Investigating Alternatives

The dragon, after it arrives, glides down to land on one of the quieter beaches, off to the side. It will still be noted - dragons are not so common here as to escape notice - but by the time the first wave of investigations arrive, there is only dragon and rider to be seen; their passenger is gone.

Jethaniel makes his way along a once-familiar trail. The shape of it has changed somewhat in the intervening turns, veering around fallen logs and making new shortcuts as human iteration approaches an optimal path, but it is sufficiently familiar that he arrives where he means to, near the docks of Cove Hold.

There's a scattering of small vessels, but Jethaniel only pauses for a moment before continuing. He's headed not for a docks but a spot near them, where tangles of fishing net are being worked on by a dark-haired woman.

She looks up, blinks, then grins. "Jeth!"

There's an answering smile from Jethaniel, a nod of his head as he concludes his approach.

"What are you doing here? Did I miss a letter?"

"Ah… no." Jethaniel's gaze dips, surveying the surface of the water as it presents a crystalline appearance. "This was not precisely… planned."

Erijeane arches an eyebrow at that, but all she says is, "Then, good thing you're here today. I'm on an island run tomorrow."

Jethaniel looks up again, and there's a faint quirk of his lips. "Good for whom?"

Erijeane grins. "Me, of course."

"Excellent," Jethaniel says, the curve of his lips increasing to a smile.

"So how's life at Xanadu?" Erijeane's certainly read the letters with various details of Jethaniel's life and residence at the Weyr in question, yet she asks the question regardless.

"Enjoyable," Jethaniel answers her, "if sometimes complex."

She laughs. "And how's Darsce?"

Jethaniel smiles, but it is not entirely untroubled. The fondness comes first; the concern creeps in afterward. "She is well," he answers, the words considered and said carefully. "That is… part of why I am here."

Erijeane raises a brow. "Because she's well?"

"Ah… no." Those careful words were insufficient to accurately describe the situation. Jethaniel clarifies. "She had a question she… wished me to ask you."

"Heh. She could ask herself, you know. I do read letters." Erijeane smiles, her teasing good-natured.

Jethaniel nods, serious. "You do."

Erijeane's smile fades, though not entirely. "Okay. So what's the question?"

"She wishes… to inquire if you are aware of… effective methods of contraception." A strange question to ask, more than a turn after their marriage. It suggests another question in return, one regarding the intervening months.

Erijeane does, in fact, have a question. "She doesn't want kids?" Her gaze is steady on her brother, words blunt but without accusation in her tone.

Jethaniel frowns slightly, looking out over the water. "She is… unprepared."


Jethaniel looks back to his sister. "It is her choice."

Erijeane shrugs. "Not saying it isn't. What about you?"

Jethaniel frowns. "What about me?"

"Do you want them? Are you ready?"

Jethaniel considers Erijeane for a moment, face stiff, then slowly exhales. "Yes," he admits. "I am."

She nods, surprised neither by that delay nor the answer that follows it. "Have you told her that?"

Jethaniel lowers his gaze. "Not as such."

"Mmh," is Erijeane's comment on that. "You maybe should."

"It is… irrelevant, if she does not."

"Tell her anyway," Erijeane says. "While you're at it… you can tell her laceseed works decently if you take it the two days after."

Jethaniel's frown is replaced by surprise as he looks up at Erijeane.

She shrugs. "What?"

"I thought you… disapproved."

Erijeane's lips quirk in what must, presumably, be a smile. "That's all between you two. Just… talk about it, okay?"

Jethaniel nods. "We will."

"Good." Erijeane reaches out one hand. Her intent is to pat her brother's shoulder, but Jethaniel lifts his own arms and turns the gesture into a hug. Erijeane does not resist that transition in the slightest, sliding her arms around him in return.

"Thank you," Jethaniel says as his arms loosen from around her.

Erijeane grins, reaching up to tousle his hair. "You'll work it out."

"I will endeavor."

"See that you do." Erijeane smiles. "Are you here for long?"

Jethaniel shakes his head. "I should return to the Weyr."

Erijeane's nod is unsurprised. "Going by the house first?" She tilts her head up toward the main hold.

"Only if necessary."

She laughs. "Better get going, then. You were never here."

Jethaniel smiles. "Thank you," he says again, whether in this new context or as a reiteration of his prior gratitude.

"You're welcome," Erijeane says, this time. There's a twitch of her lips. "Come visit me for real, sometime."

Jethaniel nods. "You do the same?"

"I will."

Jethaniel nods again, then turns and returns from whence he came, to the dragon that will take him back to Xanadu. Erijeane watches him go, regarding the trees long after he's disappeared among them.

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