Someone New

Who: Priska, Emily, Yedrith, Hanath
Where: Galleries, Fort Weyr
What: Preparations for a departure.

The morning is bright and the Weyr is bustling with activity when Hanath reaches out towards Yedrith to alert her to her rider’s request, << Good morning Yedrith. Can we please see Priska? Emily has tea and cakes. Priska may come and admire my eggs and you may come if you wish it. >> The galleries are quiet and no one else is within taking a look at Hanath’s clutch. Emily has asked for and received a small table to do her work at and to eat at. She’s set a kettle of tea and a few little tea cakes and sandwiches on the table. She’s got a ledger beside her but seems to favor a smaller book for her attention.

When Priska appears, she stops at the edge of the Sands to wave at Hanath, then heads up and along through the galleries to find her way to Emily. Yedrith has never ventured far onto the Sands or too close to Hanath’s clutch, something instinctive keeping her from straying too near, yet today she pads across on careful paws to sit herself down beside her sister, making to gently bump her nose against hers. When she reaches Emily, Priska offers out a long length of golden ribbon that she’s folded neatly into a more compact and manageable size. “This is for you,” she tells her. “And for Hanath.” Along the ribbon, she’s embroidered the date that Hanath laid her clutch, followed by neat approximations of each of the eggs, dotted one after the other, a small version of Hanath herself sat at the other end of said ribbon, just above the words ‘Fort Weyr’.

Emily has a ready smile and gestures for Priska to sit as she approaches. She takes the ribbon and unfolds it carefully, delight clear on her features as she runs a finger along the embroidery. “This is beautiful,” she says with a hint of awe in her tone as she lifts her gaze to look at Priska. “Did you do the embroidery?” she asks as she carefully folds the ribbon back up in the same compact way it was delivered to her. She sets it in the basket beside her feet for safe keeping. She pours Priska the tea she has noticed is favored by the goldrider and then passes it her way.

Priska sits herself down and accepts the cup of tea with a murmur of thanks. “I had to have at least one skill that could make me look more ladylike than I probably am… and it turns out I actually enjoy embroidery.” Lifting her tea to her lips, she takes a tentative sip. “How long do you think it will be?” she asks, giving a nod towards the Sands, queens and eggs. “You’ll have to let me know how her babies are doing when Yedrith and I have to leave. She’s going to miss Hanath. And Eosyth and Vesoviath. I don’t really know much about Honshu’s current Senior or whether they’ll even get along.”

“Yedrith has a long reach,” Emily notes with a smile she tucks behind her tea as she takes a sip. “Perhaps Yedrith should reach out to know her?” She settles her tea cup down and reaches for a little sandwich to take a bite of. “You’ll he missed by all of us. I think most especially me and Safiye. Isolwyn has had to relinquish her right to train you due to her condition and for that I’m thankful.” She smiles at Priska. “It has shown me I enjoy teaching more than I thought. And I wanted to let you know, when your class graduates I am going to petition Isolwyn and C’aol to retire our weyrlingmaster and look for someone.. fresher and qualified.” She clears her throat, not comfortable with even the hint of criticism. “They could have done more for you, and some of the others, when you were clearly bored and under challenged.”

“Well…” Priska gives a rueful smile. “I’m not sure that Yedrith is all that interested in going out of her way to make friends. I wouldn’t hasten to call her sociable, but she knows who she likes. Perhaps she’ll never have more than a handful of other dragons that she truly trusts.” She takes another sip of her tea. “…The problem with most people in a position to instruct is that they take any challenge or anyone who doesn’t fit with their way of doing things personally and as criticism. So, they react with ‘my way or punishment’. And the main issue with Fort’s weyrlingmasters is that they haven’t adapted to the fact that C’aol and Isolwyn have shifted the Candidate pool to adults, not children.” Hesitation follows, though she goes on to hazard, “And that whatever started with Amorenth is changing a line of queens. Who knows what Yedrith and Hanath’s great-granddaughters might be capable of.”

Emily listens to Priska with an attentive nod as she offers her no recourse for her fair-sounding words. “I had issues with them myself,” she shares with Priska. “Though I was not as good at explaining my feelings to Isolwyn. I’m glad that you were able to share your feedback with me. We don’t select children at Fort,” she agrees, having been through part of the interview process Isolwyn and C’aol have set up as both a candidate and now a goldrider. “For a reason. We should teach with the same reasons in mind. C’aol is already starting to do more with the bronzeriders than other Weyrs do. We are looking towards the future here.” She seems proud of that assessment as she takes another sip of tea. “Hanath has a habit of loving too freely. I think she will miss Yedrith sorely. I hope we will all visit often.”

“Fort needs a queen like Hanath and a weyrwoman like you,” Priska replies, settling her cup in her lap. “I don’t think her loving too freely or you plainly caring about people is a fault, and particularly when Isolwyn seems too… repressed… to speak very openly with. Safiye wouldn’t be the happy girl she is without you.” She shoots Emily a wry smile. “We all know Daeserath hates foreigners, and who knows how long it’ll be before he thinks Yedrith is one, so you’d better come and visit Honshu. We can have tea and make people think we’re plotting all sorts of things.”

