Who: Priska, B’lian, Yedrith, Imahdth
Where: B’lian’s Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: Some ill-timed confessions.
Imahdth has made quite the habit of finding himself in Yedrith’s company when he is not outside the Weyr with his rider. It’s such a habit that, when he’s been absent for two days, he feels the need to tickle at the edge of her mind to offer an apology. << I have not visited you in some time. I apologize, my little friend. I was - ah, quite occupied. >> Whether or not Yedrith knows of his participation, and winning, of a recent green’s flight he does not elaborate further. He gives a weighted pause before he asks the young queen, << Can you send your rider to B'lian? He is not himself. We have limited our friendships at Fort. I believe he considers her his friend. >>
Yedrith has shifted far enough towards adulthood in the past few weeks that her, << I am not ‘little’, >> sounds far more imperious than matter of fact, laced as it may or may not be with irritation for Imahdth’s absence – and the why of it. << I will send her if you inform me where he is. If necessary, I can bring her to your ledge. >> She currently sits at the edge of her own ledge, tail curled primly around her front paws. << Be quick about it. >>
<< If you are able, come to my ledge. He is inside his weyr >> Imahdth’s response is quick and without any delay per her request. He moves from his wallow to the outside of his ledge, angling his head in her direction. << You can truly fly this high? I am eager to see you do so >>. He sits himself back on his haunches and keeps his wings tucked in close to his side to allow her the most space to land beside him. B’lian is unaware of his dragon’s manipulations for Priska’s time, remaining within his sparsely furnished weyr. He’s dozing on the couch, his jacket thrown over his body in place of a blanket.
When Yedrith lands on Imahdth’s ledge, it’s with a steady surety, Priska clinging to straps that are a simple set designed with room to adjust as the young queen grows. << It seems much less efficient than reaching with the mind, >> is her opinion on flight, shared as her rider clambers down and heads inside B’lian’s weyr without announcing her presence beforehand. Indeed, Priska walks in quite as if she owns the place, seeking until she finds B’lian on the couch. “You get back and this is how you spend your time?” she demands, hands finding her hips. Windswept, she peers down at him, her own jacket slung on over a dress with a light corset and fluffy skirts.
Imahdth tilts his head at Yedrith as she lands beside him and croons a soft note from his throat before he settles down to lounge on his ledge rather than sit and await her arrival. He angles himself to tuck his body near enough to her should she wish closeness but not so much as to crowd her into touching. If other dragons seem to notice their resting on his ledge, Imahdth ignores any comments that may come their way. << Your mind is farther reaching, this is true. When you Between it will become effortless to do one or the other. You fly well and your rider looks confident in her straps. >> B’lian startles at Priska’s voice and leaps up from the couch, groaning as he moves to rest his arm against the back of his couch to settle his headache. He’s got a very clear bruise on his cheek and the hint of a future black eye forming around his right eye. “Not on purpose,” he tells her with a groan as he further rights himself. “Did I miss one of our meetings?” he asks her, noting her attire with a furrowed brow that draws a wince from him. “I apologize.”
If a dragon could arch a brow, it seems Yedrith would, her, << I can go Between any time I choose, >> lit with the blinking glow of fireflies through the darkness. << It is what we are made for. To ‘teach’ us is absurd. >> She settles down next to Imahdth, tucking her paws beneath her. “You think I’d dress for someone else? Please. I’m just tired of dressing like a drudge.” Priska tilts her head and narrows her eyes a little as she takes in the state of B’lian. “Well? What’s all this about? Did you start it or finish it?”
<< Perhaps it is in our nature to learn this on our own as the firelizards do. However, we do not travel alone like they do. We carry our partners a lot of the time. The teaching is for them >> Imahdth cautions with a spark of dry static. << Are you preparing yourself to try before they teach her? >> he forces the question, blowing those glowing fireflies away with a dusty breeze. << You know I will say not to, and I know you may not listen. Do not put yourself or her at risk for pride. >> B’lian presses his palm to the front of his head and waves at her with his other hand to sit down. “Flights don’t always go the way we expect,” is all he seems prepared to say on the starting or finishing of it. “I happened to pay the price for someone else’s sense of injustice.”
