Who

Cha'el, Ksenia

What

Upon returning home, Ksenia and Cha'el discuss the consequence of choice. What it means to choose and what it means to cast off and ultimately plans are put in place.

When

It is early afternoon of the eleventh day of the second month of the second turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Leadership Courtyard, Southern Weyr

OOC Date

 

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Leadership Courtyard

Nigh palatial, this gorgeous sweep of cultivated bowl: a courtyard proper, a fountain bubbles in the middle of a grove of orange-trees, next to a stone bench that has weathered many a turn. Rare metal stands out at the sweep of steps upwards to the landings of queens'-weyrs and other administrative personnel; handrails to prevent… mishaps, and sparse doors of spiraled cast-iron to lock out any vagrants.

It is the fortieth day of Summer and 99 degrees. The night is clear and humid.


Timor: moon2.jpg
Belior: moon4.jpg

-- On Pern --
It is 5:45 PM where you are.
It is early afternoon of the eleventh day of the second month of the second turn of the 12th pass.
In Igen:
It is the fortieth day of Winter and 40 degrees. It is a bright, sunny day.
In Southern:
It is the fortieth day of Summer and 108 degrees. It is sunny and bright. White fluffy clouds drift lazily across the china blue sky.
In Southern Mountains:
It is the fortieth day of Summer and 28 degrees. It's really damn cold out.




It is not late, late night when Ksenia finally makes her way back to the weyr. The simplicity of her note, left for Cha'el after he'd long since left the weyr that morning was only, There is something I need to do. Back tonight. Love, K Did she hold to her promise? Not really, given that she didn't return that night and even that morning, she seemed to have left him cooling his heels until the afternoon of the next day. Obviously, whatever it is that she needed to do, it took longer than she expected, and so when finally steps foot into the weyr after ensuring that her borrowed runner is taken to the stables and saying her parting thoughts to Xieli, the trader will wander through the weyr until she finds Cha'el. For once, she's not trapped in a weyr and unable to leave, and she knows this weyr better than Igen. So it doesn't take her that long to find where Cha'el might be, looking first in the direction of the council room where those of lofty knots usually converge to discuss such rarified topics that circle around the running of a weyr. If there's a meeting in progress, she'll linger and wait, trying not to wring her hands together as she lurks like an interloper in the leadership courtyard. Dressed in a mixture of two colors: purples that graduate to magentas woven around a brilliance of tangerine, the woman's dress is a criss-crossed affair that leaves hints of honey'd skin on display across her torso and belly. The skirt of the garment falls loosely to the ground, hung low on her hips, connected to the criss-cross wrap of the bodice.

Upon returning home early evening to find the note left for him, Cha'el hadn't really thought much of it. That is until the hours of night had crept by and Ksenia didn't show up. Needless to say, sleep became a figment of imagination with every possible worst case scenario played out in his head, especially given that she'd left Butterball behind, the little firelizard fretting almost more than he. He'd looked for her. Asked if anyone had seen her. Even flew a dawn sweep. But nothing. The rest of the next day had made for one rather short-tempered Weyrleader only barely holding onto his temper with several wingriders catching it in the ear during drills. And still: NO KSENIA!! Now, almost dead on his feet with exhaustion and no meeting in progress that he could have properly set his mind to Cha'el has retreated to a place of shadows and oranges to debate the wisdom of calling on his search and rescue riders. At the touch of an evening breeze, the shadows of the orange grove sift with movement, a stirring of sultry Southern air that crackles with the tension of one pissed off predator on the loose when finally, finally, the woman it watches for graces the courtyard with her presence.

