Protection

Fiala.jpg Maura.jpg

Participants: Characters — PCs, NPCs, dragons! — in the log. Link to pages if desired.
IC Date: Turn 3, Month 12, Day 22
OOC Date: 10/30/11
Location: Living Cavern
Synopsis: Fiala needs an ear and a shoulder
Rating: PG16 for references to sexual assault.
Posted by: Maura

Room Description if you wish


It is mostly after supper, though there is still food available for those who have late duties. It is a cool-ish evening, and rain falls down stormily outside, so that the damp penetrates some inside. Into the cavern steps Fiala, freshly bathed, it seems, still limping, her unbound hair a wild red nimbus about her. She is wearing a dress a bit large on her, shapeless, but it is clean, at any rate. She looks about the room, sighs, then sits down alone at one of the tables, nibbling at a bit of bread.

One of (many) flaws that Maura has is about to be displayed. Watch the effusive bluerider pile food onto a plate after she slips inside the cavern. And then, see her cast a glance around the room. Once she spots Fiala, well, she pretty much claims a seat for herself across from the girl without bothering to ask. Bad habit. Bad. "Evening, Fi." Pleasant, though not exactly cheerful, a bit of a jaundiced eye is given to the lone piece of bread. "You're going to eat more then that, right?"

"I might have some fruit, in a bit," answers Fiala, looking up with a tired smile. "It's been a long day." The girl shakes back her hair, then brushes it back with her hand. "Thanks for sitting with me. I was lonely." SHe casts her eyes down, then takes up her bread again. A scant bit of redfruit jame has been spread on it, and a scrape of butter. She takes another bite, then sets it down again.

"Why's that? I mean… did you have too much to do?" The question seems merely conversational and curious, as the bluerider starts digging in to what would appear to be far too much food for someone her size to eat in one sitting. "I'll sit with you anytime, Fiala. And you cans it with me anytime too." Pause. "No matter who else is at the table. None of my friends will mind. Promise." And if they do, Maura will just bat her eyelashes or pout or something. Really. Though, at the moment she seems more intent on eyeballing the birdlike amounts of food that Fiala is barely eating.

"I had a lot to do. And…" Fiala sighs softly. She bites at her lip, then looks up again. "And sometimes people can be cruel, even if they don't really mean to be. Or maybe they did mean to be. I'm not sure. But…" She sighs. "But it's no secret I don't have any friends my age. Among other things." She shakes herself. "All unimportant in the… grand scheme of things. I mean, there's Thread falling, so why should it matter I don't have friends.

Maura's eyes narrow just a bit. Though, as she's been looking down at her plate it might be hard to catch. "Who's being cruel to you?" she wonders next, shaking her head firmly as soon as the younger tries to talk about thread - as if it's ok, just because there's thread falling. "We don't fight thread so that people can be cruel to one another. Admittedly, we do it for survival. But that doesn't make it a reason for people to make someone's life miserable. Nor is it unimportant just because thread's falling." is admonished. "Everyone deserves to be happy. Plus, you do have friends. There's Nenienne. And me. And Rikath. I'm sure there are others."

"Some of those I work with, some of the other children…." Fiala shrugs. "I'm not going to name names, I don't think. It wouldn't be right, would it?" She nibbles at the bread. "Say I'd never get a dragon of my own, that's why I have to steal another's. Or I'm trying to be Moreta or Lessa or worse, or pretending to be. That I'm not god enough…" Another shrug. "Everyone deserves to be happy. I suppose it's true. I want it to be true. But…" She puts down her bread and looks over at the bluerider, her eyes wide. "They said, you know, I'm just a drudge, that a drudge is all I'll ever be, and that I oughtn't to be so familiar with them as are my betters. And that being friends with someone's dragon is… almost criminal. No one's ever loved me before. Is it wrong that he's a bit fond of me?"

Maura nearly chokes on the bit of spiced wherry she'd just swallowed when she hears all that; to say that she's indignant is putting it mildly. And Rikath, wellllll…. any other dragon nearby is probably eyeballing him warily as flecks of red swirl and coalesce with malevolent orange in his eye facets. So when she takes a moment to grip her fork tightly, and take a drink of juice, and otherwise remain silent for a moment, it's to reign in -both- tempers. Not an easy task. "I…" the bluerider pauses. "I think whoever said that to you should be turned into wherry feed, and that Rikath would like to eat them for his snack. That's what I think." she growls, clearing her throat. "What I mean to say is that of course there's nothing wrong with him being fond of you, nor is there anything wrong with you having friends no matter what their title or rank or station or whatever the fuck nonsense they were spouting. I'd be more then happy to set them straight if it would make yuou feel better."

