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Rebels

Location: Weyrleaders' Office
Time: Early morning on Day 18, Month 4, Turn 4
Players: Roa, R'vain, Ruvoth, Tialith, Vellath
Scene: The weyrleadership discusses what they're going to do about Five Mines.



It is an early morning that finds the Weyrleader bent over the conference table, palms flat on its glossy surface, his head hung between hunched shoulders. His chair waits behind his legs, as if he's just risen from it and is delayed in moving toward, perhaps, the klah on the tray at the other end of the table by a desire to look a little longer at the map spread out before him. All very reasonable if only his eyes weren't closed, lurid lashes tightly knit, the corners of his eyelids creased from tension. He breathes slowly, loudly, chest swelling with each suck and sigh, and in a not-too-distant cave adjoining the Weyrleader's weyr, a morose shape cast in bronze stirs, sighing.

Once inclined to rise slightly later, the addition of a small person into her weyr has made Roa one that gets up with (or a bit before) the sun. She pads into the office, hair still wet from washing twisted up into its usual bun. There are faint shadows beneath her eyes. Somewhere down in the bowl, Tialith lands in the feeding pens.

Whatever the weyrwoman expected to see in the office, the weyrleader looking on the verge of either bellowing or collapsing was not one of them. She moves quietly over to the table, leans forward on the opposite side so her posture mirrors the red man's, and settles her hand just lightly over the back of his. Her eyes are on his face, the question unspoken but present.

For a moment, it's like R'vain doesn't even know she's there, or like he denies the possibility of her small, black-haired presence. But he cannot will her to be invisible, and after a long silence his eyes open and his head lifts just enough that he can burn his angry green gaze at the little weyrwoman. "Morning," he growls, drawing the word out through a suppressed string of agony.

In his weyr, Ruvoth twists, stretching upon his couch, raising his head to rub the side of his jaw along the rushes and reeds hung upon the wall. Huge nostrils flare and two sets of eyelids peel back, the last ones left closed to cast reality in a protective haze. As his muscles pull and push at morning, so does his mind, casting about in the dawn.

"Not a good one," is Roa's quiet reply. "You look ready to kill somebody. Have you eaten anything, yet?" Her hand moves away to settle facing his rather than atop it. "What happened?"

In the dawn, a pale gold lands on a herdbeast with a satisfying crack and lowers her head to feed. The casting about of a fond and familiar mind causes her own thoughts to stretch and touch his in wordless good morning.

As her hand moves, R'vain glances down, watching the motion of her small fingers away from his thick, ruddy ones. "Ate a cold pasty about two," he supposes, roughly. "Nothing happened." His eyelashes flicker, his attention moving from the weyrwoman's hand to the map spread between his own. It is a rough thing, with a few patches done in charcoal or pencil instead of ink, but it has the consistency of line of a copy rather than cartographer's original. "Frustrated. Can't go on nothing happening forever."

Ruvoth embraces his queen's mental touch with a silent rumble and a shiver of thrill, ever her servant, her greatest fan. But she feeds, and he is far from hungry, so the bronze turns his mind away after a pleasant well-wishing. Folding his wings sleek along his broad sides, he begins to creep out of his weyr onto the ledge, innermost eyelids yet guardian against the morning light, and sends his thoughts out from High Reaches into unknown and unknowable nothing. He does not go seeking, quite yet; first he must know as best he can the way the air tastes today, the scent and feel of each ripple of thought and of tension. Ruvoth maps his territory, creeping its edges like a thoughtful serpent.

"A cold pastry at about two doesn't cut it. What should I have sent up?" The weyrwoman looks down at the almost-map, her brows furrowing a little bit. "I'll be surprised if 'nothing' holds more than another seven." One finger traces the edge of the central portion of the hide, a perimeter of a large circle. "How could they...what, exactly did they expect us to do?"

In Ruvoth's territory are many thoughts and voices that perhaps should not be. There are the minds of those dragons that belong to no Weyr and of Igenites that have joined them. There are the thoughts of dragons, known and unknown, belonging to various corners of Pern that set camp in places rightfully belonging to the dragons of High Reaches.

"Send 'em all back where they came. Hang 'em." R'vain speaks these last two words in the spit he uses for curses and shoves himself up from the table, turning his back on the map so he can raise his paws and rub his eyes with ruddy fists. "Something dead and cooked f'me. Fruit and a good nut bread f'you." As if her breakfast is his business, and even his prerogative. "Don't disturb Tialith. It can wait. We ain't goin' t'give 'em seven days."

