====December 27, 2013
====Maryam, Taryn
====The girls take a break from work, explore an idea and discuss men, of course!

Who Maryam, Taryn
What The girls take a break from work, explore an idea and discuss men, of course!
When There are 0 turns, 4 months and 12 days until the 12th pass.
Where Bazaar, Igen Weyr

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Out-of-Business Business
Just a hole in the wall, the sort of place that hardly draws a glance by those passing by- and perhaps that's why this little shop went out of business. Two men standing with arms outstretched and fingers touching could span the width of the shop, from one side to the other. The feeling of space is provided by spotless whitewashed adobe walls, the open windows that hold no glass but do have shutters, and a door with only a heavy curtain to keep the public out. Another doorway at the back leads to a miniscule nook that's intended to be an office.


-- On Pern --
It is midmorning
It is 11:24 AM where you are.
There are 0 turns, 4 months and 12 days until the 12th pass.
It is the seventy-eighth day of Summer and 93 degrees. It is a bright, sunny day.


Having another young woman working at the Pit has been something of a revelation to Maryam, especially as this is a young woman that she can comfortably socialize with- not a girl employed by Rosie, in other words. There is someone to speak to! Someone to have lunch with! Though it's early for it, work being what it is makes taking breaks as one can necessary, and so the mid-day meal has been taken at a vendor's booth recommended by Maryam. They have the best kebobs, she'd explained, provided one isn't allergic to a somewhat heavy hand with the spicing. And if you are, there's his fellow nearby who specializes in these tasty little fried dough balls made of coarse grain flour. The native Igenite finds them a little bland on the tongue but there's no accounting for taste, is there?

With the Pit's opening several hours in the future, there's no particular haste in the steps that Maryam takes away from the booth. She's still nibbling on the last piece of grilled pepper that decorates her kebab stick, head tilted to the side, empty hand lifting her veil to avoid staining the fabric with the oil that glistens on the charred red skin. The path she takes lead them under the tiger-stripes of light and shadow built by intersecting awnings. This is a district of food-focused shops and booths, and the woman are called to more than once to stop and taste this, or try that, won't they just pause a moment? But Steen's daughter has other plans in mind; she has cast her eyes forward, to a storefront whose awning is rolled in on its framework, whose windows are shuttered and its door curtained. But when she speaks, it isn't of the destination that seems more a certainty with every step. She voices curiosity again, casting a sidelong glance at her companion. "How are you finding the Pit?"

Taryn proves game to try the kebobs, but also thankful for the blander fried dough offered adjacent once her Telgari palate starts to burn. She's savoring the last by tearing it to little bits between her now oil-stained fingers, having an easier time of eating for the veil-less wind of her vibrant pink headscarf. The striped slip of sunlight winks from the little cut-glass flowers decorating her hair pins, but the drape of her dress is a blander dark cream beneath — more practical for the work that will call in those future hours. But for now the Pit's healer wears a bright smile and offers her refusal to the more insistent of vendors with a cheery shake of her head. It makes it seem accident, the time she takes to turn kohl-rimmed eyes back aside to Maryam. "It feels different, after Keroon." So good is she at holding onto brightness within her voice, but this observation is laced with a breath of more sober contemplation. Still, her shoulders tip upward and a tear of golden dough pops between her lips and her eyes attend forward with light curiosity for thier path. "It's interesting, the different ways people try to escape."

It is a sobering contemplation and though Maryam's expression rarely strays from solemn, even when she contrives to smile, a heavier air settles around her as she nods agreement. "We have gone from simple diversion to vital service, I should think. That is good for the coffers but I have noticed an edge to the crowd's calling, these past sevens." Having finished her treat, she spins the stick off into the dust, leaving it to roll into shadow at the mouth of an alley- the typical manner of trash disposal here in the Bazaar. The gesture has the feel of ingrained habit and she doesn't spare the fallen stick a second look. Instead, she adjusts her head to cross gazes with Taryn. Hers narrows with a faint attempt at smiling. "But it ensures us employment well into the Interval." They've drawn closer now to that curtained door, near enough that it's clear what the veiled young woman means when she nods towards the entrance. "A surer source of employment than the idea I have been trying to free myself of, for months now. It is for sale, that shop. If I bought it I would be the third owner," she says without preamble.