Fiala listens in silence, and she offers a wan smile. "I'm sorry to upset him," she murmurs, her voice cracking a little. "Rikath, I mean. It just kind of reminded me of my father. He caught me drawing me and a dragon. He burned the picture, said no daughter of his was going to be involved with weyrfolk. As if weyrfolk were somehow… tainted. But you're not. We're not. I guess I sort of count as weyrfolk now. Though they said I didn't. Said I was too stupid and too… chaste to be weyrfolk. One of the boys said he'd fix that, even if I was small and homely." She shakes herself. "I don't know as you can set them straight. Willful ignorance can't be talked away. Besides, they'll only be ten times worse when you're gone."

If anything, the more Fiala speaks the more upset both Maura and Rikath are becoming. On the bright side, this is doing wonders for the bluerider's ability to disguise her emotions though. Because she doesn't gasp, or clench her fists, or do anything other then flick her eyes around the room slowly when the other girl relays more of what she's been put through. "If any boy, or man, here ever touches you without your consent I will personally castrate him while Rikath pins him down." is promised. Andm uhm, it's obvious she means it. "As for being -too chaste-, I was entirely chaste when I impressed and for even a couple of years after impression. Not -all- male dragons chase all the time. Rikath still hasn't chased a green yet. Says he's waiting to find one that's worth it. So really, /anyone/ can impress. Anyone can belong in a weyr. Just, you know, scram when a Gold rises unless you have a nice spot to hole up in."

Fiala flushes, and she rubs her hands over her flaming cheeks. "I…" she gulps, then hunches her shoulders. She will not cry. Will absolutely not cry. She licks at her lips, then lifts her head again. Despite her best efforts, a couple of tears roll down her cheeks. "No one's touched me yet. Well…" SHe hiccups, then looks down at her too-large dress. She tightens her lips, then clears her throat, obviously holding something back. "What happens when a gold rises?"

"Oh my… I… I didn't mean to make you cry!" Maura squeaks, reaching over to try and grab Fiala's hand. "I'm sorry sweetie, please don't cry. What did I say? What… wait, has someone hurt you? Have they? Fiala, look at me. You can talk to me." she assures quietly, watching the girl with a searching expression. "When a gold rises, let's just say everyone tends to feel a little amorous. Non-riders not quite as much, but it's not really escapable. So some people leave. Others stay and take advantage of the atmosphere. And, other people stay but are sure to be alone where they won't be bothered." Yay for euphemisms!

"I…." Fiala rubs her hands together. "I see. Everyone can feel the passion. Because it is that strong. That even those who aren't…. I get it." The girlsighs, twirls at her hair, then nibbles a bit more at her bread. "Got done with chores early. So I was in my nice dress. It's a little tighter and a little lower-cut. And some of them started making fun of me. Because I'm so small. They were saying— look at the babe playing dress-up in the lady's dress." She shakes her head. "So some of them grabed hold of me and pinched me to see if it wasn't a little padding, and someone else grabbed me to… to make sure I wasn't a boy." She shrugs and looks down. "I don't think I'd need to worry even if a gold did rise."
.

"Right, exactly." Maura agrees, with the girl's first sentiment. But the more… "Was this today?" Concern is dominant of course, in the way the bluerider glances Fiala up and down to look for visible bruising. "You work in the stables. Was it some of the boys who work there? Nobody has the right to do that to you, Fiala. I don't care -who- they are. Or who their parents are. Or whether they're candidates or think they will be or they have family who is… it just doesn't matter. Believe me, if I get hold of the little bastards and break every one of their fingers I…" Ahem. She takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "Why don't you stay up in my weyr tonight. Rikath will keep an eye out on you, even if I'm elsewhere." she promises. No further comment is made about golds rising or not.

Any bruising is covered by the shapeless sack of a dress, and Fiala bows her head. "Aye. It was today. They found out I was a girl. Then they left me." She wraps her arms around herself. "And I…. I would like to stay with you. But I worry it'll just make things worse for me. Or that they'll put things in my bed or… Oh, I don't know. It's like being back at my old home, really. Just that I thought things would be better. And part of me wants to just run and hide and part of me is so… angry." She shakes herself. "I don't like being angry, Maura. I don't like feeling so alone."

"Being angry really isn't much fun." Maura chooses her words carefully, pushing aside her plate and folding her hands in front of herself on the table. "And I don't know that doing nothing is going to help you in this situation." she admits. "How about this…" Thinkfast! "Ch'rii's sister, Charisli… she's real nice. And she's a healer apprentice. I can ask her to keep an eye out for you. She's not a rider, so…" And whatever else the bluerider intends to do with this new information, she apparently keeps to herself.

