Who: Aerishani and Rori
When: Month 10, 204 AT
Where: Weyrlady’s Weyr, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Weyrlady and Weyrwoman meet to discuss events at respective homes and Council politics.
Maybe Aerishani gauges current politics to mean it would be best to keep Amorenth at Honshu and not have her seen at Fort to form a trio of Honshu-blooded queens, but for whatever reason the invitation goes out to Rori via firelizard and is less a request for a meeting and more an invitation to tea with the promise of keeping nosy bronzeriders – including her husband – safely out of the way. She opts for her weyr rather than the council room or her office, having herded O’rlen out of it earlier in the morning, and it’s only Amorenth and firelizards that she has for company by the time that tea has been set out on the low table before the hearth and a range of biscuits and small cakes procured.
Inaskashath returns to Honshu’s skies with a glint of her scarred hide meant to be displayed as she takes her time descending onto Amorenth’s ledge. She delivers Rori there, not wanting to bother her mother, and lifts back up into the skies to play amongst Honshu’s thermals without a care for who might see her more lighthearted side. Rori’s dressed primly in a dress that’s meant for tea – a fitted bodice, a pleated-skirt, and the click of heels proceed her as she enters Aerishani’s weyr. Her hair has been pulled up in a bun on top of her head, leaving wisps of red to play along her pale cheeks and accent the freckles and green of her eyes. She’s got an air of contented happiness as she calls out to Aerishani, “Aerishani? I’ve come.” And she has not come empty-handed, the basket in her grasp is full of freshly baked goods. “I’ve made us some treats as well.”
“Come in!” Aerishani calls, busying herself with tucking blankets and toys belonging to her twin sons out of the way and under various couches and other bits of furniture to create a better illusion of tidy organisation. “Have a seat,” she invites, gesturing towards the hearth and the chairs there, quick to dismiss the kitchen’s offerings in favour of Rori’s. “Let me just get some plates…” She nudges what looks like a stuffed firelizard a little more out of sight with one foot as she goes past it en-route to the kitchen, soon to return with plates and forks that she settles on the little table between the chairs. “How have you been? You look well.” She hesitates, though confesses, “Better than I thought you might do after you agreed to go to Fort.”
Despite Aerishani’s efforts, Rori finds a stuffed horse in the cushion of the chair she sits in. She holds the little object as if it were a real baby, something alight in her gaze as she toys with the yarn of a mane. She waits as Aerishani finds better dishes for the little, precise, tea cakes and tiny sandwiches she’s made for a tea service. “I made it all,” she confesses, eying them once they’ve been returned to the hearth. “If the bread for the sandwiches isn’t springy enough will you tell me? I’m trying to improve my recipe.” She tucks the runner at her side and waits for Aerishani to settle with a bright smile. “I’m very well,” she tells her, “Despite,” she pauses, letting the shadow of doubt pucker her brow, “Nala’s injuries… and that man’s insanity,” she spits the noun out, and then she sighs, thinking. “I should ask Inaskashath to not fly overhead. Aislara and Nala…,” she drawls and shrugs, blushing, “I’m sure we’re having tea to discuss Fort and not my love life.” As to Fort, she nods her head, “Fort is a challenge I will be glad to leave once Eosyth can fly. C’aol is..,” a shrug, “better than I expected.”
Rueful though her smile is, Aerishani admits, “Ansen loves that one,” with a vague gesture towards the horse, her hands otherwise occupied with setting out plates and checking that the tea is still hot and not steeped for too long. “Honestly, if you can make all this and make it look this good, I think you can probably be forgiven any imperfections in your bread,” she declares as she settles in her chair and smoothes her skirts over her knees, leaning forward in the next moment to pour tea into cups. “All I know is that Nala looked dead on her feet when she came to request that she spend the rest of her recovery at Fort. Whatever’s going on, it’s not on you to keep Inaskashath from doing anything because of another.” She lifts her cup and a sandwich, settling the latter at the saucer’s edge. “C’aol likely sees an opportunity and believes the will of a Weyr could make him Weyrleader for real,” she utters a little darkly. “Perhaps I’m fixed in my judgement, but you’ll have to forgive me if I’m glad that it isn’t you who stands to be saddled with him.”
