==== December 23rd, 2013
==== Kyara, Sienna, Forin (NPC - Kyara, handler), prisoners
==== Back-scene! Kyara and Sienna go in for a talk with the prisoners from the oasis.

Who Kyara, Sienna, Forin (NPC - Kyara, handler), prisoners
What Back-scene! Kyara and Sienna go in for a talk with the prisoners from the oasis.
When Early evening. There are 5 months and 23 days until the 12th Pass.
Where Guardhouse, Igen Weyr


Ancient, half-crumbling, and more than a little pathetic: Igen Weyr's guardhouse is a weathered thing, one to which little enough love has been shown. Theoretically a two-story building, the staircase into the upper quarters has long since rotted away to collapse, and a creaky ladder leads up into what once were barracks, but now serve as storage for miscellaneous and half-forgotten equipment and assorted rubbish. The downstairs has fared little better: trestle tables serve as both crude desks and cruder staging areas, while the small administrative office reeks more of booze than paperwork. Only the brig is halfway well-maintained, though it's still a pathetic thing: cramped and unsanitary, with a single dingy cot and dusty latticed window.

An early summer evening falls calm and hot on Igen Weyr - heavy, much like the situation that may be about to unfold at the guardhouse. Outside the decrepit door, Kyara paces absently, waiting for another to arrive. Her appearance is a bit out of character at the moment, the crisp blue trousers stuffed into clean black boots and the short-sleeved, fitted white tunic looking more like a throwback to her Journeyman days than the rider she is now - save for the knot on her shoulder, which is clearly not that of a Harper. A psychological game, this - to appear more as a bearer of law and the investigator she's been assigned to be rather than just a rider who might be ignored by the prisoners within. Still, the decision to add a bluff into this first interrogation makes her pace nervously outside the guardhouse as she looks over the records she carries one last time. Having Sienna here will undoubtedly make things a little easier. She hopes.

Sienna is moving slowly, carefully, joined by a Healer who insisted on walking her from the Infirmary to the guardhouse. Moving with her cane, Sienna smiles at Kyara as they approach and she nods to the Healer. "I'll be waiting right here, ma'am," the Journeyman says, stationing himself outside of the entrance, looking around with interest. "Ready? What do you need me to do?" Sienna asks, ready and willing to be of service despite the lingering pain of her injury and the slight haze of fellis in her blood.

Looking up from her scan of the records at Sienna's approach, Kyara finally quits walking her line in the sand and flips the thing shut, straightening her shirt absently. "As I'll ever be," she answers, nodding a bit stiffly but giving a small smile all the same. "Thanks for coming, though just let me know if you need to call it." She looks a bit guilty for asking Sienna out for this…but she couldn't have not asked; Sienna was most affected by this and ought to be involved if she wants to be. With thanks to the Healer, Kyara gestures Sienna a few paces away and lowers her voice. "I need you to be witness to what goes on in there. As Assistant Weyrlingmaster, you have the rank to ask them whatever you want, as well; I can record it, and it can be used when they're tried, so you're aware. As for me…" She shifts a little uncomfortably. "W'rin may have put me in charge, but according to Weyr law," she brandishes the records a bit, "it's the Weyrharper that's supposed to handle this…and Igen doesn't have one right now. I'm the best equivalent, I suppose, but I'm going to have to bluff to make the right impression. And hope that none of the men sitting in there know anything about legal matters where the Weyr's concerned. Or legal matters period. That would be nice." She takes a steadying breath, then looks hopefully at her friend. "So I might need you to support that bluff, if it comes to it."

Sienna nods, "I will," she says quietly. "As long as there's somewhere for me to sit inside, I'll be fine." Ignore the approaching Kehemath who keeps her distance but is still clearly agitated and on the prowl. Grr. "Ah," she says to the rest, dipping her head. "I understand. We'll bluff it, they're hardly in a position to be demanding anything right now."

Kyara may be distracted enough to ignore Kehemath, but Liareth is not, and the younger green slips around from where she's been sitting on the opposite side of the guardhouse, content to be a calm counter to her prowling friend as she draws near with an encouraging rumble and sits - a collected jade sentinel with a slowly undulating tail as the only evidence of what she's getting from her lifemate. With an upward flick of eyebrows, Kyara nods and smirks, turning to the door and setting her shoulder against it. "Alright, then," she breathes. The player takes a bow once more. Beyond the door, a guard beside the single brig of rusty bars salute, and Kyara returns it, directly asking for a chair as she surveys the men beyond. Crouched along the wall in silence they sit - the one found in the desert, still with a crazed look edging his eyes; the nervous one who didn't want the situation to escalate, next to the one who stood with him; the one guilty of starting the attack, a scrape on his forehead counter to the still-fading bruise he dealt Kyara. In the corner outside the bars is another man, looking worlds better than those four but still manacled - the mummy-man, presumably. Kyara clasps her hands at her back and silently, slowly paces before them, looking them over in silence, seeming suddenly taller and graver. Harper tricks at work, here; the men's eyes follow. "Gentlemen," she begins evenly, "this is not a place any of us wants to be. What say we help each other change this state of affairs, hmm?"