"That would be nice. Thank you." Fiala swallows hard, then pushes the bit of bread away. "Though I have to admit I am a bit afraid of sleeping in my bunk tonight." She runs her hands down the thick fabric. Will not cry. Absolutely will not. But her grey eyes are haunted, and the girl looks about ready to jump into Maura's arms. "You won't *really* castrate any of them, will you?"

"And if not her, then I can always pay my sister a few marks to do it." Maura murmurs, trying not to sigh at that thought. Miene will help alright, but 'Sli is certainly a better choice of the two. "The offer to sleep up in my weyr still stands. Or you can sneak in to sleep in my sister's bunk. Just tell her I sent you and give her this." A mark is fished out of her pocket to hand over. "I doubt I'll be able to find Charisli in time to have her stay up at my place so you can sleep in -her- bunk, but I'll try." is also offered, before she colors. "No, I won't -really- castrate them. But I will make them think that I can, and will, if they touch you again."

"Maybe I will stay with you tonight. If you honestly don't mind. I hate to say I'm scared, but I am. And I still feel dirty, even after three baths. Brownriders' sons, two of them claim, and one a bronze's. Still another says he's the son of one of the Northern lords. Won't say the one. And two girls who say they'll Impress golds whenever there's a clutch laid. And a pair, boy and girl, who swear they'll be Weyrleaders someday, who hope Thread catches me rather than see a half-woman Stand. Just because I talk to Rikath."

"No, Fi. I don't mind at all. I promise." Maura assures, giving the girl a warm smile. "I will warn you - my place is kind of small. And boring. But you'll be warm and safe." She does snort disbelievingly at the apparent heritage of the abusers in question here. "Doesn't matter -who- anyone's parents are. They still don't have the right to be cruel or hurt anyone. And I'd bet my entire stash of good wine that neither of the two little wenches will ever impress gold. You know why they say those things to you?" It sounds like she knows what she's talking about here when she leans forward. "They're jealous. Dragons aren't known to be overly friendly. And Rikath? He usually only tolerates others outside of a select group of people. He only *likes* a /very/ few of them. Randi, P'sec, Ch'rii. Charisli.. you."

"I adore Rikath. He's so…." Fiala tilts her head. "I don't know exactly how to describe him. He's like …" She rubs at her nose. "Like he doesn't want anyone knowing he's being nice to me. All gruff and thorny outside but with this bit of warm sweet." She sighs. "Different from them that hurt me. They're all sicky-sweet outside, but not so much inside. And if they weren't, they wouldn't need to be jealous. I mean…" She smiles. "It's great that Rikath likes me and that most of the dragons who notice me seem interested or nice to me. But that doesn't make me anything special. It makes what we have special. But it's not like I was Searched or anything. It's not like I started being wanted here. I'm nobody. No one to be jealous of. Sure, I'd love to Impress, now more than ever. I…. I'm not jealous of you riders, and Thread scares the spit out of me. And if I Impressed a gold the first bronzerider that took me would split me apart up the middle. That's what they said today. But I'm just Fiala, and no more dragon-worthy than anyone else. I just know it, and they don't."

"He is, that. Gruff, cynical, thorny, difficult… curmudgeonly, sarcastric…" Maura could go on, really. And it's only partly tongue-in-cheek. "And I'm not so sure he has a heart of gold or anything. But he likes to protect those he sees as innocent and good. He figures that he can take in all the bad things for us, so we don't have to deal with it; as he's better equipped to handle it." And it's only taken her a few years to figure al that out, really. "But you /were/ asked to Stand. By Meiglen. So make no mistake, you will be on the sands the next time there are eggs there. And once you are a candidate once, you can be one until you're too old to impress." Now her hand -does- tighten around the mug. "For Faranth's sake… I." For just a moment, the bluerider rests her forehead against the table. "Okay, look. Ignore anything those stupid little monsters said to you today. None of it is true. And if you impress a gold, or a green - believe me, no dragon's rider no matter what color catches is going to split you in two. I do hear that it's best to… ah, be with someone before the first time your dragon rises. But splitting right up the middle? That's ust… nonsense. It doesn't hurt *that* much no mater how well… er. Just, trust me."

"But Tormal said he wouldn't fit!" Fiala says, her eyes widening. "When they… I mean… Well, nothing happened anyway." She clears her throat a few times, then manages a smile. "Meiglen did. Yes. She did. So… So…" She brightens a little, though now there are tears running down her face. "If I ever *do* Impress, I just hope my dragon'll understand that Rikath's my friend. And…" She lifts up her chin. "When I'm older and braver, I'll protect people too. Just like you and him protect me."

