Who: Arlet, Jet, Kyramith, Rori, J’kson
When: Month 5, 204 AT
Where: Fort Weyr, Weyrleader’s Ledge
What: Rori and Arlet exchange words that don’t go well, then J’kson finds Arlet and shows someone he’s still drinking

There is no way to conceal Kyramith, or no way that she is willing to be part of, needing to be close enough to her rider and rider’s daughter that she can see herself comfortably extracting them from the Weyr if need be, but she is the only dragon from the Court who makes the journey to Fort, Akanyth left at the Hold for fear of his presence making Arlet’s more obvious and inflaming matters further. It’s not the first time that Jet has snuck her way into the weyr assigned to the Weyrleader, though it’s the first time Arlet has been back since the… incident… and the brownrider finds herself able to do little more than direct her mother, unwilling to venture all that far into the weyr. And so, once Jet has retrieved documents and photos and all sorts that Arlet had hidden around the place and left them with her, she slips off to do some recon and retrieve something with enough sugar content to fuel Arlet for the trip home. Arlet has tucked herself just inside the weyr’s entryway, able to look out across the ledge and into the bowl while hiding in the shadows, her gaze fixing on Kyramith – high on the bowl’s rim – once every now and then.

The dragon’s of Fort are on high enough alert that Kyramith’s form sends a bugle of warning from the watchdragon.  Daeserath has memory of the green and lets her be, a ripple of cold ice sent as a warning to let her know she is monitored.  Inaskashath lounges on her ledge, watching the night sky, with her rider tucked in amongst her forearms. It’s Daeserath’s prompting that has Inaskashath nudging Rori, << Someone is in the Weyrleader’s place >> she tells her rider.  Rori rises, brushing a hand across a scar on Inaskashath’s shoulder before she moves inside to retrieve a long coat to put about her nightgown. It’s soft steps that send her to the Weyrleader’s entryway and she pauses, shoulders tensing, as she takes in the form of Arlet.  She moves to stand before her, arms crossed against a supposed chill, as she looks at Arlet’s face. “Are you coming back?” she asks, looking to the skies, “Inaskashath doesn’t sense Akanyth.”

Left with a blade for company and protection, Arlet instinctively lifts it when she hears footsteps, lowering it when she catches sight of Rori, though she refuses to relinquish it entirely, keeping it solidly in her grip. “No,” she says flatly, the single syllable utterly devoid of feeling. “What purpose would that serve? The world has turned and replaced me and those gone and wounded. Why would I come back to a Weyr that was happy to sacrifice me and Akanyth?” What it’s done to her son, she doesn’t mention. “Then, I suppose ethics don’t really matter when there’s an opportunity to seize power.” She doesn’t bother looking at Rori, her head resting against the wall and gaze unfocused.

Rori notices the blade but doesn’t comment beyond furrowing her brows.  She sighs, looking out to the stars, rather than at Arlet. “The world has turned upside down,” she notes, rubbing briefly at her nose and then hugging her arms about her again.  “No one thought… well, the Council has continued to be foolish. The only thing they did right was allow C’aol to stay. I wish I wasn’t here, but Isolwyn deserves to be trained. And Inaskashath is nothing like Amorenth, and Eosyth’s power is… vast, but we may do some good here.”  She looks to Arlet, “I don’t plan on staying here aside from what I am expected to do.” Something flickers in her gaze, a push from Inaskashath, “And the baby?” she asks, keeping her voice low, “Did…,” she can’t quite get herself to ask it.

Compulsively, Arlet shrugs when Rori mentions the baby, giving a dismissive twitch of her lips in the same moment. “They think he’ll live,” she replies, no more invested in that than the rest of it. “They don’t know for sure. They won’t know the extent of the harm done unless he survives long enough to reveal it.” Another shrug. “So they say.” She closes her eyes as if exhausted by the mere matter of conversation. “I’m sure they’ll update me when they know something more.” For all her relaxed posture, she still hasn’t let go of the blade, her grip white-knuckled to match her pale features. “You want to watch your back. They’ve a habit of making anyone remotely different pay, here. Inaskashath’s choices set you apart in a way they won’t appreciate, and those who might’ve are dead or dragonless.”

