Who: Arlet, Rori, Akanyth, Inaskashath
When: Month 3, 202 AT
Where: Honshu Weyrhold
What: The first three weeks of two weyrlings’ lives.

Day One – Hatching

Rori was escorted on the Sands along with the others, her sandaled feet hot against warmth she hadn’t experienced since the day she rested her hands on the smooth, leathery-feeling, eggs. She’d made no real friends – her tendency for solitude and her interest in Honshu’s library occupying much of her free time. She’d been an easy girl to snag into the kitchens and with the Headwoman’s staff, her experience as a letter runner also occupying her time when the various residents grabbed her to deliver messages. Though she’d accepted Search to avoid her menial life, she fell back into it at Honshu without complaint. Now that the thrumming of dragons echoed around her and she witnessed more than one bonding of dragon and new rider happen. She rocked on her heels, watching first a golden hide tumble free from an egg and then a green sister shortly after. She anticipated the green seeking her out, though when tooth and claw ripped into golden hide Rori screamed out, “NO!” and dashed forward to aid the gold. She held the delicate head in her lap and screamed for help, “Help me!” When they were finally escorted off of the sands and the healers were able to mend the damage done, Rori had to explain over and over that Inaskashath would //not// permit their stay in the infirmary and accomodations had to be made in the barracks to be with their weyrling class. Still feeling the outsider, Rori remained back in the barracks as other newly minted dragonriders went out to celebrate their accomplishments with their family. Sitting on her cot and watching the bandaged gold sleep in her wallow, Rori’s face is pinched and quiet.

Arlet may have waited and waited (and waited) for a hatchling to take any interest in her, but to have her affected nonchalance met with the very much not affected nonchalance and petulance of the young brown who claimed her has thus far turned out not to be as simple as she must have made it out to be to herself. Still, Akanyth is //her// brown and that’s enough for her to already be beyond devoted to him, swinging wildly from defending him to chastising him in the hours that have passed since the hatching. He’s demonstrated no interest in socialising with the others of his class, his focus solely on Arlet in a way that’s exhausting in a new bond, and since she has no family waiting to congratulate her and no real investment in anything or anyone beyond the dragon she’s been waiting nearly a decade for, she sees no reason to leave the barracks. Her cot is the one that lies opposite Rori’s, and while Akanyth finally sleeps, she asks, “Do you need anything?” of her, belatedly gesturing around the room as she adds, “Well, from in here, anyway.”

Arlet’s voice rouses Rori from her thoughts, causing the redhead to turn her face away from golden hide to the brownish black cascading curls that represent Arlet more than the older girl may know. Her pink lips purse briefly as she considers the girl who she’s had the most contact with since accepting her Search. “I’m not sure what’s to need,” she shares, her voice subdued and laced with an exhaustion she can’t quite explain. “Thank you for offering.” She pauses, sucking in her lower lip to chew in thought as she allows her body to swing to the middle of her cot so she can stretch her legs out and wriggle her toes. She stretches her arms overhead and turns to smother a yawn against her shoulder before she brings blurry eyes to Arlet. “Don’t you want to go out and celebrate with your family?” she sighs, tipping her head back against the wall that her cot is pushed up against. The ceiling is a safe space for her eyes to rest. “Mine came and visited us while we were in the Infirmary. They didn’t want Inaskashath to come in here… but she said duty insisted she do it.” She tips herself over her cot enough to gaze at the sleeping brown. “What’s he like?”

Arlet’s smile is wry and just a little guilty as she folds down onto the end of her cot and curls up there, feline like, not ashamed to be seen so by any. “…I suppose now’s the time to say that what I said about the people who raised me was bullshit?” She wrinkles her nose. “My mother would hate me speaking like that.” Shaking her head, she gives a twitch of her shoulders and states, “I don’t have any family to go out and celebrate with. Not that I know, anyway. It’s a long story and not one I think I can manage now.” Angling a look towards Akanyth, she remarks, “He’s a sulky little sod, but he’s mine,” with nothing but affection for the one who’s finally looked for and found her. “You outrank your family by miles now, or you will do. Still… if she hurts, maybe they’re right. Doesn’t mean they have to be right about anything else ever again.”

