What Good?

Who: Arlet, Rori, Akanyth, Inaskashath
When: Month 2, 203 AT
Where: Rori’s Weyr, Honshu Weyrhold
What: There are multiple matters that need addressing, none of them particularly easy.

Rori has given Arlet as much space as the brownrider needs, making absolutely no demands on her. If Arlet shows up at her weyr, Rori is the quiet and delighted housewife, fussing over Arlet as she cooks for and caters to her. She refuses to bring up their visit to Silverfield, assuming Arlet will address what was said between her and Lady Akemi in her own time. From what Inaskashath has shared with her, Rori already knows that the meeting did not end with the pair of them on friendly terms. She was so bold as to send a letter to Lady Zinovia the day after the fateful meeting —

Lady Zinovia,

Arlet, rider of brown Akanyth, of Honshu Weyrhold met with your consort, Lady Akemi, about finding the location of her mother. We were made aware of Lady Akemi’s involvement with Arlet’s mother through Maozheth and Inaskashath’s conversation, so forgive me if this caught you and her offguard. That was not our intention. I’m unsure of how productive the meeting between your consort and my Arlet was, I know Arlet can be brash when she’s cornered and I have no knowledge of Lady Akemi. If needed, I will come and meet with you and Akemi to locate Arlet’s mother. It is important that we find her.

Thank you,
Rori, goldrider of Inaskashath, Junior Weyrwoman of Honshu Weyrhold

Rori had no intention of telling Arlet of her involvement, not wanting to intrude on Arlet’s feelings or desire for space. Tonight, she’s cooking a roast lamb, vegetables, and had previously made a cake. As was her routine when she’d had a day off duties, Rori’s time has mostly been spent in the kitchen. Inaskashath doesn’t often reach out to Akanyth, but tonight she queries for her rider, << Will yours be joining mine? >>

Arlet has yet to be officially assigned to any one wing, with the Wingleaders of both Astral and Stellar letting her spend days with each of them until someone reaches a conclusion as to where she might be most usual. It leaves her days and her location at any moment quite unpredictable, though there have definitely been hours of late where she has deliberately kept away from Honshu and just about everyone to try and decide what she wishes to do about the fact that she may soon end up face to face with a mother who doesn’t sound as if she’ll be all that easy to understand or get to know – if they want to get to know each other at all. At least Akanyth has temporarily ceased his chasing of everything green, whether finally growing out of such a phase into a more discerning suitor or just giving her his full attention. It makes him no less pleased to be near Inaskashath, unable to forget what she knows of him when their riders spend so much time together, a grudging, << Yes, >> supplied with the solid stare of golden eyes peeking out from darkness, his true location left to be anyone’s guess. Grudging or not, he speaks the truth, for Arlet appears in Rori’s doorway clutching a bunch of small winter blooms in pastel shades.

Inaskashath has certainly noticed that Akanyth has stopped his constant chasing of greens – especially in Honshu’s skies. She accepts his answer with a dimple-grin of a bright lit sky reflecting on a cold lake. << How wonderful >> she beams at him, trying her best to annoy him by simply //being//. Rori’s in the middle of pulling out the lamb and vegetables from her oven and misses Arlet’s appearance in the doorway until she’s set everything down on the counter. Her weyr’s design is one open room, with the kitchen and hearth tucked in the back wall, while the couches, dining table, and living space are nearer the front room. There’s one doorway that leads off to a hallway where two simple rooms of equal size are hidden behind closed doors. “Oh!” Rori exclaims, caught off guard by Arlet’s appearance but she recovers quickly with a bright smile. “Are those for me?”

Inaskashath garners no answer from Akanyth, who must decide that no answer is better than one that might upset the girl he chose right when he’s doing his best //not// to distress her, and so leaves nothing but that dark void where he was last to be found, retreating well back to wherever it is he’s skulked off to. “They’re for Inaskashath, really, but I suppose now you’ve said it…” Arlet cracks a tiny, almost shy, smile and holds the flowers out towards Rori. “Of course they’re for you.” She’s even tied a white ribbon with silver trim around them, their stems not all cut evenly and their ragged nature betraying having been recently plucked. “They sent us up North to bring back some goods from Ruatha and I saw…” The flowers, presumably. “Fort’s all up in arms about some sort of theft. Saying the Weyrwoman and her staff’re stealing from their own.”

