A First Meeting

Who: Isolwyn/Eosyth, C’aol/Daeserath
When: Month 5, 204 AT
Where: Fort Weyr, Bowl and Living Caverns
What: Eosyth shows her rider Daeserath and his rider.

<< He’s here! >> Outbursts from growing dragons are not uncommon, yet it may be dragons even further afield than Fort that hear Eosyth’s exclamation, the first and only that she has allowed herself since the flight that destroyed the leadership of her Weyr and caused so much destruction across its hearts and minds. A day and more has gone by since Daeserath and C’aol arrived, though she has spent the time since that disastrous flight cuddling up with hurt and confused dragons, from the bronzes injured in the chaos to greens frightened by the turmoil, for she is a queen first and her own wants come second, no matter what she may have felt upon Daeserath’s arrival. It’s when she wakes from the deep sleep of having refused to rest for too long that she broadcasts these words, slipping down from the wallow she shares with Malynth, out across the ledge and down into the bowl, a sleepy Isolwyn trailing after her. The young goldrider has only had the time to wrap a black robe around herself, her feet bare and left so in her concern to keep up with her somewhat unpredictable lifemate, her black hair an untamed wave running past her waist.

Daeserath knew the touch of that mind the moment he burst out of Between, his own mind reaching out to grasp for the control most only feel from a queen.  He is the strongest bronze in the southern hemisphere, his own mental might something that has drawn fear and uncertainty from those who fully grasp his power – and yet, it was he, and not a gold, that was sent to collect the chaos of Fort.  He has spent the time since landing grabbing minds, controlling panic, and shooing them towards the gold comfort offered of Eosyth. That the young queen has not recognized his touch is not his concern, she is still young and untried, his patience with her something he has never shown another.  His usual ice is a cool mist that folds around Eosyth’s mind as he welcomes her delight, << I am here. >> C’aol has been too busy focusing on riders, residents, and crafters at Fort to care how Daeserath has gained control of the dragons – and how much he has, or hasn’t done, is not his concern.  Between he and Eosyth the Weyr’s dragons are calm enough to face the breverity of coming days. Now, with Daeserath’s nudging, C’aol waits in the bowl, looking towards a direction he has been instructed to view. He is unshaved, yet courtly, as he remains in good posture and awaits what comes his way.  When he takes in the sight of Isolwyn his breath hitches, as he looks up at his lifemate’s massive form, and questions, “Truly?”

Eosyth barrels her way towards Daeserath without any hesitation, stopping only so that she might not crash into him, for all that she’s still small enough that she’s in no danger of knocking him down. People, perhaps, but not yet dragons. << It would not have been right to see you sooner, >> she tells him, the rainbow of jewel tones at the forefront of her touch masking the darker well of her will and strength. << There has been much hurt. It must be mended. >> Without asking if he will like it, she tucks herself against him, settling down to watch her rider approach, who is much more cautious about it, though she holds herself high. The curtsey Isolwyn sketches is enough to be polite without being submissive, her gaze not touching the ground, but meeting C’aol’s. “Isolwyn, of Eosyth,” she greets, her tone on the clipped side of good manners. “Blood of Fort’s line. I understand that Eosyth is better acquainted with you than I am. You have my thanks for assisting her in her efforts to calm our dragons.”

C’aol tenses at Eosyth’s approach, watching in anticipation of Daeserath’s reprimand – only, it doesn’t come.  The bronze lowers himself to the ground in a stately manner, his wing flicking out to draw around Eosyth and hold her close against his side.  << Of course it would not have been right. You had to wait for me to come to you >> he informs the gold, playing with the jewel tones with a touch of frost to enhance the colors that are displayed.  << Now it will be as it should here. We will mend it. And bring those to justice who caused it. >> He tries to soothe her sensibilities through distraction, touching his ice against her jewels and sending an eversecent cascade across their mindscape.  C’aol’s shoulders relax only enough to reduce the tension they carried, his courtly upbringing keeps his posture tight as he looks to Isolwyn and matches her curtsey with an equally polite, if not full, bow. “C’aol, to Daeserath, formally of Honshu and heir to Zaivar a long time ago.”  He considers Isolwyn with his sharp blue eyes, his angular face giving nothing away as he looks aside at their dragons. “Daeserath is not the sort to share overly much with me. I had known he was conversing with a foreign queen… and that is all.” He looks back to Isolwyn, moving to offer his arm to her.  “Shall we go and seek some refreshments and chat? There is much to discuss for Fort.” And, by the glance he throws to his bronze, of their dragons.

