Not Our Time

Who: Isolwyn and C’aol
Where: C’aol’s Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: In which Isolwyn makes a decision about the immediate future.

For much of the day, Isolwyn has been uncharacteristically inattentive to her work, always in the right place and the right time physically, but seemingly not quite as present as she usually might be otherwise. Some heads have turned to Eosyth for answers, yet Fort’s senior queen has done little but nap her way through the day as her body focuses all the more on the task of growing little dragons, and with her quiet and settled no-one has gone so far as to point out Isolwyn’s distraction. Everyone is allowed a night’s ill sleep and an off day, after all, should it be such a thing. Late in the afternoon, during one of Eosyth’s waking moments, she asks a soft and sleepy, << Would you ask C’aol to lend his assistance to my Isolwyn? >> of her mate. << She is at home. >>

C’aol likely has noticed Isolwyn’s inattention to her work but as it has had no large impact to him or the Weyr he has chosen to ignore it. Daeserath’s agitation has been wider-reaching since Eosyth’s flight, his annoyance with any foreign dragons making it difficult for C’aol to complete some of his work. He comes to Isolwyn as he is requested, leaving Daeserath to find Eosyth and wrap his body about her. He’s dressed in riding leathers and looking rather annoyed as he makes his way through Isolwyn’s home to find her. “Daeserath said you’ve need of me?” he asks as he rounds the corner to find her. “Do you need a healer?” he asks, frowning at her as his irritation at the summons dissipates in the face of finding her looking off.

<< You know it will always be you, >> Eosyth tells Daeserath, making tiny adjustments to how she lies until she’s curled as closely to him as possible and can drop back to sleep safe in the knowledge that he’s there with her. Isolwyn is not quite so secure in whatever it is that has prompted her to ask Eosyth for her Weyrleader, and for an instant she stares up at him with her distress laid bare, her eyes wide, yet then she blinks and slams up enough of a mask for her feelings that she seems that much more composed. “The fact of the matter is that I know we’re both hoping for another queen from Eosyth to help further our agenda, so what I need is not something that I feel would be prudent to ask of her, given how little we know about what could impact her unborn offspring.” //That// inadvertent phrase makes her pale a fraction, but she carries on regardless after forcibly squaring her shoulders. “…I’ve reason to believe I need someone to take me Between. That reason being that I’m late, and so, logically…” She lowers her head, unable to meet C’aol’s gaze. “This time is Hanath’s and Vesoviath’s and that of the gold we’re hoping for. Not… ours.”

<< I will not have invaders coming here to gawk at you or start spreading rumors about Vesoviath. They may stay away. I have no use for their stupidity >> Daeserath grouses at Eosyth and then lets his temper cool as she’s secured against his side. C’aol catches the nuances of Isolwyn’s features and furrows his brow as he tries to piece together what she’s telling him — until her explanation is more than obvious. “Well,” he says, nodding his head. “It would make sense we wouldn’t want to risk Eosyth’s clutch. And you wouldn’t want to ask anyone else to take you and have them know our business.” He closes the distance between them and places a hand on her cheek. His face is holding its own mask, his coolness leaning towards coldness as he calculates the situation without much emotion. “I will let Daeserath soothe his rage beside Eosyth for an hour and then we will go Between. We’ll go and visit another eyr, which will give us the reason for going together if you would like that? No need to let specuWlation take hold.” He searches her face for any gleaning of her emotional state. “We can have… a child another time.”

Isolwyn’s hands curl fretfully in the skirts of her dress as C’aol’s hand touches her cheek, her eyes closing as she lowers her chin a fraction into the heel of his palm. “You… understand that I don’t suggest this course because I don’t want your child…?” she asks quietly, keeping her eyes shut to ensure that she can get the words out. “If I had only myself and the two of us to consider, we might be having a very different conversation. Well, and then you might think me foolish either way for not having considered the possibility more seriously when I usually //do//, and…” A tear sneaks past her lashes and is abruptly swiped away, her dark gaze lifting to his. “I don’t even have Eosyth being proddy to blame for being a basket case,” is a dry observation that doesn’t quite carry the humour she intends. “We should visit another Weyr,” she agrees, only to hesitate. “That is… if you believe this is the right thing to do. It would be callous and selfish to suggest it’s my decision alone.”

