Wrangler of Muses
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Isk knew there was a lesson his hated more than any other.
Ijo was sleeping, for the first time in what felt like months; even then, His was usually still plagued by worries and concerns for his charges. Some part of the Brown thought it was Bozidar's departure that had otherwise weathered the older man beyond measure. But Bo had left with Da'on and O'men, and thus, didn't warrant being worried about - Ijo had told him, if anything happened to his spouses, he would always be welcome home with his long-time friend and caretaker.
But being alone had worn down the Wherlingmaster, Isk knew. The faithful Brown had watched his Chasing do little more than agitate His, and Ijo seemed to almost recluse further into himself as the seasons went on. Not sleeping, though he still ate because Isk wouldn't let him not. The dark circles existed under his eyes, and the Brown did his best to snuggle up beside his bonded and bring Ijo some semblance of comfort.
The Moon Masque had seen him with a few Goldentines, all from his either former or current charges - gratitude expressed for his dedication and hard work, something that Ijo already knew he undertook. Every wherling in his tutelage was worthy of note, even the more difficult ones. All of them brought him some manner of joy, in one way or another, and all of them taught him something. All of them meant something to him, and it was in doing what he did every day, day in, day out, that he broadened his surroundings without ever leaving the Weyr.
It was Isk's turn, tonight, however. Time for lessons came, and Ijo had finally - after several candlemarks of tossing and turning - fallen asleep. He'd crashed out with his hands in Isk's harness - the Brown had refused to let him remove it after their patrol, for such a reason - and carefully Isk pulled the blanket up around his beloved mindmate and shifted, pulling Ijo up on his withers and using his wings to cradle his man with the greatest level of care. It looked quite strange, perhaps, but Isk was a bulldog when it came to protecting what belonged to him, and sizable enough that carrying his man around was no snot off his snout in the slightest.
Copper Class, come to middle of Barracks. Is time for important lesson, but be quiet. Isk's sleep. Not sleep long time, not want wake, but you be quiet. Isk is very upset, wake Ijo. Isk teach lesson tonight, is better for Isk do, than Ijo do, anyway. Not need fancy clothes, or any stuff like. Isk get klah and snacks brought for. Just bring selfs to lesson.
He inquired of the kitchen drudges for klah and meatrolls, roasted tubers and bubbly pies to be brought to the barracks for his soon-to-be-graduated wherlings, before he shifted his gait and continued to pace, rocking Ijo in the process very gently to and fro. It did a great deal for keeping His asleep, given Isk would be addressing the class.
Tonight, he spoke up when they had all assembled, Isk talk to not-so-smalls-anymores and Yours about Runs. Some Run, if am female, others Chase, if am male, like Isk. For female, this mean you have egg after. Some lots egg, some little egg, some not live, some live. Whers, we not do often. Not need as much as Big-wings do, some say more im-por-tant, Isk say not true, is same im-por-tant, whers just better not-die to bad stuff. Smarter, even not talk smarter like Big-Wing.
He snorted, then remembered Ijo was on his back and asleep; the shift from the wherlingmaster silenced his Brown momentarily, as Isk rumbled and continued to pace to keep his person asleep.
Ijo not like Run talk. Not have whermate, many turn. Many, many turn, so Isk handle this. Isk chase more often, anyway. He continued to slowly pace around the group, carrying Ijo carefully, occasionally shifting his wings to make sure his beloved Handler stayed aboard securely.
Whers not chase, not run, if person not ready. So not be upset, think we go do thing you not ready for, not way we work. We is you. Ijo is Isk, Isk is Ijo. Same mind, sometime, same body, same everything, but still am different. Ijo comfortable with Isk Chase, so Isk Chase, Ijo just sleep lots, or maybe sometime handle self, and this okay. Not bad. Not HAVE to be with other person, but if you female, other male's people, whers that chase, their people come see Yours. Not lock door, not bar door, this very bad. People hurt selfs, try get through door. Is very bad. Let in, but not have do stuff with. Yours allowed say no, say yes, up to Yours. Can even pick other, not boy-wher's person. Is up to Yours, like who win is up to female wher. But whers, female ALWAYS choose. You not choose, is rood. Understand? Isk very upset, find out one of Isk's hatchlings, they choose for female, she bite, she hurt. Some female, they very aggressive.
Which bring Isk to another point. Sometime females, how they am, not-Run, are different when Run. Mean, maybe, sometimes not-mean, all different. Some same as not-Run, others not. Be careful, you chase. Isk's ladies, am be careful, you Run. If Run, have choose. Not Run and then not-choose. Not be upset, have eggs not make babies, not mean you broken. Queenies, Small-Queenies, they sometime have not-babies too, not mean am less than Big-Wing. Just mean best of everything go into am-babies, right?
If person not want babies, need ask Big-Wing person, take between. Make sure not have babies. Am go to Crescent or Western places, too, just need go once, maybe twice for back, should help. Is best. Otherwise, maybe am have babies. But not so bad, Isk maybe am have more to teach?
He grinned with a toothy, underbitten maw.
Not-Queenies, you have biggest risk, not-babies eggs. Is okay. Is how we am. Not mean you broken, just how we is. Not mean Queenies better than you, not mean you better than Queenies. All am im-por-tant. Need ALL in Weyr, make safe for two-leggers like Isk's. We all im-por-tant.
Isk paused, using his tail to poke Ijo's thigh; the Brownhandler shifted, groaned, and snorted, before tightening his hold on Isk's harness and going back to slumber. Satisfied, Isk shifted his wings, wrapping them around Ijo's body to hold His in place as he kept pacing.
You allowed Run, Chase, after graduate. Some do same night, we see, but be careful. Isk happy, have many Hatchlings not turn out dead hatchling, culled babies, am not start now. Maybe feel it come, soon, want to chase, want to run, but Isk ask you not go after, not try, until Ijo and Isk say you ready leave Barracks, pick own wherholes. Be own grown-up again. Is safe this way, is not safe other way. Even close-to-grow whers, they sometimes not ready as they think. Any have question, ask Isk. No question dumb. No question not need ask, all question ask now, Isk answer, that way safe.