The Only Way

The Only Way

Who: Aerishani, O’rlen, M’tan, Amorenth, Sirhyth
When: Month 5, 204 AT
Where: Council Room, Honshu Weyrhold
What: M’tan has intentions for the Council. O’rlen agrees, for the most part. Aerishani is… not okay with a lot of it.

Time has passed since the Weyr Council’s fateful decision sent Fort into chaos and losing it’s senior queen along with the top bronzeriders made ‘suitable’ for leading per the demands imposed upon the Weyr from outside forces. M’tan has had time to call upon J’kson, among others, and to investigate Fort and the North enough that he can consider leveraging the Court’s specialities to gain advantage in the southern continent with Honshu’s Weyrhold’s leaders. Sirhyth’s mind proceeds him as they beckon an audience with the Weyrlady and Weyrlord, waiting for permission before he settles upon the Weyrhold’s bowl to deliver his rider to those set to lead him to the council chambers. His bronze may take himself to the skies, but M’tan is not without allies as his firelizards trill and zip to and from his body to venture forth to explore the Weyrhold. Their antics may appear to be those of ill-trained firelizards, yet M’tan seems completely at his ease as he enters the chambers and bows before O’rlen and Aerishani. “I thank you for allowing my visit,” he tells the pair as he offers a crooked smile, “I believe we have much in common.”

Amorenth observes Sirhyth with an air of disinterest, yet there can be no denying that she does observe him, his whereabouts monitored just as she does any other foreign dragon who visits Honshu, but so far beneath her notice that he might as well be a mote of dust. “With Silverfield and your own Hold also home to dragons, there are many who wonder whether you intend for your residence to become a Weyrhold itself,” Aerishani replies, the bob of her head as she finds her feet not quite a curtsey, but polite enough in itself. “Though I’m certain that what you’re here to do is not to ask for a queen of your own,” is a little drier. “What is it that we can assist you with?” she questions, sliding a brief glance to O’rlen. “With what’s occurred at Fort, I’m sure you can understand that this is a tense time for us all. You’ll have to forgive me if I ask you to disregard any outbursts from Amorenth. She’s grown to view Honshu as her legacy.”

Sirhyth’s shadows rumble outwards as he denies the words of Aerishani before he tilts himself further into the clouds and finds the soothing touch of his mate to quell his anger. “My wife and Lady would be drawing her sword at you at the mere utterance of her being replaced by a goldrider. Our Hold follows none of the old rules,” M’tan’s still easy with his charm, his smile not wavering as he pulls a chair from the table and settles himself into it. “I’m glad that you already realize that is not why we’d come.” He settles a hand on the table to tap his fingers against briefly. “The Weyr Council’s ill advised idea of banning brownriders from goldflights… caused irreparable harm. Unfortunately for those who pushed that idea, punishment will have to be made and the ‘law’,” he drawls that word with a lifted brow, “will have to be revoked. In their decision they harmed our daughter,” he doesn’t outright claim Arlet, but he could be prompted to say as much. “And we do not tolerate others harming our family.”

O’rlen’s eyes are sharp on M’tan as he watches the bronzerider make his way into his chair. He keeps his elbows propped up on the council table as his forefingers touch at his lips. He shifts in his chair at the mention of the Weyr Council and the harm caused by them, guilt and grief flickering across his face. He looks to Aerishani and reaches to hold her hand before he considers M’tan again. “What are you saying?” he asks, “That you will met out the punishment? We have already bypassed their opinion when we sent C’aol with Ierne’s backing. I’m sure we can get a few other Southern Weyr’s on our side. But it’ll be another battle at another table and I’m sure they’ll push hard against our ‘liberal’ ideas of what it is to be. They’ve yet to outright deny our bluerider access to our goldrider, but it’s only a matter of time before they remember we’ve done such a thing.”

“I assure you, bronzerider, that if your wife and Lady decided to draw her sword in an act of violence against me, I can recite for you half a dozen different reasons she would end up held at the Harper Hall.” Despite that colder outer exterior, Aerishani gives O’rlen her hand and curls her fingers around his, holding tight for a moment and more. “Anyway, we’re not here to debate whether women are capable or not, rider, colour of dragon or none at all. //That// is what the Council have taken on as their business. We’ve two browns who have caught queens and one blue, and all of them with more than capable riders. What the Council doesn’t like is that they’re women, and any goldrider who signed away the rights of her female riders might as well have signed her own rights away.” Glancing between M’tan and O’rlen, she states, “They’ll never listen to us alone. We’re the instigators. Jynth catching Inaskashath was the proverbial nail in the coffin. At Fort, if Eosyth claims it, perhaps we have a chance, but she Impressed a Fortian girl.” Only then does she blink and tilt her head, wrinkling her nose as she thinks aloud: “You can be little older than I am… You would have been at your minder’s knees when any of those hurt in the flight were born.”

“Is that how age works?” M’tan muses, rubbing at his jaw. It’s then that his more rotound green arrives to the council room, a stolen pastry in her grasp, which she’ll eat messily on M’tan’s shoulder. It makes the man look all the less threatening as he gives a droll smile to his little charge. He looks back to Aerishani, ignoring the green, and considers O’rlen in a passing glance. “When my Lady allows you to know her, you both will have to decide how to proceed. She is not pleased at all with how you… abandoned our daughter to Fort when the Council made their declaration.” He doesn’t care if the two Honshu rider’s have to struggle to do the math of what he’s claiming. “How far are you willing to push the Council? How far do you want your reach to go? If you continue to let them have their way, well… I’m sure we’ll see further bloodshed. It’s easy to see how they’ll blame it all on the women and not their own small minds.” He considers his nails briefly and then looks up at them with a lifted brow. “We have a certain specialty at our Court, with handling matters… discreetly. So to answer your question, Weyrlord, yes. I am offering to met out justice.” He does not bother to hide the ruthless gleam to his gaze and predatory smile.

