Who: Nala and Aislara
When: Month 11, 203 AT
Where: Nala and Aislara’s Weyr, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Things are no longer as they were.
Whatever has been going on between Nala and Rori, there’s been no lack of gossip to all but confirm that //something// has definitely been going on. And still, most nights, Nala still comes home, as does Jynth, with no lack of affection for either of their weyrmates. However, it’s quite clear that what affection Nala has for Aislara has steadily retreated into chaste, almost polite, kisses and caresses, no overtures made as regards the bedroom. It’s almost as if she’s afraid of pushing too far and being rejected, or concerned that wanting her is something unreasonable that she shouldn’t pursue. With Jynth on the Sands with Inaskashath, she’s had to get a lift home tonight, the brown and rider who drop her off there and gone, leaving her to forge ahead alone. She’s brought a bottle of something pink and bubbly with her, set down on the kitchen table as she shrugs out of her coat and slings it over the back of a chair. “I’m home!”
Aislara has made a point of giving Nala space – not seeking nor necessarily giving anything overtly demanding. Nala’s chaste kisses bring the same shy smile to the greenrider’s lips as they did all those years ago. Ryerith leaves Jynth to his gold, doing nothing but reaching out now and then to ‘touch’ his mind and locate his whereabouts. The promise of baby dragons, and some sired by her mate, draws joy from the green. Aislara’s not in view when Nala enters their home, the kitchen oddly quiet and lacking of food that’d pass as dinner. The hearth has gone cold, left untended long enough that even the embers that are usually easy to bank won’t be stirred into life. She comes out of the bedroom, wrapped in a robe, smile sleepy and hair mussed from her laying in bed. “How are things?” she asks, leaning against the doorway, robe clung against a chill as she looks to the wine. “What are we celebrating?”
“Celebrating?” Nala looks towards the bottle she so recently set down and blink a time or two before letting her focus swing back to Aislara. “Oh, I just… I bought it because I thought you might like it.” She gives a faintly awkward shrug and tugs out the chair she’s cast her coat over, sitting herself down at the kitchen table, her elbows propped at its edge. “Aerishani and O’rlen are saying they intend to give eggs from each clutch to Fort,” she says more quietly. “Five eggs in total. Three of Amorenth’s and two of Inaskashath’s. The gold egg for certain. I know you have been planning for the clutches and… There will be fewer weyrlings, that is all. Perhaps nine, if Inaskashath and Jynth’s eggs hatch safely.”
Aislara pushes herself off of the doorway and pads towards Nala. She brushes her fingers along the bluerider’s cheek in passing before she rummages in their cabinet for two tall, thin-stemmed glasses. “That’s unfortunate,” Aislara notes, moving to pop the cork on the sparkling wine. “Though I can’t say I was feeling prepared for another goldrider weyrling to teach. But if we send two of Inaskashath and Jynth’s eggs on, that places the burden of the unknown on Arlet and her weyrwoman. From what I’ve researched, there’s been no documentation kept of a blue siring a clutch in our Records. But from what some of our Beastcrafters say, sometimes the outcomes are great, freshening the stock, with new blood. Other times..,” she trails off with a small shrug as she pours their drinks. “Was Rori upset about the decision? I know O’rlen and Aerishani have their reasonings. However, that’s hard to see with a first clutch.” She sets the glass in front of Nala before pulling up a chair across from her.
“…Maybe they think that it is only fair that they send some of Inaskashath’s too, no matter what they think will happen,” Nala murmurs, averting her gaze to stare down at the tabletop. “Jynth surely cannot have sired bronzes or browns. The best Fort might get is greens. Maybe a blue.” She knots her fingers together, then immediately laces them around her drink instead. “Neither Rori nor Inaskashath is happy. No matter that they are eggs, they are still taking Inaskashath’s children away. Jynth is more… pragmatic about it all.” Silence falls as she watches the bubbles in her drink fizz to the surface. “I know how they feel.” Still, it’s as much comment as she’s intent on making about her own experience of motherhood being taken from her. Looking up, she hesitates not before asking a rather direct, “Do you want me to go with them?”
Aislara gives a small, knowing, nod at the reference to Inaskashath and Rori’s happiness (or lack thereof) regarding the Weyrlord and Weyrlady’s decision. She twirls the stem of the glass briefly between her two fingers, lifting her gaze to Nala’s as she takes a tentative sip of the bubbling liquid. There’s a knowing flash in Aislara’s gaze to Nala knowing what it may feel like to place the care of a child in another’s arms, their shared history requiring nothing more spoken than her reaching across the table to place her hand over Nala’s. “Why would I want you to go?” Aislara’s brows knit in confusion, “We’ve the Weyrling program to run. We’re building our life here.” She pauses, digesting something, as she slowly pulls her hand back from Nala’s. “Did you want to go?” It is without a trace of bitterness that she states, “Rori and Inaskashath will be staying here.”
Rather than elaborate in any greater detail or thread further words together, Nala relies on those that she’s already spoken, only now she lets enough of them drop away to make her real meaning much clearer. “Do you want me to go?” She’s as steady about it the second time as she was the first, unflinching from her perceived duty of enquiry, though her emphasis on that last word widens her meaning beyond any concern for Jynth’s offspring. Letting her gaze drift back to her glass, she twitches the fingers of one hand, as if she’d reach for it and drink, only to let the impulse ebb and fade away.
