Who: Isolwyn, C’aol, Eosyth, Daeserath
Where: Weyrwoman’s Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: Isolwyn and C’aol wonder what to do about Priska and B’lian.

Following her unsuccessful – or very successful, depending on how one looks at it – attempt to check on Priska, Isolwyn takes herself off to the records room for the couple of hours before evening falls, working through what documentation for her accumulated while considering the implications of what it was that she saw in the younger goldrider’s weyr. As darkness falls, Eosyth moves from a perch at the star stones and drifts down to her ledge, taking the time to mentally look in on both her golden daughters before retreating to her wallow. << Daeserath? We all must talk about Imahdth’s role in Yedrith’s… adventure… today. Isolwyn will bring dinner back to her weyr. >> And that’s what Isolwyn does, bringing a basket from the kitchen with her to unpack on the dining table, though she sets out no proper places.

Daeserath descends from the star stones after Eosyth, moving from her ledge to her wallow with ripples of static anger. << I will banish Imahdth >> he tells Eosyth hotly, << for encouraging our daughter to jump when she should not. >> He is too restless to lay down in her wallow as he sits back on his haunches and settles his wings roughly against his side. C’aol enters Isolwyn’s weyr after being called, looking less angry than his bronze, as he moves through Isolwyn’s weyr towards the table. “I suppose we should be thankful that it was to Ierne and not Benden that Yedrith went to. At least Ierne’s Weyrleaders weren’t offended about her meddling.” He notes she has not set out dining ware so he moves past her to open the cupboards to locate them. He sets out utensils and plates for the both of them before going to find water and tea for them each.

<< I am not certain that there was any encouragement involved, >> Eosyth admits, lifting her head to rest it against Daeserath’s shoulder in what she must hope is a soothing manner. << If not for Isolwyn, I would have gone Between to find you. >> Isolwyn mutters a curse under her breath and replies, “If it had been Benden, I’m half-convinced that they would have done something to prevent her from leaving.” She lifts the last of the items out of the basket, setting covered dishes down and moving to set the basket out of the way on a nearby counter. “I went to try and check on Priska earlier, but I found that she still had company…” Uncovering the dishes reveals vegetables and small meat pies, a corked jug of gravy to go with them. “B’lian was with her. In her bed.” She holds up a hand until she can add, “They were clothed. She was just… sleeping on him. So maybe that explains a little more about why it was Imahdth who went after Yedrith.”

Daeserath’s anger dissipates at Eosyth’s touch and reminder of how she came to find him. He grunts in answer allows himself to settle down to rest beside Eosyth. << If you are of the opinion he is not putting Yedrith in harms way I will allow him to stay >> That such decisions are unlikely to be made //by// him seems irrelevant to the bronze. C’aol shakes his head at Isolwyn’s remark as he settles into his seat. “Benden will continue to be a problem until their leadership changes. That one of their riders caught Hanath is very unfortunate. They are using it as leverage to complain about us that we did not allow him to stay.” He looks sharply at Isolwyn when she discloses B’lian’s position in Priska’s bed, anger flashing across his face. Daeserath’s rumble is audible within the weyr as his displeasure is spiked as well. “Did she not learn from the one candidate that we dismissed for sleeping with a rider? I had thought better of B’lian. Granted,” he begins to fill a plate meant for Isolwyn with the items of food presented. He passes her the plate once he’s made it for her. “She has her own weyr now so having a lover is not as detrimental and she is no young child like Safiye. Still…, with Imahdth’s actions today and proof that the two of them are in a relationship? It could be problematic.”

