==== December 29, 2013
==== Zeyta, Cha'el
==== Cha’el has a run in with Zeyta. Again. At least this time he knows what to expect and verbal sparring ensues.

Who Zeyta, Cha'el
What Cha'el has a run in with Zeyta. Again. At least this time he knows what to expect and verbal sparring ensues.
When There are 0 turns, 4 months and 6 days until the 12th pass.
Where Igen Weyr, Dustbowl Cantina - Back Alley


At the end of the seven-day in the midst of summer and under a crystalline sky Igen Weyr knows no limits to late night revelry. Inside, the Cantina bursts with evening activity, where men and women of all walks mingle over drinks and the loud cheers of camaraderie that celebrates another week worked hard, another week lived well. Away from the vigor of fellow Weyrmen and bazaar-folk under the harsh light of the yellow glows and into the narrow backstreet behind the bar lurks a figure so often foreign to bright, jocund atmospheres. Alone, Zeyta leans up against the rickety fence blocking off the raised garden bed, obscured in the thick shadows that fester back here, cast wide by old masonry and its uneven dips into little hovels of secluded shelter, cobbled floors rough and well trodden once but now forgotten and avoided with the unsettling feeling that accompanies passage through here. In the darkness, the clink of ice against glass sounds on occasion, hallmark to the lifting of ice water to parched lips, then a return to basking in silence.

There’s a difference between being able to easily engage with a wide spectrum of people and having friends. Igen’s Weyrsecond would fall into the former category, the low rumble of a trio of male voices heralding the arrival of yet further patrons to the Cantina. “That’s what she said,” the stocky blonde bluerider says causing his two companions to send out a short bout of laughter. “That’s only because she felt sorry for you,” the thin red-haired greenrider retorts. “You keep that up, threadscore will be the least of your problems,” comes Cha’el’s return, a smirk winding into facial hair that’s making the transition from dark stubble to beard. A flicker of movement off in the shadows followed by that clink of sound, draws him up short, the other two walking on a pace when the brownrider slows to identify its source. “C’mon, Weyrsecond, the ice is melting.” To which Cha’el waves the pair off. “You two go ahead, I’ll catch up with you later.” He says moving to where Zeyta is propping up the wobbly fence. Or is it the other way around?

Zeyta breaks neither pose nor reticence, already immune to the excess spillage of rowdy bar-goers into the seedy labyrinth realm of what lies beyond the cozy charm of the Cantina that might disturb her solitude. A nigh imperceptible adjustment, a slight tilt of the head brings her gaze with its supercilious manner down on the carousing dragonriders, the rest of her facial features masked by thick bars of blackness falling over them in the nighttime. Gone unobserved, perhaps, she returns to the small crop in front of her, sparse, but well-tended, despite the dying hope of vegetation in so tight an alley, sunlight always sparing. Doubtless, she realizes her contrived airs of invisibility and passing of unseen judgment attracts the notice of one (less drunk?) brownrider ambling her way. But is she welcoming of company? Not in the slightest, with her cold shoulder that places the onus of communication on the investigating Cha'el.

Having been on his way in, Cha'el is still quite within the realm of sobriety, though in half an hour, the same won't be said of his companions. That being as it may, the brownrider, with hands shoved into pockets, meanders closer, still not a hundred percent certain of the identity of the one that lingers in deep shadows other than hazarding a guess going by silhouette, that it's a woman. "You know, typically, the drinking is done inside the Cantina. Unless of course you're one of those that tipples in secret. Or…" and there he pauses, features lit by a thin sliver of moonlight, "you're underage." Self-appointed watchdog of the young and reckless? Probably not going by the short grin curling about his mouth.

Poor (ha) Zeyta: the runt of her litter when born all twenty-some turns ago. Let not the minuscule stature fool, however; she cuts an intimidating figure with the way she wields a hard body backed by a steely resolve, decidedly a woman in countenance and curves. As his steps breach the darkest space between them she straightens and pivots, full-faced to his silver-lit face with its grin, countering him with one stern, impenetrable expression of her own. She tips the rim of her glass in his direction, water swirling clear and cool. "Typically," she repeats, mildly caustic, "But as I am not typical, you are wrong on both accounts." Her gesture turns into a toast, drink angled in the opposite direction for her to take a small sip.

Cha’el comes to a full and abrupt halt when the woman turns. Ah, Zeyta! The Weyrwoman’s aide. And his grin slips a little becoming a tight smirk instead. “Then I have to assume you lurk in the shadows so as to hide your addiction to…water?” Guessing at the clear liquid in her glass.

"I draw it in private ever since they accused me of murdering the former Weyrlingmaster and dumping his body down a well," Zeyta offers, sarcasm lost in her dry monotone. Heedless of this rumor or the taint on her reputation, she hitches her shoulders, indifferent. "Or else I avoid the drunkards while still remaining well within reach of a decent beverage. Or, who knows, maybe Zeyta just awaits company." Yes, she transitions into speaking in the third-person.

