Who: Isolwyn, C’aol, Eosyth, Daeserath
When: Month 9, 208 AT
Where: Southern Boll Hold
What: Someone tries to assassinate Isolwyn
With the new seasons come the new collections, and, as ever Southern Boll Hold does its part to support the nearby Weaver Hall in offering an event and space in which for new wares and fashions to be flaunted, the week-long Gather on its third day by the time that Fort’s Weyrleaders make an appearance. Isolwyn has never been one to wear the brighter colours that others may favour, nor buy anything so cheap as to make her wardrobe less than durable or easily disposable, and while she’s passed an eye over the clothes on offer, it’s been quite clear, so far, that she’s largely in attendance simply to do her social duty, speak with anyone she must, and be seen. “Do you think we ought to dance?” she asks C’aol, just as a burst of sound crashes through the crowd. All she does is look up at him, then down at the ground, or, more specifically, at hole in her dress and the blood beginning to seep across her left thigh. Her head tilts and, with a second crash, the force of whatever it is spins her round and she hits the ground, hard, red now spilling out from her left shoulder and onto the dirt beneath her. She only gasps, frozen where she’s fallen, but Eosyth screams, her power lashing out with such force that it tears answering cries from all around.
C’aol and Isolwyn are always dressed in a manner that matches their personal styles – and each other – as befits leaders of their station. C’aol’s darker suit is freshly tailored, a concession made with their Headwoman for this Gather season. He’s done little to socialize with those who come up to greet them, allowing Isolwyn to handle most (if any) of the small talk that is brought their way. He glances down at her when she questions about the dancing with a smirk, “Only if it’s something you truly wish. I haven’t found great joy in the recent Harper music. And some of the dances these Holders are doing… are not suitable for us,” he pauses, turning to look towards the dance area, before the loud bang draws him looking more confused out into the crowds. It’s only when the second crash happens that he turns to look to Isolwyn, realizing that somehow, she’s been injured by the noise. He drops to his knee, moving to gather her towards him, as he screams out, “HEALERS!” He presses his hands against both wounds, terror draining the color of his face, as he looks to Isolwyn. “What happened?” he asks, stunned, and shocked, as he looks to the blood pooling around his hands. “Stay with me!” Eosyth’s scream is met with Daeserath’s own roar, the bronze leaping into the skies from the field he had been resting in. He does not care that he destroys three crafter stalls as he slams into the ground nearest to his rider and Weyrwoman. His body blocks the Healer’s approach for a matter of seconds before they are able to elbow their way through the screaming and dispersing crowd to head towards Isolwyn.
Isolwyn frowns, her eyes slightly glazed over as shock and confusion don’t allow her to reach any logical or sensible conclusions, and she finds herself only able to unwittingly parrot C’aol’s words back at him. “…What happened?” The pain must finally register and slam into her in the next moment, for she lets out a strangled cry and tries to curl in on herself, her fingers forming claws that grasp for him as Eosyth’s fury continues to wash over the crowd, fear finally loosening its hold on her queen enough that she nearly takes out one of the Healers when she soars over the Gather to drop down beside her with a cry that echoes her own. “…I don’t… I don’t understand…” Isolwyn grits out between sounds she tries to suppress by attempting to arch away from the pain. She drags quick breaths in, all too aware that both Eosyth’s eyes and hide have blanched grey with terror, her lifemate’s anger already drained, and blinks time after time, determined to focus as she fixes her gaze on C’aol. “I love you. And Casi. She adores you. I never—“ She grits her teeth and lets out a low moan, the arm she can lift weakly curling around Eosyth’s muzzle. “I never said it because I didn’t want to embarrass you,” she says in a rush. “She watches whenever you leave a room to make sure you’re coming ba—“ The rest of the word is lost to another sound that turns into a sob. “It’s okay,” she murmurs to Eosyth. “It’s okay…” Her head lolls back, her eyes drifting closed, and while consciousness slips away, Eosyth goes very still, but doesn’t disappear, and Isolwyn’s chest continues to rise and fall, if shallowly.
The crowd has dispersed – those that would have stayed to watch the scene far too frightened to push past two dragons. Daeserath’s tail whips out and he knocks more stalls and wares over as his agitation spikes. With Eosyth so near, and Isolwyn’s health so precarious, he sends up a roar of fury that sends the runners in the far racing field panicking in their pens. C’aol’s far too terrified to push against Isolwyn’s words, his own said in a litany he likely won’t remember he’s said, as her blood continues to coat his hands, “I know. I love you both. I love you. I love her.” Four healers finally make their way to C’aol and Isolwyn, medical kits in hands. It takes the Master Healer in attendance to pry C’aol away from Isolwyn’s body so the team can begin to triage her wounds. He stands up once they’ve positioned her on a gurney and begin to take her away from the Gather field and toward the infirmary at the Hold. He stands there, completely numb, not recognizing the blood that coats his hands or has splashed across his clothing as he looks to their two dragons. “Stay with her,” he presses Eosyth, “Stay here. Stay with her. Keep her strong.” He turns then to Daeserath, “Get into the skies and find any that are trying to leave – no dragon can fly with Eosyth’s will, it doesn’t mean some may not be trying to escape on a runner.” He turns then and finds himself coming face to face with the Hold’s watchwher captain. “What?” he demands of the young man, who replies, “I’ll dispatch my team to find them.”
