Manipulation

Manipulation

Who: Jet, M’tan, Kyramith, Sirhyth
When: Month 3, 203 AT
Where: Kitchen, Court of Shadows
What: Contemplation of what will happen to information shared.


By the time night falls, it’s been a long, long day, made no less easy for Jet owing to multiple trips Between over the course of it, to the extent that Kyramith has had to rely on Sirhyth for the final visual to bring them back home along with him and M’tan. Whether any of what they’ve leveraged against and offered the Harper Hall will have all of the desired consequences is yet to be seen, but at least they left the Hall behind with the document to grant Grayson his long overdue Mastery signed and the senior Harpers’ attention turned firmly towards Fort Weyr. Though Jet usually looks in on the children if she’s been away from the Hold all day, it’s late enough and she’s still strung out enough for it not to be a good idea, leaving her footsteps to carry her to the now empty kitchens, where she pulls a bottle of whiskey from a high cupboard and raids the cooling ovens for any cakes and pastries left over from dinner.

Sirhyth’s stamina has been developed solidly since they moved ahead in time – the demands of M’tan’s schedule drawing late nights and early mornings where the bronze seems to spend a good portion of his day Betweening between continents. He’s got a tether of solid black attached to Kyramith, his strength offered up freely until he is certain she is safe on the ground beside him. << You did well, my love >> he tells her once their riders have removed straps and left them to their own company. M’tan’s glowing with pride, his eyes bright with the accomplishments of the day. He follows after Jet without a word and when they enter the kitchens he sends one of his firelizards off with a note to the head cook to not send anyone down to for the time being. He settles himself on a stool meant for a prep cook and sprawls his forearms over the clean tabletop as he grins at Jet. “We did it, love. We’re set to take over this time and build our future.”

Even now, Kyramith does not like betraying weakness of any kind, even if her inability to get Between is owing to Jet and not herself, and this evening it irritates her enough that she maintains silence as she curls up against Sirhyth and drops her head down atop her paws. Indeed, she doesn’t truly relax until Jet pours a measure of whiskey into one of the glasses she collects on her way to find plates and swiftly downs it. Setting plates and glasses down on the tabletop before M’tan, Jet pours another measure into each glass and heads back to the ovens, using an abandoned dishcloth to help her draw out a tray of leftover pastries that are still just about warm. She carries the tray back to the table and divides the lot up between the plates, planting the tray down on another table where it’s not likely to end in either of them getting burned. “If they really listen,” she agrees, sitting herself down. “And if they’re willing to turn a blind eye in return for what assistance they require. Still, they wouldn’t have signed the paperwork for Grayson’s promotion if they didn’t realise that they need us more than to fight about our Hold’s legitimacy.”

M’tan and Sirhyth are both vigilant with their mates, Sirhyth’s attention given in the solidness of his body as he wraps himself around Kyramith and croons low-throatedly to her before he draws her into his mindscape to play with shadows and sparks. M’tan waits until he’s seen Jet pour that whiskey and begin to relax, his body remaining parked on the stool as he watches her move about the kitchen. “I’m sure the Hall was shocked that we would come some readily to demand his title change and our own legitimacy. I liked watching them squirm as you negotiated. And to think,” he grins, reaching for his own glass of whiskey, choosing to avoid those pastries for now. “We didn’t even require blades.” He takes a few careful sips of the amber liquid, letting the burn wash down his throat without a grimace. “From my understanding, the Hall has always had places it operated in… gray zones. They may be the upholders of the law, but they just as readily bend it to their own uses.” He rubs at his jaw and considers the pastries as he asks, “Do you think they’ll believe our intel we shared regarding Fort?”

“Each Craft has its grey zones,” Jet remarks over the rim of her glass, sipping at this second measure rather than tipping it straight down. “Harper more than most, I think. No-one is incapable of being bought if you have the right things to offer.” She sets her glass down and tears off one corner of a pastry, popping it into her mouth to chew thoughtfully before responding further. “I don’t suppose that they have to believe us,” she considers. “They just have to be content enough to suspect and act on it. I can’t believe that it’s best for them to have the Weyr they’re beholden to under the reign of tyrants. Look at what Fort did to Grayson. The suspicions sewn about Honshu’s Weyrlady for having been posted to Fort. If a posting to Fort Weyr is considered a death sentence in terms of career, no Harper will want to work with them. Better leadership more malleable.” She shrugs. “Either way, Harper owes us. Honshu too. If they get rid of Fort’s leaders, that’s the better part of a territory in our debt. That’s a lot of favours to call in.”

