A Letter

Who: Isolwyn, C’aol, Eosyth, Daeserath
Where: Council Room, Fort Weyr
What: Fort’s Lord is not happy.

There are some days when Isolwyn misses lunch because a meeting runs over or her timings of the day somehow get out alignment, though she’s not one to miss meals and has made sure of it since the discovery that she’s expecting, even when she’s felt too nauseous for much. However, this afternoon, she hasn’t emerged from the council room since first heading in there to handle the day’s paperwork, and an hour and a little more has passed since something of the heavy darkness of Eosyth’s anger has settled like a cloud over the Weyr. The minute finds her still making her way through various documents, one set aside, the redness that rims her eyes a stark contrast to pale features tensed with a silent fury.

Alerted to his mate’s anger, Daeserath adds the heavy weight of his displeasure to her dark cloud. Those who have duties that will take them outside of the Weyr take themselves there, knowing when the mood of their dragon leaders are best to be avoided. Daeserath’s coldness is sharp as ice as he asks Eosyth pointedly, << What is it? >> He takes himself to the heights of the Weyr to perch near the watchdragon and survey the world below him. C’aol heads into the council room without more prompting than Daeserath’s mood to seek Isolwyn out to find out what’s wrong. He takes one glance at her face and moves to sit opposite her. He folds his arms over his chest and waits for her to open the conversation.

<< The man is an unpleasant and ungrateful wretch, >> is a more controlled response from Eosyth than the lightning striking through her words might otherwise suggest, her opinion of the one of which she speaks so low as to not provide a name. That is left to Isolwyn, who takes a few moments to needlessly finish the sentence she’s writing and tries to compose herself better before she looks up at C’aol. It doesn’t work, the bitterness of her gaze unmistakable as she silently lifts the letter she’s set aside and offers it to him. She looks back down, as if it’s nothing and she’d continue writing, yet she doesn’t manage to pick up her pen. Remaining silent, she gives him time to read, the phrases ‘bastard child’, ‘second rate to a sister who will be Lady Holder’, ‘ignorant girl’ and ‘cares for power, not for you’ notable among a sea of anger and blatant frustration signed by Fort’s Lord. “…I don’t know how he found out,” she murmurs roughly.

C’aol takes the letter from Isolwyn and draws it closer to read. The lines on his face don’t shift to smoothness or furrow in thought as he holds still and considers the words on the page. “I knew he would react strongly to the news when you had a child. He stands to lose control of the parcel I gave him now. It is legally binding that it is your offspring who inherits it and not any he might favor to run it.” He sets the letter down carefully, turning it around so the words remain directed to me and not her. “That he forgets I am of Blood is an insult of itself. If my Blood was not agreeable to the Conclave, why was Silverfield allowed to be inherited by my offspring?” He shakes his head, the simmer of rage beginning to register in his gaze. “I will have to remind him that he is writing these letters to Fort’s Weyrwoman and not some idiot girl who has compromised her station. If any of our other Holders behaved in this way, I’d severe connections between the Weyr and the Hold. That I’ve allowed his tantrums before has set a precedent. I will have to punish him.”

Isolwyn takes a breath as though she might speak, only to hold it and remains silent a little longer. “…I don’t believe he forgets,” she says slowly and all too plainly against her better judgement. “He used to do the same to fosterlings of Holds he thought beneath his notice. Ignore their rank and Blood. Disregard them.” She still doesn’t look up, her breathing mechanically even. “I don’t care what he says about me. It was to be expected once I was no longer useful to him. Even what he says of you is designed to be provocative – and it isn’t as if he can expect me to share his opinions anyway.” Her gaze distant, she stares, unseeing, down at the table for a little longer until she can look up with much of her upset and anger banished, leaving only the tension to cast her in sharp lines. “Our child is not… a bastard. They’re not the worthless… thing… that he paints them as.” That, she doesn’t get through without temper rising back up to hear her words. “And I want to know who told him, because I’ve told no-one but you. Not even Emily. Or J’kson! No-one.”