“Yedrith is of Fort, no matter where she goes,” Emily reminds Priska with a smile. “Daeserath has always been quick to anger… and dislikes many foreigners. Have you not noticed that his anger tends to be directed at the males? Though, after Benden, I imagine he’d not like //any// visiting Weyrwoman or Weyrleader from another Weyr unless it suited C’aol and Isolwyn to have them here.” She reaches across the table to rest her hand on top of Priska’s. “It will suit them to have you come and visit. Especially once you find out who will lead beside you. They will want to know you both. They take pride in their people,” she says and then releases Priska’s hand. “I don’t imagine anyone would think I could plot,” Emily offers Priska with a little self-deprecating laugh. “I don’t have the nature for it. Perhaps they will assume I am there to try and convince you to fall madly in love with your Weyrleader and give him lots of babies.” Hanath’s rumbling croon is loud enough to reach them both. “See? Hanath already likes //that// idea!”

Priska briefly covers Emily’s hand with her free one, balancing her cup carefully in her lap before she rescues it. “You’ll have to forgive me, but if my father can decide that I’m worthless to him, then I don’t have a lot of faith that leaders who aren’t even obligated to like me or Yedrith will continue to want us around in any capacity,” she utters wryly, quite resigned to that fact. “They’ve done nothing wrong by me or her… but people are… people. Circumstances make others expendable.” She glances up as Hanath rumbles, the wryness of her expression softening into something closer to a proper smile. “I do want to be a mother, someday,” she confesses. “But Aerishani fell madly in love with her Weyrlord and look where she is now.” Ducking her head, she murmurs, “B’lian wants to come to Honshu with us. And all I can think is that either I will ruin him or he will ruin me.”

“Being of a Weyr is entirely different than a Hold,” Emily offers but pushes the subject no further, not wanting to upset Priska. She is quiet and does not offer an immediate comment after the reminder of Aerishani’s choice and the matter of B’lian following Priska to Honshu. She eats a little pastry and then takes a few sips of her tea. “And there’s Rori who chooses the love of a woman, Inaskashath who chooses a blue. Isolwyn and C’aol are in love, watch them sometime. Even though C’aol is cold and not easily approached… you can see how he looks at her.” She shrugs her shoulders and looks down into her nearly empty tea cup. “Love does not have to ruin anyone,” she says and then finishes the last of her tea. “It can create someone new, I figure. If you let yourself change.”

Priska stares down into her lap, still as anything, until the rise of her shoulders indicates that she is, in-fact, still breathing. “I don’t think… that I’m ready to be a disappointment again,” she says quietly. “To be disposable. To a Weyr, B’lian or a Weyrleader. Maybe one day I’ll have everything that Isolwyn does and people will still respect me… but I don’t know when that will be. Or if it should be.” She looks up, setting her empty cup down, and abruptly grabs at one of Emily’s arms with both of hers, to haul and hug her to her. “Anyway, I’m afraid //you’re// stuck with me. That’s how it is.”

Emily’s startled little exclamation of, ‘oh!’ around her laugh only adds to the warmth of the hug she returns to Priska. “I don’t see being your friend, even when you move to lead a Weyr all on your own, as a ‘stuck with’ you sort of scenario. I’m happy for your future and know you’ll be successful. That we are going to remain good friends,” she hugs Priska tighter, waiting her out to be the one to end the hug, “is a blessing I do not feel I likely deserve.” Right before the hug is broken, Emily lands a friendly kiss to Priska’s cheek. “Since we seem to be done with our tea, it’s time you got your gift.” She turns and pulls a medium sized box from the opposite side of the table and hands it her way. She seems anxious to see Priska’s reactions to the contents inside. When she opens the box, Priska will find a finely made, fitted top and matching leather pants that have hues of bronze and gold laced through them. “Not all Weyrwomen have to wear dresses,” she adds, waiting for Priska to find the leather belt that hosts plenty of loops for knives to tuck in, “or go unarmed.”

“My—“ Priska starts to say, brow furrowing as she watches Emily retrieve the box and offer it over to her. She’s gentle in her acceptance of it, telling her a quiet, “You shouldn’t have got me anything.” Despite this, she sets the box down in her lap and goes to open it, carefully lifting the lid to set it down by her feet, propped against one of her legs. She’s just as careful in exploring its contents, lifting each item out to turn this way and that, her fingers tracing lightly over lacing before she folds the trousers back into the box and withdraws the belt, turning it over and examining its loops. Looking up at Emily, she makes to hug her to her again and press a kiss to her cheek. “I love it,” she murmurs, drawing back only to make sure she doesn’t unbalance the box. “Thank you. I’ll keep it safe for when I finally am Weyrwoman. It feels like that would be the right thing.”

“That sounds like a fair plan,” Emily days after returning the hug once more. “And this way you can be whatever sort of Weyrwoman you think Honshu needs.” She smiles then and moves to gather up their plates and mugs. “Hanath says she is fine staying here with Yedrith nearby. Let’s go and take this back to the kitchens and your gift to your rooms.” She balances everything easily on the tray it came with. She’s never been one to leave simple chores to others. “And then maybe you can help me pick some new books to read from the library? I’ve had so much free time lately I truly don’t know what to do to spend my time. I imagine when Yedrith is guarding her clutch, you and your Weyrleader can use the free time to get to know one another better.”

Priska settles the lid back on the box and picks up the whole thing to hug to her chest, eyeing Emily’s arranging of plates and cups like she’d take some off her, yet she leaves well enough alone when she sees she has it balanced. “Before I have to leave Fort, me and you are going to the Harper Hall to buy up half their new books,” she promises. “The library here’ll do for now.” When she begins to pick her way back through the rows of seating, she looks back every now and then to make sure Emily is still okay with the tray. “You never know. I might’ve murdered my Weyrleader before Yedrith clutches…” She shoots her a grin, then carries on leading the way out, leaving Yedrith to cuddle closer to Hanath and set herself up as her protector while she can.

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