Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Feb 12, 2014 12:41:09 GMT -8
3076.03.10 | Morning | Artemis’s weyr
T’kar came to a complete halt, staring at the door as if he could un-see this. He’d already had, at the time it happened, a discussion with Artemis’s guards about letting shoulder-bird deliveries through the door. He’d also added a reference or two about the fact that somehow, Artemis’s guards had been outside the door, while Artemis herself was roaming around completely exposed without any guard near her. He’d intended that to be the last of it, except that then Rilora had given Artemis oversight as to who the guards were to be, and Artemis seemed perfectly willing to pick just one and leave it at that.
There was one guard, one, at the door, a different one than yesterday and likely a different one still would be here tomorrow. T’kar was pleased the guards were trying to avoid stepping on the Jr. Weyrwoman’s toes, but this was ridiculous. It would be impossible for the guard of the day to function efficiently if he or she hadn’t stood the duty in several days. It played threadfall with their reflexes, rotating them for single-day “A-guard” — as the guards called the duty — shifts.
Well, this has been going on long enough.
Ignoring Star’s chirp from his shoulder, T’kar walked up to the door. The guard recognized him, of course, since he was still Dalonia’s assistant instructor, and let him reach up to knock on the door.
In its cage, the falcon - a merlin, it was called; Artemis had done her research - screeched at the its displeasure at the knock on the door. Laying on her bed, Artemis kept her eyes closed and resisted the urge to groan. She had just finished an exercise training session with L'ras; wasn't that enough for the day? Couldn't people leave her bloody well alone in the little down time she had?
Are you going-
"Yes, I'm going to answer the door," muttered Artemis, glaring at her now-very-large Azure dragon as she stalked over to the mirror. Her hair, a sweaty mess from the workout session, still managed to curl out wildly from her head; she grabbed a ribbon and tied it back quickly. The rest of her was - well, equally disgusting, if she was going to be fair, but it would have to wait.
It took only another moment to throw open her door. The dark-skinned junior Weyrwoman glared at T'kar, managing to bite back her irritation in the tone of her voice. "Hello."
Behind her, Zabrielth snorted and settled her head on her claws. How long Artemis' manners would last - an increasingly fragile thing, between lack of sleep and training and the chaos of the Weyr and the chaos that filled her mind - she was not sure.
Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Feb 12, 2014 13:39:42 GMT -8
T’kar took in everything in a single sweep, from the shoulder-bird in its cage to the calm looking Azure to Artemis’s disheveled appearance. At least she was clearly keeping to the schedule she had with L’ras, because this was probably not going to go over well.
“My greetings, Lady Artemis, I hope you’re well?” There was nothing wrong with being polite, whatever his own exasperation about the guard situation.
“May I come in? There’s some stuff we need to discuss.” Despite the polite words, there was steel under them in his tone. Let her interpret that however she chose. If she chose to take it as an order, so much the better.
No, you may certainly not come in, you- Just get it over with, Mine dear.
Artemis didn't bother to glare at her Azure as she stepped out of the way, dropping into a mock bow and sweeping her arm towards the center of the room. "Of course you may come in."
At least he had called her lady Artemis, even if there was a tight politness to his tone; she did so love being called by her rank. Weyrwoman would have been even better, though she presumed he kept that for Rilora. Better than 'cursed', anyway.
Speaking of, if he was here about the guards, she might just drag him by her hair out the door. This one-a-day was suiting her just fine. They were easy enough to avoid, and to keep out of her way, and they all still huddled in a vague fear of her. Why shouldn't she keep it like that instead of having one person stuck with her?
Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Feb 13, 2014 1:03:10 GMT -8
No, this was definitely not going to go well. Probably not in the slightest, although at least they weren’t going to have whatever argument ensued while standing in the hallway.
T’kar answered a bow with a deep nod, stepping into the room and to one side, so that he could close the door behind him.
“Have you given any thought to who you would like for permanent guards?” T’kar asked. After all, there was absolutely no point in dancing around the subject. “Because the current method is completely unworkable. You cannot have complete, or even halfway complete, coverage for a full day out of only one person, and the guards don’t have time to settle into their duty before being rotated back out of it again.”
That's it. She was going to grab him by the scruff of his annoying little neck and throw him out of the-
Artemis! Why can't I nap in piece without somebody riding me on this?! Who I want to spend every bloody waking moment with me isn't exactly the easiest decision.
She pressed her lips together in a tight line, annoyance clearly flashing in her eyes as she shut the door and turned away from the Weyrleader. L'ras was still the only person in the Weyr, outside of Rilora, whose company she really enjoyed and trusted; but that was never going to be an option. And who else could she choose?
T'kar didn't know about her ability. She had made certain of that, Rilora had made certain of that; they, and their dragons, were the only ones that knew. So how could she explain that people who were otherwise perfectly suitable had arguments with their dragons over the curses? And that was assuming she chose a Rider. If she chose somebody who was not a Rider, there was no chance at all of her knowing them - especially when so many ran from her when she appeared, so that the curse would not even touch them. And the few that did not were ambitious and greedy, or generally too kind and useless to suit for a guard.