"Cha'el," Ksenia steps forward, steps confident despite her very tardy presence, but she has an explanation! "Before you start lecturing me," she sighs, knowing full well how the man enjoys the lecturing, "I can explain everything." She bites her lip and shifts her weight from foot to foot, showing signs of uncertainty, but otherwise looks to be in fine health. The bells at the edges of her garment, hovering just at the level of slender ankles, sing a soft little song with each movement. The tangerine garment adding a whole host of additions to the overall affect. A step forward, then another, then another. "Butterball," of course this is what she asks after first, "Is he okay? Did you feed him? Did you give him his treats? Did you rub the oil into his leg?" It's been so long, that fire lizard is probably milking it past the time of healing. What? Ksenia ignoring the waves of anger rolling off of Cha'el? If she doesn't acknowledge it, it won't explode right? She inches closer, eyeballing the brownrider. The Weyrleader, but that's not what's important. What's important is she stops out of reach. Yup. "So." Beat. "Promise you won't get mad?" Stupid question, that.

From out of the shadows, Cha'el peels himself and steps into the moonlight; hands shoved into pockets and bearded features pinched with anger as he does a quick survey of Ksenia. "So you're not dead." Flat observation. "Mauled by a feline and lying somewhere bleeding." His baritone a low, low growl of sound. "Or taken by wildlings." The questions after the bronze firelizard she's been tending, ignored. Tense silence, eyes of blue flinted with steel latch tightly to the exotic woman, his jaw working beneath the neat covering of bristle. And then she dares to swan in closer. "I nearly called the fucking search and rescue wing out to look for you." A hint of the worry and fear that has been gnawing at him shows in the thin press of lips. "Where," the Weyrleader advances a half step closer putting him very much within reach of her unless she dances backward, "the FUCK," relief explodes through that word and he snaps a hand out toward a slender wrist, "have you been!!?"

"This isn't not mad," Ksenia mutters when he saunters into the moonlight all pinch-faced and male and dangerous. In the half-light, the little jumps his words cause can be seen as each word lashes into her. "It's not my fault…" Weakly muttered, until he's suddenly right there and lashing out to grab her wist in hand. It's enough to prick her own tempter, the curl of frustration of the consequences of her actions coming out in the low, guttural sound that escapes her throat. "Cha'el," she tugs on her wrist, "It's not my fault. I went home. And when I got home, my father locked me in my wagon. I only got free because the healers came to do their regular visit — " she wrinkles her nose, NOT TRUSTING THEM, " — and I was trying to get their attention. I didn't know he'd do that! I had no way to let you know. I tried, but." She lifts her chin and matches the electric blue of anger with the tawny brown of guilt. Croaking, "I left a note…" Sounds familiar, right? Suddenly, she narrows her eyes and searches his face, looking for signs of something.

This is SO Not Mad that Cha'el is probably in danger of bursting that blood vessel ticking in his temple. "Don't you DARE 'not my fault' me!!" His voice slips from that low gravel of complete and utter frustration and worry and sifts upward to outright anger. "YOU left. YESTERDAY MORNING!!!" He reminds in a tone heading toward parade ground pitch. He really should lower it before half the Weyr becomes an audience to the Weyrleader's domestic fray. "The WHOLE night, Ksenia! The whole FUCKING NIGHT!! I worried about where you were. If you were dead. If you lying bleeding somewhere. If you'd fallen down a fucking hole!!" Getting into the swing of venting that comes with relief after a spell of worrying, the Weyrleader is drawn up short. "You went where? By yourself? Are you fucking KIDDING me!?" Oh wait; he's just parsed another little nugget. Abruptly his mouth snaps shut with a clack of teeth. "Your father did what!?" And there's that dangerous level tone again. The one that grates through clenched teeth. If he'd gotten a hold of her wrist, he now uses that leverage to pull Ksenia closer, blue eyes boring into tawny searching for signs of the lie this might be told to throw him off kilter.

