==== December 8, 2013
==== Maryam, Cha'el, W'rin
==== Maryam runs into two riders talking at the lake shore, and a man date is arranged at The Pit.

Who Maryam, Cha'el, W'rin
What Maryam runs into two riders talking at the lake shore, and a man date is arranged at The Pit.
When 6 months and 9 days until the 12th pass.
Where Igen Weyr



Lake Shore
Sprawled out beyond the Weyr proper's hustling activity and ambling roads, the cool, blue paradise of the Weyr lake promises escape from the oppressive hammer of Igen summer's cruel climes; the asymmetrical, sandy white shores hook delicately around the deceptively still waters running deep and sure, greedy peninsulas reaching white fingers stretching in crooked lines towards its center. A sturdy shack, weather-beaten and brown as cured leather, resides in isolated splendor upon one such finger, screened shelving offering a variety of brushes and fragrant oils housed in colorful tureens. Out beyond a small and dusty paddock ringed by a white fence, a long rocky pier stabs out into the lake, providing a panoramic view of the Weyr itself, while the southern shores provide varied shrubs and grassed for the massed herds in their pens.

It is the middle of the day at Igen. And Igen being a desert in the middle of summer the heat is stifling. What better time for a lazy swim at the beach, for those Igenites who have a moment off, or for the much less sane run. Which is what brings the Weyr's giant of a weyrleader at a steady pace down the sands of the lake shore. Shirt tucked into his back pocket and sweat pouring from every place imaginable the man comes roun the turn of the lake, slowing to a steay walk, hands on his head as he cools off. Valiuth's hefty frame lies curled in the sands, not quite asleep, but certainly not entirely present in the moment, thoughts elsewhere.

Running? In this heat? Are you outta your gourd!? Or so would be Cha'el's verbalization if invited to participate in the lunacy of jogging at midday. But he hasn't been. Nope. Stripped down to the waist and with trousers rolled up to his calves, he's currently involved in the shiny, slick task of oiling the chunk of rock passing masquerading as a dragon. Istan tanned upper torso is almost as covered in oil as the mottled brown staring off into the distance. Pounding Weyrleader incoming? Not currently on the radar. "Oh for pity's sake. I am NOT going to wear tights simply to fit in! If it means so much to you, you wear 'em!"

The weyrleader may not be on the radar, but checking in on the nearly arrived is on his, so when he spots the man without a shirt, in this sun, he takes his hand held head walk in the direction of the man, "'Sides, you don't want him to wear tights and be a poser." The man grins beneath bearded face as he takes a moment to study the dragon before him. "Don't want to over heat, man, Igen sun ain't like Ista's." Though the bulky W'rin does not elaborate on the heat differences between tropics and deserts, instead going back to looking at the oiled beast. "How you likin' Igen?" That's the right question. He looks around. None of his trusted female advisors are here to affirm his attempt at small talk.

Also in the "not running" camp is Maryam- though she strikes a compromise between W'rin's position and Cha'el's by defying the heat by wearing many layers, and a veil, as is her wont. Though of summer-weight linen and cotton, her kirtle and the heavier outer layer of veiling both show some of the limpness that marks a person sweating beneath them. She does wield a parasol against the worst of the sun's rays however and, wrapped snug in this makeshift shade, walks the edge of the water where the air is a degree or two cooler than anywhere in the Weyr. Not far from where Cha'el is blatantly covering himself and his dragon in oil, she stops to bend a knee to the mountain who wears the Weyrleader knot. "Sir."

As incredible as it might seem, the moment W'rin angles in their direction Sikorth's posture tightens even further, his wedge-shaped head doing a slow turn in the big man's direction. Staaaare. Running palms slick with oil - who needs a paddle - over a heavily muscled foreleg, Cha'el snaps his attention in the bigger man's direction and offers him a toothy grin from within the frame of his short beard. "Takes a brave man," he returns on the matter of tights, the spark to impossibly blue eyes removing any undertone of snark. A glance flicks from blaze of Rukbat overhead to the coolth of the lake lapping not a couple of feet away, the dark stain of his trousers suggesting he's been playing the oil-and-dip game. Shiny! "T'ain't bad," the brownrider replies, clambering upward to massage strong hands into a knot of muscle just above his dragon's right shoulder. "Getting used to salting everything I eat with sand." Grin. A flash of movement catches his eyes just moments before the oddly clad (to his mind) woman takes a knee. Interesting. So much so that hands still and observation becomes blatant.

