Welcome to Fort

Who: Safiye, Emily, Vesoviath, Hanath
Where: Emily’s Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: Emily tries to help Safiye adjust to having left the Court.

It has only been half a day since the arrival of four new weyrlings to Fort. The Weyrlingmaster’s have stepped in and immediately gotten to work dictating to the new arrivals how the rest of their stay will look. With rigid schedules and clear expectations set for their training, free time has been allocated to three of the four newcomers to Fort. As the young dragons and their riders step out of the barracks and head towards the lake to explore, the assistant weyrlingmaster directs Safiye and young Vesoviath towards a ground weyr. “I’ve brought them,” she calls ahead as she indicates for Safiye and Vesoviath before the assistant weyrlingmaster turns to leave. Emily comes forward to greet Safiye with a warm smile. “I thought it would be nice for us to chat without everyone staring at us,” she tells the younger girl. “I remember how much scrutiny I felt when I first Impressed Hanath. A whoosh of wind and a scrape of claws indicates the gold’s arrival as she makes her way inside to nose at Vesoviath in greeting. << You are very pretty >> Hanath observes of Vesoviath.

Safiye has not exactly wanted for company during her childhood, yet hers has also not been one full of quite so many people, nor of those she isn’t fully aware have been approved by her parents, and so her arrival at Fort has found her keeping close to Vesoviath and answering orders with the most polite responses that she can bring together as and when required. Still a little in shock, it’s with unquestioning obedience that she does as she’s told, not entirely sure what to expect when she’s brought where she is. It leaves her staring up at Emily for an instant or two before offering a hand a touch automatically. “They’re all talking about us,” she blurts out. “About Vesoviath and my age and why we’re here and why she’s so small.” Small and a little bit round, but it’s never once deterred Vesoviath from anything, who lifts her head to nose at Hanath in return. << As are you, >> she tells her. << You shine brighter than me. >>

Emily takes Safiye’s hand in both of hers to shake gently with a warm smile. “People talk,” she agrees as she moves to guide Safiye inside. “Hanath wants to talk with Vesoviath. I hope that’s okay? While they talk, we can come in. Do you like tea? I’ve made some,” Emily keeps up a fairly steady commentary as she guides Safiye inside her weyr. It’s modestly furnished, with the basic amenities of a couch, table and reclining pillows near the hearth. She keeps walking through to the back portion of the weyr where she’s setup a small dining area. She pulls a chair out for Safiye and busies herself around the kitchen preparing things for tea. “You’ll find that many people will have opinions and thoughts on you, even when you’re older,” she tells Safiye as she sets down a tray of cookies and pastries. “It gets easier though.” She smiles at Safiye and then goes to collect the kettle of water from the hearth. Hanath considers Vesoviath with a steady, curious, gaze. << Do I shine brighter? It is possible that I do. I know that I am older. But being older can be boring. What sorts of things do you do for fun? I rather like going to big meadows with lots of high grass and laying as close to the ground as I can to hide from Emily. >>

Nodding, Safiye follows after Emily and sits down in the chair that’s pulled out for her, a murmur of thanks offered as she settles. “I didn’t mean to do it,” she confesses, folding her hands in her lap. “Everyone thinks I did it deliberately and made her choose me because I’m a stupid kid who couldn’t wait, but I didn’t… I mean, I visited the eggs, but I didn’t think for a moment that… And her egg wasn’t //gold//…” It all comes tumbling out before she can stop herself and so she reaches for a cookie to stuff in her mouth without having been invited to take one. With the cookie consumed, she takes a breath and lets her shoulders slump. “I’d never want to give her to anyone else, but it feels like all everyone ever says about us is bad…” Curling up, Vesoviath tilts her head and echoes, << Fun…? >> as if the concept is a foreign one. << What is a meadow? >> Images of nothing but stone and buildings and cold water spill from her mind for the few seconds until she realises she’s sharing and abruptly stops. << Sorry. I am told I should stop that. >>

Emily’s smile does not waver as she listens to Safiye speak. She pours hot water into each of their mugs before she sits opposite the younger girl. “I didn’t want to Impress at all. Not really,” Emily admits to her as she selects herself a cookie to put on a plate in front of her. “I accepted Search because you feel some sort of obligation to try… and when I got here there were plenty of other girls who were anxious to Impress the gold.” She shrugs her shoulders and smiles at the memory. “I kept telling myself it was a fun adventure and soon I’d return home to my mother and father. And look at me now. Those girls were so //angry//,” she laughs at the memory, “and Hanath was so sure it was me!’ She pauses and considers Safiye, seriousness entering her face for the first time. “It won’t be tolerated you realize, Safiye. People bad-mouthing you and Vesoviath. Not here. That is not how a Weyr is run. If you hear of people who do, you may come right to me. I won’t make a fuss about it. But it will end.” Hanath seems surprised by that image of stone and water. She shifts their shared perspective and shows a large meadow with a few rolling hills, a mixture of brown and green grasses waving in a breeze. << This is a meadow. You are young. Do not apologize for sharing things you don’t know how to hold back. We won’t tell. >>

