Time (Vignette)

Western Weyr - Niarhys' Room


Darkness has fallen; the shadows in Niarhys' room have lengthened, and she's turned on all the lamps to brighten the evening. Niarhys has set her daughter to making tea, and sits, now, at the little table, watching her. They've talked of pleasantries: of gossip, of Rhysanna's friend Larya, and now, too, of Rhysanna.

Niarhys is pleased. There have been times in the past eighteen turns, in all the time since she made that vow to herself, that she has doubted her daughter. Rhysanna is so… foreign, sometimes. Slender and dark instead of curvy and fair, yes, but it's more than the physical. In Rhysanna, Niarhys sees infinite potential; she's proud of all that she has achieved with the girl, and eager to see it all come to fruition. Sometimes, though, she wonders… Daughter, my darling, she thinks to herself. It's time to step up.

It's a good thing Rhysanna has her. Left to her own devices…

Still, there is certainly reason to be pleased, tonight. "You have done well, my darling," she says, breaking the silence that has fallen as the kettle is filled. "You should be pleased."

"Mother?"

Tonight is not the night for impatience; it is not the night for games. Niarhys bites back frustration at her daughter's lack of foresight, and focuses instead on the pleasures of success. "You've made yourself known to the Weyrleader, and to the Weyrsecond, daughter. You've made an impression. We will have to consider our next steps carefully, but your timing is excellent."

She can see that Rhysanna is struggling with this; the girl has such an expressive face, something she's never been able to train her out of. A true lady ought to be able to hide her thoughts and keep a perfect mask, however she feels. Still, perhaps there is something to be said for emotion, too, properly harnessed. "It would not hurt were you to continue in that line of thinking and seek out acquaintance of the weyrwomen, next. Not Liora - I doubt she matters, at this point - but the other two, yes. A proper impression can do wonders."

"Mother… it hasn't been like that. I don't want…"

"Rhysanna. This is what we've been working towards, all your life. You've eighteen turns, now, and it wouldn't be a surprise if Shadhavarth laid a queen. If not this clutch, then perhaps Miraneith's next. In either case, now is the time to become known."

Rhysanna turns, abandoning the pot of water in order to regard her mother more directly, cheeks flushed and not simply from the narrow little hearth. "I don't think it works like that, Mother. If it were all about impressing people, surely Liora would not have—"

"We shall have to consider whether it is worthwhile you requesting a more permanent position, while we wait for that eventual gold egg. You say the Weyrsecond encouraged you to think about what you wanted? It would certainly send a strong message if you were to be seen to act upon that. On the other hand, it may be considered poor form to take up a position alongside me with a clutch so close… no, perhaps we wait upon that clutch, first, and then reconsider."

"Mother."

"Don't do this to me, my darling. This is what we've been working towards, always. This is the plan. I won't have you ruining things— that's what you have me for, remember. We're a team, and this, here, could well be our opening move."

There are no further objections. Niarhys is pleased: oh, there are certainly times when her daughter's unfortunately unambitious father shows himself in her temperament as well as her looks, but a lifetime of conditioning makes that easy enough to deal with. Would it be better, if Rhysanna were stronger willed? No, she decides, thinking on it. This, after all, is precisely why they have always made an excellent team.


That night, safely ensconced in her own bed in the barracks, Rhysanna stays awake and stares at the ceiling. For as long as she can remember, this has been the plan. Weyrwoman is the easiest option available to her; holdbred Niarhys still dreams of her daughter, the Lady Holder (or at least wife of a minor holder of some wealth and power), but it has always been a distant prospect. In Rhysanna's mind, so is this idea that she will walk onto the hatching sands and Impress a queen, but Niarhys is, and always has been, undeterred.

When she was a little girl, it had been an amazing prospect. One day, she would be all grown up with a queen dragon who would love her for always, and a fancy weyr full of fancy things, and a closet full of pretty dresses.

But now, faced with her mother's ambition and her own uncertainties, Rhysanna finds sleep impossible. She doesn't want to use people to improve her chances (however unlikely such a prospect seems). She doesn't want to spend her life making connections instead of friends, and impressions instead of conversations.

She wants…

She doesn't know what she wants. She never has.

She suspects it may be time she found out.


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