Who: Isolwyn, C’aol, Eosyth, Daeserath
When: Month 9, 204 AT
Where: Lakeshore, Fort Weyr
What: Eosyth and Daeserath reach an understanding. Isolwyn and C’aol achieve something similar.

With Eosyth half-grown, more and more of the Weyr’s males are beginning to notice her not because she is a queen and has earned herself a reputation as an unpredictable one with more power than she can supposedly handle, but because she is female. This changing relationship with the bronzes, browns and blues of Fort has had her retreating into herself more often, putting distance there when she believes a bronze’s attention lingers too long for the wrong reasons, and while Isolwyn has tried to encourage her to play along and play the game, just as she did, that kind of deception seems beyond Eosyth’s reach. Late evening finds them out at the deserted shore of the lake, the heat of Fort’s summer now comfortably cool, the young queen’s head pressed into Isolwyn’s chest, who has her arms folded around her and her lips pressed to soft hide to murmur nonsense syllables to her.

Daeserath’s attentiveness of Eosyth has not changed since he has come to Fort. He does not bother her nearly as much as the other males – if he notices some are being too pushy he weighs in on their behavior and banishes them from the area. His large shadow dots the sky and trails along the lake’s waters as he makes his way to the shore. He lands with precision near Eosyth, his wings tucked in close and quickly to prevent creating too much of a draft that’d disturb the debris of the lake. His mind is a touch frost-covered as he taps against Eosyth’s mind. << What is wrong? >> he asks, rough voice rich with hints of concern. C’aol dismounts from Daeserath’s back with ease, his riding gear already tucked away in a bag on the bronzes straps. He pauses in front of Isolwyn, considering her and the young gold, before he greets them both. “Is the evening treating you well?” he asks curtly, “or has something happened while I was visiting Honshu?”

Eosyth lifts her head as Daeserath lands, Isolwyn’s hands slipping down to press against her shoulder and keep up that reminder of her presence, just in-case she should go too distant. << They want me to be theirs, >> the young queen replies, her voice on the cusp of death and darkness and howling rage, her confusion and her rider all that keep her from tipping down into it. << They would own me. I will never belong to them. They want what I am, not who I am. >> Though Isolwyn watches C’aol, there’s such concentration etched across her features that she must be working to try and make sure Eosyth doesn’t inadvertently broadcast her words to the whole of Fort. Shaking her head, she insists, “No, nothing has happened. Not only today, anyway.” She folds her arms back around her lifemate as her head dips back down to her. “Some bronzes aren’t exactly subtle in their suit. And her notions are a little… romantic. She finds it abhorrent that the both of us may have no choice. The idea is not new to me, but it is to her.”

Daeserath plays with that darkness and howling rage, drawing it out and swirling it around him in thought. He lets it slice through his own ice-frosted mind and then tries to temper it gently with the coldness of his rage. << I will end them >> he tells her, << if they believe you can be owned. >> To prove a point, he lifts his head towards the sky and bugles his rage. Those lingering males that were hovering near enough to Eosyth without being pushy flee into the skies, away from the temperamental bronze. C’aol considers Isolwyn and Eosyth both, glancing towards his bronze as Daeserath’s head swings down close enough to the pair for his hot breath to waft over Isolwyn’s face. “Not being able to be in control is hard,” he admits, his eyes blank and no smile gracing his face. “And not having a choice is part of that. If it distresses her enough, you can tell her after her maiden flight that will secure this Weyr’s leadership, you both may have the choice to close her flights to those she chooses.” Some would question C’aol’s integrity with that, his past grasps for power always being an undercurrent to his every thought, yet there is a genuine quality to his statement. “Has she spoken with Inaskashath about it?”

Isolwyn is about as undaunted by Daeserath as Eosyth is, for she reaches out a hand, a palm offered towards his nose with reaching fingers that don’t actually make contact unless he wills it, the invitation there and held steady with one hand still pressed to gold hide. “…Inaskashath…” she starts to say, only to fall silent, her lips pressed into a thin line. “She is a good and faithful queen, but her choice of mate… I cannot have it further entertained that any colour we wish may catch us. It must be a bronze, if only to plant the idea of stability and tradition in the minds of others. If matters change as regards browns, perhaps one day… But not now. And definitely not a blue, no matter how much she loves them.” That edge of agitation lingers as Isolwyn proceeds to dictate what colour of mate Eosyth must have, but Daeserath’s tempering and the banishing of those bronzes draws her from the edge of the abyss and to a more even keel, the yellows and oranges of anger and distress fading from whirling facets. << They do not know me as you do. >>

