I Have A Name
There had been time, in Alyena's sevendays at the Weyr, to think over
her family's situation. She had learned that her son was a weyrling, and
would be a dragonrider one day. He had a place here, and every time she
saw him he seemed less fragile as his training and the plentiful meals
built his strength. With his little blue hatchling, he seemed happier
than he'd ever been.
Her daughter's ankle was almost healed now and she knew that soon she'd
have to decide where they'd go. Evalya had always been stronger than
Furayl, but she too was benefiting from being able to rest and play
instead of working to exhaustion in the fields. She loved the dragons,
and had even started to make friends with one or two of the Weyr's
children. Watching her, it had become clear to Alyena what she had to
do, and that had brought her here, to the Weyrleader's office.
After all that had happened, he was the last person in this place she
wanted to meet. But he had the authority to keep her children safe.
**You have information he wants,** she told herself, and took a breath
to calm herself before she tapped on the door.
N'vanik rubbed his eyes and leaned back from the desk. "Come in."
Alyena entered the room warily. She couldn't help but think of the last
time she had asked the Weyrleader to spare one of her children, though
she told herself this time was different. Evalya hadn't done anything
His eyebrows rose. "Alyena. What brings you here?" If she was going to
plead for Enali it wasn't going to go well.
Alyena took a deep breath and tried to put her own feelings about this
man aside, not to think about what he'd done to her son. He wasn't
responsible for what happened at the mine. **He couldn't have known.**
"I have information," she said. "About the men who met at my cothold, to
plan an attack on the Weyr. I have a name."
"You have a name and you didn't tell me before?" he asked in a
carefully neutral tone.
"The last time I told you something, my cothold was set on fire," she
replied, choosing her words with equal caution. "I've learned to think
before I speak."
"All right . . ." It could be the truth or it could be a convenient
excuse, but if she really did have a name, N'vanik wanted it. He
studied her. "So why now?"
"My daughter needs somewhere safe to live." It hurt her pride to admit
it - what kind of mother couldn't provide a home for her children? But
if they went back to Emerald Falls, those men would be waiting, and she
knew no one in the other Holds. "If you give her a place here, I'll tell
you everything I know."
N'vanik took a breath and almost told her something honest, but . . .
better to get the information first. "That sounds like a good deal.
Alyena closed her eyes briefly in relief, the tension in her body
relaxing. Evalya would have shelter from Thread, enough to eat, an
education. The Weyr might not be what she would have chosen for her
daughter, but anything was better than being holdless. Now, though, she
had to keep her end of the bargain.
"A man came to my cothold, after Grevan... While he was imprisoned
here." She silently apologised to Gil - he'd saved their lives with his
warning - but it was him or her daughter and she had no other choice.
"He told me he had a message from his Holder, that there were people in
Emerald Falls who were on our side. Then, after the accident, he brought
marks. He said they might want a place to meet, to talk in secret, and
I...didn't say no."
N'vanik tamped down on a surge of anger. "But then you warned J'ackt."
"He helped us. He brought food for the children, and medicines. Sweets."
Even after all that had happened, the attack and the loss of their home,
Alyena couldn't regret her decision. "When I heard them say the dragons
would keen, I thought they were going to try to kill him again. I owed
him a warning."
"That warning put us on alert, let us know to keep an eye out for
something at the Hatching. It might have saved the weyrlings."
"And my son." R'ayl didn't like to talk about it, but she had heard he
might not have survived the loss of his dragon, when they were so newly
bonded and vulnerable. "I suppose we both have reason to be grateful to
The Weyrleader nodded. "Who was this man who wanted a place to meet?"
He needed a name.
"He said his name was Gil. I don't know if that was his real name, but I
don't think he made it up on the spot." Alyena realized she was likely
going to have to do better than that to earn a place for her daughter,
so she went on. "He was quite tall, he had fair hair, long enough to
reach his jaw but he'd tied it back. Brown eyes, tanned like he worked
outdoors. He was around your age, and well-spoken, but not like someone
of rank. If you know an artist, I could help them sketch him. I remember
his face very clearly. And..." She hesitated. "I didn't see him carrying
any weapons, but I grew up around guards. My father was one, and so was
my husband. I think he was too, or at least knew how to fight. It's hard
to describe - something about the way he held himself."
"I know what you mean." N'vanik wrote down the description she'd
given. That was definitely better than a name that might be false.
"I'll have you meet with a harper to get a sketch made." They could
pass out copies to the sweepriders and give one to Corowal to spread
around the Holds as well.
"All right." Alyena felt a leaden sense of guilt at her betrayal,
knowing what would become of Gil if he was caught. She remembered her
husband's injuries when they'd sent him back to her, how Grevan had
never come back at all. Though she knew too well that it was useless to
plead for mercy, she spoke again.
"There's one more thing. I saw him a third time, the night after the
Hatching, just before those men attacked my cothold. He warned me, told
me to get out. If he hadn't, my daughter and I would have burned in our
beds." She had to be honest with the Weyrleader for Evalya's sake, but
she could do this much for him. "I'm not sure he knew exactly what they
were planning, any more than I did. I think he was a messenger. If you
find him, maybe he'll tell you who else he carried messages to."
"Maybe," N'vanik said. The fact that this man had some mercy for
holders meant nothing about his sentiments toward the Weyr. Gil could
very well have been on board with the plot, but thought Alyena and her
daughter didn't deserve to be killed for what was, as far as the
conspirators knew, only a rumor that she might have warned the Weyr.
But N'vanik might as well throw Alyena a bone. "Our goal is to find
the people responsible and stop them from doing anything like this
"Mine is to keep my children safe. So I suppose our goals are aligned."
For now, she thought. If the dragonriders found the men who'd sent
Grevan to the Weyr and ordered the attack on her cothold, then her
family would finally be free of the threat they posed - but she still
couldn't forget her eldest son.
"And what are your plans, now that both your children are staying at the
"I don't think it's wise to go back to Emerald Falls, so I'll try
another Hold. Topaz Seahold is the closest." She was afraid of being
Holdless, but she could manage if she knew Evalya was safe. "It
shouldn't be hard to find a place when you're willing to work."
N'vanik was quiet for a moment, as if considering. "You could stay here."
Here - at the Weyr? After what had happened to her husband and her son,
the idea hadn't even occurred to her. Once, she would have been
horrified. The Weyr was so different and strange. Despite all that, she
couldn't help the sudden rush of joy that filled her at the thought of
staying with her children.
"I don't have any skills," she said, trying to cover her confusion.
"And..." She thought of the men who'd tried to kill her. "I wouldn't
want to bring trouble to the Weyr."
"We already have trouble," the Weyrleader grumbled. "And I know you're
a hard worker, you had to run that cothold by yourself. Here you could
start with drudge work and see if you want to learn a particular skill
or even train in a Craft." And it would be good to keep Alyena close,
just in case.
Alyena didn't hesitate. "Thank you. To be able to live here with R'ayl
and Evalya means a great deal to me." Nothing could ever make up for the
loss of Grevan, but it was truthful enough and if she was going to stay,
she would have to be respectful to the Weyrleader. For now, she'd better
leave before he changed his mind. "I should go and tell them."
N'vanik nodded. "I'm sure they'll be happy you get to stay together."
He didn't regret ordering Grevan's death, but he did feel bad for her
sake, and he didn't want to blame or punish her for her son's actions.
She'd lost her home because she'd warned J'ackt, and N'vanik would
have offered to let Alyena and her daughter stay anyway, but now he
had more information on the conspirators.
Last updated on the February 25th 2023