Okay, now Maura's face is hidden by her hand. She has got to be THE worst person EVER to be trying to reassure Fiala. All she knows, aftr spending the majority of her time with /men/ is how to be blunt. And that would just be bad in this case. Also, mental note: Tormal. "Tormal doesn't have a clue what he's talking about." she points out dryly. "In fact, I'm pretty sure based on what you're telling me that the closest Tormal is going to get to finding out whether he 'fits' somewhere is a hole in a fence or how tightly he can squeeze his hand." Oops, maybe that slipped out before she could stop herself. "But you might not want to say that to him." is added, hastily, as she stands up to take Fiala by the arm for standing. And so that she can swipe some of those tears away. "We'd like that, Rikath and I. Protecting people is good."

"But he t—" Fiala goes silent, then nods, leaning against Maura for a moment as she stands. "Protecting people is good. Believing that there's something decent enough to be protected…. that's even better. Thank you, Maura. Thank you so very much."

"He t…." Maura prompts, slinging an arm around Fiala's shoulders before it hits her and she finishes the sentence herself. "He -tried-? He tried to…" Hello, pale face. Beneath her tan, the bluerider nearly turns white. And then red. And then tightens her arm just a little, taking another huff of a breath. "I can't believe I promised not to actually castrate him." Those words come out in a hiss, while she tries to gently steer the girl out into the bowl. "Rikath wants to see you, my dear. And if he doesn't see for himself that you're alright now he's going to make a fuss." The inteligent portion of her brain screams for her to let it go at this - don't give an explanation. Don't do it! Don't go there! The empathetic part wins though. "He didn't fit because you didn't want him, you weren't ready, and you weren't willing." There. Yeah, that's it. That should work.

"But why would he want me?" Fiala walks with the bluerider, meekly enough, a bit dazed. "I mean, I've seen enough mating in the world, including my parents, that I know what it looks like. And he wanted me. Until he was kneeling down and actually saw." She shakes her head abruptly. "Don't castrate him. They…. they didn't actually finish anything. You know." Yet she still leans against Maura. "I'll come with you to see him. I don't want Rikath upset. I…. I don't want you upset either. I probably shouldn't have said anything, but it just came spilling out."

Mentally cringing, Maura tries being all casual-like as they walk out into the bowl. Where Rikath waits, stomping back and forth near the archway in the pattern of a pacing old man. When they come out, he halts, and turns in a wooden manner to stalk towards them. He lowers his muzzle until it's nestled on the ground and staring at the two - whereby he can see both of them with equal clarity. He just stares of course, letting out a little huff of air. "You're a very pretty girl, Fiala. And boys are walking hormones. Maybe he actually likes other boys, but doesn't want to admit it. So he thought he'd try forcing himself on a girl, but…" she shakes her head, waving her hand in dismissive frustration. "The point is that there's not a thing wrong with you. It's about -him-, and you shouldn't take anything he said to you seriously."

"I don't think he likes other boys," Fiala answers with a shake of her head. "He went off with Maryat happily enough, and you could see the bulge in the tunic." The girl shudders again, and she bites at her lip. "He pushed and it hurt and then he was up and shouting he didn't do little girls and he hit one of them and then went off with Maryat who looked back and laughed at me. That's when they said I'd get split apart. But they all seemed scared and ran, telling me not to tell anyone." The girl straightens herself, then smiles wanly. "Hi Rikath. I'm sorry to worry you. I'm all right. See?"

Taking in the additional details, Maura just nods. Deep breath, nod. That's all she can really manage to do for a moment as she leans over to scritch one of Rikath's caggy eyeridges. It's soothing for both of them apparently as his eyes whorl back to a more content blue-green. "They seemed scared and ran because they knew they were doing wrong." is all she'll say on that matter. "Come on, climb aboard and we'll head up for the night. Do you want me to bring any food or anything? Or are you good."

"I ought to eat more, but I think I'll be sick if I try," answers Fiala. She moves closer to the dragon, then looks up and smiles at Maura, the expression trusting. "I'll be all right. You and Rikath are taking care of me, and I didn't do anything wrong to cause this." She sighs wearily, then reaches out one hand to the dragon. "Thank you. Both of you."

"I understand." Trauma tends to shrink the stomach, and there's not a thing Maura can do about it. But she can give Fiala a hand up on to Rikath. "Yes we are, and no you didn't." the 'rider agrees firmly, waiting for the girl to settle before she buckles them in, even for the short ride. Being extra cautious she is. "You're welcome." she adds finally, imploring Rikath to launch up gently so they can be away.


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