Who: Nala, Rori, Jynth, Inakashath
Where: Galleries, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Inaskashath is proddy. More than that: politics.

One of the quieter places in the Weyrhold when there are no eggs to guard and watch is the hatching cavern, which is this afternoon being employed by Jynth as a cosy place of warmth and by Nala as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the other caverns. While her blue lies curled up on the Sands, the end of his tail draped over his nose, Nala has chosen one of the highest rows of seating as her temporary hideout and lies on her back across several seats, a jug of iced lemonade set on the ground amongst the rest of her things, including her straps and jacket, and getting progressively less cold.

The slow creep of Inashaskath’s proddiness has bypassed much of Rori’s thoughts as she has focused solely on running Honshu. With O’rlen and Aerishani moved out of Honshu and settled at Silverfield Hold with their family, Rori has had the full running of the Weyrhold in her care along with S’ven. Despite the bronzerider’s continued suggestions and advances about both of them becoming Honshu’s permanent leaders, Rori has spent more and more of her time retreating inward with the pressure of her station. When she has grown tired of S’ven’s continued advances and attempts to break her will down to “accept the reality”, Rori enters the Sands with exhaustion weighing her features down. She moves towards Nala once she’s spotted her and claims a spot near her without comment as she looks towards Jynth on the Sands. Whether Rori realizes her golds’ intentions or not, Inaskashath seems //far// too obvious as she taunts Jynth with an image of the sun and sky above her. << Will you nap when I rise so Beruth can make his riders' dreams come true? >>

When Rori sits down, Nala eases herself up and swings her legs back to the ground, shifting over to occupy the seat next to her. It’s without warning or enquiry when she reaches out, snagging a hold on goldrider’s waist to haul her over onto her lap and then to sit between her legs, wrapping her arms around her middle as she props her chin on her shoulder. “It will surely not be long now,” she murmurs, pressing a kiss to her cheek. “Are you set on attending the flight weyr after all? It is not a leadership flight, no matter what that idiot bronzerider tries to make of it. It is… your choice to make and I would not want to suggest otherwise… But with him being of the mind he is… I think you would be safer with me than in the flight weyr, no matter… what happens.” Jynth doesn’t budge from the Sands, only kneading his paws deeper into golden grains. << I nap now so that //when// you rise he won’t get near you, >> is a near drawl. << You could join me. We know you’ve no eyes for the others. >>

“I have given Honshu more than I ever expected to at this point,” Rori tells Nala with a small sigh as she leans back into the safety of her future wife’s arms. “I have no intention of giving them what is only meant for you.” She turns her face to press her cheek against Nala’s chest. “S’ven’s only being the way he is because he realizes with O’rlen gone he might have to actually work to maintain his Weyrleaders’ knot. He should focus on the future goldrider that will come here. Not on me or Inaskashath.” She closes her eyes and snuggles closer. “I will not go to the flightweyr at all. If I had my way, we would take Inaskashath and Jynth to our cothold and have her flight there.” Inaskashath takes in Jynth’s words as she flits across the Weyrhold. She appears from Between above the Sands before she dips and lands abruptly near Jynth. Her landing sends a cascade of sand across the space as she burrows her feet in and leans against Jynth. << You know me too well >> she tells him with a soft sigh. << I had thought flirting would be fun. Maybe it isn't. It would seem my glow is making Rori sad. Normally when I am this way she's playful. >>

“I am not sure that new goldrider would appreciate having his attention turned on her if it is anything like what he has subjected you to,” Nala says quietly, tightening her arms around Rori’s middle. “We can only hope that he does not try anything with her the moment she gets here. But then, it seems subtlety is not his strong suit when he senses what he wishes slipping from his grasp. When it is all over and done with, I will have to find some way of repaying his… attention…” She rests her head against Rori’s and closes her eyes. “Inaskashath thinks you are sad,” she murmurs, an apology following on the heels of those words. “I overheard. He did not share.” Jynth shifts and flings out a heavy wing to drape over Inaskashath. << Flirting is fun, but I much prefer knowing you’re mine no matter what all those out there think. >>

“I don’t think he’d be so brazen with the new goldrider. He wasn’t like this when we first started working together. I guess, with the O’rlen gone, he sees he enjoys his position and is trying to find ways he won’t lose it. He doesn’t seem to comprehend I simply do not want this life to be permanent for me. I like helping the Weyrhold, bringing people together, managing and leading… but not forever. Temporary. Like how it was with Fort.” She gives a soft laugh, shaking her head as she moves to wrap her arms around Nala’s neck and press her forehead against the blueriders’. “I’ll make a career of taking over a Weyr until new leadership comes at this rate.” On the subject of her sadness she offers nothing more than a shrug. “I don’t know if it’s sadness that I feel. I feel… off. She’s off. It’ll be better once she’s risen.” She kisses Nala’s cheek. “It has nothing to do with either of you.” Inaskashath wriggles against Jynth so she can drape her neck along his as his wing drapes comfortably over her. << You know who you are to me. I don't need you to prove anything. Only, I require you to catch me. I am looking forward to more of our sons and daughters being in the world. Our young are doing well as far as Rori can tell. This time, we will keep them all with us. No more sharing eggs. >>

