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 Law of Unintended Consequences

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Sevillalost



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PostSubject: Law of Unintended Consequences   Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:41 pm

Br'son shifted from foot to foot and reminded himself for the thirtieth time not to be nervous.

You should listen to yourself, Yllaveth said into his mind.  About what is there for you be nervous?  Look at what you have done.  You had nothing, we had nothing, and you brought us here and created this.

Br'son took a deep breath and looked around himself.  As usual, the love of his heart was correct, he conceded.  As he stood on Yllaveth's ledge, he could see the dragons and weyrfolk of White Lightning about their business.  Not too far away, the weyrlings from Yllaveth's clutch were practicing their flight formations.  As he watched, the Weyrsenior caught sight of one of the massive smoke dragonets with wings spread to catch the air.  Those new colors were growing at a rate that was almost alarming.  Thankfully, the cobalts looked as if they were finally catching up to their grey brethren.  And then there were the shadows... Those two queens weren't as large as either the cobalts or the smokes, but they were trouble, and make no mistake about that.  In fact...

Your visitors come.  As does Gaveth's rider.  Clear your mind, my beloved one.  It is time for you to be a leader.  

Yllaveth's words had the queen's desired effect of snapping her rider out of his reverie.  He threw her a quick smile and a mental caress, and then turned with a slightly different smile to greet his Weyrleader as she rounded the stone stairs that led down from her newly completed weyr.  

"Yllaveth says that our mysterious visitors are almost here," he said by way of greeting.  He had always thought that Sidran appreciated it when he got right to the point, even if his smile hinted at pleasures shared the night before... and hopefully tonight as well.  "I suspect that's their barge there," he said, gesturing to a large, flat watercraft making its ponderous way across the calmest part of their river toward them.
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weyrwolf



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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:55 pm

"That explains Gaveth's mood," she replied with a curving smile, her cobalt sharp and pointed in her head. Sidran had made a point to be professionally put together for this meeting - having no real idea of the 'who' of their visitors, it didn't make sense to over-emphasize either femininity or severity, and so just ensured her striking looks were on proper display.

Before the barge dislodged its passengers, though, she leaned in close enough to run her thumb - briefly, lightly - along Br'son's jawline. She had developed rather a strong appreciation of his face, and while now might not be the time to nibble, she could indulge a bit.

"Any particular role you would prefer I play?" Her natural inclination, of course, was to take over any conversation, but she knew enough to trust her Weyrsenior, and it was better to be a team, with so many unknowns.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:08 pm

Br'son leaned into her touch, just a bit.  Just enough.  "I don't know," he said.  "It's hard to tell when I don't know what we'll be discussing.  They requested to meet with the 'Weyrsenior and Weyrleader,' though, which is interesting." He pursed his lips as his mind began to cycle through the political possibilities.  He rather wished he could have had his juniors observe this meeting, but they were busy with lessons, and anyway, they hadn't been invited.  

"I'll take the lead in welcoming them," he decided as they watched the party start up the stone stairs that would bring them to the ledge.  "That one there's a woman, and well dressed, so this is not likely to be a particularly... aggressive meeting, I think.  I could be wrong, of course, but my gut tells me no.  I guess just... follow my lead?"  

***

Down below, Cyon looked up at the somewhat precarious-looking staircase rising from the water's edge.  He couldn't see the landing above them, though he'd seen the Titan queen resting there as they'd approached.  Beside him, his lady and wife, the love of his heart and center of his world moved impatiently.  

"Have a care, love," he murmured for her ears alone.  He reached out and caught her hand, squeezing it unobtrusively as a sign of caution, then raising it to his lips because he could.  Cyon loved his wife above all things, there wasn't anything he wouldn't do for her, and he didn't care who knew it.  "These stairs might be treacherous."  

They both knew he wasn't just talking about the stairs.  Being here was a gamble, and they both knew it.  

But then, his lady did love to play.  And if she was right... well... the stakes would be worth it.
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weyrwolf



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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:20 pm

Sidran's smile deepened momentarily. Br'son, like any rider, knew exactly how aggressive women could be. Dipping her head in agreement, she considered how far the title of 'Weyrsenior' had traveled already.

But then, there were precious few dragons to be had, and word of that - and them, standing here in this canyon - was likely to be on everyone's lips.

**

Gavana paused, taking her eyes off the ledge above to give her husband the warm, melting look only he could win from her. "And what fun if they weren't?" she murmured, squeezing his hand in return and shifting her light cloak with the other to better tackle the stairs.

Her center of gravity was not shifted, not yet, but it wouldn't do for one of those odd dizzy spells to hit her here, now. Not with first impressions being so very important.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:15 am

Br'son schooled his face into a welcoming smile as the small party disembarked and made its careful way up the stairs. Three individuals. The well-dressed woman he'd observed earlier, a man in equally fine dress, and one dressed like a clerk of some kind. No Harper blue, though, Br'son noted with some interest.

