What Went Wrong?

Who: Priska and B’lian
When: Month 8, 208 AT
Where: Weyrleaders’ Weyr, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Working things out a clear path forward isn’t easy.

The past few weeks have found Priska drawing more and more careful lines between herself and her Weyrleader, though Yedrith’s behaviour towards Imahdth has hardly altered at all, save for in instances where her rider’s need of her outweighs everything else. Largely, Priska has found good reason not to return home of an evening unless it’s to bathe and sleep, her side of the bed kept to instead of her usual manner of draping herself right over B’lian to find comfort in the night. She’s become quite adept at the whole thing, especially when others are in meetings with them, using them as a buffer and someone to talk to or someone to lead her off to a task that absolutely needs her attention right at that very moment. Whatever he has been doing with the wings or otherwise, she simply hasn’t enquired, much of what communication she offers written and delivered by someone else. It’s nearly midnight when she returns home this evening, pulling pins from her hair and un-weaving braids to let it tumble down past her shoulders.

B’lian has not addressed Priska’s pulling back from him, though he has noticed it enough that he finds himself watching her late at night as she sleeps so far from him. He’s awake when Priska enters and dressed, a book in his lap that had held his interest closed and set on the small table beside the chair he was sitting in. He looks at Priska and folds his hands in his lap. “I’ve been giving you space, knowing you’re upset with me. Maybe you didn’t need space… or I should have asked you sooner, I don’t really know. But things are different between us.” He takes a moment to pause, eyes searching Priska for a gauge on her reaction. “Do you want to talk about it? And if you don’t, I’m wondering, if you would like me to move back to my own weyr?”

Priska’s steps drag to a halt when faced with a B’lian awake and not only speaking to her, but asking her what she quite plainly, in that moment, is caught too off-guard to formulate a response to. Her hands drift down from her hair, pins held tightly in her right, her fingers curling white-knuckled around them. She swallows and makes a poor attempt to get control over herself, then throws her shoulders back and replies, “I think that, if you’re of the opinion that the most important thing I will always and ever be is a Weyrwoman, then you need to move into your own weyr and only be my Weyrleader.” Her fingers idly press against the tips of the pins. “If that’s all I can be and you’ll resent me or chastise me for wanting anything else for my life or my own, then you need to be someone I work with and I need to learn not to love you. I am a Weyrwoman and I’ve been trained to lead my whole life, but that’s not //me//. I want more out of life. And I don’t want the person I— I don’t want to be told the limits of what I am.”

Whatever B’lian was expecting the direction of this argument to go, Priska’s words clearly surprise him as his brows go up and he sits back in his chair to listen to all she has to say. He shakes his head and then rubs the palm of his hand into his forehead briefly. “Where is this even coming from, Priska?” he asks, lowering his palm to look at her. “You’re not a crafter, so what other tasks do you have that call you away from your knot? You don’t have to //only// be a Weyrwoman, but you certainly know it comes first of any other hobbies you have. I don’t quite understand,” he continues, “why you are this angry about the situation with me that you’d be willing to end our relationship over it.”

“Because if this is how you really feel, then you’re not who I thought you were. At all.” Priska remains where she is, making no further progress towards him. “And maybe that’s my fault, because I wanted a friend and I thought that you genuinely wanted to help me and saw //me//, not the prospect of what I could bring you. And maybe the fact that we’re here, now, is my fault too, because I let myself do what I swore I wouldn’t.” She glances down at the floor and up again. “You were kind and you gave me space and you didn’t judge me. Now, I think you’ve forgotten that I’m not one of the riders here that you need to impart lessons and instructions to. I will do my duty, but I won’t be… beaten down and consumed. Chained.” Her gaze finds some point past him to stare at. “Not when almost every waking moment here has been a nightmare. I won’t be… eaten up… by a world that wants to hurt and possess me.”

B’lian does not move from his chair as he listens to Priska speak. His mouth hardens for a moment and then, as she continues to talk, some tension eases from his body as he lets loose a sigh. “I hadn’t thought you were feeling like I was chaining you in some way. I’m not trying to judge you now. I’m trying to understand… what do you want, what do you //need// from me.” A flicker of emotion crosses his face before he manages to keep his features schooled into less revealing lines of hurt and anger. “I didn’t stop S’ven from what he did — and I’m sorry, I realize you’re likely feeling unsafe here… and I’ve already moved on from it. I’ve,” he brushes his fingers through his hair, “become consumed with getting this Weyr into shape. I haven’t been doing enough. Like the Gather. We probably need to do more of that, don’t you think?”

