When: Month 8, 205 AT
Where: Weyrwoman’s Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: In which Isolwyn takes note of her errors and decides to correct them.
It had been a big mistake.
Maybe all of it.
Isolwyn dragged her blanket more securely around herself and tucked up into a smaller ball, almost vanishing in the snug hold of Eosyth’s forearms. What she had said – what she had revealed – had cost her and was costing Eosyth too in the form of Daeserath’s absence.
She should never have said that she loved him. She had been adamantly against ever saying so from the first inkling of any feelings for C’aol, too certain that he would take advantage and use it to manipulate her, as she had expected any man to. She had surrendered, and too soon and too stupidly, caught off-guard by a heart that had betrayed her. It didn’t matter that he had said he felt the same, nor that she had believed him in the moment: she just should never have said it. Ever. And that mistake had the potential to haunt her for as long as she held Fort.
A political marriage of some sort was what she had expected, eventually. A husband she didn’t care for, but would tolerate for the greater good, and could outwit one way or another. Eosyth had given her the power to choose anyone she wanted, for any reason she wanted, and the sad fact was that she had eventually come round to the idea. She didn’t want C’aol to marry her because it would keep her uncle from sending more suitors or finding another way to use her Blood for a specific purpose, nor because he wanted to hold onto power at Fort (and wouldn’t that always be the worry?) but because he wanted her for his wife, even if she could never quite trust that that was true. She wanted someone who cared for her. She wanted someone who could keep up with her. …And maybe it would have to be never, or someone else.
<< You were afraid, >> Eosyth reminded her, for the umpteenth time, both to explain her own reaction and demand that she recall how she had felt.
…When he cornered me there… It was too much like… What that other bronzerider had tried to do, the idea of which she could only let Eosyth see threads and fragments of, for fear of the same, violent, reaction as she had lashed out with before.
He hadn’t realised. Had he? Or had it been deliberate? Worse, had he seen her fear? Thought that her feelings made it okay?
Every time that she had told him she wasn’t afraid of him, she had meant it. Except, in that moment… She couldn’t describe it. She hadn’t expected him to hurt her or thought that he would do it. But she had been frightened. Whether it was of him, she didn’t know.
However she felt, in any situation, she could not allow him to seize complete control from her. She would not be walked over or talked down to. Too many Weyrwomen had handed over command of their Weyrs to their Weyrleaders, and where had that got them? He seemed intent on changing her, one way or another. He didn’t appear that he grasped that teasing was not a real threat. In one moment, he would appreciate that she was clever, yet, when it suited him less, it aggravated him. He supported her independence, except when it inconvenienced him. He wanted her attention, yet only on his terms.
She should never, ever, have said anything.
<< You are in love with him. >>
Yes. But I shouldn’t be. Maybe I don’t have to be.
When he’d seen her at her weakest and most vulnerable, he had protected her. She had felt safe. But she knew, without a hint of doubt, that if he saw her now, hiding her tears against blankets and her queen’s hide, he’d be revolted.
All he needed was a Weyrwoman, ultimately.
<< Isolwyn… >>
No. I’ve been foolish. I let my guard down and I went too far.
Enough was enough.