A Double Agent?

Who: Isolwyn and C’aol
Where: Weyrleader’s Office, Fort Weyr
What: Isolwyn learns what Safiye brought to C’aol.

C’aol hasn’t spoken directly to Isolwyn in the coming days after his and Safiye’s chat. The candidate whose knot was removed by their junior weyrwoman has since been removed from the Weyr. C’aol had their candidate coordinators review each of their current candidates and after a back and forth and a few reports shared, C’aol has dismissed two other candidates. More than a few rumors are running around the Weyr, focused on the Weyrleader’s bad temper, and Daeserath’s continued belligerence to certain dragons. C’aol’s in his office this morning, reviewing reports, while he sips klah.

Eosyth tends towards not taking too much interest in the idea of Candidates, until they’re on the Sands either to touch the eggs or for the Hatching itself, her focus drifting between a fixation on her offspring yet to break shell, and a broader presence across the Weyr while her body remains curled around her clutch. Daeserath’s anger is often something she either quietly enjoys and encourages, or that which she seeks to temper, but its continuation over days has become enough to unsettle her, disagreeable lashes of her own irritation finding what targets she may, until Isolwyn has to close the galleries altogether. Leaving her queen to brood in more ways than one, the Weyrwoman makes her way from the cavern and up the stairs to C’aol’s office. “I won’t deny that,” like Eosyth, “I kind of enjoy it when you’re in the mood to smite people, but you’ve been doing a lot of that recently…”

C’aol glances up from his reading and offers her a slight smile at her statement. He gestures towards the chair across from him before he sets the paper back down on the desk. “Well, I suppose I have been more difficult to some. There was an issue some days ago with a male candidate. He made some lewd suggestions to Safiye. She handled herself well and removed his knot. He has been dismissed. In review of a few other candidates, I found two others who had begun to assume life at the Weyr meant they could behave as they wished.” He sips his klah and leans back in his chair, looking to her. “I believe our approach of older candidates is still valid. However, we may need a more formal interview process. Outside of the dragons’ picking. I’m not going to interview all male candidates myself…., but we could have a series of questions to present to those who get Searched. To rule them out or not.” He looks towards his mug and adds, “Have you spoken to Safiye recently?”

Isolwyn folds herself down into the seat and smoothes her skirts over her knees. “The Headwoman informed me that one of them was being sent home for misconduct, but she was reluctant to elaborate as to precisely why,” she replies. “Last I met with Safiye and Emily, all she told me was ‘he was an insult to the Weyr’. I suppose she didn’t want to make it personal. She tends to play her cards close when it comes to her interactions when she’s on the proverbial clock, but I’ve seen her act more her age with Emily and Priska.” Her tiny smile is wry. “I’m glad she told one of us what it was really about, as much as I wish it had been some other reason. Perhaps we ought to interview Candidates twice. Once when they get here, and again shortly before the eggs are set to hatch… just in-case they’ve become too ‘settled’.” She shakes her head. “But no, beyond work matters, Safiye’s not sought me out.”

“I don’t know why she actually came to tell me about the candidate specifically, however… it brought up another request from her,” C’aol looks at Isolwyn, a spark in his gaze. “She requested to stay at Fort. If we’d have her and Vesoviath. She is clearly an asset to this Weyr, and to you as a junior. No matter her age. Or the… differences… of Vesoviath. I told her I wanted her to stay. However,” he sighs as he eases his head back against his chair, looking at the ceiling briefly. “Her parents, especially that woman, may think we have stolen her from them.” He looks to Isolwyn. “I am prepared for repercussions from that. Do you see any problems I am missing in having her stay?”

Isolwyn tilts her head slightly. “In terms of her work, and in terms of whatever Vesoviath’s differences may bring, I have absolutely no problem with her remaining with us. She works harder than I’ve heard tell of juniors twice her age.” She hooks the fingers of one hand around her opposing thumb and idly pulls it back. “When Vesoviath rises, and does or doesn’t clutch, she’s going to need support. Whether she’ll want her mother for that, or one of us – or Emily, or Priska – we need to be prepared for it. Her situation is different to that of a junior of age with a maiden queen. We’ll need dragonhealers better versed than some of our own to be here to monitor Vesoviath.” For a moment, she glances down into her lap. “The girl can use a blade; the mother clearly had a hand there. The question is… Will she be a double agent? Am I prepared for the threat of her mother’s blade at your throat?”

“I would not allow that woman to remain at Fort for any amount of time. It is one thing to protect her daughter – and Safiye has proved herself – it is quite another to allow her to stay here. I would note,” C’aol’s words are stiff as he straightens up in his chair, “I would not allow Emily or Priska’s parents to move to Fort during a clutching either. As far as I know, their parents are trained killers.” He hurrumphs and reaches to finish of his klah in one gulp. That Isolwyn continues to think more broadly about the threats, he sighs and shakes his head. “I don’t see it of Safiye and I am not a trusting man. I also am not frightened of her mother’s blade any longer. We will have to consider what boundaries need to be maintained.”