Daeserath has never allowed another outside of C’aol to touch his hide since weyrlinghood and yet he leans in briefly to Isolwyn’s hand. He rescinds his nearness to tuck closer to Isolwyn, his nudge pressed to her shoulder before he backs up enough to sit himself near her back. He will not press her away from her rider, especially not after her confession. His attention goes skyward and he remains fixed there, keeping any who might want to come to the lake away with little effort. His reputation at Fort is one that often has dragons parting his company as fast as possible. C’aol’s sharper edges show at the mention of a blue or a brown catching Esoyth. “You are above that. Rori is young and foolish,” he doesn’t mince his words, “though she may become a great Weyrwoman someday. You will surpass her easily. You’ve been trained in a Hold. We are asked to be different in our standards and how we treat others.” Daeserath’s croon is almost a rumble as he moves his tail closer to Eosyth’s. << They are fools and I am not. >>

“I’m not sure that it’s a matter of being above it,” Isolwyn replies, the beginnings of a smile lighting her features as Daeserath leans into her hand, her other reclaimed as Eosyth begins to uncurl from her spiralling doubts. “Rori seems to have affection for the rider, and Inaskashath for the blue, and I can respect that. I might not think that it’s a good basis for leadership decisions, and I can’t say that I would have wished to let it happen in the first place, but if their presence helps her to do her best for the Weyr, then so be it.” Her smile shades rueful. “I cannot hope for a Weyrleader to love me or want a family with me, just as I could not hope for a husband to feel affection for me, so I suppose you could discern I must be jealous.” She huffs out a moment’s laughter. “Maybe I am.” Tension begins to ease from Eosyth, who settles down comfortable in the understanding that she has Isolwyn and Daeserath both to protect her, his nearness permitted where others have been abruptly dismissed. << They cannot hope to perceive the truth. >>

C’aol is not prone to such kindness as Isolwyn is prepared to deliver to Rori and her bluerider lover so he holds his comments to himself. He simply offers a one shoulder shrug and a glance towards the waters, his silence not tense, his voice not lifted against her words. “You sound young in such proclamations,” he tells Isolwyn, keeping his ice-blue stare on the waters and not giving the force of his words any weight by his gaze, “A Weyrleader may not need to love his Weyrwoman, and a husband may not need to love a wife, but a united leadership is what’s needed.” He turns to her then, something hot in his gaze, a twitch to his lips, “And were Daeserath to catch Eosyth, I imagine you’d fear my touch? Rumors and thoughts and worries are worthless pursuits. You do not know who will come to you nor do I. I may like to control all,” his voice is hot, “but I cannot determine the effects of others on me.” Daeserath’s tail taps against Eosyth’s as his wings shudder against his hide, his gaze never leaving the sky, << They are fools >> he reminds her, << and fools are not worth ones time. You are above them, above most golds >> he pauses, toying with his own arrogance and trying to show restraint he doesn’t have in this moment, << as I am above most males. >>

“I was prepared to marry whichever man deemed most advantageous for my Hold. If he had been one known to be cruel and unkind, I would still have done it. It does not make me young or naïve to mourn what I have lost through my own and my Hold’s machinations, and then because of my Impression.” Isolwyn’s meets C’aol’s gaze with her own, an absence of feeling all that defines it. “Why should I fear you? If your claiming of me might be what I’d anticipate from any man, what is there to be concerned about? I was to be no demure bride and I will be no demure Weyrwoman. If it is you, then so be it, but I don’t fear that eventuality.” She smirks, a glance given Eosyth and Daeserath. “If it has long been Eosyth’s will that I know you as I would a husband, then there must be reason for it.” That comment escapes the young gold entirely, her focus on the bronze beside her and then not, her thoughts and attention spinning out and distant. << Fools need guidance. It is for their own good. That they believe so is unlikely, but enough unrest has been had to overly consider such. >>

C’aol takes a step towards Isolwyn, a threat in the step and in the grasp he delivers to her arm. He holds it firm in his grasp, his eyes sharp against hers. “Are you toying with me?” he demands, eyes flashing. “I am no man to be toyed with.” He doesn’t wait for her response, some part of him needing to have her know he is //strong// as he draws her against the firmness of his body. He doesn’t wait to read her mood as he draws calloused hands up to her cheek, tilting her face to his, his gaze hot on hers. “As you are not a woman to be toyed with by simpering idiots.” He gives her the briefest of seconds to deny him, the count of three and no longer, before he tips his face down and claims her lips for his own. Daeserath will not lose Eosyth to her wanderings today, he reaches his own strength out, drawing her thoughts and tendrils back in a spiral towards him in a swirl of wind. << You need not guide all of Pern, Eosyth >> he holds her attention in the force of his ice, << and yet you can control all of them if you want >> he lets her go then, a breath of control that is gone in a flicker of cold.

