Dealt With

Who: Safiye, C’aol, Vesoviath, Yukijiath
Where: Weyrleader’s Office, Fort Weyr
What: Safiye has dismissed a Candidate for improper advances. She has other matters to enquire about as well.

Very rarely does Safiye choose to impose on C’aol, but the afternoon that she quite deliberately opts for his company over Isolwyn’s, she strides through into his office without bothering to knock on the door first. Approaching his desk, she reaches forward to set down the cut threads of what must have been a Candidate’s knot, the loop sliced through cleanly as though with a blade. “The boy from Nerat decided to inform me that I ought to submit to the affections of a man sure to Impress bronze for my own protection, given that my queen is a runt and a disgrace, and not even a proper dragon,” she tells him. “So I informed //him// that his knot was mine and his life would’ve been mine, were I not a weyrwoman, and I made sure he wouldn’t think about using what’s between his legs for a couple of days.” She glowers, taking a deep breath. “The Headwoman is arranging for him to be returned to his Hold.” Despite her lingering anger, there remains an unmistakable desire for approval, her hopeful gaze fixed on him.

C’aol looks up from his work as Safiye comes in and he does nothing but listen to her in stony silence as she details the interaction with, and repercussion for, the Nerat candidate. “I hope you escorted him to the room we use to lock up the ones deserving such things instead of the Infirmary?” He lifts a brow and then leans back in his chair, appraising her with a spark of approval on his face. “We do not tolerate men who force themselves on a woman, regardless of rank. It was only words?” he presses, “For if it extended to more than that, I will have the Harpers handle him. Or I will.” His fingers close into a fist as he waits for Safiye’s answer.

“I had one of the Wingleaders drag him there. He was crying at the time.” Safiye folds her hands before her and throws her shoulders back. “It would’ve been embarrassing to try myself. He’s quite a bit bigger than me.” As for whatever else it might have been, she shakes her head. “It was words, and then he moved as though he’d kiss me, and I had his knot off his shoulder and my knee between his legs before he could’ve thought to try anything else. He’s an idiot who was trying his luck. A nasty piece of work, but a simple idiot nonetheless.” Still, she can’t quite resist adding, “But if you want to scare him and make him cry again, I won’t complain.”

C’aol actually smiles at Safiye – though it is far more predatory than humorous – and though he usually reserves such displays for Isolwyn alone, it would seem Safiye has earned it from the Weyrleader today. “I am glad you were quick thinking to end his attempt before he got much further. You should be proud of yourself. I am sure your mother would’ve thought a knife might’ve served as a lesson as well,” that last is a dry delivery as his features settle back into his usual cold, hard, lines. “You handled him. If you would like me to speak to him, I will. However, it would undermine your authority if I follow-up. You handled it all well. I will let you coordinate his dismissal.” He pauses, looking thoughtful. “Other than this candidate… you have not faced similar from Fortian riders, have you?”

Safiye answers C’aol’s smile with one of her own, more pleased than anything else, whether she realises it in her relief or not. “I thought it better to reserve the knife for his knot.” The one at her waist cannot be termed a dagger, but it must serve well enough for day to day use. “It’s bad of me to want him frightened further, and it’d only be for my satisfaction, so there’s no need. Entertainment isn’t a reason to do it, no matter what he did.” She shakes her head without hesitation in response to his question. “No,” she declares, with nothing but absolute security. “The men mostly keep away from me. Lots of the women have tried to help me by telling me what their lives as riders have been like. Though…” The shrug she gives is both resigned and matter of fact. “They comment. Not just the riders. About Vesoviath, when they think I don’t hear. But what they say is true: she’s tiny, she can’t give commands, and we don’t know if she’s really a gold. Sometimes they say it more unkindly. Whatever she is, she’s mine. Doesn’t everyone feel that way about their dragon?”