Eosyth gently curls her tail around Daeserath’s and makes to his front paws as a pillow when she feels his anger spike again, the distraction rather an obvious tactic, but one she seems satisfied in employing just the same. Isolwyn murmurs her thanks for the plate and sets it down before her, saying, “I don’t know… It didn’t seem like anything sexual to me, though if we’re to punish her for quite literally //sleeping// with a rider, she has provided us with the evidence for that.” She can’t resist smirking there, unable to suppress the urge to tease. “B’lian, I’m not acquainted with well enough to consider whether he likes her, is helping her because he’s a decent man, or is just the bronzerider who has got ahead enough to sway Priska’s favour towards him so that he might influence Yedrith’s maiden flight.” After pouring water into glasses, she passes one across to C’aol. “Imahdth’s involvement today is no secret. If Priska has feelings for B’lian, for whatever reason, many will assume the flight’s outcome is already decided. Honshu’s bronzeriders won’t be happy.”

“I do not believe B’lian is the sort of bronzerider to be so manipulative to get rank. He transferred here over similar issues at Telgar,” C’aol is thoughtful as he adds, “If the outcome is truly already decided it could work how we were intending it to. Two trained by us running Honshu. Imahdth and B’lian being of Telgar blood should quell some of the rumors of our maneuvering of Honshu were they to indeed secure the Weyrleader knot.” He finishes preparing his own plate and settles back in his seat. “S’ven has been leading Honshu competently in O’rlen’s departure. I know how it will sting to have his chances squashed before he truly got a chance to lead it properly. Still, I have no control over the man. How could I gain leverage on B’lian?” he takes a few bites of food and looks to Isolwyn. “If they have feelings for each other, will it give us more leverage over Priska if we help them secure Honshu together?”

“If we interfere too much, they both strike me as the sort to bite back, if in different ways,” Isolwyn says slowly, picking up her knife and fork. “Though if they really do have feelings for each other and we can suggest to them that their taking Honshu together is the solution to any concerns they have about how Priska being destined to be Weyrwoman regardless…” She focuses on her food for a little while, plainly not too sure which angle is the best to play. “If B’lian is a decent, competent sort, Priska likewise appears to know what she’s doing and apt not to suffer fools. If that remains the case, we want them to work with us and listen to us because we have the same goals. I think the more heavy-handed we are, the more likely we are to meet resistance. And do we really want to have to be puppeting them for decades to come? If they’re our allies and believe we care, getting their support when we need it should be simple.” She shrugs one shoulder. “And if they really do turn out to be skilled, shrewd leaders, it might not be so bad to have Weyrleaders on our side who we can actually… trust and perhaps do care about beyond their vote and voice.”

“You’re right,” C’aol acknowledges with a dip of his head to Isolwyn, “We want allies, not puppets. And, I suppose, having friends that are of equal rank to our own would be beneficial.” He smirks over his mug of tea and takes a sip before he sets it down and lifts a brow at her. “We were going to try and be more normal, weren’t we, my darling? Imagine the dinner parties in our future with Priska and B’lian to talk of simpler things than Weyr management and politics.” He shakes his head and takes a few bites of his meal. “Now, flippancy aside, we are training Priska and our expectations in her training have been clear. She may have lost a Hold and gained a Weyr and yet, I wonder how much that is bothering her. You were trained here and became one of the strongest Weyrwoman on Pern. I would expect we could easily garner the respect that we breed like-minded, strong-minded, women?” he asks of her with a small smile. “As for B’lian… I do not know him well enough to hand him this knot, if that is what we are doing. I would want to ensure his respect. For that, I’ll ask your help. You know I have two ways of gaining respect. I do not believe violence will sway B’lian as it has others.”

“You mean it might be normal to have friends and not think of others as people who are useful and those who aren’t, and those you might have to stab in the back before they stab you?” Isolwyn drawls, utensils hovering over her plate. “I’m not sure I like that. Perhaps we’d better reconsider all of this.” She lifts her voice beyond dry between one bite and the next, claiming, “Priska’s easy,” with only a pause to clear more of her plate before she elaborates. “She wants the opportunity to use the skills she has and wants to be good at what she does. That’s why weyrlinghood has been frustrating for her. If she hadn’t known from the start that she would have a Weyr of her own to run, I think we’d have been stuck with a different kind of problem on our hands. I’ll have to spend more time with her when the baby’s born, but I don’t want to tread on Emily’s toes in the meantime. And today proves that Yedrith is enough like Eosyth that she should have no issues commanding a Weyr of her own.” Setting her knife and fork down, she sits back a little in her chair. “We once considered letting only bronzeriders who’ve proven themselves loyal and capable pursue our queens,” she thinks aloud. “Maybe you ought to take an interest in B’lian and train him much as we’d train a junior. Suggest that to be with Priska is to be subject to the running of a Weyr whether he’s the Weyrleader or not. Testing him for his sake and hers.”