“Beauty is different than taste,” Rori notes in an offhanded way as she looks towards her her sandwiches and fusses with her skirts settling at her legs. “Often times the ugliest bakes are the yummiest. Not everyone can master both, or so my aunt told me.” Another shrug, a vague mention of a family she rarely speaks of dismissed with the gesture. “She was dead on her feet,” there’s heat in Rori’s gaze that isn’t often there as she lifts it to grab onto Aerishani’s. She’s the equal now, no longer a junior, “Because a depraved //man// nearly killed her.” Her stiff posture won’t ease back into the chair for some time. “And because I care for Nala, I would ask Inaskashath not to broadcast to your Weyrlingmaster that we are here.” She flicks her gaze to the sandwich and stills her anger with a soft breath in and out. “I don’t want him,” she tells Aerishani, “and Inaskashath doesn’t want Daeserath. It’s clear Eosyth is besotted with him. Were I to even stay, she’d rise first and Isolwyn’d get the Weyr.” She considers Aerishani for a heartbeat, “Should I seek to stay there? At Fort?” she questions, “Not because… but because, it may not be safe for Isolwyn were I to leave? The people of Fort..,” she shrugs her shoulders and hides her grimace behind her teamug.
“The matter of what happened to Nala and whether you come back to Honshu or not go hand in hand, in all eventuality,” Aerishani states, taking a sip of her tea before she bites into the sandwich and politely doesn’t speak again until she’s through. “If C’aol and Daeserath secure Fort and you decide to stay on as a junior, I think it’s more than likely that he will have you ordered away from each other. If Jynth should consider chasing Inaskashath again and Nala does not prevent him, it could be a bloodbath.” She settles her cup in her lap if only to ensure its safety and steadiness as she clarifies, “Literally.” Silence, then she makes herself continue. “Daeserath is aggressive and I don’t think beyond making sure that other bronzes ensure Jynth is hurt. Fort wouldn’t have stood for a blue catching a queen before C’aol and I don’t believe it will after, no matter where its new Weyrwoman might stand on the matter. I understand how you feel. I wouldn’t leave to save myself if I thought another weyrwoman was in danger, but the bigger picture is more catastrophic for Fort, let alone for you and Nala. If Jynth survived to chase and catch, it’s you they’ll go after for ‘letting’ it happen.”
Rori’s eyes are fire-laced as she glowers at her lap, her hands fisting and unfisting in her skirts. “I’m glad Daeserath was not at Honshu when Jynth first flew Inaskashath. If he is that strong and uncontrolled,” she notes with a softness her actions are not displaying as she battles herself for composure. “You know that I favor Nala,” Rori says as she lifts her gaze to hold Aerishani’s. “Her safety and Jynth’s come before Isolwyn. I’m glad that you warned me of what could happen were we to stay. We will not be staying,” she’s speaking for Nala without hesitation, “and you should tell me now if you and O’rlen will decide blue’s shouldn’t fly golds. You,” she takes a breath and pushes herself to her feet, suddenly unable to sit. “You and O’rlen are the most forward thinking Weyrleaders in Pern. If you cannot accept us, where shall we go?”
“Are you prepared to go through this battle every time Inaskashath rises?” Aerishani questions, angling a long look down into her tea before blinking back up at Rori. “I don’t delight in the deaths of any, but there’s potentially enough… leeway… on the Council now that we could keep them from you, if your preference is for Jynth to fly her. And if it’s Nala’s preference too. The mind is a… funny thing. And she paid a high price for flying a queen.” The sandwich vanishes, followed by a little more tea. “Provided O’rlen agrees, it wouldn’t be my intention to stop Jynth flying Inaskashath, if in that he proves he is stronger than bronzes or browns who chase. I might lock myself in with O’rlen when Amorenth flies, but others still chase. To all outward appearances, if Jynth wins, he wins by merit, and we have a strong case to argue against the inevitable backlash.”
“Jynth did win Inaskashath by merit,” Rori declares, defiant and young as she crosses her arms over her chest. “I would not close Inaskashath’s flights,” she adds, looking to Aerishani with a frown. “That wouldn’t be fair and would only amplify the problem. If Inaskashath is caught by him, so be it. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to lock myself with Nala only… that doesn’t seem… fair. She’s not my weyrmate,” she shrugs stiff shoulders and makes her way to sit again. She fusses at her skirts for a few seconds before she reaches to grab for her tea once more. She takes a gulp of it, not caring if it’s hot or cold, as she settles back in the chair. “I never imagined my lovelife would become a political matter,” she sighs, looking to Aerishani. “Did you?”