Rori’s shoulders tense at the hint of mention of Nala and Jynth.  “They can’t do anything about it. It happened before they made their rules.  And we’ve decided we’ll abide by them if we have too. To keep everyone safe.”  She looks down at Arlet and notices the grip on the blade, her face shifting to sadness.  “I’m sorry for… how I was before,” she tells Arlet, looking to the sky. “I should’ve come to you after, but I didn’t know where you went, and I wasn’t sure… well.  I’ve always been a coward, haven’t I?” she offers with a tight smile. “I don’t think that’ll change now that I’m here, running a Weyr.” She hugs herself a little closer, “Learning to work with C’aol and Daeserath… should prepare us for anything in our future.”

“I was unconscious and wouldn’t have known you were there,” Arlet declares with what’s either feigned nonchalance or a lack of interest that’s settled bone deep. And yet, she amends, “For the first few days, anyway,” with something closer to a cool bitterness. “It doesn’t matter. Your job is to lead a Weyr and mine is to… disappear.” She smirks at her inadvertent rhyme and tucks herself closer to the wall. “You should go. My mother will be back soon and she isn’t someone that you want to run into while she’s in the mood she’s been in since…” Everything. “It isn’t safe for Akanyth to be here while the bronzes who tried to keep us apart are roaming without reprimand. You might want to start there.”

“Your job is not to disappear,” Rori’s sharpness slices across the night air as she takes a step towards Arlet, “How dare you talk like that!  People risked their lives to save you and Akanyth. You have a child to think of! You //chose// to keep that baby, Arlet, do not abandon it now because you’re sad and hurt and licking your wounds!  Everyone told you it would not go well for you to stay!” She takes the direction of Arlet’s words like a slap as she takes a step back. “They were following orders, Arlet. They are to be dealt with by C’aol now that the Council has decided we are to lead this place.  What would have us do? Kill them?” she shakes her head and looks behind her, perhaps expecting the threat of Arlet’s mother. “We don’t need to lose anymore people or dragons, Arlet. It’s not how you solve things.”

When Rori takes that step forward, Arlet actually raises the blade, holding it out before her just to keep her back, only its edge and not the point directed towards her. “Everyone told me,” she echoes hollowly. “Right. I look forward to you endearing yourself to your riders with that kind of attitude. You still have no idea, do you? When you don’t get the response you want, you stick the knife in.” She regards the blade, then lifts her gaze to Rori’s and lets a flicker of despairing unkindness dart across her features. “Perhaps this will be a learning experience for you. Let’s see how you lead a Weyr. We’ll see how long you last, given you’re a self-professed coward.” The dagger flicks upward a fraction as she murmurs a dark, “I hear footsteps…”

“I’m a coward when it comes to you, Arlet,” Rori’s tone is sharp as she doesn’t balk at the brandishing of the knife.  “I’m not afraid to lead. Unlike //you//,” she doesn’t seem to care how cruel her words are as she delivers them, “I don’t have to prove myself to hold my title.”  She shakes her head at the mention of footsteps, her smile sad, “Of course you do, Arlet. I hope that you manage to find yourself again. The answers don’t come in the form of death and pushing people away.  It’s of asking them to //stay//. I expect you and your mother to leave my Weyr,” she knows how much of a slap that claim may be, “within the hour. Inaskashath will be watching.” She turns and leaves, not caring if she exposes her back to Arlet as she goes.

Those footsteps happen to be real and the body that Rori bypasses as she strides away towards her weyr but J’kson.  The weyrling waits to the side as his new Weyrwoman moves past him before he continues up the stairs. “Are you Jet?” he asks, looking to Arlet, and then sighing.  “No, you aren’t,” he drawls, shaking his head as he ruffles both sets of fingers through his hair. He continues forward, not concerned at all by the blade Arlet still holds.  “I’ve got a letter for M’tan,” he tells her as he slides to the ground beside her, confident in their proximity where others who might encounter Arlet as near strangers may not be.  “Since you’ve come on the green, I figure you’re trusted by the Court.” He angles his head towards her, blue eyes sharp in the darkness. “Need a drink? Don’t tell Isolwyn,” he pats his jacket pocket and digs out a flask, “Only for serious occasions now, of course.”