Rori considers Arlet with a seriousness she can’t shake, taking in the information of the family she’d mentioned being a lie with a breath that she holds and then lets out. “Why wouldn’t you tell the truth? I felt sad for you. My family isn’t perfect, but they’d never treat me the way you described yours as doing.” Not that Arlet gave much by way of information – that much of the thoughts that are burrowed in Rori’s worries are self-created and speculation. She creases her brows and frowns at her lap, noting the idea of her increase in rank with a scowl that has her grabbing for a pillow and hugging it to her as she turns her face back up to the ceiling and settles back on her cot. “It’s not earned rank. It’s a gift,” her words //might// be that of a jealous sibling. “And I got lucky it panned out for me otherwise I’d be some sod’s wife and bearing children until I can’t no more.”

“Because the truth is hard, okay? I don’t like to think about it. But it is true that I don’t have any family to celebrate with. It’s just me.” Arlet’s blue-eyed gaze strays back to her brown. “And Akanyth, now. It’s just us.” Slowly, she uncurls, kicking her shoes off as she crawls her way up her cot and tugs at the sheets to make some half-hearted effort at getting beneath them. “Whether you earned it or expected it or not, I hope you do something useful with it. If you don’t like what you see in the world, her choice just gave you the power to try and change it.” She gives a huge yawn and lets her head thump down on her pillow. “Or maybe she just gave you the power to live your life how you want to. I wouldn’t squander that opportunity either.” Clumsily, Arlet hauls the blankets up around her, not bothering to shed the rest of her clothes. “Either way… you can tell anyone who ever belittled you where to shove it.” That must be her last conscious thought before she drifts off and joins her lifemate in sleep.

Two Weeks – Struggles

The first week of weyrlinghood saw Rori and Inaskashath in the infirmary more than with their fellow classmates. Though Rori was able to insist on their sleeping arrangements, no matter how her young queen chafes at the restrictions of her injuries, they cannot take part in the activities of their peers. The first bandage change on Inaskashath was so painful for the gold that her youth – and lack of control – had her blanketing the Weyrhold with her pain and fear until Amorenth got involved with her young daughter to teach her about controlling those who receive her thoughts. Rori has been held accountable for keeping a tighter hold on Inaskashath and the exhaustion of //trying// is wearing on her. They’ve finally gotten a bandage change over and Rori was able to help her still diminutive gold down to a quiet patch of grass and flowers where they can relax in solitude and watch the happenings of the Weyrhold around them. Rori’s got a book in her lap, however her attention seems to be fixated on some distant thing as her mind wanders.

Akanyth will not comply. What’s worse is that Arlet has a tendency to seem perfectly okay with that, the two of them content that they have found each other and often reluctant to take the next steps that should turn them into a functioning pair. They’ve already received the sharp edge of Nala’s tongue today and been made to take note of the pale scars along Jynth’s hide that serve as a constant reminder of what it is to not care for lessons or training, and while Arlet still appears concerned with doing nothing more than cuddling up with Akanyth and passing silent judgement on anyone else, she’s been ordered to better use whether she likes it or not. And so she approaches Rori and Inaskashath with Akanyth at her heels, a tray in her arms laden with breakfast or lunch or whatever meal is between sleeping and waking and lessons. “Here,” she offers, setting the tray down at Rori’s feet. “Half of it’s meant to be mine, but I don’t much care which half or what.”