“He did not ignore my former rank or my Blood when he accepted custodianship of the land I gave to your future offspring,” C’aol’s tone is laced with heat as his jaw tightens and then he shakes his head at her denial of what her uncle says. He slams his hand down on the table, willing her to look at him with the action. “It is no longer about you being his niece who can tolerate his slights. You are Fort’s Weyrwoman. I cannot have my Weyrwoman being slandered by some upstart Lord Holder.” His anger sharpens his gaze as her words continue. “Our child is claimed,” he asserts, “and is no bastard. Bastards do not exist in the Weyr. That is some Lord Holder idiocy. If my child is set to inherit Silverfield, our child may inherit Zaivar Hold.” His hand rakes against the table as he draws it back towards him. “Your uncle will answer for his foolishness regardless. It is a shame his people will suffer for it.”

“He sought to gain, then. Now, he only stands to lose.” Whether completely of her own volition of not, Isolwyn stares up at C’aol as she speaks, her tensed and awkward posture only making her seem more angular than she truly is. She watches, transfixed, as his hand retreats, keeping what command of herself that she may appearing to only allow her to otherwise focus on one thing at a time. “To tolerate it would have been to let him continue to send me suitors when he started that game,” she insists, her jaw clenched. “There’s a difference between tolerating his behaviour and disregarding it.” It’s a little difficult to tell whether she sounds more defensive or bitterly angry. “Do what you will. I’ve no feelings towards the man. My only concern lies with what how you will be perceived for it and how he might seek to make you pay.”

“The man is power-hungry and has gotten away with the extortions of his family blood too long. Whether or not he may win an upper hand, or somehow find recourse against me, it has to be said that I must address this letter,” C’aol tells her, eyes growing colder as he speaks and witnesses her tense posturing. “Whether or not you can disregard it isn’t the point. I’m not as graced as you are with the power of words, or in the politics of Holders as I have been removed for too many years. I know that, as his Weyrleader, I am not even his equal. I am his better,” he rises from the table with those words and moves around to stand alongside her. “It is time he learned what it means to have the power of his Weyrleader’s displeasure.” He rests a hand on her shoulder to wait for her to make eye contact with him. “Consequences be damned. I’m not letting him play these games any longer. It will end here, Isolwyn. He will have no more communication with you, unless //you// seek it.”

Isolwyn slowly lifts her gaze to C’aol’s, still torn between too many feelings to answer immediately. “…I don’t seek to stop you from doing as you will,” she says, given time to put her thoughts in order. “But it isn’t consequences be damned when it comes to you. Not for me. Do as you wish; I only ask you to remember that. He’s insulted our child and you, and me, and I want to //hurt// him, but I don’t want you hurt.” Given further time, she manages to see through the haze to that which she //can// do. “What I have other concerns about is that one of our Healers must be passing information to the Hold. If I’d made it a more obvious thing, I’d be satisfied that someone might only have seen the signs, but I’ve not so much as stepped out of a meeting for no apparent reason.” She closes her eyes for a moment and takes a deep breath. “I’m going to inform the Hall and request a senior Master’s presence to investigate current procedures in our infirmary. If information like this can be shared freely, then Faranth knows what other private information is being distributed.”

C’aol turns the focus from the Lord of Fort to the reality of the Healer who must have passed on the information. His fingers unknowingly tighten on her shoulder before he removes them. “This may be an opportunity for one of those creatures,” he pauses, clarifying, “the fire lizards that people employ, to be placed in the Infirmary to keep an eye. They flutter about often enough maybe no one would notice one eavesdropping.” He shakes his head and impulsively reaches to draw her against him in a rough hug. “I’ll let you handle the Healers. I will handle Fort Hold.” He holds her against his chest for a breath and then steps back. “I’ll see you tonight,” he promises her before he heads towards the door. “And I will not unduly put myself at risk.” With that, he walks out of the chambers and heads out to the waiting Daeserath. He does not return to the Weyr until late in the evening and will offer no information as to his actions unless prompted by Isolwyn.

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