“Inaskashath can go,” what sounds an awful lot like an expletive follows, “herself,” is all Arlet bothers to cast after Rori, the blade still held out as she ends up exchanging one presence for another. She’s startled into pressing herself even closer to the wall when J’kson sits down beside her, discomforted by the nearness of another if nothing else. “I was your Weyrleader,” she says bitterly, edging the knife back into her own space, huddled there with it clutched to her chest. “M’tan is my… I guess you’d call him my stepfather, if that’s what he wants to be. Or just my father.” What note of pain she strikes there, she quickly swallows down. “Jet’s in the caverns, but I can make sure she gets the letter if you want.” As for the drink, she shakes her head and sighs, “Don’t tell me that the Weyrlingmasters missed you drinking. They really are useless.”

“You can still be my Weyrleader,” J’kson’s all too agreeable as he takes a sip from his flask, “No real point in believing you aren’t, to be fair.  No one else caught the queen.” He shrugs and holds the flask out towards her again. “Maybe I should meet Jet myself someday,” he muses, then shrugs, “But you can give the letter all the same.”  When she refuses the flask again he tucks it back into his jacket. “They’re pretty useless,” he agrees with Arlet on that, “Especially now. It’s like death and mayhem nicks any need of instructioning the young.  They can’t figure out Eosyth at all. They’re determined to not think creatively on how to help Malynth Between, so they’re set to have us walk everywhere like he’s a fucking runner,” he smirks, glancing at Arlet, “We don’t need them.  We’ll figure it out ourselves if they aren’t mindful.”

“…Given that that queen is dead, I don’t think it counts,” Arlet replies, casting her listless gaze down into her lap, though her grip on the knife remains strong. She denies the flask a second time, this time with a twitch of her lips, her eyes closing as she curls into herself against the wall. “I should’ve replaced them,” she mutters, not bothering to open her eyes. “I’m sorry. I was fighting… a lot of other fires and it wasn’t fair to you that I let their poor instruction impact you.” The huff of sound that follows isn’t quite a sigh, nor dry laughter, but somewhere in the middle. “Turns out I did a pretty rubbish job of everything. Don’t worry, I won’t be back. As ever, there’s someone who thinks they can do better.”

“Huh? Funny, when I look at the situation, I didn’t once consider blaming you for it.  We’re a unique problem, dunno if anyone in their position could do great for us. Everyone’s learning as they go with us,” J’kson offers, watching Arlet’s posture and not commenting upon it.  “I don’t think you did anything wrong at all. You can’t help that there’s a few men who don’t know that they needn’t be fearful of a woman in charge. Not like it matters who rides a dragon – so long as you lead, people’ll follow you.”  He’s reaching for his flask again, drinking more than once from it, before he twirls it around his hands a few times, watching the light reflect upon the metal. “Maybe someone’ll do better or worse, doesn’t really matter. You live with M’tan now? I had hoped of visiting once Malynth could fly…,” a shrug, “You should seek out Thalia there.  She’s the assistant headwoman or whatever title they use. She’s our age and doesn’t mince words. You’ll probably like her. She’ll probably agree with you that you’re a complete fuck-up and like you still.”

“You should stop that,” Arlet murmurs, making a vague gesture towards the flask with her free hand. “If you try going Between half in the bottle, it’s a good way to end up dead, whether Malynth is capable of it or not. Not exactly in a position to judge, but I don’t think it’s fair to hamper him with further if you really want to solve the problem.” Eyes opening, she fixes a distant stare on J’kson, whether unwilling to focus or lost in thought. “Maybe you should watch firelizards. Some of them go Between barely off the ground or perch or… whatever.” The prospect of seeking out someone has her shaking her head, her, “I don’t want someone else poking at me for answers,” flat and to the point. “I want to go somewhere far away and be left alone.” She glances towards the ledge at the sound of booted feet, finding her own and gathering them beneath her. “At least now I have a chance of doing that.” Documents and charts and photos in one hand, knife in the other, she steps out onto the ledge to follow in the shadow of the one already out there. “Good luck getting out of this nightmare of a Weyr,” is all she shares before she’s gone.

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