Who: Priska, B’lian, Echo, S’ven, Jet
Where: Weyrwoman’s Weyr, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Yedrith’s first flight is a bloody and dangerous affair.
When Yedrith chooses to finally take to the skies, it’s as day tips over into night and the last wisps of golden sun vanish into nothingness. Hers is a steady certainty that there is no male who would dare get close enough to her to try and curtail her right to fly, her mental presence one that settles over Honshu in a light haze of bright aether that becomes a heavy and possessive darkness in the absence of any other queen who might claim the Weyrhold as their own. Priska chooses not to go to the flight weyr, but leaves the door of the Senior Weyrwoman’s home open, and waits against the far wall for those who would make her theirs. She’s lost enough to Yedrith’s needs that she doesn’t stop the female brownrider who takes the chance to kiss her, though she pushes her away as her lifemate’s strength begins to wane and the matter of who will catch her becomes more pressing, trying to focus enough to maintain some measure of control over her without unduly influencing her. << Did you really think I would go gently? >> is Yedrith’s challenge to those who remain, just as she kicks out at a bronze nose within reach of a hind leg. << Have a care what you wish for… >> she warns, speaking in unison with Priska as the most familiar of her suitors nears her.
Imahdth has been keeping his distance from Yedrith’s hide began to glow, letting the other males who dare be in her presence learn whether or not she is more agreeable to their natures when her hide has that telling sheen. With B’lian choosing to stay at Honshu with Priska, Imahdth has claimed a guest weyr’s ledge for his own and it is there his form has been poised since that aether began to curl around the Weyr. He has not taken part in a flight for some months now and his impulse is the same as it has always been – to resist that pull of his other nature and loss of control. The arid desert’s heat rises in the wake of that haze and swirls of the sands lap at the promise of something //new// and //exciting//. He takes the skies last of all of those chasing upwards into the night skies, having had his fill of blood before he began the stretch upwards. He moves past the bronze who flounders as Yedrith kicks and angles himself away from another who equally feels like claws and teeth could be applied to a fellow suitor. B’lian was already in Priska’s home when the chase began and he remains to the side, arms folded, and eyes glazed but within the control of his actions as he watches those filter in. He answers smirks and bared teeth alike with a calm stare. He notes the brownrider’s advances with a flicker of his gaze. One man takes it upon himself to grab Priska roughly, moving to rip her shirt to expose her to his lust. B’lian intercedes then, elbowing the man away with a warning sound. As his arms encircle Priska to protect her, Imahdth answers by catching Yedrith’s shoulders from above before he neatly tucks himself around her and twines his neck and tail about hers. << Home >> he says simply as the other males begin to descend to the ground.
It’s just as well that B’lian wraps his arms around Priska, for she snarls as the bronzerider who grabbed her retreats, starting to kick and lunge away from him in pursuit of her prey in the moments before Imahdth finds Yedrith and tangles himself up with her. She ceases fighting for freedom, breathing hard, herself again for an instant between leaving fury behind and realising that Yedrith has been caught – and which bronze she’s been caught by. Her expectation must be that the bronze and brownriders whose lifemates have not been successful will promptly excuse themselves from her weyr, as she turns to press B’lian against the wall, less with any strength and more with the sheer determination that he will be //hers//. She sheds what remains of her shirt, casting it to the floor without a second glance, and lifts up onto her toes as she makes to tug him down to her, demanding a kiss. It takes Yedrith a moment longer to trust herself to another and let down her guard enough that she can fold her wings and let Imahdth be the constant of her life that he has been, finally twining herself more tightly with him. << As if it would have been another, >> is quieted so that only he might hear it, as she gives herself over to falling.
Not all that had entered Priska’s weyr leave as the flight’s winner has claimed his prize. S’ven and two others linger far enough away that they can’t immediately be realized by Priska or B’lian. The three of them have the haze of flightlust still gripping them and the anger of a loss greater than either of them were prepared to have. B’lian is taken by Priska and finds himself shoved against the wall. His hands find purchase against her as she demands the kiss and he draws her closer, needing to twine himself with her as neatly as his bronze has with her gold. His shirt is shedded in quick order and then he’s seeking to tug her free of her bottoms so he may have easier access for his fingers to find places to entertain as his lips bruise hers. Imahdth is strong and the time he took to take extra blood gives him the strength to hold them aloft far longer than a lesser bronze may have. They continue to fall, twined, with Imahdth’s adoration for Yedrith a thrumming promise between them. As B’lian moves to take Priska to the floor, he’s able to focus on the door where S’ven and the other two foreign bronzeriders have posted. He can’t find the right ability to speak as he’s caught somewhere in the skies with Imahdth and partly in the weyr with Priska tangled with him.
