What Makes A Weyrwoman

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrleaders' Office
Office and retreat, this is the domain of Xanadu's Weyrleaders. The door is in the southern wall, quite close to the western end while the northern wall is dominated by big, expansive windows, framed by sumptuous deep blue drapes edged with a brilliant gold braid and tied back with a thick rope of braided gold and blue cord. In between, the western wall is covered floor to ceiling with shelves that house all sorts of records, manuals and supplies that are used on a day-to-day basis.
The southern wall has the Weyrleader's desk — plain fellis wood, well polished and masculine. From behind his desk, the Weyrleader can look straight through the windows and out onto the main airspace of Xanadu. The eastern wall is where the Weyrwoman's desk resides: a lovely piece of furniture made of warm cherry wood. From her seat, a glance sideways gives her an equally good prospect out the window. There are a few other seats, some comfortably arranged around a low round table for small, informal meetings while there also some that can be drawn up to one of the desks.
On the west side of the door, the space is occupied by a low oblong table where refreshments can be set without someone needing to intrude. There is also an 'incoming' tray where incoming correspondence or similar items can be left.


RIGHT SO. They abandoned the candidates on the Yokohama, and they made a break for it before any kind of mutiny could take place (right as comprehension was beginning to dawn on those white-knot bearing faces about how stranded they were about to be). Now Risali and D'lei are here, back in Xanadu, with Risali taking just a bit longer to get down from PROBABLY GAROUTH because ONE of those clutch-parents had to stay with the eggs - and it WASN'T HIM. Risa manages despite dresses and crutches and the lingering cold of between — maybe with some help from D'lei, but she's in too much of a rush to really pay the how any mind. The moment her feet find land, she's gone. Kind of. She'd be more impressively gone if she didn't have to hobble to get, but she gets. She gets to their office, she casts her crutch to the wall beside her chair, and she starts to dig through papers. SO MANY PAPERS. DIG, DIG, a couple of those drawers get opened, and dug through, and slammed, and then Risali's pressing her forehead to her desk, MASK AND MAKEUP AND ALL.

It'll be fine. The candidates can't come after them - yet - and if they all murder each other there's still time to search out some new ones. Once Risali's off, Garouth is also on his way - but he's headed for the hatching sands, because Leirith requires ALL THE REPORTS (and maybe also a break, but definitely a pillow). D'lei follows Risali, and as she digs through papers he double-checks them, with a frown set on his face as he looks - nope - and checks - nope - and does a vague sortation of them so that they can be in order when shoved back after being pulled out, and… yeah. NOT SO MUCH. He swings himself up onto the corner of her desk, reaching with a splay-fingered hand to touch her shoulder - and a twitch of fingers to brush back her hair from it, though it falls back almost immediately but oh well. "…we'd have noticed." His tone is deep, somber, with a weight of surety behind the words.

Hunger Games. IN. SPPPPPAAAACCEEE! It's probably not that far off the mark; they will either end up poisoned by Sylvarin, or Kaellian will commandeer the ship right into Rukbat, or Nessalyn will gather them all up in one spot and hit the airlock while she waves and eats cookies. What could possibly go wrong? "But we didn't." A whisper. "So what do we do?" Risali asks, muffled by desk until she pushes herself up just enough for grey eyes to find amber. "I want to believe there's something good in there, D'lei. I see it, I feel it. But am I willing to believe at the potential risk of others?" DANG IT, KAELLIAN. But Risali's pressing fingers to her temples as if working away a headache. "Am I just… looking for redemption where none is there?" BECAUSE OF HER FATHER, is the implication.

D'lei's hand shifts, down Risali's arm as she lifts up, and he nods to her assertion before his mouth shifts with a tug to the side at her question… then downward, in a moment's grimace before his fingers reach up, brushing her cheek and passing along her own fingers at her temple. "…is it…" he begins, then lowers his head, chin tucked as he broods a moment before he lifts it again, enough to meet grey eyes with amber. "Does it make a difference?" he asks, with something dark beneath an earnest question. "He's already got the run of our Weyr. We've already got Nessalyn in our barracks. What more can he do?"