Ruvoth slips and slides around the edges of these foreigners' encampments, finding not their way but his own. It's like a dream of Five Mines, this place that should be his and his alone but answers currently to the tense mix of borrowed queens and exiled one, resolute bronzes and a revolutionary blue. On his ledge, the Weyrleader's dragon's tongue flicks; in his mind, he marks a trail through that pockmarked, obstacle-ridden landscape. Then he raises his head and draws deep a breath that fills his lungs, like he might greet the morning on any fine cold day, but he does not leap from his ledge. Today Ruvoth takes his morning constitutional not on the wing, but in the mind, slithering belly-down and confident for Vellath.

"She's up, she's eating. It's no disturbance." Roa's brows twitch a little at the order for herself, but the requests are relayed along and sent from Tialith to a brown to a weyrling whose rider is in the living cavern and who relays the requests to a kitchen hand. "What are we going to do?"

In the dream of Five Mines, Vellath is a steady lump, his thoughts muted with slumber. But they spark and then ignite into wakefulness as, on a ledge at Five Mines proper, he suddenly lifts his head and looks around sharply. His rider looks over from where is in reviewing wing formations. Useless work, just now, but something to do. You are not here, the blue dragon finally concludes.

"Ain't sure," R'vain replies, still rubbing his eyes. Then his fists drop and he stares, bleary, across the part of the room that does not contain the map or the weyrwoman. "Maybe what we should've done t'start with." His paws find his hips, planting there in the mother-hen posture he used with weyrlings, when that was all he ever had to scold. Now he scolds himself, turning around with a twisted crook of grin baring teeth up one side of his mouth. "Probably something stupid."

I am not, hisses the shadow of Ruvoth's mind, pleasant if susurrant, like a human whispering behind a raised hand. Nor should you be.

Her lips twitch up into a faint smile and Roa lowers into a seat to lean back and clasp her hands over her stomach. "Now you're speaking my language. I'm very good at stupid. Have you spoken to Miniyal? She's very good at revolutionary."

The blue sneezes and shakes her head at the strange touch inside his mind. Of course we should not. When are we leaving? I told him we should have gone already, but he said not alone.

"Think I spoke t'Min'yal," R'vain rumbles, casting a longing glare down the length of the table at the klah. The tray refuses to amble on up to oblige him, however, so the red man's obliged to prowl down after it. "Th'map there turned up, it'd serve as proof I didn't dream it," he adds, pouring klah. "Cup f'you?"

There is a syrupy echo of surprise in Ruvoth's presence, like shock in slow-motion. Where are you going, then?

"No thanks. No caffeine while I'm, you know,..." Roa lifts a hand in vague gesture towards her upper chest. "So, we have a map, sort of. We find a way to bring them here? How do we...I mean...some of them are nasty. And there's E'sere and Aivey. How are we supposed to keep some back and accept others in?"

Somewhere. A Weyr. I remember them and this is not one, Vellath informs his mystery companion with a draconic version of a snobbish sniff. High Reaches is where he wants to go. But he thinks he shouldn't.

Upon Roa's declining klah, R'vain lifts his own mug to his lips and barely manages not to snort up his first sip when she makes her gesture. Grinning, he lowers the mug and manages a nod before starting back toward the chair across from the weyrwoman. "Can't, entirely. We get th'good ones t'make a break for it. Hope th'rest get caught up by th'Conclave's dogs. Sort 'em when we have 'em here. Probably just about as bad as what /they/ intend t'do with 'em," admits the Weyrleader, heavy derision on the 'they' that refers to the Weyrleaders, Holders, and Craftmasters that have in a way ousted him, too. "But I don't trust 'em t'do it. So we will."

High Reaches, repeats Ruvoth, accenting the words with a stiff rush of cold mountain air, is the only place you /can/ go. You will bring the trustworthy with you.

For the snort, there is an eyeroll and a twitch of Roa's own lips, but she considers for a moment before responding. "I'm not sure I trust them," she begins carefully, "to be able to determine who the trustworthy ones are. And how do we reach them. You think the queens won't notice if Reaches dragons attempt to make contact?"

The is a long pause, something akin to a mental holding pattern, as all of this is worked out. Who are you? Vellath requests, and then even before Ruvoth can answer, Should I tell him you are here?

"I don't either. But all we can do is try t'gather a heap of 'em and then start going through 'em ourselves. Roa. You understand we're rebels ourselves, now?" R'vain's red brows lift over the bridge of his bent nose, peaking in a somewhat sorrowed expression. For a moment he just looks at her like so. Then he eases into his chair and puts up one leg over the other, ankle to knee, elbows propped on the chair's arms, gaze level and a little morose over the table at his weyrwoman on the other side. "As f'th'dogs -- they ain't noticed yet."