Kehemath rumbles softly to Liareth, and she keeps moving. Inside, Sienna takes the chair that's brought and settles carefully down upon it, eying the men with a thoughtful, cool gaze.

The crazed man laughs, a high pitched but short sound that has his fellows cringing. "I like it in here. Better than the desert. The sand - the SAND - it howls. It speaks to me, you know. It says things…to do things…" And he laughs, giggling to himself.

Scratched Forehead jerks an elbow to jostle the crazed one. "Shut up," he grates, trying to gain an inch or two away before scowling back up at the woman on the other side of the bars. Kyara studies the crazy man for a moment, a bit sadly; that one will likely have to stay in the care of mindhealers, once he's out. "He does have a point," she informs the others with a nod. "This cell is much more hospitable than the desert. If things continue as they are, with no one among you forthcoming, the Weyrleader may see fit to dispense with that hospitality and return you to the desert, however." Not malicious, but matter-of-fact. The greenrider gives the nervous man a particular look, marking him as the one most likely to talk. "With your caravan being a ghost, leaving no trace, I'm not sure you'll do too well out there. So, let's start with simple things. Such as, which caravan you belong to, where you last knew them to be, and why you'd detached from them in the first place."

Sienna chuckles softly, shaking her head. "The desert, or Thread to come…staked out for Thread isn't the best way to go," she murmurs, glancing skyward before her eyes focus on them again. Her gaze focuses on the mummy-man. "Can you answer any of these questions?"

The nervous man, while seeming the most likely to cave, still doesn't say anything, even as the prospect of being back out in the desert - unprotected from Threadfall, as Sienna compounds it - draws deep lines across his forehead. Scratched Forehead doesn't like it either, of course, but spits derisively into the dirty straw between his feet, his scowl deepening. "They've got nothin' to their name, there ain't no mark to tell where we left 'em at, and you know damn well why we split off, so jus' drop us out there an' be done with it."

Kyara maintains the mask of imperturbability as she listens to the bile of the scowling man, though she turns to look at the manacled man on the chair when he shifts at Sienna's question. She keeps the fact that she's kicking herself for not thinking to ask him first at bay as well, looking the man over and giving a small smirk. "Yes. The dead man walking," she remarks lightly. "Surely you're willing to help sort this out, being that you seem to be a victim of sorts in all this." The mummy-man flicks shadowed hazel eyes between both riders, chains clinking dully as he folds his arms. "Depends," he answers gruffly, "seein' as I seem to recall bein' used as a pawn by this lot and riders both that night." He kicks a shackled foot at those in the brig, dragging a scuff through the dust beneath him. "I wan' te see them swing for what they done, but I don' want no trouble for my people. Ye guarantee that, an' I'll tell ye a thing 'r two."

Sienna watches the mummy-man for a moment, and then looks back to those in the cell. Then back to him. "Depends," she says with a wry smile, "if your people have done anything the Weyr would consider trouble. But so far, we don't have any evidence against you, other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time." In fact, she might object to him being treated as a criminal so far, but she won't voice that now.

"If it has, it weren't my doing!" the manacled man insists vehemently, sitting forward so suddenly that it sets his chains to an almost deafening clatter for a moment. Then his expression becomes earnest, and Kyara recognizes that he's being protective - not of himself, necessarily, but of "his people." The man is someone of import. She's jotting things down as he keeps on. "We're small - nothin' to the big caravans what come through the Weyr more regular." That brings an uproar from two of the men in the cell, who surge forward to grab the rusted bars. "And we could've been more!" Scratched Forehead bellows at him. "Not at th' cost of honor!" mummy-man returns, and thus begins a loud crossfire of insults and arguing that has the guard shifting away from his post. Kyara sends him a brief shake of her head before employing a bit of Harper-learned projection to quell the noise. "ENOUGH!" She punctuates the shout with a boot to the bars - dangerously close to the hands that grip them from the other side and firm enough to set the metal ringing. In the ensuing silence, she takes a few steps toward the man in the chair, drawing even with Sienna and nodding at the other greenrider; she can question him further, if she wants, before Kyara asks him anything more for the moment.

