Who: Zinovia, Akemi, Yukijiath, Maozheth
When: Month 7, 201 AT
Where: Zinovia and Akemi’s Weyr, Honshu Weyrhold
What: An engagement.

What gossip there’s been about the fact that Lady Silverfield has moved into a weyr with a bluerider – and a female bluerider at that – surely cannot have originated with the clutchmates of either rider, for it can be no news to them, what with Zinovia and Akemi having shared a bed since the early days of weyrlinghood. Perhaps it’s ironic that, having ensured that a vast, comfortable bed with many blankets and pillows was found for the weyr they moved into, despite the size of said bed Zinovia still chooses to sleep all wound together with Akemi, as if they’re still sharing the one slender cot. She’s in that bed early this evening, curled up with a good book and a glass of some bubbly white wine or another while she awaits Akemi’s return, Phoenix perched atop the headboard.

Akemi’s return takes her longer than she had anticipated – more bubbly white wine collected and a sampling of food grabbed from the kitchens. She looks like a contented feline when she strides into their bedroom, her ‘pillaged’ goods set out on a dresser to display to Zinovia. Though her hesitancy in their shared bed continues, she never seems unwilling to kiss Zinovia and please her at all hours of the day since they moved into their accommodations. She kicks off her boots and slides out of her pants, leaving her shirt to drift //just// long enough to conceal her underwear. “I’m going to miss bartering with old Skaff for things,” she tells Zinovia as she wriggles her way up along the bed and plants a kiss against her cheek. “He’s fun to tease, even if we don’t necessarily have to pay for things like wine. I like that he makes me work for it.” She peers down at the book. “What’s this?” she asks.

“My hero,” Zinovia drawls, not the least bit sarcastic despite her low tone, smiling a smug smile as Akemi approaches. She returns the kiss to her cheek with one to her temple, shifting slightly so that she’s curled towards the bluerider and can snuggle down against her, which is primarily all she’s sought to do beneath the covers, unwilling to push or coerce her into doing anything she’s uncomfortable with. As long as she’s in the bed with her and within reach, she seems perfectly content. “I could make sure that everyone at Silverfield makes you work for things, if you like,” she teases gently, for all that she might well mean it too. Tipping the book so that Akemi can see it properly too, she reveals firelizard-edged pages and colourful sketches around blocks of text. “Half firelizard anatomy and half firelizard stories. They alternate. I suppose someone realised that it’s easier to study if you have something lighter in-between.” Offering her the book, she turns, rolling over and stretching an arm across the bed to retrieve something from a bedside table.

Akemi snorts at the mention of making her ‘work’ for things at Silverfield. “I intend to keep an eye on how trader’s treat Silverfield and help where you want me to. But I certainly hope your staff doesn’t think I’m a lazy trader who is there to take advantage of their wonderful Lady.” She takes the book and flips through the pages, keeping a thumb on the section Zinovia had been examining. “Interesting,” she tells her, “I could see why it might hold your interest.” The bluerider has never been one to actively read, though when read to by Zinovia, she is always an avid listener. She watches as the greenrider tips towards the bedside table, brow lifting slightly before she schools her features and waits for Zinovia to straighten. “How long after graduation do you think you’ll stay here?” she asks her, adding a little shyly, “I still haven’t asked for permission to go with you.”

From the headboard, Phoenix hops down right onto the book and sinks her teeth into one corner of its cover, tugging as she tries to haul it away with her, like she’d study her own species for clues for absolute dominance as queen. “No-one will think that,” Zinovia promises, rolling herself back towards Akemi. “And you’re my Lady as much as much as I’m theirs. We’ll all do our work and play our parts. That’s how the Hold works. We all look after each other and we all work to maintain what we have.” Her hands still clasped around something she keeps hidden, she snuggles against her and murmurs, “…I think the Weyrleaders want me gone as soon as possible. A clean break. Lines drawn.” She peeks up at her, a soft smile curving her lips. “Tell them that Yukijiath and I are absconding with you and you’re powerless to resist us.” Allowing herself another moment of stillness, she then sits herself up a little and opens her hands to reveal a solid silver ring sitting in her left palm. “Whether they ever let any of us marry at all… you //are// my Lady and my wife and… and this was my mother’s…” With thumb and forefinger, she tilts the ring just enough for the engraving on the inside of the band to be visible. “If it should be anyone’s, it should be yours. My love and my Lady.”

Akemi releases the book to Phoenix with a tolerant smile, perhaps used to the young gold’s antics enough not to fuss when she claims the book Zinovia was reading. She sits back against the headboard, kicking her feet out and crossing them at the ankles as she looks to Zinovia. “I’ll talk to Aerishani about Maozheth and my leaving. I’m certain by now they must know it’s a possibility, with us living together.” She leans forward to examine the ring in Zinovia’s palm and grows still, her features moving into that carefully controlled space that gives away nothing of her feelings. She gingerly reaches for the ring, carefully moving it from Zinovia’s palm to her own to examine it. Nothing betrays her emotions save for the sparks of joy that Maozheth sends Yukijiath’s way, the blue becoming accustomed to transmitting the emotions his rider is unable to let herself show. Akemi carefully places the ring on her left ring finger, moving it until it fits snugly back against her finger. “I used to resent the idea of my being a Lady,” she tells Zinovia softly, her eyes remaining latched on that ring. “I thought the only way I could find respect was as a boy, and the only way I could find the love of another might be as that as well.” She finally lifts her gaze to meet Zinovia’s eyes, leaning forward to rest a palm against the greenrider’s cheek. “You are my dearest love. I would be honored to be your wife.”