Risali catches D'lei's hand as fingers make contact, traps him in a squeeze of her own seconds before she turns nose and lips into the palm of his hand, to press a kiss and… remain there, listening, holding fast to amber when they seek out grey. There's a pull of Risali's lips that lacks humor, her eyes dropping to the table for comments of Nessalyn as, softly, Risali whispers, "I think there's something there too, D'lei. Something scared, or hurt, or…" She doesn't get it; there's not enough about Nessalyn to go on. "She reminds me of me before K'vir. Before Leirith." A beat, as grey eyes jump back to amber. "Before you." Or maybe Risali just clings too tightly to the belief that everybody is better, that there's no such thing as a person who can't be saved. But Nessalyn is not the point, Kaellian is. That's why Risali's shoulders dip after a moment, why her eyes close and another kiss is pressed to D'lei's hand, a nuzzle into those digits, and she pulls away. "… I guess it doesn't. I…" Risali hesitates, brows knitting in, eyes looking towards her thoughts as they shift past D'lei, slightly down and to the right, "… wonder if it will change them."

There's a faint grimace, a draw of D'lei's mouth to the side around an unpleasant taste as he seeks to work through that thought; to chew the flavor of how Risali used to be - how Nessalyn is - and… consider. His fingers shift, a gentle trace despite his troubled expression. "…she threw a fork," he says of Nessalyn, his voice softer - trying to speak more with thought and less with anger. "At someone, across the caverns. And argued about it." The grimace appears more for that last than the first, because dumb ideas are one thing, but… D'lei sighs, and his own gaze shifts up as Risali's shifts to the side. "I don't know. You changed," he says, as his eyes go back down to Risali, to study her face. "But… so did Quinn." Which is not so much an endorsement, or so the curve of troubled frown would underscore.

Look at those dots connecting in Risali's head, to a conversation with Nessalyn, to D'lei's picture now. Those brows knit inwards and Risali opens her mouth as if she means to say something, but can't quite find the words. "I take it the recipient of the… ah… fork didn't deserve it?" Listen, D'lei. There is humor in her voice because it's not funny, but it's kind of funny. It's one of those stories that parents tell about their children, where it's mortifying at the time, but HILARIOUS in hindsight. It doesn't make the act any less audacious, it simply paints the ridiculousness of that audacity in a I can't believe that really happened light. "I'm sorry, it's not funny," Risali breathes, because her lips are fighting her command to not smile and maybe that's why she's biting down on her bottom one for a moment as she stares at D'lei. "But a fork?" WHO THROWS FORKS ACROSS THE CAVERNS, NESSALYN? WHO. Risali shakes her head as if to dissipate that particular image from her mind - or to just disapprove far in the future, where her opinion is too late conjured to be of any effect. But then those grey eyes are jumping back to amber and… there goes that humor. Risali's reaching out to press one hand against D'lei's cheek now, to press them along his cheekbone as grey eyes take in his eyes with a patient, quiet kind of adoration. "I don't believe that Quinn changed," Risali whispers. "I think you found out who she really was." A beat. "Or she let jealousy consume her until there was nothing left." Which is a type of change - and definitely not an endorsement. Some people really don't change for the better. "But I understand. Do you… want to revoke their privileges to stand?"

FORK YOU IN PARTICULAR, BUDDY. D'lei shakes his head. "She didn't even know her." Random acts of forkery! Just BAM. FORKED. There's a small upward quirk of his mouth at her laughter, because yes, it is funny in the ridiculous way of what. It'd make a great story about a two year old who… but it isn't. Which is ridiculous, which is why it isn't funny. "Yeah." A crooked smile, there for a moment before it fades. Because… yes. A fork. A FORK, and fork that noise for reckless endangerment. But that's been and done, for now, and D'lei turns his head to kiss at Risali's fingers, nuzzling in there before his lips quirk again. "Maybe. But… did you really change?" he asks her back. "Or did you just get solid ground under your feet so you could grow?" The question is soft, playful and loving at the same time, and then he leans away from that hand to lean in and kiss at her - first nose, then a brush of his lips to hers for just a moment before he draws back to have serious thoughts again. NO DISTRACT. ALL SERIOUS. "…fuck, I don't know. I ask myself what might happen, and I don't know. It's… what does a dragon even mean?" Because that's what standing is, isn't it? A chance to try for a dragon, and not just some reward for good behavior or having the right family. Right?

