A Home for Us

Who: Nala, Rori, Inaskashath, Jynth
Where: Cothold, Southern Continent
What: Rori has made a purchase.

Rori had fully intended on telling Aerishani about the purchase of a cothold outside of Honshu — especially after her stepping in as Senior for a time. The conversation didn’t happen and in reflection, Rori has found herself thankful that she kept it a secret from Aerishani. She has transitioned into running Honshu as the Acting Senior relatively seamlessly, her style of leadership is not so different from Aerishani’s that it would create ripples of issues throughout the Weyrhold. With the day’s meetings over, Rori has informed the Headwoman and Steward of her intention to take the afternoon outside of the Weyrhold. Knowing that the Weyrhold still has Amorenth to guide it, Inaskashath is quick to flee to the little patch that she can call all her own. It is no southern beach that rests outside of their home, but the winding, lazy river that feeds from the mountains of Honshu towards the Southern ocean. A modest cothold, it boasts pens and a barn that hint at a previous life being run as a place to raise horses or herdbeasts. Inaskashath delights in the feel of the colder water on her body as she submurges in the water and calls to Jynth. It is the first time she’s been permitted to share their surprise. Her mind is bright with joy as she shows him the visual of a house near a river. << Come >> she tells him simply. << And see. >>

Cinder has become more and more accustomed to travelling in her carrier for Between, and so it takes little time to round her up and herd her into it for Jynth to carry in the grip on one paw as he follows Inaskashath’s image and disappears from Honshu’s skies and reappears where his mate has led him. While Nala clambers down from his back, he gently sets the carrier down and waits for her to let Cinder free again, which she does, leaving the canine to shoot out and across the pens to investigate whatever she can find. Nala is slower about it, leaning against her lifemate’s forearm for support as she looks around, a flicker of confusion claiming her features before she schools them back into their usual neutrality. “…Rori?” she calls, less confident than Cinder in their new surroundings.

Rori opens the front door of the small cothold, taking the steps that lead down from the wrap around porch two at a time in her enthusiasm. Her smile is wide as she reaches out to hug Nala to her. She keeps her arm about her as she turns, gesturing towards the cothold. It boasts a fresh coat of light yellow paint, white trim, and a new looking rough. “What do you think?” she asks excitedly, “It’s got indoor plumbing and electricity. Can you imagine that? Out here, no less! The last person who owned it was running some sort of horse breeding program, I don’t know,” she talks all in a rush, her words bubbling with her excitement, “but there’s a barn we could //easily// convert to wallows for the dragons if it gets uncomfortable outdoors.” She moves to tug at Nala’s hand, eager to show her the inside. “It has the cutest little kitchen and a tiny dining area… a hearth, and a bedroom!”

Nala stares, mostly at what Rori indicates, but also just at Rori herself, a low rumble of sound from Jynth betraying what dry amusement he finds in the moment, though he takes himself away and off to Inaskashath’s side before his rider can chastise him even in jest. “When did you…?” she starts to ask, only to change her mind and opt for, “How did you…?” She turns to wrap her arms around Rori’s middle and draw her against her, propping her head on her shoulder as she looks out across the pens Cinder has vanished into. “It is beautiful,” she murmurs. “Though you //would// mention the kitchen before the bedroom,” she teases quietly, tilting her head just enough to touch her lips to Rori’s jaw.

Rori blushes at the mention of which part of their home she’s most excited about. “You know how I am,” she offers with a shrug and a smile. “I can’t help it.” She reaches for Nala’s hand and moves to tug her up the steps she ran down and in through the door. “I’ll admit, I’ve been thinking about buying a place to call our own longer than when we talked about it. I’ve saved nearly everything I’ve ever earned – from before Honshu even. When all you’re interested in,” she prattles on at Nala as she opens the door and lets her take in the wide and well-lit main room, with it’s comfortable looking couches and it’s large hearth. “Is baking, you don’t have an expensive hobby.” She looks to Nala, suddenly nervous, “I hope it’s okay? I wanted this to be… from me. For us. We can choose different furniture,” she rushes to add, indicating the blue coaches. “I went with what was comfortable and matched the exterior.” Inaskashath rises out of the river and ambles towards Jynth, allowing her muzzle to caress along his neck as she croons. << She is a silly creature at times. Her heart is in the right place. I rather like the river >> she tells Jynth, << though I am not sure I will be living in a //barn//. >>

<< When we are living in it, it won’t be a barn anymore, >> is Jynth’s opinion on the matter, offered as he settles down on the riverbank and tucks his paws in neatly. << Unless you intend on sharing space with herdbeasts instead of me… >> He looks up at Inaskashath and bumps his nose against hers, his eyes whirling in bright, happy greens. “I love it,” Nala replies, glancing about to take in the details of the room. However, despite what she says, something heavy haunts her gaze and has her adopting a silence that she finds difficult to immediately break. “…But this must have cost… This is no small thing, Rori. How will I ever…?” Repay her? Match it? “I love it, I truly do, but you must have put everything that you have into this. You made us a home and I…” She bows her head and closes her eyes, yet it doesn’t stop the dampness of tears from escaping past her lashes. “I will keep you safe,” she utters with a quiet fervour. “I promise.”