It's fascinating the way the blood vessel throbs in Cha'el's temple. Ksenia watches it, keeping her eyes trained on that spot because she's come to know by now that if she looks away while the lecture is happening only more lectures come. And it lasts longer. That's not to say she's unaffected: nay, she's grinding her teeth together and struggling to hold onto her own temper now. "They're my family, Cha'el!" Suddenly, Ksenia sparks to life halfway through the lecture. Yes, she caught most of it which translated to — blah, blah, blah, anger, woman, bad, blah, blah, blah — in her very distracted thoughts. But now? Now it's on. "My mother. My sister. My friends. My grandmother." When he tugs her forward, looking for the lie, she clams right up and lifts her chin and gives him a warning look. Like she's trembling on the edge of doing something that would cross the line and dive this whole situation into a place it shouldn't go. Teeth. Grit. Eyes. Narrowed. She doesn't deign to answer, and instead says, "I'm here now." That makes it better right? "I couldn't come home! I can't — I don't have a dragon to come and pluck me away, boyo!" When he draws her closer, she snaps her teeth shut. "You are not making this easier! I know what you're looking for! You don't believe me! I could kick you right now! Hobble you like a fainting sheep!"

"I KNOW that!" Cha'el snaps back on her family, the fingers about her wrist still biting hard about delicate tendons and bone. "What do you think I am? Some kind of monster!?" There's a flash of something behind blue eyes for that. "I would have taken you home. Too see them. To explain…" frustration cuts through on a low growl. "To approach your father about…" Suddenly Ksenia is released and the Weyrleader scrubs his hands over his face and into his hair. When they fall away again some of the fury is gone but some anger fuelled by caring yet lingers. "You don't move an inch without Butterball in future. He goes everywhere with you. Even to the latrines!" Yes, Ksenia, you now have a winged watch-lizard. But its her last that draws lips back from teeth white against a solid tan and Cha'el gets RIGHT up into her personal space so that bodies align. Dropping his head, eyes glittering with very real promise with his next delivered in a low hiss of sound. "Go ahead and try it but know that you will have brought the consequences on yourself." Pointed reminder delivered.

Ksenia throws up her free arm, lifting her eyes to the star-filled sky. "MALES!" Because his gender is what's causing all of these malfunctions, CLEARLY. "No, baba, I don't. I know you would take me to them. I know you would explain, but can you understand that I felt that I had to do this on my own? I'm not a child. I need to solve my own problems. You want me to barge in on your meetings and fix everything for you?" He releases her and she frowns at him. "Maybe I envisioned something else. A different kind of home-coming. A different kind of explanation. A different kind of…" When he assigns her a nanny — really, Cha'el? A nanny-lizard? — she puts her hands on her hips, about to open her mouth and protest, when he's suddenly right there in her personal space. She doesn't back down, either. Setting her jaw, she seems to be contemplating the possible consequences and the risk versus the reward of the temptation of doing what's running like ticker-tape behind her eyes. Cha'el befalls all sorts of comical ends in her imagination, but that's neither here nor there. "Ttchsssss," she hisses. "You always jump to the worst conclusions." Her eyes fall to the ground, head bowed, but it's not in submission. "Monster. Really, boyo." Huff. The ground she stands on is weak. "Always believing the worst of Ksenia." That moment of weakness doesn't last long; nay, the woman's back straightens and that chin lifts and she pivots, marching off. Which direction? Who the hell knows, she seems to be aiming to get lost in the little grove of trees unless he stops her. She snaps her teeth before she goes, too. But at least she resisted temptation!

“You are no longer on your own.” Cha’el swiftly cuts back, his jaw stiff though there is a faint gentling about his eyes. “Dammit, Ksenia. What am I supposed to think?” Arms throw wide and then slap back to his sides. “You leave a note. A note that doesn’t tell me where you’re going and then bugger off and…” The rider’s mouth snaps shut again, jaw muscles bunching in frustration glaring almost eyeball to eyeball at her, dark smudges from lack of sleep smeared beneath his eyes highlighting the bright blue of them. Why can’t she see how easily someone might use her, hurt her to get to him? But that’s not something he’s about to point out just now. With a gruff sound, somewhere between a grunt and a snort he tosses aside the accusation of thinking the worst of her. “Do you have any idea how…” But Ksenia’s storming off AWAY from him. That does it. From stiff immobility to action, the Weyrleader barrels off after her. If he’s able to catch up with the feisty trader there’s a very good chance she might find herself thrown over his shoulder and carried off back to the weyr that they share.