SOMEBODY FORKED UP. But look at Risali, being good and not — okay, maybe a little — laughing. "The nerve," Risali whispers, in a way that's definitely not serious and definitely around a smile, but… they're talking about serious things now. It's a question to be considered, a question that has Risali's brows knitting inward… then relaxing the moment D'lei's lips are on her nose, the second her eyes close to receive that kiss to her lips. Risali pushes back into it, chaste in that there's no demand for more, but heated in that she lingers — in that she doesn't settle back after he draws away but remains with lips slightly parted, holding onto that contact for as long as she possibly can. When her eyes blink open, there's a hint of emotion there, something that's muted and distant but no less a part of her. "I think maybe both. I think that my Mom and Dad loved me, but not each other. I think that it was unfair for me to have that understanding so young — that sometimes my Dad would be too lost in his drinks or his anger to be a Dad, and sometimes my Mother was too lost in her spite to remember that we needed our Dad too. And our Mom." Risali pauses her, as if remembering something, something that has her frowning, and dropping her gaze and… exhaling. "I was mad, D'lei. All of the time. At everyone. I threw things, and I yelled, and I told myself that I didn't care about the opinions of anybody else." She still doesn't really — not in the sense that she needs the validation of strangers… but when it comes to relationships and friendships, well. "It took… the right people to show me why I was wrong." Now she's rolling her shoulders in a shrug, watching D'lei as he works through that question and answers with a soft, "I don't think it's for us to know. The dragons choose, we just… blindly put people out on the sands and hope that we found the right ones." Who's to say what it is that dragons look for? Not them. "Maybe we should let them choose this time too, so long as nobody gets hurt."

D'lei listens, quiet as he does, with the soft touch of fingers brushed down to catch Risali's and tangle there. He nods, eyes steady as he listens and seeks to understand that story of… parents who tried, but failed, and sometimes failed to try. It's not his story - or a variant of it… but that's why he listens, so he can learn. He gives a slow nod, and her hand a soft squeeze. "Maybe she'll grow," he says, with a quirk of his lips to the side. "Or he will." Who knows? The dragons? D'lei… laughs, though it's a slightly hollow sound. "Like Marzoth. Or Kith." A crooked tilt of his mouth that's not really a smile, but a nod. "What else can we do?" KICK THEM OUT, THAT'S WHAT. "The rest of the Weyrs already think we're terrible." A wry smile, because he did see those looks the Fortians were giving them. "Who are we to say they're wrong?"

Risali's fingers curl in on D'lei's, returning that squeeze and giving him a half smile. "Maybe." But that hollow laughter has Risali's lips pulling in towards her teeth, turning into a grimace for names of dragons who… "It takes all kinds, I suppose." Because it does. "They can't all be Leirith or Garouth." You know, BOMBASTICALLY OVER-FRIENDLY AND LOUD… or calm, soothing reason. But what else can they do, when all the weyrs already think they're terrible and… maybe they aren't wrong. A huff of laughter escapes Risali, one that holds no humor, that ends with her brows drawing in again, with her lips pressed together in the beginning of words want to take shape… but don't. "If we don't believe in ourselves, D'lei…" a breath, a laugh. "Who else is going to?" And there's something painful there, something that she closes her eyes to shut out because RISA. AND EMOTIONS. DO NOT MIX. One last squeeze, and she's pulling her hand away from his. "Bethari said that… I make a scene of myself, around the planet. So…" A beat. "They're only half right. One of us is doing a good job." Those grey eyes blink back open, and SO OKAY, THEY'RE SUSPICIOUSLY WET, BUT SHUT UP D'LEI. "But if being terrible means joy, and laughter, and sometimes mistakes - if it means second chances, and being human enough to step down from on high and show everybody you're just as human as they are, then I don't want to be great." One, two, three. "There's nothing wrong with being a herdbeast, unless you were born to be a dragon." BUT RIGHT, KAELLIAN AND NESSALYN. "We can keep a closer eye on them, and just… see. That way… we can see if they fall flat, or find solid ground and grow."

"They can't," D'lei agrees about those dragons, with a smile that's not sure whether it's wry, or earnest. Because Leirith. And Garouth. …and their riders, and the rest of the world. That might not believe in them - or at least, might not believe them anything except terrible - but… "Each other." D'lei is firm there, a solid answer to go with the solidity of his hand in hers before she draws it away and continues. D'lei frowns, and then… it deepens. He slides off the desk to come around, to tuck his arms around Risali and lift her up onto the corner of that desk, his body pressed in against hers with her legs to either side because he just has to be that close, okay? "Risa. Risali," he says. "Who do you think you are?" Amber eyes are a gleam in the shadows of night-time office, his face almost stern in its expression. "What do you think a Weyrwoman does? It's not commanding an army. It's not filing paperwork. So tell me, Risali… what is it?" ANSWER HIM… or face that amber wolf-stare, steady and unrelenting as he waits. He can stay here all night if he has to!