“I suppose I should make that more formal and include other bronzeriders. I’ll select those who don’t currently have a leadership role. Call it ‘leadership training’ and ask our wingleaders to take turns going over how they handle their wings and their responsibilities. It might seem unnecessary to some but that way we have more formal expectations. And when B’lian goes to Honshu, it can’t be said I groomed him for the role,” C’aol agrees as he nods his head and then returns to eating. The subject of bronzeriders and goldriders has him asking, “Has Emily voiced any complaints about us not allowing the Benden bronzerider here? I’ve noticed he has not come to visit. Granted, Hanath hasn’t clutched yet. I wonder if he might try and insist once there are eggs on the sands he and his bronze be allowed here.” He takes a few sips of water and then polishes off the rest of his plate while he lets his mind wander towards business. “Maybe we should allow him here if he insists and that way we can watch Benden’s behavior more closely. I’ll leave that decision up to you. I don’t want to put Vesoviath at risk.”

“And at least in the eventuality that it isn’t B’lian, it means that there are other bronzeriders who have been given the opportunity to expand their knowledge and understanding, in the case of it being one of them instead,” Isolwyn agrees, reaching out a hand to claim her mug and lift it to her lips. “We don’t know for sure that he and Priska are together. They might simply be friends. Even if they are a couple, it might not last.” On the subject of Emily, she shakes her head. “No, she hasn’t, but then I wonder if it’s because we so obviously disapprove and that she and Hanath are the ones that Safiye and Vesoviath look to. If we let him visit, we should inform Safiye and her mother beforehand and have the understanding be that if he or his bronze so much as look at Vesoviath the wrong way, they go back to Benden.” She glances down at her knees for a moment, then takes a breath and hesitates before speaking. “…Given that Benden has shown they have no problem hurting a child and we know that they don’t think much of us… Would you deal with him while he’s here? I wouldn’t… want to be near him and give him any opportunities when he might well have been told to hurt us in any way that he can.”

It is rare that C’aol takes back his thoughts or his plans and admits they are wrong. Tonight he must be in an exceptional mood as he says, “Forget I suggested it. We will not welcome Benden here.” That his trigger would be Safiye is unlikely – it more clearly is the reminder of Isolwyn and her fragile state. “Emily does not seem a wayward character. If she has not come to you directly complaining about it, let it rest.” He shakes his head and gathers his dirty plate and cup before he disappears to deposit it in the location where staff will come and wash it later. He returns to the table with a small glass of wine and reclaims his seat. “I will speak to B’lian,” he tells her with a nod and a sip of his wine before he sets it down on the table. “You should speak to Priska… or have Emily do so, to decide whether or not she has a true attachment to the man. Finding them curled in a bed,” his smile is unkind, “should be clear reason to press for information. That Imahdth feels for Yedrith as Daeserath did for Eosyth is clear. That Amorenth’s line keeps… soliciting the queen having a choice above all else, well. It can be used to our advantage now. Rather than with Inaskashath once more being caught by a blue.” He shrugs and reaches for his wine glass to sip from.