Aerishani arches a brow as she remarks, “Did I say that he didn’t? The matter is of him continuing to win by merit and it not being a fixed affair that might call your honour and that of Honshu into question.” Reaching for the pot of tea, she pours more for herself and gestures as though she would for Rori, waiting until a preference is indicated before she settles back. “I never wanted my romantic life to be a matter of scrutiny at all, but then I’d not had anyone show enough interest in me before Amorenth flew to even consider that I might one day have a proper romantic life to worry about, let alone a husband and children.” Brushing an imaginary crease from her skirts, she insists, “Rori, we will do as much as ever we can to ensure that your choices remain yours, whether Nala is ever your weyrmate or your wife or whatever you want. It just means that we might have to give Candidates choices too, if Jynth wins and there’s any further evidence that it impacts the health of Inaskashath’s offspring. Some might not want to run the risk of Impressing a blue that might never fly.”
Rori offers forward her empty tea for Aerishani’s refill, silent and thoughtful as she watches the hot liquid tip into her mug. The silence falls even heavier as the reminder of what a blue catching a gold may risk is brought forward. She cups her hands around the mug for warmth and settles herself back in the chair. She holds the mug close to her heart as she stares out in an unfocused gaze towards the nearest wall. “It means I am a selfish, cold-hearted, person then, doesn’t it?” she doesn’t wait for an answer as she pushes on, “To risk more like Malynth.” She shakes her head and takes a cautious sip of her tea. “And yet we can have bronzes like Daeserath who can be so uncontrolled by his rider that he might attack another male with the aide of other dragons.” A sigh and then she stares numbly towards her tiny treats. “I’m a fool. I’m sure you and O’rlen know it. Maybe leading Fort will help me… focus on others more.”
“…If I wanted to quell the north, perhaps I’d hope for another to catch Amorenth and prevent the potential hatching of another strong queen that will only frighten them and have them accuse Honshu of wishing to take over all Weyrs.” And yet Aerishani shrugs a shoulder and hides her grimace behind another, careful, sip of tea. “But I don’t. I can’t expect you to want a bronze to fly Inaskashath if you’ve other options. If you’ve ever a longing for a queen of her line, then maybe you will, but it isn’t a pressing thing.” She presses her lips together in a thin line before declaring, “It isn’t selfish to want things. We’re just in the awful position of having everything we want have bigger consequences. Nothing is ever as small as us.” A deep breath, then: “I wouldn’t have a fool back in my Weyrhold, Rori. And you’re not one. With Mersia moving to Southern, I’ll be glad of the company when you return.”
“Eosyth’s very precocious and with Daeserath’s attention it’s clear the two of them will equally breed strong-minded offspring, if he were to catch her. Though, I suppose, that’s still Southern influences upon the North?” Rori comments, taking a few thoughtful sips of her tea. Rori considers Aerishani for a few breaths as she tries to figure out the right words to use. “Inaskashath isn’t choosing Jynth because I’ve fallen in love with Nala. I’m sure it is likely she will be flown by a bronze or a brown in her lifetime. It’s unusual, is it not, for the same male to consistently fly a female with an openflight? Aside from Amorenth and Roreliuth, that is.” She nods at the mention of Mersia’s move, “I imagine she’s excited for the opportunity to be somewhere new. It is challenging, you know, to not have you so close to ask questions of. The Headwoman at Fort and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on things, but she’s grown to trust my judgement. It’s thrilling to finally achieve that.”
“Perhaps it’s just as well that we sent Eosyth to Fort. I don’t think Amorenth would take kindly to a very young daughter seeming to challenge her dominance.” Aerishani huffs out a moment of low laughter. “With distance between them, she can be proud, not furious. Though of course, as you say, any powerful daughter that Eosyth might clutch will be our machinations to take over the North.” She takes another sandwich, using the silence that eating it provides to briefly avoid admitting, “…You say it wouldn’t be because of Nala, but I don’t know whether I have any influence on Amorenth. Roreliuth was her choice before O’rlen was mine, though since… The flights are open and I believe it’s fair, and that’s enough… Yet I still can’t promise you any gold or greenrider doesn’t influence her dragon.” She smiles, saying, “I won’t blame you if you’d prefer to transfer to a Weyr where you stand a better chance of becoming Senior soon.”
Rori reaches for a tiny square of brownie and cookie compilation she’d frosted with rich ganache to nibble on as she listens to Aerishani. She uses it as a further excuse not to immediately comment on the proposition of retaining a senior title. She shakes her head after a few seconds, reaching for tea to clear her throat before she addresses Aerishani honestly. “If I were a permanent Senior, it would stand to reason that I bar Jynth from Inaskashath’s flights.” She looks uncomfortable as she shifts in her chair and tucks her skirts beneath her thighs. “It cost Arlet everything to be a brownriding female in charge of Fort,” she doesn’t elaborate, but there’s a hint of bitterness in her words, “I would not put Nala in her place. She almost died already by the hands of a power-hungry man.” She smiles faintly, looking at Aerishani with a flash of her dimples, “You do realize I only took the post at Fort because it was my duty. I do not wish to become a Senior. I’ll never strive to attain power or position. Inaskashath and me don’t mix with that.” She’s curious, as she asks, “After Amorenth chose Roreliuth… do you think it helped you fall for O’rlen?” Her innocence is writ across her hopeful face, “And he chooses no other?”