“Wasn’t hungry,” Rori’s voice is clipped and edged with speech that is more her queen’s than her own as she angles her face towards the tray and up to Arlet. She blinks her green eyes a few times and gives a shake of her head. Her palm lifts to press briefly at her forehead as she heaves a sigh. “Thank you,” she murmurs in a more normal voice, “It’s kind of you to think of me.” Inaskashath angles her head up from her paws to consider Akanyth. << Are you still giving her a hard time and not doing lessons? >> Her voice is a cool summer breeze, scented with jasmine and other floral notes, the opposite of her sire’s autumn tones. << We wish we could take part in them. But they continue to say my injuries are too great. >> Rori reaches for a roll to pick at, shifting herself over so that the blanket she’s seated on has enough room for Arlet to join them. “How are you? Was Nala easier on you today?” she asks, nibbling on a piece of bread as she looks at her gold.

<< We know how to go Between. We know how to fly. We know how to flame. Have you ever seen a dragon not do these things? Teaching us to do what is instinctive is a waste of everyone’s time. >> Akanyth stretches out his wings and gives them an idle flap or two as if to prove his point, then moves to curl himself in at Arlet’s side once she’s settled herself on the ground. << I don’t think there is a being in this place who does not know of your injuries, >> he tells Inaskashath with a lick of smoke and shadows, his observation nothing but dry. Arlet selects a thin slice of fruit tart to start in on, rolling her eyes as Rori mentions Nala. “He’s week old and she’s complaining that I’m going to get him hurt. He’s a child. Children behave like children. Clearly she sprang into the world all grown up.” After another bite, she remarks, “Still, I’d rather have her on my case than Amorenth. Good luck with that one.”

Inaskashath bristles at Akanyth, her friendlier summer tones slammed down to the ground and replaced with the heat of a desert summer. << Roreliuth and Amorenth have both explained to us that it is important we train for our //riders//. You risk //her// life with ignoring your duty to her by learning. Is Ryreith’s scarred rider not a reasonable warning to you on what happens when you say you know it all? >> His dryness about her injuries draws a huff from her as she angles her head away from Akanyth. << You are unkind to me. >> Rori has had less interaction with Nala than she has with Aislara and the healers so she frowns at Arlet. “Do you think that she’s being too hard on you? I notice she is not as hard on T’ler or Yasefia, even though they both seem to find trouble one way or another.” She continues to worry her fingers at her roll. “Amorenth means well by Inaskashath. She needs her guidance. We aren’t permitted to throw tantrums or cause trouble like others,” she can’t help but give a pointed glance at Akanyth, “As she can accidentally broadcast it and cause injury or alarm where she shouldn’t.”

<< Ryerith’s rider is not my rider. Ryerith’s mistakes are not my own. >> It’s less argument than honesty, what Akanyth perceives to be fact presented as plainly as he can manage it. << And it is not unkind to state what is evident. If you struggle with the truth, it would be better to have the bronzes flatter you. >> Akanyth rests his head against Arlet’s thigh, his eyes closing as if he would sleep, though whether he will or not is another matter. Arlet herself shrugs one shoulder and continues eating until she decides that, “When you’re my weyrwoman, you can lecture me. Until then, she’s causing trouble as much as he is, so we’re even. It’s just different types of trouble.” She brushes off her fingers on the knee that Akanyth isn’t possessing and reaches for a savoury pastry. “They’ll have to let you start some of the lessons sooner or later, or her muscles will atrophy.”

“I suppose so,” Rori answers Arlet in a flat tone, looking at the other girl and witnessing her eating rather than reaching for more herself. She doesn’t seem bothered by the acknowledgement of //when// she will be permitted to boss Arlet around. She falls to companionable silence, withdrawing within herself – or conversing with Inaskashath. The small scarred gold, for her part, makes no more comments to Akanyth other than slamming down a two-edged axe to sever their mental communication. She is //done// with him today. Rori waits until it seems that Arlet has finished her meal before she rises, not wanting to be too rude but not wanting to linger any further. “If you don’t mind, we’ve places to be.” She waits for Inaskashath to rise to her feet before the pair wanders away. What comes of getting to training in the next few days or weeks will remain to be seen.