“Power does odd things to people. You and I live in close enough proximity to it to know that. You seem to me to be one of the few who does not value it to the exclusion of all else.” Nala loosens her hold to let Rori turn, then anchors her hands at the small of her back. “I do not think it would be so bad to be known as one who can reshape the fortunes of a Weyr and train those who are to inherit while arrangements are made for its future. Others may think what they like of the rest of our lives… but they cannot deny that you are skilled.” She noses along Rori’s jaw, murmuring, “I could always take you home and make you think of other things…” Jynth curls himself around Inaskashath, twining his tail loosely with hers. << There’s no-one to tell us we must give them up. They’ll be ours to keep and look after. >>

“I may take you up on that later. Right now, I don’t want to move,” Rori tells Nala as she closes her eyes against the nosing. “It’s oddly quiet now that Amorenth and Roreliuth are gone,” she continues, opening her eyes to turn and look at Inaskashath and Jynth. “O’rlen and Aerishani gave up all they had built here to move to focus on their family. I wish they could have found a way to make this work. To stay and lead. It’s been a long time without their leadership… and even though they stepped down while they lived here… I always felt like they were here to back me up if I needed it. If S’ven needed it. I truly hope that when Priska comes and whomever ends up leading alongside her, they can continue what Honshu was when I Impressed Inaskashath.”

“Perhaps they needed to get away from the place that it happened to leave it all behind,” Nala answers quietly, letting one hand roam along Rori’s spine while the other remains settled to support her. “I doubt that we will ever know the true extent of what went on, particularly between them. Maybe time and distance will allow them to reveal what it was, one day.” She touches her lips to the edge of Rori’s jaw. “You do not need them to back you up. You led Fort. You have led Honshu. In truth, surely you have spent more time leading a Weyr than they have, at this point. If there is time after the new queen arrives for you to impart to them more of what Honshu is than what Fort may have made them… I will have better hopes for Honshu’s survival.”

Rori is quiet as she absorbs what Nala has shared with her. She pulls herself back from Nala and moves to clasp one of her hands. “To those who do not support us, they certainly have benefited from my remaining loyal to my knot, haven’t they?” She shakes her head and looks to their cuddling dragons. “They want to use me when it’s easy for them to have me. As soon as it isn’t, they’ll go back to complaining about Inaskashath and Jynth. Maybe the world will change,” she sounds wistful as she looks back to Nala. “I don’t think it will.” She shrugs her shoulders and smiles briefly. “Whatever Honshu will become when Fort sends its goldrider… it will be shaped by the people who call it home. I don’t see any of those who work hard and live here letting Fort come in and destroy what they enjoy about this place.” She squeezes Nala’s hand.

Nala shakes her head a little and ducks her forehead down to press against Rori’s shoulder. “…I know that you have said you do not want it again and again, and I know that has not changed, but I cannot help but feel it would be so much easier for you if you were to claim the knot for your own, with another bronzerider, if not our ‘esteemed’ Weyrsecond,” she quietly confesses. “At least in that instance, you would not have to worry about this new goldrider, among other things.” She lifts her head and reaches to smooth back a stray lock of Rori’s hair. “You do not need to tell me you do not wish to claim the knot. I know it is true without the words. I only wish that people were better and that they were not fickle and choose to acknowledge only that which suits them, when it does.”

“If I were to claim the knot permanently the expectation would follow that I would allow a bronze dragon to fly Inaskashath to pick the leadership position for Weyrlord. I will not do that to her nor you nor myself. Until we can find ways to have our Weyrholds and Weyrs led outside of dragon mating flights, I won’t do it. It’s one thing to volunteer to carry the burden of the knot for a time. I won’t have that knot dictate who I welcome into my bed and who Inaskashath is forced to breed with,” Rori answers resolutely. She shakes her head and sighs as she ducks her head towards her chest and closes her eyes briefly. “I’m sure there are some that will flock to her next flight to prove that their bronze can best the largest blue. That there are some that would prove us wrong.” Her head lifts and then she squeezes Nala’s hand. “I fear that may be our life. After she has this clutch, I want to move forward with our wedding. It’ll be some time before Priska comes. I don’t want people to believe they can find my bed through my dragon.”

Unwilling to ignore the reality of it, Nala murmurs, “One day, there may be a bronze or a brown who catches her instead of Jynth. They may all conspire to keep him away or to injure him. That is the test that people’s perceptions will bring.” She eases the hand at Rori’s back, shifting beneath her to begin to get to her feet and encourage her to find her own. “And you do not have to be in the flight weyr for any of it. That is the small mercy we are afforded. That we cannot extend it to Inaskashath, to be always permitted her choice, means Jynth and I will always be prepared to fight in whatever way we must. We will expect the worst, in the hope it does not happen.” With one hand, she slings her coat and straps over a shoulder, leaving the drink to be discovered later by someone cleaning up. “Come on. You are coming home with me and you are not going to think on this until the time arrives.”

Rori still seems unable to shed the lingering sorrow that Inaskashath alluded to as she listens to Nala speak with a despondent expression. She moves to her feet as Nala encourages and offers her the barest of smiles. “I’ll do as you say, love.” She reaches to take the burden of coat or straps from Nala, prepared to carry something to their weyr. How Nala goes about trying to encourage her out of her mood will likely take some coaxing before the healing of sleep can draw the day to a permanent close.

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