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Actions Have Consequences

Writers: Heather, Miriah
Date Posted: 11th November 2020

Characters: H'riv, Jalodwyn
Description: H'riv comes to visit Jalodwyn, then finds out that all is not as well at the Hold for her.
Location: Elsewhere on Pern
Date: month 7, day 2 of Turn 10
Notes: Mentioned: Thayde


She was lucky that Jade Harbor was always warm, Jalodwyn decided as
she emerged out of the water, leaving the pod behind. Even in the
winter months, it never grew too cool to swim and she was really
beginning to enjoy her time with the Jade Harbor pod. Now that she was
cleared to go back to light duty, she was hoping to partner with one
of them again. Dripping, she bent to pick up a towel and began drying
her hair briskly while picking up the rest of her outer clothing.

She hadn't liked leaving Jalotha at the creche, but she had to go back
to her duties. Being an unmarried woman with a child, she was told,
was not a reason for special treatment once she was cleared. She had
other responsibilities too. Unstated, was the obvious disdain, "If
you'd not had a child without a husband, this wouldn't be an issue."
She would have to work twice as hard. But, she thought as her jaw
clenched, she didn't need or want one. Not anymore. She was fine and
she didn't need a man's help.

There was only a small worry, a tiny one. Her specialization,
salvaging, could be dangerous. She would have to take steps to ensure
that Jalotha was cared for. As much as Yasha loved her, perhaps she
would speak to her friend about caring for Jalotha should the worst
happen. Lost in her thoughts, she was startled when the sun was
blocked by a shadow and she looked up.

"Good swim?" a familiar voice asked, looking down at Jalodwyn. H'riv
had already been by the Hold and learned that the dolphineer was down
on the beach. The brownrider had promised Thayde that he would be
there for Jalodwyn and Jalotha, but the day H'riv had first visited
Jalodwyn he had felt, and seen, the despair in Jalodwyn's eyes and
that had been weighing on him since. His visit today wasn't on behalf
of Thayde, but of his own accord.

"H'riv!" Jalodwyn stepped back and peered at him, the sun behind him
making his features indistinct. She put up a hand to shield her eyes
and gave a bit of a smile. It wasn't quite welcoming, but it wasn't as
reluctant as it had been during his first visit. "What are you doing
here? Transport today?" She tensed, realizing that Jalotha was in the
creche and not with her. "Who'd you bring?"

H'riv looked over both of his shoulders, as if he was expecting
someone to be behind him. "Well, I brought myself," he said, a grin
crossing his face, "I hope that's okay? Oh, and this," from where he
had tucked it into the back of his belt, the brownrider pulled out a
cloth sewn doll. "For Jalotha."

"Oh." So he didn't bring Thayde. She felt a sense of immediate relief
and then nodded. "Sure. I don't mind and..." When he pulled out the
doll, her eyes softened. "That's so cute, H'riv." The baby was too
young to play with it, but it was her first real gift. "I'm sure
she'll love it. Thank you."

"I had one of the ladies in the Lower Caverns sew it up for her," he
wiggled his fingers. "I'm afraid I don't have the dexterity for
sewing."

"Those sausages of yours are better used for throwing firestone." She quipped,
then draped her towel over her arm, tucking the doll close to her side
to protect it. "Jalotha's at the creche right now. I've been cleared
for light duty. Getting back to normal, you know, trying to adjust.
How have you been?"

"Good, busy. The thing about new construction is the need for new
electrical wiring," H'riv loved his craft almost as much as being a
dragonrider.

"So, you're fighting thread and working on the new construction too?"
Her brows rose. "When do you get any rest? I know you, H'riv, all work
and no play makes brownrider cranky."

H'riv chuckled huskily. "Oh, I make time for play, too. A good balance
of work and play is necessary for mental health."

That brought a snort. "So I've been told. And knowing you, I'm sure
that you make the effort. " She began walking away from the docks
towards the buildings. "But honestly, it's better for me to just
stay busy. "

"I understand," he said, shoving his hands into his pockets. "Being
busy is a great alternative to sitting around thinking." There was a
reason he kept himself so busy, after all.

Jalodwyn's nose wrinkled. "And we both know that's the last thing I
need to be doing. I think that's why I was cleared by the Mindhealer.
Just light duties right now, teaching, swimming, that sort of thing.
But it's better than hiding in my rooms, according to him. I wasn't
getting any better. But, soon, I'll be back to regular duties and I'll
start going on ship again. If I get partnered." She eyed him and
finally flashed a grin. "Since when do you think?"

"Since when?" he repeated.

She nudged him a bit with her arm. "Since when did you start thinking?
Is that a new development?"

H’riv made a face, but a gleam of laughter was in his eyes. “Ha. Ha.
Clever, Jal.” He reached up and tugged a strand of her hair teasingly.

"I have my moments." It felt good to laugh again. Her mindhealer had
been right about getting out and not avoiding people, at least to
degree. She wasn't making new friends, but at least she was able to
keep one or two, even if she'd destroyed another. Consequences, she
mused privately, but she didn't regret Jalotha. She couldn't. "They
come back from time to time. "

“I am glad to hear it.” H’riv said as they arrived back at the main
buildings of the dolphincraft at Jade Harbor.

She slowed as they approached, the expressions of some of the
dolphineers as they her with a man with dragonrider knots made her jaw
clench. For some, there were smug smiles, others held distaste and
some simply just looked away. She tried to ignore them. Consequences.
She turned to H'riv. "Did you want to see Jalotha?"

