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We're In Trouble. (Garanth/Ardeth)


Laura Walker
 

When you were in trouble the Fort way was to look for allies. Particularly when you were desperate and running out of options.


Ardeth looking for people might have been M’ayen’s idea, and certainly the bronzerider had a better idea than his dragon who might be able to help. There was nothing faked about the urgency in the bronze’s tone though, a frantic note as though Ardeth wasn’t far off panic despite a gold pushing to ward that off. ((Garanth. Garanth, help, mine needs help.))


Not hard to guess why. Anyone who had been listening, particularly anyone involved with the Candidates, would know that M’ayen had been arrested and the Weyrleaders weren’t particularly inclined to look on him kindly right now. How to react though, that was a choice.


Garanth was on the rim, sunning himself. He was confused, because His was worried. T’ril had heard about the arrest, and was cower--sitting in his weyr waiting for his own arrest. He didn’t dare go to the Candidate classrooms, even though what he’d done didn’t seem so bad. So he’d called a few of the girls cu--sluts, put kids in detention for imagined transgressions. He hadn’t gone so far as to strike them, instead working on more mental abuse.  After all, it was how you thought of yourself that made you a good, or great, rider.


But Garanth didn’t understand most of this. He just knew that there was some bad stuff going down and His was on the outskirts. But Ardeth’s, His was in the middle of it. Be that as it may, Ardeth was his senior, and he was obliged to help.


{{What can I do to help Yours?}} he asked.


((Can you tell her she’s wrong? Please.)) M’ayen would have asked with dignity, would have phrased it in such way that it barely sounded like a favour at all, perhaps just as the respect and duty owed to a senior. M’ayen hated asking at all, hated the weakness it implied.


Ardeth was a dragon who had just been told he might never fly with his rider again. With such judgements, dignity was lost. ((They’re going to hurt him. And they say we can’t fly together. They were meant to just let him go!)) 


As a bronze, as a senior bronze, Garanth knew it would be BAD to contact Foreth’s directly. On the other hand, Foreth terrified him. She was Senior Queen, and she always seemed to be in a bad mood.


{{I don’t like talking to Foreth,}} he complained. {{Did she say why you aren’t allowed to fly together? Should Mine talk to Hers?}}


((They say he’s bad. He’s not bad,)) Ardeth said fiercely. ((He says yours should think about transferring or they’ll come for you next. But don’t leave him here!)) Hard to tell which part was the dragon and which was the man in that message. ((They won’t let him out ever.))


Garenth decided it was time to talk to T’ril, but T’ril wasn’t helpful. He’d become timid since his stabbing; and no longer a leader but a craven follower. 


{{Mine says that THEY won’t let him transfer. THEY won’t let anyone who’s friends with Yours transfer. Mine says that THEY think Yours is tainted. We know they’re wrong, but I don’t know what we can do. Mine wants to go live like the Holdless, away from everyone in charge. Would Yours want to do that?}}


((They won’t let us. Foreth says I am not allowed to fly with him any more.)) There was an echo of Ardeth’s earlier keen in that. ((Will they let yours visit him?))


Garanth thought about that, again conferring with T’ril. {{He said he’ll try. He’ll go ask, but,}} and suddenly there was a note of alarm in Garanth’s mind-voice, {{he thinks we’ll be under the same punishment. But I don’t want to leave you here alone.}} After all, there was no way to get around a queen’s compulsion, was there?


((They’re going to hurt him.)) Ardeth sounded shaken. ((And they won’t let him sleep right and they’re not feeding him right. He’s old, Garanth.)) And Ardeth was old. Old and sleepy and with a mind fuddled by panic but not stupid. Old bodies didn’t stand for what younger ones did. ((What if he gets sick.))

 

That was what decided Garanth. His had been sick. Very sick. For a very long time. And he never wanted to feel that again.  There was argument. There was pleading. And then, there was acquiescence. 


{{Mine will go and speak with THEM right away,}} he assured Ardeth. {{You deserve to be happy. THEY just don’t understand how it works.}}


((Thank you.)) Relief radiated from the bronze at that promise. And then, quiet and tentative, ((May I come sit with you?)) And the mighty had fallen indeed if Ardeth were so desperate for company.


{{Of course,}} Garanth said. He always had been more sociable. {{The sun’s warm here. It’ll make you feel better.}}


A moment and then the old bronze landed next to him, already looking somewhat shrunken from the proud dragon he had been. Quietly he settled in the sun. ((Thank you.))



--

Blackadder: I mean, what about the people that do all the work?
Baldrick: The servants.
Blackadder: No, me; *I'm* the people who do all the work.