C’aol rubs a thumb lightly against his jaw, his gaze stern as his lips flatten. “Well, it is not for us to speculate about what she is. But it is clear enough to me that she is not green. So, if she is clearly not a green, and the only other color that is female is gold, I believe it answers the question. However, she is of Jynth and Inaskashath. She is unique,” his choice of words hint at some subtle kindness, though his tone is as cold and aloof as it ever is. “for her breeding. I will have to speak to Isolwyn. I do not approve of our riders, or residents, speculating or spreading rumors about our weyrwomen. You are Isolwyn’s junior. It is not for them to question Vesoviath.” As to the other question, C’aol adds, “It would be foolish to not acknowledge your dragon as your own. Daeserath is a part of me, and I of him. He may wish to know what dragonriders are bothering Vesoviath. He would love to have a focus on a dragon to punish when he’s in one of his moods.”

Safiye gives the tiniest twitch of her shoulders. “It is what it is. I can’t expect people not to comment. We don’t live in a world where everyone is kind. Some people are just curious about what she is, or whether she will rise and clutch, or if she might grow into being able to command others.” For the last, she gives a wry smile. “She’s been grown up for a long time. I don’t think we’ll wake up one day and find she can tell others what to do.” However, she agrees, “Vesoviath will tell Daeserath some names.” Her hands tighten before her and she lingers before C’aol’s desk when she might otherwise leave. “…I…” She hesitates and briefly looks down at the floor rather than at the Weyrleader. “I wanted to ask you if we could stay here. Me and Vesoviath. I know my parents will want me back, but there’s nothing for me there. They could have her eggs… I know Fort… likely won’t want them, if she has them.” Taking a deep breath, she says, “I know you probably didn’t volunteer for any of this, and we’ve caused you trouble. But this… this is our home. Our home. And if we stayed… whatever’s been agreed… Well, it’d have to be got rid of. And if I didn’t do my work or I was an embarrassment, then… you’d have every right to kick me out.”

C’aol watches Safiye closely as she lingers and if he is surprised by her request nothing flickers across his features to betray him. “We already rely on you a great deal. With Emily to Telgar, and Priska already settled at Honshu, it is important to me that you have asked to stay. Isolwyn relies on the competence of her juniors. Emily has trained you well. You do your part, and I know you have likely started to do more, so Isolwyn may have more time with our daughter. That does not go unnoticed by me, I hope you know.” He looks down at the ledger on his desk and then back at her. “You may not have chosen Fort to be your Weyr, but it is yours all the same. Stay with us. If you do not believe you have the life you want at your parents, choose your own.” A hint of admiration enters his gaze. “I am sure you will be able to persuade your parents on your own that you will stay with us.” He taps his fingers on his desk briefly. “We will see what Vesoviath produces after her first flight. We do not even know if she will clutch. Regardless, if we claim you as our junior, we should not disrespect you and Vesoviath by sending her eggs – or offspring – away. I will tolerate the dragons she produces. Unless the dragonhealers instruct us otherwise.”

For a moment or two, all Safiye manages to do is nod to confirm that she’s heard and understands all that C’aol answers her request with. If there’s a brief glimmer in her dark eyes, it’s all that betrays her youth, for even then she blinks and determinedly fights it back. “Emily and Isolwyn and Priska have been my mothers as much as my own,” she tells him. “And you and Daeserath have protected us. You’ve all given me what I need to make my own way in the world… A way which is more… honourable… than what I might have otherwise had.” She closes her eyes for an instant, then levels a steady gaze on him. “And if I’m Fort’s, then I’m Fort’s. I won’t… go telling tales. To anyone.” What she says next, she has compose herself all the better for, yet she faces it head-on. “Vesoviath and I have thought a lot about what would happen if she has eggs that aren’t… quite right. If it’s obvious that her offspring would suffer or have others suffer, we don’t want that. We wouldn’t fight what would have to be done.” One corner of her lips curves in a faint smile. “But we’re glad that they can stay if they’re well. If she has them.” Her hands finally unclench. “And I’m glad that we can stay. Thank you.”

“There is nothing to thank me for. You have earned your knot and your right to be of Fort. For that, I thank you. You are a leading example of what Isolwyn and myself are looking to have join Fort.” C’aol glances down at his ledger and then back up at the girl. “If that is all you need of me, weyrwoman,” he uses the title purposefully, “I should return to my work.” He waits until she is ready to depart and offers her nothing more than a parting nod. In the days that follow, more than a few dragonriders bring complaints to C’aol about Daeserath’s lashings of temper. That C’aol often offers his own tongue lashing soon ends any further complaints. Examples have to be made, after all.

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