Oh his words affect Ksenia, it's easy to see in the widening of eyes and the slackness of features — namely the first part, really, and possibly the signs of exhaustion in the man's eyes, but it's hard to tell because her proud features give little away of her thoughts. Chagrin might have filtered in, but the woman had already stormed away from him. Putting distance between herself and him to allow herself to cool down and not do something she'd regret later, heeding that very real threat. "Chad," she starts to say, but the sound of his name is barely a squeak on her lips when her world is suddenly upside down and twisted around. She sees the curve of his ass and feels the strength of his shoulder cutting into her hips and lower belly as she's slung so easily over his shoulder. Ahhh, but all those tiny little bells sewn to the edge of that fabric are a hidden source of annoyance. For them both, really. Some ten thousand (ish) tiny little bells. And they all cry out when she does, yelping, "Hey! Cha'el. Dragonrider. This is so not fair." She gives him a good thump on the ass in frustration on the way back to their weyr. "Sharding dragonrider pride… manhandling… high-handed… controlling…" Ksenia's bitching carries them away. This, Cha'el, is not the fun kind of ride, k?

“Dammit, woman!” That’s in response to the thousands of tiny bells cutting into his shoulder. The sharp smack to her butt with a calloused palm is for the thump to his. “Ornery…stubborn…inconsiderate…” not really true “porcine-headed…trader with more pride than sense…” Cha’el grinds out in return; ignoring the startled stare of the pair of drudges he marches passed. The gossip mill is sure to love this one. Up the broad steps, across the wide ledge devoid of one Sikorth, into the weyr and straight up to the bed – one of the few items to have escaped Ksenia’s previous tantrums – where he unceremoniously dumps the espresso-haired beauty. “Stay!!” A finger jabs in her general direction before the rider spins on a heel and disappears around a corner to where the luxury of a private bathing pool sends up scented steam. He needs a few moments to gather the riot of emotions together or, as she had been in danger of doing so, he might do or say something he’ll regret later. Hands braced on the flat surface of a small cabinet, his head drooping off of broad shoulders, the Weyrleader squeezes his eyes shut. “Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck!!”

Bouncing like a sack of tubers, Ksenia subtle moves come with the soft susurration of sound of all those tiny little bells. They're tiny enough that the sound is really subtle. More subtle than the woman wearing them, at any rate. His high-handed command is like throwing water on a cat: galvanizes her to scramble off the bed and race around it, stalking Cha'el in his private time. Needs time? Ksenia knows no boundaries for time gathering! Better not be peeing in the baths, boyo! Rounding the corner on silent feet — she's given away by that subtle new sound, but she's mostly quiet — she dares to jab him in the ribs with a judgmental finger. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, Cha'el?" The sniping of his litany of control gathering is sharp and cutting. "You can't just dump me on the bed and walk away after manhandling me in public!" Tawny eyes are narrowed and angry and frustrated and a whole host of other emotions, but her glare would be hot enough to kill were looks to have that power.

Ksenia may as well have poked a wild feline lurking in its cave for the reaction is the same. With teeth bared and a snarl gathered in his chest, Cha’el’s head snaps over his shoulder. “Back off, Ksenia!” All kinds of warning sit in that low growl. But then she just has to go and prod further. “And you don’t get to just fucking run off after you’ve been gone for TWO DAYS!!” The raised level of voice bounces off the rocky walls, a touch muffled by the damp air but not enough to lose the power of the emotion that had flung it out there. “For fuck’s sake, Ksenia!! What if your father hadn’t let you go?” For he assumes that to have been the case. “What if he’d hitched fucking wagon and rolled on out of there taking you with him!? Did you think of that!? Did it even CROSS your mind that he MIGHT be angry with you? That I was sitting here going out of my fucking mind worrying about you?That he might do something like…like…” Blue eyes glitter with impotent fury that while still a portion is leveled at her, is more strongly cast toward her sire. “FUCK!!” Something is picked up off of the dresser and thrown across the bathing room in a fit of pique. It bounces off far the wall and with a sad plunk, drops into the bathing pool itself. Whups. Hope it doesn’t go through the grated drain meant to carry used water away.

