A Promise

Who: Safiye, C’aol, Vesoviath, Daeserath
Where: Lake Shore, Fort Weyr
What: Safiye passes on a ‘gift’ from her mother.

The days that C’aol washes Daeserath down at the lake are noticeably quiet – with little to no activity taking part near the water as the Weyrleader washes his dragon. He’s completed scrubbing his bronze and is waiting for him to dry as he sits on the shore, his arms resting on his knees as he considers the water before him. Even the firelizards that usually entertain themselves during the washing of a dragon are cowed into silence and have taken themselves off to hide elsewhere.

For the past few hours, Vesoviath has been perched on one of the ledges in the hatching cavern, watching over Eosyth and the eggs that are sure to hatch any day now, and when she reappears in the brighter light of day, it’s to touch down in the bowl and meet her rider as Safiye heads through from the Weyr’s entrance. Slender fingers find her muzzle, before Safiye notes the quiet at the shore and the two begin to head in the direction of C’aol and Daeserath, though Vesoviath settles down in the shallows while allowing the weyrwoman to forge ahead. On approach, Safiye draws a rectangular box the length of her forearm from her satchel and keeps it clasped to her with both hands. She takes a deep breath and closes the last bit of distance to stop before the Weyrleader. “My mother asked that I give you this,” she says, not yet proffering the box. “She said you’d understand what it meant.”

Daeserath does not acknowledge Vesoviath entering the waters – an acceptance of her presence more than any greeting would be. C’aol rises from the shore and dusts himself off before he reaches for the box. “The last gift your mother gave me were scars,” he remarks dryly, though not unkindly. He takes the box and opens it, staring down at its contents with a puckered brow. Daeserath reaches his cold touch Vesoviath’s way. << If the mother is up to no good it is not C’aol that will be angered but Isolwyn. >>

Safiye clamps her arms around herself after surrendering the box, staring down at its contents before she dares to look up at C’aol again. Nestled in black velvet is a dagger, its blade long and silver handle claws that seem to clasp the blade itself. She swallows hard and utters, “I know what she did. What she is. We were attacked one day when I was young and I saw what she did to the men who tried to hurt us.” Her gaze falls to the dagger again. “She said it was a promise. That you’d been good to me and… and… that deserved living in peace.” Her fingers grip more tightly at her ribs. “I can take it away if you don’t want it anywhere near you.” Vesoviath tilts her head slightly, a blunted arrow sent back towards Daeserath with her words. << I believe her intentions are sound. I sensed no deception. Safiye would not have brought a threat to him. >>

C’aol pulls the dagger out of the box to turn this way and that in thought as he considers the quality of the blade. He sets it back in the box and looks at Safiye. “I did not expect your mother to ever stop considering me a threat.” He seems genuinely surprised by it as he shakes his head and tucks the box under his arm. “I will keep it. As a reminder,” the smile he offers Safiye is forced. “Thank you for taking the time to give it to me. They understand that you are Fortian now, correct?” Hardness enters his gaze as he adds, “I cannot have one of my weyrwomen serving as one of their spies. I trust you. Do not break that trust.” Daeserath snaps the arrow in two and snarls, << You are Fort now. Do not forget it. >>

“I don’t know that she has,” Safiye says slowly, glancing down at her feet. “I think it would be… short-sighted… to think that she’s made such a promise more for your sake than mine. But whatever her reasons, I think this is a better way to be than to be exchanging threats for the years to come.” She clasps her hands behind her back. “Though if you take advantage of it and strike out at her, you put me in an impossible position.” Her gaze darts back up to meet his and hold it steadily. “I said when I asked to stay that I wouldn’t be a double agent. This is my home, and Vesoviath’s. But I won’t be used to hurt them any more than I would to hurt you.” From the depths of faint pink mist, another arrow flies forth, this one edged with the sharpness the previous lacked. << I have no need of reminding, >> Vesoviath responds. << Your rider insists I am gold. I will not be cowed. >>

“I have no reason to hurt your family, Safiye. I have not once tried to do so, I am not about to start now,” C’aol answers with a steely gaze that does not soften as he adds, “I will ask Isolwyn to make a formal announcement that you are officially our junior weyrwoman. I will ask you to help train any future goldriders to the level of expectation we hold you to. If you have nothing further for me?” he prompts, nearly dismissing her but waiting to offer her the courtesy of further discussion should she have need of it. Daeserath stretches his wings out to allow the sun to dapple along the thin membrane as the remaining water evaporates in the sun. << You are gold. If is not something we must remind you of. You are not to be cowed, certainly. Remember that it is //I// who leads this Weyr with Eosyth. >>

“I don’t know the whole of what happened between you, or why,” Safiye confesses, one hand clasping the other more tightly. “I only know what she is and what you’ve been to me for certain. It’s enough to know that neither of you would hurt me.” Her attention rests for a moment on the box she handed over, sadness edging the grim press of her lips. “She should’ve done this herself and not asked me. I didn’t mean to upset you.” Her eyes fall closed heavily and she gives the slightest of nods to acknowledge what he’s said of her rank and role, then turns away and heads back the way she came, to meet Vesoviath, who extracts herself from the water before the two of them carry on their journey together. << I believe Eosyth would appreciate your company on the Sands for a while, >> is what she has for Daeserath, offered distractedly, her focus narrowing to her rider as she nears. << Being our leader and a mate. Something I may never have. >> It’s the first indication that the young queen has given of any understanding of what she is being denied, but that flicker of resentment is soon buried beneath the need to comfort Safiye as they head further away.

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