Control Lost (Vignette)

Xanadu Weyr - Forest
This broad path that leads from the main clearing into the forest has been designed in such a manner so as to be not only wide enough for wagons to travel through, but also providing ample space for dragons. The path appears only worn in the center though, as most of the traffic moving through this area is that of the two-legged kind. Flowers sprout up and speckle the lush grass with bright saffron and cheeky rose, creeping all the way up to the bases of the trees that rise upward in their aged magnificence, gargantuan limbs casting often welcome shade, the general atmosphere and scent of the path is one of freshness and wild abandon.

The path winds its way leisurely through the trees, deeper into the forest and a number of less traveled paths branch away from it. Southwest leads to the forest's edge near the base of the tumbled rocks that mark the wilder areas of the forest and the mountains that rise behind Xanadu. West leads to the Firelizard Theater, northeastward the path leads to the feeding grounds and beyond that the gravel road that bisects the paddocks leading to the bovine complex. East leads to the meadow where it joins both the road that crosses the bridge over the river leading to the clearing and the the coastal road that leads out of Xanadu bypassing the beach and the Caspian Lake. Here there are secluded spots where one might picnic.

He had been watching her for days and she had let him. He hadn’t been pushy or remotely obsessive about it; he simply took the opportunity to observe the glowing green whenever a good vantage point or lounging spot presented the means to without being intrusive. Marel had discovered her rider was a woman a good ten turns or so older than her, a cheerful blonde who didn’t seem so bad, not that was really an issue, because it wasn’t as if—

When the bright little green called out to the males of the Weyr, Isyriath answered. He did not move, but he raised his voice to call back to her. Which meant he…

But she hadn’t… They hadn’t… Where was M’kal? Could she find M’kal? Shells, would she know what to do with M’kal if she found him?

Isyriath had not fought against her since he’d found her on the Sands. They had worked together and they had done as the other wished to the best of their ability. He had accepted her wholeheartedly for who she was – who she really was, not the controlled front that she presented to the world – and believed her to be the best person anyone could ever choose.

What right did she have to dismiss his interest and show so little regard for what he wanted to do?

She told herself that she needed to be logical about it all – that it would be unwise and unproductive to spend the next days, sevens or months worrying about him chasing – and that was the part of her mind that she pushed towards Isyriath, encouraging him to get an understanding of what it was to want a green and what it would feel like to chase her. Win her?

…She knew it was a losing effort going in. He had only just matured. The odds him winning were not stacked in his favour.

Maybe that’s what made her believe that it was safe.

Instead of towards where she knew the riders of the perusing dragons were congregating, Marel struck out into the forest, already unsteady on her feet and a little dizzy, tripping up over roots here and there as she began to lose the ability to tell the difference between her body down on the ground and Isyriath’s up in the sky.

« We’ll have her, my Marel. We’ll have her. »

No, she wouldn’t.

Deep into the woods, it got to the stage where she found herself unable to go on, disorientated and confused; too focused on getting that green to think straight. She began to regret heading into the forest, for now she was there all alone and there was no-one… no-one to… Isyriath could call to Xeosoth. Couldn’t he? No. No. She was not going to throw herself at M’kal… but she had never wanted anything so badly and the thought dizzied her all the more. Her palms found the trunk of the nearest tree and she leaned there, trying to catch her breath.

Was this what it was like to truly lose control?

« No! »

No!? Why no!?

Isyriath was not a sore loser. He didn’t barge into any of his fellow suitors as their lady love chose someone else, but simply folded his wings to plummet a short way and then drift in a lazy spiral back over Xanadu, trying to swallow down his disappointment. He did not make a fuss.

Marel wanted to make a fuss. There were plenty of things she could have done about her situation, but the stripping of her usually-impeccable self control and the embarrassment born of all the things that she wanted to do and could do if she chose to combined with the frustration that could not (she would not let it) be vented resulted in the sudden onset of furious, horrified tears.

It was lucky that no-one could see her, the logical part of her mind informed her. She should be thankful for that much.

She sank back against the tree, hands lifting to cover her face and try to subdue the sobs that forced themselves free. Was she truly so upset and so mortified over losing a flight or having thoughts that she didn’t think she ought to? Would she cry every time he chased? Or was it that she hadn’t permitted herself to cry about any of the things that had happened since her return to the Weyr? With her guard down, was now the first time that that grief could escape?

Or was she that afraid of what having desires could really do to her?

« Marel? Marel, come home. I cannot reach you in amongst all those trees. »

She forced heavy limbs to comply, feet dragging as she found her way out of the forest on auto-pilot, just walking and hoping to find the edge of the tree-line. It took her longer than it should have, but she had started out in the right direction and slipped from the forest, through the clearing and across the meadow with her head ducked and hair drawn forward in an effort to hide her tear-streaked face.

It would get better. She knew that. Had to believe that. As far as she knew, other riders did not fall apart every time their dragon rose or chased. If they did, the whole Weyr would surely be falling apart on a daily basis (which it wasn’t).

Without words, she drew aside the door to Isyriath’s room in their home and closed it firmly behind both them. No words needed to pass between them; she simply curled up against his chest and fell into an exhausted sleep. There were no apologies to be made or reasons to be explained.

She would put herself back together piece by piece.

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