The veiled woman from the bazaar is hardly a strange sight for W'rin, even in the middle of summer. "Daughter of Steen." He greets the girl formally with a bow, seems a practiced exercise between the two. "This is Maryam, daughter of the Steen family in the bazaar. They run The Pit." His hand, palm up, indicates the rider who oils his dragon, "Arroyo, dragonrider Cha'el, of brown Sikorth." The hand drops as he turns back to the woman, "He's recently joined us from Ista." The Weryleader's formal introductions completed he manages a grin at the brownrider, "I find turning my back to the wind protects my food from the extra seasoning. Perhaps, I can introduce you to The Pit sometime. We can go see a fight." A manly bonding activity if there ever was one, and a bit of a plug for the woman's business.

Maryam rises as quickly as she'd bent, the concept of formality adhered to but not clung to. Not in this heat. With the introduction, pale eyes swing to the man and his brown- but fix more on the dragon than the rider, given the latter's state of partial undress. She has that knack of unfocusing her vision to keep from looking at what oughtn't be seen, a category that includes bare, glistening chests. "A pleasure to meet you, rider," she offers up quietly. "You would, of course, be most welcome at the Pit. Mama has arranged for some of Rosie's girls to put on an exhibition match this evening, as a diversion, to entertain the masses. If you care to attend." The invitation encompasses the Weyrleader as well, her glance sliding towards the man before easing to a neutral position hovering just over sand and water.

Still observing. Okay, maybe he's staring just a little, Cha'el drops down from the immobile brown's foreleg heedless of the apparent impropriety of his bared, glistening chest and extends an oily hand in greeting Maryam's way. "Well met, Ma'am." Ma'am because if the Weyrleader is bowing…"The Pit?" Interest peaks, his gaze swinging back to W'rin. Fight. Aahhhh. Yeah, he rather likes the sound of that going by the deepening of that grin, edging toward an anticipatory smirk. Which slides right the shards off at Maryam's next. Dark brows hike upward. "The wimmenfolk fight round here?" He's got an open mind but such a notion challenges even him. This he has got to see. "It'd be my pleasure!" As the veiled woman had done, his acceptance encompasses both Weyrleader and Bazaar woman. Sikorth for his part, with the very tiniest shift of faceted eyes, lands his scrutiny on the female of the grouping.
[OOC:] Cha'el is in like Flynn!

"Rosies girls are the type of women who do." W'rin adds as an aside to Cha'el's question, covering the side of his mouth closest to Maryam, and mouthing 'brothel' and 'prostitutes', but not wanting to offend sensitive ears. He knows the bazaar's strange brand of conservatism. "Well good then, tonight it is." And people say he can't be a people person. "How is your mother? Recovered from things, I hope. Sienna and I have a gift for her, next time we come round to see the twins." And then he's back to the brownrider. "The Pit is quite the place. You'll love it. Don't have anything like it at Ista I'd wager."

"They fight only for the novelty, sir," Maryam is quick to assure Cha'el. Mustn't let someone think that the Pit supports less than pristine moral values, betwixt and between the bloody prize fights! "We have had no proper female fighter on the sands since my mother's days. I will be sure to save you both seats on the dais, so you have the best view." For some reason, this seems reason for her to sketch another curtsey for the pair. After that, with the formalities handles, she seems a little more at ease- if one can count the same strict posture and calm, quiet regard as relaxed. But she's more willing to study Sikorth in return for his scrutiny, and her eyes narrow in the veiled version of a smile for W'rin's question. "She does well. Her gout improves with the drier weather and the twins delight her, to take her mind from the pain. Ista…the island Weyr, yes?" asks the lifetime Bazaarite.

Hands to lean hips, Cha'el cocks a brow at the murmured addition then sliiiides a look back Maryam all covered up in veils. Something don't add up, says the dubious expression that crosses bearded features. "Tonight," the brownrider agrees with a dip of head and roguish glint to blue eyes. How is mother? - WHUT!? His gaze narrows slightly. What has W'rin heard? There's mental BARK from Sikorth. Ah. That was aimed at the enigmatic woman. Letting the conversation drift between the two, Cha'el gathers up oil pail and pulls a rag from a nearby carrysack to scrub his hands with, a short chuckle escaping before his attention hikes upward again. "There's fighting," he notes to W'rin, a certain glint stealing into his eyes, "but not with wimmenfolk, no. Aye," that to Maryam on his point of origin. "The island Weyr. You never been there before?"

"There are certain virtues which Mama Steen would never allow in The Pit, most of the older part of the bazaar adheres to them." There's not accounting for the new crowd. W'rin grins softly, he knows who is paying the the bills at the weyr. "You are too kind, Daughter Steen. And I am glad to hear about your mother, and if there is anything we can do to help." He inclines his head before taking note of the brownrider, "My guess would be no, Cha'el, some of us were lucky enough to be born in the best place on Pern. No reason to leave it. Eh, Maryam?" He offers her a quick glance, "I impressed here, would be happy not to leave again, myself, if my duty didn't require it."

Maryam drifts a few steps backwards on the sands, the better to create more room for the rider as he seems to be winding up with the dragon-tending duties. She's noted that twitch of eyebrows- her head tilts slightly in unexpressed curiosity- but the conversation is continuing on and her with it. "I have never been out of sight of the Weyr," she's forced to admit. "Sometimes I take my mare to the lake, or an oasis, but the mountain is always here. And the Bazaar, it is true." This last is said with a dip of her head to W'rin. "But I have heard Ista is lovely. And Boll. I might like to visit those one day when duty allows."

Cha'el is confused! Talk of virtues and women fighting in the same sentence just boggle his mind. Give him a moment; he's an Islander in a sea of sand. Then again, perhaps they're tugging his tail. Some sort of new guy hazing. The corners of his eyes tighten with suspicion. But no, the Weyrleader's respect appears to be genuine. This'll take more than a couple of beers to sort through. Born in the best place on Pern. Ha. Hahaha. You're a funny man, W'rin! Watch this. "Everyone should visit Ista at least once before they die," he directs to Maryam. "It'd be our honor to take you. When duty allows of course." Is he hittingon her? Good question. Back to W'rin with a small smile hooking to one side of his mouth, his tone perhaps a touch wistful. "The place you find your 'mate can never be replaced." In terms of the lifelong bond formed. "But home will always be wherever he or she is."

W'rin allows the confused look of Cha'el to stay, without furthering explaining, the odd mix of virtuous conservativeness living side by side with places like the brothel can be hard to understand for the new comer. The weyrleader once wore that same look many many turns ago. "Visit…yes. Igen, I suppose isn't the kind of place you normally visit. Except for perhaps the bazaar. Nothing like it in all of Pern. No, Igen is home not a place for vacation." The man gives the tanned skin a once over, "Can't get a tan like that here, either. The sand'a strip your skin off for most of the summer." An exaggeration, but also a point. The offer to take her off is met with the straightening of the weyrleader's shoulders, enough to visible, but he allows the girl to answer for herself. Offering only a sidelong glance of support should it be needed. "It's true. Perhaps if Valiuth had not found me here I would not be so found of the place. And we can't imagine being elsewhere. This is the place we fight for. This is where we shall meet thread."

It is an odd mix to try to comprehend. Maryam, making note of those subtle twitches, tilts her head in a gesture of expressed sympathy. "Business is separate of proper behavior, sir," she attempts to explain, "and what is necessary in commerce would never be allowed in one's life aside from that occasion. It is the way, here." That W'rin has deemed Igen unfit for visitation causes the young woman to pause, seeming to hold her breath behind her veil- a sure tell that he's amused her, and she's had to take a moment to rein in that humor instead of expressing it aloud. It's a pause that also does well to cover for some hesitation, at the offer to be whisked off to visit Ista. "That is very kind of you, sir. Perhaps one day but…" Her eyes flick towards the Weyrleader, and his straightened shoulders. "It would be inappropriate. Or seen as. Inappropriate."