<< If I tell you or anyone what I intend, ever, you will all cause a fuss, >> Yedrith claims, the tip of her tail flicking with irritation. << Which is quite unnecessary. Even when I am grown, you will all fuss because I am a queen and not because I am young. >> Priska sighs and wanders the few feet to the end of the couch, where she perches on its arm. “I think it would be much easier if everyone just decided who they wanted beforehand and got rid of all this sleeping with anyone your dragon decides you should,” she says, knotting her skinny arms beneath her chest. “It isn’t as if those who win and those who don’t can’t find //someone// willing if the green or goldrider isn’t there. No offense… I mean, it’s none of my business who you sleep with. It’s a bit more my business if you end up like this, though.”
<< Am I fussing? >> Imahdth asks with genuine surprise, his head moving down closer to hers so he can nudge her with his muzzle. << I am giving you feedback on your beliefs and I am asking if you are planning to do it. Fussing would be me being overly dramatic, threatening you, or telling your rider of your plans. I have done none of this. When you are a queen, you clearly will not tolerate those who follow you to Honshu behaving in such ways. So, you will not allow them to. That is what it is to be the Queen. >> B’lian considers Priska with a shrug as he settles himself against the back of the couch. “It’s that hide-bound logic of it. There are some that enjoy being in the flight weyr and the thrill of not knowing who you end up with. Those that don’t, don’t have to necessarily go if they chose not to. It’s… hard to know what others want in those moments. This,” he touches his cheek, “is because the partner of the person found me after I left. Emotions can run high.” He closes his eyes and presses his thumb and forefinger against the bridge of his nose briefly. “When you run Honshu, will you change the expectations?”
<< You are being cleverer at it, because you aim to make it seem reasonable, but you are doing it all the same, >> Yedrith declares, though not with as much noticeable frustration as before. She doesn’t move away when Imahdth lowers his muzzle to her, but lifts her head to bump her nose gently along the line of his jaw. “If their partner was in the flight weyr and accepted you in making the choice to be there, the person who hit you had no right to do anything about it. It wasn’t their decision to make in the first place.” Priska casts her gaze towards the ceiling for a moment. “When I run Honshu, as long as people aren’t out to hurt each other, they can go to the flight weyr or not. Most probably still will, because it’s an excuse for a thrill outside the norm. I won’t lock myself away for Yedrith’s flights and leave myself open for accusations of favouritism, but I have little care for what others do in that respect.” She shrugs. “I’m no blushing virgin, no matter what some may assume, but I understand it’s a bigger deal for some people.”
<< I am a very reasonable bronze >> Imahdth reminds her with a color of purple hued laughter, << or I at least try to be. Your precociousness challenges those who train you. It will shape you into being a great queen. Try and have some caution for the sake of your rider. That is all I will say on it. >> And indeed, it is all he says as instead of continuing with the conversation he begins to open up his memories for her to sift through the location he has recently hailed from. The coastal breeze of Ista greets her as he layers his memories for her to dive into. B’lian’s eyes open and his glance goes sideways as he considers her statements. “Sex is not always about pleasure. It’s layered into other things. Relationships muddle all of it. But they also improve it. The person who hit me had their reasons. I am not broken,” he chuckles lightly, “all that much from it. The woman was embarrassed. They’ll have things to say to each other and I won’t be involved in it.” He scratches briefly at the grizzle that’s formed on his chin. “Do you still have an attachment for someone back home?” he pauses and looks momentarily self-chastened for asking. “Navigating that would be hard in your position now.”
Priska shakes her head and tucks a stray wave of hair behind her ear. “There was no point in forming an attachment to anyone when I was always going to end up with some Blooded husband or other, likely one I didn’t know.” She ducks her head a little, angling her gaze towards her knees. “Nonetheless, I wasn’t going to wait for him to possess me completely. I wasn’t going to be afraid on my wedding night. If he’d figured it out, well… the rank he received from marrying me surely would’ve mitigated the sting.” Huffing out a note of dry laughter, she remarks, “There’s got to be some irony in avoiding that and ending up as some prize men will chase after every year or so, instead of just the once. Still less frequently than greenriders, though.”