The woman winces when he starts in on his lecturing again, lips thinning as she holds her tongue — barely — through the barrage of words that end when he throws something into the baths. "That was my… — " With her forefinger and eyes, she tracks the object as it splashes into the water of the baths, a mixed expression on her face for the thing being in the clean waters of the hidden spring that sources this extravagance for it's leaders. She rounds on Cha'el and puts her hands on her hips, "I am AWARE that I was gone for two days! I had no CHOICE. Cha'el, I had no choice." Deep breath, that last hissed out on a tidal wave of hurt. "I made a mistake, okay?! Don't you think that I was sitting there worrying about just your reaction? Because you always, always think the worst of me when I don't fall into your little boxed lines! I tried. I TRIED to get out. I thought my father would be angry but that he'd listen to me FIRST. I was WRONG, okay? Is that what you want me to say? Do you want me to say — I am not going to back off!" A sudden turn of topic for his FIRST words to her. "I was SCARED, okay. Is that what you want me to tell you?!" This time, she actually shows restraint when not plucking something of his off little table and instead, turns and walks out, muttering something that sounds like, "… careful… you are not winged yet." But it's hard to tell, because she's angry. And really skirting that whole 'I'm sorry' bit.

“NO!” Cha’el shouts back, ignoring the remark that what he’d thrown had been something of hers. “Thinking the worst of you would mean I thought you’d…left. Or taken up with someone else or….I thought you were hurt! That’s fucking fearing the worst for your safety not thinking…” Catching HIMSELF mid-lecture, the rider slams his hands to the top of the little cabinet making it tremble from the force and stalks off two paces. “Screw it! It doesn’t matter.” Semantics. Once again scrubbing his hands through his hair, he turns and fixes Ksenia with a glower as she pitches straight back at him. It’s a wonder neither of them have tried to shove the other into the bathing pool. And then she’s bloody walking off again. “The fuck, woman! COME BACK…” Abruptly cut off when that angry mutter is picked up and while hands clench into fists at his sides, Cha’el doesn’t go after her this time. Stopped dead in his tracks, his expression hardens to hide the flash of hurt. Instead, he turns away and parking his butt on the small wicker chair nearby, starts unlacing his boots with trembling hands.

Ksenia has very little to add when he starts in on his lecturing again, but then her steps carry her into the main weyr and she takes a deep breath. The itch to throw shit is very, very deep but she's really trying no to destroy everything they own. So instead, she scoops up Butterball and coos at the fat thing while picking through the things he said. Kernels of truth can't be ignored, no matter how much she doesn't want them to be there. Heaving a sigh, she carries her fat little prize back towards the little private baths and peeks into the doorway. It's easy to see that his maturity level is higher than hers because he's so readily forthcoming with the apologies. She, however, has to fish hook them out when they get lodged in her throat. "I shouldn't have gone off by myself." It's a start. Kind of. "But I wanted to … " She pauses, trying put to words a feeling she has. "It's unfinished business." Beat. "Was unfinished business, baba. My unfinished business. I wanted things to be different, to be fixed when…" Trailing off, she inches forward, eyes intent on his face. Is she angry? Not really, because she doesn't have righteous ground to stand on. Chagrin shows in her eyes and in the lines of her face as well as a deeper worry that lurks beneath. She swallows, shame in the tint of her cheeks, a whispered statement. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it — to."