Isolwyn manages to school her expression to something more neutral as she observes Daeserath folding his wing around Eosyth, who only curls herself closer and settles there against him quite as if she has no understanding of what she may be suggesting to onlookers (or their riders, or anyone) by cuddling up with a grown, foreign, bronze at not even half-grown herself. << We will be fine, >> the young queen informs both her rider and Daeserath’s, whether she initially means the words to be solely for hers or the two of them, her voice slipping towards steel and midnight when not for her bronze friend, who otherwise captures her attention entirely. “Well met,” Isolwyn supplies by way of manners, glancing down at her robe and bare feet when C’aol offers her his arm. “I should apologise for my attire. She hadn’t slept in over a day by the time that she would. The Weyrlingmasters don’t understand her… To say that we attend lessons as a matter of courtesy would be an accurate assessment.” Despite her state of dress, she takes his arm and begins to step towards the caverns. “That we need a temporary Senior is evident enough. Preferably one of Amorenth’s daughters, if she’s to stand any chance of teaching Eosyth.”

“That Fort’s Weyrlingmasters are unable to understand one of Amorenth’s daughters is no surprise to me at all,” C’aol’s reply is calm and courtly as he takes her barefoot self towards the caverns.  If any give them glances as they pass, C’aol’s cold stare is enough to send them scuttling out of sight before whispers can reach Isolwyn’s ears. “It will be seen as meddling of Honshu, but at this point my coming already shows it as such.  The only daughter who they might send would be Inaskashath, and she is still young herself.” He grows quiet as they walk, waiting until they’re inside the caverns and she is settled at the table nearest the hearth. “Let me go and fetch you something warm to drink,” he tells her once he’s tucked her chair in against the table.  He moves through the cavern and into the kitchens, ignoring the leftovers on the table as beneath him and her. He returns not as quickly as he’d have liked, followed by a baking assistant carrying a tray of freshly made edibles. He waits until the girl sets the tray before them before he settles into his own chair. “Klah or tea?” he asks Isolwyn, hovering a hand over the tray.  

That more than one passing gaze lingers on Isolwyn as she sits and waits for C’aol is not something she meets by averting her own, even though some stares from bronzeriders are plainly sizing her up in the absence of any other well and able queenrider. She hesitates as the girl sets down the tray and he offers her a choice of what to drink, quite as if it should be the other way round, but she settles back into what must have been her former experience of life easily enough as she requests, “Tea, please,” and keeps from interfering with anything. “No-one else sent assistance, meddling or otherwise. Some risked their queens to rescue bronzes, but returned home soon enough. What use is that? They left us to it. The Council caused pain and mayhem and left us to suffer.” What anger colours her voice and features she abruptly attempts to hide behind a bite of pastry. “Dragons are dead. People are dead. Dragonless. I won’t let this happen again. I can’t. I have no voice as a weyrling rider, but Eosyth’s reach is vast. She is strong. She doesn’t need my encouragement to test that strength.”

If those bronzerider’s have continued to size up the young goldrider, C’aol’s gaze will dominate them and his glare will send them looking elsewhere.  Daeserath is not the only one claiming someone today. Whether or not C’aol’s intentions will turn romantic, his positioning today will ensure no other bronze- or brown- riding male bothers Isolwyn in the foreseeable future.  “That is the way of Pern,” C’aol hazards as he finishes pouring her the tea she’s requested. He pours himself a mug of klah. He nudges the pastries and cookie plate towards her without encouraging her to eat otherwise. “Pern is fickle.  When I first Impressed Daeserath I had to walk away from my Blood right. And now, Silverfield is held by a dragonriding woman. Who is to say when change should come? But to deny it in the way that the Council did was foolish. You cannot stop what has already happened.”  He tempers himself with a sip of his klah as he leans back in his chair and considers Isolwyn. “Are you suggesting you will set Eosyth upon the Council?”

Selecting a biscuit, Isolwyn breaks it in half and regards both pieces before looking back up at C’aol, enquiring, “And yet didn’t you sire a child on that woman?” One half of the biscuit vanishes, swiftly washed down with a few sips of tea. “An interesting move. It at least ensures that, barring disaster, //your// blood – your line, not your Blood – will rule a Hold for generations. An impact I can certainly no longer expect to have.” Perhaps she’s deflecting, the remaining half of the biscuit studied unnecessarily until she gives in to what is an inevitable understanding for anyone who has or will spend time with her queen. “…I’m suggesting I won’t have to,” she murmurs darkly, concluding her sentence by taking another bite. “The bronzeriders here did wrong, yes. They knew the Council’s decree gave them power and they abused it to the extent that we lost our Senior Queen. But someone planted that idea in their heads. It doesn’t absolve them, but it’s a good thing I don’t know who voted in favour of stripping brownriders of their right to chase, because it means Eosyth doesn’t know either.”