“I never took it into consideration that it was because you didn’t want my child,” C’aol tells Isolwyn with an edge to his voice. “I am a Lord Holder’s son, my daughter is a Lady Holder’s, and our children will have Fort and Zaivar to inherit if they wish it.” He brushes his thumb against her cheek and then pulls his hand back to his side. “It is not the time to bring them into this world. We need to secure a future for them first.” He blinks and seems taken off-guard by her upset, his usual cold features softening a fraction before he tightens them back towards his usual impassivity. “You are not a broodmare,” he reminds her with a sharpness to his words. “Your priority is to run this Weyr effectively. Not to give me children. I have a child — I don’t require more. If you want a child, I will be its father. But I will not burden you with that. You are more than a Holder, Isolwyn. If we never have children I will not lament their absence.” He steps forward and wraps his arms firmly around her. “I might even be too jealous to share you with their attention,” he drawls in her ear before he kisses her cheek. “Who shall we visit?”

Closing her eyes, Isolwyn presses her face into C’aol’s chest and wraps her arms around his middle, the silence that claims her one that she lets drift on for a time while she can’t entirely trust herself to completely maintain her composure. “When the time is right, I will care more that they are //yours// and they are //mine// than for the Blood they will be raised to be proud of,” she murmurs. “If my role were still to breed, then I would only have their lineage to be concerned with; at least it would be all anyone cared about. As suitable a husband you may have been deemed to be if we were not to have Impressed, that any children we have stand to be heirs is important, but it isn’t why you’re the one I choose to share a bed with.” She lifts her head, taking a half-step back the better to look up at him. “I would hope that the past year and more would inform you that you have nothing if not my undying //attention//,” she tells him, lifting up onto her toes to nudge her nose beneath his jaw. “…Let’s go to Telgar. Nalmi believes I can speak no wrong and I’m convinced her Weyrleader is half in love with you. We may well need their support if we’re to protect Vesoviath.”

“Your undying attention,” C’aol huffs a breath that’s towards laughter. There remains hints of softness in his gaze as he once more cups his hand around her cheek. “I will leave you to the readiness of having our children, Isolwyn. I support you when you want them. I agree with you that now is not the correct course of action for it.” He brushes his fingers along her cheek, a smirk drawing forward in the place of a smile that had been tugging at his lips. “We have to remind your Uncle that your claim is the one that will hold the land I have… given to Lord Fort.” He folds his arms in front of him as his chin dips towards his chest and he considers Isolwyn’s words. “P’teven is attracted to power,” he says with a shake of his head. “And that they are already aligned with us as… a leader above them… I will take it. We should continue to work with them.” His eyes sharpen at the mention of Vesoviath. “We will have to guard her against those who may wonder what is wrong with her. The day that someone connects she may be of Inaskashath and Jynth instead of Amorenth and Roreliuth…,” he shakes his head, “I will hope she is no longer under our care when that happens. The Council will not be as lenient as Honshu may hope in regards to her breeding. And Safiye’s mother… I do not need her blaming Fort for the outcome.”

“When Eosyth and Daeserath’s new clutch is grown, whatever arrives on our Sands, I will be twenty-nine,” Isolwyn thinks aloud, though her words are steady enough for them to be no idle musings. “I resented my uncle for first ensuring no Blooded family would want me as a match for their son, following my machinations, and then for believing that my bloodline was his to dictate once Eosyth had made me a much more attractive interest.” She squares her shoulders. “So, I will be twenty-nine and I will ask you for a child. My choice of time and my choice of father; what everyone but you and Eosyth has tried to take from me.” Her lips curve to mirror C’aol’s smirk, “Unless P’teven has sufficiently wooed you and the two of you have run off together.” Of Vesoviath, she sighs, “She’s still no bigger than a green would be at her age. I’m sure Daeserath must have heard some of her outbursts, but they don’t seem to bother Eosyth now that she knows who it is. If she really were a queen, surely the outbursts alone would have bronzes checking in on her, but I have hardly seen them pay her any mind.”

