Who: Aerishani and Mersia
When: Month 13, 200 AT
Where: Records Room, Honshu Weyrhold
What: The weyrhold’s newest goldrider meets the Weyrlady.

Not long has passed since the Smith Apprentice Impressed the little gold hatchling, and already Mersia has found herself in trouble. At first, the weyrlingmaster suggested that she find other things to do while Ilelyath sleeps — like bathing, eating, or meeting with the weyrleaders, for starters. Failing that, suggestions have now become enforced rules, and having been kicked out of the barracks while Ilelyath sleeps off breakfast, Mersia has managed to eat, bathe, and dress herself in a decent, clean white top and knee-length brown skirt before going in search of the Weyrlady. She timidly cracks the door open to the Records Room, small, delicate fingers clinging gently to the door as she does little more than just lean inside the room. “Ma’am?”

For the most part, both Aerishani and Amorenth have done their best to keep their distance from the new weyrlings, trying to let them settle into who they are as their respective pairs without interference. What information the Weyrlady has garnered has primarily come from the Weyrlingmaster, while Amorenth has occasionally watched over her young from afar, only idly interested – and even so, most directly interested in her golden daughter. Though some might immediately enter the names of weyrlings and dragons into the records, Aerishani has waited until today to do so, the heavy volume that holds the details of Honshu’s past clutches sat before her at her chosen table. Glancing up, she lifts her gaze to Mersia’s and smiles just slightly, inviting, “Come in, Mersia. If that’s what you’re still going by?”

The Weyrlingmaster’s report would give Ilelyath rave reviews. She is a sweet, playful, quiet little queen, but her rider is not receiving such positive appraisals. Withdrawn, antisocial, neglectful of herself — if only one positive thing can be said of Mersia, she is at least devoted to the care of Ilelyath. In the Record’s Room, Mersia can’t quite relinquish her hold on the door. She does, eventually, and slides through the narrow opening of the door that she’s created for herself. Her hands curl into balls that hang uncomfortably at her sides as she moves through the room, arms lifting to let hands draw in towards each other so that fingers can knot with fingers, anxiety twisted into wrists and pressed into palms. Mersia looks up at Aerishani briefly, brown eyes preferring to give the tabletop the small smile that might otherwise have been aimed at the other woman. She gives a small curtsy. “Yes, it’s still Mersia, Weyrlady,” she quietly returns, nervousness lending the corner of that smile to tremble gently. “Um, I hope Amorenth’s well?”

“Amorenth is still unbearably smug that she managed to produce a queen daughter on her first try,” Aerishani answers dryly, making next to no effort to hide that she shares some of that pride, though hers takes the form of indulgent – if a little frustrated – humouring of her lifemate. “Don’t worry, I do remind her that Ilelyath is yours and will be Honshu’s more than hers. If she had stronger maternal instincts, maybe you’d have seen her around your class more often, but I think we all know by now that mothering isn’t her strong suit.” Any disappointment in that, she means to shed by easing her shoulders back and placing her pen down as she asks, “How is Ilelyath? And how are you? Forgive me, but I can only think either I terrify you or not all is well from how you carried yourself in here.” Beneath the table, she slides a foot across to nudge the chair opposite her away and towards Mersia. “Sit?”

Mersia’s smile gets aimed up off the table for mention of Amorenth’s pride, that nervous energy chewed into her lower lip. “Um, Ilelyath is good,” she decides, her gaze flicking away from Aerishani to comb the shelves over the Weyrlady’s shoulder. “And I’m, uh, just–” She pauses and reaches for the back of the moving chair, pulling it out a little further before sliding to perch on its seat. Palms are rubbed against her knees like she might force out all that anxious energy before she folds her hands in her lap, her ankles crossed in a manner rather proper for someone lacking in any obvious pedigree among the current Holders. A nervous laugh escapes her as she continues. “I just feel weird about this whole thing. I’m supposed to be at the crafthall working on a journeyman’s project, not, um, reporting to the Weyrlady.” She emphasizes that last word like it’s a ridiculous turn of events. She aims an apologetic look across the table. “I’m sorry. It’s not you. I just feel out of place.” Some of that anxious energy fades during their brief conversation. “Was it easy for you? With Amorenth? In the beginning?”