"Welcome to White Lightning Weyr," he said as they approached. He held out his hand to the woman first, simply because she was the first one up the narrow stairway.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:26 pm

"A lovely journey, to this unexpected canyon," she replied, releasing her husband's hand to take the Weyrsenior's. "I am Gavana, and my husband Cyon. You are Weyrsenior Br'son and Weyrleader Sidran, yes? and we have been so looking forward to meeting you." Her smile warmed charmingly, dark eyes all but sparkling.

"But look, I am liable to prattling, and we have all just met. Shall we sit and get to know each other better before we get down to business?"

Sidran, no stranger to carefully crafting the impression she wanted to make, found herself smiling in reply. Ah, she thought. Interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:43 pm

Br'son blinked, then smiled, half in amusement. So, this Gavana sought to take control early, hmm? Her attempt was subtle, but it was there nonetheless. Interesting.

Luckily for Br'son, he'd been taught by the incomparable Firene, and though the thought of her sent grief ricocheting through his mind, he was glad as ever for her exhaustive instruction.

"Excellent idea, my lady," Br'son said, even though he had no idea who this woman was, nor what rank she held. It never hurt to be pleasant, after all. He stepped to the side and gestured past Yllaveth to the entrance to his office. "Please, be welcome to my office. I've wine within, unless you'd prefer klah or juice?"

He walked as he talked, subtly herding the group as he went, and reclaiming his role as host as he did so.

Take that, Gavana, he thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:55 pm

"Juice would be most refreshing after our trip," she replied, smile deepening as the boy showed his spine. Graciously, which was rather her favorite. "So well set up, for how short your time here has been. Amazing what can be done, with the right people, and the right alliances, wouldn't you agree?"
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:34 pm

"Our alliance with the canyonfolk has certainly served us well," Br'son said as he saw everyone seated and began to pour out juice. "But then, they're resourceful people, who brought as much to the table as we had to offer. An important distinction, that, I think. An alliance is hardly an alliance when one party feels indebted to the other."

Was that what Gavana was after, an alliance? And if so, then whom, exactly, did she represent?

***

Cyon accepted the cup of juice with a murmured thanks, and then looked up to see the lady Weyrleader looking at him. He returned her gaze with a slightly self-deprecating smile, as if to say that his wife enjoyed her verbal fencing matches, and who was he to tell her to do otherwise?
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:54 pm

Sidran lifted an eyebrow in reply and inclined her head slightly, interested to see where this went.

Gavana tilted her glass toward the Weyrsenior, her smile deepening further, revealing the slightest of dimples. "I am afraid I must disagree with you there, Weyrsenior. For what good is an alliance if each party isn't indebted to the other in some way that ends in benefit for both? Why, without that, you'd be left with two groups who could simply walk away from the other at any time as mood or better opportunities take them, and then where would you be?" Shaking her head just enough that her long dark hair slipped back off her shoulder, she sipped her juice and sat more comfortably in her chair.

"But you don't need me to lecture you on my views of politics. A terrible habit, I must own, from early days learning at my father's knee. Surely you've heard how we are in Tillek, all business from the cradle. Or they, I suppose I should say, having been in the South so very many Turns."
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:15 pm

Br'son let the comment about alliances slide. So that was what she wanted, hmm? Interesting.

"How many turns has that been?" he asked, picking up the other thread of her conversation. "If you care to divulge."
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:05 am

She laughed at that, a welcoming sound that invited them to laugh with her. "Can and will, Weyrsenior - we are not here to be mysterious and brooding over secrets. What impression would that make? I have been a proud resident of the South for over ten Turns, slightly less time than I have known the love of my life," her look to Cyon was as genuine as could be hoped, "and a hard and rewarding ten turns it has been, carving out a Hold from the jungles."
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:25 pm

"I'm so pleased you've enjoyed it," Br'son said politely. "The South takes a very special kind of mettle. You appear to have it in spades, my lady, if I may be so bold as to say so."

That wasn't idle flattery. Br'son really was impressed. The South was beautiful, but the uninhabited parts of the continent were wild beyond anything the North could imagine. It took grit and toughness to carve out a living here, as he was learning firsthand. And the holders didn't have the advantages of dragons... or friendly smugglers, most of the time.

"And where is your hold located? To whom do you look?" he asked.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:57 am

Her smile deepened, and she bowed her head to him in thanks. "Hardly an individual effort, as you two, of all people, can well understand. If you have a map handy? I'll mark our territory. As to who we look to..." she glanced at Cyon, gave him a 'here goes it' look that, likely, was meant to be noticed by the Weyrleaders, and said frankly, "There is no one. And I don't mean to say the tragic loss of so many dragons has left us bereft, but there has never been a Weyr or Hold to lay claim to us, or whom we laid claim to in return."

She placed her drink to the side and folded her hands neatly on her lap. "We are, however, now well into a place where, despite recent increases in Thread getting through, we are able to tithe, were there a Weyr who would commit to protecting us."