It had been on the tip of his tongue to ask what everyone was looking
at but the question regarding his niece distracted him. “Of course.”

She nodded and led him to another building, one off to the side. "Wait
here." She stepped in and in a few moments, emerged with the sleeping
infant in her arms. A few dolphineers watched avidly and Jalodwyn
turned to glare at them and they turned away, a few whispering. She
cleared her throat and decided again, to ignore them. "Would you like
to hold her? She's sleeping. I think she just ate."

“Oh my, look at how sweet her little cheeks are.” H’riv whispered,
taking the infant into his arms. He had heard his siblings say that a
sleeping child was beautiful but he had never really understood it
until this moment. Jalotha looked peaceful and perfect.

Her eyes softened in response. "She's got chubby cheeks." Her fingers
were light as they barely stroked over the thatch of dark hair. "And
my daughter is the most beautiful child I've ever seen." She looked up
at H'riv. "And I'm a good mother. I didn't think I would be, but I
think I am. She's a happy baby, H'riv."

“Of course you are a good mother, Jalodwyn. That doesn’t surprise me.”
H’riv said, unable to resist trailing a finger over one of the baby’s
downy soft cheeks.

Jalotha's eyes fluttered and she turned her cheek towards the finger,
little mouth working before settling back down, nestling in H'riv's
arms. Jalodwyn smiled gently. "She always does that." She looked at
the brownrider and chuckled. "You've got this amazed look on your
face. Maybe some day some woman will give you a baby of your own to
cuddle. You might actually settle down. "

“If a woman gave me a child half as cute as Jalotha, I would be
tempted.” H’riv shot her a grin.

"Don't look at me." Jalodwyn was quick to respond, a slight smile on
her face. "I'm not ever looking to get involved with anyone for a long
time, if ever. I'm not good at it and it's not good for me either."
She quickly pushed those thoughts aside. "You'll be able to have cute
children and I'll bet when you do that you'll think they're even cuter
when they're your own." She looked up, checked the sun, and grimaced.
"I've to to take her back. I'm scheduled to teach basic swimming today
for apprentices."

“Of course ,” he handed the baby over to her. “I had better be getting
back to Barrier Lake.”

"I know. All work, no play." She smiled briefly. "Thanks for the
visit. We're doing alright." She cuddled Jalotha and briefly kissed
H'riv on the cheek before slipping into the creche and then leaving
for her duties.

Before H'riv could make his way back to his dragon a woman of similar
age approached. She was hesitant but didn't back away as he came near
her. The knots on her shoulders revealed her to be a Senior
Journeywoman Dolphineer, and there was a hint of concern on her face.
"Brownrider. A moment of your time, please?"

H’riv tipped his head in a sign of respect. “How can I help you, ma’am?”

"Forgive me for intruding on your time, brownrider, I had to speak
with you." She inhaled slowly. "I know it's none of my concern, of
course, but several people noticed you with one of our Journeywomen,
Jalodwyn? We see you here often and many like you. I also know that
she doesn't have any close relations, so ..." She sighed. "I hate to
intrude but, I wanted to caution you about developing any _ties_ or
any close romantic relationship with her. She's not mentally stable
and the child, well, lets just say that it didn't spring from a proper
marriage or relationship." Her voice lowered. "She's well known for
attempting to ruin marriages and seducing husbands. That baby, while
it's absolutely precious, is the Hallmaster's own child. He was
seduced by Jalodwyn, you see. And it's well known that she was sent
here as a punishment for her behavior. We do try to limit contact with
her of course, due to her reputation. I would hate to see you tangled
up with her." She looked to be well-meaning, if a little harsh in her
words. "The only men here that are even slightly interested in her
aren't the type to hold to one woman, if you get my meaning. I'd hate
to have your reputation sullied as well."

The open, polite look that had been on H’riv’s face shuttered in a
flash to something harder, more unreadable. His jaw clenched. “I
thank you for your concern. ‘That baby,’ as it happens, is my niece,
the Hallmaster is my brother, and Jalodwyn an old friend. I can tell
you with absolute certainty that Thayde wasn’t ‘seduced,’ so if you’re
looking to try and paint Jalodwyn as a loose woman, you can save it.”
H’riv bowed to the woman as he took a step back toward Uuketh, who had
flown down to pick him up.

The woman's face flamed in embarrassment and she covered her mouth.
"Oh, forgive me, I just was honestly concerned. I had no idea and I
shouldn't have said anything. I apologize for any offense, but,
she's never denied it. She's admitted it...openly."

“When the entire Hold thinks the worst of her, what good would denying
it have done? Would anyone have believed her?” he asked.

Her mouth closed and she looked down, accepting the accusation. "No, I
suppose not. I apologize for the offense, brownrider. It wasn't meant.
I truly meant well."

H’riv softened a bit. “If you truly mean well, Jalodwyn could use
friends and acquaintances.”

The woman stared at him and shifted on her feet. While she didn't
actively despise Jalodwyn, neither did she want to be associated with
her or her behaviors. She had a future here and Jalodwyn, quite
simply, did not. But, she didn't want to offend him further. "I'll
consider it, of course. "

“Good day to you then,” H’riv touched his fingers to his forehead
before turning and leaping up onto Uuketh’s waiting neckridge. For a
moment, he had forgotten how prejudiced Holds could be, so accustomed
to the Weyrlife he had become. Knowing that Jalodwyn and his niece
were looked at as outcasts at Jade Harbor rankled him. But what could
he do?

Last updated on the November 11th 2020


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All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are © Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2013, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author. The Dragonriders of Pern© is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.