====January 10th, 2014
====N'cal, Vashae
==== …of something potentially wonderful.

Who N'cal, Vashae
What …of something potentially wonderful.
When There are 0 turns, 3 months and 0 days until the 12th pass.
Where Oasis Inn, Igen Weyr

Ncal3.jpg vash4.png


Oasis Inn
Tucked into a small fold of foothills along the road leading from the Weyr to the Central Pass, this inn truly is just what its name implies - an oasis for travelers coming from either direction. Stabling and board are available - though the boarding comes at a price, since there isn't much of it. The most well known part of the Inn is the tavern - a rustic bar built of solid skybroom and furnished in dark, oiled wood, leather, metal, and glass. Though well used and sometimes abused, the furniture is also well cared for and maintained, and the food and drink draw many a rider in alongside the travelers. The decor is eclectic, consisting in hangings, rugs, carvings, and other things from every region of Pern, bestowed upon the owner in barter for lodging. The atmosphere isn't one of a dive; it's cozier than that, though there is just a touch of harmless shady to be found - particularly in the evenings.

It's a good evening to visit the Oasis Inn if one desires a much quieter option to the boisterous, more colorful venues offered by Igen's Bazaar. Mild, mellow, few patrons, and away from most gossip-mongers - this is likely why N'cal opted for here this evening, aside from simply liking the drinks better. Besides, a calmer atmosphere ought to help a man be calmer himself, yes? Not that N'cal exudes much beyond calm right now…but he is certainly not as relaxed as he might normally be, waiting as he is. Making good on an invitation, he's not been long in that waiting, leaning up against the bar while half-perched on a stool with one eye on the entrance. Iolarth is standing his usual eagle-eyed watch outside, downwind of the runners and atop a small outcrop. Undoubtedly, he'll know when someone new arrives, and let his rider know accordingly.

The Man Who Waited isn't kept waiting long, but it is still a few minutes before his expected company arrives. Jovianth drops in for a landing without much preamble; a greeting extended by both dragon and rider to Iolarth (the latter after she'd slipped easily from between blue 'ridges). The young woman is dressed nicely for the ocassion, clad in a lavender dress a pleasant mix of nowtimer modest and oldtimer style. It's probably something bought from The Night Flight, considering her friendship with We'bey. Vashae pauses outside just a moment longer to run her fingers through her hair one more time before entering. A quick glance around the room, and she heads toward her fellow Wingrider with a smile crossing her lips. "Good evening, N'cal."

Iolarth gives a quiet vocalization of greeting, a pleasant mix of a warble and a croon at other blue pair. Slowly whirling green eyes blink and follow Vashae's progress for a moment before the older blue's attention is back on Jovianth, whom he's likely to chatter on to about flying, greens, more flying - his usual tack. Meanwhile, N'cal lifts his head at his lifemate's alert and slips off the edge of the barstool, straightening the blue-black vest that he has buttoned over the loose-sleeved white tunic he's wearing. That, coupled with fitted black trousers and tall black boots, have him looking perhaps a little sharper than normal - but he had the time to spare for it. Or perhaps made the time. And he feels it's well worth it when Vashae finally does enter, because he might have felt ill-matched to her, otherwise. He takes the younger bluerider in with a quite obviously admiring glance - not at all leering, but very clearly appreciative. "Good evening, Vashae," he returns, smiling warmly as approaches. "You…look lovely. I meant it before, but it most certainly bears repeating. A few times over." He clears his throat lightly, grin flashing now as he offers his arm her way. "I've a table, if that's alright. Just back there. Join me?"

Jovianth will doubtlessly chatter back happily enough - chatter is one of the things he's best at, after all - once he's certain that Vashae has entered the Inn safely. He'll quite possibly try to talk Iolarth round the bend, but then, that's not uncommon. Vashae's smile that's really more of a grin makes her eyes dance when she sees his reaction to her as she nears, and she tilts her head to the side slightly. If she's nervous about any of this, it's not showing outwardly. "Thank you, N'cal. It's sweet of you to say so." Even if it is the truth! "You look very sharp yourself." She'll slip a hand through the offered arm, flashing him another smile. "Of course I will." She'd be a poor invitation accepter if she agreed, accepted, and then fled! "How have things been?" Even though it's not been that long since she saw him last; but last time was during wing business after all! Now's the far better time for those sorts of questions.

"I'm flattered you think so," N'cal counters quietly, his own eyes dancing at the compliment. "Thank you." With that, he leads Vashae to the table he'd laid claim to earlier - against the northern wall, just offset from a window half-unshuttered to the clear mildness of the night. "Things? Since drills?" Pulling one of the chairs for her, he waits for to sit before taking over the seat opposite her, resting his elbows on the table and lacing his fingers as he focuses fully on his company. As if he hadn't been since she came through the door. "Oh, the usual. Reports. Paperwork. General tedium. Though, I must say, trying to come up with possible reasons for our other wingsecond's…unusal attire today was an interesting variation on the theme. I'm sure you noticed," he remarks with a grimace over K'vvan's suddenly…pink…leathers, though there's amusement in his tone. He raises his hand to hail one of the bar workers. "But that's all wing-related, and this, right now," he says, his voice pitching slightly lower and quieter, "is not meant to be. What of you? Has Jovianth led you on any more interesting adventures between this morning and now?"

