The Slimmest Chance
Characters: K'aur, Mirima
Description: Kesricaur tries to get his sister to go along with a plan.
Location: Amber Hills Hold
Date: month 7, day 26 of Turn 10
Notes: Mentioned: Karhal, Helita (NPC), Kemira (NPC)
It was after dinnertime, and Mirima was done with her duties and had a little free time to just enjoy. As was her wont, she went outside the Hold to her favorite spot on the river. It was north of the docks, closer to the Weavers' workshops, but in an area with enough trees she didn't see the lights from either and noise was muffled. It was here she went when she wanted to think and be on her own.
Well, mostly on her own. Her siblings knew she liked to sit here and watch the water flow, so often she ran into one of them. It was a good space to hang out and talk about things away from the main part of the Hold, where nobody could overhear them and make fun of them.
As it happened, Kesricaur had also finished his duties for the time being. Or rather, he had finished the immediate work he had been assigned to do and slipped off before he could be given another task. Same difference. It wasn't like any of the stuff he did _mattered_ anyway. Besides, he needed some time to think. To plan. To... Bounce some ideas off a sounding board, maybe.
Kesricaur would be lying if he said that he thought Mirima was the most constructive conversational partner. She was always entertaining though, and that counted for something. She was entertaining _and_ she made him think - even if it was sometimes about ridiculous shit that he'd rather _not_ have rattling about his brain.
The drudge let out a soft huff as he picked his way down to where his sister sat by the river. "Careful," he called. "You'll get your skirt dirty." Sitting down beside her, since it hardly mattered if he got his pants a little dirty, he clocked his head and raised an eyebrow. "Sulking? Or just stewing?"
“Stewing. Definitely stewing,” she said, spinning a rock around in her hand. “Today while I was working in the laundry Helita was talking about how her father just arranged a match for her, and then other people started talking about _their_ hopes for matches and marriages, and I just couldn’t stand it.”
Kesricaur made a noise that could have passed as disgruntlement or disgust. It was probably a little bit of both, if he was honest with himself. "Do you think they're totally inept in the art of reading the room, or just _that_ big of assholes? Personally, I think it's both. Never really liked Helita." Glancing up at the sky, he added in a musing tone, "she doesn't matter though. Because she's a shit yeah, but also... I've been thinking for a while and. I have a plan. And now that I think some more on it, maybe you could help. If you wanted."
“They can read the room fine for what they want. Bunch of shardin’ dimglows who just want to get married so they stop being drudges because they’re tired of working all day to scrub the floors and do the laundry and don’t realize they’ll just be doing it all for a man and popping out babies. I don’t get why they think it’s so special.” Her hand clenched around the rock.
Kesricaur couldn't keep his lips from twisting downward. Sure, there were a lot of similarities between drudgery and being a housewife when she put it that way, but couldn't she see that there were benefits too? That sort of mindset was probably why their family was in the position it was in in the first place. Faranth, he loved their mother, but sometimes he couldn't help but wonder what _she_ had thought about marriage as a young woman. If she had been a little more open to the idea...
He shook his head and muttered, "not gonna touch that can of worms."
He didn't wait long before continuing, lest Mirima respond before he had a chance to change the subject to the more important topic. (And, coincidentally, the one less likely to spiral into an argument.) "I'm going to get myself searched," Kesricaur declared. "And _yes_, I know you might have noticed me trying already, but hear me out. I'm not just sporting delusions of grandeur or some shit. If I get searched, I'll be able to impress, and if I _impress_, I'll be able to take the family to the Weyr. And, well, you know how weyrfolk are. Life would be a lot easier for everyone, especially mother. And if I get a bronze, or heck, even a brown? It'd change everything!" People would _have_ to respect them then.
“Would you really be allowed to take your family? All of us? I mean, there’s a _lot_ of us, what if the Weyr says that’s too many dependents?” Mirima asked her brother skeptically. “None of us have anything to contribute other than being laborers, it’s not like we’re crafters or something. None of us girls _can_ be.”