Rori reaches forward to collect the bouquet, moving close enough to press a friendly kiss to Arlet’s cheek. “She says they’re lovely and we can share. I’ll go get them in water.” She bustles back over towards her kitchen area, pulling out a glass vase to set the flowers in, keeping the ribbon tied to them. Water is found and poured in as she listens to the news of Fort. “That’s odd,” she blinks up at Arlet, “Why would the Weyrwoman and her staff steal from their people? What purpose does it serve?” She takes her arranged flowers and moves to place them on the table where the silverware and platewear have been set out. “Dinner’s ready,” she tells Arlet, making no fuss over the fact the table now has a romantic feel to it with the flowers and the candles she’s lit to light the table. She moves back to the kitchen, collecting the platters of food to deliver. “I think I’ve got wine,” she notes, lip puckering out in thought as she purses them and looks to Arlet. “Or do you want tea?”

Arlet trails after Rori, her steps meandering ones that keep from seeming to invade the weyr that isn’t hers. No matter how long she spends there, she’s never made assumptions about just wandering on in. “I don’t know what purpose it’d serve, but when you’ve got people swearing blind they signed goods in and they were the last person to supposedly see them…” She shrugs. “That goldrider’s evil. Exploiting the holders and then hoarding it all for herself and her cronies, if any of it’s true. Her juniors ought to oust her.” She’s unthinkingly obedient in altering her path to find the table and standing at the chair she chooses, idly reaching to skin gentle fingers along some of the flowers’ tiny leaves. “I’ll have whatever you’re having,” she assures. “This all looks lovely.”
“Her juniors could oust her, really? I couldn’t imagine being put in that position,” Rori answers, shocked by the reality that those other goldriders face. “I’m thankful Aerishani is thoughtful and kind. I wouldn’t want to ever consider having to take over from her.” She grimaces, moving from the table to go and fetch a nice enough bottle of wine. “Got this as a gift,” she tells Arlet as she considers the label. “I’m not sure if it’s any good, but red wine goes well with lamb, I think.” She goes about opening the bottle and pouring each of them a small glass before she settles down at the table. “Do you think Fort’s the reason behind the attack on Honshu? If the Weyrwoman is really that unstable, what’s to stop her from attacking us or others again?” She shakes her head and begins to slice portions of the lamb out. “Hand me your plate,” she instructs Arlet, “And I’ll fill you up.”

“…My mother did it, once,” Arlet confesses, surrendering her plate to Rori. “Not that… Not in a nasty way, though she said it felt like it at the time. Her Senior was sick and making herself worse, so she took the knot from her. Didn’t want it, but it had to be done. So… it can be done.” She sits herself down, head tilting slightly as she asks, “Where’d the gift come from?” in a manner that does little to conceal a flicker of threat that someone else might be getting close to Rori, the jab of jealousy from Akanyth shoved right back down. “If the next Council has enough evidence of Fort’s hand in the attack on us, I don’t see how they could let their leaders remain in power. There has to be evidence, somewhere, even if it’s just proof that it //wasn’t// them. Somewhere else to look.”

Rori finishes making Arlet’s plate and passes it back towards her before she goes about organizing her own plate of food. She nods her head as she listen to Arlet’s story about her mother. “How brave of her to do that,” she notes as she reaches for her wine glass, “Even though she didn’t want to. She stood by her people.” She takes a sip of the wine and can’t hide the grimace that follows the sip. “It must be from Tillek,” she notes, “Very acidic.” She blinks at the question over the gift and frowns at the bottle in concentration. “I think T’lar gave it to me? After I was done shadowing him and seeing how he operates his wing,” she mentions the bronzerider casually. “It was a while ago.” Inaskashath’s sensitive enough that she feels some sort of ripple out in the darkness and she sends an image to Akanyth of an axe’s blade being sharpened. T’lar’s bronze was known to catch golds, after all.

Arlet tries her best not to smile, but she can’t help it as she asks, “Do you actually like wine?” over the rim of her own glass. She might have been about to take a sip, yet that is stalled by mention of T’lar, wine drawn away from her lips to settle back on the table without a drop consumed. “You’ll want to watch them, now,” she says lowly. “The bronzeriders. They’ll all be looking to win you over one way or another. I don’t know how much sway your preferences might have on Inaskashath – I’ve never tried to influence Akanyth except to stop him – but they still end up thinking that to win you is to win her.” Looking to her food, she lifts her cutlery, though the thought weighs heavily enough on her that she doesn’t manage to begin eating immediately. “Just… be careful, that’s all,” she murmurs.