“I want my friend back,” Priska blurts out, her voice breaking as tears spring unbidden to her eyes and she directs her attention to the ceiling to determinedly draw them back. “I don’t need Gathers; I don’t need //things//. I don’t want my damn Weyrleader, I want my friend. I want my //home//. Otherwise, what’s the point of any of it?” She clenches her jaw, taking in a deep breath. “What’s the point in Honshu running smoothly and exactly as we want it one day, if that’s all there’s going to be left of us? The Weyr runs well. We run a Weyr well. And that’s all there is between us. I don’t want //that// future, because right now I hate it here and you were all that was—“ She bites back the rest of her words. “I want a life, not a rank. I want children, when I’m //ready//, and I want to learn to love them and not have someone tell me to cast them aside because I should love my Weyr better.”

B’lian stares at Priska and then slowly it seems to register where and how he might’ve gone wrong. He’s quiet for a long stretch after Priska has spoken her words and he looks down at his lap, arms folded, in front of him as he gathers his thoughts. He looks up at Priska finally and tells her, “I want to go back to being your friend. I believe what you’re telling me is that I haven’t been treating you like much of anything, other than a Weyrwoman. You don’t deserve that. And I want you to have children if that’s important to you and you’re right, it would be wrong for them to be put aside over the Weyr. I’m just afraid,” he takes a notable breath inwards, “that the whole of Pern is looking to us to fail this place. It’s almost as if Honshu is cursed. I’ve been focused on turning it around, to beat the feeling… you get sent here to fail.” He looks up at her then, “Forgive me?”

Priska knots her arms around her middle, her shoulders hunching. “…You can be free next time she rises, if it’s what you want. You needn’t be saddled with this. There’ll be other queens, in other Weyrs, who need a Weyrleader… Ones with a less… contentious… history.” Despite her posture, there’s nothing in her tone to betray her offer being anything but genuine. “You’re better at this than me. I know that. I know how to do the books and manage the staff and how to resolve their conflicts, but… Yedrith may be strong, but I’ve been a rider less than eighteen months. It was arrogant of me to think that I could do this flawlessly because Isolwyn did it straight out of weyrlinghood and made it look easy.” She swallows again. “I need to help you, because you’re the one who’s going to change this place. Not me.” Blinking to clear her vision, she says, “But I can’t help you as a Weyrwoman, because I’m not really one yet. I can only help you… as who I am.”

B’lian rises from his chair and moves towards Priska. He doesn’t ask permission nor look like he’s seeking it as he grabs her and pulls her into his arms to hug. “I’m ten years older than you and have been a rider far longer. It only means I make more mistakes because I’m set in my ways,” he tells her as his arms tighten and his lips move to kiss her cheek. “You needn’t feel the same pressure you would have as a Lady Holder. We have time to learn what works and what doesn’t.” He takes a breath and sighs it out, “And when to say we’re sorry. I’m sorry I hurt you,” he pulls back so he can look into her eyes. “When that man came and proposed that your children be bartered like a runner, I wanted you to know you’re a Weyrwoman now. That means your children don’t have to be used as tools. You can have them, and they can be loved by the Weyr, and you; and it’ll be enough. It was enough for me.”

Though Priska doesn’t stop him from pulling her into his arms, she doesn’t unknot her arms either, and stands there quite as if she doesn’t know what more to do than lay her head against B’lian’s shoulder. “But I would have done it,” she confesses. “Don’t you see? I was one of those children. I would have done it to protect Honshu. That’s what I mean when I say when I’m ready. If I shouldn’t have trusted my own family, I can’t trust myself to have one; to be good enough to them.” She lifts her head and steps back enough to look up at him. “I’m not going to stop being proud of my Blood. It may mean nothing to anyone else, and I may have no loyalty to it, but I’m a queenrider, I’m Honshu’s, and I’m not going to forget what I was for over two decades. Even if I wasn’t very good at being a proper lady either.” Sighing, she lets her eyes fall closed. “And none of this is probably anything you want to hear. I can’t promise to always put the Weyr first. I can’t tell you that I’m never just going to want to run away for the day. So… it’s only fair to say that if you can’t live with that – live with //me// – then you should only be my

B’lian steps back from Priska and looks down at her. “If I had wanted a weyrbred girl, I would have had one by now. I wanted //you//. Because you’re different and your own person. I think… maybe you could use some time to figure out who and what you want to be. As a Weyrwoman. And that’s okay.” He shucks a hand through his hair and looks towards the bed they’ve shared (and not shared) the last few weeks. “It’s late. You should turn in. I’m going to go clear my head a bit… and I’ll be back later.” He kisses her cheek and then turns, heading out of the weyr. He does not return until early morning and only then does he crawl into the bed they share, fully clothed, and fall asleep until the morning routine rouses him.

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