Kesricaur shrugged. "Well, there's nothing to say that the Weyr wouldn't like having more laborers around. Besides, you could..." He trailed off. There was a chance that someone at the Weyr would be willing to take Mirima on as an apprentice despite her age, and even if they wouldn't, Irrim and Reima were still young enough that it was a real possibility. The problem was that he couldn't bring the words to leave his mouth. Instead, he averted his gaze and continued on to what he had meant to say in the first place. "You could always stand as well. Or try to get searched, at least. With both of us, we'd definitely be able to bring everyone."
"It requires the dragons to actually think they want you. Or us. How are you gonna do that?"
At that, Kesricaur finally turned to look at his sister. "Why, Miri, it almost sounds like you don't have faith in me and my inherit likeability," he said, laying a hand over his heart in mock-offense. He let the drama hang in the air for a moment before allowing his expression to morph into a sharp grin. "Just trust me, I have... Ways." Raw determination and a plan to keep a sharp eye out for any dragon that came within stones throw of Amber Hills, mostly. From what he'd heard of dragons and the sorts of people they liked, that had to count for _something_. He wasn't sure it would be a good idea to tell her that though.
Another thing he didn't say was, **and if they take me, they'd definitely take you as well.**
“I have faith in your determination,” she said, resisting the urge to stick her tongue out at him. “But whatever dragons want is mysterious. If everyone who _wanted_ a dragon and was determined to have one was Searched, how many people would even be left in the Holds?”
"Ah," Kesricaur smartly said, "but did any of them ever want it as much as I do?" Except he knew very well that wouldn't be enough for his sister. It _felt_ like it should, that the all-consuming determination and certainty in his chest had to count for _something_, but there was simply too much evidence suggesting otherwise. He would simply have to reason with her so thoroughly that his logic was visible even through the queer lens with which she seemed to view the world.
"Look, I know I can't make a searchdragon choose me if I don't have whatever it is they look for," he relented. "But I can at least make sure they _see_ me, which makes it a whole lot more likely. I've been keeping an eye out, and Karhal promised to get me if any searchriders show up."
“I still think if everyone who wanted it badly enough could be Searched, we’d all have dragons and there’d be no holders,” she said. “I hope they show up soon, I want to see if your theory holds true. How’d you get Karhal to say that?”
"We just... Talked." Kesricaur shrugged. Telling her about his agreement with Karhal was one thing, actually delving into why he had agreed to it was another thing entirely. Shards, he didn't even _know_ why, if he was honest with himself. It would be easy to dismiss it as a random act of kindness, but in his experience, such things were few and far between. So what was it then? Pity? Irritation all the time he wasted standing there waiting for dragons? The agreement could be a small sacrifice to get him out of him hair.
Or maybe he meant what he said about his mother. The notion that he had agreed out of pity didn't sit well with him, but if it was respect, that was another matter. _If_ it was the case.
"He seems like a good person," he eventually added. "He seemed to think well of mother; said she's worked hard and proven himself. So." Kesricaur shrugged. Emotional conversation, he found, tended to be somewhat difficult when the guiding emotion was anything other than fury. And this particular feeling, the mixture of tentative hope and respect - _gratitude_ - was largely new.
With a dazzling smile, he moved to redirect the conversation back into safer waters. "So! Are you in?"
"I still want to know what you mean by in. Just a promise that if we get Searched, we use it to bring the family to the Weyr? That's easy enough."
"Well, yeah," Kesricaur said, shifting in place. "But also, when a searchrider shows up, is it okay if I go get you." His eyes had continuously wandered back toward the river throughout swathes of their conversation. Now, however, he consciously wrenched them back and forced himself to meet Mirima's gaze head-on. "Would you accept search? I know it's hypocritical for me to ask-" - Faranth knew he didn't approve of women on greens - "but, I... I'd owe you."
"Of course I would," she said. "It's the best chance we have, isn't it?"
Kesricaur's shoulders relaxed, a tension he hadn't realized he was carrying winding out of him. He turned to gaze back out at the river. It was nice in this light. Almost peace. "Yeah," he said. "Yeah, it is."
But it meant they had a chance.
Last updated on the February 19th 2021