An Instruction in Tact and Diplomacy - Ember | Dirce

Not the large stone caverns that Weyr people are used to, these are buildings built on the top of the cliff, sometimes referred to as the Weyr Cliff. These buildings are all the same size, with multiple apartments for dragonriders to live in in each building. Because of space constraints, dragons sleep in large pavilions built around the dragonrider apartments.
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Shaihulud
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:37 am

Season - Early Spring 2049
Time - 1300
Location - Atricis Weyr | N'kili's Quarters


Speaker of the Weyr N'kili and Opal Dragon Omiimiith

First one, and then another, and then another, N'kili had begun to instruct the weyrlings from garnet, to bronzes, to browns, and finally zultanites. These weyrlings were ones with the highest potential of obtaining leadership positions. If in the future, circumstance dictated they achieve such success, it inevitably meant they would endure the merciless ridicule of politics, especially among both northern and southern aristocrats.

The last thing Atricis needed was for one of these fledgling riders to say something grossly out of place, for even words could wage wars, unintended or not. This was especially the case for places like Walled where the leadership was far more, dare she say, flammable. With a temperament as dry as kindling, it took little to spark the err of the Mother, which N'kili would wish on no one. Thus, for this reason, N'kili organised her quarters for the purpose of instruction, pulling out a map covered in various pawns, and a stack of codices to be considered for future research if her pupil so desired.

The Art of Diplomacy by Master Kr'velin.

The Weapons of Words by Master Maliata.

The Rise of Walledian Abolitionists by Master Wanol.

Diplomatic Strains of Atricis and Igen by Master I'kata

Rise of the North in the South by Master Deshin.

The Art of War by Unknown.

Yes, these would do nicely, N'kili thought.

Duke trilled in agreement as his mistress departed for the hearth to remove the kettle. She poured the steaming waters into a pot of tea she brewed for herself and company. To the side of the table was a plate of snacks if her pupil so desired. With the tea leaves steeping, N'kili settled into her chair with Duke at her side. He perched on the arm with a smart look about him, waiting for the arrival of their guest.

And who was their guest? he chirped curiously at his mistress.

N'kili drew a finger along the delicate brow of his delicate head. "Dirce of Zultanite Sandalphonth," she answered aloud.

He chattered in approval, for all he had not a clue who this Dirce was. So long as N'kili approved of this unknown person, and remained at ease, Duke was happy to enjoy their company.

"Chirp?" he asked after a moment passed, and the scent of cured meat caught his nose from the snack tray.

"Patience, Duke."

He sighed, yet obeyed nonetheless.
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Ember
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Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:22 am

Lessons? Why must you need more lessons? Weren't the ones they received from the Weyrlingmasters enough? In Sandalphonth's mind, the world revolved around what they were learning in training - that should be plenty enough; but what her rider said next actually made her stop and think.

I need more lessons, dearheart, because of the choice you made for us.

Think she did, and it was something she had to dig into her rider's mind for a moment to fully recall. When she did, she hummed and stretched her wings, making sure the delicate membranes caught the glimmer of the sun just right. I am strong enough for it. You are strong enough for it. Why shouldn't I have made that decision for us?

Dirce rolled her eyes, wondering if she should leave Inkspell behind. She had Icehide too, and the basilisks normally didn't like leaving the apartment. But he didn't like being alone either... That made the decision for her, and she asked the fancy flitt to stay put, and that would be one less distraction for her. I suppose it isn't an issue any more. We're past that lesson, and it might not even take. We'll just have to wait and see now. But that's why I need the lessons. If it happens, I need to know these things because I'll be thrown into a place I never anticipated.

She wasn't sure how she felt about that, truthfully. She supposed there was no use worrying over spilled milk before she could break the glass really. I'll be back later. She left her apartment and headed for Diplomat N'kili's, knocking on her door once she arrived and slipping inside once allowed to enter. "Ma'am, weyrling Dirce of zultanite Sandalphonth. here for my lessons." She bowed her head in greeting, feeling entirely too young, considering she was on the cusp of thirty.
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Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:31 pm

Duke whistled out in excitement with the tap at the door.