Sienna listens as the men start to holler, letting them yell it out until Kyara stops it. Lots of information in there, if you know how to read (listen) between the lines. "Your caravan?" she asks mummy-man with a slight nod for him to go on. Elaborate.

Oh yes, lots of information indeed. Power sought, black market, taking over, debts owed - all snippets of what Kyara manages to pick out and is now jotting in the margins. Not wholly useful now - but there may be connections drawn further down the line. After giving a stare that could incinerate leveled on the dissenters in the cage, the man slides another look between both riders, jaw clenching and unclenching as he weighs what speaking further will glean him. "The Reika caravan. Out of Bitra," he finally volunteers. "Forin is my name. I lead 'em. Led them, too," he juts his chin at the other prisoners. "'re so I thought." Another round of grumbling, and Kyara shoots the four behind bars a warning look, amber glare sparking. "The rest 're out there, prob'ly headed Ruatha way, if they've kept on, like I told 'em. But they'll be wonderin." He snorts, sneering at the others. "Likely think I really am dead." Then he's giving the riders another look, entreating. "Get me back to 'em. Please. We don't want t' cause the Weyr trouble." Kyara looks between the men now. "Why were they trying to kill you?" she questions, brow furrowing as she eyes the other four. Two sides to this story; who will speak on it first?

No one inside the bars speaks for a moment, until the Sand-stunned man does with a cackled laugh. "We deserved more'n what we got for pay. He took us on with promises. Didn't fill them. Gone. Gone! Like sand. Like water." And he's laughing again, grabbing for a water skin and dousing himself with it.

Kyara's eyes narrow slightly in thought as she watches the most silent of the lot wrestle the water skin away from the crazy man. "Payment was mentioned before," she muses aloud, looking back to Forin. "They worked for you? But…" The wheels of her mind starting to turn a little faster as she starts piecing story possibilities together, Kyara beings to pace again - sorry, Sienna, you're getting circled! "You're a small caravan, you said. Perhaps newer as well; you can pay, but only with what you earn, and with at least size working against you, perhaps you weren't as able to live up to what you promised them as you thought you might. So you were, what, looking for other avenues to increase your marks, your chances for barter, placing you in better competition with the other traders, yes?" She stops moving, looking to him for an answer. Turning his hands over, Forin gives a bit of a nod. "Mostly true, yeah. Easy t' make promises when you're startin' out, full a' grand ambitions an' whatnot. Not so easy when it turns out harder 'n ye thought to make a mark." More notes scribbled, Kyara crosses to the bars again. "But you lot thought you could do better? Off the leader, take over, go into black market to make quick marks. But…" She gestures in the air with her stylus, including each of them. "Not you. Not you lot alone, right?" She eyes Scratched Forehead. "You mentioned pay, out at the oasis, but not his. Who put you up to killing him? Who was to pay you? The man with the knife?"

Sienna doesn't mind being circled. As Kyara speaks, Sienna is watching the men closely, searching for any signs that might betray truth or fiction. "Did you offer them a set pay? Or a percentage?" she asks the caravan leader. Then she looks back at Kyara, her back stiffening slightly, a small spasm running through her.

"Set," Forin responds, reaching up to rub his neck and having to drag both hands with him. "Woulda been less to argue with a percentage, I guess." He gives a self-derisive snort. "Hindsight's always clearest, eh?" Meanwhile, Kyara is still staring down Scratched Forehead, who's just returning her gaze measure for measure. The advantage is hers, however, thanks to old training; subtle shifts in his eyes, miniscule twitches in his face, capped by the fact that he simply doesn't answer her question - these all speak volumes to her. "It was him, wasn't it?" she says, stating rather than questioning. "Of course. The one who carried himself of coolest in the midst of it all." In spite of herself, her voice takes on an icier edge, talking about that one. There's still a good amount of anger there. "Well. He's gone now. It's over. May as well own up to it, which at least guarantees you shelter for a little while longer." Forin shifts back in his seat, scowling. "I ain't takin' ye back, boys. It's here or the desert for ye." Kyara nods, her eyes still trained on the man matching gazes with her. "You'll stay here and be tried. Accessories to attempted murder. That's how that works. Or you say nothing and we put you back where we found you. Which would be very, very rough going, I assure you." Finally turning back, she casts an apologetic look at Sienna before looking at Forin again. Time to figure out what to do with him.