O’rlen takes in M’tan and his green, undeterred by the tactic of softness the overly-fed green offers. He holds tight to Aerishani’s hand as he listens, his brows knitted, and his frown severe. “Honshu has had it’s fair share of older rider’s choosing how to sway the times,” he tells M’tan, “It was not that long ago that Honshu suffered as Fort suffers now. It cannot be blamed on the Council, yet…,” he pauses, looking to Aerishani, trying to gauge his Weyrlady’s take with his glance, “It’s easy to see how the tides will continue to go. As we would have said in my previous craft, the old stock needs to be put out to pasture or put down. It is not doing right by the bloodlines. Fortian or not, Eosyth is of Amorenth and so our charge.” He pauses, thinking back on some of M’tan’s words and his eyes narrow. “Are you saying you claim Arlet?”

“Arlet?” Aerishani echoes, almost choking on that repetition of her husband’s assumption. “If you’re claiming Arlet, putting aside the matter of that being some sort of physical impossibility, then perhaps your Lady ought to consider that no family was here for her when she Impressed. No-one visited her as Akanyth grew. And no-one stepped in any earlier than the last moment to save her. If we are at fault, then so are you, and it sounds like you know a lot more about her situation than we ever have.” Another look from one bronzerider to the other has her shaking her head, uttering, “This sounds like we’re discussing assassinating members of the Council. Dragons paying the price for their riders’ lack of empathy or understanding. I may not think that the people in those seats are the people we want directing the future, but there has to be some middle ground between letting them get away with it and getting rid of them.” Whether shock or shame or something else, she looks down at the table and questions, “…What about making them sick? Or injuring them. Enough that a Weyrwoman has to step down or a bronze wouldn’t think to chase for concern for his rider.” Anticipating disagreement, she blinks up at O’rlen, insisting, “Death achieves nothing. Taking what they love and want – their power – does.”

“If we did not step in at the ‘last moment’ to save her,” M’tan’s voice is low and hot, the burning gaze he levels on Aerishani no less of a threat than his own wife would deliver, “She would have died in that mayhem. Neither of you went there, did you? You sent your lackeys to do your bidding but you stayed here. Safe. Protected.” He doesn’t disguise his disgust. The unfocused quality of his gaze lays fact to his dragon’s opinion as he offers one tidbit of truth, “We were not here before because we did not know she was here //now//.” He rolls his eyes and looks to the ceiling, ruffling his hands through his hair with a derisive snort as he shakes Sirhyth from his mind. “It’s beyond them,” he mutters, looking back to Aerishani. “You’re too lighthearted. They will die,” he decides as he rises, “Whether or not you can grasp that reality. Their lives, and their dragon’s lives, are not better than those who we have already lost.” He considers his green on his shoulder, rubbing at her cheek and eyeridge to her pleasurable croon, “When you are ready to join us, send word through your queen.” He does not wait for a dismissal as he strides towards the door, offering a parting remark before he leaves, “Death is the only way to curtail the power hungry.” And then he is gone.

O’rlen inhales deeply as he watches M’tan leave, having had no room nor reason to speak when his Weyrlady can speak for them both. He watches the door slam behind M’tan’s exit and looks to Aerishani, still grasping her hand. “I don’t know what to make of his claims. Arlet is their daughter? He’s not that much older than us,” he frowns, looking once more to the door, “And yet… who knows what the world has to offer anymore.” He doesn’t meet Aerishani’s gaze as he admits, “Honshu has suffered enough. Our people, our riders, those who have claims to us, do not deserve this. The Council continues to fight our people specifically. What if we had lost Akanyth and Arlet in this? What if we lose Nala and Jynth when Inaskashath rises next? I don’t want to risk it.” He tightens his fingers around hers, looking to the door, as he states, “I’m not above murder.”

Aerishani looks quite like she’d take pleasure in hurling something after M’tan, yet she holds her tongue and manages to keep from shouting anything after him as well, no matter how loudly Amorenth might clamour in her head for her to do it. “Then we move Rori before Inaskashath rises again. Or at least so that it throws her off what schedule she might take up. Fort needs a healthy, grown queen. Surely no-one is stupid enough to deny that, and at least it might keep her and Nala safe for time enough to handle the rest of it.” Reluctantly, she reclaims her hand, pressing her fingers to her temples. “Murder? It would make us no better than them. Him.” She gestures towards the door. “What way is there of dispatching the northern Council members without it looking deliberate? And if we //make// it look deliberate, it would end Weyr autonomy. Dictators. That’s what we’re looking at becoming.” Standing, she shakes her head, muttering, “This isn’t right. None of this is right. Not that you want this and he,” another gesture after M’tan, “does and //Amorenth// does too. I despise the Council, but we’re going to despise ourselves by the time this is through, aren’t we?” Resigned to the inevitable or not, she strides away, needing to escape, and manages to hide herself away somewhere or another until late into the night. It’s in the morning that O’rlen might discover her on the couch, shunning the company of queen and husband both while she wrestles with what can and cannot be done.

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