"Tell me, do you have any suggestions?" Her voice strained to be polite, to reach that tone, and it almost got there. Almost. But frustration and irritation seeped through, and Artemis made an active effort to keep her gaze off of him.
Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Feb 15, 2014 19:11:17 GMT -8
“Have you considered Ethilaneph, Lan, Orpheal of Black-Grey Ethilask? Or M’dek Valurien of Blue Nesselth, or P’tor Granov of DarkBlue Borrealth, or J’ral Skyborn of Chrome Cerrodalth?” T’kar had others, but these were the ones that he thought would probably be best at the job. He would much prefer her to pick at least one from the list, and he would prefer two or even three.
“Or even Lirahel Starborn of Green Lirask. All of them are exceptionally skilled at their chosen styles of combat, and would not be inclined to underestimate a threat. They would make good commanders for a team of guards.” T’kar forced himself to lean against the wall and lay his thumbs along his belt to support his hands.
“But, whether you choose one of them or not, you need to pick at least four people by a sevenday from today. There are, apparently, too many people willing to believe that not only might there be a curse that harm comes, but who seem to have forgotten that the whole curse supposedly revolves around harm coming to you. Naturally, since they seem so determined to plan ways of getting rid of you, trusting your safety, and that of Zabrielth, to a single overtired guard is, foolish, at the very least.”
Unsaid, for now, was the fact that if the guards were no chosen in a sevenday, then T’kar would be picking the first two of them.
“You can request that their schedules be re-arranged so that you can spar with them, or watch them spar each other. You can talk to L’ras and see if he is willing to bout them, but please, do so soon. If your schedule doesn’t permit you to do anything of the sort for over a sevenday, and L’ras agrees about that, then at least accept two guards of mine or Dalonia’s choosing until you have sufficient time to pick your own. And don’t leave them behind all the time.”
Artemis had been listening half-heartedly - and then he said a team of guards, and all semblance of her paying attention flew out the window as she stewed in irritation. That was not the deal she had made with Rilora, and if he thought he could come in here-
She bit it back, bit the irritation and the comments back, swallowed them back into her throat before turning back to him with her prettiest smile. In the corner, Zabrielth opened her eyes with anticipation, waiting to see how Artemis would handle her newest prey.
The Weyrwoman's face was pretty and calm, but her eyes were wild with fire. "Pardon me, T'kar, but I beg to differ. Would not multiple guards - rotating daily - give more room for possibly spies to infiltrate? After all, they are not here to protect me while I run away. When Zabrielth was smaller, just hatched, yes. But my dear Queen can crush a man between her teeth now, and I am not so stupid as to run straight into the blade of a knife."
"Now, I know you might not remember correctly - you are such a busy man, after all - but that was my deal with your dear Weyrwoman. One guard, of my choosing. You may make suggestions, but let us face reality - if you try to force somebody on to me, I will be miserable, and I will end up doing things that make their jobs and lives miserable, and is that really what we want?" Her tone polite and sweet, Artemis tilted her head to the side and flashed her biggest smile.
Zabrielth resisted the urge to rumble with laughter as she shut her eyes once more, though her Rider was not done. "Now, while I do love some of those you have offered - particularly Nesselth, as her colors would just look so pretty next to Zabrielth's - I will continue to think about the one I want. After all, if I choose wrong or not at all, the only one who suffers will be me. And I will not pick somebody who I do not trust."
And she straightened her head and turned away from him, gliding over to stroke Zabrielth's head ridges.
Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Feb 18, 2014 19:16:40 GMT -8
T’kar took a deep breath, then another, reminding himself that, as far as Artemis was concerned her points were valid.
“No, it’s not what anyone would want, but it might just be something we all have to live with for awhile,” T’kar answered. “As to Zabrielth’s ability to bite someone in half, that’s excellent, so long as you are around her. However, you really should still have at least two guards on during the day, so that there is less chance of an attack overwhelming the guard and getting through to you. Admittedly, at night, you probably only need one, and that only to provide advance warning if someone looks to be trying the door, but, to address your point about spies, the guards would not rotate daily. Each guard would have the same duty, every day. Which doesn’t provide nearly the same opportunities for attackers and spies as does one guard, quickly exhausted and with no backup.”
T’kar leaned against the wall, watching Artemis stroke Zabrielth’s head ridges. He sighed.
“Artemis, it’s not just you who will suffer. You pick the wrong guard, or even only one guard, no matter how skilled, and if there’s anything to get by him or her, it will eventually, and then you’re badly hurt, or even dead, and that’s not going to affect just you, or even just you and Zabrielth. Weyrs do not deal well with the loss of Queens, or even the grief and anger of a Queen whose rider is injured. The way things are just now, I wouldn’t be willing to place any bets at all that nobody’s going to try something, and I’d rather, much rather, you survived it, uninjured.”
