Oh, this was bad. L'van's tone was not one she'd ever heard aimed in her direction but she'd heard it aplenty when he was poised and prepared to dress down an erring rider-- though always before, they deserved it. Or, at least, she'd always believed they'd deserved it, and every childhood instinct she had now was telling her that there was something L'van knew that she didn't, to justify such behaviour. It was a strong impulse, coupled with the guilt she felt for her private thoughts. He'd read her like a book, of course. He knew
A much smaller part felt a rare and novel twinge: rebellion. She'd never rebelled before, she'd never even so much as talked back. She trusted
her parents to know better and wanted to make them happy, to erase any displeasure, but this...
This was unfair. It was her thoughts, not Mar'lus'. He'd been nothing but a gentleman. Yet, if she spoke up to explain and defend him... he'd know. Did it matter? Surely now he realized she was the Weyrleader's daughter and
that L'van was angry, he'd avoid her like the plague. It would be the right thing to do to set the story straight.
But what if he didn't avoid her...? If she explained the foolish girlish flutters, it would be certain he would
Sunaia grasped for a compromise. "Papa,"
she said, with head bowed and tone respectful as she attempted a last time to take the blame without fully explaining, "it was my fault. I was holding onto him. I didn't let go and he was only being polite."
That was all she could manage before paternal judgment was rendered-- banishment! She dipped to retrieve the bucket she'd carted down here; the brush would have to remain, floating in the lake. It would be too embarrassing to slosh around Shardamakath to hunt it down and Papa wouldn't likely tolerate any dawdling. Not right now. She kept her eyes down and avoided looking at the unfortunate bronzerider caught in the middle.
But as she stepped forward, she whispered out of the corner of her mouth, "I'm sorry. It isn't your fault."
That was the extent of her newly discovered rebellion, she could express no more. There was plenty of apologetic left, however, and some of it directed at L'van as she stepped by him, delivered in a sorry glance.