Who: Jet and M’tan
When: Month 2, 203 AT
Where: Court of Shadows, Honshu Territory
What: M’tan has arranged a raid.
It’s been a long stretch of long nights that bleed into days and M’tan coming home and having to sleep a good portion of the day away to keep up with the demands of their largest source of income. Unlike in the time past them, the people of this future world are not tainted by an aggressor or an abuser. Those that flock to M’tan and Jet’s style of work are eager and amenable. M’tan has commented after one shift to Jet in his exhaustion, that this time has not truly had a leader for the darker side of the world… and how that suited him //perfectly//. He’s been dabbling in the North a lot more since Honshu’s leadership’s explosive wedding, planting his network of spies and calling out to those who might enjoy a life in his pay. It’s dawn when he comes home and presses a kiss to Jet’s cheek to wake her, too eager to wait until their “shifts” brought them together and more rested than he is, or perhaps Jet will be, with the early wake up. “I’ve had no restraint tonight, my love. I’ve organized… a raid on Fort. I want your approval before I execute it.” His eyes are feverish and his crooked smile bright against the faint flicker of the torch he’s got in his hands. “Can I wake you to chat? I’ve got to have things in place before this evening.”
Jet may have been a crafter (or may be a crafter; the line is a little fuzzy when yours is a name in a crafthall belonging to someone who should have been dead long ago) and she may have been trained how to be a proper Lady, but patience may never be her strong suit. While M’tan has dealt with the criminal underworld, she’s been trying to skirt around what can and cannot be expected of the Crafts’ duty to the Hold without ending up beholden to anyone – and certainly not to a Weyr. It’s meant quite a few backroom deals and offers to post crafters who aren’t exactly good at following the rules or toeing the line, which she’s pretended to be put out about and promptly settled the lot of them right in with the happy band of misfits and refugees that the Court currently houses. Regardless of their standing with their Crafts, at least now there are trained Healers and Harpers and Bakers and so on, along with open supply lines. She’s deeply asleep when M’tan tries to wake her, a smile rising at the sound of his voice, yet when she actually breaks the surface of sleep she cracks her eyes open the tiniest bit and complains, “I was having a very nice dream.” Probably to do with him, what with how her focus lingers on him. Rolling onto her back, she murmurs, “Tell me. Hitting them now might be enough to get their twisted Weyrwoman gone.”
M’tan scoots himself down lower on the bed, pushing back covers to reach for Jet’s foot to place in his lap. He begins to massage the arch of her foot and rub along her calf, “My apologies for pulling you from your dream, my love,” he tells her, smile still there and eyes still bright at the prospect before them. “It’s come to my attention that Fort Weyr has called a larger tithe than they’ve demanded in the past, despite the fact quite a few of those beholden to them have had less than productive crop years. There’s an undercurrent of hatred and resentment towards the Weyr, especially by the smaller cotholders who are the most impacted.” He tugs on her big toe and gets it to give a satisfying crack as he releases the tension in the joint. “I figure, when the tithe is delivered, they will be so busy cataloging and checking their figures… they won’t notice that more than a few of the ‘items’ they check in promptly get checked right out of Stores and placed back on a cart. The cavern system is still out there… and we can use it as a storage space while we slowly redistribute the goods back to those who are in need.” He smiles, “And then we can plant the idea that someone in the South… doesn’t quite like how reliant Fort is on the backs of non-dragonriders. It might stir up more issues between Honshu and Fort, which I think will work to our advantage. What do you think?”
“It wasn’t my feet you were paying mind to,” Jet grouses, unable to manage it without a murmur of laughter that she tries to smother into her pillow as she shifts onto her front and pretends, for a moment or two, to go right back to sleep. Still, she listens, her head tilted towards him and her dark gaze keeping him within the realm of her sight, arms shoved under her pillow to better support her sprawl. “Which are you hoping to be the victor, in the end? Honshu may be thought of more kindly, but it’s undeniably the weaker of the two, save for the power of their queens. If Fort were to gather Telgar and High Reaches behind them for real, they could probably wipe Honshu off the map.” She huffs out a quiet breath. “Even if it’d be the last thing their leadership would do before a Weyr Council likely exiled them.” Smiling, she tells him, “It’s a good plan and a worthy one. But I’ll be at the cavern system to guard it and make sure nobody gets any ideas about double-crossing us.” Only, it can’t be just that, for she takes in a breath and holds it before admitting, “I can’t mind things here and think of you in that place alone.” Even if he wouldn’t exactly be alone.
“Well, we can certainly lead clues to make it obvious that it wasn’t a job of Honshu, I imagine. But no matter what, with the recent hit on Honshu and then now a hit on Fort, it’ll stir up something. Perhaps the Weyr Council can get its head out of its ass and actually be proactive into looking into a problem instead of reactive?” M’tan clearly doesn’t believe it’s possible from his expression and the snort that follows. “It’d be too much to ask. High Reaches already has those who are unhappy there that //are// dragonriders. It’s a dangerous time for the North. They aren’t being wise with their actions, that’s certain. Best time for us to strike.” He moves on to massaging her other foot and calf, listening to her speak on her intent to join. He nods his head in full agreement of her choice, though he looks up abruptly at the mention of their use of that place. “We can find another location,” he tells her, “We don’t have to walk down those memories. It was only the fastest solution I could think of to dump the items there.” He pauses, considering Jet. “You’ve always been the better planner. How should we do this?” The unspoken question that seems present in his serious gaze – how to protect themselves from the danger of reliving those nightmares?
