A Summon of Strength (standalone thread)

All the rest of the Northern Continent that Atricis left behind. Atricis' old Holds can be found within, as well as all the other Holds and Weyrs and old lands left behind.
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Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:53 am

Late Afternoon at Evanoria Weyrhold
Fuzzy time to two days before the transfer

Weyrholder Ar'vis and Bronze Dragon Cyniath

Despite the Weyrleader's original assumptions, Mul'rec proved to be a bit more difficult to call upon than originally thought. After an hour or so at the main hold, and no answer from Galuth, Weyrholder Ar'vis took it upon himself to deliver the missive directly to Mul'rec.

"My lord, are you certain?" the courier asked of the Weyrholder who had snatched the letter and mounted his massive bronze.

"Trust me. It's better this way," the Weyrhold responded with a heavy sigh. He left the rider to return to Benden, while Ar'vis left for the northwestern reaches of his territories.

Cyniath took the skies, though Ar'vis never ceased to forget his bronze's incapacity to soar with grace. After the injuries he sustained in the Crying Mountains turns ago, they had lost all hope of ever regaining leadership over New Atricis. It was partially what spurred the formation of Evanoria; he wanted control over something valuable and respected that was his. In result, Ar'vis had become more powerful and immutable than a Weyrleader ever could be, and with Eavan to help him rule at the helm of over of the most plentiful plot of land in all of the south, Ar'vis knew he had become the richest man in all of Pern.

And then Mul'rec came.

With a brotherhood as strong as the one he shared with Ma'lek, Ar'vis did not have the strength to turn down Mul'rec when he approached. He swore to Ma'lek to keep his family safe for as long as he lived, and that included providing stability to the brownrider's troublesome younger brother. But shaft Mul'rec to the void! The man was insufferable at best, malicious at worst, though Ar'vis tolerated the man for Ma'lek. Ar'vis called Mul'rec "penance", which only fueled Mul'rec's own curiosities, though Ar'vis would not give an inch as to why he called him that.

It did help, however, that Mul'rec used his reputation to contribute substantially to the economy of the hold. The brownrider flew across the face of Pern to sell the materials Evanoria had to offer. In result, the Holds answered by investing in Evanoria's infrastructure, which helped the Masters establish satellite crafthalls in order to process the plentiful resources that generated the profit Evanoria depended upon to sustain themselves. They had one of the fasted growing economies and markets on the face of Pern, and Ar'vis doubted it would slow down in his lifetime, or in the lifetime of the generations to follow.

And then Mul'rec established his printshop.

Ar'vis knew what Mul'rec did, but for the meantime, he permitted it if only because he supported the cause. Slavery truly was a blight on the face of humanity, but shards if Mul'rec's abolitionist movement would not cost Evanoria in the future. One day the Mother would find out, and when she did, Evanoria would suffer along with Mul'rec. To keep suspicion low, Ar'vis limited the amount traffic to the corner of Weyrhold that made up Mul'rec's dwellings. The two men claimed it was for Mul'rec's privacy. The silence and solitude that his home provided him with a sense of peace he was afforded nowhere else on Pern, they said. The truth of it, however, was that Mul'rec's work were less likely to be discovered the fewer people visited him.

Rather than slip between to save on time, Cyniath made the three quarters candlemark flight for Mul'rec's minor hold dwelling. It gave the bronze a chance to fly at a leisurely pace, which was one of the few joys in the bronze's life, next to sunbathing and curling with Paiseantath. With Summer now begun, the lands had warmed enough to become pleasant even to those from farther north where Ar'vis considered the heat unbearable. The skies, however, still graced all fliers with a deep chill. Ar'vis welcomed it, for he would always be a man of the cold.

I see the hold up ahead, Cyniath spoke to his rider, calling attention to the structured nestled into the mountain range in the distance. It seemed isolated from all its needs, and yet the geography provided the hold with everything, from stone to secure it, to glacier springs sustain it.

Chaun, as Mul'rec called it, was a small hold that served Mul'rec's purposes in every way. It was only accessible by dragonback unless someone might dare brave the narrow zigzag up the steep cliff face. The position of the hold itself, pressed against the crags, also made it impervious to spying. On the outside, the hold was built of mortar and stone, with turrets and a parapet. There was no entrance left unguarded by man or dragon, each of whom Mul'rec was close to, and and each of who more than aware of the cause of his work. The face of Chaun offered a strip of land for dragons to land and unload their cargo. Aside from that, the dragons were forced to take to the numerous perches about the hold to sunbathe... and all under the watchful eye of the guard dragons. There was no courtyard, only a building whose doors gave way to a great hall. The hold itself housed several families, families belonging to the very riders who guarded the small mountain fortress. They kept the hearth, managed the kitchen, and maintained the hold. In turn, they had all their basic needs comfortably met, and received a decent share of the profits Mul'rec made from his work, which even Ar'vis had to admit was substantial.

