==== September 14, 2013
==== Sienna, Maryam
==== Maryam and Sienna talk 'woman to woman'.

Who Sienna, Maryam
What Maryam and Sienna talk 'woman to woman'.
When There is 1 turn 2 months and 24 days until the 12th pass.
Where Central Bazaar

Central Bazaar
All roads in the weyr ultimately lead here, to this center of commerce. Canvas awnings jut out over time worn, sandy cobblestone, sheltering customers and wares alike from the majority of Igen's elements, and funnel scents both mouthwatering and vomit inducing through the thin streets. Almost all store fronts are open air, delineated by sandstone arches with intricately carved facades. The insides of these stone-shingled buildings act as an amplifier for the salesmens' bawled enticements, and are held up by the chipped swirls of marble pillars.

The autumn evening is cool, which makes for a good time to be out and about shopping. Or, in Sienna's case, sitting on a bench outside one of the shops, sipping a steaming beverage. Dressed in traditional female attire (minus the head scarf and veil), the Weyrlingmaster has her knot on and her cane tucked between her knees with that mug cradled between her palms. As the sun's light fades and clouds drift overhead, she shivers slightly and sips more of her drink, watching people go by.

A number of those people cast the woman sharp glances as they meander by- long-time Bazaar merchants or members of their family, for the most part. Perhaps they're judging her for the uncovered head? More likely it's the knot. Temperatures towards anyone not of the Bazaar have cooled; an air of paranoia reigns among the oldest of the Bazaar's blood. But not all give her such a wide berth. Here is Maryam, still showing the streaks of trail dust on the robes she wears over her lady's kirtle, on the turban about her hair and the veil in front of her face. When she spies the gravid Weyrlingmaster she changes course to come before her and offer a polite nod. "Ma'am. May I?" Bony fingers flick towards the opposite side of the bench.

Sienna has noticed those cool glances, those sharp looks, and she pays them no mind. She's not actively bothering anyone, whatever her original reasons for being here were. Dark eyes lift to meet Maryam's face though, and it takes Sienna a moment to place her - and it's mostly done by voice. "Maryam. Please, join me," she offers, scooting over a bit in invitation. "How are you faring?"

"Thank you, ma'am." First Maryam settles herself, the robes tucked around her and arranged neatly. Once that's done and her hands have been folded in her lap, she turns her head to study the woman beside her. "Well enough, thank you for asking. Today was my day of rest, I spent it riding outside of the Weyr. It was pleasant to be away." It was only a matter of time before her gaze dipped to Sienna's belly; that moment comes after. "How are you? My mother sends her regards and says she hopes the pregnancy advances comfortably."

Sienna smiles, watching the girl settle and tuck herself in. "You do that so elegantly," she comments, adjusting her own wrap dress. "I feel like one quick movement and this whole thing is just going to unwind…" And wouldn't /that/ be a sight for the bazaar. "You ride? Runners?" she's assuming and there's no denying the longing in her voice. "My thanks to her. It is progressing, though less comfortably each day," she admits, rubbing her massive stomach. "Do you know, has she chosen someone for our child?"

"Thank you," Maryam says again for the compliment. "I studied as a child with Gritta, of The Night Flight. It is difficult when the style is unfamiliar." Out of habit, she runs a look over the other woman's garments. "Yes ma'am, runners. We own several and I try to go out once a month, at least. There are so few opportunities." Pleasantries accomplished, she lets her eyes narrow in a wince to mark some chagrin. "I apologize for not having contacted you sooner. It has been…very busy. But yes. Mama has decided her good daughter Annyka would be suitable. She has a new son and will be able to wetnurse, as well as provide fosterage." She extends a hand towards one loose fold. "May I?"

Sienna nods her head, "I know of Gritta. I know her son, We'bey." She wouldn't say she knows Gritta, though the two have spoken a few times. "It is difficult but I am learning - slowly. I empathize with having little time to ride. I enjoy it myself but haven't ridden in turns. Perhaps after the baby…" There's a little smile and a shrug. "No need to apologize, I know things have been," and here she pauses with a look of understanding for the young woman, "difficult here as of late. I hope things have settled a bit?" Then another pause. "Annyka. Can you tell me about her?" Then an eager nod. "Please. Did I do it wrong or did something just come loose?"

"After the baby, yes. Perhaps you might borrow one from our stable. Here." Maryam would never never say that someone who ranked her had done something wrong. But she does reach for that fold to straighten it, tug, drape and secure it neatly under the woman's belly, providing some additional support. "You wore it properly, but as women without babies do. This is better for you," she explains, looking down. "We shall see if things settle. With luck, perhaps. Touch wood. Annyka is very night. Quiet, soft. She likes to sing while she works. My brother cares for her very much, she will be good to your child."

"I would like that," Sienna admits quietly. And she knows she did it wrong - at least wrong for her - and watches as Maryam fixes it. "Oh." It's a simple sound, but it encompasses a sudden understanding. "That is much better, thank you." Her hand automatically reaches out to touch wood, and with a little thrill and a feeling of sudden affection, she finds that one thing at least has survived the turns past, even if it is a superstition. "I hope it settles for you as well," she says with quiet honesty. "She sounds like a lovely person. I would like to meet her sometime if I could, but I don't want to impose. I know the Family Steen is often busy."

Maryam settles back and lowers her head in acknowledgement. "I will see if it is possible. Right now, it is…" She hesitates. For a woman so obviously comfortable with silence, this one seems almost uneasy. The small signs are there, her fingers fidgeting in her lap, her eyebrows notching closer together. When she glances at Sienna again there is something very much like uncertainty in her regard. "May we speak as women, ma'am? You and I, here?"

