Who: Nala, Aislara, Jynth, Ryerith
When: Month 7, 205 AT
Where: Nala and Aislara’s Weyr, Honshu Weyrhold
What: It’s over.
Aislara’s pregnancy ended up being easier than anyone could have predicted. Once she was able to make it through the first, and then the second, trimesters her fear and anxiety about losing the precious yet-unnamed- and so-hoped for baby began to ease. With Amorenth’s clutch on the Sands, Aislara found herself carrying the baby nearly to term. It was with glad tidings that Aislara was able to welcome the little boy into the world. He might have been a month early, or he might have been full term; his size against Aislara’s own likely spurred her early birth. Breaking from Pernese tradition, Aislara chose the name Eijaz, which one of the many books she had fallen to reading hinted at a meaning of ‘miracle’. Eijaz has blossomed into a bright and agreeable baby, strong and healthy and taking all of Aislara’s focus. Though she still shares a weyr with Nala, as it had been before Jynth first caught Inaskashath, Aislara has been a distant partner. So long as their conversations and time spent together is focused on Eijaz, Aislara is more than happy to be in Nala’s company. There has been no romance with them for some time — for fear of the baby during her pregnancy, and now, because Aislara’s simply uninterested. Ryerith dozes on her ledge in the mid-morning sun as she taps a ribbon towards Jynth. << Does Nala have time to return? We are home… and thinking. >>
Nala has tried. She really has. Only, there’s very little to be done when the screaming of a baby in the middle of the night is enough to leave her paralysed with fear and unable to do anything to be helpful or explain herself in any real, cohesive terms. Every effort has been made to avoid being left alone with Eijaz, despite her seeming to be a capable enough parent when Aislara is there with her. Jynth has refused to offer any reason for what might have been noticed of his rider’s behaviour, and of course Cinder cannot provide an explanation for why she stays so close to her, the latter in whose company she is when Ryerith reaches for Jynth. << I will send her back, >> the blue assures, though quickly is not exactly how it happens, with her so far afield in Honshu’s farmland. Cinder trots in ahead of her when she returns, heading for the bowl of water that is hers, leaving Nala to make a deliberate effort to brighten her features.
Aislara is busy folding baby clothes when Nala makes her entrance. As sleep deprived as she is with the constant desire of Eijaz to nurse most of the evening and night, she seems bright and happy despite the pull of exhaustion on her features. She smiles at Nala. “He’s taking a nap. For an entire hour. I’m so relieved. I thought he’d never get out of the habit of those tiny naps.” She sets the baby shirt on the table and rises, moving across the space to hug Nala briefly. She guides her back to the table and pulls out a chair for her. She sits back down and looks at Nala, her hand reaching to hold one of the bluerider’s. “I don’t know how to say this, so I’m going to simply say it without fussing at it. I am Eijaz’s mother and you are as well. I know you’d claim him. Only… I’m not entirely sure I want to share him. It sounds selfish,” she flushes, shaking her head as she looks towards Cinder. “I know it’s selfish. And we’ve been trying to fix us. I’m not entirely sure I’m being fair to you,” she manages to look back at Nala. “By sharing your home and wanting this to be your life now too.” She takes a breath and lets it out, squeezing Nala’s hands fiercely. “Will you forgive me if I chose to…,” she can’t quite say it.
There’s barely a reaction from Nala, who has become all too adept at hiding her feelings in her own home. “I am not his mother,” she says simply and quietly, whether deliberately and to make it easier or not. “You are. I am not what you need and I am not what he needs, and I am apt to put the two of you in danger because Jynth is who //he// is.” Across the room, Cinder has gone still, her focus fixed on the bluerider. “If this is your decision, then it is your decision,” Nala continues, clear and careful in her delivery. “I am not going to try and persuade you otherwise, but you must say it. And, when you say it, that will be that.” Perhaps she could be kinder about it, but sticking to the practical is easier. “I will not let Jynth chase Ryerith and I will keep out of your lives. You cannot… change your mind. I cannot do this again and bend to be what you wish now that you tell me once more that I am not enough.” Her tone doesn’t alter in the slightest, her attention remaining with Aislara. “You do not want me. Not really. I am… convenient and familiar, but that is not what I want either.” And still, she insists: “You need to say it.”