Risali's eyes follow D'lei around that desk, breath catching, arms going around his shoulders on instinct when he lifts her up and sets her down and presses close. There's TOO MUCH DRESS BETWEEN THEM suddenly, but Risali makes no moves to remedy it, instead watching D'lei's face as he says her name. Not once, but twice - a move that has Risali flushing, that has hands dropping to drag across his shoulders, down, down, to hold tight to his biceps as she forces herself to listen around the suddenly frantic beat of her heart. "She…" A beat. "I…" Don't understand. That's evident in the way brows pull in, in the way that grey eyes jump between amber as if she might find an answer there, as if she might comprehend what he's asking of her before she states those obvious duties. But she doesn't find anything - nothing that she can translate without being D'lei (or possibly Garouth), anyway. "Your counter-part," she answers on a whisper, because it's true. "I'm in charge of the weyr's productivity - of housing, and food and… staff." An exhale. "And outside relations." That pull of her lips says she's doing a fine job of that — except it COULD BE WORSE. COULDN'T IT? "But I have a feeling that's not the answer you're looking for." AND WHEN YOU ADDLE HER BRAINS BY BEING A SEX GOD, SHE LOSES THE ABILITY TO REASON. TEN POINTS FROM D'LEIDOR. At least she's meeting his gaze, and definitely not distracting him by bringing fingers down across his chest to pull gently on fabric and bits of costume-work. She's just keeping herself busy. Honest.

It's one of those questions that would seem simple except for the weight put on it by how it's asked - like a simple name can be changed by who says it. D'lei keeps his gaze steady, keeps his arms around, keeps demanding his answer at the same time as he makes it hard to think. He gives the faintest of nods for her start - for that nature as counterpart - but for the rest, he only listens, with the sort of silence that demands to be filled. She makes her attempt - her try at an answer - and he follows it with a moment of further silence, experession and gaze steady as he waits just a little longer - long enough that her fingers start running, even if her legs can't. "You do those things," he finally says, "-but they're the incidentals. We could hire a secretary. We could appoint a Weyrsecond. What you do - what a Weyrwoman does… is she makes the Weyr a home." His gaze remains intent, his words firm. "You make people feel welcome, and safe, and accepted… and food and a roof helps, but it's only part of it. People need understanding. They need love." Even when they're grown up to adults and not children anymore. "That is what it means to be a Weyrwoman."

D'lei makes it hard to listen, too. But Risali manages; those fingers still as he speaks, those eyes hold as fast to amber as she holds to his words and… oh. Well now you've done it, D'lei. You've broken her, and there's a long moment when Risali just holds D'lei's gaze despite the fact that she can't really see him because she's crying - but it's not a showy affair. There's no sobbing, no displays of curling in on herself or wiping them away; it's those silent kind of tears, the ones that come with a quiet kind of understand — with a persistence in being strong that says so many things even while she lets herself be vulnerable enough. But this is Risali, so she aims for humor. Even now she musters up a smile that wavers under the weight of emotion and breathes, "I've never been very good at being domestic." A huff of what might have been laughter, under any other circumstances. "Woe be unto Xanadu Weyr." But then she's curling her hands in the lapels of D'lei's clothes; she's twisting fabric and pulling in an attempt to get him closer to her as she presses up to press her lips against his chin. "I love you," she tells him, not because she needs to hear it back, but because sometimes it's those three inadequate words that come closest to capturing the vast wealth of emotion that she feels. "And I couldn't do any of this without you. Thank you for being my best friend, and making my life bearable."

She may not be able to see him, but D'lei is there, in the warmth of his body and the circle of his arms and the amber eyes that see grey ones that can't. And for this smile he has an answering one, a soft curve of lips that's shaped more by love than laughter, and he nods on the way to that pressing closer - to pressing his own lips down to the corner of hers in a sideswipe that lingers near as they shift into words that he can feel as well as hear… and then his own shift in answer. "We'll be running late with mismatched socks," he murmurs, in the sort of voice that's halfway to something that should be avowed underneath a balcony in a romantic play. "And the living room will be covered in toys, and there will be tantrums and things will get broken, and…" Is he talking about Xanadu, or their home life? "It doesn't matter. Fort can think we're irresponsible. Monaco can think we're reckless. Bethari can think we're making a scene. We're not doing it for them. We're doing it for us. For our Weyr… and for the people who can't be accepted at Fort or Monaco." D'lei draws back a little, enough to let grey eyes and amber focus to each other once more. "We're worried about Nessalyn and Kaellian… but we're going to let them stand. Can you imagine Fort doing the same?"