Stay calm, my love. It will hurt us both for you to snap at him. Your human politics and all that nonsense. Our nonsense is affecting how the other dragons treat you, you know. And that is the fault of humans still. Now, go show him who's Queen here.
Artemis took a deep breath, letting her hand rest on the warm hide of her Azure as she turned back to T'kar.
"T'kar, before going on, I need to remind you that the arrangement I made with the Weyrwoman was for one guard. If you would like to change that, you would need to take it up with her, and then she and I can discuss a potential other arrangement. Given that I am already against it, and given that she has already agreed to it, I think you should stop trying to force more than one guard on me."
Artemis' free hand tugged at her ponytail. Her hair sprang about around her face, curly and natural and wild. "And if you think I am unaware of the consequences of choosing wrong, there is no point to us continuing this conversation. Tell me, T'kar, should I choose somebody completely loyal to the Weyr? Because half of our most loyal members think I should be thrown out before I cause more bad luck, and another quarter probably think the same but refuse to say it."
They thought it, of course, and discussed it with their dragons. But he did not need to know that.
"Should I choose somebody talented enough to protect me, I might not know where their loyalties lie, especially if they're very skilled - and that would put Zabrielth and I in greater risk. Somebody honest? They might not have the discreet nature a guard needs. A Rider would be nice, but then what to do with their dragon? A non-Rider would solve that issue, but then what if a Rider attacks with their dragon? I could leave, but what other Weyr would take a cursed dragon - nevermind that Rainbow Mists is my home."
Artemis stood up, hands falling to her sides as Zabrielth swiveled her head to stare at T'kar with unblinking eyes. "And let us entertain the notion that I have two guards. All of those questions need to be asked twice. Then they need to be noncompetitive with each other - you know how people can get - but work in unison simultaneously. Rotating out on a daily basis would mean that they never get a full understanding of my schedule. If they are exhausted by sticking with me on a daily basis, though, I wonder how tired I am supposed to be?"
Artemis tilted her head to the side, eyes cold and smile polite. "I do not mean to argue with you, T'kar. But just because there is a Junior in my title does not mean I'm less adept at thinking things through and planning. I know what I am doing. I will take your suggestions into consideration. But please stop trying to force your wishes down my throat."
Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Feb 19, 2014 16:21:57 GMT -8
Another deep breath. T’kar’s nostrils flared, he could hear his heartbeat in his ears.
It’s about what you expected.
Artemis’s final statement, such as it was, was actually an enormous help. It struck T’kar as completely hilarious. What, after all, were they doing if not arguing, and as to Artemis not meaning to…
“I believe rotation was already established as not an option, though lack of familiarity with a schedule is another good reason against it,” T’kar commented, swallowing his smile. “Artemis, Jr. Weyrwoman Artemis, I have never once said, nor even implied you were less adept than anyone at thinking things through and planning. The only thing I might have been implying is that I wish you could think this particular issue through a little faster. By your own argument, your current guard arrangement leaves the guards with no understanding at all of your schedule, because you are rotating through too many, none of them standing watch for longer than a day.”
T’kar paused, briefly. “Perhaps, for now, if you just picked two, one for day and one for an extra warning in the night? Your day guard could then help you pick a second daytime guard. It’s not just me, the guards have been trying to get this normalized for months, since you had the discussion with Rilora.” Another pause. “Would you like me to talk to L’ras, get him to up here to go over options with you, perhaps tomorrow?”
And yet he still insists on two guards. Are all men so stubborn?
Only king riders. Zabrielth's voice, more amused than annoyed, brushed lovingly against her Rider's mind.
Artemis resisted the urge to sigh and smiled at T'kar. "I will speak to L'ras about the one guard, as per my agreement with Rilora, that I will choose. Considering that I am rarely in my room throughout the day - and unless you are doubting Rilora and L'ras, whom I spend most of my time with - I can merely have Zabrielth summon whoever my guard is when I will be needing them. That sounds sensible, does it not?"
Artemis tilted her head to the side. "Thank you for your help, and your suggestions."
The merlin in its cage screeched, voice angry and sharp, as if to tell T'kar what Artemis was politely unwilling to say - to leave and leave and leave.
Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Feb 20, 2014 12:24:51 GMT -8
T’kar grinned. It might have had a touch of a grimace to it, but not a lot. “It does sound sensible, providing that the guard also gets some sleep, perhaps near here.” He gave a quick bow. “You’re welcome. Just make sure you talk to L’ras tomorrow, or even today, about it.”
Star settled on T’kar’s shoulder and chirped a couple times.
“And now, I will leave you to the consideration, since I have an appointment with the sky.”
Opening the door, he stepped backward through it and closed it behind him. Granted, he would prefer, much prefer, to get a concession about the number of guards, but for that he would have to talk to Rilora.
“Star, Shadow, Boot, Wamarna, Strap up!”
Four firelizards disappeared, heading to go attach the flight straps to Ancalanath. Boot even knew how to operate the buckles and knots.