Vashae just gives him another smile at his thanks, and sits in the chair he pulls out for her with murmured thanks. She may not be a proper woman in the way the Nowtimers see them as for the most part, but manners existed even back in the Oldtime. Her attention doesn't wander from him; it's actually unlikely she'd notice if the roof caved in at the moment. "I'm pretty sure the Weyr noticed.." Her amusement at his question is of a different sort, and it shows in her eyes again. "Jovianth'd have had us running all 'round Pern if I'd let him. I didn't." She answers with a light laugh, and a shake of her head. "He had to content himself with spending time with his clutchmates instead." Because he's still very much in communication with most of his green sisters regularly, and Vashae had things she needed to get done. In other words, she probably spent all day picking out what to wear tonight. Or maybe they really did crawl all over Pern and explore. Her eyes take on a slightly mischievous tone and she asks lightly, "Anywhere in particular you'd recommend us to explore?"

One of the men staffing the bar wanders over in answer to N'cal's summons, coming to a stop with his hands clasped at his back as he awaits acknowledgement. The tall bluerider asks for a Benden red - a usual request - before telling him, "Add on anything the lady would like, as well." N'cal waits until Vashae has done so, content just to watch her until their orders are departed with. "I'd say run around all you can, while there's still some time to do it more freely," he suggests easily, then responding to that mischievous bent to her gaze with an equally mischievous slant to his lips. "That would depend. How adventurous do you want to be?" After that, he's simply considering her for a moment again…and presently, he chuckles - a low, pleasant sound, accompanied by some inner thought that has him shaking his head a slightly, gaze still trained on her. He doesn't do much more other than give a thoughtful, amused hum before finally voicing a single word, almost half-whispered. "Curious."

"Today's important…I didn't want us to get over-distracted." Vashae answers honestly with a smile after ordering the same as the man across from her. They're both just fascinated watching the other, aren't they? "There are other days for exploring." Though time is running short, as he himself has mentioned. "I'd say we ought to be as adventurous as possible…save the little adventures for later, when there's less time on our hands." So like a Healer: work on the big wounds first, then the little. Her answer provided, it's her turn to simply watch him again, a hand cupping her chin lightly as she tilts her head to the side slightly. Gold-brown eyes never leaving his, another smile crosses her face at the sound of his chuckle. Peculiar though it is at the moment, she doesn't mind - she deals with Jovianth in her head nigh all day. And then the singular word, and curiosity gets the best of her again. "What is?"

Simply watching is the best way to learn another's subtleties - something N'cal learned quite some time back. Learning not to be unnerving about it takes some practice, however…but he hopes he isn't being so, allowing his eyes to flick out into the darkness beyond the window before returning to Vashae. It is, after all, difficult not to simply stare at one so pretty. But he's doing his best. At her question, he lowers his hands to the table, leaning forward a bit more on folded arms to regard her with a slight tilt of his own head. "You are, my dear fellow blue," he answers quietly, "if you don't mind my saying. An observation of mine. You seem…a quiet sort, yet you're able to employ a tease or hint at mischief in such subtle ways that I feel nearly outmatched in that regard. Even just now, you've done it." Blue-green gaze lit bright from within at voicing his observation to her, he smirks. "It's rather a delightful thing." Movement in the periphery of his vision; the bar-man is moving back toward them, but N'cal doesn't really pay him more mind than just that bit of note. "You said today was important. Any particular reason why?"

The honesty from N'cal is both surprising and welcomed, as she'd half expected him to deflect the question as most might have. But she's quickly learning that N'cal is not most people, and it's a breath of fresh air. Vashae gives him a small smile, a smile solely for the sheer fact that he's noticed so much. There might be a trace of color added to her cheeks as well; though that's something less out of her control. "I don't mind your saying.. It's interesting to know how I appear to be in other's eyes." Her eyes sparkle a bit, "you could easily say I'm less in my shell than I was when Jovianth chose me." And it is the truth, though her transition into less of a reserved woman was started when she was Searched. "Subtlety is something I needed to be good at as a Healer.." And it's a talent she's glad has endured, especially if it impresses him. Her grin now is just a little teasing. "I'm glad you enjoy it, at least." The answer to his question is considered for a moment, so she doesn't sound like a fool. Or at least, she hopes she won't. "Because I'm stealing moments of your time, and it would be a shame to have been ill prepared for them." She keeps it up, soon enough her nickname will be the Thief of Time or some such.

