Who: Priska, Emily, Yedrith, Hanath
Where: Emily’s Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: Hanath gives Yedrith a kitten.

While Yedrith has done little to try and forge relationships with her siblings, she’s seemed most content in the company of her fellow queens, Vesoviath included, and has often simply settled herself down next to Hanath or Eosyth to watch the world go by. Priska too, continues to struggle with forming meaningful friendships with those in her class, her reputation one of being willing to help others while maintaining a cool distance. Though her lifemate has no trouble trotting herself up the stairs to Emily’s weyr with the expectation that, even if she is not welcome, she will at least discover //something//, Priska hesitates, plainly agitated by her own reluctance. When she finally reaches the top of the stairs, she lifts her voice to call “…Emily?” across the ledge.

Yedrith will find Hanath in the comfort of her wallow, lounging among her various pillows and blankets that she has requested Emily add to her wallow over the turns. She lifts her head at the younger gold’s arrival and croons her pleasure at her company. << Come and see what I have found >> she shifts her forepaws to allow Yedrith a better view of the three little kittens that are slumbering in a pile together. << Emily is quite upset about my having kittens again. She seems to think when I clutch that she will have to care for them and me in the Sands. >> Emily rises from her table and the paints she was using to turn and encourage Priska to enter. “Come in!” She wipes her brush off on the towel nearby and closes her water colors.

Curious, Yedrith pads to the edge of Hanath’s wallow and peers down at the kittens, her attention on them more a study than anything. << They are curious colours, >> she declares, sitting down with her paws aligned primly before her. << They will be bigger by the time that you clutch, yes? Perhaps they will not need taking care of by then. >> Priska edges into the weyr more warily than her queen, her gaze darting from place to place. “I didn’t mean to interrupt,” she states, giving a nod towards the paints. “Only… I thought that I’d ask, since I’ve nothing to lose by //asking//, if we could start my training sooner? No-one can deny we’re doing well in our lessons. And if I’m going to inherit a Weyrhold straight away, the more time I have to learn the intricacies of it being a Weyr and not simply a Hold, the better it’ll be for everyone.”

<< Do you want one? >> Hanath asks of Yedrith as the little gold comes to join her. << We usually find them homes when I take care of them. Eosyth has one from me. >> Hanath leans forward to nose at the sleeping pile of kittens. << Here, I will wake them up and you can pick the one you like best >> Used to being tumbled by their overzealous caregiver, the kittens stir and mewl as they shake themselves from being flopped over from their slumber pile. Emily returns to putting away her paints as Priska enters. She doesn’t fuss over them long once Priska’s question is asked. “I don’t see anything wrong with training you sooner,” Emily tells her easily enough, gesturing for Priska to join her at the table. “Do you want tea?” she queries as she moves to put her paints away in a cabinet. She doesn’t wait for an answer as she bustles into the other part of her weyr to settle a tea kettle over a small hearth. She returns to ensure herself that Priska is making herself comfortable. “Is there any potential conflict in your current training with the Weyrlingmasters?”

Practical concerns strike first, driving Yedrith to reply, << We have no home of our own and must sleep in the barracks with the others, >> unable to conceal a wisp of frustration for //that// situation as much as anything else. << I have nowhere to house one. >> Still, it doesn’t stop her from lowering her head to gently nose at the nearest of the kittens, one with a tortoiseshell coat. Priska inches over to the table and sits herself down, folding her arms across her chest only to unfold them immediately. “Um… Yes. Please.” The second question is considered for longer. “The Weyrlingmasters aren’t bad people, but they treat us like little kids at their Harper lessons. I’m not a child and Yedrith has never behaved like one.” She hesitates, glancing down into her lap before enquiring, “Was the… Were you happy with the flight?”

Hanath may not have the authority — yet she tells Yedrith, << If you take one I will make sure you are removed from the barracks. You shouldn't be trapped there and unable to care for the young ones that need you. >> She watches Yedrith with a clear maternal pride as she picks one of the kittens. << She is a sweet one. She likes to purr. Hear it? >> Emily lingers near the entryway that will take her back to the kitchenette to make the tea. “I can see where that would be frustrating. I was rather bored by the lessons as well, though I spent much of my time helping tutor those that were struggling. I guess I found a balance with that. All Hanath ever wanted to do was find little things to care for.” She seems caught off guard by Priska’s question. Her cheeks flush and she blinks a few times as she tries to work out how much to tell the other woman. “He was not unkind,” she manages to say before the tea kettle’s whistling draws her back to fix tea. When she returns to the table with the mugs of tea, she settles one in front of Priska before she claims a seat. Her cheeks are still flushed but she seems more prepared for the question. “Since it was a Benden bronze, he will not be staying to guard the clutch with Hanath. She does not seem bothered by it. D’niel… is not pleased that he and Vekaryth cannot stay.”

