Tavern Upstairs Bedroom, Breakwater Hold

Kayeth was the one to glow, and so Inri — and Jajen, one assumes — was the one to depart.

It wasn't a problem for her; she came to terms with it relatively quickly, really. Her resolve was simple: help Nyalle, if the younger goldrider would actually have her. She couldn't be sure if Nyalle's statement about the Senior not having time for the juniors, time for friends, was one that would stick with herself in the spot. When she might need help. When she needed a gentle hand to help her with the Holds. When Inri was determined to try to be friends.

Se'ras had asked his sister if she was upset, not being Weyrwoman. When most people wanted it to be her. When maybe it should be her, because she was the oldest.

"Age doesn't mean everything," she told him, and ruffled his hair, and he accompanied her when she and Kouzevelth took off to Breakwater, set to stay until the proddy situation resolved itself.

It wasn't long.

Miraculously, she was actually welcomed. Inri, alone. As herself, as Iabre's daughter, not as one of Fort's weyrwomen. She was there at their mercy, and Telyss was nothing but kind to her. He'd always liked her. As her.

(They were not subtle about the fact they would have preferred she be the one having the flight; perhaps having Inri as Weyrwoman would've satisfied Breakwater. It wouldn't satisfy the other Holds. And until Nyalle said something otherwise, sorting out the diplomatic ruffles was still her problem. Her job. She'd tackle it; make it so they could work on it together, if the other goldrider would allow. If the Weyrwoman would allow.)

When the day came, Inri wasn't worried for herself anymore. Was she disappointed? Slightly. Kayeth's rising meant it was likely she would never be Fort's Senior, as the gold and rider were both turns younger than Kouzevelth and herself, and the odds of them stepping down before Inri was too old to replace her was — highly unlikely if not outright impossible.

In the grand scheme of things, though, that kind of thing came to chance.

(And yet Neyuni had quit young. And yet Dtirae had quit young and suddenly. Galina had been young, too, hadn't she? Elara was the last stable Weyrwoman Inri could remember. But Nyalle was stable. Would be stable. She and Kouzevelth would not likely ever rise to the Seniorship, and that was something they would have to deal with.)

She hadn't even expected to Impress. She hadn't even expected to Stand.

What was wrong with spending her whole life as a junior goldrider, anyway, if she could be a good one? No doubt Nyalle would need her, whether she wanted to be friends or not — and some of her traditional ways, Inri thought might do well for Fort.

When the day came, Inri wasn't worried for herself anymore, because she was not ready to be Senior. Cruel, a little bit, to assume Nyalle might be — was anyone ever, though?

Inri was satisfied with life as it was, for the most part.


She was worried for her other half.

You're okay with it not being you, she pressed across their link, finding Kouzevelth, who was sunning at the top of the lake. I mean, I know you didn't really want it and you didn't think I was ready, but neither of them are either, and at least it's not Iaverulth —

It will be well was all she got in return, along with waves of emotions: confidence, comfort, security. Being junior did not make her less. And in her way, she sort of even liked Kayeth.

And 'it will be well' was all she got out of Kouzevelth until the time came that Kayeth's flight was over, and the news of who caught made its way to them through the draconic grapevine.

Velokraeth remains Weyrleader, Kouzevelth relayed with what sounded like a blend of relief and slight ire; her rainstorm was a soft and gentle rain, but there was an occasional crackle of lightning. Velokraeth's will be well. Pleased. It is right.

"But," Inri prompted with a laugh, flopping backward on her bed because she was relieved, even if she wasn't entirely sure why — except that Fort needed as much stability as it could get, and she wasn't used to the idea of someone as Weyrleader besides Th'ero. Who was good at his job. Who would do things right. Even if she didn't think the new Weyrwoman would take it well that he'd probably still be more interested in Kimmila than in her. "There's something bothering you."

Busted, Kouzevelth gave in: They are not Fortian. Kayeth, Velokraeth. There is no Fortian blood in the leadership — they are foreigners.

"Their children will be Fortian. Would you have rather Dremkoth caught?" Inri wasn't sure if she was treading on dangerous territory or not; generally, Kouzevelth was uninterested in things like 'mates'; she saw her clutchmates and other draconic friends as friends, and never seemed to mind when all of the males' attention was taken away by pretty Kayeth even before she was glowing. It was only when proddy that such things bothered her — but anytime she ever thought of flights at all, Kouzevelth's mental image seemed to include Dremkoth.

It only turned out to be mildly dangerous; a quick flash of lightning and the outburst retreated back.

He is at least Fortian. But D'ani is best as Weyrsecond, with you as Junior. A good pair.

"Yeah," Inri agreed, "Maybe. He could've hacked it as Weyrleader if he had to. I could've hacked it as Senior."

Likely together. You are good together. But I trust Kayeth. Even if I suspect she … did not want this outcome. The details hadn't gotten there, but Kouzevelth was able to show Inri the fact that Mr'az and Zhirazoth did put in an appearance. And the junior goldrider smiled a little, bittersweet — she knew they loved them!

Oh, poor Nyalle.

"We'll head back soon," she told her dragon, rolling sideways off the bed, "and I'll check on her."

They stayed in Breakwater one more night; no sense returning at an odd hour. And so they would arrive just as things were beginning to shake down — who knew what would happen next?