The tension in Isolwyn has less to do with fright and more to do with a desire to prove that she could resist if she truly cared to, token resistance offered before she moves beyond surrender and presses herself close in a smooth motion that seems all too natural and familiar. She refuses to look away, steel in the gaze that meets C’aol’s, yet, despite it all, it may be that she isn’t anticipating that he will kiss her. When his lips touch hers, she freezes, but there’s no panic from Eosyth and no fearful shrieking that another is stealing her away from her, and with that resounding silencing ringing in her ears her hands form fists in the front of C’aol’s shirt and her lips turn demanding against his. She lets it continue until she has to breathe, when she draws back only a fraction and murmurs, “Not to be toyed with, but rather easy to provoke,” her features flushed with a desire that can be no artful deception. Whether through Daeserath’s efforts to keep her mind close to his and contained at Fort, or the experience of what she feels from her rider, Eosyth pauses, midnight in her voice as she tells him, << So you do understand. >> And so, it is in this instance that she chooses not to meddle when she could.

C’aol’s expectation was a slap for his man-handling and when none come and a demand he had not anticipated finds his lips, he falls victim to Isolwyn’s caress where others would never receive that pause from him. “No one should toy with you,” his voice is hot and his breath quickened, his eyes closed as he tries to will himself to stillness as Isolwyn’s fists control his shirt. “And yet, I rather like what your will does to mine,” and as an Acting Weyrleader, with the eyes of all upon his choices, he grabs her savagely and draws her close, the press of his body against hers sure and quick. Still, it would take little for her to deny him, where others have had to fight to freedom. With Daeserath guarding them from draconic view, it is unlikely any will see the bronzerider manhadnling Fort’s future Weyrwoman. When his hand grasps her rear and he hikes her against him he has to pause for breath, “You’re too young,” and like that he will drop her and step back, looking to Daeserath with a glare. Daeserath does understand and his ripple of laughter is a cool breeze against her mind. << More than most. Always yours. >>

Isolwyn’s resistance is only enough to test just how much strength pulls back against her own, her refusal to be seen to submit completely just the same as before. When C’aol lifts her up, she answers him with a pleased, near purring sound, only to curse as he drops her and she struggles for a moment to regain her footing. As she smoothes down her skirts, she states, “And maiden too, if you were wondering.” She tilts her head and regards him with a gaze that would be steadier were she not so highly aware of all the ways her body betrays her. “But I’m older than your Weyrwoman, and Eosyth… I think we both know that Eosyth has never been young, as you would put it.” Clasping her hands behind her back, she squares her shoulders and lifts her chin. “I have no reason to fear you, C’aol. Not when a less honourable man would have done as he pleased.” Eosyth finally swings her attention back to her rider and Daeserath’s, the two of them studied with a quiet air of fascination for the moments until she lifts her gaze to Daeserath. << Always mine. >>

“I wasn’t,” is C’aol’s terse reply, “because that is not of importance anymore. Your body is yours,” he reminds her, “where before it wouldn’t have been.” And for the rumors of //his// taking what he wants, he does offer another grab to draw her against him, his hand resting to claim her hip. “It would be foolish for you to remain so before her first flight. That is not the time to let yourself lose it to another.” His grin is sharp angled and almost condescending. “Rori is young and //not// my Weyrwoman. She is serving a purpose here, no more.” He huffs a laugh at her last, watching the tilt of her chin with an admiring glint to his gaze. “I am no honourable man. But I will always treat you with respect,” his gaze goes to Daeserath, “for he demands it to be so.” Daeserath’s pleased hum and croon is for Eosyth and Eosyth alone – no other has received that from him. << I am proud to hear it >>