As Ar'vis dismounted from Cyniath, he noted a particular green who sunbathed on the cliff face. It looked like Solai was paying her uncle Mul'rec a visit again. Ar'vis was tempted to tell Ma'lek what his daughter was up to, but Ar'vis also recognised that Solai was her own woman now who would not appreciate her father interfering in a cause she vehemently stood for. Until Mul'rec's work became more dangerous, Ar'vis promised to keep silent about Solai's part in Mul'rec's work. It also allowed him to keep a close eye on the young woman so she stayed out of the brunt of trouble.

The guards escorted him into the hold. In the great hall where two massive night whers who roused only slightly at the sound of the guest. The brown lifted his ugly head to regard the man for only a moment, while the bronze at his side merely flicked his ear. Had he been anyone else, he would have earned more of their unpleasant attention. For the sake of his attire, Ar'vis was thankful for their neglect. He gave the creatures a wide berth as he rounded the great hall and reached the hearth. It burned with a healthy fire that he used to warm his hands after his long cold flight, and chilled welcome. Even though Summer had begun, the mountains cared little for it. In Chaun, it still felt like the start of Spring when the snow still thawed from the ground. Only in the peak of Summer did the snow finally melt away from the cliffs of Chaun, yet the chill of winter never abated.

"Master Mul'rec will be with shortly," steward of the estate assured the bronzerider.

"Thank you."

"Would you like something to drink?"

Ar'vis pondered for a moment. "Water, if you will, please."

The steward gave a respectful nod. "Of course."

"Thank you," Ar'vis answered out of habit and cordiality. As he awaited Mul'rec's arrival, he kept to the fires to warm old hands as he watched his brown firelizard spread himself on the stones of the hearth to warm old bones.
Last edited by Shaihulud on Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:59 pm

Even within his own hold, it still took a large amount of effort to track the brownrider down. One had to know the path exactly in order to find the print room where to find Mul'rec. First one entered the hallway from the great hall. The steward took a right, presumably for the brownrider's quarters, and walked down a corridor framed by wood panel walls. The wood was of a varnished skybroom, so strong and impervious to blunt force that crafters had to use special tools to craft with them. Mul'rec spent good money on the hardwood, and for good reason, for after ten more steps down the wood panel corridor, the steward slowed his steps, turned to his left, and looked towards one panel in particular. There was nothing out of the ordinary about this panel, nor did it stand out from the rest of the square varnished faces that lined the walls, yet something about that panel in particular held the steward's interest. First to his left, he eyed the direction he came from, and then to his right he assured himself that he was alone. Confident that the secrets of the hold would endure, he moved a hand along the frame of the hardwood, until he came to the corner carving of a giglio. Once more, the carving appeared like all the others that decorated the corners of every panel, but when the steward pressed upon the centre petal of the fleur-de-list, it unlocked the panel door. With the corridor clear, the steward entered through the secret door, and secured it behind him, only to walk down a steep spiral stairway. He held to the stone rails for support as he descended until he reached a second corridor. With a turn to his left, he walked a distance, thirty-four steps to be exact, and once more he found a panel, this one to his left. With a press of right petal of the fleur-de-lis, the skybroom panel gave way to a second spiral stairway. At the bottom of the stair was a single cavernous room that contained the treasures of Mul'rec's hold.

Lit by a single fireplace, the fires revealed a room filled with chests of treasures, sacks of marks, shelves of silver, classic paints hung in frames of gold and jewels. At the centre of the room with floors covered in plush furs hides, was a single chair near the fireplace with a case of an instrument at its left side, Mul'rec's viol de gamba, and a table of books at its right. It seemed the brownrider came down to this room to play in peace, read, and enjoy his rich life, or so any intruder might think, but in truth, the room still held one more secret far more valuable than the riches contained in this room. The steward walked to the chair and settled into it. The cushions of the leather seat gave, cradling his body perfectly. One hand slipped to the armrest, but rather than sit still, his fingers found the antler fork of the armrest head, and gave it a confident twist. A click was heard across the room, giving way to a rhythmic sound of hissing and clanking metal, however faint it might be. It seemed the roaring fire did more than heat the room of riches, for the sound of the cracking flames washed out the sound of the press that operated in this hidden part of the Chaun. The steward crossed the room, and past the chests and sacks for the skybroom panelled wall, and with a push, he slipped into the last long corridor that opened up into the print room.

