Who You Are

Who: Zinovia, Akemi, Yukijiath, Maozheth
When: Month 3, 201 AT
Where: Akemi’s Wagon, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Akemi gives Zinovia a guardian.

Akemi has been noticeably absent most of the day, somewhere //in// the Weyrhold for Maozheth has not gotten distressed by her lack of physical nearness but not anywhere that is immediately //findable//. She shows back up near the end of the day, joining the other weyrling’s for dinner with a special gleam to her eye and not a word said in conversation. She grabs at Zinovia’s sleeve before she can follow the group she’s chatting with and tugs her out of the dining area and down to the area of the Weyrhold that still harbors her trader’s wagon. She shoos Zinovia inside the space, where the smallness of the cabin area is felt with two bodies within. She encourages Zinovia to sit on her small sleeping cot and then turns to present her with a hefty ceramic container filled with sand. A bright and rare smile pushes forward on her face as she flicks on a few lights about the wagon so Zinovia can peer in at the rather large firelizard egg tucked within. “I was assured that the hatching should happen at some point tonight,” she tells her with a beam as she moves to settle against a stack of blankets and clothes.

Somewhere inside the weyrling barracks, Yukijiath goes nosing about for Maozheth when Akemi grabs Zinovia’s sleeve, intent on finding him and curling up next to him, much as it would seem they have done within those walls since the time they hatched. Her rider does as she’s bid, following along after the bluerider and right into the wagon, where she likewise does as she’s encouraged and sits herself down, her eyes wide and questions on her lips as she glances about, only for eyes to stay wide and questions to fall silent when she automatically holds out her hands to accept what she’s offered with the steadiness of the healer she once was. For a few moments, she feels the weight of the container without looking into it, staring up at Akemi and her smile instead, except the word ‘hatching’ makes her finally look down and settle it on her lap in a startled moment of panic. “But you…” she starts to say, glancing between them again. “Shouldn’t you…?”

“Should I what?” Akemi asks, teasing glint to her eyes, “get you chopped meat and sit aside to watch you Impress whatever is inside? I was promised a gold… but I know you won’t mind what ever young thing topples out to tend after. My only concern is if Yukijiath is not keen on sharing you. She never minds me or Maozheth but still…,” her brows pucker in that usual frown of concern but she quickly dismisses the thought with a wave of her hand. “We can bunk down in here for a few hours and see if it’s going to come out tonight.” She leans further against the pile of blankets and grins at Zinovia. “I had the //best// time trading for it, Zinovia. The bronzerider was a true haggler. It took cunning and skill to get him settled on the exact price I was willing to pay.” Her cheeks are rosy with the memory of the interaction. “It helps Maozheth has great fun with the ‘game’ of it all. He rarely has the patience for our lessons and trading requires it!” She reaches back into her pocket and pulls out a thin piece of wood to tuck between her teeth and grins at the greenrider, looking more like the ‘boy’ Okami than she has since Impressing.

“You //know// what I mean!” Zinovia exclaims, eyes wider still as Akemi mentions the possibility of a gold. “Shouldn’t you keep them for yourself? You could sell her eggs, if it’s a gold. Not that you couldn’t if she were to look to me, but still…” There’s a distance to her gaze as her focus drifts to Yukijiath, whose response cannot be troubling enough for her to worry. “Yuki’s only ever minded anyone who speaks ill of me or wants to hurt me,” she says more gently. “I think she decided that you and Maozheth were hers the moment she set eyes on you. You’ll have more trouble getting her to surrender you than anything else.” Dark eyes drop back down to the ceramic container, the whole thing turned a careful, full revolution before she looks up and around the wagon once again, her voice a hushed thing as she murmurs, “You shouldn’t give this up,” adding, “any of it,” as she rests her gaze on Akemi. “It’s who you are. You’re happy here, now.” She quirks a tiny smile. “So happy that you’re willing to give away a queen.”