That then, she hoped, was clear. Tithe for protection, their hold coming fully into the world not only publicly, but as a legitimate player - one of the very few with dependable air-support, and the only one to date willing to codify White Lightning as a 'real' Weyr. Providing legitimacy to both, along with needed resources on both ends.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:24 pm

Br'son sat back in his chair, and steepled his fingers in front of his lips. His mind raced as he considered the implications of the offer. A hold declaring itself major, tithing to them would give some legitimacy, but not all of it.

"What of the Conclave of Holders?" he asked. "Do you expect that they will be pleased with such a bold statement?"
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:32 pm

"No," she said, her smile shading into something that could only be termed cheeky. Or perhaps sly. A bit of both, at that. "I do not expect them to be pleased at all. But that, after all, wouldn't be your problem to field."

Sidran covered whatever expression she nearly made by drinking, attention well and truly caught. Confidence, in this holder woman, certainly intriguing.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:56 pm

"Ah, well, it might become onesuch. Especially if we become allies in this... as you seemed to be hinting at. And then there's the matter of Search, and future tithes and such. We've already had the hand of the Weyrs turned against us. I don't think we'd want the Holders to do the same."

Br'son was getting to the point in the discussion where he was feeling the desire to have everything out on the table. He also wished to speak with his Weyrleader... but that could be accomplished easily enough.

Yllaveth, please ask Gaveth to ask his rider what her thoughts are on these people. It seems that they're suggesting that we recognize them as Lord and Lady Holder within our territory. Which is what, exactly? Also, do we even have the wing strength to do what they're asking?

Br'son covered his momentary silence by reaching for his glass while Yllaveth relayed his questions through her mate.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:53 pm

"No," Gavana said, unaware there was communication behind the scenes, "what I am implying is that we, with you as allies, can keep the Holds from turning against you. They've hardly turned toward you, have they, despite how few functional Weyrs are left. We give them a semblance of normalcy, and you leave the rest to me, on their part. You'll have more than enough to be going on with, I imagine."

Sidran sipped again as Gaveth passed on the message, and considered. We need to look how broad their lands are on a map. We can't protect everyone, but one hold, if it means we get a full tithe in return? Barely, but it's worth it.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:21 pm

"Let us be clear," Br'son said. "You are proposing to begin a new Hold, without the permission of the Conclave, under White Lightning Weyr's protection from Threadfall? In return for a traditional tithe? Is this correct?"

The Weyrsenior had to admit, he admired this Gavana's nerve. She was clearly an opportunist who would make the most of situations that developed. The fact that the entire world was in an uproar because of the loss of the dragon force was a major point in her favor. It was likely that the Conclave wouldn't even realize what she'd done until it was a fait accompli.

Clever girl.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:22 pm

"We have begun a hold," she corrected, eyes steady on his, "and grown it out of mountain and jungle. I'm proposing we declare and name it a Hold, at once with announcing our clear alliance with you, and begin the traditional tithe immediately following. Further, I propose that we bring the other Blooded families in line on your behalf, building their allegiances as you would like, and working with certain of your people who can operate in those spaces. If you have none, I additionally propose my time to help train those you designate."

He didn't know her yet, and so he might not know the value of what she offered; it was clear from her bearing and smile that she had utter confidence in its - and her -worth.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:17 pm

Br'son's eyebrows went up. "I see. And how do you propose to bring the other Blooded families into line? That is something that no one has been able to accomplish in Pern's history, not as far back as the Records go, anyway." His voice held a playful lilt, but his tongue wasn't entirely in cheek. Blooded Holders were notoriously recalcitrant, especially when it came to dealing with dragonriders. He didn't imagine that they'd be any better now that only he and his crew of misfits remained.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:33 pm

"Talent, connections, and circumstances." After a slight pause, she tilted her head to the side in a 'welll' gesture. "Mostly circumstances, though without the first two there's very little we can do even within those. I expect it will also take a great deal of creativity and strategic use of resources, but what doesn't?"
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:22 pm

Br'son met Sidran's eyes. The truth of the matter was that, though they'd been surviving, they couldn't go on much longer foraging for every meal. Especially not now that there was no one else to cover Threadfalls. Much as Br'son liked the idea of being self-sufficient, the numbers didn't lie. Tithing as a system existed for a very good reason, and his Weyr could definitely use it.

"Have you a map?" he asked Gavanna. "Let us see the boundaries of your new Hold."
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:52 pm

Sidran looked thoughtful, and leaned forward as Gavana nodded to the third, silent member of their holder party.

The man reached into an oversize travel sac and pulled out a rolled hide, and Gavana sat back to drink her juice.
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PostSubject: Re: Law of Unintended Consequences   Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:21 pm

Cyon accepted the rolled hide from the man and spread it out on the table.

"Our main settlement is here," he said, indicating an area that was represented as thick, impassable jungle. "These hills here are rich in metals, believe it or not, and we've carved out mines here, here, and here," he said, pointing.

Br'son blinked. That was a large territory. "How do you have the people to work that whole territory?" he asked, his voice mingling wonder with respect. This was no insignificant feat.
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