Cradle

What: Isolwyn, C’aol, Eosyth, Daeserath
Where: Weyrleaders’ Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: C’aol surprises Isolwyn in more ways than one.


It would seem that something has shifted in C’aol’s demeanor since he has formally moved into Isolwyn’s weyr. He has left Isolwyn to the duty of reforming their home to suit their future family and has done little but comment on the changes he sees day to day. He and Daeserath have been gone most of the day, having left their Weyrsecond to take his place in the various meetings with wingleaders and holders in his stead. They return late enough in the day that there should be none to need their attendance to anything. Daeserath settles on Eosyth’s ledge and thrums with a simmering irritation that is easily mollified once he is sure that Eosyth has not been bothered by any of the ‘other males’ in his absence. C’aol strides into the weyr with a big box in his arms. He seems particularly proud – a glint in his gaze and his smirk almost a smile as he moves to set the box down on the floor. “Isolwyn,” he calls, “I have something for you.”

Eosyth easily curls herself against Daeserath’s side and slides her tail to loop around his, shifting little by little until she is all but making a pillow of him, pleased in this possession of her mate. It makes Isolwyn smile, the expression lingering as she emerges from the room that will be the baby’s nursery and is the early stages of being painted following the sanding of the cavern’s walls. At least there is no evidence that she has interfered and tried to take on the work herself, the one time she picked up a brush one that ended with glares from staff and Healers alike when she had to request a solution to lift a stripe of paint she sported from wrist to elbow. When she finds C’aol and the box he’s carrying, her smile broadens and she heads over to meet him just as he sets it down on the floor. “For me?”

The box is not at all small – it’s large enough to be taller than their small table before the couch and nearly as long. “In a way, I suppose it is for you,” he tells her stiffly, though she may not catch right away his stiffness comes from his nerves. He gestures for her to come and fully open the box. Inside, she will find a well crafted cradle clearly meant for a baby in its early stages of life. “I was told these are used beside our own bed when a baby is young and needs to nurse often,” he explains and looks anywhere but at the object or Isolwyn for a moment. He clasps his hands behind his back and takes a stance more directly like a wingrider at attention than his usual grimaces. The cradle has the mark of the Masterwoodcrafter himself and is carved of the finest wood Pern has to offer. Delicate swirls of dragons have been painstakingly carved into feature pieces of the sturdy rocking cradle.

Isolwyn glances between C’aol and the box a time or two, then moves to do as directed, carefully lifting open its top and easing away interlocking pieces at its corners until she can let them carefully fall to the floor and reveal what’s contained with in. She goes very still for a moment, only to crouch down all in a hurry and settle herself on the floor so that she can run fingertips over the top of the cradle and trace the delicate lines of the dragons’ wings and tails, transfixed. At first, she blinks to try and keep the tears at bay when their glimmer blurs her vision, yet fighting them is something she chooses not to do, letting them slip free in silence as she continues to gently run her hands over the carvings, gathering her feet beneath her so that she can move around it to follow them. From the floor, she lifts her gaze to C’aol, her adoration unmistakable, and soon she stands and reaches to lay a palm against his cheek to try and encourage him to look at her. “I love it,” she tells him in a murmur. “And you.”

C’aol notes her tears but does not rush to ask what has caused them. He has grown enough emotionally to understand the concept that tears can be from joy as well. He’s fallen to looking at the ceiling as he waits for her to speak, giving her space to have her emotions. When her fingers press to his cheek his ice blue gaze drops to hold hers. “I have realized I have not done enough to acknowledge that our love is changing and growing. The addition of the child will be challenging… I do not want you worrying that I will not be by your side when it comes. I heard the nursery is coming along to your liking and it seems this weyr will transform well into our family home.” He moves to hold her hand. “There is no denying it. We are the leaders of Fort and there will be no separating us. The addition of our child acknowledges our love.” He takes a breath and huffs a dry chuckle. “I have been practicing that in my head for days. Look what you have done to me, Isolwyn.” His eyes grow warmer as he smiles briefly down at her.

Lifting up onto her toes, Isolwyn presses a kiss to his cheek. “I’m sorry, but I don’t regret it,” she says quietly, tightening her hold on his hand just a fraction as she offers C’aol up a tiny smile. She takes a breath, sobering, and softly adds, “And I’ll do my best to make sure that you don’t regret it either.” She lets her other hand slip down and settle just above his heart. “I know you’ll be there for me and the baby. You’ve always protected me, C’aol. Always. I’ve never doubted that that would change or that it wouldn’t be the same for our child. We’re both going to have to learn a lot very soon… and we’re both probably going to make mistakes… Most people don’t have to lead a Weyr and look to a tiny child, and I don’t imagine it will be long after we have our own before Eosyth and Daeserath have more of theirs. But I know you’ll be here. And I’ll be here for you too.” Her fingers curl a little into his shirt. “You are mine. You are my family.”