“There’s time to figure out all of the trading part of my life after Maozheth and I graduate – so long as he stops injuring himself long enough to keep up with our required lessons,” Akemi answers Zinovia, guard still dropped and shine to her eyes though her smile has faded away into a subtler smirk. “It’s fitting that a Lady Holder has a gold to answer to her, moreso than her consort. We can haggle over distribution of her eggs later, but I imagine it’s a good way to curry favor amongst your staff.” She idly scratches at her jawline, glancing around her wagon with a thoughtful air. “I should really find someone to take this over and the runners. They’re getting fat and pampered here. Soon they’ll be barn sour and fight every amount of work and pace you put them through.” Her gaze falls to that egg container and she leans forward, excitedly, as she sees a wobble. “Is it moving?” she asks Zinovia.

Whether she realises it or not, Zinovia sports a smirk to mirror Akemi’s as she murmurs, “Consort. I like that almost as much as Lady.” As she leans forward, she sees her opportunity, first reaching to claim the slender pick of wood from between Akemi’s teeth if she must, to push further and steal a kiss, lifting a hand from ceramics to curl fingers into her hair instead. “I had to,” she tells her, unrepentant, as she obediently returns her attention to the egg that wobbles rather insistently now, demanding to be loosed from its container. Some sand goes spilling over her hands as she tips the pot and lets the egg fall into her palms, where it suddenly cracks as if it’s been waiting for that rolling motion to assist it. The firelizard who pokes her nose free and soon shrugs her shoulders from shell is a sturdy, rose-gold creature with the lick of richer flames edging along her frame, eyes that whirl red fixing upon Zinovia, who scrabbles in her pocket for some of the dried meat that she tends to keep on her for her whippet, her offerings hungrily snapped up. “Now I think you meant to give me another guardian as well,” Zinovia dryly remarks, a quick judge of the young queen’s temper. She tips her head forward again, meaning only to rest her forehead against Akemi’s this time. “Thank you.”

Akemi is breathless after Zinovia’s claiming kiss, her eyes alight with a need for more though she does not act on the inner stirrings of her body. It’s good that the little gold tumbles free of shell in that moment for it gives Akemi an opportunity to bustle away from Zinovia and collect the fresher meat chunks she had in a container should the creature hatch in a timely manner. She’s back and seated after Zinovia’s handed over dried meat to content the creature and so able to have her forehead touch against Zinovia’s. She earns a nip from the hungry gold for her closeness and hands over the meat to Zinovia to dole out. “It can’t be helped if I’m determined to have an arsenal of creatures around you at all times. If we can’t be there to protect you, it’s best someone can be taken into a closed door meeting and snap at any who speak rudely in your presence.” She returns to her casual lean against the goods, that toothpick replaced with another and that cocky smile back on her face as she watches Zinovia bond with the little gold. “What will you name her?”

Zinovia refuses to let her new charge (or is that the other way round?) eat too quickly, despite her demands for more food than is being offered at a time, making her finish one mouthful before letting her snatch another from her fingertips. “There are stories in the archives at Landing about a bird of legend with her colouring. Rising from the ashes of death.” She quirks a tiny smile, a flash of grief long suppressed there and gone. “They called it a phoenix. It seems fitting, for her. Phoenix.” She wipes sticky and bloodied fingers on her skirts without a care for the state of them, carefully picking fragments of shell from the gold who eventually starts to make less frequent demands and closes her eyes every few moments instead. “We’ll have to find you a bronze or a brown for her to twine with. Maybe a whole fair of bronzes for her to twine with.” That smirk returns. “A girl could get ideas, you know, being hustled away in here.”

That pleased cockiness remains, the dare put before her by Zinovia noted with a quirk of brows and lips. “Well,” Akemi says, looking to the gold, “one could try something here if you weren’t harboring a newborn firelizard in your arms.” She doesn’t deny Zinovia the vision of her owning a multitude of male firelizards – she’s already got the male dragon. She tips herself forward and goes further into the recess of the wagon, making her way around stacked boxes and squeezing into places that didn’t look passable. She doesn’t immediately return but her voice carries from the depths. “I think I’ve got a suitable fragrant oil, if memory serves me,” her voice is muffled by the stack of things between them. “Ah! There it is,” she shuffles around some more within her goods before she makes her way back to Zinovia. She’s bright-eyed still and grinning at her. She pushes a vial of oil towards her. “A mix of herbs suitable for the finest of Ladies,” she teases, looking to where Phoenix is curved.