“In the beginning? No. But Amorenth is barely two years old and our beginning really wasn’t all that long ago.” Aerishani gestures to the book in-front of her, then at some indistinct shelf in the distance, “And, if your entry in the records is right, there are only those two years between you and me.” For just a moment, she watches Marsia the tiniest bit more closely, attempting to discern her reaction to that before she politely averts her gaze again and keeps from looking at her quite so intently. “I was sent here to tutor a woman who’s now my junior weyrlady; I expected to Impress a green or blue, or not at all, since I’d decided against trying a fourth time. And now…” Her smile returns, if more self-deprecating now, though it retains the same warmth as before. “Well, here we are, with you feeling weird about reporting to me and me feeling weird that you have to. I’m at your disposal, however, whenever you need me. I’ll be training you, after all. And I figure it’s best to start with honesty. So…” She shies not from asking again: “How are you?”

“Two years makes quite a bit of difference in this world. At least it seems that way right now,” Mersia murmurs gently, offering a small smile. The simple act of talking has helped ease Mersia’s fidgeting, at least until her own feelings are under the microscope again. Then the unease returns, Mersia’s hands again rubbing against her knees, arms stretching that uncomfortable feeling out of her shoulders. “Um,” she begins, hanging on the word for a few moments while she searches the room for the words. “Overwhelmed. Inadequate.” It’s the truth, says the apologetic slant to her lips that she aims at the corner of the table and then her hands in her lap. “But I’ll survive.” That, too, is the truth. Brown eyes slid across the table to the record. “How are you feeling?”

Aerishani inclines her head just slightly, acknowledging the response she’s given without discounting or discarding it, letting the silence of that acceptance rest between them for a moment or two. “If it’s any consolation? I’d be more concerned if you didn’t feel the way you do. How anyone can be chosen by a queen and realise the extent of what’s ahead of them and not worry about what it means and whether they’re up to it, I don’t know.” What lingers of her smile shades remorseful as she nonetheless tells Marsia, “I hope you’ll feel so less and less as time goes by. At the very least, I suggest you try to learn how to conceal those feelings when you have to. You can’t afford to have anyone take advantage of you.” As for herself? “Me? I’m pleased you seem human and not like some silly, entitled girl who thinks she’s just unlocked the vault of the world’s wealth.”

Nervousness has given way to acceptance of what is beyond her control but Mersia’s gaze continues to hold the dark weight of uncertainty; resignation to her fate does not make the path clear nor easy. Her hands lay still in her lap, and a hint of appreciation for Aerishani’s words spreads into the corners of her lips. “Thank you for the advice, Weyrlady.” Mersia inches forward in her seat, her hands moving to her side to cling to the wooden seat. “Ilelyath won’t sleep long. I should go butcher meat before she wakes and has a fit. Will I report to you regularly during weyrlinghood now, or…”

“Not just yet,” Aerishani replies, words accompanied by the shake of her head. “The two of you need some time to grow as a pair and figure things out before we start going on about what your duties will be and what you need to know of a queen’s nature. She’ll be almost grown before any compulsion she might attempt to use could have any effect on any adult dragons, so we’ve some time in that respect.” And yet, it sounds like she’s not quite willing to wait that long – or anything close to it. “When Ilelyath has four months behind her, we’ll begin. In the meantime, if there’s anything you need, you’re welcome to come and ask. I doubt we’ll get through four months without Amorenth interfering in some respect, anyway.” Another, brighter, smile precedes, “Okay?”

Mersia smiles and nods once. “Yes, Weyrlady,” she says quietly. She lifts herself from the chair, smoothing her skirt unnecessarily, and heads for the door with less of an anxious knot between her shoulders. She pauses at the door and glances back at the woman barely older than herself. “Thank you for this, ma’am. It was… relieving, a little.” Her smile flexes gently with appreciation before she pushes open the door only wide enough for her to slip out, standing a little taller than when she first walked in. It isn’t enough to get her out of the weyrlingmaster’s bad books in time for Aerishani’s next report, but at least there’s mention of an improved attitude in Honshu’s latest goldrider.

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