Three Weeks – Punished

By the middle of his third week in the world, Akanyth has learned precisely nothing about why he should be more invested in the lessons that most of the class are dutifully attending and completing. The final straw was a blunt refusal to even move for the morning’s exercise, and while Arlet was at least up and ready to go, she stubbornly refused to leave her lifemate all alone in the barracks. Less than an hour later and they’ve both been officially removed from the class for the duration, to the extent that Arlet has been ordered to move all of their things into the empty chamber next door that serves as additional sleeping quarters for when there’s more than one class of new dragons at a time. While //she// may not be so thrilled about the isolation, Akanyth is //loving// it, deciding that the whole chamber is his domain to do with as he pleases. And what pleases him right now is knocking over the cots at the far end of the room. “Stop that!”

It’s been a never ending cycle of bandages and minor surgeries as the healers try and do their best to help Inaskashath’s wounds. Their initial bid to sleep in the barracks with others saw an infection gain traction after the end of their first week, forcing the golden pair to spend more of their time within the healer’s care than either prefer. Today is one of the few days that they’ve had a positive check-in, wounds that were anticipated to be healed by now are showing signs of closing and bandages are slowly being removed. Still feeling removed from the majority of their class, the pair wander aimlessly around the Weyr after their morning appointment had them miss yet //another// class. It’s Inaskashath who senses something is wrong within the barracks and continues on into that chamber where they can bare witness to Akyanth’s tantrum. The gold is still training with her more to help refine her mental control – but it reaches out like a whip to grab hold of her brown sibling. << Enough! >> she demands, leaning into Rori as the two stare aghast at the destruction around them. “What’s going on?” Rori asks Arlet with raised brows. “Why are you two in here?”

Akanyth lets loose a snarl at Inaskashath for her efforts, pausing for the moment or so that the compulsion of a queen so young might hold him before he leaps over the nearest cot and plants himself down firmly in-front of Arlet, his tail lashing from side to side. << Go back to your future mates, princess, >> he tells her, smoke and smog thick enough to choke. << You’re not meant for the likes of us. >> He doesn’t budge from in-front of his rider, as if he’d protect her from the potential influence of a gold. “We live here now,” Arlet says much more calmly. “You could at least have knocked.” That’s much more dry, though her voice hitches on the last syllable, making her flinch. Clearing her throat, she goes on, “I’ll be butchering meat for dragon and table for the foreseeable future, so I’d keep your distance.”

Inaskashath does not back down in the face of that snarl, nor Akanyth’s positioning of himself. In her mind, it suits her that he seeks to protect his rider. She bristles at his tone and choice of words, her whip transforming under a forge into a weighted axe. She hefts it up and slashes it through the air like her tail. She may be young, and barely trained, but she can lean in more heavily on him. << Do not act like a spoiled brat. Do your duty. >> Rori blinks more than a few times as she tries to separate her gold’s focus on Arlet’s brown and the exchange going on between them. She shakes her head to add space and takes a breath before she looks more fully at Arlet. “Why do you let him throw such fits? It’s why you’re being punished, isn’t it? They want you to control him, not let him loose on the world to do as he pleases,” she lifts a hand to indicate the room. “You want to live here?’

Akanyth gives a low rumble that sounds more like purring, given his size, as he snidely points out to his sister that, << I will when you do. >> He sits himself down, draping himself over Arlet’s feet so that she may well be trapped there and all but rooted to the spot. “It’s okay for you, isn’t it? You just wander in here and Impress a queen and decide that it’s your job to judge everyone else. I don’t see you going out of your way to try and catch up all the lessons you miss or studying to make up for the time lost.” Gesturing first at the little gold, then more broadly around the room, she accuses, “You have everything anyone could want. Me? I have Akanyth. Nothing and no-one else. I watched a decade of dragons take no interest in me and now he’s here and he’s mine, so inconveniencing the rest of you with some little tantrums you’d expect of a child his age is //nothing//.”