There, three figures operated the press: Mul'rec, his neice Solai, and a third figure, the steward's own son.

"My lord, Weyrholder Ar'vis is here to see you," the steward informed him.

Wingrider Solai and Green Dragon Tyreth

Rather than come up himself, Solai made her way up to the Great Hall to occupy uncle Ar'vis' time until Mul'rec finished with his task down in the print room. "Uncle Ar'vis," she smiled to the man before she embraced him and placed a kiss on his cheek. It was always so good to see her old friend, and she meant that in the literal sense. Ar'vis was old, though she knew better than to tell him that, for he would always find a way to prove her wrong in the sparring circle. "Mul'rec is finishing something up and will be up in a second."

"Another project of his?" Ar'vis asked as he pulled back from his neice and leaned against the side of the hearth.

Solai recognised that tone, though she kept the smile on her face. "What else would it be?" she asked him back.

The bronzerider eyed her, the disapproval evident in his gaze, though he did not speak it. Solai suspected that he knew better. "You know your father would not be happy if he knew what you two were up to."

Rather than give any sign of trepidation, the bold girl crossed her arms and stood proudly before him. "Guess it's for the best then that he never finds out." Solai knew Ar'vis was a survivalist first and foremost. If Ma'lek found out that Ar'vis had known all this time what his precious little daughter had been up to all these turns, Ma'lek would have the bronzerider's hide for it.

"I suppose," he conceded, though she knew him well enough to know he did not like it. "Just be careful, Solai."

She offered him a sweet, if not sardonic, smile. "Of course."

Envoy Mul'rec and Brown Dragon Galuth

"My apologies," Mul'rec called out as he entered into the room. The brownrider was mighty pleased with himself after his latest accomplishment. Soon, it would all be ready for the feast, and Mul'rec eagerly awaited the respond his work would receive. After all, what were a few more ripples to muddy the water? "You wished to speak with me?"

While Ar'vis might have thought his disapproving scowl might have summoned at least an ounce of shame from the man, instead, he earned a partial smile from Mul'rec. Mul'rec could tell this only frustrated the bronzerider. "Yes..." he answered. Slowly, he neared the brownrider, and removed the folded message from his pocket to hand deliver to Mul'rec. "From Benden Weyr."

Mul'rec stood firm, refusing to move from the show of intimidation Ar'vis attempted against him, and when the missive was offered, Mul'rec accepted it without a word. Instead, he made a glance at it, and noted the Weyrleader's seal. And here he had thought it was from his daughter. More curious than anything, the brownrider stepped off and broke the wax:

Dear Envoy Mul'rec,

It is with regret that I inform you that Lord Cador has discovered Inez's Impression to Iorveth. As we predicted, Lord Cador has retaliated with devastating consequences. Fortunately, Inez, Lady Enide, and the children are safe, but Holder Hesidor killed himself before facing Cador's retribution. We need you to return to the Weyr so we might discuss our next course of action. Please come immediately to the Benden.

Weyrwoman Peira

By the end of the letter, even the hand upon his mouth could not hide the fall of his countenance.

"Uncle Mul'rec?" Solai asked of the brownrider.

Ar'vis shifted from foot to foot in impatience. "Well?"

Mul'rec's eyes swept over the letter once more, taking in the news given to him. His daughter was in trouble, his family. Without delay, he stuffed the letter into his pocket and called for his steward. "Gather my flight gear, and have your daughter tack up Galuth." He had no time to waste. Inez needed him. After turns of failure, Mul'rec was determined to be there for his daughter in this time of need. As her father, it was the least the man could do, though he knew that whatever happened in Benden Weyr, Inez's trouble would not end tonight. Cador's rancour and malice would haunt her to the end of his days.

"What's happening?" Solai pressed once more.

"I need to get to Benden," Mul'rec explained as he began to make his way out of the hold. "Cador has found Inez."
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Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:47 pm

Weyrholder Ar'vis and Bronze Dragon Cyniath

The concern of the brownrider unfolded on his face for all he attempted to hide the fact of it. What was in the letter? Ar'vis wondered. Even Solai pressed for answers alongside the bronzerider who could tell now as plain as day that the content did not bode well for Mul'rec.

Rather than answer them, the brownrider directed his attention to the steward who loyally stood at his side. "Gather my flight gear, and have your daughter tack up Galuth."