"Yes," Taryn agrees with both the nature of the crowd and employment, thought of both pulling the edges of her expression subtly wry. Finishing the last nibble of dough ball, she dusts crumbs from her fingers and then reaches a pinky to grab for the edge of the coarser edge of her sash where the wipe of oily fingerprints will blend with the drab mottle of material. "The idea." Groomed brows lift as the scan of darker eyes finds the smile in ice blue. "Perhaps you're the charm," she offers the other woman on a lilt of positivity. "That shop?" Now she nods towards the shutters and curtains, her stride turning longer as her path picks up the angle to move from the street's center. "It kind of blends in, doesn't it? What is your idea?" Rather unlike the purposefulness of her motion towards it, pink scarf rippling softly as she dodges around a pair of conversing men, smoothing her path in retrospect with a turn of a downcast dipping smile over her shoulder. It's an absent sort of thing, as she's eager to reach a tease at the curtain.

"An idea," Maryam allows. The passage of others by the pair sees her voice dropping to a conspirator's pitch, the whisper as she dogs Taryn's steps hardly enough to stir her veil. "I have no idea if it would be sustainable but…" The pause that follows is pregnant. "It would be mine, entirely. A tea shop. Something small, and out of the way. A sanctuary for those looking for an environment that is comfortable and more intimate than what the Cantina can offer. Perhaps I could be the charm. But…" She drifts towards the wall, turning with her shoulder towards it and her hand outstretched to gather a bunch of the curtain in her palm. It's Taryn who'll be treated to the first full look of the room beyond, as any proper hostess would offer. "But there are so many buts, I have no idea where to begin. To purchase it, to deal with Mama and Eliseu and their objections, to run the thing and us almost in an Interval, with so many tightening their belts and looking away from luxuries…" The words have come out all a rush, bubbling and tumbling over each until finally, when she trails off, Maryam nearly sounds winded. There's no veiling muted excitement for this idea, as a result. She watches the other woman closely for her reaction.

"Oh, tea!" Taryn easily finds delight in it and eagerly peaks beyond the obligingly gathered curtain. "How lovely would that be? Especially in the worst of times, the little luxuries are that much more dear." From making quick scan of the whitewashed little space, kohl-rimmed eyes dance back to Maryam so she can offer a quick flashed smile. "I can't imagine you having trouble running it," she says with ready confidence in the Steen daughter's abilities. Bangles clack softly as she reaches a hand out to make a little squeeze of encouragement for the other woman's wrist, beckoning her follow, before slipping inside. Her slow-spinning appraisal dances the dust floating across the cracks of light spilled in through the shutters' seams. "Would Eliseu object?" Innocent in her curiosity, she lets her gaze tip back towards her veiled companion.

This would be the other advantage of working with a peer: Taryn's delight in the idea is both a relief and invigoration. Maryam's entire posture changes, with shoulders lifting and eyes alight. "It would be lovely, wouldn't it? A little hidden oasis." She might have struck on a naming idea there, signalled by the quick pause that indicates she's committing it to memory. Then, with a deeper smile wreathing her eyes for the compliment and squeeze both, she tilts herself through the doorway and lets the curtain fall. Those lances of sunlight cutting through the shutters's seams become the only illumination and so it is at first, while Maryam looks about and takes a deep breath. "He would have every right to expect that I tend to our home and our children. But I have realized…perhaps remaining at home is easier for girls who are raised to it? But I have been working out of home since I was twelve. Longer, if one counts apprenticing with Gritta, or helping my father on occasion when I was younger still. Oh, it's so small." This last is said as she performs a slow revolution in the center of the floor- and then drifts to the rightmost window to begin fiddling with the latch. The wooden rattling releases a fresh wave of dust motes to sparkle in the air.