Now the smirk’s gone too, Cha’el’s attention narrowing tightly on to Zeyta. Murder? The former Weyrlingmaster? The Weyrsecond straightens and his chin drops, the young woman put under closer scrutiny, silence wrapping about him like a cloak. “Company or an accomplice?” His baritone finally breaches the gap in a low rumble of enquiry.

"She keeps straight-laced society, worry not. Weyrwomen and guardsmen do not fall suspect often to suspicious behavior." Oh, look, a trade, for Zeyta seems to adopt Cha'el's abandoned smirk with a framing of dimples. Glass still gripped, she upholds both her hands, pantomiming surrender to reveal herself unarmed in weaponry and intent. "Well, lest you count Kczyslawborth, but he's yet to torture a creature more sentient than a herdbeast."

That smirk of Zeyta’s will find a corner of Cha’el’s mouth lifting though it’s less a smile and more a calculating tilt of thought given brief display. “And what may I ask, is your connection to the Bazaar?”

"None, except my relation to it as a customer. A girl has her vices." Zeyta's being decadence of any sort - just step into her weyr and a veritable museum of antiqued treasures greets the eye. "And you? Are you dog to the Weyr or the merchants?"

“Mmm,” the humming sound that catches to the back of Cha’el’s throat could be his clearing it or a sign that wheels and cogs are turning. The insult Zeyta attempts to bait him with, earns a tight smile, devoid of humor, it challenges. “I am loyal to my dragon.” The question of his fealty otherwise, sidestepped.

"Hm." Terse, unintelligible, Zeyta dons her austere expression once more, schooled by stoicism as she sets her glass down on a post. "He states the obvious," she murmurs.

Rocking back on his heels, Zeyta is set with a dryly amused look, “Because the rest goes without saying.” More verbal smoke and mirrors from the Weyrsecond. “I’ll save us both the trouble of wasting breath and assume that Zeyta does what suits Zeyta best.” See he can play that game of too. “So what I have to wonder, what does Zeyta get by being the Weyrwoman’s aide, hmm? One step closer to the seat of power?”

"Tch." For a brief moment her vision anchors on Cha'el before her eyes roll. Zeyta waves her hand at him in a wider arc that descends down to her hip, foisting itself there as the other does the same, elbows bent outward like wings. "More like what does Igen get. I've turns of experience men like you and W'rin neglect on account of gender. I've no time for whatever experiment and charade Trek runs with Arroyo. So Zeyta gets the thankless task of seeing that Igen does not topple while you run drills and count the holdless. If it's gold that catches your eye, well, I'll polish Sadaiya and Tuli all the better for Zeyta to shine with."

Once again, Cha’el listens in silence to the outspoken brownrider’s verbiage, mouth curved about a patient smile though it may come cross more as condescending. Only right at the end, when she’s said her bit does a brow hike up in pointed manner. “You know, with a chip that big on your shoulder, it’s a wonder you don’t walk as skewed as your viewpoints on people you don’t know, appear to be.” There he pauses and then tips his head to one side, sea-blue gaze never leaving the uptight young woman. “If you rode bronze and the Weyr were yours to do with as you please. What would you do differently?”

"I've read your files, Istan usurper." Truth or lie, one cannot tell from the poker face Zeyta veils her emotion behind, although her frequent presence in the archives lends her some small measure of credence. "Mmm, but let's not devolve into ad hominem abuse," she decides, interest sparked in a sudden thorough scrutinization of her neatly manicured nails, posturing dropped. "I don't deal in speculations. Give me a knot, and I'll show you. Otherwise, carry on. What's one girl's biased disapproval to you?"

She’s read his what!? The air of easygoing drops about a tight expression, hardening further when Zeyta takes a crack at what she apparently thinks she knows. The urge to tell her to go fuck herself writhes beneath Cha’el’s skin like a living thing but turns of discipline and training find him managing to hold onto it. Instead his chin jerks up and he nails her with a cold smile. “It might mean a lot but until you can get your head out of your arse, it’s little more than muffled crap.” And with that, he takes a step backward, he has a game of dragonpoker waiting for him and companions that don’t appear to have the blade out for the point between his shoulder blades.

"Mmm, Igen has much hope for its future." Zeyta blinks s l o w l y at Cha'el, a flutter of 'lashes to acknowledge that she lives and breathes and sees him smile and trounce off for the Cantina from the corners of her eyes. "And much promise for women, being spoken to like that." Done studying her nail beds, she collects her glass from the fence behind her, and, watching him rejoin the din of crowded bar, drifts off in the opposite direction, booted feet thundering through the maze of backstreets.

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