"Behave yourself," N'kili chuckled to the little beast as she walked to the door.

But Duke was insistent to follow. Reaching out, his two tiny claws caught her fingers, his askance for her to take him with her.

With little thought, N'kili complied with his wishes, and brought the creature to her shoulder. In turn, he chatted excitedly with little warbles and trills that brought a smile to her face. How could she not smile when the little brown was acting so cheerful? Duke was joy in her heart. Never did her sorrow linger when he was near.

Her little one is unhappy about her lifemate leaving her once again to be taught by you, Omiimiith explained to her rider as N'kili's hand touched the handle. The opal was known for doting on the younglings, no matter how large they were. Poor thing. Was I like her when I was little?

N'kili gave a laughing shake of her head. Perhaps, though I would have to see Sandalphonth to tell you. Honestly, how was N'kili to know without hearing for herself first? With a brush of her tunic to make herself presentable, she opened the door and greeted the weyrling on the other side with a smile while Duke trilled a distinct introduction. "You must be Dirce," N'kili welcomed her with a smile. "Please, come in." Standing back, she opened the door further so her guest could enter.

"Ma'am, weyrling Dirce of zultanite Sandalphonth. here for my lessons."

Accustomed to the formalities, N'kili nodded her head in turn to Dirce... though once she truly looked to the tall, handsome young woman, N'kili realised the zultaniterider was not that much younger than herself. From what she remembered, Dirce was a stands Impression. It seemed as though there was always at least one from the stands at every hatching, the little surprise of dragon to rider bonding from an unlikely source. N'kili would have acquainted herself formally with the willowy weyrling during the feast and congratulated her on the pleasant surprise, but Dirce had quickly become absent for reasons unknown to the then Envoy.

Now, N'kili was offered the chance to familiarise herself with the woman. "Please, Dirce, have a seat anywhere you'd like."

As the weyrling found a seat, Duke bounded off of N'kili's shoulder and landed upon the table of tea and treats. There, he padded over to the plate of biscuits, picked up one of the little ginger rounds, and offer it to Dirce with an inquisitive chirp.

The opalrider chuckled. "He is asking you if you'd like one."
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Fri Dec 14, 2018 4:09 am

Dirce smiled at the little lizard, and took the offered biscuit with a little bow of her head. "It is very much appreciated, Duke. I thank you for the offered treat." She reached out to give him a scratch and pat in response, as a reward, before doing the same in a sort of odd way - she rewarded his efforts by taking a bite of the biscuit, and allowed him to see that she very much enjoyed the taste of the treat, then broke off a piece and offered the little nibble to him. "Would you like to share with me?"

While she held out the piece, she turned to look at the woman that had spoken to her. "Thank you, ma'am." She settled down near Duke, making it easier to hold out the biscuit while she faced his mistress. "He's quite the little charmer." Inkheart wasn't anything like that, the fancy being more quiet and to himself than this, so she was happy for the creature's share with her. "I wasn't too late for today, was I? Sandalphonth wasn't fond of letting me leave today, and I had a time comforting her before I could leave."
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Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:07 pm

The little wedged head of the brown cocked from one side to the other, a distinct gesture of inquiry, though what answer he sought remained an unknown to the guest... and his mistress.

"It is very much appreciated, Duke. I thank you for the offered treat."

A chirp replied to her, the very tone of it an expression of content... until she broke a piece off of the biscuit and offered it back to him.

"Would you like to share with me?"

Avoidance answered the offer when his head pulled back from the delicate crumb. Wings spread, if only to aide him in his balance as he reconsidered her offer and whether or not he would accept it. Tentatively, his nose neared the morsel. The interactions between the two brought a smile to the opalrider herself, for it always touched her heart to see Duke play the part of the host and entertain her guests.

"Thank you, ma'am. He's quite the little charmer."