Isolwyn lifts a hand to cast the night of her hair back over her shoulders as C’aol grabs for her, the same hand hooking back into his shirt as fair play for the one of his at her hip, the severe cast to her features more than enough to match the equal weights of disgust and determination in her voice as she states, “If you think I’m going to give myself to just anyone before she flies for the sake of avoiding discomfort, you are sorely mistaken. That would be worse than surrendering to a fool of a husband for the sake of an alliance. I may be forced to bed many men not of my choosing over the course of my turns, but I will not willingly add to it to make the first instance more palatable.” She glances back at Daeserath, studying Eosyth against bronze hide just as her lifemate studied her not so long ago, then lifts her attention to C’aol with the arch of a brow. “Only because he demands it?” she questions. Whether Eosyth knows little of how what she does will be perceived by any who see her or she very deliberately sets out to make them understand, she turns herself in a neat, precise circle and tucks herself in at Daeserath’s side, her tail draped alongside his, even if she can’t quite yet grasp the full meaning of why. There, she lies her head on her paws and noses at one of his until she can claim that too.

“Daeserath has a strong will for a bronze,” C’aol tells Isolwyn with a smirk, his own brow lifting to mirror hers. “But you would earn my respect despite his demands,” he assures her, a cold laugh rippling the night, “I can see you’d always be able to do that, were you a Lady Holder, a Weyrwoman, or a bluerider. You have that air about you. And I think you know it.” He does not immediately release her from his grasp. “I didn’t say you should be taken to rid yourself of the burden of your maidenhood. I told you it was not wise to lose it that time.” His eyes find hers and he holds her gaze. “You should find someone you want to give it to and have them help you. You’ve time. And since Fort’s weyrlingmasters have likely not said that to you, because they are inept, and the first people I will dismiss once I am Weyrleader, I am saying it to you now.” Daeserath knows the full implications of Eosyth cuddling at his side as he eases himself down to curl about her. His hide is warmer than the cold of his mind, his wing that he drapes over her a comfort of a blanket, and his paw rests with hers as he settles his head beside hers. He entertains her with visuals of places to go Between, promising to take her on a journey //soon//.

“I don’t have anyone that I’ve been entertaining thoughts of sleeping with once Eosyth is old enough,” Isolwyn replies, her fingers tightening in the front of C’aol’s shirt. “I may live with J’kson, but he sees me as a sister. And I haven’t spent time here making friends. If I’m to be Weyrwoman, I don’t need people to like me, I need them to understand that Eosyth and I are the line that they don’t cross.” She doesn’t need to look behind her to see what her queen has done and to know that she is cuddled up with Daeserath for all to see, but she loosens her grip on C’aol and makes to take half a step back, the better to look up at him. “I won’t have the riders of this Weyr talking crassly about me if I let one of them into my bed,” she declares. “And we both know that you aren’t going to let someone replace you without a fight. So, it seems logical to me that if the person you are endeavouring to protect me from is apt to be you, then it ought to be you in the first place.”

C’aol looks down at Isolwyn with that formality he has been prone to using with her and the others of the Weyr. He’s cool and contemplative of what she’s said – but he doesn’t immediately answer her. He takes a moment to look to their curled dragons and then glances back to her. “It is our fate to lead this Weyr,” he tells her, “and so it will be our fate to sleep with one another when he flies her. Whether or not you want me then or now, I will be the one to claim you then.” He doesn’t try to romance her with the logistics of their future, though his hand resting on her hip gives her the slightest squeeze. “It can be enjoyable for us both, or it can be something you get through, and you may find comfort later in that J’kson’s arms. It is of no matter to me. So long as we lead with the same intention. Of making sure we keep those in line who need to be kept their and we turn Fort into the Weyr it can be.” He moves his other hand to trace along her jaw. “Whenever you want, I will be available for your… desires.”

Confident in the choices she’s made or otherwise, Isolwyn still manages to sport the slightest smirk as she says, “You tell me that you answer to Daeserath, but I will remind you that we will all answer to Eosyth if she takes exception to the manner of what happens between us.” Finally does she look to her lifemate, who now sleeps beneath Daeserath’s wing, her head resting his and his paw claimed by hers. “I may not fear you, but there are some things in which she is as untested as I.” She tilts her head as C’aol’s fingers trace along their path, into the motion rather than away, then lifts up onto her toes to press a kiss to edge of his own jaw, chaste, save for the way in which she lingers before retreating back into her own space. “I will find a suitable evening and you will find a suitable place,” she murmurs, dipping into a shallow, near teasing curtsey as she retreats and turns on her heel to head home, leaving Eosyth safely in Daeserath’s company.

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