Yukijiath lets those sparks drift for a little while before she captures them at their brightest and casts them up, suspending them in the tendrils of smoke that mark the beginning and end of her mental presence. All the while, Zinovia tries not to watch Akemi too closely, not wishing to make her uncomfortable, yet she can’t keep herself from sneaking tentative glances up at her, unable to hide some desperate need for approval or understanding. Maybe both. “You can be however you want with me,” she promises. “I don’t need or want you to be any one way. Just you.” She tilts her head against Akemi’s palm, a tiny smile curving one corner of her lips as she finds no better word to say than, “Good,” closing distance to touch a kiss to the line of her jaw and nose gently against that same spot. Arms slide snugly around her middle to secure her against her as she rests her head on her chest and closes her eyes, smile still claiming her lips.

Akemi’s hand moves to brush along Zinovia’s back, holding her comfortably against her chest as she lets the contented silence descend over them. She shifts beneath Zinovia only to gently ease out of the greenrider’s arms so that she might rise and go to fetch the bubbly wine. She snags a glass she’d left on the bedside table the night before, uncaring for the lip stains on it’s rim that indicate it may not be the cleanest. She splashes wine within it and then holds the bottle out towards Zinovia. “We should celebrate,” she declares, a rare and brilliant smile pushing its way across her face. “To our engagement.” She slides back on the bed, legs folding beneath her as the wine is brought up to her lips.

For just a moment, Zinovia does nothing more than snuggle down against the pillows, until she realises what Akemi’s retrieving and rolls herself back towards the bedside table that once held her glass and the ring and now only bears her glass. Accepting the bottle, she pours enough to fill at least half the glass, only she does it a little too quickly, too busy staring, transfixed, at Akemi when she smiles, causing it to fizz and bubble up, threatening to spill over the sides while she hurries to put down the bottle and resorts to licking at her fingertips to capture what droplets try to escape from the glass. “You did that on purpose,” she accuses through a low burble of laughter. She finally steadies herself enough to echo, “To our engagement,” and take a proper sip of the wine.

“What?” Akemi asks, bemused at Zinovia’s teasing accusation. “I can’t help it if the need to smile took hold of me.” She must feel the rareness of it herself for muscles that aren’t used often seem to be twitching to hold that smile in place. She clinks her glass against Zinovia’s before she takes a good sip of the wine. Her eyes are dancing as she cradles the glass in her hands against her thigh. “Do you think since you are a Lady Holder and a dragonrider you could truly push Harper to acknowledge a marriage between us?” she asks Zinovia, thoughtful and playful as she eases herself far enough forward to pinch at the greenrider’s side. “You can change the world if you wish, couldn’t you, my love?” She sips from her wine again, letting the alcohol shift her mind away from seriousness and on to a more lighthearted path.

“Truly? I think the Harpers are probably sick of me by now and would like it if I went back to Silverfield and was quiet for a long time.” Feline-like, Zinovia slowly nudges herself back in against Akemi, trying to flow away from fingers that seek to pinch whilst also moving to press close, a bleat of sound escaping her when the bluerider gets her way. “Not that I will be,” she declares over the rim of her glass, moving then to let the blankets help keep it propped against her hip. “Maybe all the rumours of marriage are for one they’ll only allow between men and women… though surely they know that it’s not only riders who prefer their own sex. If they decide to let riders marry, it will have to be for all of us, or it won’t be what many of us want at all.” She smiles, reaching for Akemi’s hand to get a look at the ring. “Legal or not, I’ll tell anyone who asks that you’re my wife. My lover, my Lady.”

Something sobers in Akemi at the mention of the same sex relationship, that serious countenance of hers descending and unable to be swayed by the continued sips of wine. She lets the seriousness waver as Zinovia takes her hand to admire, her undeniable fondness for the greenrider drawing forth a small smile again. “So long as you are happy with me at your side, you may call me anything you wish. I seek no title in our marriage. Only the stability it will offer you, and your children, to know that it is me who is your partner and no other.” She finishes off that glass of wine and tips herself backwards, reaching for the bottle on the bedside table so that she can splash more into her own glass and into Zinovia’s if she wishes. She’s never chased alcohol in the fashion that others might, the flush of red that splatters across her face descending down her neck and against her chest. “If we force them to accept you as a Lady Holder and a dragonrider, we have to be able to pave the way for others, to marry whom they wish. They let Crafters do as they wished first… now you’re having the same rights as a Holder. Soon — it will trickle towards the parts of Pernese society that few things touch.” She rubs her forefinger along the rim of her glass and then takes a sip of her wine. “Like traders.”

