Sooty

Character Type: Wife
Rank: Master
Age: 46
Gender: Female
Sexual Preference: Oh goodness! These things aren't preferences!

BASIC INFORMATION

Sooty (or Soolie, as she was dubbed at birth, though it's debatable whether anyone actually remembers her real name) was born the second daughter of the then-foreman at Kolden Minehold. She was the good one, the quiet and obedient one, and the plan was always simple: her older sister was officially engaged to Healer Bresslin's eldest son, Braughan, with the expectation that eventually Sooty would go on to eventually marry the next boy in line, Baynar. Plans changed, however, when her sister went and got herself knocked up by one of the young miners. To keep the agreement in place and soothe ruffled feathers, Sooty was attached to Braughan in her sister's place and her expected wedding date abruptly moved up with scarcely any time to prepare for it… and then, no sooner were they married, than the young couple were off to Nabol, where Braughan would receive further training as a healer.

Things weren't easy early on. Sooty was new to a large Hold like Nabol — an ignorant redneck in a society of people who, at the time, seemed impossibly cosmopolitan by comparison — and her new husband wasn't the easiest man to get along with. Braughan, never a gentle or understanding person under the best of circumstances, was under a lot of stress in their new location, himself, and expected their small quarters to be his refuge, his castle, the one place where he wasn't a dumb half-literate backwoods healer, but king, and alternated, in his frustration, between demanding what he wanted and just expecting her to somehow read his mind and know. She went through her first pregnancy there at Nabol, alone and without the support of her mother and sisters or any friends, the thought of her growing baby — and those precious few moments of praise or appreciation from Braughan — her only comfort.

It was hard, but she learned, and with time, things changed. She made a few friends, grew more confident in her role as wife and mother, raised her children and slowly grew closer to her husband, who was also growing and maturing somewhat himself as his talents within the craft became more evident. The plan had always been to go back home to Kolden eventually so that Braughan could take his father's place there, but Braughan's talent was for surgery — a valuable skill with the Pass drawing closer — and so, when Braughan achieved his senior journeyship, instead of heading back home, they instead found themselves packing up their family to move to Ista Weyr.

Sooty may never fully understand or agree with Weyr practices, but for the sake of neighborliness and just plain decency, she tries hard to understand, or at least reconcile some of their attitudes in a way she can come to terms with. She's a nice woman who doesn't really want to dislike anyone if she can help it, though people do make their way onto that list occasionally and find it difficult to remove themselves from it once they do. She's proud of her role — proud of keeping Braughan's house, feeding his family, having his children — and proud of him, too. She loves him and is devoted to him despite his flaws, and it's really hurtful to her when the weyrwomen shake their heads and tsktsk about how whipped she is, or tell her they don't understand her lack of independence. It feels as if they're belittling all her hard work and devotion. Whatever happened to standing by your man? Your one man? Through thick and thin, when starving or full, sick or healthy? It hurts so much to feel her values being mocked, and it hurts even more to know that sometimes her own children mock them, too. She loves her children deeply, has tried so hard to raise them all to be good, proper adults, and it breaks her heart when they're unhappy or worse: willfully rebellious. She's proud, but unlike her husband she can put her pride aside if the choice is between losing it and losing her children; unfortunately, she can't seem to put Braughan aside in favor of the children, and so finds it hard to find the opportunity to reach out to K'vrett and Bertaula, whom he claims to have disowned.

She's not a terribly smart woman, no — maybe even a bit simple in some ways — but she's hard-working, honest, self-sacrificing, and loving enough to mostly make up for what Braughan lacks. She's functionally illiterate — there are words she recognizes by memory/rote alone, and some basic understanding of how some letters fit together — but greatly enjoys cooking, talking, and socializing. She has a way of trying to construct her own social network when she can't find one that fits her, though they're not often ideal due to the difficulty in finding women at the Weyr who have the same role and goals in life that she does: currently she relies a lot on her eldest daughter, Birka, and on Master Tartolgen's wife, and on their unfortunate neighbor, Sarada. She sees the Infirmary staff as her extended family, in a way, and she tries to mother everyone — a tendency that only gets worse with each passing turn since the birth of her last baby. She'd like to have another, but it hasn't happened and she fears now that she's done with pregnancy forever; the thought depresses her more than she lets on, but she's secretly hoping to convince Braughan to let her foster eventually. She babies Dusty far too much and doesn't seem aware that he's slow, and is very concerned with seeing her firstborn Bucnar married and content, and with finding a good match for Ellou soon, lest her prettiest daughter be lured away to sin by dragons or boys like Bertie was!

She is, however, potentially more open-minded than Braughan is, and she can occasionally convince him of things that other cannot.

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