Enchanting, even, judging by the light smile touched upon Taryn's features. She drifts towards the back where there's that little nook for an interior office, a glance given over her shoulder attending to the other woman's answer. "It's cozy," the healer opts for, sharing a knowing smile across the little space. She stands in the rear doorway, hands lifted loosely to the sides of it as she watches Maryam spin before going to the window. "You've sisters, cousins. I'm sure you have a… niece," for example, "that would gladly help you keep household instead of being lost in hers. Why should you waste your talents?" Head tipped, expression bright, it's like it can't possibly be more complicated than that. "And Eliseu can't be very insistent upon children?" she doesn't expect.

The latch sticks but finally gives to Maryam's insistent lifting. The shutters go back with a clatter and a wave of sunlight rolls into the room, blinding bright against the white wall. "He will insist on what is expected and children are always expected. It is our duty," she says with a glance at Taryn- and maybe there's a secret pleasure there, that the other woman has asked a question she's often wondered herself. "But yes…with a niece to help at home and others to apprentice here should I find myself hardpressed to manage…" So the idea becomes all the more delightful, so much so that Maryam's eyes gather in a wince of want. A breath is taken, another, and the depth of that emotion eased away while she drifts to take her own measure of the office. "Did you want children? With your husband?"

It's not unpleasant, that wash of light, but it does get Taryn shuttering her eyes beneath the drop of lashes and tipping her chin away until they adjust. Perhaps it keeps the healer from being as perceptive as she might — not that she's always the keenest of creatures. "I'm sure…" But she's not really sure what to offer in the face of the fiance's dutiful expectations. Shifting to make room in the doorway, the able line of Taryn's shoulders finds a lean upon the back wall, one palm sliding to rest flat against the light-splashed adobe while her other hand lifts to finger along the embroidery at the draping edge of her headscarf. She bends the delicate wind of leaves and winging insects over her thumb under watch of blue eyes. "I was not my husband's first wife. There were already children. If he hadn't…" She trails off with the lift of one shoulder and then of a painted smile. "But I've never really found myself wanting them. You don't either, do you?"

It is possible, given the way that Maryam stands still and silent, transfixed, when Taryn gives her answer, that she's never spoken to a woman who admitted to such things. It would certainly explain why, rather than keeping to a respectful and thoughtful moment of reflection upon hearing of Taryn's life before, her answer escapes in a rush. "Oh…oh, no. It seems a messy business, before, during and after. One day, perhaps, but now…?" Her head turns, the hem of her veil brushing chest, then shoulder as she performs another survey of the little room. "No," she finally repeats, "not for some time." But then- finally!- her focus returns to the healer and small cues are taken in: the play of fingers over tiny stitches, the downward cast of her gaze, the memory of that pause and broken sentence. It hardly takes the smile that follows to guess at thoughts unspoken. Her regard grows somber again. "I have never asked because I was not sure it was proper but…were you happily married? Mama says first husband for duty, second for pleasure but…"

It's remarkable enough, the rush of words ecaping the light drift of that veil, that a wider grin springs to life upon Taryn's features. She nods ready agreement for her companion's conclusions. Perhaps it leaves her all the more off balanced when the somber question is made so close upon amusement's heels. Fluttered lashes blink over wide blue eyes which again dodge down, though they don't remain away from Maryam for long. "Does she say that?" There's a touch of laughter, perhaps, lingering in her voice. "I…" She takes a long breath, one hand folding over the other against the wall as she takes in the swath of fabric with ice blue eyes. "No," she answers rather wonderingly. "I married for necessity." A curled edge of her smile pulls lopsided. "But then, I did find happinesses. I don't know that you can count on a second husband." But perhaps there's a greater trace of wryness found in a knowing level of her gaze on the note of leaving things to chance. "If duty dictates your first husband, does that mean expectation would allow you to choose your second for yourself?" it leads her to wonder… and to a dawning tease that lifts at one brow. "Maryam. Have you already picked him out?"

"She has had six husbands, but only ever says what the first two are for," Maryam is forced to admit- and the humor of her own answer leads her to amusement. Short-lived amusement, alas, with the turn of conversation leading her closer to the other woman. Touching is most definitely not something usually done but then, neither is attempting to comfort. It makes the fingers that curl out to brush Taryn's shoulder somewhat stiff and graceless in their application. "I hope that you have found happiness here too," she ventures to say- before finding herself thrust into a quick shift of emotion a third time. This round's suffering? Embarrassment, in which she snatches her hand back and drops her chin abruptly, as if struck. The veil worn today is simple cream, and around its edges the bright heat suffusing her face is all too vivid. "No! Of course not. If…should it ever…it is likely poor luck to be planning for a second before one has even married the first."