“Anything I wish?” Zinovia’s smile takes a slant towards the wicked. “I could get really creative, you know. Painfully, adorably creative.” She holds her glass steady as Akemi pours more wine, opting not to drink straight away, but prop it back against her side. “I want everyone to have the same advantages I’ve been granted. My only worry is how far to push before the Harpers and leaders decide that they don’t like what is being said and start imposing restrictions. Or decide that it would be better if Silverfield was silenced for good.” In a very permanent way, she must be thinking, for she ducks her head against Akemi and a whuff of anger is heard from Yukijiath. “Traders taking on contracts with the Hold that might have gone elsewhere somewhere else might be a good place to start? If they can supply what’s needed, I don’t see why they shouldn’t have the same opportunities as anyone else in terms of business.”

“Harper is known to be devious but would their reach go that far?” Akemi wonders aloud, frowning as she mulls over those possibilities. “If Aerishani is truly their spy, are we also not in their favor?” She sighs and shakes her head, losing her schemes quickly as she sips more wine. Now that she’s starting to feel the tingle of the alcohol, consuming it is more thoughtless with each sip. “I was speaking in terms of love for once,” she laughs – a tinkling sound, more chuckle than chortle, “not so much on the business side. Traders often feel they get more out of most deals than any business might. We ferry goods to and fro, that alone allows us to work with variable demands that a more central business may not be loathe to do.” She lifts a hand to play with a piece of Zinovia’s hair. “I want to make love with you, the real way,” she declares, “before Yukijiath rises and Maozheth catches her.” For in her and her blue’s mind it will be no other way. “On our marriage bed,” she tells her, blushing scarlet and deepening the flush of wine against her pale skin.

Zinovia almost forgets about the wine she’s got sat at her hip, having only consumed sips of it here and there and not quite so affected by it as Akemi is, remembering only when she makes to shift onto her side and down onto the pillows so that she can look up at her. She rescues the glass just in time, flinging a hand out to steady it and set it down on the bedside table, done blindly, for her focus remains with Akemi, noting both how the wine has stained her cheeks pink and how the colour alters as she speaks. “Are you sure?” she murmurs, idly sliding a hand to the small of her back. Fingers lightly soothe against Akemi’s skin as she gives her a soft smile and asks, “Are we calling this our marriage bed, or are we referring to the even more embarrassingly comfortable one that I’ve ordered for our chambers at Silverfield?”

“I’m talking about the one that we’ll have at Silverfield, where I’ll let my two runners become tame and placid beasts and I’ll sell my wagon off or leave it to dust in your barn,” Akemi tells Zinovia slowly, finishing off her wine and tipping herself down over the bed to let the glass set on the floor. She eases herself back up and lowers herself opposite of Zinovia, her hand moving to idly trace down along the greenrider’s thigh to tickle at her foot. “We’ll make the Steward give you a proper wedding ceremony, flowers and a dress. I’ll wear a suit,” she tweaks a toe and winks at Zinovia, “to confuse any who might protest at your marriage to a woman.” She tips forward and kisses the inside arch of Zinovia’s foot. “But not here. This time here… has let me find who I am again. I want that last part of me to be given to you at our Hold.” It’s the first time she has voiced any claim towards Silverfield. “And our future there.”

“Don’t sell it. It’s part of who you are. And it’s where you asked me to marry you.” Zinovia does her very best to keep still when Akemi tickles at her foot, though ultimately doesn’t manage it, twitching as she tries to suppress the laughter that wants to escape, her hands pressed flat at the bluerider’s middle in an attempt to avoid the temptation to retaliate in some way. “Can I weave flowers into your hair anyway?” she asks, her voice barely above a whisper. It’s as Akemi claims Silverfield as hers too that she’s no longer content to remain passive, a pleased, almost predatory sound leaving her as she shifts to roll her beneath her and kiss her soundly, straying no further than that despite meaning to keep her pinned there so that she can look down at her and smile brightly. “You are beautiful and amazing and you’re going to have a difficult time keeping me from telling everyone that we ever meet exactly that.” She delivers another kiss and rolls off of her, only to grab at one edge of the blankets and roll back, enveloping them both in them so that she can giggle against her neck before settling down. “My wife,” she sighs contentedly.

“I’d sell that a hundred times, I’d burn it, I’d dump it off a raveen, so long as I could hear those words from your sweet mouth,” Akemi croons, more poetic than she has ever been as she tips down to nip at her ear. There is always time for kisses – of which Akemi leads them into as the wine fully seizes control of her inhibitions and squashes them. Still, she holds back from anything further for herself… as for Zinovia, the bluerider won’t stop pressing and teasing her until she hears the sounds she has sought to hear. Blankets are snuggled into and her arm is tossed over the greenrider before she allows the drowsiness of the wine to take her towards a nap. Out in the distance, Maozheth sends a pop of blue and green towards Yukijjiath. << I wonder if I will call you my wife? >> he muses and then returns to whatever is occupying him at the moment.

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