Who: Jet, M’tan, Kyramith, Sirhyth
When: Month 10, 203 AT
Where: Court of Shadows, Honshu Territory
What: An attack on Jet and Safiye leaves the greenider with regrets.

Only after the event does Kyramith relay flashes of it to Sirhyth, not to deliberately conceal, but because those split seconds are all she can actively recall through the haze of fury that consumed both her and Jet. First, there was the picnic beneath the tree in the meadow during a promised day of time with Safiye, then the men who approached, then Safiye safe, high in the tree, and then… fire and blades and bodies, one left to live and run following hissed warnings in his ear. All witnessed by the girl in the tree, who appears to have faced the reality of who and what her mother is with a stoicism that’s left Jet with an awful mixture of guilt and pride. By evening, she’s finally let Safiye out of her sight, instructions left with one of the nannies keep an eye on her in the night for any signs of distress. Exhausted, Jet has climbed the stairs to the quarters belonging to her and M’tan, where she’s wrapped herself up in a blanket and curled up before the hearth, staring into the crackling flames.

Sirhyth’s raw fury resonates into M’tan – both of them called to action and disappearing from their Hold to do so. Scouts have been delivered, spies consulted, and people threatened by the time Sirhyth returns to their home. M’tan takes the time to consult with the staff about the state of the children, knowing if he were to physically check on them, he’d risk waking them at this late hour. He stalks into their room, door slammed behind him, his face rigid with fury as he moves over to Jet. He drops down to her feet and wraps his arms about her middle, hugging her close to him as he breathes in the reality of her in his arms. “Tell me everything,” he tells her, keeping himself held against her, not wanting to relinquish his hold until she finds the way to soothe him. Sirhyth does not sleep, choosing to go and post himself on the highest point, his red-gaze a flash of warning in the darkness of the night.

Jet drops her against M’tan’s shoulder, freeing her arms from the folds of the blanket to place them over his. “I don’t know if we were targeted deliberately or they thought we were defenceless and would chance their luck,” she murmurs, darting a glance to the mantel above the hearth, where Blaze, Inferno and Fira haven’t let their attention stray from her. “I imagine they were after only one thing, since we didn’t exactly look as if we had money to take.” And maybe it’s the one thing that she assumes they were after that prompted the carnage she created. “There were five of them. I got Safiye into the tree and told her to not come down under any circumstances, then…” She shrugs. “They weren’t particularly trained. Brute force was their only advantage, but they were slow enough that it was easy to make them bleed before they knew it.” Huffing out a low sound that isn’t quite laughter, she says, “I let the last one go with a message. A warning. If there are any more of them, they know not to cross us now.”

“I won’t have this in our territory,” M’tan grinds out, lifting himself up from his crouch to rock back on his heels and then slide to the side of the couch. He tips his head back, reaching a hand up for hers to hold as he stares angrily at the firelizards on the mantle. “My wife and daughter should not be assaulted. No one should be. This space should be the safest to be in.” He tightens his fingers on her hand, “If you were not superiorly trained, if you were someone else… it would not have ended in that way.” He huffs out a breath and clenches his jaw, thinking. “We’ve got to get more people that we trust. I’ll post a routine guard for the surrounding area, and keep my spies looking for those who wish to try their hands at hostilities. We’ll make a better example of them next time. I’ll know where they come from and I’ll have Sirhyth drop them mid-flight onto the roof. See how they find that warning.” He tilts his head to look back at Jet.

“I suppose people are beginning to wonder if we really mean business. It’s the only reason I let the last one go. Bodies say one thing, but someone who saw how they died says much more.” She seems to be taking the whole thing in her stride, even Kyramith calm and peeking out from the building she shares with Sirhyth, but it’s guilt that keeps creeping into Jet’s gaze and not fear or distress. Winding a hand into M’tan’s hair, she plays idly with strands until she can speak again. “…She saw it all,” she murmurs, eyes not quite holding focus. “Safiye. I know there were things she saw when we took her from Kadross, and she can’t think that I teach her swordplay just for the fun of it… but she saw me cut them down. She saw me kill them. What if…” She swallows hard. “What if she thinks I’m awful? //I// know I can do terrible things, but I didn’t want her to find out so… young.”