Isolwyn gets to her feet and rounds the desk to sit at its edge, where she has C’aol within easy reach, a hand lifting to brush through his hair. “I don’t want you hurt,” she murmurs. “In any way.” She ducks her head a little and lets her hand fall back to her side. “I want to protect Safiye and look after her, but not at a cost to you. However, if your desire to do the same outweighs the risks that her parents bring to the situation, then that’s that. She’s lived her life as a rider with us and she won’t be a child in a year or so.” Her dark gaze lifts to his. “If she lives her life here, then she lives it on her terms. As an adult. Without the interference of her parents. If she wants to stay, it sounds like that’s what she wants anyway. And if they want to fight about it… then she’s ours to fight for too.”

C’aol reaches up to capture Isolwyn’s hand before it settles at her side too long. He kisses the inside of her wrist once and then releases his hand from hers. “I do not feel there is any more risk to having her stay on as there was when she first came. We have proven that we kept her safe. I do not think her parents can somehow decide we’ve done wrong enough to try and knife me again.” He smirks at Isolwyn, making light of that near-fatal attack, though the darkness that enters his gaze speaks of some of that trauma. “She wants to stay. We want her to stay. We will figure out how to navigate situations as they come up. We should put a request out for an additional dragonhealer to join Fort. When Vesoviath rises, we aren’t sure she may even have a clutch. But if she does, we need to make sure she is safe in doing so. I believe we spoke of this before, but we may need to limit her flight to small-sized browns and blues.” He sighs, closing his eyes as he pinches the bridge of his nose. “If only Inashaskath would stop breeding with Jynth…, these situations would be smaller reaching.”

A soft smile that she only ever favours C’aol with settles across Isolwyn’s lips as he kisses the inside of her wrist. “The only one allowed to inflict hurt on you is me,” she says quietly. “And only when it makes you yell in interesting ways.” She reaches to absently straighten his collar for no other reason than to make contact. “It may be better for both Safiye and Vesoviath if she doesn’t have a clutch. Take the expectation away. Though there’s no saying she can’t clutch even if she doesn’t the first time. Maybe there will be a brown from this clutch and a rider close to Safiye’s age. In any case, the Council’s ruling affords her the same protection as any other queenrider, being a weyrwoman.” One shoulder shrugs. “Maybe Rori will like Benden and no-one will have to deal with the consequences of blue-sired clutches anymore. But what we know for sure is that Eosyth and Daeserath’s children will be strong. If Vesoviath is to have clutches, we will make them strong.”

C’aol allows a smile to play on his features as he appraises Isolwyn and receives all her extra contact. “Eosyth and Daeserath always produce strong offspring. I know we don’t have a gold egg on the Sands, however – I am certain next cycle Eosyth will produce another. It gives us time to train an appropriately suitable weyrwoman to replace Emily when she goes. Safiye and you are a good team. I still believe you benefit from one more weyrwoman.” He reaches his arm about Isolwyn’s waist and tugs her down into his lap, rather than continuing to look up at her. “I don’t think Rori will trade her wife for Benden. There’s something between her and the bluerider. She could’ve had Fort if she had wanted it, or Honshu, and she kept walking away from that.” He kisses Isolwyn’s jaw. “Are you going to start matchmaking for Safiye?” he asks her dryly, “or should we let the Headwoman keep trying?”

There’s no resistance in Isolwyn, who pauses only briefly to rearrange her skirts so that she can settle herself in C’aol’s lap with a content hum. “If we take Yedrith as the example of a queen without any other true breeding golds for company, we might expect Eosyth to rise sooner and clutch more eggs,” she considers. “And there are times, such as when she’s on the Sands and when Casi needs me, that it wouldn’t be right to have Safiye be the only one to pick things up.” She is all too obvious in her pleasure when he kisses her jaw, an answering one pressed to his own. “Priska was better at matchmaking than me,” she sighs. “I was never really a romantic. Present exceptions noted. I just think the girl ought to be with someone she actually likes or is interested in for her first time. I was interested in you.”

C’aol has never expressed any sort of regret for his actions towards Zaimika’s mother but when Isolwyn shares her views with him his eyes shutter as he frowns. “Yes, well, interest in a person does help. Still, she’s young.” He doesn’t seem comfortable with the conversation any longer as he gives her a brief hug and then scoots her off his lap as soon as he had drawn her down upon it. He stands up and strides away from his desk and Isolwyn in the process. “Enough of this talk,” he says gruffly, “we have our duties to attend to.” He does not rush out the door as he pulls open it and looks to Isolwyn, expecting her to proceed him out the door.

Isolwyn abruptly finds her feet beneath her and reaches for the edge of the desk just to steady herself for a moment, her eyes narrowing as she follows C’aol’s progress across the room and away from her. Straightening, she brushes at her skirts, then follows after him, seemingly headed to do as he bids and walk through the doorway, only she alters her path and catches her hip against the door, quite deliberately throwing her weight into it, so that she can knock it free of his grip and slide it shut again in one motion. “I came here to find out why you and Daeserath were in a mood, not to leave you in another one,” she states, lifting her chin so that she might meet his gaze. “What is it? You think I don’t know you care about Safiye? You think I regret you taking me to bed however many years ago? I chose you, for Faranth’s sake.”

C’aol’s gaze is steel as he looks down at Isolwyn when she bars his way. “Am I a reformed man? Do I get to judge those who behave as I did? I said, I do not want to talk about it.” He uses arm to push her once more out of his way and storms off before she can quite catch up to stop him. His and Daeserath’s rage do not begin to simmer until a few more days have passed. And when the calm returns to the Weyr, people continue to speculate about what set off their Weyrleader in the first place.

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