Turning Ugly

Who: Isolwyn, C’aol, Eosyth, Daeserath
Where: Weyrwoman’s Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: Isolwyn finds out why C’aol has been avoiding her.

C’aol has been, perhaps suspiciously, absent at Fort Weyr in the coming days since Lord Fort was announced to have succumbed to his illness. Though the succession of Holds is not something the Weyr Council has control over, the Council has met after the Conclave has announced the newest Lord of Fort. His absence stretches long after the Council has adjourned. It’s the next morning that C’aol returns, only for Daeserath to find a foreign bronze curled around Hanath. C’aol enters Isolwyn’s weyr, hoping to find his Weyrwoman before she has begun her day. He’s sent Daeserath to the fire heights in an attempt to quell the growing anger his bronze feels over Benden’s bronze being in residence.

With Hanath glowing, Isolwyn has been forced to find somewhere to retreat in the time before she rises, and since she and Eosyth have needed to bring Safiye and Vesoviath with them, going to spend the day with J’kson and Arlet seemed the most appropriate choice. Needing to look to the younger gold and her rider is what’s kept her from the Council, along with what manufactured grief she’s provided in response to sympathy for her ‘loss’, and with every Fortian gold safe and well after Hanath’s flight, she reasons away C’aol’s absence with the same deliberate avoidance that she employs when she isn’t ready or willing to think on something. That it’s a Benden male in her Weyr has done little for Eosyth’s mood or hers, and Fort’s Weyrwoman is still in her nightgown, trying to school herself to keep any displeasure from those she might meet – and especially Emily. When C’aol walks in, she looks up from the book she clearly isn’t reading, then back down at the page she’s scanned five times. “To have an open flight was her prerogative,” is all she utters.

“I am not entirely sure it will be wise to allow the bronze and his rider residence here to guard after the clutch,” C’aol comments as he glances at her before he moves to find a chair. He looks to be wearing the same clothing he left the Weyr in yesterday. “Daeserath will surely make the bronze’s life miserable here. If it keeps his focus on one bronze instead of all of them, perhaps it will make Fort happier.” He shrugs, glancing towards her book and then moves to settle his gaze elsewhere. He lets silence lapse between them as he considers the fall wall, making no move to speak further. Daeserath’s anger is a whip of cold ice as he reaches for his mate. << Is Hanath going to be overly attached to this creature? >> he asks her between snarling at one of the blues’ who takes to the air to go about the days tasks.

“I’m not content to have someone who is potentially a Benden spy here in the heart of Fort,” Isolwyn replies, leaning back against the headboard and closing her book momentarily to draw blankets more securely around her. “Offering him a place to stay is something I won’t do. If he wants to know why, he can ask his leaders.” She drops her focus back to her book, turning a page only because it seems as if she ought to. After she lets the silence drag on for a while, she murmurs, “…I missed you last night,” and nothing more, without looking up. << If she feels for him as I feel for you, that is a question you already have an answer for, >> is Eosyth’s response, shadows glimmering with silver threads. << Then, not everyone knows who is meant for them. >> //That// drifts towards as snarky as she’ll ever be, her words clipped.

“A spy,” C’aol answers, considering that possibility as he flicks his gaze back towards her. “Could have their usefulness if we feed them the wrong information. However, I highly doubt J’than has that sort of interest left in him. The man is nearing sixty and seems to be content to allow his Weyrwomen to run the entire Weyr. Do you believe the Weyrwoman would attempt such a ploy?” He steeples his fingers together and draws his two forefingers up to press against his lips in thought. Her mention of missing him is taken in and he watches her to gauge how far she may take that. “I had business to attend to,” his voice is sharper than necessary out of defensiveness to his guilt for not returning to her. Daeserath watches Eosyth’s shadows and threads with an amplified burst of anger. << None can feel for you as I do. Hanath is not a stupid gold. Tell her there will be others more worthy than this young upstart. >>

“I think Benden’s Weyrwoman is a lazy and ignorant fool who meddles in that which she knows all too little about,” Isolwyn replies, her gaze idly following rows of letters that she doesn’t truly process. She refuses to look up again, just as she denies herself any right to ask just what business C’aol has been dealing with. “If you’ve come to bring me the sharp edge of your temper for reasons I know not of, I don’t have anything to say that will appease you. Hanath and Emily are safe and well, as are Vesoviath, Safiye and Eosyth. That, at least, is a positive outcome.” Whether she wishes it or otherwise: << It is not my place to dictate her choice of mate, >> Eosyth insists, irritation rippling outward in a wave of frost. << To set that precedent suggests someone might one day be able to decide that we are meant to be apart. >>

<< I will tell her then >> Daeserath decides, moving from the fire heights to go and seek Eosyth’s physical company. << I will not allow a foreign bronze on our Sands. The matter is settled. >> He lands roughly beside her and then moves to curve his body around hers, wanting to claim her in the only way he knows how. << That it is Benden is a matter for our riders to handle. It would not matter if it was any other. It would have been preferable if that Imahdth had caught her if she was set on having outsiders win her. >> C’aol lowers his hands to his lap and glares at Isolwyn, cold rage flaring in his gaze and then he closes them for a moment to separate his anger from that of his bronze. “I have not slept much,” he opens his eyes to consider her night clothes and her book she seems intent on reading. “It seems you are prepared for a leisurely morning. I will leave you to it.” He moves to rise from his chair.