"You're welcome, and please, call me N'kili," she assured the girl, making sure to remove the ranks between them. Within a matter of months, if Dirce and Sandalphonth may very well become her equal, though even if that were not the case, N'kili saw no need for such proper titles. Formality was one thing, but they could respect one another without the constant reminder of rank between them with the utterance "ma'am".

"I wasn't too late for today, was I? Sandalphonth wasn't fond of letting me leave today, and I had a time comforting her before I could leave."

"I assure you, Dirce, you are just fine. And yes, I was aware of what had happened. Omiimiith informed me about Sandalphonth's disagreement." There was once a time when Omiimiith huffed at the thought of N'kili's departure. Now the opal had grown accustom to their away time. "But she will grow out of it, I assure you. give her time."

Reaching over, she took the tea pot and poured them both a cup. "Before we get started, would it be all right if I asked you a few questions?"
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Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:45 am

"But she will grow out of it, I assure you. give her time."

I don't believe for a moment that I will.

Dirce was amused at that, and as she continued to share her biscuit with Duke, she responded to her dragon. You will, sweetheart. I promise you will. Though she had her own doubts at this point, she was trying to reassure her dragon. You'll be fine, I'll be with you again soon. Besides, you've been away from me before, haven't you?

Perhaps.

She smiled at that and turned back to N'kili. Time. She just needed to give Sandalphonth a little bit of time.

"Before we get started, would it be all right if I asked you a few questions?"

She brushed her fingers off on her legs after the biscuit was gone and sat straighter. She didn't mind questions, even if Sandalphonth wanted to know what these questions were before hand. Dirce tried her best to ignore the apprehensiveness of her dragon and instead focused on the opalrider. "Of course, feel free to ask what you need to."
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Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:34 am

Whatever transpired between rider and dragon did not go amiss by the opalrider. It was the look in Dirce's eyes that gave the weyrling away, thus with a sip of her tea, N'kili let the conversation occur. However, N'kili lacked even an inkling as to the topic of conversation.

"Of course, feel free to ask what you need to."

The zultaniterider settled, N'kili presented her question. "So I know what to discuss with you, it would be best if I know the rule you plan to fulfil once you graduate from the barracks. Have you and Sandalphonth made a choice as to whether to let her chew firestone or not?" If Dirce planned to join the queen's wing, it would affect of N'kili approached the topic of diplomacy, focusing it more so on relationships of political diplomacy and weyr to weyr relationships. If Dirce planned to become a fighting rider, then N'kili would focus on day to day diplomacy with the locals, with a discourse primarily narrowed upon customs that varied from hold to hold.
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Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:49 am

"So I know what to discuss with you, it would be best if I know the rule you plan to fulfil once you graduate from the barracks. Have you and Sandalphonth made a choice as to whether to let her chew firestone or not?"

Dirce nodded, smoothing her hands over her legs before responding to the opalrider's question. "Sandalphonth did not wish to chew firestone, and I supported her decision." She had known fully, without doubts in her mind, what that could potentially mean, and while she had some concern for herself and her future, she knew she had the strength to traverse whatever paths might come about as a result."The two of us, my zultanite and I, had discussed it thoroughly, and while I know the say might have been mine in the end, she was adamant, and I didn't wish to not take her options into account. I do believe that I will be able to handle whatever might come about as a result, but I'm also aware that just because she's chosen not to chew stone, there's no guarantee of fertility."
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Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:15 pm

As Dirce spoke, Duke fluttered back to N'kili, claiming his perch upon the arm rest next to his mistress.

"Sandalphonth did not wish to chew firestone, and I supported her decision. The two of us, my zultanite and I, had discussed it thoroughly, and while I know the say might have been mine in the end, she was adamant, and I didn't wish to not take her options into account. I do believe that I will be able to handle whatever might come about as a result, but I'm also aware that just because she's chosen not to chew stone, there's no guarantee of fertility."

