Who: Isolwyn and C’aol
When: Month 11, 204 AT
Where: Isolwyn’s Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: A fight for control.

Thus far, Isolwyn may have evaded and refused her uncle’s attempts to persuade her to continue to work as an agent for the Hold, but, at the tail end of a long day, his biggest bribe to date finds itself in the weyr that she’s started to move into, just as all the weyrlings have been finding themselves in new homes. Everything that Fort’s Lord might have demanded be drawn together to furnish a fine suite for one of the Blood at the Hold has been sent without request, rich rugs lined up against the wall, still rolled, brilliantly varnished furniture, blankets, kitchenware, frames empty and waiting for paintings… And Isolwyn stands in the middle of it, gaze roaming from piece to piece with evident displeasure, her arms folded across her chest.

C’aol has been informed of the large shipment from Isolwyn’s uncle, as a matter of queries from his Steward about his ‘feelings’ towards it. C’aol’s answer was non-committal, but it has sent him to Isolwyn’s new weyr. He enters without knocking or calling, moving as if it were his home as well as he crosses the distance between himself and Isolwyn. He stands beside her, looking towards the furnishings, and then glances down at her with a lifted brow. “What is the purpose of it all?” he asks her, his voice neutral. “I hadn’t considered the fact that the Lords would be bribing their future Weyrwoman. And yet – here is the proof.” He folds his arms in front of him, his stance stiffer than normal as he waits for Isolwyn’s answer.

“There are many potential purposes of it all,” Isolwyn answers in a near-growl. “He has had no contact from me since Eosyth decided I was to be hers. So, this may be payment for ‘services rendered’ while I worked as Lord Fort’s creature. Or perhaps he hopes that I will continue to be once I have the Weyr and the power to be my own woman again.” Her arms unfold, hands finding her hips as she glances up at C’aol. “I gave no indication that I required anything of the Hold, I can assure you.” Her dark gaze roaming from one piece to another, she considers, “To send it back would make the statement that I’m not to be bought. However, there may be more use in allowing him to continue to think that he can acquire an advantage. I have no way of knowing whether the Weyr will need the Hold more than it does now and to fracture any relationship further could be an ill move.” Her sigh is audible. “Eosyth is many things, but she has yet to demonstrate a talent for clairvoyance.”

“I wouldn’t imagine you would,” C’aol tells her in a courtly way, a small smile tugging at his lips as he watches Isolwyn’s hands move to her hips. “Keep it,” he advises as he lossens his arms to his side and strides forward to inspect the quality of the furnishings. He lets his fingers brush along the wood, tut-tuting now and then as he looks over each piece. He finishes his turn about the room by settling on her couch, patting the cushion beside him. “Have you even tried it?” he queries, kicking his feet out and crossing them at the ankles. “I’d say keep it all but this,” he jerks his chin towards one of the more elaborately made rugs. “That’s too much a Lord’s taste. He should’ve applied himself and had someone with better taste purchase your things.” His gaze glints as he waits for her to join him, “We could send it as a gift to another. Perhaps you can send it to Rori and continue to build that budding friendship. How //is// my darling Acting Weyrwoman?” he’s tone is light but his face betrays his annoyance. “It’s hard enough to get her away from that bluerider of hers and have her focus to her tasks.”

“I thought that to try it would be to purchase it, essentially,” Isolwyn remarks, her eyes narrowing as she studies a row of three intricately etched glass vases. “And, to be perfectly honest, I don’t intend on having enough people in my weyr for them to admire how well appointed it might be.” She takes in a breath and holds it, determined not to sigh again at the sight of all that surrounds her, then lets her hands slip down from her hips as she crosses the room to sit down beside C’aol. “You know that you’d have a great deal more trouble on your hands if not for Rori?” she puts to him. “You and I can disparage her choice of mate all that we like, but it has no bearing on her ability to run a Weyr. Better that she were content and doing her job than unhappy and making mistakes.” She cannot help but smirk as she declares, “And, to be plain, if she were to be Weyrwoman next and I not to inherit, I doubt that you would keep Daeserath from pursuit of her queen, unnatural choices or otherwise.”