Inaskashath gives a low, high-pitched, half-snarl at Akanyth. << I am unable to do my duty due to //injury//. Are you injured in your head? Oh, then, please - join me in the Infirmary to improve >> She huffs and leans into Rori’s leg for support. Rori places a pale, freckled, hand on top of her dragon’s head and idly rubs her thumb against golden hide. Rori seems surprised by Arlet’s striking words, her brows lifting and her eyes widening as she takes in the full front of the verbal sparring she was not prepared for. “I wasn’t seeking to judge you,” Rori tries to explain herself, chest and chin lifting as she tries to gather herself. “Our focus has had to be on making sure she heals – and half of the lessons are about growth and anatomy. I’m learning it every time I’m with the healers,” she protests and then bites her lip, looking down at Inaskashath as she seems to deflate a little. “We could do more, though, you’re right,” she offers. She considers Arlet’s attempt to defend Akanyth’s tantrums. “Would you really tolerate such antics from a little human boy? Did you let your brothers or sisters throw food at you when you were growing up? It doesn’t sound like a good argument. It only sounds like you were lonely and wanted a dragon and now you’ve got one you don’t want to do the work to make him be what he could be.” She presses her hand to her lips, mortified to have let loose her tongue but her words are out there and cannot be taken back.

<< //She// is not injured and it is not your eyes and hearing that are impaired, >> Akanyth spits back, settling his head on his paws, his relaxed pose quite at odds with his words. << It matters little. What you are means you will always be right and always be told whatever you want to hear. Go back to the infirmary and be coddled. >> He’s wrapped his tail around Arlet’s ankles, continuing to tether her so that she doesn’t get any closer to Inaskashath or Rori. “Here’s an idea,” she says quietly. “Why don’t you go back to the barracks or the infirmary or wherever it is that you’re meant to be today and leave us alone?” Arlet gestures towards the doorway. “Being lonely doesn’t require company and it certainly doesn’t require the presence of condescending queenriders. Turn yourselves around and //get out//.” She grits out the last two syllables, her jaw clenched against the threat of tears in her bright eyes.

“You’ve never really took the time to think about anyone but yourself. And now, all you think about is yourself and Akanyth. We might be friends, Arlet, if you only ever wanted one. Maybe you believe all the lies you’ve told yourself about your family. All you know how to do is push people away,” Rori tells Arlet with a shake of her head. “I’ve scrubbed the floors of a Hold, I’ve had blood clots underneath my fingernails,” she lifts her well calloused hands. “I’ve broken an arm, and a rib, taking a beating for an older woman when a drunk got mad at her when we were cleaning a bar up. So //don’t// take your made-up life and sling it at me like you’ve been the //only// person in this world who may have suffered. At least I never use it as a reason not to try and be kind to others.” With a sniff of her own, that may betray her own near-tears-state, Rori turns and escorts Inaskashath out. How the following weeks may be for the goldrider and her queen will be kept as quiet as possible – neither Inaskashath nor Rori want to be coddled – and it becomes clear they need it more when the gold rips her wounds open when she tries to join in on a class. It’ll be a long struggle ahead of them. But they’ll face it in a growing stoicism that will carry on into their future lives.

Arlet sends a curse after Rori that her mother really would not like, and maybe it’s that thought that has her dissolve to the floor in the middle of the trap that Akanyth has made of himself, right where he can conveniently be the only one to comfort her and tell her that everything they’re doing is perfectly okay. In the days that follow, she watches the class go on without them, choosing to draw further and further away from interacting with anyone but her brown. Punishments are accepted in silence. Lectures listed to with a glassy, distant gaze. Even when Amorenth weighs in to tell her son to make his rider get her shit together, she hardly acknowledges it. The change comes when Nala physically hauls her outside one afternoon and throws a sword down at her feet. It ends with both Arlet and the bluerider muddied and bloodied, the former sobbing and the latter running awkward fingers through her hair, but it’s something.

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