Lessa felt like she was close this time. Since she had come to High Reaches, she had felt a little tickle in the back of her brain, teasing her while the Weyrleaders conducted business, disappearing for a bit while she was being shown around the Weyr, but back again, and more intensely, now that the pleasantries were finished. It felt the same as when she had mentally leaned on someone to get them to stop being so stubborn.
She'd almost lost the feeling again when a green rider had mistaken her for a weyrling trainer, based on the riding gear she was wearing and a touch of blurring herself, and tried to get her attention and drink with them, but he'd lost interest in her soon afterward when she'd pushed his interest back toward the obviously exaggerated story one of his fellows was telling. It was handy at times, being able to disguise herself and get people to stop paying attention to her. Or to push their opinions in the direction she wanted them to go, but she needed to be careful. Dragonriders always wanted to believe they accomplished everything themselves. They chose not to see the Holders, herders, traders, and especially the drudges that worked hard to provide them with that illusion. She had exposed them once, and the Weyrleader had beaten her for it until she cried in pain. Every time after that, she took care not to be as visible when using her gift.
Rounding a corner, Lessa saw Kylara, High Reaches Weyrwoman, in the middle of a throng of dragonriders. Kylara enjoyed attention from others, so much so that her name was staring to become used as a shorthand for someone who slept with anyone who asked, regardless of their station or whether permission had been asked. Kylara seemed not to have any desire to learn about running the Weyr and only cared about herself and whether she was beautiful enough to be seen and adored. She would have been replaced a long time ago if she hadn't been beautiful. Wherever Lessa was short, Kylara was tall. Where Lessa was small, Kylara overflowed, so much so that her clothes never seemed to be large enough in the chest or the backside. Though she had only been here a little while, Lessa had overheard plenty of men in the High Reaches Weyr express a hope that Kylara would take them to her bed.
Lessa's thoughts on Kylara almost closed her mind to what she had been seeking, but as Kylara bent over a little to give an encouraging pat to a dragonrider, intentionally showing him and all the other men present how ample her bosom was, Lessa felt the tingle in her mind again. She almost didn't believe it, but when Kylara turned to move on in the caverns, Lessa felt her mind being pulled toward looking at Kylara's assets, with appreciation, if not the unbridled lust she saw on the faces of the dragonriders.
Lessa seethed. She had been trying to carefully get rid of any mention of her abilities, so add to be able to use them with a freer hand, and here Kylara was, flaunting it for everyone to see. And for what purpose? To get yet another man in her bed that night? Slipping away from the crowd, Lessa ran to catch up with Kylara, grabbing her hand and dragging her into a nearby drudge cavern. The kitchens were in the middle of preparing an evening meal, so Lessa knew they would be undisturbed.
"What are you doing?" Lessa hissed at Kylara.
"Let go of me!" Kylara shouted back, before wrenching her arm free.
"You have it," Lessa went on, unperturbed, "and you are wasting it on seducing men!"
"'Wasting'?" Kylara smiled. "And how, exactly, do you think I stay Weyrwoman? It's certainly not because my Weyrleader listens to me when I tell him what's wrong. Yours doesn't either, if I'm right about why you 'couldn't go out' for a couple months. So what's better, Lessa? Throwing yourself at him and getting nothing but bruises, or seducing his trusted Wingleaders and letting them bring your ideas to him?"
"Or they could all believe we don't have that skill and then use it on them when we need to," Lessa retorted. "Then we could all be safe, instead of having to pretend that we're empty and only want them." Lessa had tried that route before, when Fax ruled Ruatha. She thought she had won one of his friends to her cause, using her wiles and charm, but he had brought friends of his not to aid her, but to do something else. Hiding was safer.
Kylara laughed, a sound as musical as it was mocking. "You don't get real power from hiding, Lessa. You get real power by dominating."
A concept flooded Lessa's mind, taking her by surprise, insisting with every fiber of herself that Lessa should give up and stop fighting. She had underestimated Kylara's skill and practice, and it seemed only fair that she should just submit to the better woman. Lessa struggled against the onrushing wave, fighting to keep herself from slipping under. Slowly, though, her body was weakening, going down onto the sand, lowering herself to Kylara's feet, wanting Kylara to command her.
As her forehead touched the sand, a surge of power from some reserve she hadn't known existed ripped through her. Staggering to her feet, Lessa moved toward Kylara again, before Kylara slapped her hard enough to seems get back to the sand.
Pain took over many of the places where Kylara had been pushing, and mixed with the storehouse of power Lessa had discovered. Getting up again, she charged Kylara and punched her in the same place she had seen Fax get stabbed. Feeling the pressure lessen as Kylara flinched, Lessa swung for her again, not caring where she connected, just to get the presence out of her head. Another thump rewarded her effort, and Lessa felt her own abilities return to her. Now Kylara would learn what it felt like to receive that power, and would finally get to see why not to use it that way.
Locking eyes with Kylara, Lessa felt her struggle and push back against her, but Lessa was determined to get her way. Kylara slowly sank to her knees, her resistance lessening, before Lessa felt something twist inside her, pressing on her own mind until she passed out from it.