“True.” Zinovia even yawns in subconscious echo of the little queen, watching as wings get tucked close and tail wrapped over nose as she curls up, making herself a nest in the skirts of the greenrider’s dress. Her focus follows Akemi as she moves further into the wagon, tips of her fingers absently stroking along the ridges of the new friend curled up in her lap until that same hand reaches to accept the vial she’s offered, a soft huff of laughter escaping her. “I might not have had much need for gems and perfumes and all of it before inheriting, but you should be aware that I will one day sit you down and plait gemstones and gold threads through your hair and clothes and you will be the sun.” It sounds like both a threat and a promise, her gaze holding Akemi’s until she must focus on the vial and start to dab oil along fiery hide. “And then we might not decide to leave what chambers we choose to occupy for about a week, but we’ve time to think on that.”

Akemi’s hair still sports the braids that Zinovia gave her not that long ago, carefully rebraided after every bath by the bluerider to represent //something// to herself and the greenrider. It’s always these small gestures of there being more between them, acknowledgement of what claims the Lady Holder may want to make on the once-trader. “I don’t think I could be the sun but I know Maozheth would enjoy the theatrics of such a thing,” she comments. She eases back against her earlier perch, watching as the gold gets the application of oil. “How much longer do you think we’ll have to be wishful of the future?” she asks, allowing a flash of impatience to show. “This limbo of our lives is… draining. I’m ready to take hold of my future.”

“You are the sun,” Zinovia replies, her declaration matter of fact and direct enough that could well mean something else entirely as she makes it, though she keeps from looking up at Akemi as she does so, supplying needless focus to the oiling of the creature who now sleeps in her lap. “…When Yukijiath is grown, they expect me to leave,” she says quietly. “That will be months, not years, now. I expect the Weyrlord and Lady will anticipate some gesture from Silverfield to cover the costs of having raised and educated her, much as I paid off the Healer Hall, since she and I aren’t to serve Honshu. Not directly, at least.” Her lips soften into a tiny smile. “If we’re to steal you away with us and they want to fight about it… they can try.”

Akemi is thoughtful at the mention of having to pay back the Weyrhold, the pucker of her brows and the thinning of her lips showing the direction of her thoughts. “They should not be allowed to make you to pay such costs. You did not come to their Hatching anticipating that one of their dragons would pick you. It’s not that you’d ever want to //not// have Yukijiath… but in a way, that’s like forcing you to pay reparations. We can try and negotiate an exclusive trade deal or something along those lines. But outright payment? I do not think that is fair.” She looks about her wagon and plucks her fingers along the threads of one of the tasseled blankets she’s leaning on. “I’ll sell the entire contents of this wagon and my runners to pay them if I must to leave. Maozheth would not be well at all if he had to leave the side of Yukijiath. It’s undeniable that they’re very bonded.” She looks back to Zinovia. “We will go with you.”

“Maybe they won’t try to make me pay anything… Maybe they just don’t do that to anyone, but perhaps it ought to be done. There’s no telling when the Hold might need the Weyr’s assistance in more than the usual ways.” After carefully drawing open Phoenix’s wings, Zinovia finishes smoothing oil into hide and lifts herself up, cradling the little gold in her arms, to go and sit down beside Akemi, curling up in such a way as she might rest her head in her lap. “You shouldn’t sell this,” she tells her, as she has before. “It’s as much a part of who you are as Silverfield is for me. We’ll not know what Honshu truly wants until Yukijiath and Maozheth are grown, anyway.” She looks up at Akemi then curls up a little tighter, smothering a yawn. “We only know what we want.” Her eyes fall closed again then, the seconds following stealing her away to sleep, though she’ll undeniably have to return to the barracks at some point.

Akemi’s face softens as she watches Zinovia fall into the same sleep that her new little charge has gone. She eases off of her bundles, moving to the cot to draw a blanket about the greenrider tenderly. Maozheth is sent a message to pass on to Yukijiath of Zinovia’s whereabouts and the nap that’s claimed her. Akemi does not join the greenrider, choosing to sit back on the pile of blankets once more to simply watch her companion sleep. Whatever decisions come ahead of them, Akemi at least can predict one small portion of her future. Maozheth’s fireworks are glittering gems in the darkened sky as he promises Yukijiath, << We will go together. >> When Zinovia wakes, Akemi will grab a few more things from the wagon before she locks it up and returns to her life as a weyrling.

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