Quickly: I am /not/ here. But you may tell him we speak. Then wonder is allowed to creep in: how could Vellath not know, not remember? Ruvoth is swift to offer the image of the red man by whom he's defined, grinning and furious, lazy and dedicated, brutish and kind. We are the Weyrleader.

"I've always been a rebel," Roa says with a faint smile, "it's only now I suppose I'll publicly be known as one." She lifts one hand to tuck a strand of drying hair behind her ear. "I wonder how long it will be before everyone realizes..." she closes her eyes and shakes her head. "I suppose if the world says we're rebels, we might as well give them reason to--..." she pauses, blinks, and looks sharply over at R'vain. "...Yet?"

From Vellath there is another slight pause and then ...Which one? But the blue tilts his head towards his rider and said rider straightens with a start.

The red man was waiting for that; he hasn't moved, letting her do her thinking while he waits. "Don't disturb Tialith," he reminds her first, his voice low and gravely, a trace of a smile teasing its lowest notes. "Better me'n you, lil'weyrwoman. Until you getcher changes made, one of us is in this f'th'long haul. The other of us better take th'risks." A pause, a beat. Within it, he visibly grits his teeth and raises his klah, though does not drink until after saying, "You want t'clout me upside th'head or something, best if it waits a little longer."

Ruvoth does not reply in so many words; he breathes instead another gust of mountain cold, and that wind carries the icy images of his home. We must know how to welcome you, before you may come. We must know about Nenuith's, and Morelenth's. And we must know who we cannot welcome.

"I'm not sure I like your division of priorities, R'vain," the weyrwoman murmurs, her arms crossing over her chest. And then she leans forward. "Wait, you're...now? Right -now-? What are they saying?" and then she must fall quiet because a tray of sausages, bacon, fruit and nut bread, along with a pitcher of juice and a pair of cups, is delivered.

Another long stretch of silence, but this time there is the sense that it's because of other communications, rather than mental confusion. J'lor is standing now, his hands on Vellath and staring at him intently. Nenuith's is well. Morelenth's is dangerous. He would not want to turn away any save that one. A small pause and the tightening of the iris so that this next thought might travel the distance to Ruvoth without seeping into the familiar mind waiting so close, But I will tell you the ones he worries over.

"You and I ain't a perfect match. We got t'settle f'good'th'fuck enough," R'vain points out, diplomatically. He swigs another mouthful of klah, then leans forward-- mirroring that part of the weyrwoman's posture-- to set the cup down on the table. He puts up his elbow onto the wood and leans, waiting, while the kitchen girl puts down the food, one wary eye on the Weyrleader. But the Weyrleader's eyes are on the Weyrwoman, and all is uncommonly seemly for a quiet moment, except for the quiet itself, until the girl is gone. "Trying t'get a hold on who's likely t'cause trouble, if we-- or rather, they-- make a move."

Any? None? Only Morelenth's? Ruvoth does not even need the split-second it takes him to refer to what he's been told, how he's been instructed, to know that this is not the answer expected. That there are more-- that there is a distinction between those who cause worry, and those who should be turned away-- comes, then, as relief. Tell me, agrees the bronze, and waits.

Roa snorts faintly. "Tunnelsnake for keeps," she mutters as she eyes the plate of food. A wedge of melon is taken up as she listens to what the dragons discuss. "Vellath?" she asks rather quietly.

The other one. I have never liked him. An image of an aging and mustached man travels down the line. There are those that walk with him very close. And his daughter. Several more images. The ones from Igen wish for violence. It disappoints him. And these have hurt or tried to hurt others without remorse. More faces follow.

R'vain folds his arms loosely on the table's edge, leaning into his elbows, looking up at Roa. "I ain't ever claimed t'be something I ain't." But there's that tease of a smile in his rumble again, as if he by now takes that phrase as flattery, even when she's upset with him. He unfolds one paw and creeps it out to snag a sausage bare-fingered. "Yeah. Hard choice," he admits, and pops the sausage into two parts by way of cutting it with his thumbnails, then puts one part into his mouth.

The rebel blue's images are, it may seem, catalogued, marked, and put aside for the use of a different mind; Ruvoth spends most of his energy on murmuring wordless approvals so the speaker will know he's being heard, and know he's done the right thing. If we do not turn them away, murmurs the bronze then, we must be prepared to hold them.

"I think maybe you have and just didn't realize it." The melon is bitten into, a bite chewed and swallowed. "He's not the brightest," Roa notes blandly, "Ask small questions. Does his rider know?"

The blue fluffs slightly at the praise and kindness. He is aware of how wonderful he is, but it's very nice when others notice. Some of them are fierce. They will fight being held.

