Manufactured Earthquakes

Who: Jet and M’tan
Where: Court of Shadows, Honshu Territory
What: Rumours of Ista.

The Court has been quiet of late — with the forced change of leadership at Benden, and the Council implementing new rules to guide Weyrs – those that call their home underneath Jet and M’tan’s leadership has enjoyed a very prosperous time. M’tan’s placed people at nearly all the Weyrs and with eyes and ears to keep track of where potential for gains are, the Court’s stores have been built up consistently with ‘salvaged’ goods. M’tan’s relaxing in their main living room, his feet kicked up on the couch, as he reviews a note that one of their many fire lizards have delivered.

Jet has spent the last few hours in the nursery and playroom with the children, time having got away with her primarily because she’s been asleep for last of those hours with their sons curled up against her and their daughter in her arms, book left open on her lap after falling into an unanticipated nap. She’s yawning as she enters her own quarters, hands trying to settle her hair back into something more presentable. “Khyrisan’s reading is progressing well,” she remarks, dropping onto the couch beside M’tan and closing her eyes again. “If you’re not careful, he’ll be reading your messages to anyone who’ll listen,” she teases, dry-voiced.

“So long as we keep him at the Court, it’s not as if our own people aren’t keeping ears and eyes on more than we ask them to,” M’tan drawls as he shifts on the couch so he can toss an arm about Jet and draw her back against his chest. “There’s been a number of earthquakes at Ista Weyr and beyond it. Rumors are stating that the old volcano may be waking up. While others are saying it’s some grand plan of the Weyr’s to bring instability to the region so they can talk over Ista Hold… my, how rumors are quick to get out of hand.” He kisses Jet’s temple and hands her the note detailing all the events for the last week at Ista. “I’d say the volcano is waking up myself. Aren’t Ista’s leaders one of the more stable of the Weyr Council?”

“I’d love to know how they think a Weyr can manufacture an earthquake,” Jet replies, unable to resist casting her gaze towards the ceiling. “What do they think they’re doing? Having all the dragons jump up and down at once?” At first, she rests her head against M’tan’s chest, then slips down to lie with her head in his lap instead. “Ista’s leaders tend to follow, but with those new laws applying to all Weyrs, it somewhat levels things out. Fort may be in charge and have had a hand in getting those laws passed, but if the Weyrs don’t like them when the time is up, it’ll be Fort they turn on. They’ll have no junior but Safiye once their other one goes to Telgar, too.”

“Exploding underground mines and cavern systems with explosives taken illegally from the Minecraft of course,” M’tan drawls and then huffs a laugh. “It does not take much to inspire people to consider far-fetched rumors. Especially the fearful and ignorant.” He sits himself up a little more comfortably to allow Jet proper amount of space to lay as she has chosen. “It is an interesting opportunity for our daughter to be given the sole role as a junior, at her age, for one of the most prominent Weyrs. I wonder what she can gain from the experience long term? I fear it may indicate she is unlikely to want to return to our lifestyle.” He idly strokes his fingers through Jet’s hair as he muses aloud.

“…I don’t think she’s going to want to come home,” Jet says slowly, her voice softened to a quiet, as if she could keep the words from being spoken aloud. “We can’t offer her that kind of role or the chance to use those skills here. Our sort aren’t going to consider her type of authority one they ought to follow, unless they take her as the heart and us as the blade. The sweet daughter of their fearsome leaders.” She passes a hand over her face. “I hate that she may prefer to live with them,” she mutters. “Still, I can’t… deny her it, if to be here would be an unfulfilling life for her. I doubt she even remembers how to use a sword anymore.”

“If she has found happiness in a Weyr, and truly values the work she does there, and her people value her? It is a life I would accept for her. It would be better than always looking down the dark corners for the person with the knife to stab you in the back…,” M’tan pauses, adding with a wryness to his tone, “not that she is excluded from that now. But I think you know what I’m saying. If we had a chance to not be rogues back when we first Impressed… a //true// chance at it, I might have considered that life. If she stays at Fort, perhaps we can see whether or not our children can go and visit her now and then for a taste of something different. It couldn’t hurt.” He trails his fingers through Jet’s hair. “I’m happy for her.”

That Jet cannot yet summon ‘happy’ is evident enough in her silence and her inability to even attempt to meet M’tan’s gaze. “She need not look out for Benden anymore,” she says eventually. “Even if something of that woman and her idiot leader’s beliefs linger on, the whole Council has its eyes on the Weyr. If anyone tries anything, they’ll be dead. And if the Council doesn’t see to it, I will.” She takes a breath. “Again.” Finding enough humour to smirk, she remarks, “I’ll just have to turn Joy into a little assassin. Aadi dotes on her, though I’m sure he thinks that she’s his sister.”