When Lessa woke, she was laying next to Kylara, who seemed to be awakening from a similar state. Seeing Kylara made all the rage and anger flare up in Lessa, but it was apart from her as much as it was part of her. Lessa reached out to it, to tap it, to use it, but she couldn't grasp it. Instead, she let her gaze drift back to Kylara's stirring form. She envied Kylara's body and the way she wielded it against everyone, and how willingly they all seemed to love her. How nice it would be to have a body that men worshipped.
Before she had time to think about it, Lessa reached out and grabbed a handful of Kylara's breast, as if to assure herself that Kylara wasn't changing her perceptions even now.
To her surprise, Kylara leaned in and kissed her on the lips.
"Yes, please, Lessa," she said, a bit dreamily, "but harder, and slap me, too."
Lessa let go. She'd heard that Kylara enjoyed being beaten, but it was too much to have the evidence in front of her. Yet, Lessa could see the beginnings of arousal in Kylara, and it would serve her right to be handled by the woman she had just tried to control. Lessa had Kylara on her knees and was ready to pinch her before she realized what was happening.
"What are you doing?" Lessa snarled, shaking her head to try and clear it instead of thinking how much she wanted nothing more than to put bruises all over Kylara.
"We're tangled," Kylara replied, still seeming only half-focused. "You tried to control me with your anger, I tried to control you with my body, and now we're wrapped up in each other. You get to control my body, I get to control your anger, and if we're good to each other, then maybe we'll get our selves back."
Lessa didn't believe Kylara, but it was getting a lot harder to focus on anything but the way Kylara's body moved with her breathing. Lessa tried to step away, but instead stepped toward Kylara and seized her by both nipples.
"If you tell anyone about this, I will make sure your next mating flight will only have blues and greens." Lessa punctuated her demand by pinching harder. Kylara's reaction was immediate. An ecstatic moan escaped her lips and her body arched into Lessa.
Lessa moved one hand from a breast to Kylara's throat. "Are we clear?" she said, putting pressure on it.
"Harder," Kylara squeaked out, giving Lessa a mocking smile. Lessa increased the pressure, and Kylara wriggled and gasped and screamed as best she could at each increase and repetition before finally nodding. Lessa let go of her immediately after, and stared at her hands in disbelief.
"Don't stop now," Kylara rasped. "I'm ready for you. Come hit me some more, Lessa. Get your anger out on me." Kylara turned around and lifted her dress so that Lessa could see everything underneath before getting on her hands and knees and shaking herself at Lessa as an invitation. Lessa struck Kylara twice on the bottom with as much force as she could muster and watched as Kylara shuddered with pleasure.
Lessa told herself it was only to get herself back, but there was a heat rising in herself that she couldn't deny, either. Was this what others felt when they were beating her? She slapped Kylara again to try and get the thought out of her head, but Kylara only moaned and pinched her own nipples harder.
Lessa needed something to stop Kylara from enjoying herself so much. There wasn't anything in the drudge cavern that would do to silence her that Lessa could get to immediately, so Lessa moved to take off the rest of Kylara's dress. It would do, and there would be some satisfaction in quieting her with her own clothes.
Once Lessa kneeled to get the last of the dress off, Kylara exploded, tackling Lessa to the sand. Faster than she had seen anyone before, Kylara stripped Lessa of her riding gear and removed the dress that Lessa had been planning to use. Without waiting or asking, Kylara sank her head between Lessa's legs and began to work on her with her tongue.
It was Lessa's turn to cry out as Kylara's skill brought her to a very quick climax. Lessa wondered whether Kylara had been using her charm on women as well before a second climax prevented her from stringing together coherent thoughts on the matter.
Before Kylara could make her come a third time, Lessa seized her hair and pulled her off of her. Kylara's fingers immediately went where her mouth had been, with perhaps more intensity now that Lessa was giving her a desired pain.
"Stop," Lessa ground out.
"No," Kylara retorted, intensifying her finger work.
Lessa climaxed again, driving her knee into Kylara's stomach. When Kylara withdrew from her in pain, Lessa threw Kylara away from her and collapsed. She heard Kylara strike something solid, and then the blackness from earlier enveloped her.
Lessa awoke to the gentle presence of Ramoth in her mind.
Did you enjoy yourself? Ramoth asked. You certainly seemed to.
You would know, Lessa shot back.
Ramoth conveyed the idea of a snort. Prideth and I didn't expect you to get so...tangled.
Prideth? What does she have to do with this? Lessa knew dragons communicated, but she didn't think they also plotted.
It is much easier to get dragons to obey than riders. Ramoth replied. You did achieve our goal, though. Kylara will be less obvious about how she gathers her favors, at least for a while. There is Thread falling near us. Your presence is requested.
Lessa groaned, shook as much sand as she could from her body, dressed herself, and then went to be the Benden Weyrwoman once again.
As she left, she pondered what Ramoth had meant by "for a while." It felt good to get some of her feelings out. If Kylara were willing, perhaps they could come to an...arrangement.