Sienna glances at Kyara, and then back to Forin. "What route is your caravan taking?" she asks, leaning forward slightly, regretting it, and straightening up again. She can't do this for much longer but with a set of her jaw she's determined to see it through.

Nervous Man and Silent Man set to muttering between themselves as Scratched Forehead glares at them. Crazy just gets ignored for now. "They were supposed to strike out on the Middle Desert Pass, through South Telgar," Forin answers, "so they ought to be arrivin' at Southern Telgar Hold late tomorrow." Kyara nods, noting Sienna's discomfort. Fortunately, they're nearly done. Hopefully. "Well, Caravanmaster Forin," she states with a small smile, "it would seem we ought to get you back to your people as soon as possible. However, there is one point in Weyr law that I have to bring up, unfortunately." Her expression readily puts her displeasure with such a small issue on display, but it has to be done. "You've denounced these men and distanced them from your caravan, but not in a formal sense, which of course can't be done until you're released. Because law holds that the master must answer for the actions of those in his charge, the Weyr must require a contract of you: service in compensation for their actions against dragonriders." She pulls a parchment from inside the cover of one of the records. "It's the easiest way, and with Thread coming, you would be guaranteed a safeguard here." Faranth, she hates law sometimes. No wonder it was one of her least favorite subjects at the Hall. She turns to the men in the cell. "Speak now or hold your silence into the desert, gentlemen. It's your call. Thread is coming, but the desert won't wait for that. Don't be stupid."

Kehemath reaches out to Liareth, her thoughts tickling with sage. « Mine was thinking someone should go and fetch a member of the caravan. Bring them here and have them pick him out. To make sure he isn't lying. We have no proof he is who he says he is. » Inside, Sienna glances at Kyara, trying to get her attention.

« Good idea, » Liareth answers, a quick snort of approval accompanied by an energetic mist of invigorating humidity and bergamot brushed first across to Kehemath, then insinuated into the mind of her lifemate. Kyara blinks as Liareth gives her a mental nudge, relaying what Kehemath just voiced, and she looks down at Sienna, nodding. "I can go," she murmurs, enough for the other greenrider to hear. Then she glances at Forin, who regards the riders curiously. "It would certainly be the final proof. And a good excuse for a break." She waits a moment, waiting to see if Sienna has anything else to add.

Sienna nods a bit, and looks back at Forin. "Kyara is going to go to your caravan and let them know you live. And bring someone back to identify you. At that point, things will move pretty quickly and hopefully you'll be back with your people in short order."

Folding his arms with another clatter of chains, Forin gives a nod. "Go ahead," he says, confident that all will be well. "Ask for a woman named Kona. She'll have the best proof on me, I'd say," he suggests, eyes glittering in such a way that Kyara can't help but chuckle knowingly. "We'll see," she answers, her tone relaxing a touch. "I'll return shortly." She gives one last, hard look to the men in the brig, then reaches out to offer Sienna a hand to standing. Once out the door, she takes a few deep breaths, not realizing how stifling the atmosphere of the guardhouse was becoming. Liareth is quick to draw near, helpfully shielding the remaining sunlight from the emerging riders. Kyara's glance at Sienna now is a little wide-eyed. "That was…bracing," she comments rather thickly, shoving some hair back from her face. Then she gives a bit of a relieved sigh, smiling gratefully over at her friend. "Well. Do you need to get over to the infirmary again, or do you just need to rest up a bit?"

Sienna smiles at Forin, nodding her head. "Thank you for cooperating," she says genuinely as she carefully stands, using Kyara's help quite a bit in an effort to keep her back straight. "You did well," she says to Kyara once they're outside, with a smile. The Healer is there swiftly, stepping forward and offering the AWLM his arm. "I need to get to the infirmary," the greenrider says, her face tightening in discomfort. "But let me know if there's more you need, and have Liareth keep in close contact with Kehemath. You should take another rider to the caravan; don't go alone."

"I will," Kyara assures, both over keeping in touch with Kehemath and not going alone. Already Liareth is asking the lifemate of whomever Kyara has in mind. The greenrider casts a concerned look at Sienna - not for the first time, even though she knows she'll be fine - but smiles nonetheless. "I'll let you know as soon as I'm back, and this is all wrapped up. See you soon." With that and a quick salute, Kyara vaults up to Liareth's neck, and the pair make a quick trip back to their weyr before winging off for Southern Telgar in search of the tiny caravan that will help put an end to this entire debacle.

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