“No stately court dinners or teas with our High Lady Weyrwoman?” C’aol queries, smirk in play as he watches Isolwyn move to his side. His arm is easily draped over the back of the couch, and if wanted, against Isolwyn’s shoulders. “She is not my Weyrwoman,” is as far as C’aol will say of Rori, “but she has not done wrong by this Weyr.” He’s quiet at the mention that Daeserath may fly Inaskashath in Eosyth’s place and flickers of movement crease his brow and his eyes as his bronze weighs in on that possibility. “No,” he grinds out, teeth clenching and then unclenching as his features smoothe. “It will not be Inaskashath. She will return to Honshu and it will be Eosyth that Daeserath claims.” He doesn’t wait to see if she asks for the arm that he now drapes across her shoulders, his muscles firm against her as he tugs her against him. He does not offer her a kind kiss to her hairline, but he does welcome her against him as he gazes out at all she requires. “We could burn it,” he supposes, “or ship it to other people for their good graces. None of it is cheap.”

“They can be held in the council room and not in quarters that are to be mine.” Isolwyn arches a brow and tilts her head to look up at C’aol as he insists that it will be Eosyth and not Inaskashath that Daeserath claims, but she verbalises no actual question, something smug in the cast of her features before she settles against him and hooks the fingers of one hand into the fabric of his shirt. “To burn it would be a particularly inefficient use of resources,” she states. “And, like it or not, I do need furnishings. I can make my peace with them being fine and not of my choosing for the sake of letting my uncle believe he has a chance to sway me and to avoid further inroads into the stores, with the other weyrlings claiming their own goods.” She shrugs a shoulder, supposing, “Not that there’s much point in arranging it terribly carefully. If Eosyth is as swift to rise as she has been about everything else, it won’t be in here long.”

“Inefficient,” C’aol drawls, delight clear in his gaze as her fingers hook into his shirt and tug, “but delightful.” He utters a solemn ‘hmm’ that is half-sigh and half-amusement as he watches her declare she has need of //things//. “You have this weyr. Furnish it how you like. It is not as big as our weyr will be. I’m in the process of renovating one,” he tells her, despite how limited their time has been together. “If you wish to help me furnish it with things we purchase, then so be it. I will take you shopping for such things.” His hand is firm against her shoulder, his fingers having weight as they squeeze her for acknowledgement. “Our home will not be furnished by hand-me-downs from a Lord Fort,” he reminds her, “and so keep these trinkets to amuse yourself knowing you have something better coming your way.” He huffs a laugh as the mention of ‘other weyrlings’ crosses their conversation. “I had heard a rumor J’kson would keep the place you two claimed together. Should I be mad?” he asks, with a dangerous tinge to his question, the spark in his eyes a reminder of how dark he can be. “Or amused?”

“Interesting.” Isolwyn sits up and gathers her skirts up not enough to be indecent, but so that she might turn and cast a leg over C’aol’s lap and settle there astride him. “I don’t recall asking your permission.” Her fingers hook back into his shirt, only with both hands this time. “If you’re renovating the Weyrleader’s weyr, then so be it. The Weyrwoman’s weyr will still be mine, and may be ours, as the Weyrleader’s may be yours and ours, but I will not be kept by you any more than by my Blood. Weak women kept by bronzeriders led the Council down its present path.” She leans in, rising up on her knees just enough that she can look down at him. “If you are my partner, then I am yours. If you want a more biddable Weyrwoman, you had better hope for Inaskashath and not Eosyth.” Daring, she plants a kiss not quite on his mouth, but at one corner. “An empty queen’s weyr is small price for the comfort of a blue who might never fly.”

C’aol’s fingers are quick to find exposed flesh, his thumb and forefinger beginning an all-too-familiar dance along Isolwyn’s leg. “I wasn’t offering it,” he reminds her, the sharpness of his gaze unmitigated in the wake of her hands once more finding his shirt. An appreciative gleam replaces any sharpness he has as Isolwyn’s declarations are made. “I can appreciate that stance,” he tells her as one hand moves beyond the bounds of her skirt and brushes against her undergarments. “I do not seek some simple-minded Lady to hold court for me with the overstuffed Lords and Ladies that one has to entertain. You should have your own place,” his thumb hovers over a particularly sensitive area, “so long as you do not shame me by allowing another man to shack up in your Weyrwoman’s weyr I will be content.” He grins up at her as she settles across his lap, taking in the full sight of her above him with a predatory glint to his gaze. “He may have it,” he tells her as he reaches up to grasp her chin firmly, drawing her lips to his to take a far more satisfying kiss.