“I don’t think I like it,” Rori confesses with an embarrassed flush, though she does go so far to try another few sips of the wine before she sets it down. She uses multiple bites of the meal to cleanse her pallet from the residual bitterness that coats her tongue. Her gaze lifts from her plate to settle on Arlet as she delivers her warning. “I didn’t think that was his intention but,” her gaze goes distant as she frowns, “Maybe it was.” Her face remains flushed as her eyes lower to her plate once more, her appetite momentarily stunted at the idea of her future. She finds herself reaching for that wine again, pushing through her dislike of the taste to settle the comforting blanket of inebriation around her mind. “Honshu shouldn’t be like this,” she declares after she’s polished off her wine and finds herself quietly pushing her food around her plate. “They shouldn’t be seeking to win my affection so they can have the prestige of catching a gold and siring a clutch. It’s archaic and disgusting.” It’s one of the most negative and annoyed declarations Rori has ever made and her face is flushed with her righteous anger. “I’m going to.. To… throw this empty bottle at T’lar’s head next time I see him!”

“Maybe you’ll like fizzy things or spirits,” Arlet supposes, gaze darting between her own full glass and Rori’s empty one. “And no, you’re not,” she insists of bottles meetings heads. “Primarily because you might kill him and then you’d never forgive yourself.” The words are uttered dryly, yet there remains a certain weight of the serious about her declaration. “At least there’s no true need for you to bed the winner if you don’t want to. If Aerishani doesn’t have to, then I don’t see why you should be expected to. Amorenth still clutched Inaskashath without any other bronzerider getting near her rider.” She shrugs a shoulder. “It’s your choice, if you want to make it. No-one’s turned me away yet when Akanyth’s caught, but then no-one has shut themselves away with another choice either. Bronzeriders will be annoyed whatever you do, though their being annoyed with you is better than doing something that’ll make you unhappy.”

“I don’t want to think about bronzeriders or men at this table when it’s set so nicely and I’ve spent all this time making //you// dinner,” Rori decides, her tone sharp with annoyance with herself. “We should talk of something else. How was your day?” she blurts out, not reaching for her glass of wine but her eyes flicker towards the wine bottle and narrow again. “At least you don’t bribe me with wine and stupidity,” she grouses before Arlet can answer her and sighs as she shakes her head and takes a bite of lamb to silence herself before she can fuss any further over details she can’t control. She settles her stomach down with a few more bites of food and then she reaches for a bread roll to nibble on as she looks to Arlet with a softer expression.

“…I don’t know… You could argue that I’m bribing you with flowers,” Arlet murmurs with a teasing quirk of her lips, fingers lifting back to run gently along the edges of petal and leaves. “Sweetheart, if anyone ever tries to hurt you, you know Akanyth and I will destroy them, don’t you.” It’s not really a question, but a statement put out there to draw a line beneath talk of those bronzeriders, the idea of them dismissed as she turns her attention to her food and eats in silence for a minute or so. “I’m still waiting on word from Lady Silverfield’s disagreeable consort,” she says eventually. “She’s sure got to grips with her new rank quickly enough, throwing her weight around. …She made it sound like my birth mother isn’t a good person. And maybe…” She sighs, but carries on anyway. “Maybe that’s all I need to know. She didn’t want me and she’s not a nice person. What good could come of meeting her?”

“The obvious good that could come from meeting her is she can explain her reasons for having to let you go and live with a mother you adore, that she wasn’t nice to Akemi because Akemi isn’t nice, and that you actually have a lot in common,” Rori has plenty of ideas of how //good// that meeting will go and she seems bright and cheerful in the delivery of her ideas. “I already reached out to Lady Silverfield,” she confesses, looking down at her plate, “to make sure you get the information you need. If I don’t hear back from her in the next few days, I’ll go and pay her a visit. Lady to goldrider.” She runs her finger along the rim of her empty wine glass. “You wouldn’t bribe me,” she tells Arlet, “You got Inaskashath the flowers and gave them to me because you saw it made me happy you brought them. Besides, Akanyth would be mortified if he actually //caught// Inaskashath. He barely even talks to her anymore.”

