A Late Night

Who: Isolwyn and C’aol
Where: Weyrleaders’ Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: The night after the latest clutch hatches.

With the shells cracked and the party in the caverns beginning to quiet down, Isolwyn departs the celebration and takes a detour to check that Casi has settled in the nursery for the night, then slips across the bowl to meet Eosyth, who has been checking in on her own children as Fort’s new weyrlings begin the sleep-wake-feed-bathe cycle that will be their lives for the next few months. Together, they head back home, where the sleepy queen flows into the wallow and curls up, draping the end of her tail over her nose. Isolwyn begins to pull pins and unthread ribbons from her hair, half-humming, half-singing as she wanders about the main room.

Daeserath, as is his usual routine, remains prominently displayed on the fire heights. His red-eye gaze and looming dark shape lends an undercurrent of promised violence to any who may put //his// Weyr at risk with their visit. C’aol finishes congratulations and ensures the staff is prepared to offer accommodations to those who clearly are not fit to travel. He also checks on Casi – though the nursery staff know better than to comment on his look in on his daughter – before he heads home. He enters their home and unbuttons his shirt, calling to Isolwyn, “Are you pleased with those who Impressed?”

Isolwyn has one of her ribbons held between her teeth as she reaches both hands up for fingers to catch at a particularly stubborn pin when she hears C’aol’s voice and instinctively turns towards it. She frowns and mutters something around the ribbon before the pin finally untangles itself from her hair and slides free, allowing her to temporarily wind the ribbon around one wrist with the others, while the pins occupy her other hand. “I had my eye on one of the new greenriders for a junior, but better the right match for her than anything else, I suppose,” she tells him. “It isn’t as if she can’t put her potential to use as a greenrider. She just might have to fight harder through people’s prejudice for it.”

“I suppose we do not have enough female leadership in our wings that would lead to the easy promotion of a greenrider,” C’aol muses, perhaps unconsciously invalidating male greenriders from leadership. “There are a few that are younger than I usually like. However, they may price more malleable to Forts culture for it.” He eases himself down on a chair with a grunt and then he bends to pull off his boots. “Some of the families are less than desirable…,” he drawls, “however, their eagerness for a connection to our leadership will surely fade as they realize we do not encourage nepotism here.” He looks at Isolwyn and adds, “How is our daughter?”

“If people believe they can do as they please with a goldrider who won’t comply with what they wish, the chances of girls on greens getting consistently into leadership without resistance seem slim,” Isolwyn sighs, pulling another pin free. “We can only try to set an example with those who work hard and are capable of leading. It can’t be a matter of promoting anyone at all just to make matters seem fair if they aren’t able to be the best wingleader, or wingsecond. We’ve been lucky that our juniors are competent and capable. We’re probably due some spoiled, entitled brat.” She pauses in the process of weaving a ribbon loose from a braid to peer over at C’aol with a brow arched. “Why don’t you tell me?” she proposes about Casi, dry voiced and unable to quite conceal the faintest of smiles.

C’aol looks up from shucking off a sock to glower at Isolwyn. “I looked in on her before I came home and she was sleeping. Was she sleeping when you checked on her?” he grouses and then shoves his socks into his boots. He settles back on the chair to watch Isolwyn continue to free her hair from ribbons. “We won’t allow a spoiled brat into our Candidate pool. We demonstrated that earlier when we dismissed the bad actors.” He sighs and rubs at his neck to ease a bit of tension as he adds, “I had thought Safiye’s parents might have tried to make an appearance to the Hatching…,” he has made no mention about the significance of the knife in the box beside their bed.

Freeing the last of the pins sends Isolwyn’s hair tumbling to the small of her back; the last ribbon untied so that she can set the whole lot down on the nearby table in a tangle of white and silver. “There’s no shame in loving her, you know,” she says softly, trailing slowly over to C’aol. “She was sleeping when I visited her too. One of the nannies was sitting with her.” She reaches to gently tug at the collar of his shirt. “Take this off,” she tells him, seemingly rather forward until she makes her intentions clearer by sliding a hand to the nape of his neck and applying pressure with her thumb. “Why would they have attended this one? If Vesoviath ever has a clutch of her own, I imagine they will want to be in attendance for that.”

C’aol chooses to ignore Isolwyn’s statement regarding loving Casi. He does finish unbuttoning his shirt and removes it so Isolwyn can have access to the tense muscles along his back. He stands up and flips the chair he was sitting over, to allow his arms a place to rest as he lowers his head towards them. “That knife is from her mother,” he shares, now that his back is to her, “a reminder and a promise that she no longer views me as a direct threat. I had expected her to show up to remind me of it in person when the impact would be larger. Like showing up today.”

Isolwyn briefly tugs at the laces of her dress, loosening them enough that she can step out of it and fold it over one of the arms of the couch, leaving her in the long black slip she’s worn beneath it. When she returns to C’aol, she spends a moment or so doing nothing more than tracing idle fingertips along his spine, then lifts her hands to explore his shoulder blades and find the worst of the knots and tension held there to work at. “…That explains why Safiye’s been quiet,” she utters wryly. “She’s been avoiding me and looking quite sick when we’ve had to speak. I was waiting to see if she would tell me what’s wrong.” She shakes her head. “If her mother had turned up to make a big show of anything, I’m not sure I’d have had the patience to endure it. She had her threats and her game and her swagger for years now. Enough is enough.” Her palm soothes over where she’s eased a knot loose. “…Does it give you any peace?” she murmurs.

C’aol does not immediately answer, grunting first over a tight knot Isolwyn’s knowing fingers have found. “I do not trust her,” he tells her. “I have had peace since you came into my life. It is enough.” He sighs and tips his head further down. “I hope Safiye can find a way to move past her parents. I told her she is Fort now. If she gets manipulated by that woman… I will let you loose upon her.” His smirk is hidden from Isolwyn. “That will be punishment enough.” He sighs again and shifts, easing a shoulder in a loose circle. “I hope next clutch we have a gold egg. We lose Emily soon.”

Isolwyn touches her lips to the knot lay as her palm passes over it again, before her fingertips go carefully roaming in search of another. “When we lose Emily, Safiye will lose the one of us she formed the closest bond with. That’s when the danger will be, if her mother attempts to fill that void with mutterings against us. I’ll do my best to keep her occupied and make sure she knows that she’s wanted and has purpose.” She runs a hand through C’aol’s hair for no other reason than to do so, then returns both to his shoulders, pressing a thumb just below the joint of his left. “…The stress of the threats against queens and their riders… and our own… natures… had Eosyth fly too soon, last time. I don’t know that she was ready. But if she’s the only breeding queen, it could happen again. I’ll have to try and make sure she flies high enough.”

“We will see how it all unfolds. We are in a far better position than we were a year ago,” C’aol answers and then shakes his head and reaches back to pat Isolwyn’s hand. He moves off of the chair and stretches his arms briefly before he grabs her hand. “Come,” he has nothing more to say as he draws her towards the room. He draws a warm bath and takes pleasure in undressing her before he leads her into the warm waters. He takes his time in washing her for the simple pleasure of it before his lips claim hers and he finds another use for his hands. He makes love to her in a far gentler way than he is more prone to, relaxed and simply taking the time to enjoy being inside her. It’s a suitable way to finish the days stress, and the rest of the evening is calm and quiet.

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