In thick silence, Cha’el, exhausted almost beyond coherent thought as relief at having Ksenia back safe and sound leeches the last of adrenaline away, fumbles with bootlaces. Eventually the damn things comply and boots are yanked off and tossed to one side. Socks are next and then he stands to free his belt. The muted tinkle of bells heralding her return isn’t heard over the clamor of the internal argument he has going on so that when she speaks, his brawny frame stiffens. But he doesn’t look at her. Not yet. Stripping the woven band of leather from belt loops, there’s a nod to indicate he is at least listening. His shirt is to come off next, pulled over the top of his head and dropped to the chair behind him. And that’s where the Weyrleader finally pauses. Setting his hands to his hips, attention cast to the calm surface of the small pool he exhales a heavy sigh and finally looks up. “Ksenia…” He’s fresh out of fight just now. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gone off on you like that but after what happened in Igen…” A ghostly finger of pain flicks through his eyes. “I couldn’t bear it if…” Words trickle away. Perhaps it’s the shame she wears in the soft flush of cheeks or that whispered apology. Either way he finds mobility and closing the gap pulls Ksenia in against his bared chest, bristled cheek laid to the top of her head. “I think its time I met your father.”

Quiet, pliant; Ksenia (and Butterball) are easily enfolded against his bare chest after the words he's spoken. They hit home in her expression, in the stiffness to her posture, but she holds her tongue. It's a miracle, Cha'el. Words are ground through her throat like spewing forth hard pebbles as admitting to failure is not something easy for her. She provides a salve to this flaw by rubbing her cheek against his chest, tucking her arms (and Butterball) between them. "I didn't think." Slow, like taffy, she starts to try to make amends. "Southern is home." Another truth, clawed up from the pit of guilt. "I am sorry." This apology is given for the things she did, and is contrite. Not shamed. "I knew you were — I knew you'd think — I tried to get out." In the quiet of her confession, the 'extras' of her speech are left off and only the rolling sounds of her trader's accent is heard in soft, soft mea culpas. "I'm sorry." A soft sigh, more easily stated as if the gallstone of the first apology paved the way easier for the second. "I really didn't mean to make you worry." She falls silent, and thinks very hard about his last. "Yes." A lingering 'but' hangs between that word and her next. "Promise me you won't kill him."

Butterball is none too pleased about being squished up against Cha’el and makes his dissatisfaction known with a sharp peck to the rider’s chest – Not The Mama! “Ow! Little Fuck!” He exclaims only to be rewarded with a smug little chirrup and the sight of the bronze firelizard nuzzling its fat little head under Ksenia’s chin – Nice lady!! Starting to become acquainted with just how hard it is for her to pull out an apology the fact that she tries and does so is all he needs. An arm slips away from about her shoulder and traces a scarred knuckle down her cheek. “You’re home. And you’re safe. That’s all that matters, love.” And truly, when it comes down to it, it is. With Butterball squirming in Ksenia’s arms, trying to turn his fat butt around so that he can better flatten his rotund body against her, Cha’el takes a half step back, a tired smirk curled to his mouth as a few private fantasies of how he’d like to force her father to experience what she had play through his mind. “Naw. Might smack him around a bit though.” He’s kidding! See the small spark of humor returned to his eyes?

Ksenia is amazingly tolerant of the fat little firelizard, letting him crawl all over her and even getting a surprised snort of laughter when he pecks at Cha'el's chest. Grateful that Cha'el doesn't keep wanting to hear apology after apology after apology, his reward is a slight smile when he traces his knuckle down her cheek. "I am and I promise I won't do — I'll remember that I'm not — I'm not on my own now." Yes, she is used to doing everything herself, or being by herself. Life is something that's slowly leaking into this strange little bubble they've been living in. Her life, his life; the tangled strands are coming together. "Psh, honey," that's not for Cha'el,"Not there — ah — ah — okay, stay. Stay. Crispy meat later if you stay." Sorry, boyo, but Butterball needed to get situated. "I just want my Papa back." Not really understanding how that sentence sounds so very, very childish, she shrugs. "I don't want to be cast out. I want to still be me. To still be a part of my family. I didn't ever think he'd do that… my sister is marrying my betrothed." She does laugh a little at his humor, giving his chest a little slap. "If you make my mama cry, I'll make you cry."

“Aye. Not on your own.” A hint of warmth follows his reiteration, Butterball eyed as he gets his plump self situated, tail wrapped possessively about Ksenia’s neck giving his former human the long-mile stare. “He’s getting fatter.” Cha’el observes. “You spoil him too much.” From a small niche set into the wall behind Ksenia, drops a silent gold shadow her flight path angled toward a fat bronze butt. Bearded features soften further at her admission of wanting her father back and the Weyrleader has to quickly glance away lest she see a similar longing mirrored in his eyes. “I know, love. And I’ll do what I can to see that you get him back. And your family too.” A faint echo of a boyish grin is next to slip out and he pretends to flinch away from that slap, using the space created to finish undressing. “If your mama’s anything like you, I’m the one that’s gonna need protection. Does she have sharp knees too?”

"Okay, begone you," Ksenia does not tolerate fire lizard antics so when Cha'el's gold pops out of the shadows, the trader is done. She soothes Butterball with a little finger tickle of affection before he's expelled from her shoulder. "He deserves it. His little leg still doesn't bend right!" Which means he gets extra loves. "That's not fat, that's fluff," is what she claims, when Cha'el has the audacity to bring up weight. Doesn't he realize that's a dangerous topic around a woman? "Thank you," to his care about her family, but when he comments on her mother, she drops her eyes. "My mother will not be what you expect." This is quietly stated, complete with the bite to her bottom lip. Slowly, she starts unwinding the dual lengths of cloth that's wrapped around her body, the tangerine material a more diaphanous, veil-like material than the one he bought for her. It's bath time, what? "My grandmother," she whips her eyes up and fixes Cha'el with a serious, serious look. "You need to be careful of my grandmother. She's not like my mother at all and she can control my father." Pause. "I take after my grandmother." Another pause. "My sister is like a little version of my mother."

Treasure does not care what Ksenia may or may not tolerate as evidenced by the manner in which she streaks after Butterball once he lifts his hefty butt off the slender woman’s shoulder. She’ll whip him into shape in the manner that a sibling jealous of a parent’s affections would. “He’s laying it on for you.” Cha’el returns with a snort, kicking his trousers aside and descending into the soothing warmth of the bathing pool. “Fluff?” Dark brows tilt upward another quip already forming on his lips when he catches that look coming from Ksenia. He thinks better of it and wisely shuts his trap. Finding the small ledge beneath the water he sinks down onto it and exhales a weary sigh as heat seeps into aching muscles. “Your mother is submissive.” Less query more observation by assumption given the usual demeanor of women of his time. And yes, yes he’s openly appreciative of the lovely figure slowly revealed as the long length of her original shroud is unwound from about her. “So I need to watch your grandmother first and then your father.” There’s a nod for that and then he leans his head back against the edge of the pool what’s left of the evening thereafter before exhaustion takes a hold spent in idle chatter over a simple meal.

"If my mother were submissive, I could understand it," Ksenia says slowly. Leaving the colorful cloth in a puddle, her steps are light, graceful as she makes her way towards the baths, dipping a toe in first. If she were not thinking about her mother, Cha'el, her eyes might have wandered, but as it is that is not something you do when thinking of mothers! "She's…" She hesitates and sinks into the heat of the water, pressing her hands together and watching the water squirt out from betwixt laced fingers. "She's weak. Not just submissive, but weak. In all ways, weak." She slips him a look, unable to really explain the politics of her family except to say, "It's tricky. My father wields considerable power, but my grandmother. Even he does not cross her. Not without fearing for his life. She's been angling to off him since his treatment of my mother. It is my mother's weakness that keeps his sorry hide alive. That and us. Me and my siblings." She takes a deep breath, "But Nana's sick, and soon the only thing between my father and what he wants will just be my mother. And now my sister and her husband, handpicked to bring him exactly what he wants." Grinding her teeth together, she bows her head and curls into the water. "And me. Even setting aside what I did, he can't entirely cast me out. I can always reclaim it. It is not permanent until my sister has a child." So tangled are the ley-lines of politics within the trader's life.