“You know the flowers really were for you, right?” Arlet can’t quite wipe the soft, silly smile from her lips. “Not that I’d ever be averse to getting flowers for Inaskashath too. I hear Amorenth likes pretty jewels. You have to admit, Inaskashath would look very pretty with some nicely cut opals around her neck. You could share those too, though we’d have to loop them around you a little more.” Plainly, to her, imaginary jewellery purchases are an easier affair than talk of her greenrider mother. “…Akanyth… objects to the idea that to fly Inaskashath would be to claim her, at least in the eyes of the bronzes,” she says slowly. “That they would be called her mate. He… wants her, not the right to catch her, but the only way anyone else would perceive him as a worthy mate would be to fly her. So…” She gives a tiny, helpless shrug. “He’s stuck. Though I think he would be pretty horrified by the idea of having sired offspring.” After taking another bite of her food, she insists, “I don’t want you getting into any trouble with Lady Silverfield because of me. If Akemi won’t talk… then there must be other ways.”

Rori flushes and smiles shyly at Arlet, her head dipping down as she focuses on the remaining food on her plate. “I do love them,” she murmurs, reaching towards that wine bottle to add a splash more to her glass. “Maybe it grows on you?” she asks hopefully as she lifts her gaze to meet Arlet’s once more. “All this talk of flying Inaskashath and bronzes,” she sighs, looking at her now full wine glass. “I wish Akanyth would simply catch her and we’d be done with it.” She blushes and looks to Arlet and then reaches for her glass. “If that’s what you’d want,” she mumbles after she takes a sip. “I’ll have Inaskashath lean in on Maozheth if I must,” she tells Arlet, eyes sharpening as she grasps on to a topic that has nothing to do with her and Inaskashath’s virginity. “We shouldn’t have to be dealing with this. She has the information, she should tell you.”

“Even if he doesn’t catch her, if you wanted to keep the others away and stay with me, we could do that.” It’s not so much a request, but an offer set before Rori as an alternative that still suits the same outcome for at least riders, if not dragons. “It’s your choice. It should always be your choice, whether that choice is me or someone else. Your Weyrleaders have given you that power by making their own choices.” Arlet lifts her glass to take a sip, dabs her napkin against her lips, then rises to round the table and touch a gentle kiss to Rori’s temple. “And that’s all I’ll say,” she promises. As for the matter of Akemi and Maozheth, she sighs as she reclaims her seat. “Maybe she knows something we don’t and it’s keeping her quiet,” she supposes. “If I wanted to get //her// into trouble with her Lady, then I could, but I’d rather not mess with someone’s marriage unless I have to. Just… maybe my mother is awful. All this to find out that she’s hateful and evil? It’d just be… a waste.”

“I don’t think it was a waste you came here at all,” Rori says as she lifts a hand to press fingertips to her cheek where Arlet’s lips pressed. “Akanyth needed you. We needed you. I’m.. very glad you’re here.” She finishes her food and takes another mouthful of wine. “I guess it grew on me,” she notes, blinking hazily at Arlet with a looser smile. “It certainly has //hit// me.” She folds her napkin beside her dinner plate. “I’ve made two different cakes – a chocolate truffle with hazelnut cream frosting and a lighter strawberries and cream cake. Do you want one or both?” She rises from the table, moving to clear their plates and take them into her kitchen to set in the sink for later. “And if you don’t like the wine either, I think we have some other choices. A brandy? I don’t know. I should refine my tastes better,” she sighs as she sweeps her arms full of dishware and heads back towards her kitchen area without waiting for Arlet’s comment or protest about her actions.

“No, I mean… everything we’ve done to try and find out about her,” Arlet attempts to elaborate, watching Rori a little carefully as the wine settles over her. “I can’t regret being here, even if… even if I miss my family. I have Akanyth and you and Inaskashath, even if Akanyth’s more scared of his own feelings than anything else.” Her brow furrows when Rori goes about clearing plates and sweeping off into the kitchen, and while she spends a moment or two staring distantly at her mostly full wine glass, she pushes herself to her feet to follow after her, claiming the glasses as a supposed reason to do so. She’s still holding them when she hazards, “Strawberry?” just to say something, retreating back to a laboured silence the very second after. “…Rori…” is a rougher effort, afraid of misstepping. “Even if I wanted to go back… if I //could// go back and knew it was completely safe… You know I’d want you to come with me?”