“You didn’t find random men, place her in a tree, and then kill them,” M’tan’s tone is derisive, his brows shooting upwards as he anglesl his face to look at Jet. “You defend yourself against an attack that could’ve ended with her witnessing an assault against you, or both of you, or even your death and her kidnapping. We can explain to her why we have to pick violence sometimes, but don’t for one moment think she’s asleep right now thinking her mother is awful.” He reaches up to hold both of her hands, moving so he can kneel directly in front of her. “You are the Lady of this Hold, we have declared ourselves to the world, and we should not be seen as targets for it. It’s time we take action, find people to manipulate, and guarantee this will never happen to you or our people again. I will have a firm hold on our people, especially the ones who tend to enjoy the… darker choices one can make… but I won’t do it in the way Hassoun did it. Not with vengeance. If we must kill, we kill, but it doesn’t mean we seek to punish everyone around those who deserved death.” He inhales and exhales loudly, shaking his head before he moves to rest his head in Jet’s lap. “I won’t let you be at risk like that.”

Jet keeps her fingers moving through M’tan’s hair as he rests his head in her lap, pausing only to soothe her thumb against his temple while her other hand holds tightly to his. “…I know,” she says quietly. “Logically, I know. I suppose… I don’t feel logical about it just yet. I just saw red. I knew I wasn’t going to let them anywhere near her. And then all I could think was that I’d just shown the worst side of myself to her.” She shakes her head the tiniest bit and closes her eyes. “I’m not ashamed of what I did or what I can do. Or what I can be. I’d do it again and again to keep you and our children and our people safe. I only wish I’d been able to keep her from witnessing it for longer.” Carefully, she unwraps herself from the blanket and slips down to sit beside her husband, drawing him to her to fold her arms around him. “It wasn’t your fault. Or mine. There are always going to be despicable people willing to take a chance. Better that they met me than someone else.” She touches her lips to his cheek, then tucks her face in against his neck. “I love you. I know you’ll always protect us. And I’ll protect you.”

M’tan holds Jet tightly, as if his arms wrapped around her could hold her safe long after he releases her. He kisses her cheek, her forehead, and then her lips, unable to say anything as he inhales the scent of her. He finally eases from the crushing hug, keeping his hands on her upper arms to steady himself. “I’ve done what I can now. The world knows we’ve declared ourselves. I imagine some will come knocking to tell us we can’t be what we want to be, not knowing that those of us who live behind these doors can readily and willingly defend ourselves.” He eases back against the back of the couch again, encouraging her to rest against his side as he tosses an arm possessively over her shoulders. “I had thought our wedding and it’s declaration had gone too smoothly,” he’s not going to hide the bitterness of his tone, “and now it’s time we begin to plant our people where they can have the most use to our cause.” He pauses, “I’ve placed one at Honshu tonight. And I moved another to Fort,” he waits for Jet to chastise him, “I didn’t look. Or ask. But I put someone there to do the looking for us.”

Jet turns slightly to better tuck herself in at M’tan’s side, reaching to curve a hand at his far shoulder and so keep an arm around him. “At least they gave us the day,” she can’t help but remark, dry-voiced. News of Fort makes her pause, yet she makes no comment until she can thread her thoughts together and find the right words. “…If she’s my daughter, there’s no telling what their Weyrleader is capable of,” is at least honest. “And if she’s not my daughter, then we need to know exactly why someone would pretend to be and how they found out about her in the first place.” For there’s been no record or mention of Arlet at Court within the hearing of another soul. “If the first placement goes undetected, it might be worth sending more. In the meantime… I’ll have to visit her.” She nuzzles her way along the line of his jaw before quietly asking, “Would you come with me? Stay nearby? I don’t know how I’m going to feel after seeing her.” And strong feelings and Jet don’t always make the best combination.

M’tan’s arm tightens around Jet’s shoulders. “Of course we’ll come,” he tells her, looking to the firelizards and then back to Jet. “All of us. The firelizards, Sirhyth, we’ll be there. Prepared. Should we need to back you up, or hold you, if something doesn’t go right.” He kisses her cheek and rises, moving to hold his hand out to her once he’s stable on his feet. “Let’s go bathe and unwind. I’m proud of you, I’m glad you were there today with Safiye. We’ll talk with her, or you can talk with her, and make sure she’s okay with what she saw. But she’ll never think of you as a monster. We both know the monsters in her life – and they were never you.” He waits until Jet is up before he wraps his arms about her once more, tucking her in against him as he kisses her slow and deep. His voice is rough with emotion when he whispers in her ear, “I love you, my wife.” He takes her hand then and leads her towards the bathing chamber. It’ll be much later before they find themselves in bed, and when sleep finally finds M’tan, he’ll be firmly wrapped around Jet with his nose tucked into her hair.

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