“I am forty-two years old,” C’aol’s voice is droll as he looks at her, steady in the knowledge of her choice. “I am not a young man. Were you to seek another partner, I could pretend to be the sort that would tolerate it.” His eyes grow cold. “I would not. So you choosing me to secure your own bloodline, to fulfill the familial pull of being a mother, is as it should be.” He seems to be content with that statement, finding the matter dropped, he focuses in on the other line of thought Isolwyn is speaking on. “P’teven is young and ambitious. He’s thinking he’s playing a long game with me, and yet he would be better off doing so with someone weaker like T’var. Or more good-natured like R’byn.” He doesn’t rise to the bait at the suggestion there is more to P’teven’s interest in him. “Daeserath has no interest at all in Vesoviath. He hasn’t been bothered enough by any of her outbursts to have him tell //me//. You should ask J’kson for more information on who they believe sired her. Either way, it speaks ill of Amorenth’s blood. It may help us secure our… sharing of a gold to Honshu.”

Isolwyn lifts up on her toes again, hooking her fingers back into C’aol’s shirt in a manner akin to claws as she plants a kiss at the corner of his mouth and declares, “You’re mine. Why would I ever want another partner.” It’s not a question, even a rhetorical one, her statement followed by insistence upon a kiss that leaves nothing to say about her feelings on that subject, so she doesn’t address it further. “Anything that we suggest about Amorenth’s blood, we must be careful does not spread to inferences about Eosyth. It would be foolish to believe everyone is pleased that Eosyth and Daeserath are a force that I highly doubt another queen could subdue.” She releases her hold on his shirt, stepping back with her gaze distant as she considers, “…Whether a fiction or not, if it is maintained that Vesoviath is Amorenth’s daughter, that her decline in breeding ability and would seem to go hand in hand with the breakdown of her rider and that of her mate… There could be no trusting any of them to serve a Weyr in any official capacity…”

C’aol lets Isolwyn chase her kisses, returning them at a fraction of his usual heat as his mind remains focused on her words rather than her physicality. “I forget at times that Eosyth is of Amorenth’s blood. She is so solidly of Fort in my mind. Still,” he shrugs, “if we want to chip away at the validity of Honshu, we have to find a way in.” He nods his head as Isolywn hooks into that narrative. “I believe they’ve already removed themselves for a significant length of time that it would be easy to call it into question at the Council. They cannot allow their Weyrsecond and Junior goldrider to run Honshu indefinitely. Even if they //were// the successors, they would have to be formally acknowledged by the Council.” He rubs at his jawline and lifts a brow at Isolwyn. “Something for us to bring up to P’teven and Nalmi? I’ll have Daeserath request an audience with them within the hour.” He reaches for Isolwyn’s hand and holds it as he says, “And we’ll take an extra count Between before we arrive.”

“No-one is going to agree that a goldrider who permits her queen to be flown by a blue should be a long-term and legitimate Senior Weyrwoman, surely. In that much, we need to ensure that Telgar’s leaders believe what we tell them to believe.” Isolwyn’s not-quite smile is no amused smirk, but some variety of disparaging quirk of pity for those she brands as unable to be able to think for themselves. She takes a moment for any predatory instinct to fade before she tightens her hold on C’aol’s hand and gives a single nod, except she quietly counters, “On our return, please, or I might not be able to think so well as to be any proper use to our Weyr.” When the time comes, she doesn’t change her mind and nor does she speak of it again in the days that follow, not to C’aol or to anyone, the only noticeable shifts in behaviour a quiet where opinions would usually be and a desire to sleep for longer and later. On the third day, she finds a moment when he’s working at his desk to sit herself down and curl up in his lap, silent for the ten minutes that she permits herself until she vanishes, a kiss to his collarbone all that’s left in her wake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *