==== December 14, 2013
==== Jhael, Mayte
==== Mayte goes looking among refugees, and encounters trou…er, Jhael.

Who Jhael, Mayte
What Mayte goes looking among refugees, and encounters trou…er, Jhael.
When Five months and 21 days until the 12th Pass
Where Abandoned Caverns

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Abandoned Caverns
A tragedy of 400 turns ago wasted this cavern system which was, at its demise, private living quarters. The 'door' barring the entrance is a combination of loose wood planks and lumps of rubble too bothersome to move and suitable to make entering an unattractive past time. Not that there's anything captivating of the interior remains; a legitimate cave in of the base rock obstructs most of the ground though the chamber expands past its original dimensions when the wall to an adjoining room also collapsed. Grit and fine chips of stone carpet the floor, shreds of a rug are visible from under the weight of boulders. There is one undamaged glow sconce, but the vermin calling this abandoned cavern home aren't disclosing its salvageability.

The Abandoned Caverns are that well, a lot less these days. The flood of refugees, once every crack was filled in the terraces, have over flooded into this dark abode. The rank smell of human occupation mingles with that of the vermin add another layer of musk to the already dank caverns. Many people gather here, clustered as they attempt to escape from the burning heat of even this late in the evening. Little conversation happens as the dour refugees who have claimed this corner as their home. Chipped clay pots are full of water which draws some of the heat from the room. Overall the mood of the caverns is dower, and even the smallest of children here are subdued. Over in one corner, clustered and whispering with other teens his age is Jhael, his dirty bare feet and torn clothing allowing him to mingle seamlessly into the pathetic crowd.

The atmosphere of the Abandoned Caverns doesn't seem like the place a clean-cut, attitude-enabled Vintner apprentice would wander in to, but here is Mayte in the doorway, hands stuffed into her jacket pockets, shoulders hunched over into a smaller posture than usual. As she moves through the narrow pathways of people, Mayte sniffs once, but her face doesn't change much - a mere wrinkling of the nose to prevent much more inhaling, but surely the denizens of the Abandoned Caverns are used to that expression of new-comers by now. It looks as if Mayte is searching, eyes briefly shifting over each face that comes into view; they never rest long, moving over Jhael and his group a fraction more slowly.

Eyes track the too-clean intruder into the caverns. If Mayte looks right at them, many of the refugees will be looking elsewhere, but as soon as their gaze moves back they bore into her back. Jhael's group latches onto the movement of the Vintner. He smirks at them and rises to his feet. Slipping easily through the crowds the shorter teenager falls into place next to the Vintner. "You're that Vintner from the Bazaar. What do you want down here?"

Eyes having searched and then dropped from the crew around Jhael, Mayte has moved on; she starts walking away from that group, making a few feet further before she hears a voice specifically identifying her. She doesn't jump; in fact, Mayte's body language tightens inwards as she continues walking, not looking at the short skinny kid addressing her. "I am," the Vintner apprentice will give that much (not like the knot can be denied), but if Jhael thinks his recognizing will bring insta-friendship, he's to be disappointed: "Someone," Mayte says vaguely with the short clipped end of finality.

Jhael, of course, was thinking nothing of the sort. He draws up even with the Vintner, totally close enough to get to her personal space. "They," he nods in the general direction of the other teenage boys in the corner, "are wondering how many marks you'll exit with. If you're stupid enough to enter with marks."

Mayte doesn't quite move away from Jhael, but fists tighten in her pockets, the leather straining gently over her knuckles. There's a slight derision in her voice as Mayte asks, "Y… They get a lot of people coming in with marks, huh?" There's a short shake of her head, and she continues, "Can't lose what you don't have." Another group is stared at, and Mayte's pace slows a trifle before picking up again.

Jhael snorts, derision clear "Some what come here are just plain stupid." Even as she attempts to move away, he slips closer towards Mayte, close enough to brush her with his elbow unless she moves away. "Suppose you think you ain't stupid. Course, if you ain't stupid, makes me wonder what you're doing here. Vintners ain't got much call with the reuse of the bazaar do they?"

If the kid is watching, Mayte's eyebrows shift up momentarily right before they smooth down into a mask. She doesn't have much to answer with, until she points out, "You're here too, ain'tcha." There's quick beat before the Vintner adds in soft tones, "You didn't come here with these people, though, either." Is it a guess or memory in her tone? Strangers in a strange time. As for what she's doing here, Mayte stops in her tracks, avoiding Jhael's elbow entirely: "These people can at least trade for spirits." Jhael's elbow isn't the only thing Mayte's avoiding, looking quickly over one shoulder at faces she hasn't examined yet, "Just checking out who might be up for a drink."

