==== September 24, 2013
==== Sara, A'lory, Realilina
==== Friends plan and offer ideas to help.

Who Sara, A'lory, Realilina
What Friends plan and offer ideas to help.
When Days after When Harpers go Rogue
Where La Serenissima



La Serenissima
The flaking, honeycombed edges of once monumental limestone rocks have been sent over sideways by the toll of four hundred Turns' ill effects and put to use for writing spaces and seating. Bone white with salty scaling, smaller chips off the old block lie in a carefully scattered arrangement, lining a path along the subtly labyrinthine grooves of the stone floor, guiding one's feet between the minimal, shabby-chic trappings of a man's life tucked into convenient crevices; hidden deep in the smallest end of that dark place is a decadent scarlet and iron staircase twists upward into the inexplicable mountain chill that creeps in from some unknown source to touch the spine with madness. Looming larger still, a monolith of halite and limestone dominates the larger space, worn smooth for a dragon's sleeping space.
On the ledge, you see a bronze dragon.
On the perch are Tsingano, Kira, and Lance.

There's quiet in the small weyr A'lory inhabits, a waiting sort of stillness that could mean ill or good for any who bother to search the man out, curled up in one of the larger crannies of the place and methodically sharpening a wickedly long knife. The metallic scraping of stone against metal is punctuated by the soft bellows-forge breathing of his dragon, likewise curled up near to his rider. They seem to have established a sort of hypnotic harmony, their minds in sync in a way that is rarely openly displayed.

Sara is methodical in her presentation. Hair out of place is a luxury she simply does not allow to happen, and yet, that is exactly what has happened now. Her neat braids and pins have been replaced by a rather messy bun, the product of someone who simply wants it out of the way. She occupies the far corner of the weyr from her lover, hides spread about her as she tries, in vain, to make sense of the incomprehensible. The real ledger for the Handsome Harper sits before her, and she traces the figures written in her own hand as well as those written by Peaston. Finally she shoves it out of the way with a muttered curse and leans back against the cool stone wall, closing her eyes. "He's a lying bastard." The words are out, now, in a calm, soft tone. "Why is he still here, damn it."

And A'lory looks up, his gaze on Sara with grave concern, and the knife-whetting stops with a final scraaape. Unfolding himself from his little corner of the world, he moves closer to Sara, finally sitting down near her. "Have they given you a chance at that fake ledger?" Because of that much, he's certain: it's a forgery. "And also, have you asked Gritta to make discreet inquiries for you? The woman likes you — I am sure she'd tell you where Peaston got that book, if nothing else."

Sara's eyes remain closed for just a moment, and when they open, it's clear she's on the verge of tears again, for not the first time in the last few days. The rest of his comment is tucked away, and she ocuses just on the first part of his question. "He probably made the thing himself."

A'lory snarls softly. "If I could just get my hands 'round his throat… " Oh, the pretty colors the man would turn, and how enjoyable it would be to crush the life out of him. But no; that kind of thing is not the kind of thing a man with responsibilities should do. But still, the wish is a bright spot in this dark tunnel of that man's making. "We've got to find a way to search his room — surely there's evidence of his duplicity there. I mean, I do have to interrogate him regarding K'vvan — but I don't think that gives me cause to enter his room."

"Even the guard couldn't stand him." And honestly, with the guard standing as it did, them not liking a fellow sleazebag was a surprise. Sara pulls her legs up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. It's a comforting position when there is precious little to be comforted about. "I'm not sure there is a way to get in there without breaking some rules. The man is meticulous about his interactions. Finding him slipping up…" Sara shakes her head slowly. "And yet, breaking rules to get in would only lead to more trouble. No." She shifts the topic suddenly away, "I haven't spoken to Gritta yet. I am not sure what the fallout from the other shop keepers will be. Many were not particularly happy to see more crafters open shops."

A'lory looks thoughtful. "If the guard does not like him — I am sure a sufficient bribe will convince him to search the room?" And oh, there speaks the Bitran in A'lory. Money buys many things – especially cooperation. "Surely the man would do anything to potentially damage Peaston." Because A'lory would, and he's fairly certain Segram would, as well, just on principle. "No — they were not. And Peaston is an example of why. Present it to her like this: you need her help in removing him before he does something disastrous to the Bazaar. If you leave him long enough, he will, out of spite. He very obviously does not like the way the Bazaar is run, so why should he profit from it? Same goes for any other crafter who opens a shop there: if they cannot abide by the rules of the place, then they need not ply their trades there — they should operate within the Weyr proper, and stay out of the Bazaar's business."

The mention of bribing the guard has a bright spot of color rising on Sara's cheeks. "When they straight up ask to be bribed to simply let this go…" There is heat there, a sharp contrast from the almost defeatism that Sara has been battling. "But would it hold up if we didn't do it the proper way?" Sara looks up to see what he thinks.