The facets of Eosyth’s eyes continue to whirl in a slow, pale muddle of grey, yet she looks right at C’aol as he speaks and tips her nose just a fraction in an approximation of a more human nod, before fear demands she convince her body that he does want to move and she follows after the Healers, where more than one resident of the Hold will later report her keening when stone walls are put between her and Isolwyn. It takes the Healers longer than they might like to work out the best way of dealing with the Weyrwoman’s injuries, and longer still to get to removing the metal imbedded in her after discerning the cause of her wounds, but hours pass and Eosyth remains a presence in the courtyard, while two bloodied bullets sit in a metal bowl and stitches are deployed to close the ragged holes in the goldrider’s left thigh and shoulder. She’s still pale from blood loss and shock by the time that they can dress her in a clean and borrowed nightgown and tuck her into a bed in one of the quieter rooms towards the back of the infirmary, but she’s breathing, and so is Eosyth, the latter of which has slumped and curled in on herself in a mixture of exhaustion and temporary relief.
C’aol will never know the full amount of action and chaos that took part after Isolwyn’s injury. Reports will be given, and witnesses will be questioned, and still the true extent of what transpired may never be fully known by Fort’s leaders.
The watchwher captain and his team were able to trace a peculiar sulfur-like scent through the Gather grounds and locate two men who were in the process of saddling runners to flee. A strange object, later to be found out as a weapon banned from being made by the Smithcraft Hall, was in their possession and Healers were able to link the metal pulled from Isolwyn’s body to the remaining metal inside the contraption.
Interrogation of the two suspects led to the conclusion that both were hired to attack Fort’s Weyrwoman – with links back to Honshu and a crafter revolt.
The supplier of the gun is not known to Fort or Southern Boll’s people. A few witnesses tell a story of a bronze and greendragon – and their riders – with no knots indicating who or what they were (“dark clothing, one had a sword”), located a man of Asian descent, tied him up, and took him with them dragonback.
Somehow, in the melee, and the hours that pass, Emily and her partner have found that Echo’s young daughter, Melody, has come to care for a young bronze dragon who calls himself Veruth.
C’aol has taken all reports and statements with him and kept quiet watch over Isolwyn as she rests post surgery.
When Isolwyn finally stirs, there’s a quiet sound from Eosyth, who only now lets her eyes close and the strain of the past few hours and the strength she’s unleashed catch up with her and send her crashing into a deep sleep, her wings loosed from their usual neat hold along her back for their trailing edges to brush the floor. Her rider blinks slowly up at the ceiling, her eyes shadowed from bumping her head when she hit the ground, and, upon not recognising her surroundings, tries to sit up. That turns out to be the least clever idea she’s had in quite some time, for she hardly moves at all before she hisses and makes a creeling, inarticulate sound as her body refuses to co-operate and provides only pain instead. She lies flat again and tries to turn her head to look over at C’aol, but even that results in a grimace when her shoulder protests. “…I’m alive,” she says roughly, obvious and inelegant, and quite clearly confused.
Hanath takes over control of the dragon’s that remain within the Hold’s immediate Gather area, directed by Daeserath and C’aol to refuse any to return to their Weyrs. That the green and bronze were so quick to move and remain on the outside of queen control may be a matter C’aol and Isolwyn will have to consider at another date. C’aol leans forward to rest his hand on Isolwyn’s cheek, shushing her from moving too much more. “I owe the Healer’s a debt for saving you. We were blessed to be at the Gather where we had quick access to people who knew how to help you. Even then, I don’t quite understand how the Master Healer did it. She told me you’ve lost a lot of blood.” He kisses her forehead and sits back in his chair, moving to settle his elbow on the armrest and rub at his forehead.
Isolwyn manages to lift her right arm enough that she can catch at C’aol’s sleeve for a moment in answer to his hand at her cheek, but she has to leave it carefully draped across her ribs to avoid both her shoulder and her thigh, too exhausted by so small a movement to consider shifting again. “…Was it arrows?” she asks, her eyes narrowed in concentration. “Knives? I don’t… I don’t remember what hit me.” She closes her eyes. “I assume someone wants me dead,” she drawls, more through effort than any real inclination towards even dry humour. For a few moments, she does nothing but experiment with taking deep, steady breaths as pain spikes and ebbs. “…’M sorry I scared you.” From beneath the covers, she gives an experimental flex of her feet and hisses again. “…They haven’t said I won’t walk…?”