Yedrith goes very still, then lifts her focus from the kitten and back to Hanath. << You… can do that? >> bears poorly concealed and all too youthful hope, such as nothing she’s never before displayed. Priska murmurs her thanks and wraps her hands around the mug of tea, studying it for a moment. “I’m glad he didn’t treat you badly,” doesn’t exactly sidestep the topic at all. “I didn’t like to pry, but people were making suggestions because it was a Benden rider… And I didn’t like to think that you’d have had to bear ill treatment in silence. If Hanath isn’t worried about not having them here… I’d not believe they have much argument to insist on it. Unless it’s something you want, I mean.” She lifts her mug to her lips for a tentative sip. “I’d wonder if he’s not pleased because he cares or because he loses the prestige of being seen with a queen on the Sands.”

Hanath continues on the same assumption she can do as she wishes when it comes to tending young things when she tells Yedrith firmly, << I will see it is done. Do you like that one? What shall you name it? >> She lowers her head to her forearms, crossing them to take lift her head away from the other kittens who are now roaming around between the two golds with petulant mewls. << They get distressed easily. Sometimes this means they are hungry. >> Emily does not seem at all prepared for Priska’s continued questions as she shifts uncomfortably in her seat and takes a nervous sip or two of tea. “I, ah, hadn’t really been with anyone before,” she tells Priska, her cheeks taking on darker hues of pink. “So I don’t know if it should be one way or another. He seemed to enjoy himself very much. Or so he said. I don’t remember… much of it. You’re more with your dragon in those moments.” She sips a few more times at her tea, willing herself to remain calm for the conversation, and still somehow failing. “I wanted the open flight. We didn’t think to bar Benden from it. I should’ve thought about that. How they treated Safiye and Vesoviath…,” she shakes her head and looks away from Priska. “Not much to be done about it now.”

<< I think my Priska would be best at naming her, >> Yedrith claims, putting a gentle paw down beside the kitten that is plainly going to be going home with her, wherever ‘home’ may be now. << She keeps many names of things for me. >> She cannot help but let her frustration at that leak through, though she occupies herself by letting the kitten clamber over her paw. “Oh…” Priska falls to silence for a few moments, only to decide on her path and allow, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with that,” to be an admittance of whatever it may be about her. “If he’s decent enough, maybe he might be worth spending more time with when everything dies down. Doesn’t have to be someone you tell your secrets to, but…” She shrugs a shoulder. “You did what you thought was the right thing. You had enough to worry about without thinking Benden would turn up. I can’t even think what to do about Yedrith rising yet.”

<< Riders are very good at memorizing things for us. This way we can focus better on the now. They have a hard time with that. Sometimes Emily gets trapped in the past or worrying about the future. I remind her that it is best to leave that alone. I rather like I don't remember everything. >> Hanath watches the kittens play and falls to companionable silence with Yedrith. Emily takes more than a few sips of tea as she considers Priska’s statements. “He did not seek to linger in my bed long after the flight. It may be best to let it be as it is now. With distance.” Another shrug, then she tilts her head at Priska. “We are both Holder women. I was always going to have more freedom than my older siblings and still… this was not a choice I was going to make on my own then. I have a hard time considering I have the choice now. If that makes sense? I cannot be like some of the other women who are so… free with their bodies.” She tugs on her earlobe and offers Priska a small smile. “I don’t think you should worry about Yedrith rising any time soon. There is plenty of other things for you to focus your attention on now.”

“I figure the only time you have to be… free… with anything is whenever Hanath rises,” Priska replies, settling back to cradle her mug before her. “I don’t mean to be crass, but I’m…” She huffs a quirk of a smile down at her tea. “It doesn’t matter any more, and maybe it was stupid of me, being the only child and heir, but I made sure I knew what it’d be like with the inevitable husband. Whatever bronzerider ends up leading with me, I doubt it’ll be one I know or even like, so he won’t be chaining himself to my heart or my bed. At least he’ll care less than the husband would’ve if they’d realised I’d not waited to give myself to them.” She takes another drink from her mug. “You could still marry, if you find the right one. You don’t have to be like anyone else. Especially as you’ve got Hanath.”

“You were braver than I was,” Emily acknowledges with a rueful twist to her lips. “I suppose I never wanted to think about it. Until I had to think about it.” She finishes her tea and lowers the mug to the table. She twists the mug back and forth for a second and then glances up at Priska. “I hope that you’ll find someone agreeable. If you truly do not want to be a Senior goldrider, I’m sure we could arrange for you to stay at Fort and continue as Isolwyn’s junior. There is less pressure in it. However,” she continues with a shrug as she leans back, “it has it’s own set of responsibilities. Outside of that, it isn’t as… chaining to a person.” She considers Priska for a moment. “Do you feel trapped by your future?”