“I don’t want you to go,” Aislara’s tone is firm, her hands moving to flatten on the table to offer stability and to keep her habit of wringing them together at bay. “I know I’ve been distant since we came here. I know that… I may have contributed to your desire for… Rori. Or that’s something else entirely between you two. All I’m doing now, is giving you the space you need to explore that.” She looks down to her fingers, willing her hands to remain on the table. “If I’m doing that wrong, if in doing that you think I’m pushing you away, I’m not.” She lifts her gaze to hold on to Nala’s, strength in her words, “We’ve been through a lot together. We can get through this too, can’t we?”
“You are not… obligated… to stay with me, or to do anything that you believe is for my benefit to your own detriment,” Nala says slowly, her head tilting slightly. “I am only saying that… if you would prefer me to sleep in another room or to not be here at all, you should not be afraid to say so. I do not want to be a burden.” She clenches her jaw, a breath taken and words bitten back before they somehow escape anyway. “I want… to be wanted.” Looking down and away, she closes her eyes. “The weyrlings… they are more your work than mine. I am the example of what not to do, now more than ever. Ierne could have me, or Southern.” She sighs. “I want too much. It is selfish. I want Jynth to catch Inaskashath again and I cannot let him. I want to give you a child, but it frightens me. Most of all, I want you to be free of me if that is what you wish.”
Aislara is quiet as she watches Nala, sipping her wine to give her hand the act of lifting it to her lips. She lets that silence stretch, weighing the words she can deliver carefully. “If it is what Inaskashath and Rori wants, so long as the clutch is viable, I think if you gave O’rlen and Aerishani time to digest the change they’d be more willing. They enjoy being the progressives of Pern, however it’ll take convincing the rest of the Weyrs.” She drains the wine again and sets the glass down. “You want to give me a child, but you want to move to Ierne or Southern. You’re being indecisive. I want you home, with me, every night. I want to snuggle against you at night. Ryerith hasn’t risen in almost two years,” she shrugs a shoulder, rubbing her thumb along the table as she considers it. “I can’t tell if it’s me that’s holding her back. Lately… well. I’m just not able to give that side of me to anyone.” Her eyes flash as she lifts them to consider Nala. “I’ve been having nightmares of I’nis again.” A shrug. “And I’m working through it. So, it makes sense, that Rori can want you and you want her.”
“It is not indecision,” Nala states, a first hint of heat entering her voice. “If you wished me to leave, then I would //leave// and not be leaving you for her or for anyone.” And perhaps a change of location would be the only way to prove that. “I do not know that it is me she wants, no matter what she might say. Even if it is not me, I can give her what she wants, for now, and it seems I cannot do that for…” The bluerider gives a tight half-shrug and goes back to staring at her glass. “…You should let me murder him,” she says darkly, her intentions appearing not to be of idle musing. “And you should be Weyrlingmaster,” is stated as if the decision is hers alone. “Without me. It may be what is right for you, but it is not for me. I love you. I always have. I only ever want to know what you want or do not want from me.”
Aislara reaches to pour herself more of the sparkling wine, watching the fizz creep up the glass as she listens to Nala. Her face reflects her sadness and she doesn’t hide the flinch at the idea of Nala murdering I’nis. “I won’t burden you with that. He can’t touch me any longer.” She tips her head down at the mention of her being the sole Weyrlingmaster, the burden of that dragging her shoulders down as she sighs. “If it’s not what makes you happy then you should not do it. But I never thought of you as an example.” Her hand drifts up to those puckered scars along her neck, her smile rueful. “I wear the example I wish to set every day.” She rises from her chair and moves over to settle in Nala’s lap, her arm moving to twine about her neck as she dips her face against Nala’s shoulder. “I love you,” she states simply, “I’m sorry that I’m… stuck right now. It’s not anything for you to deal with. I have to… find my peace again.” She kisses Nala’s cheek. “I don’t want you to go. You’re everything to me. My life would be… empty. I want you.”
“I cannot tell new riders about control when I allowed my blue to chase a queen and eliminated any chance for brownriders to lead,” Nala murmurs, hiding her head against Aislara’s shoulder as she loops her arms around her middle. “It would be hypocritical, especially when I have no intention of telling them that they should not get ideas about it.” Looking up, she presses an answering kiss of her own to Aislara’s jaw. “You have nothing to apologise for. I just wanted to be sure that…” She shakes her head and murmurs something unintelligible, perhaps not even knowing what she means herself. “Maybe I can find a way to make you a mother by the time these new clutches are hatched and grown,” she says quietly, as if exchanging one purpose for another. “You go back to bed. I need to make dinner and bathe.”
Aislara presses her forehead against Nala’s briefly before she rises from Nala’s lap, trailing a linger finger along her jawline. “I can be happy without a child,” she tells her, “especially when I view our Weyrlings as mine.” She takes her empty glass to the sink to set it inside before she gathers her robe against her and smiles briefly at Nala. “We’ll talk about this all again.” She doesn’t linger in the kitchen any longer, moving silently back towards the bedroom where she finds herself laying awake, staring at the ceiling, and chasing her uncertainties around before sleep finds her. In the morning, Aislara will continue on with her daily life, pretending that the conversation never happened. And for the most part, that’s what keeps her smile in place when she interacts with others. She does try to demonstrate more frequently, with touches of hands, and kisses, that she still wants Nala. Though the burning desire she’s shown in years past is still a slow, banked, ember.