“No.” Jet shakes her head. “You’re right. It’s the best place to use, never mind what we feel about it. If it keeps those that Fort are exploiting from suffering and starvation, a few hours down there now and again is a small price… No matter the impact on us.” She gives a somewhat helpless shrug of one shoulder. “Perhaps all we can do is make sure to come home together and ensure that there’s wine and fellis waiting.” Not the most ideal way to handle things, but a method nonetheless. “Make sure we’ve work to do in the days that follow. Keep each other company.” Drawing a hand out from beneath her pillow, she regards the rings on her finger and murmurs, “Take a few days to plan our wedding.” No matter that she has no better answer, she still insists, “I won’t let you walk those caverns alone, not with the stakes so high. You and Kyramith and Sirhyth are the only ones who can pull me from…” She can’t quite look at M’tan as she acknowledges, “those moments I don’t know myself.” Clearing her throat, she goes on, “I’d not leave you to someone else’s care if you were to suffer the same. We do this. It’s your plan and I’ll do as you say, but I’ll not leave you with any I could put in the dirt to watch your back.”
“I’m only using a small team – no more than five people at Fort, and we’ll have four people on the road to watch our retreat, and there’ll be more posted outside the caverns should it come to anything. I have the intel that Fort is complacent about their guards, thinking the dragons are enough of a deterrent from being stolen from or attacked. Which is foolish, honestly? Especially since we know they are purposefully attacking Honshu. And I wouldn’t put it past Telgar //and// Fort to have orchestrated the riots at the Smithcraft Hall and the murders that happened there. It seems these future generations are more hidebound than of our time and beyond. It’s like they’re trying to move Pern back by 400 years.” He sighs and shakes his head, lifting up her calf to kiss along it before he tucks her back underneath the sheets. “We’ll have each other and it’ll be fine,” he assures Jet, believing the truth of his words. “It’ll be good to get our hands dirty and strike at those that are causing so much harm to the less fortunate. It’ll show our refugees, our crafters, and our people the name we are taking for ourselves here at the Court.” He leans over her, kissing her cheek and then her forehead. “And they’ll have the finest Lady to lead them.” He returns to the subject of the wedding with bright eyes, though the lines of fatigue are starting to draw on his face as the pre-dawn slowly shifts towards true dawn. “We have the Harper now, don’t we? And the baker. Let’s have it after this, to celebrate our success.”
“//We// know they’re attacking Honshu,” Jet drawls, her focus drifting towards the far wall while her body tries to demand she do more about the kisses along her calf than continue to try and think logically. “Everyone else seems to be politely averting their gaze and hoping the problem will go away. If that Honshu queen is as strong as they fear, I don’t know why she doesn’t go and blast the living daylights out of them.” Yet that is not her problem and M’tan only continues to impair her ability to want to even try and consider other matters with his further kisses. Despite that, she lifts blankets to encourage him into bed next to her whether he sheds his clothes or not. “We have Harpers and Bakers and Weavers,” she confirms around a quiet yawn. “And Healers.” Before she can add any more to the list, she dryly remarks, “This is starting to sound like a Teaching Song,” and snuggles her way into his arms. “A raid, then a wedding. It sounds fitting. It sounds like us.” She presses a kiss to the crook of his neck and hauls the blankets up over the both of them, curling in close. A minute or so passes in silence before she murmurs, “Just to warn you, both my body and subconscious have plans for you before we leave this bed in the morning,” completely unable to hide the smile in her voice.
“How ironic, isn’t it? That this time around, people are ‘politely averting their gaze’ over things that would’ve sent Lord Holders, Crafters and Weyrleaders after the offending party,” M’tan grouses, aggravated by the politics of this time they’ve taken themselves to. “It gives us an opportunity for a purpose, but even so. We shouldn’t have to steal from a //Weyr// to make sure the poor can survive a Fortian winter.” He sighs and lets his hand wander along her thigh, brushing against the fabric of the sheet. He finds himself falling back on the bed with Jet tucked in his arms and blankets firmly snuggled around them. “Your body and subconscious are the keepers to my being,” he murmurs against her ear before he nips at Jet’s earlobe. “Do what you will with me. I only need four hours of sleep.” There was always time for them in the past and now is no different – M’tan easily falls into the pattern of lovemaking with Jet, cementing the physical of their relationship even as the bond of their minds will lead them into executing the tasks before them.
It will come as an adrenaline surged relief to the people M’tan has gathered to his side that they make it to those Fortian caverns with the goods stolen from Fort, but not to M’tan. The bronzerider drops all of his weapons and rips off the mask that conceals his face, his body closing the distance between he and Jet without thought. Jet is the center of his world and he presses his body against hers as he finds her, quick to move them against a wall and far enough away to disregard the activity of their people. He distracts himself by the taste and feel of her beneath his body, the certainty that they are //there// but that other one and those other people from another time are //not//. He knew they’d steal from Fort without issue, he knew those caverns were abandoned, but even so – he takes Jet from that location as fast as Kyramith and Sirhyth can take them, to the safety of their Reachian house where he proves to himself more than once that they are alive and safe, with the press of his body, his lips, and the certainty of his hands on Jet’s body. “Safe,” he murmurs to her towards the dawn of the next day, Jet spooned closely against his body. “Safe.”