No Matter the Cost

Who: Priska and B’lian
Where: Weyrleaders’ Weyr, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Things are… not good.

When Priska finally returns home after the visit from Zaivar’s Lord and Lady, it’s a good way into the evening, and she doesn’t truly look any less stressed than when she left, if a little more haggard. Yedrith carefully deposits her on the ledge and waits patiently for her straps to be removed, then goes in search of a spot from which she can observe the goings on in the Weyrhold below. In the doorway, Priska tugs off her boots and gently eases her straps from her shoulder, dropping them beneath the hook she would usually hang them on, and only then does she look ahead of her again, cautious in making any further noise, in-case B’lian should be asleep.

B’lian is not in their weyr when Priska returns – and it is closer to an hour before he enters their home. Imadth is sheen with fresh oil and he remains on the ledge to let the night’s dry air brush against him until sleep finds him. B’lian kicks off his shoes and sets them in the corner he always keeps them. He heads right for the bath and almost walks past Priska before he notices she’s returned home. He’s grimy from bathing Imadth and looks just as aggravated as he did when they parted. He offers her a half-smile, “Welcome home,” and then he heads on to bathe.

Priska has curled up at one end of the couch and is surrounded by half a dozen books with various page markers sticking out, some pages open, some not, and the one in her lap not getting very much attention either. If it’s her seventh attempt to settle to something, she’s not making a very good job of it. Her gaze flicks up from the page she’s blankly staring at and briefly focuses on B’lian, some measure of apprehension pinching at her features, then she looks right back down again as he passes her, her shoulder hunching a little. Nothing much changes in the time that passes while he bathes, but she’s poured herself a glass of something that she’s made no more inroads in than she has in any of the books.

B’lian leaves the bath with a towel tucked about his waist for modesty as he heads back in to gather clothes. He notes how little attention Priska seems to have given to drink and books and detours from pursuing pants. He moves to settle across from Priska and looks at her with quiet, calm, expectation. He fingers one of the books, turning it so he can see the title and contents when he asks, “Can we talk about it?” he looks up at her then, no concern or anger across his brow, simple – quiet – patience as he usually falls to when issues are complicated.

Pale blue eyes track B’lian’s exploration of the book rather than look directly at him, Priska keeping her head ducked just enough that it doesn’t appear entirely unnatural to not do the braver thing and lift her gaze to his. “What do you want to talk about?” she asks, perfectly evenly and without accusation for the mere enquiry. She does, however, close the book it’s quite obvious that she’s not reading, smoothing both hands over the cover before she sets it aside and folds her hands together in her lap instead.
“The meeting,” B’lian prompts, “was more than a little surprising with the direction they took it.” He draws his thumb against the stubble he left on his chin. “I lost my patience,” he waits, hoping Priska will interject and then continues, “I don’t believe I have ever behaved that way in front of you before. So, I’m sorry.” He looks to that closed book and then keeps his focus there rather than force Priska to have eye contact.

Tilting her head a little, Priska takes a moment to simply take a breath in and out before she lets herself speak. “You’re human. You’re allowed to lose patience with people. You can’t imagine that I’ve never thought you might have a temper hidden away. You’re just much better at controlling your feelings and impulses than I am.” One of her hands tightens over the other. “…And it isn’t as if I had a very intelligent response to offer them. I was probably making things worse. Even so… I know you were defending my honour in some way, but it made me look weaker still.” She finally lifts her gaze to his, full of nothing but regret. “And this is just one of the reasons I said I shouldn’t let myself want to keep you. Because being with me drags you into the ridiculous world of the Blooded. People will be overly interested in…” she takes another deep breath, “our children.” She ducks her head again. “…And I don’t know that I can be the mother your children deserve.”

B’lian shakes his head as he rises once more, moving the towel and returning it once he’s standing. “I was defending the honor of this Weyr, Priska. We are a Weyr and not a Hold. The soon the Blooded realize it, the better.” He walks closer to Priska to brush his fingers lightly against her hair before he turns and goes to get dressed. He returns in comfortable pants and a loose fitting shirt. “My children will be Weyr-bred. You can be whatever type of mother that compels you – or not a mother at all. I reserve the right to not judge you for it or discuss it further. You’re not a Blooded woman any longer. You’re a Weyrwoman. And that comes before being a mother.” He shakes his head and tosses his hand through his hair once more, the dampness holds his hair back in slickness.

Priska unconsciously jams herself more securely into the corner of the couch, lifting her feet from the floor to tuck them beneath her and idly rearranging the books around her. “What if we’ve done the wrong thing?” she questions, her voice little more than a whisper. “What if this is the future? The relationships between Holds and Weyrs aren’t going to stay as they are, not with Thread having been so long gone. What if one of the ways to maintain alliances is going to be with the children of queenriders? When we’re all finished fighting over economics and duty, that may be what people turn to to ensure loyalty.” Her fingers knot themselves back together. “I’m sorry, okay?” she grits out, her voice strained. “I don’t know why I’m upset, but I am. And I’m not as good at thinking absolutely objectively as you are. They caught me off-guard and made me think about things I didn’t want to.”

“Priska, no child of mine will be bartered for loyalty. No matter the cost. If that were what is expected, we would find another way.” B’lian shakes his head once more. “They may not need us to protect them from Thread. But they rely on us for a lot more than battling in the skies for them. The sooner they realize it, the better.” He grinds his teeth together briefly and then, with another sigh, and an apologetic look he tells her, “I need to get some air.” He turns and leaves then, taking himself out to settle on the stairs that lead up to the weyr. He keeps his eyes on the stars and waits until calm once more finds itself inside him. Only when he is certain he will not say anything he will not mean does he enter again. He crawls into their bed carefully and settles on his back, one arm tucked behind his head, as he looks at the ceiling for some hours as if I’m doing so he’d find answers.

Priska tucks her chin to her collarbone and closes her eyes, determined that the threat of tears will not get the better of her. When she eventually moves, it’s to lurch towards Yedrith as she returns from her observations of the Weyrhold, her queen quite obliging in how she curls around her and tucks her against her chest, folding her forearms in such a way as to keep the world out as they both seek sleep. Priska excuses herself from wallow and weyr with the dawn, finding one thing after another in the caverns to keep her occupied over the following days; days that find neither the blades nor the pretty dresses, nor anything else she might usually enjoy, making an appearance.

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