There's a grateful tip of her head for the offer of comfort, as amaturely as it might be given, that shifts the thick blonde braid beneath scarf's pink. "I have," is perhaps a touch weak in answer before she gets swept up in the new turn of Maryam's reaction. The abruptness of it assures that her eyes are quick to look and find that damning flush. It doesn't make it to voice, but you can just see the giggle brightening in blue eyes and perking more narrowly at her smile. "Oh, yes," Taryn agrees as if they are still having the most reasonable, logical, of discussions. Her posture rolls, hands lifting from the wall to fold primly before her. "I am sure it is terrible luck." Which by absolutely no means keeps her from leaning a shoulder nearer and continuing to press with girlish breathlessness: "What's his name?"

And here Maryam discovers the downside of working with another woman: they notice things. Not that she has the tools to hide these things from the prying eye but… "It is not like that at all," she tries to insist, a peek stolen at Taryn over the edge of her veil. Finding there only expectation and the bright dance of Taryn's dark blue eyes, she hesitates- and then relents with a sigh that could be resignation. Or possibly relief. "All right. Just…you have to swear, healer, not to tell a living soul," she warns with one breath only to say with the next, "It isn't as if it's important or serious either. I just…noticed him. I think a great many people have, he is…besides, he cannot marry anyone, he is dragon-claimed and if Mama did not have another heart seizure to know I had paid a man other than Eliseu any attention, to know he was a rider would finish her. You know her feelings on that." But just in case Taryn's memory has faded, Maryam reaches out to tweak the hem of pink fluttering near her shoulder. "You must say nothing. Promise."

Isn't it like that? Taryn's expression remains perked impishness. She'll nod, she'll swear, she'll… lift the linked flat of her fingers to press against the threatened escape of her giggle as it spangles anew in her eyes like the afternoon's sunlight through dust. The tweak of her scarf gets that fold of hands settled earnestly over her heart. "I promise. For the sake of Mama's heart… for you." But her grin is spreading wider and now nothing stops the little burble of laughter that sets her brows peaking in a look of delighted sympathy. "A dragonrider, Maryam? A dashing rider," so many would claim it would seem — though it may be unclear whether she finds this better or worse. And if the veiled woman will presume tweaking, the oldtimer will escalate to clasping at those fingers with the insistent warm of hers. "Which one? It's not that Oasis rider I've seen in the stands at The Pit, is it?"

And Maryam is sold on all of it. This is the peril of having too few female friends; she's sucked right into the vortex of girlishness, with nary a hesitation. She gives her fingers over while her eyes almost disappear under the force of a rare but bright smile. "No, not him, nor the little red-haired one who fights upon the sands sometimes. It really is pointless, no matter how dashing, riders have neither time nor heart enough for other people. But…" Here is where more practiced young ladies with sigh their dreamy sighs, or join Taryn in giggling out secret delights. Maryam instead grows solemn as she prepares to impart The Name. The healer's hands are given a light press. "It is the Weyrsecond. The new one, from Ista. Cha'el. The last time we spoke, I think I might have overstepped my bounds, he was questioning me on Eliseu and…but…ah. It really is silly, isn't it?"

No, no — not the little redhaired one. Poor M'tias, the wrinkle of Taryn's nose and shake of her head wouldn't have possibly believed him as the rider worth universal notice. And perhaps she may have protested pointlessness, but then there's the decent of Solemnity. It has the healer schooling her own features towards seriousness, though that's a feat that proves a little beyond her. Especially when revelation of The Name sends her eyebrows up and eyes tipping for points of reference. "The Weyrsecond." Impressive. "Cha'el," she tries the name. "I think I've heard… but I haven't met him." A shake of her head has her gaze dropping back to find Maryam's and her fingers give light pulse of her interest. "How did you? Meet."