Rori’s quick in the kitchen, food dumped into compostable bins and stored away efficiently as she hums a soft tune under her breath. She looks up as Arlet enters and takes the wine glasses from her, setting them on the counter should either of them decide to continue on with drinking at some point. “Strawberry? I agree, the chocolate is simply too rich after that lamb.” She fusses with her little fridge, pulling out the cake that’s decorated with a semi circle of fresh fruit and whipped cream on top to set down on the counter to let it get to room temperature. She pauses in her flurry of activity to lift a stare to Arlet. “I honestly don’t know what you see in me,” she blurts out to the brownrider, “I’m nothing special. I know you could spend time with anyone else, and I know you choose to come here, to me. But,” she blushes and presses her fingers to her lips and looks away, blinking back a wave of tears that she refuses to let fall. Her voice is choked when she manages to say, sniffling as she pulls out fresh plates. “I’ll go with you, anywhere. I promise.”

There’s that flicker of confusion again as Arlet questions, “Why would I want to spend time with anyone else?” as if it’s the most absurd notion she’s heard for quite some time. Cakes, strawberry and otherwise, are forgotten when she waits for a moment when Rori’s hands are empty and goes to capture them with her own, refusing to let go as she makes to tug her along after her to the nearest couch, where she goes to fold her into her arms, resting her head atop hers. “One day, I’ll manage to get you to understand how wonderful you are,” she murmurs. “I understand this might take me some time, but I’m willing to spend the foreseeable future thoroughly embarrassing you by telling everyone who’ll listen to me before you will.” She presses a kiss to the top of her head. “And if you don’t believe me, you’re underestimating just how determined I can be.”

Rori follows along after Arlet dutifully, shoes kicked off before she tucks herself on the couch and against Arlet’s warmth. She listens without speaking for a moment, taking in the smell and closeness of the brownrider. She lifts herself up enough to reach a hand out to brush along Arlet’s cheek, drawing her face closer so that she can press a true kiss on Arlet’s lips. She sits up and moves to place her arms around Arlet, her body sliding into Arlet’s lap as her arms brace on the couch. Her kisses deepen and have more demand, the headiness of the wine swallowing any residual uncertainties the goldrider has. She’s here, with Arlet, and her lips are warm and claim all of Rori’s breathless attention. She manages to stop for air, her smile bright on her face as her eyes are luminous with desire and a need she can’t express fully. “I don’t need you to waste your time fussing over me. I need you to focus on yourself and what you’ve set out to do.” She presses her forehead against Arlet’s and inhales shakily. “I love you and being with you,” she keeps her eyes closed, her forehead close, her arms shaking slightly.

No matter how much she might wish otherwise, Arlet makes very certain that her hands don’t go wandering where they might be employed to coax more than kisses from Rori, honour keeping her from letting herself do anything but return her kisses and anchor fingers to the curve of her hips. She’s never really let herself take control of any of their closer embraces, determined not to push and not to imply that she wants more than Rori is ready for, content enough with her being near to consider suggesting anything else. “It’s not wasting time and it’s not fussing,” she murmurs, letting a hand drift up into her hair. “If I loved you any less, maybe I’d let you get away with talking yourself down, but I won’t. You are loved and you have choices and you’re wonderful. I might let you win some arguments, but you’re not winning this one.” Drawing back a little, she shoots Rori the tiniest smirk. “And where else am I going to find someone who cooks me lamb and offers //two// cakes for dessert?”

Rori turns her head as she reaches to clasp Arlet’s hand in her hair, drawing it down along her cheek so she can kiss the brownrider’s palm. “I’ll admit defeat and let you win this argument,” she tells Arlet, “But I’ll try and do better so you don’t feel the need to remind me any of it.” She eases herself off of Arlet’s lap, holding on to her hand to haul Arlet up with her. “Speaking of dessert,” she tells her joyfully, “The cake should be at the right temperature now. Let’s eat it before the whipped cream puddles.” She keeps her fingers laced as they move the short distance from couch to kitchen. When they get there, she’ll find little reasons to kiss, and if whipped cream ends up on Arlet’s cheek, nose, and is used as a device to lead her kisses to explore, Rori hopes her efforts are appreciated. After all the dishes are done and the pair of them are relaxing again on the couch, Rori says sleepily as she stares into the flames, her head resting on Arlet’s lap. “We sure are lucky to have each other.”

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