Whether he means Xanadu or their home in Xanadu, it doesn't matter; it conjures up those moments of learning, and sharing, and watching their children grow - and it's enough. Risali's answering smile echoes D'lei's, bares hints of teeth when she answers, "Yeah," around that quiet joy, soft but steady. But then she's dropping her gaze to his nose, to his lips. She's smoothing out the fabric she twisted and pulled and following the gesture outward, back to his arms, under them so that she can press her body even closer and hug him around his middle. She presses her face into his chest, presses her ear to his heart, and… "No. I can't." A beat, a soft huff of laughter. "They're still only barely beginning to embrace electricity." THE IMPLICATIONS, D'LEI. (SORRY FORT, YOU AWESOME.) And anyway, that is what is important now: Ness, and Kaellian, and their status as candidates. "So we're in agreement, then? We let them stand and… we let them grow?" Or wither; either way, something about techcrafter and renegade both will become a little more clear.

Macrocosms and microcosms, metaphors and the realities those metaphors are based on - it's all the same, in its way. D'lei smiles, and he adjusts his arms as Risali shifts, going over hers and around her and holding her in close to him, in the embrace of arms as she likewise embraces. "They're the past." It's said without scorn, because hey - some of his favorite memories are of the past! But… "We're the future." Or will be… but the future is still a child - or a seed - and it needs time and patience and love to help it grow. So… D'lei nods. "We let them stand." And he's still concerned about it, but he's also certain. "We let them grow." He tightens his arms around her, a squeeze that comes with the prickle of gear-trims on the costumes he's forgotten they're still wearing… and a crooked smile. "It's the only way we can find out who they'll be." AND THAT MATTERS… here, at least; and to them.

Risali nods her assent, finds another smile through tears that yes okay haven't stopped BUT WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE HER? She will just get D'lei's VERY NICE COSTUME VERY WET, and not acknowledge the fact that her vision is blurry when she pulls back just enough to look up at him. "Good." Because it's hope without being blind; because it is a shared belief in a possibility for better things and a willingness to find out. Because D'lei is her partner in this, and she's his, and past, or present, or future, they will figure it out… together. But now Risali is shifting, is pressing her lips against the hollow of D'lei's throat, tasting flesh with a flick of tongue against his pulse, biting down on his chin with gentle, steady pressure as fingers hook in his waistband then push up. Up over his stomach, up against his chest where they splay and push outward, where they curl into claws and drag back down over his ribs, along his sides - mindful of tenderness, attentive to patterns. It's meant to rumble his clothing, to make it that much easier when retreating hands renew their assault - this time against his buttons, this time as mouth, and teeth, and tongue scour clavicle, and the hinge of jaw, and — an exhale against flesh as she stills, as she blinks grey eyes up to amber. "Do you want to go?" And despite actions, despite the fact that Risali's whisper is breathy and her heart is slamming a frantic beat against her sternum and she'd be really surprised if D'lei couldn't hear it, it's an honest question. She isn't teasing him, she isn't implicating a different place to do illicit things. She is RUINING EVERYTHING, and waiting with a remarkable lack of - no, we lied. She's still working her way through buttons, but only because it gives her something to do. At least, that's the story we're sticking too.

Because sometimes, hope is more important than security… and sometimes, desire is more important than comfort. D'lei makes a soft sound, a vibration in that throat that comes out from lips halfway between a growl and a moan, and his head tilts up even as his arms slide down, arching his back to press his stomach in a curve against Risali's hands, bone and muscle and skin mended by time - despite the chaos - to be nearly-smooth beneath her touch once more, the pucker in of scar faint beneath fabric. Wounds heal; even when things are dangerous, even when they take risks, they recover from those risks… or else they die, but that hasn't happened yet. Until it does… they live. D'lei's hands press down, along Risali's back as he leans to her, and then - she pauses, and his head turns down to see her and meet those eyes. He smiles, with a double tug at the corners of his mouth, with a laughter in those eyes even as the shirt falls open enough to make visible that most-recent scar. "Eventually," he answers her, and he shifts a little to help the shirt fall off his shoulders - and there's one arm out, and he's slipping it around to tuck in between them on the other side of hers, to trail down along her side and take the turn down her leg where he starts to gather up her skirt and lift it. Because it's in the way, and he's not going anywhere yet - except, that's also a lie. He's very definitely going somewhere with Risali, it just doesn't involve using their feet for anything other than bracing.

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