It was hardly the answer either of them sought, for Solai was first to press her uncle for the answer he seemed so hesitant to give.

"Cador has found Inez."

"Inez?" the answer caught the bronzerider off guard, part of him was not entirely surprised, for the brownrider had a rather unhealthy curiosity with the Benden Lord's daughter. However, while Ar'vis recognised Mul'rec's obsession with the Lord's daughter, and considered it disturbing, he knew not the reason for Mul'rec's preoccupation with the holder woman. "What did he find out?" Ar'vis asked as he stepped after the man who made his way for the entrance of the Chaun.

Solai was not far behind them.

"He found out about Inez's Impression to Iorveth," Mul'rec responded simply.

The doors gave, and outside on the strip of grass and stone stood Galuth, yet for all the brown's mass, Ar'vis might as well have seen the void, for the bronzerider had been completely blindsided by the revelation. Inez Impressed? But why would Cador be upset with something as innocent as an Impression? And what did Mul'rec have to do with it?

"Is she okay?" Solai asked as she chased after Mul'rec.

"Yes, but there have been complications. I need to get to Benden now."

"But why do Inez and her Impression concern you?" Ar'vis managed to ask the obvious question as the brownrider began to mount onto his massive brown as the straps were still being secured by the servants.

Mul'rec regarded the Weyrholder right as he settled onto the massive brown neck. There was a hesitation in him, but then something changed in his eyes. From concern and determination to a softness and love. "Because she is my daughter."

Ar'vis was floored by the confession, but he would not have a chance for clarification, not when Galuth shot to the sky and skipped between for Benden Weyr.
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Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:11 pm

Early Evening in Benden Weyr

Wingrider Ambrosius and Blue Dragon Bowith

Upon Galuth's arrival, Inez was summoned immediately to the Weyrleaders' office. A'rosius watched her in silence as she attempted to collect herself with grace, but the stress and trauma that weighed upon her was a massive force enough to break her.

"My lady," he called to her.

She crumbled to the ground where she stood. Only her sobs answered the bluerider.

Without hesitation, he rushed to her side. Lithe arms wrapped around her heaving frame to ease Inez's shuttering cries, and never did he beg her to stop. Instead, A'rosius let Inez take the time she needed to regain herself. After several suffocating breaths, her respirations drew out long and deep, losing the lingering trembles with every inhale until none remained.

"I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me."

The bluerider continued to hold the delicate woman, rocking her in a gentle rhythm. "It's all right, my lady." In truth, A'rosius was surprised she had not succumbed to her tears sooner, especially after the tragic rescue of her mother. He thought she would have broken then, but she held strong those nights in the infirmary.

"I'm scared, Ambr..."

The confession caused him to draw back and regard her. "You've nothing to be scared of. You have my word, Inez." No matter the reach of Cador's malice, A'rosius swore to protect her. After her Impression to Iorveth, the bluerider reaffirmed his loyalty to her, for no matter her parentage, Inez would always be his lady. Rather than pull back further, he leaned in to bury a kiss into her illustrious crown of locks. Arms curled about her once more, offering her a sanctuary he had failed to give her mother. Yet he realised that for Enide, he could do nothing more; for Inez, however, he could do everything to serve her. "We shouldn't keep the Weyrleaders waiting."

"Yes, yes. Of course." She pulled away to wipe away her sorrows.

A'rosius offered a handkerchief to aide in her efforts. "Do you wish for me to accompany you?"

For a long moment, she regarded the bluerider's offer of silk and lace comfort, and then in concession, she accepted it. "Yes. I would like that very much."

He answered with a nod, and the faintest supportive smile. After he helped her slip on her fur cape, he offered an arm to her in escort. Instead, she took his hand, and allowed A'rosius to lead her through the corridors. The gesture caused the man to smile softly in turn. No matter what happened, A'rosius would always love her. When he felt those clenches of trepidation, his slim fingers squeezed her own in assurance. "It's all right, my lady," he murmured to her between those steps when her hesitation was most apparent. Her glances whispered her thanks, though she uttered not a word for the duration of their walk up the stairs.

Once they arrived, A'rosius was greeted with suspicion by the easily confused Weyrleader. "A'rosius? What are you doing here?"

"He's with me," Inez spoke with more authority than she bore, yet she wielded it with more command than the Weyrleader could deny.