The extra color coming to Vashae's face only serves to broaden the smile that's already on N'cal's lips. As unobtrusively as possible, wine is set on their table, and the one responsible ambles quietly away as N'cal repositions the glasses a bit further in from the edge. "It's often said we ought not take how we might appear to others as overly important," he observes. "But there are times," like now, "when it is important. When we hope to be taken honestly…in order to be seen as worth more of someone's time, for instance." He sips at his wine, listening to her explain about herself, before, and nodding for what makes sense. But then the answer to his last comes…and catches him rather off guard. "Ah…but wasn't it you who questioned whether one is a thief, if that time is given freely?" he points out, his grin brilliant. "To be allowed to learn more of you, Vashae, I would gladly give my time for other opportunities such as this." A hand slips across the table toward her, palm upturned - inviting hers, as he would not presume to just search her hand out and take it. To him, pushing such a thing at this moment would be unforgivable, subtle though the gesture may comparatively be.

A small grin crosses Vashae’s face in return at his words. She very much agrees with that, which is why she’s grateful that being a dragonrider means most of the time, people don’t bat eyes at seeing one in riding leathers. But today is a different story; and she’s glad she had the chance to wow him at least once! That she seems to have caught him by surprise is also fantastic. His grin is met by one of her smiles, though it’s her eyes that show how glad she is. There’s no hesitation in giving him her hand when his is offered, giving him another smile. “It is true, I am the one who questioned it.” She replies with a laugh in her voice, “and as I would gladly give you more of my time as well..” That makes neither of them Time Thieves, wouldn’t it then! Which is probably a good thing, as it means both want to get to know the other better.

As much as N’cal comes across to most as a levelheaded, calm, collected man with a smile easily offered to all, it is, in its way, a form of being guarded. The tall bluerider has not been so with Vashae thus far, but he has been cautious, and still is, in truth. Now, though…to hear her say she would give him more of her time is not a sentiment he’s had offered his way in Turns, and perhaps never expected to hear again, with his background. He laughs quietly, the oddest feeling of something stubbornly in place being pushed aside by her admission. “I can’t tell you how glad it makes me to hear you say that,” he tells her, the quietness of his voice rasping slightly at the edges as roughened fingers close gently on hers, his thumb brushing lightly across her knuckles. “We’re of a mind, then. Being able to say that outside of the routine of rider life is quite refreshing. You’ve given me something to look forward to. Truly.” His smile turns lopsided, and an eyebrow rises wryly. “Though I’m curious what Jovianth makes of all this wanting to spend more time with one another.”

Vashae’s mask has less of a chance staying up around N’cal than anyone else, she’s come to realize, and while there are those she willingly takes her mask off for…with him it is more automatic than with anyone else. Where she is more likely to throw her caution to the wind in this scenario, however, her lifemate holds his reserve ready as a cloak to hide her behind should the need appear. When his fingers close over hers, hers give his a light squeeze almost reactively, as she smiles at him again. “We’ve given each other something to look forward to,” she counters as her eyes take on her smile. “What Jovianth thinks of this..” Vashae pauses for a moment, trying to find the words to best describe her lifemate’s feelings toward this. “He’s.. Anyone he doesn’t know well he automatically deems ‘shady’, and while he trusts you and Iolarth as wingmates, as us spending more time together outside of drills…he’s almost decidedly wary.” Her smile’s taken a bit of a wry twist to it; she knows she might be being a touch too honest, here. “He’ll come around in time.” And at Vashae’s continuous prodding.

“Hmmm.” N’cal’s gaze lowers thoughtfully at her words, landing on the hand in his as a smirk of amusement slants his lips. “Well, I do hope I can prove as…non-shady as possible to him as well, in time,” he murmurs. “If Iolarth can help at all in that regard, tell me. He likes Jovianth quite a lot.” His other hand joins the first, covering hers now as his gaze comes up again, sparkling at something he’s likely just heard. “And he approves of you very much, so you’re aware.” With a contented sigh that’s barely perceptible, he gives a quiet smile that livens his eyes, the subtle crinkling of skin at the corners deepening pleasantly as he simply studies her in silence for a moment, always acutely aware of the hand captured in his. “What are you thinking now, hm?” he asks quietly, his tone his own brand of impish. “I would be content to simply sit here and gaze into your eyes, but I think hunger might interrupt that in fairly short order, and I’d be surprised if the same weren’t true for you. Well, the hunger part, at least,” he amends with a grin.

“If I can think of anything, I’ll let you know.” Vashae promises. But with Jovianth as protective as one of her long-gone older brothers.. “Jovianth enjoys his company as well.” It’ll just take the stubborn blue time to adjust to Vashae’s seeing a lot more of N’cal. Another smile crosses Vashae’s lips at hearing that N’cal’s lifemate, at least, approves of her. It broadens a bit at his own impishness, and Vashae tilts her head to the side lightly. “Well, we’d probably better make sure that it interrupts us minimally, then.” Her tone’s taken a turn for mischievous again, and she’ll make a few playful suggestions before they order. Time will tell how things will turn out, but as this pair chat and tease further into the night, the signs are looking good.

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