It’s all too carefully that Aerishani says, “Maybe, one day, Arlet will come home. Our contacts aren’t too happy with anyone for what happened to her, but at least she and Akanyth have somewhere safe to be until they decide what to do next.” She might be far less cautious about what follows, yet there’s a faint blush to accompany the pained look in the gaze that won’t quite meet Rori’s. “I chose to marry O’rlen because I knew I loved him without Amorenth’s involvement. She doesn’t really… embrace feelings. Roreliuth is likely the only male who has ever seen anything otherwise.” Closing her eyes, she ducks her head, choosing to avoid trying to make any sort of eye-contact entirely. “O’rlen was the first person I… enjoyed being with. If he and Roreliuth have pursued other interests since… I don’t know of it. I’m not sure I’d want to know. The Council’s recent rulings have been… difficult. Divisive. If they seek others, then so be it. I still feel for him as I did in the first weeks of knowing him, though I don’t know that he feels that anymore. Or at all.” She twitches a shoulder. “Jynth has not returned here to chase any, if that concerns you. Not to my knowledge, anyway.”
Rori allows that uncomfortable sort of silence to fall between them as she sips at her tea and looks anywhere but at Aerishani. She can confess a lot to her Weyrlady, but not everything is so easily shared between them. “Arlet should find another,” she finds herself saying, pushed by Inashaskath to share the truth of it to Aerishani, for Rori has few confidants. “And Nala loves Aislara deeply. I could not ask her to put one aside for me… not when I’m so young and… maybe it’s Jynth and Inaskashath’s doing that keeps her coming back to my side.” She doesn’t blush but she looks sad as she settles the mug back on the table. “I would hate for her to bind herself to me, to lose Aislara, simply because my gold’s love overpowers reason for her and her blue.” She looks up at Aerishani, wanting to catch her gaze. “Is it not a power they have? Amorenth’s daughters? I feel like they can grab a male and hold tight to them and that is what it will be.”
“If what you say of Arlet is true, maybe she has no time for any romantic interests. I’ve not been informed if her child has survived its early months or not. Whatever it is that’s going on, she doesn’t seem to want to reach out to anyone.” Aerishani lifts her tea cup and drains it, setting the cup alone down on the table while she settles a small piece of cake on the saucer. “…It’s true that… Nala came to Honshu with a history. I don’t know how much she’s told you. I won’t divulge the whole of it, but Jynth had tried to chase a queen before. Something went wrong and they essentially went through weyrlinghood again. There were mindhealers involved.” She takes a breath and holds it before hazarding, “It’s true that Amorenth’s daughters seem stronger than other queens. Inaskashath may be very fond of Jynth… and a blue may be more susceptible to suggestion than a bronze… but, from what I’ve seen of their files… you don’t need to concern yourself with their being influenced by outside forces.” A small, wry smile curves one corner of her lips. “If you love her, you love her. Though, if you’re not sure, send her back here and have another catch Inaskashath. See how you feel then.”
Rori’s fingers tighten once more in her skirts as Nala’s past is shared with her, her lips tighten as she inhales and exhales in a rush to get air. “It’s not my place to push her for her past. I love her for who she is, not who she was. If she knew of my past?” Rori’s usual sunny demeanor is laced with a sudden taste of bitterness, “Then everyone would wonder why I even Impressed Inaskashath.” She grows quiet as she listens to Aerishani speak on Amorenth’s golden children, needing to hear what her Weyrlady has to say. “If it can be believed ours are not so strong as to dominate their male suitors, then I’ll have peace with it. Even if I sometimes feel Ina–,” she cuts herself off with a shake of her head and smiles at Aerishani. “I would never send Nala back. I am not her keeper.” She rises, brushing her fingers against her skirts briefly, “Thank you for your time today, Aerishani. I should really let you go.” She glances towards the door. “Inaskashath is anxious to return to Fort. She doesn’t like leaving it long for fear of what Daeserath will do without us.” She gathers her skirts in her hands and curtseys to Aerishani. “I’m glad I will be welcomed home.” She doesn’t wait for a dismissal – why should she? For now, she is an equal to Aerishani. She leaves Honshu without further issue.