Inaskashath is not quite so certain about the state of the barn as she swings her head to consider it with a rumble. << It is much to be desired for us >> she tells him, for once her demeanor more queen-like than it ever is. << A fresh coat of paint, better bedding… Rori was focused on yours. I will not worry about it until we are here often >>. She looks to him and returns his bright, happy green-gaze, with her own as echos of laughter follow her, << I’m only joking! What care do I have when we have this amazing river! >> She cuddles up to him and lets her gaze fall to the lazy movements of the river in front of them. Rori bites her lip in the wake of Nala’s haunted gaze, tensing in fear of having done the //wrong// thing. She waits out the silence in her own pensive way. She closes the smallest of distances to wrap her arms about Nala as her tears escape. “No, love. No. This is not a repayment situation. This is //ours//. It is my gift to us. A safe place, without judgment, for Inaskashath and Jynth. For you and me.” She holds tight to Nala. “I’ve never doubted you’d keep me safe, Nala. I want you by my side, not guarding my back.” She kisses Nala’s forehead
as she pulls back to try and meet the bluerider’s eyes. “I need a partner, not a protector. Let’s make this our home.” She’s hopeful, and so serious, as she allows a small smile to tug at her features. “If you want it.”

Much as she might wish it, sometimes there are no straightforward ways of dealing with feelings, and being unable to articulate exactly how she feels leaves Nala to lapse back into silence, unwilling to attempt an inadequate expression of what she may want to convey. In her silence, her hands clutch at Rori’s middle and soon her arms slide back around her so that she can tuck her face into the crook of her neck and just hold her while minutes elapse with her in no position to provide any reassurance beyond the security of her embrace. Jynth too, is silent, whether by her design or otherwise, the blue no help in explaining the whys of it all, but he stretches a heavy wing over Inaskashath and rests his head against her shoulder in some echo of his rider. When enough time has passed that Nala can finally speak, she still offers no explanation, though perhaps the tears that mar a usually stoic face are enough when she gives a singular nod and tells Rori, “I do. Want it. This. Us. A home.”

Rori holds Nala through the silence, knowing her well enough to know that silence may not be an indication of anger or negative feelings. She looks at Nala and lifts her hands to gently wipe away the tears she is not used to seeing on the bluerider’s face. “I’ll always put you first, Nala. Inaskashath does not need to control a Weyr or a Weyrhold. We don’t need a brown or a bronze. We want you and Jynth.” She kisses Nala then, letting her lips do more than simply speak. Her hands remain gently tucked against Napa’s face until she pulls back. “I’ve got to help Honshu while Aerishani and O’rlen heal from the shock of O’rlen’s actions. I have no intention of ever being a Senior. Aerishani is going to pick another goldrider to come to Honshu. Whether that means she steps permanently or not, what it gives me is more freedom.” She takes Nala’s hand and leads them back into the kitchen. Like the front room, the kitchen and small dining area is well lit by large windows. The kitchens view is of a tiny garden and a stretch of trees. The smell of baked goods is fresh in the air as Rori guides Nala towards the table. “It’s perfect for two here,” she declares with a smile.

Nala sits herself down at the kitchen table and looks out at the view for a long few moments, then back to Rori. “Whether that goldrider will tolerate… us… or not may mean we need to address the Council in some way sooner rather than later,” she says quietly. “I would hope that, if Aerishani permanently relinquishes the knot, she would not choose a queenrider who would not let Honshu continue to be what it is. A lot of riders have chosen it as their homes because it affords them freedoms that a northern Weyr, for example, would not.” At the sound of claws on stone, she looks back to discover that Cinder has trotted up the steps and is now going through the process of threading herself from room to room to investigate the cothold itself. “That, however, can wait for another day. I will hope that she and O’rlen are able to put aside their differences, even if it is for purely selfish reasons on my part.” She reaches for one of Rori’s hands, meaning to tug her down into her lap. “It is a lovely kitchen, but you will have to show me the bedroom before too long, or I will have to employ this table for purposes for which it was not meant,” she warns, anchoring her hands at Rori’s hips. “Unless you would enjoy the repercussions of such a delay, in which case I suggest some tea.”

“I have faith that Aerishani is only feeling the strain of her knot. It’s my hope that this break for her will have her remaining our Weyrlady. Honshu is what it has become because of her and O’rlen,” Rori offers as she busies herself pulling out the cinnamon rolls she’d baked earlier to set on the table. She returns to deliver the baked goods to the table only to find her hips claimed by Nala. Her smile is bright. “You know that I baked before I called you for a reason, don’t you?” She sets the plate down and takes Nala’s hands in hers. She leads her down the hallway already investigated by Cinder towards their bedroom. “The quality of the bedding and mattress can be talked about after we’ve tested it out,” she tells Nala as she closes the door behind them and moves to close the distance between them. Rori makes sure that each of them find reasons to crumple blankets and sheets on the floor – and that they take their uninterrupted time bathing after.

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