“Wouldn’t it be something if we were able to get our claws in Fort’s future leaders?” M’tan speculates, “A Weyrwoman and a Weyrleader who owe us a debt would be a fine thing. It would be nice to see Fort bend to us, even if it’s in another time. I still have a foul taste in my mouth from when we were there.” He snorts over the rim of his glass before he downs the remaining liquid. He makes no move for the pastry until a plump green pops from Between and lands on his shoulder. Rolling his eyes with a half-smile, he reaches forward for one of the pastries that have a gooey center so he can begin to break off pieces to feed to Sugar. The green, for all her rotund figure, eats daintily on her owner’s shoulder. “It’s looking like Grayson will pull his weight and be worth the efforts we’ve put into him,” he tells Jet. “I’ll be pleased once we’ve been wed and we can announce ourselves and start the real work we want to do.”

“As long as his new knot doesn’t make him believe that he’s too good to teach Safiye and Khyrisan,” Jet utters lowly, taking another sip from her glass. “Assuming he’ll still be with us when Khyrisan’s old enough for actual teaching. At least a master warrants Journeymen and apprentices to assist with other tasks.” She smirks, turning her glass around and again on the wooden surface. “We still need to give this Hold a proper name. Any thoughts? I’ve been trying to think of something that treads the line between suitably intimidating and traditional enough that the more established Holds will take it seriously.” A shoulder twitches. “Not that we necessarily need their blessing.” Back on the subject of their children, she remarks, “We still need to get Safiye and Khyrisan outfits for our wedding.” Then: “I was wondering if we ought to make sure that everyone here has something to wear that they’d not been ashamed of. Not everyone has formal wear. Some of the women don’t have a good dress, but keep re-sewing the old.”

“He doesn’t seem like the sort who wants to cross you, my love. He’ll do what is required of him or face the consequences like any others that call this place their home,” M’tan drawls as he continues to systematically break off chunks for Sugar to eat. He turns his attention back to Jet with a smirk. “As you said, he’ll be due a journeyman and apprentices now. We’ll make sure we make it clear what we expect of the people he wishes to bring in.” He nudges his glass towards Jet to signal a refill. “A name? I honestly didn’t think about that part at all. What were your ideas?” he questions, “We could refer to the area in someway with a name. Or we can mix our own names together and claim it as ours forever.” He shrugs, causing Sugar to chirrup a complaint. He frowns in consideration at the mention of outfits. “We should gift all our people one new outfit for working in and one nice outfit for the wedding. As a thank you for their attendance and to show we care about them on our day as well.” He rubs at his jaw in thought. “Do we have enough who can sew to do such things or should we reach out to the Weavercraft to purchase something directly?”

“We’ll have to think on it,” Jet supposes of naming the Hold. “I like the idea of putting our names to it, but I imagine some snooty Harper somewhere thinking that it’s terribly egotistical. Then, it’s not as if the Ancients didn’t name the Holds after themselves.” She tips back the remnants of her whiskey, the drink finally starting to have enough effect that she doesn’t sit quite so tense and rigid. “If we purchase a range of work clothing in different sizes directly from the Weavercraft, the Weavers they’ve posted here should be able to adjust them to fit everyone, I should think. The more formal wear… that might be more difficult. I don’t think any two women are going to want the same dress, I mean. If the Hall could send a team of Weavers and fabric to choose from, we might get it done that way.” Smirking, she murmurs, “Depends how amenable the Hall wants to be. Money should talk.”

“We should blend Kyramith and Sirhyth’s names for the Hold. Name it after our dragons, who can complain? Or we could be absolutely boring and call it The Hold,” M’tan laughs, shaking his head as he scoops Sugar off of his shoulders and lets her sprawl, fat and happy, on the table. “We’ve enough money to do it. Let’s do it. If you need my help, let me know. It’s not as if we can’t steal what we want. But I feel like paying for it will have the most meaning to our people.” He rises from his stool then and walks over to wrap his arms around Jet’s shoulders, pulling her back against his chest as he bends forward to kiss her cheek. “We should go bathe and unwind,” he tells her, nipping at her ear lightly. “Wash the day from us and go to sleep dreaming of our future.”

Jet reaches out with a gentle hand to smooth her fingertips against Sugar’s neck, then leans herself back against M’tan, covering his arms with her own, her head tipped back and eyes closed. “That sounds lovely,” she says softly, gathering her feet beneath her to stand and turn to deliver a lingering kiss before grabbing one of his hands to tug him after her. Up two flights of stairs, she sets the bath running and adds a variety of salts, waiting until the warm water is high enough to shed her clothes and draw M’tan into the bath with her. She finds herself in no hurry to leave it, though more interested in distracting her mate than in lounging in the water, to the extent that she doesn’t notice it turn cold, bath emptied and filled again for the business of doing nothing more than settling herself in his arms. Eventually, bed calls, blankets and furs heaped around them as a riot of firelizards blink in to join them and everyone settles down for the night for a dream-filled sleep.

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