“Her name is Zinovia, not ‘that woman’, and yes; we had an arrangement.  I profit from it still but it hadn’t turned out in the exact fashion I wished,” C’aol doesn’t even blink as he describes the fathering of a child.  “Zaimika is a beautiful girl and she’ll inherit Silverfield.” He considers Isolwyn, having not anticipated the direction she took the conversation.  “You are a goldrider. You will become Weyrwoman to Fort most likely. Is that not more powerful than running some Northern Hold?” He rests his hand on the table, leaning back in his chair as he mulls over what Isolwyn is sharing with him.  “Daeserath is the strongest bronze most will ever encounter. I understand how that power can… impact a human life.” He doesn’t bother to look anything but blandly accepting of his bronze’s strenghts, the facts offered without a brag behind the words.  “I do not have any connections to the Council. I am sure they will call a session in the coming days and since I have stepped in as Acting Weyrleader of Fort, I will be on that Council. What will we do when Daeserath tells Eosyth the truth of it?”

For just a second, Isolwyn smirks when C’aol corrects her about Zinovia’s name, yet that reaction is soon as swiftly tamped down as anything else, another biscuit selected to break down into pieces like the first. “It’s interesting to hear a father speak well of a daughter in such a position,” she says slowly. “Most men seem to favour male heirs. Perhaps Eosyth’s line will hold Fort and I will have to be content with that.” As for power and what she does or does not think of the likelihood of her being Weyrwoman, she only seems to mull over the thought in silence broken by a shallow sip of tea and, “You’ve survived this long,” in a voice that sounds both weary and hopeful. “Though there are some interesting rumours about you, I must say.” She sits back in her seat, idly inspecting her nails as she folds her hands in her lap. “I suppose we had better hope that I’ve strength enough to stop her going Between, hadn’t we?” What fear might have taken root since realising the extent of Eosyth’s strength is well masked beneath a more analytical bent. “She has images for all over Pern already. If a Weyrleader responsible for the hurt caused here is ignorant enough to visit Fort before time takes the edge off her anger, I can’t say what state his bronze might leave in.” Or leave at all.

“Most men are foolish and want to have their sons carry on their work and think not for themselves at all,” C’aol’s voice is irritated as he responds, “I have no issue with a smart-minded woman leading.”  His teeth flash in a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. “Oh yes, rumors. They do like to travel. I’ve heard some of you as well.” He takes more than a few sips of his klah, letting silence fall and allowing Isolwyn to lead the conversation where she will.  “If she needs to be trained ahead of the others to guarantee her safety, that is what will happen. Your Weyrlingmasters may be more easily replaced than they may fully grasp. I won’t allow for Eosyth’s safety be compromised because those who should teach you are incompetent fools.”  He shakes his head and looks down into his klah. “The Council meets in one more day’s time. That’ll start the process of… fixing what was caused. After that meeting is held, I’ll speak directly to O’rlen and see about bringing in someone who can help train you. Amorenth’s line is strong, yes, but those who ride her daughters are not weak.”  A pause and a laugh, “Or, as weak as they may play at being.” He considers Isolwyn, “Are you strong enough?”

“That I left a string of broken hearts across the Blooded families?” Isolwyn drains her cup and gently sets it back down. “I prefer to think of it as leaving a string of broken marks. Still, worth it for the Hold, for as long as it could be done. Not so much for me, in the long run.” She smoothes her hands over her robe as if it were a fine dress she needs to tug the creases before she pushes herself to her feet. “Eosyth needs training. I am perfectly capable of running a Hold; adapting those skills to meet a Weyr’s needs is something I doubt will be terribly difficult. She may be of Honshu’s line, but she was hatched here and considers herself to be of Fort. If the Council tries to install a queenrider to do their bidding and claim this Weyr for themselves, it won’t only be Eosyth’s strength that anyone needs to be concerned about.” Squaring her shoulders, she declares, “You can tell them that. And remember it. If anyone tries to hurt Eosyth or this Weyr, they’ll have a fight on their hands.” She bobs her head. “Thank you for breakfast. I had better see to it that Eosyth listens to her lessons and doesn’t distract Daeserath all day.” Or the other way around.

C’aol appraises her with a flash of real humor at her mention of ‘marks’, “That they would be,” he allows, hiding his smile behind his mug.  He rises from his chair, reminded of the tasks that he still has to do. “Of course she is of Fort and so are you. Her line may call back to Honshu but that does not mean you owe them anything.”  There’s the weight of experience in his delivery there, a bitter hint to his smile. “You do realize that Daeserath is a spiteful, vengeful dragon. He’s already made it clear to any visitors that if they make one wrong step, he’ll bleed them of their ichor.”  There’s no kindness in the smile he offers Isolwyn, “I won’t stop him from doing so.” He lets Isolwyn proceed him out of the room, choosing to sit back down once he’s bowed to her and watched her leave. His hands find his mug and he smiles down into its empty contents.  “Who will be more distracted, I wonder?” he asks himself before he pours himself another mug of klah to mull over the conversation he had with Isolwyn.

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