B’lian does not immediately speak after she’s shared her remarks on the subject. His gaze is thoughtful as he watches her and takes in her dry laughter without any humor reflected on his face. “I don’t think it is easy for anyone in your position. Or greenriders. It’s different to be the rider of a male dragon. I can hold Imahdth back if a particular green’s flight is one in which… the rider is not someone I would be interested in bedding. It’s not always easy to do so, but I have that option. It’s how some bronze and brownriders resolve their issue with not wanting to bed the same sex.” He doesn’t elaborate if he is one of those sorts. “I think you are in a unique position to change how you may want those flights to go. Take Inaskashath’s rider, for instance. She is the first goldrider that I know of who has not only permitted a blue to catch her queen — she has made it clear that she will only chose that blue’s rider. Aerishani only permitted O’rlen to claim her during Amorenth’s flights. I think… whether or not Isolwyn would want it handled one way or the other… C’aol has made it very clear no one is to touch her.” He shrugs and touches his fingers gingerly to his cheek. “I wouldn’t want to face C’aol’s wrath, especially during a flight. Flights… change your behavior.”
“Your examples suggest most of all that it’s emotion and attachment that change a rider’s behaviour during a flight most of all, regardless of the involvement of their dragon’s needs,” Priska replies, idly finding new ways to lace her fingers together. “The difference in my situation is that no-one will be impacted by any feelings for //me//. It isn’t my love or affection that any of these bronzeriders will be seeking. Perhaps some of them will find me physically attractive, but their lust will ultimately be for power, not for me. I have no weyrmate and I’m not married – I’ve no excuse to lock myself away or suggest I’m loyal to someone when I don’t stand to break anyone’s heart and have only to worry about my new Weyrleader’s capacity to lead and that he isn’t some rough brute of a man.” Her lips twitch in a smirk. “Maybe it’ll be me who’s awful to all of them.”
“I haven’t offered you anything to drink or eat since your arrival,” B’lian says by way of bypassing the current conversation. “Let me go and fetch us something before we continue to talk. You’re allowed to sit on the couch, not just rest on the edge of it,” he tells her with a passing smile as he heaves himself off of the couch and disappears down a hallway. He returns with two mugs of steaming klah and a bottle tucked underneath his arm. He hands her one of the mugs before he tugs the bottle from his arm to show her. “I’m going to apologize now for having nothing more to offer you than klah and this bourbon to add to it if you want. I know drinking is frowned upon in weyrlinghood. However, I am going to be frank with you. My head hurts from being punched over someone’s personal problem and we’re talking about some serious things.” He splashes bourbon into his klah and then sets it down on the small table in front of the couch. He settles himself back on the couch. He takes a few sips of klah before he goes back to their conversation. “I feel like, as a bronzerider, and someone who has told you I have intentions of someday leading a Weyr, I’m not allowed to say anything to you on the subject. You might, rightly so, think I am manipulating you. It’s not my intention to do that. So,” he shrugs and sips from the mug again. “Tell me if you want to know my opinions as B’lian the man, not the bronzerider.”
Priska sloshes a fair amount of bourbon into her klah before resuming her perch on the arm of the couch, though she kicks her shoes off and turns to rest her feet on the couch cushion, the sharp lines of her limbs a contrast to her fluffy skirts. “Everyone is trying to manipulate me,” she says simply, giving a quick shrug. “It isn’t as if I don’t know that C’aol and Isolwyn want control of Honshu through me. People who want to be my friend are interested because I’ll be in a position to give them something they want, in all likelihood. It’s no different to how it was at Telgar. It’s a familiar game.” Braving its temperature, she takes a long drink and leans to set her mug down. “The only people I trusted stabbed me in the back when they had a boy to replace me. I figure nothing will be as bad as that.” She rests her elbows on her knees. “You can tell me whatever you want to tell me, you know.”