“I have no intention of shaming myself or you by having any other believe they belong anywhere near my bed,” Isolwyn states on the heels of that kiss, pressing her forehead to C’aol’s temple so that he may hear her sigh as she arches against him, encouraging without demanding – yet. “Provided that you understand that the first time I find another in yours, you’ll have seen the last of me in it. If we see eye to eye for long enough, perhaps both beds will be ours.” She smothers a moment’s low laughter against the line of his jaw, baring her teeth for an instant. “Cage me and I will fight you as I would any other. Besides… it seems much more pleasing to vie for control in the bedroom than in the light of day.” Hesitating, she lifts her head to look down at him again, an unmistakable gleam in the depths of her dark eyes. “…Though I had thought you might have me on the council room table if you manage to secure yourself as my Weyrleader.”

C’aol’s kind enough to offer her a thoughtful silence, his one hand stilling beneath the skirt as the other lifts to grab her cheek and force her to look at him fully were she to try and escape the intensity of his gaze. A thumb brushes against a lip, and another somewhere lower, as he thinks through her ‘threat’ or offer, he has yet to decide. “Interesting,” he drawls, biding his time with a response, that lower thumb working itself in a manner to draw unfocus from Isolwyn. His other holds firm to her chin as his gaze locks on to hers. “What do you have to gain for being on that council? You are young and untried,” a finger that slips beneath her panties may deny such a claim, “and they will not enjoy you being there.” The hand on her face tightens briefly and then he draws her closer to claim a demanding kiss. “Make me want you there,” he breathes as he releases her. He leans back against the couch, both hands removed from her body in one swoop, as they secure themselves behind his head and he stares at her with a lifted brow.

Though Isolwyn makes a sound that betrays just how much she’d like C’aol to continue what he’s doing, she manages to inform him that, “You misunderstand me,” through a breathy huff of laughter. “I meant you might like to bend me over the table in our own council room.” She hums against his lips as she draws back from his demands and he releases her, sitting back with her hands resting on her thighs. “My place on the Council is secure by virtue of my shortly being Fort’s Weyrwoman.” She smiles a predatory smile. “Yours… Well, you need me. I don’t need you. I could sway Eosyth towards a pair we can easily puppet. Silence. Take back the power our predecessors have wasted.” Delicate fingers slowly unlace the front of her gown until it lies open down to her waist, where one hand slips lower and beneath her skirts to replace his. “And if I don’t need you for that, maybe I don’t need you for other things.” Which she promptly begins to show him, her head tipped back and body arching as she sets to finishing what he started without moving from his lap.

C’aol’s brow doesn’t lower as he goes from a sly smile to a satisfied smirk at Isolwyn’s description of //how// she’d like to use the council room table. C’aol’s smirk turns cold as his eyes narrow on Isolwyn’s and her words about having Eosyth choose another. Daeserath’s rage flickers across the Weyr, his roar of defiance one that sends a flurry of firelizards scrambling into the skies and blinking Between to get away from him. C’aol’s cold gaze remains even as Isolwyn bares herself to him only to replace his fingers with her own. He allows her a few moments of this until he grabs strong hands against her hips, not caring if his grip may bruise, and he shoves her to the side of the couch. “If you are pleased with yourself,” he tells her as he rises, “I will leave you to your own devices. I can see you’re in the mood to play,” his lips curl backwards, “I am not one to play games, Isolwyn. You should learn that.”