As if to prove it wasn't the rank that attracts, Maryam hastens to say, "He was not yet Weyrsecond when we met. That came after Keroon." Then? Cue the flush of heat and color so rich it seems to should stain her veil. This matter of speaking of private things? Difficult. She needs to clear her throat before answering. "The Weyrleader introduced us. He was…I was taking the air at the lakeshore and he was. Oiling his dragon." Shirtless. Small wonder she's fumbling. "Sikorth," she quickly adds to show she wasn't entirely blinded by pectorals. Another glance goes winging to meet Taryn's eyes. "Then he flew us to Keroon for the Gather, and brought me back after though he was…they were so tired. And we have seen each other several times since. He has been very much a gentleman. Perhaps not an Igen gentleman but…an Igen gentleman would pay me no attention at all and it will get him into trouble. You know my mother." There it is, the proper sigh, though this one marks regret.

It twists Taryn's little smile knowingly to the side, this first hasty correction, though it would be difficult to find any negative judgement from her concerning appreciation for that more intricate of knots. In any case, she's held gleefully rapt by the story. The Weyrleader, the lake, and the oil. All the little assurances of Maryam's factual impassivity — they only serve to drive the smile deeper within the depths of darker blue eyes. Then there's Keroon and the tired flight back, and the healer's lips are rolling together as she makes a more wide-eyed audience. In the end, her breath gusts out. "Yes." She does know Mama Steen, if not too terribly well — well enough. "Maryam," the tease of her amusement comes slantingly back to life. "You have a secret beau." And isn't that delightful! Another squeeze of hands and then she's casting off, making a twirl across the empty floor. "And you're going to have a darling tea shop." She fetches up beside the entryway curtain, catching it into her hands. A sway-skirted twist has her lifting the clutched edge of it across her nose — it's a poor mirror of the veiled woman she smiles across at with a crinkle of eyes. "Then he'll know where to come calling. On proper gentlemanly business. Of course." Sure. That's why she's smiling so, as she drops the curtain and gives another fanciful twist of her skirts.

That the tale has sent Taryn into dancing draws a startled laugh from Maryam, a sound short and sharp and quickly stifled under folded hands. The prompting amusement lingers on, buoyed by the healer's mimicry. This time she recognizes who the other woman is pretending to be; she can't be fooled that way twice. "I do not," but by then it's too late to argue. "I am too old for secret beaus and he is a rider, besides. But he is very nice. And this place…" The safer topic, yes, one she leaps to answer with alacrity. "I think this would be a lovely little shop. A place I could work in peace. Where you could come, before your shifts. I would save you a table in the corner and you could drink the best Fortian brews, tea so strong it holds the spoon straight in the cup," she says, drifting to the opened window as she makes this description. Arms stretch out and up she goes onto her toes to seize the shutters' grips, swung outside. Gloom is returned to the room when she pulls them shut.

Far, far too late to protest — but Taryn is content in her fun, keeping herself to the quiet enjoyment of a sparkle-eyed smile, even when the Weyrsecond is proclaimed so very nice. Her promised corner has her tilting against one edge of the doorframe, the bend of her arms catching her easily as she turns her imagination once more to the tiny space while Maryam tends to the shutters. "In that case, you must get it. I insist." Straightening with a push, when she grabs at the curtain this time it is to wind it into a twist that's out of the way for both of them to exit. "I think I shall have to come here to write up my order sheets. I can't imagine doing them without being able to look up and ask you to do figures quickly in your head," she makes more lighthearted tease. "I've gotten so spoiled."

"I will do my best." Of course, with the name she wears and the fortune she has access to, Maryam's best is rather head and shoulders above most. She already sounds thoughtful, wheels no doubt turning, ticking in orderly fashion through the minutiae needed to move this project forward. After a last look around, at the lances of sunlight, the dust motes, the whitewashed walls whose glow has been put to sleep for now, she shifts to follow the healer and ducks, squinting, out into the bright day beyond the curtain. "You could do those yourself but if that will ensure our continued friendship," and oh how her voice drifts quiet, almost shy, speaking that word, "then I will happily provide the figures. But we should be back now or Mama will wonder." Come, come. She moves briskly away from the empty shop, the mantle of cool, calm businesswoman wrapping about her with every step taken. Taryn will simply have to keep up.

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