Who

Cascabel

What

Reflection and honesty.

Vague abortion and domestic abuse references.

When

Late in the sixth month of of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Resident Terraces, Igen Bazaar

OOC Date 19 Mar 2018 04:00

 

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Resident Terraces

Scoured by sand, storm, and sun, the bleached-gold face of the caldera wall is punctured here by gaping rock maws: within reside a multitude of little abode-brick buildings, colorful hides stretched across windows and doorways to protect against more unfortunate weather. No traditional dormitory, this: Igen's weyrfolk live in family groups or packs of singletons in these cozy brick abodes, dwellings doled out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Here and there, steep stone staircases wend their way between spacious stone ledges, their outer edges protected by the ingenious use of stone blocks to prevent being pitched over the side in high winds. Below, the Central Bazaar is spread, replete with the sounds of everyday life in the Weyr: the bawl of beasts, the shouts of bargains being made, and the happy laughter of the occasional child all raised in a cacophony life.


She was going to start showing soon — to some careful eyes she might have already, but as she hadn't said anything, they likely just thought she was putting on weight — and she was going to have to say something about it. People besides the two she'd already told (or not told directly, but hinted enough that they knew) were going to find out sooner or later, and most of them needed to know.

The last time, Cascabel hadn't been able to go through with it. The telling, the pregnancy, everything. Anything. She'd not long graduated from being her mother-in-law's ladies' maid to Eryem's young and pretty wife, and as far as he knew, she'd just not given him any children in the years since their marriage.

Considering it hadn't been long since he gained the social status he had, Eryem also hadn't seen fit to care, and that was fine with Cascabel. She knew that she would allow herself a birth when the time seemed right, or if she was ready, or when —

It hadn't mattered. She'd fit into the family where she needed to, and she'd been careful, and she'd known how to blend the right tea in the right way so no one ever knew, though she thought her father-in-law may have suspected.

He was the only one she would have trusted.

She would have told him, had he asked, that she had miscarried.

Unlike Eryem, and unlike his terrible mother who had always been harsh with her, and rough with her, and left more of the bruises on Cascabel's thin cheekbones than her son ever had, Eryem's father had been kind. He had seen the trouble she'd come from, and known some of her story. Seen the pain in her eyes, the loss — and he had provided a listening ear, as well as teaching her things. Not the way Hellebore and her ilk had, not the way the family that chose her rather than the family that abandoned her or the family that bought her had — but he made sure her reading and math were kept up.

Made sure that his son's pretty wife of some possible-maybe-lineage actually had a place in the family business, rather than just a face. With the confidence she'd gained from the other girls back at Lemos, and her ability to keep secrets, it was because of him that she never tried to run away. She'd never had a father figure before. He'd never had a daughter. He thought his oldest son was too harsh, wished she'd married one of the younger boys instead, but they were too young for her all of sixteen.

But even with one person supporting her, even if it was the head of the business, she couldn't bring a child into a marriage where she felt any second Eryem would be tired of her. Even if his father had her back quietly, and even if his mother loved to toy with her. She hadn't managed to really make Eryem care for her yet, not as anything other than competent-enough hands and a decent-enough arm ornament.

That grew. Her connection to Eryem, and his dependence on her role in his life, grew. Even if it made his mother like her even less: she was never able to control her husband or her younger children, and now her oldest son, pride-and-joy, had his own woman to turn to for things instead of her.

She stayed for that, and she stayed for Eryem's father.

And when he got sick, she stayed even if she was afraid of losing the only one of them that really cared about her, because where else could she go? And how could she let him waste away so slowly and painfully as he might have done, had he not had her there along with his younger sons?

That death had passed a turn ago, and since then Cascabel had seen much more of Igen and its secrets. Had become more of a face outside, now that she was, technically, the lady of the house. Now that her mother-in-law could only pretend there was anything she could do about it (but half the time Eryem agreed with her and half the time he agreed with his mother, and Cascabel could never tell which would be when).

It had been long enough since Eryem's father's death that things seemed to be reaching an equilibrium, if nothing else. It wasn't as chaotic as before. It didn't seem as unsafe and untenable as before; there was no tightrope to be walking across, afraid it might fall or fray.

But this still wasn't a family to raise a child in. Not quite. It wasn't the place, even if maybe it was the time.

Cascabel felt stronger, as a person, than she had before. She felt more secure, but she'd lost the one person in the household she really trusted, and things for her marriage had just gotten worse since they'd lost him anyway. At first she'd been so proud. Eryem becoming the head of the business and all that, even though his terrifying mother really still controlled things in all but name … she'd been proud, and thought that everything would be better for them, and instead things became worse.

She glanced down at her bruised and swollen forearm, put a hand to her face that still smarted with pain whenever she put pressure on where his rings had come into contact, and made a decision. Two decisions.

One: She was still going to have the child. She wanted the child, but she would have to figure out some way to keep him safe from his father. And from his mother.

Two: She was going to have to tell Divale the whole story.

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