"Didn't mean to, then. What've I done?" R'vain pops the other part of the sausage into his mouth, chewing cursorily and swallowing hard; hand freed, he reaches for a couple slices of bacon. "Knows he's on th'spot. Th'dragon's better-- wait. Sorry if that ain't what y'meant." But the red man's grin is not /too/ rueful, even before he puts bacon into it.

We must know how to hold them, nonetheless, Ruvoth prompts, gently, though there is some small aspect of him, a tiny tendril of wafting antenna, seeping slitheringly away from the blue now. Wary, he keeps watch with one eye while a hundred others remain focused, keen and pleased, upon Vellath. He, and there can be no mistake who He must be, fears there will be fighting enough that we cannot spare any within the Weyr.

"You're not a tunnelsnake," Roa says with a tiny smile of her own, "though your table manners do occasionally suggest similarities. I..." she blinks and then snickers, her head shaking yet again. "I meant Vellath...no, it doesn't matter. It makes sense either way."

Vellath peers down at J'lor before relaying another response. The bluerider draws in a slow deep breath, closes his eyes, and nods. We will help. Us and ours, comes the prompt answer.

The bacon is crisp; it crunches softly in the Weyrleader's big mouth. He swallows and reaches for more of it-- all of it, actually, except one strip left behind as token offering to the weyrwoman, maybe. "Ain't I? Gone behind your back. Goin' behind Conclave's now. Planning t'take in th'very Instigators." R'vain's shoulders twitch and drop and a mean, self-satisfied grin spreads over his lips, peeling them back from huge and too-perfect teeth. His eyes narrow with an almost cruel delight. "They'll help," he conveys, although the statement is senseless so far. "They're mine."

We will begin preparations. The number, and though Ruvoth does not refer them directly, in the way of this communication it is clear that he means the number of untrustworthies likely to attend the refugees, is larger than He had hoped. It will take a few days.

"I've done the same," Roa counters with a small shrug. The bacon is left, but the melon is finished off. "And you already know there's no such thing as 'the very same' Instigators. It was never quite what was said. Conclave," she sits straighter, shoulders squaring, "went behind our back, first." Then the little weyrwoman frowns in faint confusion. "Yours?"

J'lor says two days. It is the best time he can think to go, because of the party.

"Mine." That's no explanation, but R'vain responds to her earlier statements first, chewing on bacon between remarks. "They did. And I ain't part of that, now. Goin' t'have t'have a word with th'Captain, make sure he understands. Th'Weyrs kicked us out. Well, we're goin' t'be a Weyr just fine without their permission." The last bit of bacon gets crammed into his mouth and for a while the Weyrleader chews in a silence only interrupted by soft crunching, then wipes his mouth on the back of his paw. "Mine. They'll help us hold down any of 'em we need to. Help us defend th'Weyr, I expect. They're our riders. Mine."

We will make it happen. Ruvoth's reply is completely confident, except that one wary antenna keeping tabs on the tabs-keepers. Party?

“-He's- yours," Roa says about the captain, her voice and features displaying utter confidence in her words. "He's owed a word, certainly, but he'll still be yours." She listens to the rest, her eyes closing slowly and her fingers coming to pinch the bridge of her nose. "Good. I'm glad. Fuck."

Yes, Vellath explains blithely. The one in two days. For the wedding.

Wedding. Ruvoth's voice sounds like a nod; he accepts it as Vellath provides it. Holds have these things, these dances of human intimacy and rite. In two days. Vellath. Thank you. Then there are more tendrils attending to the increasingly wakeful minds camped outside the dream of Five Mines, and less and less of the bronze to attend to the blue-- and then the bronze is gone, entirely.

On a ledge in the northern curve of the bowl of High Reaches Weyr, Ruvoth curls tight and leans his wings out long over his sides, talon-tips poised against the stone. He draws a deep breath, chest swelling, and lets most of it out as a sigh. Pleased with work well-done, the Weyrleader's bronze waits.

Comments

( 9 little lies — Say Something True )
miniyal
Aug. 11th, 2007 01:33 am (UTC)
Awwww. That's so sweet. :p

Also, your italics never end there at the bottom of the log. ;)

If you had just let me handle it all to begin with things would be better, ya know!

I love watching conspiring. Even if you two broke your promise to keep Min in the loop. ;) MEANIES! *weep*
mastervain
Aug. 11th, 2007 04:34 am (UTC)
Dude, Min originated part of the loop. Unless that was a dream. ^_^
miniyal
Aug. 11th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
I deny having had ANYthing to do with that idea.

Unless it works out. Then it was all me. But if goes to hell? So not my idea! ;)
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( 9 little lies — Say Something True )

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