<< It is settled provided you are aware you open the door for another queen to keep you from my side should we ever be-- >> It’s not so much Daeserath’s physical closeness that draws Eosyth from her line of thought, but the flare of temper from her rider as a book is slammed shut the very moment a gold tails twines with bronze. “I wish you would make up your mind whether to scorn me or take care of me for a moment’s weakness. It’s you as much of the rest of the Weyr that I’m waiting to take shots at m–“ Isolwyn tilts her head, her focus scattering, only to murmur, “I did not,” under her breath before she finally looks up at C’aol. “…Eosyth thinks I asked you to marry me.”

<< No other queen but you may tell me what to do >> Daeserath states as he curves himself fully about her, his tail twining with hers until he is satisfied they have reached optimum closeness. He abandons the decision of the foreign bronze for now, choosing to find distance from his anger by her closeness. C’aol angles a brow in preparation to mock Isolwyn for her words. He folds his arms in front of him and prepares himself to face the extent of her verbal outrage in silence. He does not look pleased to have the matter of marriage brought up. Coldness enters his gaze as he stiffens his posture. “You did,” he will not hide the truth from her, “whether or not you remember doing so is not something I will concern myself over.”

Isolwyn’s fingers twitch, quite as if she’d much prefer to do as Eosyth and Daeserath do, but she curls them into the covers before they can betray her by doing anything close to reaching for C’aol. “I’ll take it that this… absence… is your response, in that case,” she says slowly, letting her gaze drift from him and to where her white-knuckled hands grip fabric. “I’m sorry that you find the thought repulsive,” is devoid of any feeling. “It’s not something that I spend hours of a day thinking about, if that’s any reassurance. In-fact, I do my very best not to think about it, having anticipated something not so dissimilar to this in response. I can only apologise for my subconscious, at this point.” She sets her jaw, willing silence to claim her, but it doesn’t work. “But I’m not sorry that I would be happy if you were my husband, evidently.”

“I do not react as a child might, contrary to your belief I would. My absence was due to a visit with my brother. As he has yet to produce an heir, I wanted to see what view he had on my producing two,” C’aol answers her with a cold aloofness, his eyes going ever colder as his face hardens with each word she shares with him. “You are a Weyrwoman, not a Holder. Dragonriders do not marry,” he reminds her in a tone better used with an errant child. “Has Honshu taught you nothing? No other Weyrleaders are running to marry each other. I am not going to continue Honshu’s precedent by having it between us.” He takes a breath and folds his arms in front of him as he glares at her. “Why do you want this thing? What is between us is good. We needn’t change it further. First a child, now marriage… what will you wish next?”

“I’ll remind you that once you demanded I marry you,” Isolwyn drawls all too casually, quite unable to look at him in that moment. “If I wanted it badly enough to ask you, then I would have done it in such a fashion that left me capable of remembering it. As I don’t recall doing it and therefore can’t reveal to you exactly why it happened, all I can tell you is that I don’t find the thought anywhere near as uncomfortable as you do and maybe I have feelings for you.” Those last few words she cannot help but lace with a heavy dose of sarcasm. “I told you to leave me alone and let me get through this on my own. I told you I was going to end up doing or saying something stupid, and clearly I have.” She casts the covers aside and swings her legs over the side of the bed. “Knowing you don’t want any of it is quite enough. You don’t need to mock me for it.”

“I did not demand it,” C’aol’s answer is more a growl as he narrows his eyes on Isolwyn. “Are you quite done with your verbal swordplay?” he demands when she’s swung herself towards the side of the bed. He stalks towards her, moving to place his hands on her shoulders. He does not hold back from tightening his fingers into her flesh. His eyes are cold as he looks down at her. “I will not make this one of our many fights where your words piss me off so much I can barely think. Dragonriders’ do not marry. Do not make this something it isn’t.” His fingers dig in further. “It is enough that I love you. I have shown you how much I love you. I do not need a ceremony meant for fools to prove it.” He drops his hands from her shoulders and folds his arms in front of him to prevent further bruising of her.

Instinctively, Isolwyn leans back as C’aol’s fingers dig into her shoulders, raising her right leg in-front of her with her foot angled towards his chest as if she’d apply it to kick him away. That kick never comes, but she stays exactly as she is until he releases her, the flicker of panic that darts through shadowed eyes soon repressed beneath a numb distance, the glimmer of tears unbidden while she otherwise refuses to acknowledge any pain. “If you think that you got rid of one man who tried to control me simply to take his place, you are sorely mistaken,” she utters lowly, unfolding to get to her feet. “You don’t get to tell me what to think or how to feel, or make me bear the responsibility for you being unable to handle your feelings and mine.” As she straightens, she winces, but throws her shoulders back anyway. “You’re the only one here afraid of you.”

“Don’t let love for me blind you,” C’aol’s voice is low and heated, his eyes snapping in the wake of her words. If he notices her tears, he does not waver in the face of them. “The day you learn to be afraid of me is one I do not welcome.” He shakes his head and lowers his arms to his sides. “I’m not making you bear anything and I certainly could never control you.” he adds as he turns to leave, letting his back be to her as he strides towards the door. He doesn’t look back at her as he walks out the door and slams it behind him. He does not seek her company the rest of the week, either to punish her or himself. If people notice C’aol’s bad mood they may lay the blame at Daeserath who continues to be ill-tempered over the Benden bronze’s involvement at his Weyr.

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