“I wanted… to be like my parents,” Safiye admits, her head bowed slightly. “And my sister and my brother-in-law. His blue is really nice. But I promise I didn’t do it on purpose. We were just all there for the Hatching and…” She shrugs and wraps both her hands around her mug. “I get why people would be mad at me, but if those girls who were angry at you weren’t who Hanath wanted, then maybe that’s a sign of why they weren’t right in the first place. Vesoviath keeps telling me that she didn’t even think of anyone else, but I’m pretty sure she does it to make me feel better.” Slowly, she reaches for another cookie, this one nibbled at in a more polite fashion. “…Vesoviath is tiny and she irritated Eosyth,” she says more quietly. “I figure people will talk because of that, if nothing else. I don’t want to cause any more trouble than I already have, but I appreciate it.” Vesoviath lingers on the image that Hanath shares, taking it all in with a wonder for the open spaces. << …Can we go there? >> she tentatively asks, the flutter of ribbons and lace on the breeze. While she’s asking things, she lifts herself up a little and shuffles over to plant herself closer to Hanath, though she stays very still in the moment that follow, as if waiting to be denied.

“Did she truly irritate Eosyth?” Emily wonders, sipping at her tea and gesturing at Safiye to do the same. “Or did she interest her? Eosyth is a far-reaching queen. I heard that she found Daeserath when she was very young and from far away. Hanath isn’t like her dam in that regard. She’s more interested in things closer to home.” She offers another genuine smile at Safiye. “Like Vesoviath’s well-being and to make sure you’re settled in as well.” Hanath delights in Vesoviath’s wonder and widens the world view, showing flashes of flowers along the meadow. << I will take you when you are of an age to go >> Hanath offers, then shifts their shared mindscape to draw her attention towards a fast-moving river. << We will find many places to go and see. The world is full of wonders. Like you! >> Hanath’s nose bumps at Vesoviath’s shoulder as she curls her tail against the young queen’s body.

“Well… I guess I don’t know,” Safiye admits with another quick shrug. “The weyrlingmasters told me to stay out of Isolwyn and Eosyth’s way for a while, so maybe she’s still deciding whether we’re irritating or not.” She takes a sip from her mug and sets it back down again, continuing to keep her hands around it. “Vesoviath… She hasn’t seen a lot of the world, I suppose because I haven’t, and I think maybe it’s… limited her. I didn’t even know she was reaching for Eosyth. She must have been doing it while I was asleep and I just never caught on. So… I know what she’s like to //me//… I know who she is in that respect, but the rest…” If she catches on to her rider’s worry and guilt, Vesoviath does a good job of avoiding amplifying it, relaxing to snuggle in close to Hanath in a manner that does nothing to conceal a need for draconic affection. << You are very kind, >> she tells her, pillowing her head against her side. << You… will help me keep my Safiye safe? It had to be her. I knew. They all think I chose her too soon, but there could be no… waiting. >>

“Eosyth is due to rise soon,” Emily tells Safiye, “and so we all are taking care to stay out of her and Isolwyn’s way. When a queen goes proddy… their rider can become as unpredictable as them. I’m sure Isolwyn does not want you to know that side of her.” Her eyes twinkle with merriment as she reaches across the pat at Safiye’s hand. “This way //I// get to enjoy meeting you first!” She grows thoughtfully quiet as she listens to Safiye’s concern, tea sipped at idly as she listens. “Limited her? No, I don’t think so. I think you’ll both find discovering the world together will draw you closer. You’re not in trouble for Vesoviath’s reaching, you realize? And we are glad that you reached Eosyth and no other queens.” Hanath seems more than content to tuck Vesoviath against her and cuddle her with tail and a few nuzzles of affection. << I’m kind? >> she muses, delighted by that idea, << I suppose I am. I love babies >> she tells Vesoviath, flashing quick images of little children, small puppies and kittens. << So it makes sense I would be the one you would ask to help keep Safiye safe. She is still very young for humans. And let them worry about what is or isn’t. You know what was best and you chose well. >>

“Oh…” Safiye dwells on that for a moment, then shrugs, saying, “My mother and father always go somewhere else when her green’s going to fly. I figured it was because there are male dragons in our family, but maybe she doesn’t want to be around us if she’s behaving oddly.” She colours a little, not for that, but as Emily calls her out on assuming she’s in trouble for Vesoviath’s behaviour. “…We’re… here because of what she was doing though, right? We’ve inconvenienced a lot of people. Worried my family. I’m supposed—“ Another cookie finds its way to her mouth, chewed on politely before she gives in and lets herself finish her thought. “I’m supposed to be stronger than that.” She straightens, adding, “And I will be, if you really don’t mind teaching me?” File under more things Vesoviath has not seen: kittens and puppies. Canines, yes, but not even smaller ones. << …You have tiny… fluffy…? >> Her excitement ripples outward in a burst of pearlescent powder and shimmer, momentarily alarming Safiye, who jumps to her feet, “Fluffy?”