B’lian’s taken one more bolstering gulp of klah before he follows suit and sets his own mug down after Priska. “Well, it sounds like you’re in not in any position to regain trust in people are you? After what your parents did, and now, because of your future station.” He shakes his head and throws his arm over the back of his couch, angling himself to look at her more clearly. With the aid of the liquor-laced klah and his mental state upon Priska’s arrival, B’lian allows a looseness to himself that he has not shown her before. “I don’t know where that frees me to talk to you bluntly or not. You probably don’t trust me either. I hope that as we continue to be friends, you’ll find it in you to trust me.” He shakes his head and snorts a laugh as he glances towards the ceiling. “Forget it,” he decides, “I feel like I’m one of those men that are… trying to smooth talk a pretty girl. All I want to say to you is, I am a bronzerider. But I’d like to be your friend. And if being your friend means I help you find who is and isn’t to be trusted, I’ll do it for you. I’m going to be sad to see you go to Honshu.”
Priska goes very still, both watching B’lian and keeping her gaze just slightly averted to make sure it doesn’t look like she’s staring at him as intently as her focus would otherwise suggest. “You are a bronzerider,” she needlessly agrees, the words murmured as she nods along to that confirmation. “But you and Emily are the only ones here who’ve wanted to look out for me and have listened to me… I’m not saying C’aol and Isolwyn haven’t, but it’s not the same.” She leans to lift her mug back up and takes another one of those long drinks. “And if I were a better person, I’d probably try and set you up with Emily, because you both deserve someone good.” Dropping her feet to the floor, she sets her mug on the table and turns to brace an arm on the back of the couch so that she can lean down and touch her lips to B’lian’s. “But sometimes I do want to have things for my own.” She straightens, head tilting, but there’s no disturbance from the ledge; no outrage from Yedrith.
B’lian shifts as she moves to set her mug down, prepared to tell her to stay only to find himself with Priska angling closer to him. His brows furrow at the mention of ‘setting him up with Emily’ and he leans forward to say something only to find himself on the receiving end of her kiss. “I barely know Emily,” he tells her as he reaches to grab his klah and take a few sips from it to settle himself, “and do not know if she is the sort of woman I would have interest in.” He lifts his gaze to hers after he settles the mug back on the table. “Yedrith didn’t mind that,” he says aloud, watching her closely. “I can’t say I minded it either.” He doesn’t move to reclaim more kisses from her as he settles himself against the couch again, instead he waits for her to say or do something further.
Priska keeps her angled towards the ledge as B’lian speaks, though it cannot be for fear of anything regarding Yedrith, for not even a flicker of concern is felt by any across the Weyr. She keeps staring, then lifts up onto her toes to fall into quick, light steps that start to carry her towards the door. “I should go,” she says, the words almost jumbled together in her haste. “You can forget what I just did. I mean, you probably will, between the drink and being clocked in the head, and Imahdth really just wanted me to check on you, I think, and I’ve done that.”
“Hey!” B’lian is quick to his feet, despite drinking and taking a few blows to the head. He’s quick to close the distance between them, faster than her own haste. His hand locks on her elbow to stall her from moving further to the door. “Wait, please.” He doesn’t let go of her arm until he is certain that she isn’t going to bolt for the door again. “Please don’t go. I don’t want to forget what you did. I told you I didn’t mind it, but I meant to say I //enjoyed// it.” He moves from holding her elbow to reaching to cup his palm briefly against her cheek. “I’m not good at this. I don’t have moves. I don’t calculate how to woo a woman. I don’t think I’ve ever effectively wooed anyone. I loved someone once, a long time ago.” He takes a breath and closes his eyes as he slowly exhales and opens them to look at her for a reaction. “I want to kiss you again. //You//, Priska. Not goldrider Priska. Not Honshu’s bright future. You.” He draws closer to her then and lets his lips find hers.
Though Priska stops when he grabs her elbow, she remains tensed, still ready for flight, her features falling into stern, irritable lines. She lets B’lian speak, listening without interruption, her rising agitation only noticeable in her quickened breaths, that situation made absolutely no better when he kisses her. For half a moment, she resists, then she twists her fingers into the front of his shirt and deepens the kiss into something more, only to suddenly draw back and step clear of him, retreating out of reach. “You don’t understand. I don’t get to keep you. And I can’t afford to have… feelings… for anyone.” She stares at him for an instant more, then turns and flees, out to a Yedrith disgruntled to have to depart so swiftly, but the two are gone in seconds just the same.