Sienna tilts her head slightly, watching the woman, and then she looks around. "Certainly," she is quick to reassure, her voice soft. "If here would be the best place." Unspoken: they could also go elsewhere and speak as women, perhaps with more privacy where none will see Maryam speaking with a female greenrider and Weyrlingmaster.

"If we leave to go elsewhere, anyone watching will know we are speaking in confidence," Maryam replies. Notably, she does not look around. "But if anyone asks, I will say we spoke only of the fosterage." How quickly the young woman finds cover stories! And how comfortably it rolls off her tongue, to make her veil flutter. It flutters again when she sighs. "I am not sure how much of our time makes sense to you. You are of the old times, yes? It must seem so strange. We must seem so strange to you. But you have done well. You hold a rank few women could ever aspire to, you stand beside some of the most important people in the Weyr. Including the Weyrwoman?"

Sienna smiles, though it's very slight and subtle as she rubs her belly. "You are very smart," she says quietly. Impressed. "And exactly right I'm sure." To the further comments, she chuckles. "Some things make sense, but much of it is very strange. But I am learning. And I /want/ to learn." Then she smiles with a nod. "Yes, I do. Well. Sadaiya. I do not know the Senior. But Kehemath and Jivayath are clutchsisters. They are close, as Sadaiya and I are close."

"Thank you." This time, her gratitude is by rote. Maryam hesitates again after, her eyes flicking over Sienna's face. The smile, the small movement of her hand. She nods. "One day you will learn I am breaking several rules by speaking to you of this," she finally confides. There's a faint tensing of the skin around her eyes, prelude to a smile that never appears. "You are a rider, I am of the Bazaar. But…you are also a woman. Of woman of family. I am…concerned. My family…I have no way of finding out if the Weyrwoman has a hand in what has happened in the Bazaar. It is possible, a woman of her breeding, that she sees what we have built there and…disapproves."

That day is today, as Sienna nods and seems to understand. "Corelle?" she asks softly. "I do not know her. I've only met her once and she…did not seem to approve of my rank and position." Though notably Sienna still wears the knot N'thu gave her.

"No," Maryam agrees, "it flies in the face of everything we are raised to believe. That you wear the knot of a Weyrlingmaster. That my mother, and even Gritta, have the power they do. Even my position within the Bazaar," and here old habits arise, leaving her to bow her head in apparent chagrin, or possibly even shame, "defies what is considered appropriate for a woman. Within the Bazaar, two of the four who hold respected seats are women. One of the four seats has now been removed. I fear for my family, ma'am. If the Weyrwoman has targeted us. The Weyrleader's hands are tied, he cannot touch the business of women. But if there were a way to quietly discover what her involvement is…"

Sienna frowns, pushing curls out of her face and shaking her head. "I have heard nothing. I am the Weyrlingmaster. I am not involved in the Weyrwoman's affaris…" Nor should she be. She knows this. "But I could talk to Sadie. See if she knows anything…" There's a furrowing of her brow, a hand rubbing her stomach. "What do you fear?"

Again Maryam looks at the other woman with uncertainty. Uncertain that she should even be speaking of this? Asking this? Involving this Newtimer? A rider? There's no way of telling what the reason is but she's hesitating. "The Weyr cannot survive without the tithes we provide. Their ability to continue to function depends on us. But not all have been tithing, and one could say that we are all too aware of the leverage we possess? I worry that someone has decided we should be replaced. With…more biddable business owners. Perhaps I am wrong. I should like to be wrong."

Sienna's frown deepens and she inclines her head slightly. "I will listen," she promises quietly, "and see what I can hear. That's all I can promise you though, Maryam. As much as I'd love to help, I…am walking a very careful line myself, and this rank does not give me access to everything."

The rush of Maryam's relieved exhalation lifts her veil a little. "Thank you. That is all I had hoped, that someone might listen for me. It is far better just to listen than to do anything else. I have no ears in the Weyr but neither do I want to place you in a position that would make things difficult." Her eyes narrow in a small, but deeply grateful smile. "Especially with you so near your day. But thank you, ma'am."

Sienna smiles, shaking her head. "I won't do anything I shouldn't." So no eavesdropping outside of Corelle's office. "But I will listen." She was doing that anyway, so curious is she about how the weyr is run. And W'rin is not the kind of man to come home and tell his mate all the woes of his day.

Maryam folds her hands before her and touches her fingertips to her brow to supplement her spoken thanks. "I am very grateful. And I will see what I can do to remind Mama that you should meet your child's foster mother before the birth. She has been distracted but time grows short, yes?" Her smile is a gentler thing when her hands lowered, though still mostly obscured. "I should return home, to see how she fares. With your permission, ma'am?"

Sienna inclines her head. "Thank you, Maryam, I appreciate it," she says with another rub of her belly. "Time does grow short. Shorter still, if I take her predictions over the healers'." And there's a faint smile for that, before she nods again. "Of course, Maryam, take care."

"She has had many and more children, but your child is yours, and your body your own." That's as close as Maryam is ever likely to come, to contradicting her mother. And she's quick to stand afterwards, as if leaving can erase the fact that she said it. "Be well, ma'am. Clear skies. I will see you soon, I am sure." With that, she moves off down the street- garnering more than a few glances from those who had loitered in the area. Glances that soon after trail over to Sienna.

Sienna nods farewell to Maryam and then resumes her sipping of her cooled cider, rubbing her belly thoughtfully as if she's doing nothing more than thinking about giving up her first and only child to be fostered here in the bazaar. Seems this child - the first between an old and nowtimer - will also be a bridge between weyr and bazaar. Will it be seen as a gesture of faith and goodwill by the weyr? A gesture of trust to send the Weyrleader's and Weyrlingmaster's child here to be raised? Or as an attempt to infiltrate where the weyr does not belong? Only time will tell.

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