M’tan is quiet for a stretch of time after mention of their grandson and daughter. He pauses his hand in toying with Jet’s hair. “Does Arlet come to visit him at all?” he asks, aiming to keep his tone light. “It may be… something we do not immediately tell him until he’s old enough. That we aren’t his parents, and Joy is not his sister. Maybe… it’s better for him if he does view her as his sibling.” He reaches for the document he’d shared with Jet to toss to the table beside them. He angles his head back and rests his head against the back of the couch with a sigh. “This world is a lot more complicated than we might have hoped for. However, I feel like we are better established to take care of our people now.”

“No,” is an answer Jet doesn’t need to think on. “Arlet hasn’t seem him in months, and I don’t know that her plan is to ever see him again. I find it doubtful that she’ll ever have children with J’kson. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.” One corner of her lips curls into a sad smile. “It took me until Khyrisan that I thought I could be a mother to him and to Safiye. I just don’t want her to regret it. If she’s happy enough without Aadi and any other children, then that’s that, but what Aadi learns and when remains our problem.” As M’tan leans back, she takes the opportunity to sprawl more comfortable in his lap. “If Ista is to implode or explode, are the people we have there set to get out safely?”

“None of the ones at Ista are more than residents, so — we’ll have to discuss exit strategies for them in the event of the disaster occurring. That, or we pull them out now,” M’tan answers as he tucks his arm behind his head and glances up at the ceiling where a variety of their fire lizards have perched themselves to stare down at the pair of them. “We should consider attracting more dragonriders. If Silverfield can claim a bronze and a gold… we might be able to solicit a few other dragonriders who no longer want to be part of a Weyr.” He brushes his fingers through Jet’s hair. “And that way, were Safiye ever to want to come home, she’d have more company here.”

Jet’s brow furrows. “Has Ista had weyrlings recently? There might be some close to Safiye’s age, if they’re going to need to look for places to go.” She curls a hand around M’tan’s knee. “Maybe we ought to make it clear to Fort that we’d want any of Vesoviath’s offspring to live here. I doubt C’aol will be interested in having her descendants potentially mate with another Fortian queen, if she clutches any bronzes or browns. It would suit us all well enough. We get more dragonriders and Fort doesn’t have to worry about their bloodlines being ‘polluted’.” Her expression darkens. “I just hope he’s not suggested as much to Safiye about what he must think of Vesoviath’s potential offspring.”

“I believe C’aol recognizes how tenuous our arrangement is with them. Were he to do anything to harm Safiye, even by suggesting she or Vesoviath are at fault for her breeding, would certainly earn him a number of injuries,” M’tan answers with a smirk. “I do believe the man rightly fears you, more than me. Somehow, in all these years, I have turned into a spymaster,” he lifts his hands to glance at his knuckles, scarred as they are, no fresh injuries grace them. “Gone are the days of me brawling in a pit.” He bends forward to kiss the top of Jet’s head. “I don’t know if Ista has weyrlings or not. I only have three people there. Two are married – one is a laundress, the other a guard. The third is their newest Harper apprentice.”

“He should be afraid,” Jet mutters, reaching to capture one of M’tan’s hands in hers. “When he eventually slips and does something abhorrent that he can’t take back or cover up, I’ll be there, no matter how well he and his weyrmate have guarded Safiye.” She idly traces a thumb over his knuckles. “If his Weyrwoman is actually his weyrmate. I know there’s the child now, but if he’s playing the long game, I doubt that would be something that’d mar his conscience.” Pressing a kiss to his knuckles, she declares, “That’s probably something for our spymaster to work out.” Slowly, she eases herself back up and claims another kiss. “Come on. If you want to remember what it is to brawl, come and spar with me in the courtyard. We can frighten the living daylights out of our latest intake.”

M’tan laughs as he unfolds himself from the couch and stands up. He takes the moment to lift his arms over his head and crack his knuckles audibly before he jerks his neck from the side the side to crack his joints as well. He’s got a huge smile on his face as he looks to Jet. “I won’t go easy on you,” he promises, “and I //know// you won’t go easy on me.” He reaches for her hand to hold as he tugs her out towards their courtyard. “I’m sure our latest intake will have all sorts of rumors as to why we came down to blows,” he jokes as he walks with her. “And I’ll be all the more delighted to twist the story around.”

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