Shield and Spear

Half Moon Bay Weyr - Library
A haven for all seeking a moment's peace, the library is tranquil, quiet, comfortable, a space to escape the chaotic bustle of weyr life. Half Moon colors prevail here, unsubtle but tasteful and eked out by dark, polished wood, flickers of white fabric, and a dazzling array of chandeliers. Rows of false stained glass windows line the room's far wall, giving the room an open, airy feel without risking climate damage to books, scrolls, and hides, of which the weyr has plenty. Rows upon rows of recessed shelves climb one upon the other along the left wall, reaching towards a high ceiling and accessible only by book ladders that have been cleverly angled to allow use of them all simultaneously.

Smaller free-standing bookcases crawl through the rest of the space, some low-slung and tucked up against banisters and raised platforms, others standing freely back to back to best make use of the space given. Chairs and couches are woven betwixt and between, sometimes standalone, sometimes accompanied by endstands or low-slung tables, plush rugs breaking up the polished grey tile of the floor. Most furnishings are of a dark purple or teal, accented by ebony woodwork and white and gold pillows.

One corner has been dedicated to more serious studies, circular tables and wooden chairs clustered about one another, rigidity and quiet camaraderie meant to encourage focus rather than comfort. A mobile server tucked against this wall features a small pot of klah, hot water for tea, and finger-foods to keep minds stimulated, all carefully watched over by the librarian, whose desk looms nearby. The other corner features two computers, neither terribly fast or efficient in the way of such public things, but available for free use for those in need nonetheless.

Not knowing what was in the box and so unable to trust what her reaction might be, Elixyvette did not allow herself to open it while in the barracks, but slipped it into her pocket and waited for a quiet point in the day when she might be free of the gaze of others and able to take a look without having to worry that her response might be fodder for teasing and power held over her.

It wasn’t until late in the afternoon that, tasks completed and Candidates dismissed, she had some time to herself. Having bathed and tied her hair up, she retreated to the library, poured herself a cup of tea, selected a book and found a quiet corner and a comfy chair to curl up in, relishing the quiet and relative solitude. A few pages into the book, she set it aside and pulled the box from the pocket of her clean jacket, regarding it with a vague air of suspicion.

Well, nothing ventured.

Opening it, she tilted her head as she regarded the contents, momentarily confounded. Pulling one of the small, triangular sections free made it more apparent what it was when fastening and its decorative, spear-like tails followed, its partner lying beneath it, having been unsettled by being carted around all day. Earrings, in bronze and brass.


Beneath the second earring sat a piece of paper, which she unfolded once she’d settled both earrings back in the box.

‘To my friend Elixyvette, So you never forget that you are a shield and a spear and that, even in your darkest times, there are friends who will come to your aid. Rio.’

Friend. Friends. It was a foreign concept.

She had been started on her path so early that, by the time had come for her to actually apprentice, her precociousness and arrogance born of being ahead of her classmates had ensured that she had not been well-liked, nor approachable. It hadn’t troubled her, then. People who had friends only seemed to waste each other’s time and get each other into trouble. She had her work and her future and that was that.

Then there had been L’mal. She hadn’t needed or wanted other friends. What spare time she had was his; the thought of spending it with anyone else simply hadn’t occurred. Even before she had realised that he was in love with her – and that she was only putting off the inevitable by denying to herself that she loved him too – he had been the only one she was interested in socialising with. He was her friend. He was hers, even if she had never dared to be as possessive as she felt.

And then he was gone. And she was married to a stranger, with two children in her arms before she turned twenty. It wasn’t a lie when she insisted her husband had been her friend. Eventually. Though she wasn’t certain that she had ever truly loved him, they had, over time, grown comfortable together. Life had been about craft and family, with their focus on the children and rarely each other. He had never been trusted with her secrets, but he had been trusted to pick her up if she fell and failed; to be a shoulder if she ever so desperately needed one to cry on. Exactly as she had been for him.

She had colleagues, not friends. To get too close was to open up points of weakness for potential exploitation. Often, they were on opposing sides, and her clients could not afford her to be fallible and human. A distance was always maintained. Professionalism first.

Even those she tried to aid and protect she would not let close. It was her life and purpose to ensure that things were fair and people had a voice. To let anyone believe that they could or should return the favour was unthinkable. She didn’t need help. She couldn’t let anyone help.

Glancing down at the earrings, she bit down on the inside of her lip.

Friends. She cared for some of those in the barracks, yes. Of course she did. But that they should care for her?

It was wrong, all of it. Risking her Mastery on the chance of… what? That a dragon might… love her? That she might be able to break habits decades old? That she could actually connect with people?

She threaded the earrings through her ears and picked up her book again.

Maybe her darkest hour was approaching.

Maybe she would need a friend.

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