Priska has not the experience with flights to manage anything but the urge to mirror her queen, her surroundings beyond B’lian something that doesn’t identify as important or worth engaging with, provided she has him near. She’s oblivious to those who linger, intent only on him, what inhibitions she has lost to to the flight, and her audience unrealised, unaware of her vulnerability. What would (and will) undoubtedly be a mortifying understanding of her present reality is not hers to have, if only because the point of a knife swiftly finds the back of S’ven’s neck, enough pressure applied to grab his attention without drawing blood. “I think you’ve seen enough, don’t you?” The shorter blade may be for him, but the sword has the range for the others who abruptly turn to face the hooded figure. “Out. Now. Or I can leave you here to bleed out if you really want to watch.” While they heed the warning, the blade only digs more firmly into S’ven’s neck. “I’d think very carefully about whether this is worth your life. Not that your life is worth much, I’ll grant you.”
B’lian manages to grasp enough awareness to grab Priska’s knees and haul her into his arms. He stalks out of the main room and enters her bedroom where he kicks the door shut and deposits her on the bed. Imahdth’s still descending and his passion for Yedrith and grab for B’lian’s awareness leaves him panting as he leaves Priska long enough to lock the door behind them. Once they are secured behind closed doors, B’lian sheds his boots and pants as he makes his way back to the bed. He crawls over Priska and presses nips and kisses along her exposed flesh. His muscular arms are firm and claiming as he wraps her in his embrace and nudges her apart with his knees to claim her further.
S’ven stiffens as he finds the blade to his neck. The other two, whose knots are clearly claiming them from Benden, turn and flee without waiting for further threats of the hooded figure. S’ven’s snarl is guttural and animalistic as the blade digs in deeper. “It was mine to have,” his voice is strained as speaking only nicks his neck further with the blade against his neck. “It’s still mine to claim.” He reaches for the blade he’s got tucked in his belt. “Who are you to stop me?”
“I see you want to do this the hard way. And that’s okay, because I love the hard way.” It seems the figure might relent, for the blade drops from S’ven’s throat as the distinctly feminine voice declares, “And I love that you’ve suggested you’ll violate your new Weyrwoman while she’s in the throes of flight, because it means I’ve absolutely no compunctions about doing //this//.” There’s not a half-second delay before the sword swings up, its pommel smashing against his temple, while the knife arcs down and strikes home between his legs. Before he might stumble, the bloodstained dagger is sheathed and hands grab to hold S’ven up for long enough that he can be cast out the door and onto the ledge outside. “Make threats like that again and I’ll be back to finish what I’ve started,” is the only warning delivered, before boots pass him by and the figure leaves him right where he is.
S’ven turns, knife brandished, and prepared to swipe at the hooded figure when that sword smashed into his temple and knocks him hard enough that he drops the knife and grunts. Before he has a chance to fall to his knees, that knife slices him between the legs, and he screams in anguish before the world goes black and he tips forward into a pool of his own blood. With the others fled and B’lian and Priska locked in their bedroom, S’ven remains prone as the blood pool grows and he does not stir from unconsciousness. His body lies between the door and the ledge.
Left on the bed, Priska makes a keening note of protest as B’lian moves to lock the door, his return one that has her almost immediately winding herself around him, her legs lifting to lock at his hips as he claims her. She makes a low, satisfied sound and starts to move against him, her fingers sliding from his shoulders and along his spine, nails leaving tracks in their wake and crescent imprints when she cries out, unable to think to censor herself or avoid marking him. Her pursuit of release soon becomes frantic, the duration of the fall and the feedback loop of Yedrith’s quiet devotion to Imahdth and her own feelings for B’lian among that which threatens to overwhelm her, a sob of a sound smothered against his shoulder.
B’lian shudders over Priska as he finds release the moment Imahdth’s body finds the ground. He has taken Yedrith far from Honshu and claimed a cothold’s field for his own as he tucks his body around her amongst the stalks of wheat he has flattened. His thrum is full of content as his wing drapes over her golden hide. He has no words for her, not when his mind is as connected to hers as it is now, his sands and her aether a pleasant blur of reality between them. B’lian lays on top of Priska, unaware that he may be too heavy for her, as he slowly rights his brain to reality.
Yedrith neatly tucks herself a little more securely beneath the warmth of Imahdth’s wing, looping her tail around his to make a braid of gold and bronze as she lays her head down next to his and lets herself drift without making any conscious effort to reclaim her own mental space or keep from sleeping. It makes it more difficult for Priska to work out what is real, and what is //her// and what is Yedrith, and it leaves her with no will to encourage B’lian to move, fingertips running idly up and down his spine without the pressure of before, her head tilted to one side as she takes deep breaths. When she eventually has enough of herself threaded back together, she lets her fingers slide to let a palm lie flat, while her other hand strays into his hair as she finally murmurs that which she cannot possibly deny any longer. “I love you.”
Imahdth remains awake long enough to ensure their position is safe from others before he lets the exhaustion of the flight claim him. B’lian moves at Priska’s words and finally slips to the side of her, though his arms reach to tuck about her and hold her as he burrows his nose against her neck. “I love you as well,” he tells her with a voice scratchy from use. “Are you hurting anywhere?” he questions, lifting his head up to look into her eyes with a rueful smile. “I can’t remember much,” he explains and then his face hardens as a certain memory trickles back into his consciousness. He looks to the locked door. He kisses Priska gently and then rises from the bed, wordlessly gathering his pants to pull on. He unlocks the door and steps outside to confirm that those who stayed are gone. His voice carries back to the room with a word he rarely uses, “//Fuck//.”