“Neither knife nor arrow. It was this,” C’aol answers, lifting up from his chair to reach for the small pan that’s resting beside her infirmary bed. He passes it towards her, tilting it so she can see the two small balls of metal within it. “It’s been linked to weapons that were banned by the Smithcraft Hall.” He sighs and looks towards her feet before he settles the pan back on the bedside table. “They think none of the damage is permanent. Though the one in your thigh came dangerously close to knicking an artery, it didn’t. One lodged against your shoulder blade and so fractured it. The Healer says with adequate rest, you should have a full recovery.” His face looks white and haunted as he moves to rest a hand on hers. “It all could’ve been taken from us. So quickly.” He shakes his head, features pinching as that dark sharpness enters his gaze. “The suspects have been apprehended and they claim it’s from Honshu. I don’t believe it. I wouldn’t put this past Holden…”
“I’m really beginning to dislike Crafters.” Isolwyn goes so far as to bare her teeth towards the two pieces of metal that nearly ended her, whatever it is that she mutters weakly under her breath not very ladylike at all. “’Suppose I should be grateful that it’s not the hand I write with, though I probably won’t be picking Casi up for a while.” And that, she does, briefly, look more pained about than the physical aches that pinch at her features. Her fingers twitch and she makes to thread them through his, soothing her thumb along the back of his hand. “I won’t see Terse again,” she sighs out. “How he knew, if it was him… I only saw her once. If it wasn’t, he’s probably laughing anyway. I haven’t done anything to Honshu, except send Priska. Why would they target me?”
It must be the adrenaline leaving his system, exhaustion, or having nearly lost her that has C’aol telling Isolwyn, “I will pick Casi up and hold her when you cannot.” He grows quiet as he contemplates their joined hands. “I’m not entirely sure. Could it be the sending of Priska? I’ve heard mention that some of the dragonriders at Honshu would rather be crafters than what B’lian is proposing. I can’t see them truly risking another dragonrider’s life over it though.” He looks up at her then. “What would Holden gain? Unless he thinks that losing you would drive me to place my daughter in his care.” His face grows more pinched and anger flashes in his eyes. “I’d best worn Zinovia…”
Isolwyn offers him a soft smile and softer still, “Thank you,” as she tightens her hold on his hand a little. She lets her eyes fall closed again for a short time, though her lips twitch and she asks, “If I have to lie here for days or weeks – and please tell me I can come home to our own bed at some point soon – does this mean I can get cuddles without seeming needy?” Though there may be a thread of weary humour woven through her words, there’s no denying some lingering fear and a more genuine nature to her enquiry. “…I think it’s time we asked B’lian exactly what he’s been doing at Honshu. Maybe this was meant for Priska and they got the wrong goldrider. Not that I’d… wish it on her instead.” Opening her eyes again, she carefully turns her head again to look up at C’aol. “If you need to tell Zinovia to protect Zaimika, you should go now. At least Amorenth is there.”
“I need go nowhere. Daeserath has reached out to Yukijiath. Apparently, Zaimika and her brother are in the care of the Harper Hall for now,” C’aol answers Isolwyn, “And if she weren’t, I would not leave you. We are not home. Eosyth sleeps. You should as well.” He pulls back from Isolwyn enough to remove his boots and then he moves gently into the bed alongside her. “Rest,” he tells her, meaning to be as careful with her and her injuries as possible as he adjusts to the cot. “At least Southern Boll had the mind to use larger Infirmary beds,” he smirks, “for I think I can actually fit with you on here so you can rest. We will discuss getting you home tomorrow.” He waits until she’s comfortable before he once more encourages her, “Sleep. I’ll speak to B’lian. You need to rest for now.” He pauses, adding, “It would seem that a small bronze that goes by the name of Veruth is here without his rider. The rider was here but now is gone. Not dead. But not here.” He looks down at Isolwyn, “A small child is speaking with this dragon. Hanath seems to claim her. What of that?” He shakes his head and settles his head back. “Emily can handle it,” he decides, “and you can sleep.”
Though one shoulder shifts as though Isolwyn might instinctively ease onto her side and curl up against C’aol, the left side of her manages to warn her well and truly against it before she actually does it, so she simply inches nearer to tuck herself closer to him instead and drops her head down to rest against his shoulder. “A child?” she questions quietly. “Maybe she’s like Safiye and would Impress young… Hanath should protect her. A bronze without a rider present… he could be dangerous.” Her good handle fumbles for his again to thread her fingers back through and hold. “…Eosyth will need to eat. She’s completely drained. Don’t let her try go Between before she eats. She… doesn’t know her limits.” As she begins to drift off, she might not realise that she murmurs, “…Guess we’ll have some matching scars, you and me.” Whether she means literal or metaphorical, well. She probably won’t remember it.