It’s as Isolwyn hits the side of the couch that Eosyth reacts, slender strands of spinner web cast out across the Weyr in a vast net that threatens to yank every draconic mind under her command, the pattern laid out and pressure building, yet – for the moment – held back. “I don’t have to learn anything,” her rider states, clearly and precisely. “I am not afraid of you, and I will not be afraid, and perhaps it would best if you learn that.” She straightens her skirts just enough that they almost reach her knees, but she doesn’t bother rearranging them any further. “You think I’m young and untried and I’m neither. You have no idea of the extent of my successes for my Blood. I am more than capable of running a major Hold and extended family network and now I have Eosyth at my side. I’m more powerful than most weyrwomen will ever realise of themselves.” Casting a hand through her hair, she lies back against the couch. “If you want some meek little thing, then go and find her. She won’t push you or challenge you to be the best leader you could be. If you think I will bow to you, I will make you irrelevant, and I’ll make this Weyr what it could be on my own. This is no game. This is statement of fact. So, you can have all of me and live with the fear of not being in complete control, or live a life of mediocrity with someone who’ll do as they’re told.”

“I’m not trying to make you afraid of me, Isolwyn,” C’aol’s voice is cold, his eyes sharp on her face and then he focuses on her chest. “I find you attractive. I’ve enjoyed having you share a bed with me.” He steps back towards the couch, moving to settle a hand on the back of it as she lies down. He lowers himself closer, though he doesn’t touch her. “You have spent a great part of the last few minutes dictating to me how you are the most powerful woman, ever.” His hand moves to grab her chin, meaning to jerk her face to meet his gaze. “I don’t want a meek thing,” he tells her, “but I will not sit here and have you play these little power games with me. Do not taunt me with your body. Do not threaten me with how you can usurp control over me. I //will// be your Weyrleader. It would be best if you could remember that,” he lets his grip go on her chin, letting his hand draw down her neck and then he rests a palm against her exposed breast. “I am not afraid of you, nor of you having some control,” he tightens his hand briefly, a mix of pain and pleasure in his hands, “but you will not toy with me like a feline and a mouse.”

“I will be the most powerful woman on this planet if that is what it takes to stay alive and stop the Council from sending every Weyr into the madness that they have let unravel here.” Isolwyn lifts her head, wrenching her chin free of C’aol’s hand, though she makes no overt effort to dislodge his other grip, levelling a hard stare at him that she still doesn’t quite manage to get her voice to match the intensity of. “I am not going to lose Eosyth when she rises,” is not entirely without tremor. “It will not happen. If I have to stab every last bronzerider in the back to keep what happened here last time a queen rose from happening again, I will do it.” Hopefully not literally. “So, you will stop telling me what to do and what I should learn and remember. You won’t suggest again that I ‘earn’ your approval. If you //are// going to be my Weyrleader, you will work with me and //ask// me and I will do the same for you.” She reaches to hook fingers back into his shirt. “And then maybe you will be the ones we can trust.” How she bares her teeth is not so much a smile, but a wicked smirk. “Though if you keep insisting on not playing games, matters behind closed doors will be far less interesting than I’ve imagined.”

C’aol smirks at Isolwyn’s claim of being the most powerful woman, his brow lifting as he lets her continue speaking. He keeps his hand momentarily gripping her and then he removes it abruptly. “You have not //asked// anything of me. You have tried to use your body to play games with me. I have //told// you, I do not play them.” He grabs hold of her wrist as it reaches for his shirt and he squeezes his fingers until she releases her grip. “There has been nothing between us that has developed any sense of trust. I enjoy fucking you. I want to fuck you now. But I also don’t want to feed into this belief that you have so much control over //me// that I’ll be some stupid fuck-toy that’ll enjoy playing games with you.” He rises, taking a moment to adjust his shirt. “Your age is showing, Isolwyn. Try and do something about. And as far as games go behind closed doors?” he shakes his head, “We’ll see how much ‘fun’ those can be. But this wasn’t a game I enjoyed.” He turns to leave then, prepared only to pause long enough to allow her the courtesy of having the last word before he slams the door behind him on his way out.

“That’s only because you didn’t win it,” is all Isolwyn affords the retreating bronzerider, giving a dismissive wave of one hand to follow after as she flops back down onto the couch, one leg hanging over it’s edge. It’s after C’aol has slammed the door that she lets laughter erupt, idly inspecting her wrists before she casts both arms in a lazy tangle behind her and over the arm of the couch. “Even the silly holder boys didn’t bother slamming doors,” she tells the ceiling, only to dissolve back into another fit of low laughter that eventually has her pressing her hands to her ribs in an effort to stop. If she happens to fall asleep where she lies, hopefully she’ll have laced her dress up again before anyone visits and sees her.

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