==== November 30, 2013
==== N'cal, V'dean
==== Two Fortian blueriders: their paths may be widely divergent, but chance to cross again.

Who N'cal, V'dean
What Two Fortian blueriders: their paths may be widely divergent, but chance to cross again.
When There are 0 turns, 7 months and 3 days until the 12th pass.
Where The Dustbowl Cantina, Igen Weyr

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Dustbowl Cantina
To enter the Dustbowl Cantina is to descend: the heart of the ancient tavern lies half underground, at the foot of ancient steps, insulated from summer heat and winter cold by the volcanic rock surrounding it. A windowless place well-lit by glows, it is homey, even cozy, with a certain bijou charm - but for the deep gouges worn in wooden table and solid stone, some clearly lingering evidence of boisterous brawling. The wall behind the well-polished bar, though, remains free from scars or graffiti, as does the door into the small kitchen, and the stairwell up into the owner's quarters: the barkeep and his staff reign, and they guard their territory well. After all, only a fool angers the source of the booze.

It is the eighty-seventh day of Spring and 69 degrees. The storm finally reaches the weyr as rain pours down in hard, biting sheets. The wind is fast and hard.

Rain. With autumn in one hemisphere and spring in the other, perhaps it's just inescapable. That doesn't keep a disgusted sort of disgruntlement about the stuff from etching its way in deep upon a Southern bluerider's features. It's hard to be too disgruntled, of course, with a bottle of liquor at hand — and so the sentiment is a submerged thing lurking beneath the easier smile V'dean wears as he trades some inconsequential words with one of the girls working the tables. She leaves, but he remains sprawled out languidly upon his chair with the others sitting mostly empty about the little oval. Upon one is hung his parka, still dripping, and the rung of another serves as a rest for a boot heel. There's some plate of sweetened pastry bites, but they remained untouched while he pours out another clear slosh into his shot glass.

The weather is both welcome and a damned inconvenience in the desert, and the wind that goes along with it is what disgruntles N'cal even more than anything else at the moment. It serves to propel him through the door of the Cantina rather more quickly than he might've entered otherwise, making him appear and sound rather more harried than he actually is. Still, the fact that it's ruined his plans for the evening is evident on his face as he pulls aside his oiled wherhide poncho and wanders over to the bar. It's a shot of whiskey for him first, which he follows with a glass of wine and a glance around for a table. But all disgruntlement is cast into the wake of surprise as his gaze lights on a figure he's not seen in ages. "Well, well, well," he intones with stretched, amused vowels as he makes his way over to another non-native bluerider. "Here's a face I've not seen in some time. V'dean! What brings you northward, man?"

V'dean happens to be watching the well-wrapped swish of the bar girl's walk when those stretched vowels pull his attention. It's a ready enough transfer, cool green eyes finding and then brightening with the sight of the other ex-Fortian. "N'cal," his smile slips wider. The sling of his foot becomes a shove, scooting a chair out in inviting offer as his posture draws straighter. "An attempt to escape Southern's humidity," his proffered answer comes with a laughing twist shaped to his lips. "And our boardwalk hasn't yet managed to touch the bazaar when it comes to…variety of goods." The flash of his smile sharpens. "Perhaps due to all those strayed ships." But this is all thrown off as readily as a stray curl of his forelock from his brow. "And what of you? Surely not the wine?"

The Igen bluerider readily accepts the offered seat, his grin wry at V'dean's reason for visiting. "It would seem Southern's humidity couldn’t bear to let you go. Although the desert thanks you for it." N'cal pauses momentarily, listening to the wind howl. "For the most part." He gestures with his glass toward the entrance, indicating the Bazaar. "It's quite an impressive place, it's true. Though I'll have to come make the comparison myself at some point. But strayed ships, you say? You'll have to tell me a bit more about those." V'dean's last question draws a rueful chuckle. "Oh, I'm here because I couldn't keep my bloody mouth shut. Though this doesn't surprise you, I'm sure. But it has yielded some," he flicks the new wingsecond knot on his shoulder, "rather interesting situations for me, as of late."

"Sure," V'dean notes in encouraging agreement with the other man's thought of visiting the Southern marketplace. The ships, or the greater telling of them, has him drawing in a breath as his eyes flick more pensively narrow. But that all turns into purer curiosity as N'cal goes on. Eyebrows up, weight pitching forward a tad onto the slide of a table-bound forearm, his cool green eyes take a closer look at that flicked knot. A long whistle remarks upon the fancier twists. "Well look at that," the skew of his smile has his typical irreverence, a thing that isn't particularly helped by the chuckling way he goes ahead and adds: "Sir. You talk your way into that, then?" The arch of an eyebrow lends the query weight. "W'rin hasn't exactly struck me as the listening type."

"He isn't," N'cal affirms simply, though the curve of his lips is delightfully devious. "And I didn't ask for it. But I did talk, naturally. Our new wingleader is the one who listened, and did some talking of her own. Clever woman, and brave, to make such a…bold request of our Weyrleader. And lo and behold," he flicks his hands upward and out, "Igen Weyr suddenly finds itself with a chromatic-led wing. I'm not sure I quite know how it was managed." Innocent as the sunrise is his expression before he takes another sip of wine - though the knowing glint in his eyes is most definitely not.