Watching until Ksenia joins him in the pool, the rider listens in silence, scooping water over his shoulders and frowning at one point at something said. From another section of the weyr comes an indignant squawk from Butterball followed by a taunting trill from the arrogant gold chasing him around. “Perhaps its your grandmother I should be meeting with first,” Cha’el says flicking a glance in the direction the squabbling is coming from. “That is if she’s well enough to receive guests.” A pause and then he looks over to Ksenia, “Did you at least get to see your grandmother before your father locked you up?” Another bugle of alarm and a muted thud as something gets knocked over. With a sigh, he stands but instead of leaving the bathing pool to investigate what’s going on, Cha’el moves over to where the exotic trader is curled into the water. “Hey, we’ll figure a way to make this work not only for us but for your people too, aye? Perhaps there’s still a way you can reclaim it. A loophole somewhere. A way to rework tradition.”

"You won't get to her first, Cha'el," Ksenia mutters, slanting him a quick look before turning to look back into the weyr, frowning. "Call that beast of yours off that baby. He should be resting." Is that a frown? Yes. But then, the brownrider is getting closer and that pulls her attention back to the topic at hand. Pulling apart her hands, she reaches up to place wet palms against bearded cheeks. "I don't want to reclaim it," she puts that assurance first, "I just want to be able to still visit my family and still be… them, too." She wants to bridge the gap between weyr and trader, between love and family. "Besides, you can't lead the caravan. You're a dragonrider. You can never pledge your life to my family, you can never pledge your first duty to the caravan and its people." Leaning closer, forehead to forehead. "Just… remember. You'll be stepping into hundreds of turns of history. I have no idea what the state of my grandmother's health is. I didn't get to see her. I saw my sister, Iain, and then my father dragged me away."

“I can try.” But even as he says it, Cha’el realizes the potential futility of such a thing for he has no idea what he’ll be walking into. “That ‘beast’, is just a baby herself at only five months old and knows a slacker when she sees one. He was perfectly fine last night when I oiled him. Even managed to put some weight on his leg. He’s milking you.” Idly noted of the bickering pair dismissed from thought when he finds his face caught between wet palms. “Be that as it may but the right to renounce your claim was yours to give and shouldn’t have been taken from you in your absence.” Frustration for not being able to dispute what she says of how his station in life limits him on some fronts, the Weyrleader looks away. And then a thought strikes him and when he looks back again, ocean blue locking with tawny gold there’s a calculating cast to his eyes. “What does your father want most in this life? What is his goal? His ambition?”

"He's pitiful and needs love," Ksenia murmurs, not at all sympathetic for the age of Cha'el's gold firelizard. "He's not milking me." She's blind, really. To the little fat bronze beast. "He just struggles to show you his strong side. Like all males." She frowns at Cha'el, but the conversation drifts from that rather mundane topic, to the weightier one. Staring into the blue-blue eyes of the Weyrleader, she considers the entirety of her life. Of what she's seen. Of all the things she's only been side-line privy to. Unconsciously, her thumbs stroke his cheeks before she tugs her attention back to the man. It's a single word that slips from her lips, and it encapsulates everything he will be about to step into. "Power." It is as simple as that, at least according to the daughter. Her hands slip from his cheeks, as her eyes drop from his to stare at the delicate, slender fingers that she curls into the palms of her hands, forming loose fists angled palm up. "Power."

“Softie.” Cha’el fondly chastises but lets the matter lie for now merely giving a roll of eyes for the comment made about his gender and putting on a brave front. Gone still, he absorbs what Ksenia has to tell him, assessing the manner in which she does so. In the quiet moments that follow with only the gurgle of water coming in and draining out of the pool, a tight smirk begins to form. From where they’d been set lightly to her hips, the Weyrleader’s hands lift and close over the fists she makes. “In other words,” one is lifted to his lips and a kiss is brushed across folded knuckles, “He wants, what I’ve got.” It may not seem like much, but it’s a start and a leg up the rider hadn’t expected to have going into meeting her father for the first time. “Now that’s something I can work with.”
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