"Corelle trusts him implicitly. And evidence is still evidence — he was told to search the place, and I assume that warrant included the private rooms, so… " A'lory shrugs, eloquent. "Very little in this Weyr is done 'properly', Sara — we have to play the game as it is structured, or move to Southern." And he grins a little at her, amused and malicious. "Greedy little bastard, is he? Look, I'll give you the marks for the bribe — I have little need of marks these days."

"Blast it… Yes, I could use the help. I do not want this to go to the hall for it. Peaston has already made it clear he wishes me to twist in the wind." She manages a small smile of thanks before… "He lives in the crafter area…." Sara is not at all sure if this means much, and reaching out she pulls the warrant from the pile. "What does he /get/ out of this?" She mutters quietly.

Through some means or another, Lina has managed to get herself onto Eisheth's ledge. Before she's even within sight, you can hear, "SARA! Sara, are you here?" backed by Turns and Turns of operetic projection training. She peeks in, obviously quite frazzled, and there's an huge sigh of relief when she spots Sara and A'lory in one piece. "By the egg, that bastard!" she spits, eyes ablaze as she stalks forward, rage carried in every movement. "I just heard what happened. I can't believe this!" She turns her eyes toward Sara, some of the anger fading away to give way to empathy and concern, "Are you alright? They didn't hurt you, did they?" Whatever Sara's answer is, it manages to console her well enough that she realizes what she had just done and red start to flush her already sunburnt cheeks. "Oh, Faranth, I'm sorry, A'lory! I hope I'm… sorry. I shouldn't just barge in here. Sorry, sorry."

A'lory's ears perk right up at that — "Oh, does he?" How conveniently placed is the man! "Perhaps a little jaunt — " Oh, hey, Realilina, nice teleportation trick. "Well hello, there, Realilina. Do join us." Smirk. But it's good to know Sara has concerned friends around her to come to her aid, one way or another. "So — think you could manage to get a rummage-about in Peaston's area, find some interesting things? Or should I just outright tell W'rin I think the man's forging shit and see what it nets me?"

The first real smile makes it onto Sara's face as her friend makes her entrance. She uncurls to stand, look, you are going to get hugged, hope you're cool there. "Please don't tell w'rin."

Realilina has her ways, A'lory. Call it feminine teleportation wiles. She returns the hug tightly, holding Sara at arm's-length afterwards to inspect her for any injury. Just in case. Satisfied that no one has laid a finger on her Harper friend, she gives her another hug for good measure. "We'll make him pay for this, Sara, mark my words," she assures, mid-hug. She takes a step back, and A'lory is given a glance as she tilts her head, "Are we doing some undercover investigation?"

A'lory smiles wickedly. "Officially, I want to hear nothing of the sort. Anything you learn should go to Corelle; she's technically in charge of the guards and the like." And then his grin turns real malicious. "I would love you forever if you found anything regarding Peaston's practicing forgery. Shit, I'd love you for finding anything about the man that would make it obvious he's not precisely the paragon he pretends he is."

The hug does more for Sara's spirits the much else can, and when she does step away there is a visible shift. But before the pair can get caught up, Sara folds her arms. "What if it isn't him?"

A'lory raises his eyebrows, in complete agreement with Realilina. "Who else, love, would love to see you fail?" As to Realilina's question, he sighs, deeply. "They probably thought it would help them survive the Comet. They probably even had good intentions — but. Well. It didn't work out.

"I so wish there /was/ someone else. But that is just it, how could he have thought he wouldn't be caught in the backlash? " The Harper moves to sit on the bed with a sigh. "The incompetence of the guard is concerning. Is there another way we could get to his rooms without it looking suspicious?"

Realilina plops herself down on the floor criss-cross near the bed, sighing in frustration. "I know it's him… it has to be… but that isn't PROOF. I know you would never do something like that, Sara, once you set up a legitimate business. How is it right to just… shut your business down, with nothing but a fake ledger?" She steeples her fingers, taking a deep breath. "Is there a way you could prove that there was no one who would have been able to sell you what it says was bought?" she muses.

"I…. " A'lory pauses, thoughtfully. "I don't know for sure, other than asking the guard to conduct a search. Preferably through Corelle, as a way to find suspicious items, or whatever." Which is problematic. He scratches his chin thoughtfully, then offers, "I am back to bribing that damned guard. If he's willing to take one to make things go away, perhaps we can play on that in order to be rid of him. Segram doesn't seem fond of him, all things told." He then nods to Realilina. "A point. I could put it out that I am suspicious, and want to be sure my mate is only doing legitimate business… " And he hates the idea of such a ruse.