“No, I—“ Priska starts to say, only to watch his face change and draws back, confusion flickering across her features even as he kisses her again. She tilts her head, that confusion tainted by hurt as he starts to dress, her distress an almost palpable thing as she begins to assume that she has done something terrible or made some awful mistake, blankets clutched to her by the time he heads through the door. When she hears him curse, she swings her legs over the side of the bed and follows him out, a blanket still held to her front and trailing behind her as she catches up to him and stares at what’s prompted such language. “What did he… I didn’t have a weapon. I deliberately made sure I didn’t have anything I could hurt someone with. What did he do? I don’t remember anything except you after she was caught.” She stops still, listening. “There’s been no keening.”
B’lian presses his fingers to S’ven’s throat and looks to her with a blank expression. “I think he’s still alive. Barely. Why didn’t his bronze alert anyone?” he wonders aloud and then he rises, moving back to her bedroom to collect a blanket to tuck around S’ven. “Imahdth’s asleep. I’m going for help,” he tells her and then rushes out. The rest is a whirlwind of activity as healers come and assess the situation. B’lian stands by Priska as they take S’ven away on a stretcher. It’s only after the weyr is the two of them again that he takes Priska and leads her towards her bathing chamber. Once inside, he begins to draw a hot bath. “It wasn’t you,” he finally manages to speak, looking at the water as it pours into the tub. “He and two others stayed after Imahdth caught. I think they meant to interfere– only, someone came to stop them.” He looks up at Priska with a pained expression. “The person may have had the intention to kill him.”
“What do you mean they stayed?” Priska questions, her arms knotted around her middle. “They stayed and watched? They were going to hurt us?” She stands propped against the wall, still clutching the blanket to her. “If it’s the latter, maybe his bronze is so ashamed of him that he didn’t know what to do. There’re records of dragons being so ashamed of their riders’ actions that they’ve gone Between without them.” Ducking her head, she murmurs, “He made advanced on Rori against her will. I should’ve known he wasn’t above attempting it now. I should have had Yedrith drive his dragon away before the flight.” She glances up, amending, “I’m not sorry about //him//. He’s an awful man. But this… isn’t a good start. Unless there are witnesses, there’re people who’ll think we did this.”
B’lian’s lips are thin and pressed together as he listens to Priska’s assessment. “The only witnesses were the two other riders. I don’t remember specifically who they were… or what Weyr they were from.” He takes his two hands and shucks them back through his hair, slicking his hair out of his face and back behind his ears. “There have been incidents of riders who have lost high stakes flights before going after each other. It is possible the blame can be redirected from us.” He looks to the water and turns it off before it can overflow the tub. “No one can blame us for not being aware of everything going on.” He closes his eyes and hunkers down, folding his arms on his knees as he props his chin against his fists. “I’m sorry this was brought upon you. Our focus should be on us. And Honshu. Not S’ven’s fate.” He looks to Priska. “We will have to figure out who was behind it, especially if he dies.”
“Clearing ourselves is easy enough: we just need another queen not involved to question Imahdth before he forgets. If he has any memory of you hurting anyone, a queen could compel him to tell her.” Priska twitches a shoulder. “It might not change people’s //opinion//, but they can hardly argue with that.” Shaking her head, she reaches for B’lian. “It’s not your fault. That bronzeriders are so desperate for leadership that they’ll attempt to attack goldriders is becoming a problem that we’re going to need to deal with, though. Someone tried to force Isolwyn before Eosyth rose, and if there were three of them here today, I figure the intent was that at least one of them would’ve got you out of the way.” Dropping the blanket to the floor, she tucks herself against him and wraps her arms around his middle, holding on tight. “We need Inaskashath back to question S’ven’s bronze as soon as possible. At least then we’ll know what his plan was.”
“That wouldn’t have earned them the knot they were so desperate for,” B’lian’s voice is hard as he holds her against him. “It would’ve earned S’ven no knot at all, knowing how you feel about him. Maybe he sought to end us both.” He tips his head against hers and breathes in the smell of her hair to settle himself. “Once Imahdth wakes, I’ll have him call Inaskashath. Or, once we’re dressed and settled, we can go and ask someone to go and bring Rori and Nala back.” He looks to the bath. “Let’s get clean.” He turns and puts both his hands about her face gently, his forehead pressing against hers. “No matter the taint on this day. I am your Weyrleader and you are my Weyrwoman. We will handle this. Together.”
Priska closes her eyes, her hands settling on B’lian’s hips as she murmurs, “I know.” Her fingers dig in a little as a moment’s tempter surges and fades, and she promises, “When this is sorted, we’re taking a day that’s ours.” No matter how she might want to, she doesn’t let herself linger long in the bath, though she takes the time to look over the scratches she’s left on her Weyrleader’s back and carefully clean them before washing her hair and pinning it up into its usual crown. Though night has fallen and the caverns have largely succumbed to the flight, she heads out with B’lian to collar the headwoman and her assistants, while seeking someone who can bring back Inaskashath before dawn and memories begin to blur too much.