“Fluffy?” Emily’s confusion furrows her brows as she frowns momentarily at Safiye as she jumps up. Emily looks behind her and then underneath the table. “I don’t see her currently. She usually sleeps in Hanath’s wallow with her.” She pulls herself back into a normal seated position as she looks at Safiye quizzically. “Are you allergic to felines? I’m terribly sorry if you are. Hanath has a habit of finding young things to care for. Fluffy’s not really //young// anymore, she’s more… young adult. Like you.” Her smile comes back. “I’m sure we can find her if you’d really like to see her.” Hanath’s laughter is a ripple of starlight against a blackened night sky. Pops of color appear and then disappear back into the darkness. << Do you also like tiny fluffy things? I saw yesterday that someone has puppies. They were playing near the herdbeast enclosure. Which, if you ask me, is an entirely dangerous thing for little ones to do. What if they entered when a dragon was chasing a meal down? It is very possible they could get hurt. I wasn’t able to tell their owner this because Emily was busy. I would have, you know. Told them. To move the puppies. >>

“I…” Assured that Vesoviath is not about to bolt off to find something cute and fluffy and is no longer broadcasting her excitement at learning of their existence, Safiye sinks back down into her chair and blinks across at Emily a couple of times before she can speak. “…I think Hanath showed Vesoviath some kittens or puppies or… something small and fluffy… She hasn’t been up-close to anything like them before and… I guess she really wants to…” She blushes, grasping at her mug for something to focus her attention on. “My parents keep canines, but I remember felines being around when I was little. Just… not any that Vesoviath has ever seen.” One corner of her mouth ticks up in a tiny smile. “Your feline’s called Fluffy?” The pat-pat of Vesoviath’s paws against the ground gradually slows to a halt as the news of yet more things she has yet to set eyes on assimilates and she calms from her initial joy at their discovery. << I have seen canines and my siblings and babies that are my Safiye’s siblings, >> she lists, as though hoping for it to be a longer one that that, only to fall short. << None so small as that, nor as fluffy. Can we see them one day? >>

“It seemed fitting that she would be called Fluffy when she was small, she was like a little puff of fur,” Emily tells Safiye as she refills her tea and gestures that she’d do the same for Safiye’s if the girl gave her an indication she wanted more. “When our dragons are young they can get excited and loud. Like toddlers will. She did nothing wrong right there. Hanath redirected her focus and no one will be upset. Who doesn’t like images of small kittens thrown around their heads?” she teases as she settles back in her chair. “Fluffy’s little sibling went to Isolwyn, actually. I was completely flustered when Hanath found them and insisted on keeping them. I was only a weyrling and worried I’d get in trouble for such things. Isolwyn and C’aol both keep him now.” She watches Safiye with a kind expression on her face. “Our parents can isolate us without knowing they’re doing it.” Hanath nudges at Vesvoviath’s side, her laughter still flickering between them. << I will take you around the Weyr later today once your rider has had time to settle in and I will show you where the babies like to rest. Even little horses are fun to watch. I like that you like them like I do. Eosyth does not find them nearly as interesting. >>

“Maybe it would make Vesoviath happy to have a kitten,” Safiye considers, only for what enthusiasm she has for the idea to dim as she amends, “…For as long as we’re here, I mean…” She murmurs her thanks for the refilling of her mug and draws it back towards her, where she stares down into it for a little while. “I know my duty to my family. We’ve caused a lot of worry and Mama should be focusing on my new sister, not wondering what’s happening with me and Vesoviath. So, we’re going to work hard so we’re not a burden to anyone.” Lifting her tea, she takes a couple of sips and carefully sets it down again. “Would you mind showing me the caverns? I figure //someone// is going to end up following me everywhere because I’m a kid and an outsider, but I don’t really want them watching me get lost half a dozen times.”

“Hanath told me she will find Vesoviath the perfect kitten,” Emily tells Safiye as she sets her mug down. She rises after Safiye does and places a hand on her hip as she twists her lips momentarily in thought. “I don’t know if they’re going to have someone walk around with you. I mean, we don’t do that with other children. You’re not that young,” she adds, shrugging and lowering her hand to her side as she waves Safiye to follow her outside. She pats Hanath’s shoulder as they pass the two queens. “Vesoviath is going to stay with Hanath while I show you around. Hanath has lots of things to tell her, apparently,” Emily adds with a laugh. “She’s going to love being a mother,” she decides as she takes Safiye down the steps and into the bowl area. “Now– when you hit the bowl you’re going to want to go left, and then right,” Emily keeps up a steady litany of directions as she escorts Safiye around the various locations within their extensive cavern system. She openly smiles and waves at others as they pass, introducing Safiye in passing as their newest junior goldrider. If Safiye had reservations about fitting in, Emily will do her best to show her how easy it is to befriend the people of Fort.

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