This has Jhael spriling into some less-then-gleeful laugher, as it has a slight edge to it. "You ain't stupid Vintner. Probably got enough drunks what would buy your throw away spirits, just to drown out how piss poor this oven is." For it IS still hot. Even Jhael's trader trained skin shows a thin sheen of sweat, only adding to the dirtiness of his appearance. "Just like you bazaar folk- milk anyone who got something to make your own lives better."

Mayte continues in her unaltered pace, as if Jhael has latched on for some amusing times - like if Pern had Remoras. There's a brief enough nod to the boy before Mayte starts to slowly pick her way to the cavern mouth - the path is lit just enough that she can avoid tripping on anything or anyone. If Jhael cares to continue with her, Mayte looks over and contests with a snide humour, "Like I've heard bazaar folk saying of caravan-types. S'always someone picking on someone else." The point having been made, at least in Mayte's mind, she continues on. "s'not here anyway," she mutters a little, and her shoulders straighten slightly, like a weight has been brought off of them.

"Least we don't lie about what we are." Jhael continues to follow just oh-too-close still on Mayte's heels. From out of his pockets he pulls three small balls, and begins to toss them in the air as he walks. "Not like you bazaar folk, traders what have tied their balls to one place and lost any trace that made 'em unique. What are you really looking for here? It ain't new customers."

If the kid's trying to get a rise out of Mayte, he's definitely on the wrong track: "Never lied about who I was," she grunts, pausing quickly before moving on. Nothing to see here. "Not bazaar either, though." Perhaps that's the misconception: "Crafter." There's a heavy ironic tone underscoring those two syllables. How many worlds can one inhabit in the same skin? As for what Mayte is looking for: "Not looking for conversation." Any irony has fallen into absent tones as Mayte starts to approach her entry point.

As Mayte says what she doesn't want, Jhael makes the abrupt decision to give it to her. "So you are lying about what you were looking for." He continues to shadow her as he tosses his balls in an idle circle upwards, back to his hands, then into the air again. "This place got even less for a crafter." Faint derision coats Jhael's voice at that.

Right. Tell the pipsqueak to shut up, he starts talking. Mayte obviously doesn't have kids. Perhaps the booty gives it away. Engaging evasive maneuvers: "S'fine, then," is Mayte's reply, eyes wandering over the group from whence Jhael came once more as she passes them. Again, an abrupt stop, and she turns to lean down the few inches to get right into Jhael's face-space, one hand emerging to clench on top of a slender thigh. "I'm not crafting right now." Despite what the slightly-stained knot says. The thin-lipped look she's giving Jhael, though, might confirm what the short vintner says.

Jhael's juggling comes to an abrupt stop when the Vintner stops and invades his space. There's no twitching back, though he does make a vague attempt to grab one of his balls as it sails over the Vintners back and drops to hit her back just under her neck between her shoulder blades. "So, what're you doing searching round the human midden? Trying to impress some boy about how tough you are?"

Fortunately, short hair doesn't let things entangle in it so easily, and the ball rolls off of Mayte to the floor with a little sound. Mayte gently toes it back to Jhael as she eyes him. Restraint lets her answer simply: "Nope," until youthful indiscretion makes her add, "No boys worth impressing around here." Perhaps it means she hasn't found who she's looking for; perhaps Mayte is baiting a little as she straightens, but she's wise enough that, "If I have to impress someone about my toughness, I'm doing it wrong." That left hand is still sitting outside her pocket, the fingers brushing against her hip.

Jhael grins cheekily upwards at the Vintner, his feet shifting in place gently. "Then what're you doing?" It doesn't seem to bother him at all that the vintner is waayy close. Mentally he takes bets on what'll drive her off first- the smell on his clothing (Chanel Midden) or his breath.

"Looking," Mayte says faintly as she looks over what is visible within the cavern once more, but all seems to not fit what she's looking for. Jhael is, regrettably, not in her range of view, but Mayte seems to find some decision or resolution in that one last look through-out. Whether it's the smell of the room, of Jhael, or Jhael's breath, Mayte is quick to turn on her heel and make her way out the cavern entrance, anything she has to finish that thought lost to the hubbub of refugees that don't bother to watch her leave.

Jhael leans against the entrances to the caverns, his two remaining balls going upwards in to the sky again as he watches the Vintner disappear from view. A slight smirk crosses his face as he pushes away from the entrance. "Yo, Fender. Got an idea…" he calls out over the hubbub of the caverns.

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