His lady's bravery was enough to fuel A'rosius' own courage, even with Mul'rec present in the room now acknowledged by both Inez and A'rosius. The look the brownrider gave was enough to discomfit A'rosius, but he did not cower. Instead, he guided Inez to her seat, and found his own place along the wall several paces behind her. Yet always did he pass a glance to the father in warning. And once more he thought to himself, I will protect her, even from you if I have to.

The meeting commenced with Weyrwoman Peira at the head of the discussion.

"As you all know, Lord Cador has discovered Inez's Impression to Iorveth, and her presence here at Benden Weyr. Furthermore, word has reached the Lord Holder about the rescue of Lady Enide, and the recent acquirement of Hesiden and Rhianez." The Weyrwoman's words sunk in around the table before she continued. "He has sent us a list of demands, asking that one - we return Lady Enide to Benden Hold-" The room immediately stiffened. Were the room to provide further silence, A'rosius swore the thunderous rage of his own pulse would be audible to their ears as well. How dare Cador make such a demand! Did he not already recognise the damage accomplished by his own cruelties? "-He also demands that Hesiden and Rhianez be taken into his custody, for he has declared himself their ward with the death of Holder Hesidor."

"You can't be serious," Mul'rec spoke before Inez. "You know full well that he will kill all three of them. He's already made the attempt."

F'nyh was the one to answer. "He's threatening to withhold tithes from the Weyr."

The bluerider seithed at his cowardice.

Inez was far more incredulous. "But they are my children! Are you truly asking me to send them to their deaths?"

The Weyrleader shrunk from the shame of his suggestion, and yet he remained a thrall to Cador's demands. "He will not ally himself with a Weyr that harbours 'criminals'."

"So you'll sacrifice children to his wrath because you're too much a craven to defend them?" A'rosius interjected into the conversation. Rather than stand down, the bluerider closed the distance between him and Inez, finding his place loyally at her side. "You're a dragonrider! Your sworn duty is to protect Pern and her people, not subject yourself to the whims of an irrational Lord Holder. Grow a spine and stand up to the man!"

"A'rosius! Stand down!"

The bluerider refused him. "I don't obey the command of cowards, F'nyh!"

Everyone in the room was taken aback by the bluerider's forcefulness and his failure to address F'nyh by his rank. As a gentleman, such behaviour was unbecoming, but in that moment, A'rosius realised the core of one's character was more important than the presentation of it. Even though A'rosius heard their gasps, he refused to acknowledge them when F'nyh had proven himself so willing to feed the children to the whers. The bronzerider was simply unworthy. "I swore turns ago to protect Inez and her children. My loyalty to her surpasses any loyalty you believe you are owed. I will take Inez and the children away from this weyr myself if I have to, for you will never hand them to Cador!"

Rather than attack the bluerider, F'nyh was far too aghast by the man's boldness to respond.

Peira, however, had more sense than her male counterpart. "You're right, A'rosius. Abiding by Cador's commands does make us cowards, and I'd rather take my weyr between than ever reduce it to a habitation of recreants and thralls simply because our Lord is displeased."

Rather than speak, A'rosius held his tongue, and let the woman deliberate. By the wandering of her eyes, the sink of her brows, and the press of her lips, he knew the woman had begun to formulate a plan.

It seemed Mul'rec was quicker than her. "We could transfer them."

Rather than snap at what might have been perceived as an interruption, she nodded in agreement. "Yes, my thoughts exactly. So long as Inez, Enide, and the children are out of Benden, Cador cannot claim that we are harbouring fugitives or wards of the Hold."

A'rosius readied his tongue, but Inez took hold of his hand in warning. After casting a brief look at the man, she turned to the Weyrwoman. "Yes. We have friends in Atricis, and the Weyrwoman is a good woman. She would not turn down our askance of asylum."

F'nyh opened his mouth to object, but Mul'rec snapped back before he could. "Shut up, F'nyh. You've proven yourself worthless enough today. You'd do best to hold your tongue rather than further affirm our assumptions about your lacking courage."

Piera was not amused, but her silence spoke of how much she agreed. Instead, she pressed onto the new matter at hand. "I'll send word to Benden within the hour. Inez, you have 24 hours to prepare your family."

"Your grace," A'rosius attempted to address her.

"Yes, A'rosius?"

"I request that you attach my name to the transfer notice. Inez, Rhianez, Hesiden, and Enide are my family. Where they go, I will always follow." He cast an assuring glance to Inez, which earned him a thankful squeeze of her own fingers.

The queenrider smirked back at the bluerider. "No need to tell me, A'rosius. Considering your vehement display this evening, that was already my assumption. Preparing your things, both of you. You leave for Atricis on the morrow."

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