N'kili gave the young... no... younger woman her full attention as she not only answered the question, but the reason behind it. In actuality, Dirce was not much younger that N'kili, for while N'kili was thirty-two turns, Dirce was only twenty-eight, and very much a full fledged, and fully adult woman by her own right. Though odd for a dragon to Impress to a woman as old as she, it was not unheard of.

She offered a smile once Dirce finished speaking. "No need to explain your reasoning to me," the Speaker assured her. "I merely needed to know your future so as to better gauge what I am to instruct to you. If you plan to become a Queenrider, then it means you will have more contact with those outside Atricic than a wingrider. As a Queenrider, you will need to learn about customs in the North, the South and Walled; tithing processes; induction of candidates to the barracks; and political tact."

As N'kili spoke, Duke became keenly interest in an item hidden between the armrest and the couch cushion. Slowly, he lowered, attempting to reach for the item without falling, yet stretch as he may, the item remained distinctly out of reach from his tiny talons. He made a second attempt. With his tail wrapped around and under the armrest, he lowered himself down as far as he could, but try as he might his hold slipped, and he dropped into the crevice he searched.

N'kili jumped, and glanced at the firelizard now flailing to right himself, and with a sigh, she picked him back up by his hip, placed him on the armrest, and retrieved the toy he sought: a wooden toy fish.

"Trill!" he called out cheerfully, only to accept the toy from her.

"What do you say?" N'kili asked of him.

He whistled back what almost sounded like a "thank you", and then returned to gnawing upon his little toy.

N'kili scratched his head and returned to Dirce, only to give pause and laugh with the faintest of blushes. "My apologies for Duke. He is normally well behaved, and knows how to keep himself occupied... though he has his moments. Now... where were we? Oh yes, political tact. What do you know about Igen and Ista Weyr?" Considering the climate between Atricis and the two Weyrs, N'kili always felt it was a good place to begin.
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:36 am

"No need to explain your reasoning to me," the Speaker assured her. "I merely needed to know your future so as to better gauge what I am to instruct to you. If you plan to become a Queenrider, then it means you will have more contact with those outside Atricic than a wingrider. As a Queenrider, you will need to learn about customs in the North, the South and Walled; tithing processes; induction of candidates to the barracks; and political tact."

She nodded, understanding a great deal was about to land on her shoulders, not all of it softly, much of it in heavy loads and chunks. She could handle it though, or so she was certain; she had the mind of a strong dragon backing her up, with that starching up her spine when she needed it, she could likely handle almost anything she needed to. "I'm going to need it, ma'am... N'kili." She grimaced, to have made that slip in a moment of slight nervousness. "I admit I know little of politics, only what I've learned as a weyrling and through paying attention where and when needed. I'm a sailor and fisher through craft. It was never truly important during my trade unless it affected out routes and industry."

"My apologies for Duke. He is normally well behaved, and knows how to keep himself occupied... though he has his moments. Now... where were we? Oh yes, political tact. What do you know about Igen and Ista Weyr?"

Regardless, Dirce couldn't fault the lizard. She had Inkspell, and he was much the same way at times, regardless of his sobering age. She smiled a little but made sure she remained respectful of the speaker and her home, and didn't allow herself to chuckle at the behavior of the pet. "Its okay, N'kili, really. I'm used to such fancies of the lizards. My own is, at times, a bit of a handful himself." She nodded to show that she didn't take any ill fault out of the creature, before the woman could continue, and when she spoke of the two Weyrs, and their political climates, she took a breath.

Thee was only so much that she knew. She'd studied some, but there wasn't much that she was aware of - not on a deeper level. But she knew she would have to learn the deeper intricacies if she were to be a queenrider. "I don't know the relationship between Ista and Igen, other than they were once believed to be tied together. Perhaps they are, and I'm simply unaware of it. I think I might be sharper on Igen politics than Ista, if only because I hail from old Atricis - I know that there has always been a... coolness between the two, I remember that much from discussions between my parents. I was at Tillek when the move took place, but I also recall through news that Igen gained most, if not all, of the old Atrician territory when the Weyr moved South."
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