Isolwyn tilts her head slightly, yet remains silent for a moment or so before quietly saying, “…If it would be worth having him here for the sake of intelligence, my having concerns about what the price may be might be something that we need not acknowledge if the potential gain outweighs the risk.” She takes another deep breath, evidently only willing or able to offer that one counter argument, a hint of embarrassment for having voiced concerns so directly involving her lending her posture an awkward angle for the instant until she eases her shoulders to shrug it away. “I find it interesting that Eosyth and Yedrith have known which was the one for them from their early months. Maybe Hanath will have a clear preference in due course. Inaskashath… Whether I approve of her choice of mate or not, I can… empathise with her rider. If the Council or anyone else endeavoured to keep Eosyth and I away from you, I would fight them. I can be glad she no longer has that fight on her hands, as one woman in love to another. Even if that is all I can feel about it that doesn’t think they are asking for more trouble, given Vesoviath.”

“I do not approve of Rori or her choice in partner, or Inaskashath’s. However, if the Council would even remotely try to keep us apart… I would destroy the world to keep you,” C’aol says with an edge to his voice. He reaches across the table to clasp her hand and hold it in his for a moment. “I will think further on Benden. It depends on whether or not the ask comes. If it doesn’t there is little to concern ourselves with. If it does…,” he shrugs, “you should get clarification from Emily so I know which might upset her more. Having the man here, or not having him here? She should have a say.” He reaches for his wine as he uncurls his fingers from hers to take a sip. “Malynth, Vesoviath. I even think the others that we trained here had little irregularities. How could they stop them? I suppose all the eggs could be dumped Between rather than allowed to Hatch. That sounds too cruel even to me,” he adds with a shake of his head. “We will have to see what surprises they get next. At least this time they should keep the problems for themselves instead of other Weyrs being burdened by them.”

Isolwyn runs her thumb across the back of his hand, directing a tiny smile towards their fingers as she murmurs, “When you say things like that, you know it makes me want to take you to bed and make you yell things, right?” her gaze a little heated when she looks up at him again. When she curls her hands back, wraps them both around her mug, perhaps to resist the idea of letting them do anything else. “I’ll talk to Emily,” she agrees. “If he were to be here, he would be spending time with her… and she should at least be somewhat responsible for him. If she doesn’t want that, then she can refuse and we need not worry about him at all. Between Eosyth and Daeserath, it isn’t as if he and his bronze could linger without permission.” Though she shakes her head, she remains in agreement when she utters a soft, “No, I couldn’t support sending the eggs Between. It would set a dangerous precedence… and it’s no fault of Malynth and Vesoviath’s that they are how they are. Despite it all, they seem happy. They have their riders and are content. There is, at least, that.”

C’aol considers his empty plate and looks to hers, “Let’s finish our dinner with talk of other things,” he decides, once more steering them away from their habit of speaking only of their Weyr and the politics of Pern. “We have a course at least planned for discussions we need to have. I’ll talk to B’lian and I’ll arrange that we begin training our bronzeriders as you do your goldriders. It’s the same as when we made the decision to formalize an interview process for candidates. There is no doubt in my mind that Fort is the strongest Weyr on Pern. If we truly get to leverage allies in the south at Honshu… none can deny us the future we want to shape.” He smiles then and reaches once more for her hand. He doesn’t immediately know where to shift their conversation so he allows silence to stretch between them. “Finish your dinner,” he decides as he pulls his hand back once more to claim his wine and sip it while he waits for her to eat her fill. “I believe I will hold you to your forcing me to yell things.” His eyes are alight with humor and the sharpness of his desire. “For we have not had the occasion to do that as often as we should lately.”

Isolwyn doesn’t return to her meal, but gets to her feet and reaches with a smug variety of confidence to claim C’aol’s wine glass, from which she takes a sip, being denied larger quantities, and sets it down on the table. She doesn’t give him long to dwell on what she’s done, for she grabs at his hand to tug him away from the table and towards the bedroom, where she finds much more interesting uses for the laces of her dress and the ribbons in her hair, making thoroughly sure that he cannot halt her in her efforts to reduce him to a collection of incoherent sounds. She does, eventually, relent, knowing better than to keep command of him for too long, releasing ties to let him do as he pleases with her until they’re both too tired to do much more than fall back to the blankets and curl up together, where she fits herself back against him and sighs contentedly, there to sleep in his arms until morning demands their attention.

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