenrider Ixia’s my cousin. Said there was work going and here I am.”

The first few moments of staring is fine, Riel’s smile remaining in place, all radiance and warmth. Once the staring continues, her features fall somewhat, concerned. She’s about to ask if the younger girl can hear her when Ione speaks up — finally! — and that bright smile is permitted to return in full form under shining blue eyes. “Okay, no mop then,” she jests gently. “What kind of drink can I get you? Water?” She rolls Ione’s name over a time or two but inevitably admits, “Your name doesn’t seem familiar. Where are you from? Have you ever been a Candidate here before? I’m sure we can figure out where I know you from.”

“Water would be great. Thanks!” Ione picks up the brush again and idly nudges at the marks she’s gained on her boots from crawling about on the floor, though her attention remains with Riel, her dark eyes bright even though she doesn’t exactly smile. “Kind of all over, ma’am. My family’ve never stayed too long in one place. Been that way for generations. But, well, Ixia’s here and she’s doing okay, and Zerujath is really nice, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to spend some time here. Maybe find a husband. Should’ve been married by now, all told.” Huffing out a breath of laughter, she flicks a finger towards her mouth and admits, “Tend to let this run if people don’t shut me up. Never been a Candidate, no, ma’am. Family’s not xenophobic or anything, so there’re a few of us who have been.”

“A husband?” It isn’t an insulting tone; the concept is merely a life event she has never had reason to consider and her surprise shows. “Oh my. Is this what you want — a husband?” But Ione’s rambling continues and Riel laughs softly, a quiet, jingling music. “Let me go get you that water while I think about where I know you from, Ione.” She sets her knitted blanket down on a chair cushion and sashays away. When she returns, it’s with a mug of something steaming and a cup of water. The water she offers to the younger woman, gesturing to a chair. Riel herself claims the chair on which her knitted blanket sits, pulling the blanket into her lap. The expression she wears is self-satisfied. “I figured it out. Mikketh saw you in the Bowl, he saw something in you.” Riel blows gently on the surface of her tea, blue eyes sliding over to Ione. “Would you like to Stand for Amorenth and Roreliuth’s clutch? It would mean you couldn’t get married.” And perhaps her train of thought explores what alternative to ‘marriage’ there is among dragonriders, such as flights, for her expression freezes entirely as if she might take back the offer.

Ione makes a sudden return to staring, her head tilted slightly as she watches Riel with the blankness of one trying to figure out what they’ve said wrong, yet she doesn’t appear so troubled about it as to be upset, only curious. She keeps her questions to herself for now, letting Riel get away without further babbling, and continues scrubbing the floor in the meantime, all of the wisps of hair that she’s rearranged falling free again within minutes, leaving her in much the same state as she was found when Riel returns. Sitting back again, she accepts the offered cup with quiet thanks, slurping some down immediately before she gets to her feet and perches on the edge of a chair, mindful not to transfer any dust and dirt to it. Of all the things she could ask or say or consider, she questions, “Why couldn’t I get married?” more carefully than she’s uttered anything else, focus a little heavier now. “Do dragons not like that?”

Riel is pulled out of her own disturbing thoughts by Ione’s question, not that it leaves her any less puzzled. She considers her answer leisurely over the rim of her tea, alternating a gentle blow with a tentative sip. It’s a long few moments that the answer evades Riel until finally, she draws her mug away from her lips. “I can’t answer that, in truth,” is admitted, and Riel crosses one long leg over the other. “I can tell you it isn’t because dragons won’t allow it, I don’t think. But maybe I don’t understand what marriage is, really.” It’s a question left open for Ione’s answer, Riel leaning closer to rest her elbow on the arm of the chair, her delicate chin cradled between her slender thumb and forefinger.

“Well… we’re supposed to marry someone worthwhile who we can trust to have our backs,” Ione says slowly, her gaze a bit too distant for her to be watching Riel. “In my family, I mean. Doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman: you’re meant to bring to the family someone who can contribute and you trust won’t mistreat you or anyone else – and won’t let anyone else hurt you either.” She twitches one shoulder, considering, “Though I guess that’s kind of what Zerujath does for Ixia, so maybe you guys are all married to your dragons and that’s why you can’t marry someone else?” The slurping of more water may well be to buy her more time to decide, yet she seems to reach a conclusion quite quickly all the same, declaring, “Okay, I’ll do it. Anyone worth marrying would have to be the sort to accept dragons anyway.”

Riel’s thumb softly brushes back and forth in quiet contemplation. She smiles softly. “Not every dragon has those qualities,” she explains. “But not every rider is compatible with that kind of dragon. Mikketh, for example, he’s fiercely competitive. It’s up to me to rein him in and remind him that we have to live harmoniously here. He can be difficult towards others, especially males. It’s gotten us in trouble in the past. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t value his ambitious nature.” Her smile brightens for her dragon. “I never worry that he won’t be up for anything I want to do.” Another sip of tea is taken. “So you may not get what you think you deserve but you might get what you need.” Riel stands and sets down her folded knitted blanket, flashing her beaming smile as she prepares to take her tea and leave towards the inner caverns. “Congratulations, Ione. You’re officially a candidate of Honshu Weyrhold. Let me go get you a knot.”

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