Oh, naturally, N'cal talked. V'dean is leaning weight into his shoulder, his table-laid forearm, as a knowing smile skews shallow curve across his lips. It's shallow enough to risk loss when mention of 'her own' is made — though in the end, it's but a more rueful twist that is held onto as brows shift over green eyes and the rider rolls his shotglass into the curl of his thick knuckles. "What is the world coming to," the Southern rider says with a murmur and a little shake of his head, thought there's laughter sparked bright into the cool of his gaze. "That does sound like you, doesn't it," is dry as he lifts his glass. "So far from the pulse of things. Oblivious. This oldtimer woman did it all." Down goes the vodka, drowning his laugh. "Your new wingleader is one of them," he's barely asking as he arranges his glass back to the table.

There's no attempt to defend what he's done, what he's planted; N'cal has never felt the need to, after all, as his easy shrug indicates. "The world's coming to Thread," he states matter-of-factly. "We need the best minds to combat it. Thread holds no prejudices, and neither can we afford to. Of course she's one of them." The bluerider stretches his legs nonchalantly beneath the table, crossing them at the ankles. "She's quite capable. And I'm quite content to help and suggest as needed. The wing will be incredibly different from anything Igen has seen in centuries, and we aim to make it an invaluable, integral part of the Weyr come the Pass." Beyond that, N'cal sips more at his wine, simply watching his friend across the table knowingly. The two of them have never really seen eye to eye on such matters, but N'cal is rather used to this.

V'dean can only rock a slow nod to the fact of Thread. That, and reach for the tall neck of his bottle. The best minds. He repeats that, sotto voce, shaping the words within the wry of his smile. His reactions are found mostly in the shifting angle of his brows, the flick of cool green eyes only alighting briefly upon the other bluerider as he goes through the practiced motions of refilling his little glass. There's a sardonic sketch for the wingleader's capability and N'cal's contentment that shifts into keener inquiry regarding the new wingsecond's aims. "Well, we've had Igen's misfit wingleader as Weyrleader, and I'm not sure it's been so different a sight despite Serval." He toys his filled glass into a spin between his fingertips, watching the bend of glowlight. "Sure, there were a couple of blues with fancy knots, but they've since been bounced. We've a green wingsecond, but… bronzes and browns." His smile firms as his eyes lift across the table. "It will be interesting to see what you get up to." Instead of raising his drink, he frees a scritch of fingertips into the scruff of his cheek over the forming divot of his dimple. "Suggest, N'cal?" It's a velvet coaxing tease. "I don't suppose you do care much for being a figurehead."

“I don’t suppose I do,” N’cal returns wryly. “There’s so much more satisfaction in influencing a situation from the backdrop. For me, anyway.” He considers his glass for a moment, turning it by the stem in slow quarters before chuckling under his breath. “I’m sure what we get ‘up to’ will reach Southern ears in due course. Two months from now…who knows what you may be hearing?”

“Mm. Otherwise, why bother to leave home,” V’dean muses with an absent turn of his fingers from scritch into an airy gesture. The other bluerider is watched from a slanted gaze as the Southerner subsequently leans his shot up from the table and lifts it to tip between his lips. “Due course,” he echoes with a low murmur as cool green eyes follow the glass back down to rest, a delicately sour lacing allowed to wind at the words’ edges. “Well.” His mouth tugs into a wide curve as his gaze lifts back. “I’m sure we will all be listening.”

That light sourness to echoed words isn’t lost on the Igen bluerider, and N’cal raises an eyebrow. “Something on your mind, V’dean?” he queries, though his tone is a touch bland. Perhaps he’s expecting strong opinions in counter to what’s being done from his comrade…though this would not surprise him. Then again, it could be something else altogether prompting the tone. N’cal is all ears.

My mind.” V’dean lets a chuckle loft hs brows and curl amusement upon his mouth. The legs of his chair squeak as his posture pitches more upright, feet dragging flat and hands pulling in the tall bottle. Yeah, he bought the whole thing, no he didn’t finish it — he is only Fortian, after all, so there’s a stopper to be fitted into place so the rest can be saved for later. “Just full of filth,” he jests with a scrunched slant of expression that borders on a wink.

With a chuckle of his own and a shake of his head, N’cal proceeds to drain the rest of his glass, setting down with a satisfied click of his tongue against the final bit of tartness to the wine. “Some things simply don’t change,” he needles in return, grinning widely. “I’d best get back to work. Or so Iolarth suggests.” The glass is pushed away with the hollow scratch of glass against worn wood, as is the bluerider’s chair from the table. “Any other news, before I go? Else we can catch up some more later, if you’re still here.”

Indeed, there are some constants, V’dean would seem to agree by his grin that’s only superficially helpless as he gives an upward turn of palm. His hand falls back to curl about the bottle’s shoulder so he can slip it from the table as N’cal parts with the wineglass. There’s a lopsided twist lingering at one edge of his mouth. A shake of his head answers — no other news. “Give our best to Iolarth.” He, too, is scuffing up to his feet with the warm pooling of alcohol making his motions lazily liquid. “I’ll see about looking you up next time I’m in-Weyr,” the Southerner offers along with a friendly pat of his hand to the other bluerider’s shoulder. “Now that I know that you’re here.” Though he’s gained his feet to better see N’cal off with a smile, V’dean will let the other man precede him out — he has those sweet pastries afterall, one of which he pinches between fingers to pop into his mouth as he takes up a lean of elbow upon chairback. “One for the road?” is invited as the newly minted wingsecond takes his leave.

N’cal glances back and turns to snag one of those pastries for himself, hoisting it a bit at the bluerider in thanks before popping it into his mouth and brushing crumbs from his fingers against his leg. “I certainly shall,” he says of the greetings to his lifemate. “Clear skies, V’dean. I’ll see you again soon, I’m sure.” With that, and a pause to steel against the blowing rain beyond, he slips out the door into the grey of evening.

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