Aislara’s hand draws from Nala’s as the bluerider speaks and her back stiffens as if the words had leveled a slap across her face. She manages to hold her features into a calm mask as she allows all of what Nala has to say push into her. “Do not deny Jynth Ryerith. If he wishes to chase her, he should. We can deal with that, surely?” She does not flinch away from what must be said. She levels her gaze at Nala and holds it. “I do not want a relationship with someone,” she tells Nala, refusing to say the words in the harsh lines Nala would believe they may be said. “I haven’t for some time and that is what hurt us. Why would I continue to hurt you?” she asks, willing Nala to see past her stiffness as her eyes soften. “It is nothing to do with convenient or familiar. We were young. And now we are not. I have changed.” She closes her eyes briefly and takes a breath. “I want to end our relationship,” she tells Nala, “the way it is now. I do not want to live together.” She opens her eyes and holds Nala’s again if she’s able. “I can leave the weyr tomorrow. I’ll need time to arrange Eijaz’s and my things.”
“In the future, perhaps,” Nala concedes, taking a further breath to say, “but not…” Now? “I am not saying any of this to be unkind, only because it must be clear. I think you know that you could get what you wish too easily if you were, in six months, to decide to that you want Eijaz to be mine and for us to live together again. It might be a flight and you might be proddy and I would…” Surrender again. “There is not enough of me left to do this again, Aislara. I spend my days being what people want. And I do not know that… I should let it be that way any more. So, I need it to be clean and simple. You do not want to be with me. And I… do not want to be who I am with you. I love you and that is… dangerous, whether you feel anything for me anymore or not.” She shakes her head and looks down into her lap. “I will request another weyr once you are gone. To stay here would be… inappropriate.”
Aislara can sit no longer. She stands and moves behind her chair, placing one hand on it to brace herself. “Then do not have Jynth fly Ryerith and I will not be tempted to claim you again,” she doesn’t shield Nala from the hurt in her tone. “I cannot help what I am as you cannot help what you are. I do not wish to put you in danger. I can feel love for you Nala, I always will. I simply do not love you in the way a weyrmate should.” Whether the timing is right or not, a baby’s wail splits the air. “I’ll tend to him. We will… find a way to be cordial with each other. I cannot leave Honshu, nor should you.” She doesn’t look back as she walks out of the room and into the baby’s room to tend to his needs. She does not come out, choosing to hide in the safety of her child’s needs rather than in the hurt she’s left behind her.
Nala watches Aislara walk away and doesn’t move from where she’s sat, her reaction to being left at the table just the same as when she heard the baby begin to cry: nothing. Minutes pass, by which point Cinder has moved to sit beside her, and then she rises, the canine following in her wake, to head back out to the ledge and Jynth and retrieve her bag from where she left it. She turns again, steps carrying her back inside, where she draws from her bag a bunch of wildflowers that she must have picked on her walk, and a little horde of wooden green and blue dragons shaping the letters of Eijaz’ name, more suitable for teething than any decorative purpose. Though she hesitates at the table, she murmurs for Cinder to stay where she is, then moves through to the baby’s room, where she makes to wrap her arms around Aislara from behind and rest her head on her shoulder. She stays not for very long, soon turning from her after pressing a kiss to her cheek, and walking right out of the weyr – and the Weyrhold – with Cinder at her heels and Jynth overhead.
Nala will not bear witness to the tears that fall from Aislara’s cheeks, nor the wails that follow; her grief a short-lived thing for her fear of Eijaz’s confusion over their presence. In the coming days, she and her son are packed up and moved to another ground weyr — for Aislara will have no part of her child being raised in a location that could solicit a fall of any kind. In the days and months that follow, whether or not Honshu gossips, Aislara will do much to dissuade any of it. Her comments are lost to the gossip when Inaskashath rises and is claimed by Jynth – but the knowledge of that settles the grief inside Aislara’s heart into a little packet. She is prepared to handle the weyrlings to come — and her son’s raising.