"Haven't gotten to the Bazaar yet," Cha'el admits lending Maryam an apologetic look. "It's taken a while to get everything squared away to this big chunk of hide's exacting standards." A fond thump of fist to mottled hide sees Sikorth fitting his rider with the draconic version of a tight look. Stand down, solider! Rag stowed and pail set off to one side where it won't get knocked over, the brownrider stoops to pull his shirt from his carrysack as if he's worried a storm might roll in then and there and flay the skin right off of him. "That storm that rolled in was bad enough," he concurs. "Every time I think I've gotten it all, I find more sand." Shoving head and then arms through the appropriate holes, the brownrider tugs his shirt into place and lends W'rin a half-smile. "Ista was our place of joining but Igen is our home now." That he and Sikorth will willingly give their lives in its defense goes without saying. But it's Maryam and her explanation that captures his interest. "As bizarre," see what he did there? "As that might sound, I think I get it." Not really given that he's a far cry from being a bastion of proper behavior but in theory he understands. Not so much her last though. "Inappropriate?" Cha'el glances down at himself and then over to W'rin. Help me out here. "I wasn't planning on flying half-dressed." In case she was wondering.

"Well you shall see it tonight in style then." The corner of W'rin's mouth turn up beneath his heavy beard. "I'll meet you in the bowl at dusk? We'll grab a few at the Catina before. Yes?" See, well on their way to being friends. Or something. "The sand storm? Oh, don't worry too much about cleaning up. They'll be a few more before the seasons over. Wait until fall to bother with all the corners." He nods to the dragon, no point in making his rider crazy. As for Maryam's behavior he only offers the lift of his shoulder and a chuckle. "Think of it this way, the girls of the proper families of the bazaar, they're more proper than the most conservative of holds. Now as for the girls that work for 'em. Well that's a different story. Rosie'd expect a kinfolk male escort for her daughters, but the girls who work for her, well they just better be paid by their escorts."

Maryam lowers her head and cuts a brief look towards the brown, gauging his reaction to the conversation along with that of everyone else's. The silent exchange between rider and dragon earns a wan smile, again seen more around the eyes. "If a brother were to come with us, or a friend of the family's…I am engaged, sir. I apologize for the confusion." And on that note? She takes another step backwards, this time clearly intending to withdraw. The parasol bobs above her head as she curtsies to the males once more. "If you will excuse me? There are preparations for tonight to be made. I look forward to seeing you both there," she murmurs before quickly making good on her escape.

"Sounds like a plan." Cha'el returns with an anticipatory grin. "Any sort of dress code?" Because Sikorth would scorch his hide if he got it wrong. Speaking of which, said mottled lump of rock catches the next comment. "Ya hear that? No need to clean all the corners until…Fine, fine." Hands lift in a gesture of defeat at the barked demand for everything to be square and center AT ALL TIMES! The explanation W'rin goes on to deliver draws close attention, brilliant blue eyes drifting to Maryam ever so often through its duration. "Okay, so I'll take Prickles along. Kid could do with getting the sand outta his arse." Because clearly that's why K'vvan is so darn touchy. Engaged. Right. A short chuckle and a hand lifts to rub at the back of his neck. "That weren't a proposition, Maryam. Just an offer to see something new." Because he really doesn't need a repeat of what landed his backside in the desert. Sikorth is watching you, Maryam. Staaaring. And then abruptly the large brown lumbers to his feet, swings a look to his rider and sets a course that angles away from Weyrleader and Veiled Woman. "Aw, flay me raw! That sodding sonnofa…" Erm. Lady present. "Sorry." That to Maryam. "He's on a mission. At dusk at the Cantina." That to W'rin. A salute sketched and then Cha'el snatches up pail and carrysack and starts off after his resolute brown.

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