“Family,” C’aol agrees hoarsely as he hugs her briefly, mindful of the amount he presses into her. He pulls back then and shoos her towards the couch. “Sit. Let me put this away.” He goes about carrying the crib to their bedroom, where he sets it against a wall out of the way. He takes the box and moves it out on the ledge, pointedly to allow another take it all the way to the refuse area of the Weyr. He returns and moves to recline on the larger chair near the couch, his feet kicking out in front of him as he crosses his ankles. He steeples his fingers together as he looks to Isolwyn. “How much longer will it be before the child is here?” he asks, “and have you thought of names?”

Isolwyn gives the cradle a lingering look before C’aol carries it out of her sight, which is when she goes to sit herself down on the couch, planting her back against an armrest and bringing her legs to lie straight before her across the cushions. “The Healers think another month or so, but they’re not entirely certain,” she tells him. “They’ve told me first babies are often late. That it happened… not so long after I had gone Between has made some of the calculations more difficult, but they’ve insisted that the baby is well.” As for names, she shakes her head, yet there is little hesitation there that she cannot quite get over fast enough. Rather than try to conceal it, she confesses, “I only know that I want it to be clear that they are yours. It isn’t that I think anyone would ever doubt it, but I want it to be evident in their name who their parents are.” She casts a glance towards the ledge. “Eosyth insists it’s a girl, though I’m not sure that dragons are known to accurately predict such a thing.”

“I would not put it last Eosyth’s ability for her to know such things. Her reach is long, as we both know,” C’aol replies with a twitch of his lips that hint at the smile he restrains. He does not know what to think of Isolwyn’s reasons so he inclines his head to her. “You know best, so name the baby how you will. Having our names hinted at in theirs only solidifies claims to Fort and Zaivar. I don’t disagree with it.” He watches her with a quiet intensity that gets interrupted by the feline that jumps in his lap. He lifts a brow as he looks down at the cat who he pointedly does not touch – to pet or push from his lap. “I had forgotten this creature stayed here.” The name of the feline has long been forgotten. He frowns and lifts his gaze towards the rafters. “Have you those fire lizards? I have forgotten if you do or don’t.”

Isolwyn drops a hand to her stomach and murmurs, “I won’t do what Lady Silverfield did and name our child without acknowledging you. I’ll think of some names… but you are their father and you get to say whether you like them or not. We’re going to be calling them whatever we choose for the rest of their days, after all.” The cat’s progress is observed with a faint edge of interest, though her attention is soon redirected to the matter of her firelizards who are, she claims, “My firelizards are mostly independent. I know there’s a fair in the caverns that looks to Askavi.” She must think to summon them both, for the two appear, the gold claiming a perch on the back of the couch, while the bronze keeps his distance and adopts a higher vantage point. “We’re closest when she has a clutch. I suppose it’s a little like Eosyth, in that respect.” As quickly as they appeared, the two vanish again. “I used to use them as spies. To say they’re trained would be… an understatement.”

C’aol nudges the feline from his lap at the appearance of the fire lizards. “I’ll keep that in mind,” he drawls to her, lifting a brow, “that they are little creatures that listen to things they should not.” He does not comment further about the two who call Isolwyn theirs. Mention of Zaimika earns a light shrug. “Zaimika may be mine through blood but she isn’t mine in any other way. I do not take issue with how her mother chose to name her.” He looks as the feline stalks around the couch before leaping up to claim a position on the back of the couch. “Our child may enjoy these creatures more than I do. I see you enjoy them.” He looks less angry and more torn between irritation and amusement. “I suppose I must learn to like them in the event more are likely to come into our household.” He rises from the chair and moves to join Isolwyn briefly on the couch. He tosses his arm over her shoulders and draws her to him for a hug as his lips press into the top of her head. “I should go and task the cooks with making our dinner and bringing it here. Anything in particular you’d like?”

As the feline drapes himself along the back of the couch, Isolwyn lets her fingers stray through his fur for long enough to set him to purring and drifting off to sleep. “When they’re old enough to handle the bond, a queen of their own would make a good protector, I think. And, between us, I don’t believe we’ll find getting hold of a gold egg a problem.” When C’aol settles beside her on the couch, she curls into him and closes her eyes, exhaling a soft sigh. “A vegetable dish of some kind, please,” she quietly request. “And something with redfruit for dessert, if they have it. Don’t ask them to make anything just for me or they’ll think I’ve decided this pregnancy is an excuse to be arrogant and unreasonable.” Lifting her head, she presses her lips to his, drawing back to reveal a smirk. “Well, more than I already am.”

C’aol relaxes against Isolwyn for a moment after she’s made her requests before he once more kisses her head and stands. “I’ll see what they have,” he offers neutrally, “and you stay here to relax.” He turns from the room then and shoves his arms into his jacket before he heads out. He returns quite some time later with one of the kitchen staff who carries a tray laden with all Isolwyn requested. If she finds out later that the redfruit dessert was specifically crafted on C’aol’s request, he will fiercely deny the truth of it. He seems intent on keeping the evening light-hearted and focused on them and if on occasion an uncomfortable silence falls between them as C’aol struggles to keep it that way, hopefully Isolwyn will forgive him. He tucks her in like he might their future child that night and curls himself about her as protectively as Daeserath curls around Eosyth.

Leave a Reply

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