“No,” Priska says, almost immediately, the rapid nature of her response something that brings a wry quirk to her lips. “I was set on inheriting and ruling Telgar. It was meant to be mine and I wanted it. It sounds selfish and grand and arrogant, but I feel like I could do Honshu some good; that everything I learned and wanted wasn’t a waste. Maybe it’s not the place I was expecting, but it’s the same role, more or less. And now, not in some distant future.” She sets her mug down on the table. “And at least this way, if I do find someone that //I// want to be with, I can do as I please, as long as I’m discreet. If I want a family, I can choose who with and when. My life is mine more ways than I ever expected.”

“Your father is a fool,” Emily tells Priska frankly, her eyes sharpening into a small display of anger before she shakes her head and smooths her features into kinder lines. “Honshu will benefit from you and we’ll miss you as well. Hanath has grown very fond of Yedrith. Apparently,” she drawls with a smile as she glances in the direction of her gold’s wallow. “She’s given you both a kitten. And tells me you require an immediate move out of the barracks.” She leans back in her chair and smiles at Priska. “I can see that you’re probably ready to get out of the barracks. There’s no reason for you to stay there, unless you wish it? We’ve got your weyr available. You and Yedrith may move in.” She pauses, tapping her fingers briefly against her lips. “I think Yedrith may still be too young to understand… if you decided to be free with a man… we should check with Isolwyn. The Weyrlingmasters’ will imply that’s what you’ll do when you move into your own space,” this seems to be an experience she’s had from the hint of bitterness in her words. “I know you would not unduly jeopardize Yedrith’s well being. And who would want to risk their dragon broadcasting something to the Weyr?”

“We have a kitten?” Despite the rhetorical question and a look angled over her shoulder, Priska seems to take that news in her stride. “Well, I guess we’ll be mouse and tunnelsnake free,” is a little dryer. She shakes her head, quick to tell Emily that, “No, I’d… really we rather didn’t stay in the barracks. I always had my own room before and living with other people in such close quarters hasn’t… been my idea of fun. And Yedrith doesn’t really understand her siblings, so it’s been pretty frustrating for her to be shut in a small space with them.” Her, “Intellect and emotional maturity are different things,” is emphatic. “I’m not going to let Yedrith overhear anything before she’s ready. And besides, there’s no-one I–“ She gives another one of those tiny, wry smiles. “Well, there’s no-one here who’d look at me that way, anyway. When Yedrith’s older, no doubt some will try and suggest to me they’re the best choice for Honshu’s leadership and try to get at me with flattery.”

“When you run Honshu,” Emily says with a kind smile, “you may find reason to do away with the barracks system all together. At least,” she allows with a small shrug and a wistful tone, “for the women. The boys…, always find ways to make it a bit uncomfortable, don’t they?” She pauses and looks intently as Priska shares her experience with her. “I know Isolwyn has been rather hands off with your training,” she tells Priska and seems set on seriousness, “Hanath is not like her dam in the regards to her reach or disinterest in others. If you feel that you’d benefit from Isolwyn and Eosyth’s tutelage… I would not take offense,” she seems to need to clarify as she lifts a hand, “despite what the Weyrlingmasters’ may think, no teacher is perfect.” As to the more common conversation of potential partners, Emily looks even //more// uncomfortable than the possible critique of her training. “I’m sure with your posting known to Honshu one or more bronzeriders’ have been… making themselves known to you. The moment Hanath shelled.. I found myself with more interested men than I did when I was the youngest Lord Holders’ daughter.” If her tone is bitter, Emily doesn’t quite seem to grasp it as she shakes her head and adds, “I’ll arrange for your transfer to your weyr today.”

“…If Isolwyn has any particular methods that might help to manage Yedrith’s need to exploit her reach and to roam, her assistance might be useful, but otherwise I’ve no worries about our training,” Priska easily replies. Carefully, she inches back her chair and gets to her feet, tucking said chair beneath the table just as gently. For a few moments, she regards Emily with her head tilted, perhaps contemplating further silence, only to decide to barrel on ahead anyway. “I mean no offense, but… It doesn’t sound like you think much of men. Or maybe just the way you’ve been made to interact with them because of your rank then and now. I just… Maybe there was a reason you didn’t seek one out before the flight. It’s okay to like girls, you know, if that’s it.” Before she can dwell too much on what she’s said, she quickly tells her, “Thank you for the weyr. And the kitten. And everything.” Then she bolts, content to leave Yedrith behind for a little while, though not to outstay her welcome.

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