Sara does NOT like that idea, but withholds her judgment personal point to see the merit. "It would be believable." To Realizing Sara shakes her head. "I would need to see the fake ledger to see if there is a way to prove it false with other evidence. The guard snapped it shot before I caught more then a glance."

Realilina wrinkles her brow at the suggestion of bribing the guard, shaking her head and adding, "I don't like it, at all. If it ever comes up again, then it will look even more suspicious. But we have to get something, anything, to create some reasonable doubt." Those law classes as an apprentice are paying off now, aren't they? She tugs on her skirts and settles them artistically in a puddle around her knees, contemplative.

Missing Poses
"What a coil." A'lory sighs, softly. "I just don't know." He looks around at a rumble from his dragon. "He wants to know how the Bazaar denizens feel about these raids and what they intend to do about them." For surely there has to be something.

Sara is more than suprised as Eisheth provides a question. "There is a lot of talk, mostly about wondering why the guard all of a sudden is poking in when they've turned a blind eye before. But there hasn't been an offical meeting… well, see how well the last one turned out." Sara's lips twitch slightly, but not in a happy way. "There isn't a safe place more than a few can get togther where things could be discussed."

"That's scary," Realilina adds, resting her chin on her hand. "While I understand the need to tithe to a Weyr, it's getting to the point where people can't even meet to discuss something. Is the Weyrleader just turning a blind eye to this?" That's more of a demand than a question, directed towards A'lory.

"I'm sure W'rin isn't." For all her general dislike of the man, Sara does believe him capible. "But from what I know of weyr politics this is the Senior Weyrwoman's arena, and there is only so much he can do. If only we knew what Corelle's place in all of this is. I should talk to Gritta, find out for sure what is going on."

Realilina nods at Sara's words. "I suppose that's true enough. What in the world is she thinking?" She rearranges her skirts once more as she extends her legs out in front of her. "I'm just really glad you're okay. Physically, at least."

And A'lory is drawn back to the conversation by Reali's question. "Sara's right — only so much he can do unless Corelle's actions prove damaging…. " And a thought strikes him. "Loik, the Bazaar folks need to meet safely, right? Have them meet up here. Even Corelle can't just bully her way in here without having to explain why to W'rin. It's safe enough." He lifts a shoulder. "If there are questions from the guard, direct them to me."

"She may have nothing at all to do with it," Sara has to keep pointing this out, that perhaps people are innocent. She is, right? A'lory gets a cocked look, "That would be wonderful, the guard couldn't get up here without help and that would tip everyone off to the fact that perhaps…" Sara freezes a moment. "A'lory. Corelle is from another weyr, right?"

"She is, actually." A'lory confirms. "You could be on to something. That makes it doubly important you manage to get them up here to meet. Legitimate reason being they wanted to lodge complaints about property being broken — which I am sure is happening."

Sara pushes herself up from the bed, action she can actually take right now. "We should speak to those who are interested in perhaps meeting here, though they might not trust you. I need to speak to Gritta, I'll ask her thoughts on it, and maybe she would speak to the Sheens about it."

A'lory nods thoughtfully. "Do. I am willing to find a way to make this safe for them. I resent the damage to the economy these raids are having."

"We might also talk to Sadaiya, Sara," Realilina throws in. "She was at Harper Hall for quite some time, and I was friends with her. It may be she could provide us with some more information about the Weyrwoman's… motives." The words are perhaps not as carefully chosen as they should be, and she gives a small smile to A'lory, "Politics."

"Sadaiya, yes. Perhaps she can help." Sara has new purpose in her face, and she bends to pick up the warrent and stick it in her pocket. "Why don't you speak to her? A'lory, perhaps you can talk to those in the weyr, and… maybe Mayte." A worried look there as Sara considers the little apprentice vintner. "yes, she's well liked and perhaps could talk to others who wouldn't speak to me or you. If everyone is able to pool their ideas.."

A'lory nods agreement, looking to the women with a little not-smile. "We will all do what we must, ladies. This Weyr will not be failed through incompetence or manipulation."

Realilina rises at this point, showing the same purpose as Sara. "I'll go see what I can do. Don't worry, Sara. We'll figure this out." She gives Sara a parting hug, and A'lory a solemn nod. As she turns to leave, sending a firelizard off, presumably to grab her ride, she takes a few steps before pausing and glancing back at A'lory, with a smile that actually touches her eyes, "A'lory? Thank you for taking such good care of her."

A'lory smirks with real amusement at Realilina. "When she condescends to allow my humble self the privelidge." A private joke, perhaps, to insert levity in a serious situation. And he rises smoothly to go abd soothe his dragon's itchy shoulder.

The levity isn't lost on Sara, but it is more bitter sweet. Before she follow Realilina she steps towards A'lory to kiss him on the cheek. She looks up into his eyes. "Thank you," she whispers, and then she is leaving, more bounce in her step as she moves to fix her hair while walking.

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