Cha'el, K'ane, Lainier


Cha'el and K'ane make a special visit to the Roma to deal with Ksenia's father. A shocking revelation is given in the brokering of a deal as K'ane reveals an ace up his sleeve.


It is evening of the first day of the seventh month of the second turn of the 12th pass.


River Bank, Southern Weyr

OOC Date


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"I come t' broker a deal with you, Lainier."


River Bank

With the towering cliffs left behind, the forested growth slopes downward towards the river's edge. Not as forested as the main jungles, yet still temperate to allow for full-fledged greenery, the river's bank is a mixture of sandy mud. One of the lower points of the river, the bank allows for easy access for both people and small sea-going vessels. A rickety dock, woven of water-damaged stone and wood, sits on the water's edge, bearing the mark of time. The blue-green waters of the river are gentler here, lapping against the bank in gentle caress, whirling in small eddies around the stone columns of the small dock. The call of avians and wild firelizards echo through the trees, with the quiet sounds of moving water aiding in giving this spot a hint of comforting tranquility.

It is the sixty-first day of Winter and 42 degrees. Still dark and overcast, the winter rain has picked up and become heavier, albeit still pleasant.

Timor: moon3.jpg
Belior: moon4.jpg

-- On Pern --
It is 8:49 AM where you are.
It is evening of the first day of the seventh month of the second turn of the 12th pass.
In Igen:
It is the sixty-first day of Summer and 107 degrees. Mercilessly bright, Rukbat's light heats the desert as a small dark cloud appears on the horizon.
In Southern:
It is the sixty-first day of Winter and 37 degrees. Still dark and overcast, the winter rain has picked up and become heavier, albeit still pleasant.
In Southern Mountains:
It is the sixty-first day of Winter and 0 degrees. It's really damn cold out.

The meeting was marked, strategies roughly laid out and discarded. The path to bring them here has been a treacherous one already, but here have they come: a bronzerider and a brownrider, the former with his considerable arms crossed and casting a doubtful gaze down upon the gloaming sunset that sets the river on fire with russeted oranges, spotted with the reflections of royal-bellied clouds, far above. It is a pretty sight, caravans arranged like careless toys, fires crackling cheerfully and the Roma's errant and erratic songs lifting. Like something from a storybook, perhaps. And yet …. and yet. "If m'child wasn't in one of those wagons I'd say we should just burn this motherfucker down." Two guesses as whose dark suggestion THAT is. What? That's one too many?

Shifting his attention from the storybook setting, Cha'el, still looking somewhat like a raccoon with that pair of black eyes, eyes the bronzerider next to him and snorts. "If I wasn't sure I'd be left sleeping on the ledge with Sikorth for the rest of my life, I'd light the torch for you." Pulling his hands out of his pockets he tilts a look upward to where Sikorth circles like an ominous dark shadow and then utters a grunt. "Ready?"

"It'd be great, wouldn't it?" K'ane's voice is wistful. But listen, he is WAY happy that for one of the first times in his life, there's black eyes present and they aren't HIS. The man nods once to his weyrleader. "Let's go, I reckon." Off to find the magical wizard of O… Roma. Hopefully she won't turn out to be one of the witches from Hamlet. "She's in th' wagon at the back, right?" He's not too certain, himself, squinting from one wagon to another in vain attempt to figure out which ones are different.

… Macbeth, even. Hamlet. Macbeth. Totally close right? >.>

The cluster of Roma wagons might be a pretty sight and the songs that lift up might be sung of words of joy, but there's an underlying tension that winds like a sinister ribbon through the whole of pretty sight. It's seen in the tension of folks gathered around the fires and the way that more guards seem to exist than did before. The largest wagon is easy to spot as the leader's wagon, though the others are similar in their gaudy flavor of colors and gold-leaf paint that shimmers when the flicker-flames catch against painted wood. Shouts call up from above, but other than that, the whole of the camp exists in a sort of tension-riddled wariness.

Eyes made bluer for the purpling around them flick sideways to K'ane as they move off. "That Lainier's a sneaky bastard. Chances are he's had the wagon moved. Your daughter's his ace in the hole, mate." As they enter the camp, passing by first one wagon and then another, Cha'el makes directly for the largest wagon in which he'd met the Roma's leader before, noting and filing away the locations of those guards and perhaps seeking out the one face he might consider friendly.

At least K'ane dressed in old linens — REALLY old linens by the looks of it, possibly more than four hundred turns old, with the knees patched and a faded blue shirt. He doesn't look nearly as intimidating as when he's in leathers, more like some mountain of a cotholder than a mountain of a rider. Except for his scarred face, maybe. Can't hide a knife-scar very well on Pern. He tucks in on Cha'el's wing so-to-speak, and smiling as unoffensively as possible to any that they pass. This is far more overt than he was expecting, certainly.

"You mug a homeless guy?" Yup, Cha'el wasn't going to let that one slip by without a comment made as he skirts around a cowering camp cur. He of course, has gone the fancypants dragonrider route, right down to that big fancy knot of his. Leverage, comes in many forms and he plans on using that which his rank affords him. In as much as he'll be able to.

The presence of strangers causes a strange ripple to move through the organism that is the Roma people. Their faces aren't unfriendly exactly, but they aren't friendly either. They are expectant, certainly. Far enough away from the weyr, the presence of two men — at least one of them a dragonrider — yields a polarity that pushes the people away from them. Somewhere, a child cries. Somewhere else, someone curses as a pot's dropped. It's a juxtaposition of danger and mundane life that holds this place on the breath of balance. The guards are given to brutish and steely expressions, the large wagon not exactly accessible without some writ of warrant. "Halt," a man, of roughly equal height to the Southern men, holds an arm out. "Where do ye think ye're going?" Some missing teeth, a hefty amount of beard and a leer at K'ane like he's discovered that the bronzerider has a purdy mouth. "Turn 'round. The trades are that-a-way." You know. Where the DANCING and the FIRES are.

"I was a homeless guy, maybe," K'ane returns, his voice droll. "Once 'pon a time." Anyhow, it's like good cop/bad cop, except executed in fashion instead of behavior. Look! Look at yon decrepit rider, so sad and dejected, and his crisply attired weyrleader! You can trust either of them depending on who you most — stop looking at his mouth like that, redneck fuck. What? Ahem. K'ane pulls up at the man's actions and glances briefly over at Cha'el, an eyebrow cocked. Does the weyrleader prefer to bull their way through or fake it? We all know what K'ane's typical reaction to this would be, but he just dips his nod. "We have an appointment, I reckon," he drawls, his accent not too far removed from the polyglot tones of some northern-continental traders that range about Big Bay.

Dubious the look Cha'el affords the other man at his side but now isn't the time. Halting, supposedly as directed to do or maybe because the brownrider needs to rearrange his junk, the obvious dragonrider of the pair eyes the thug…erm, guard with disinterest. "Like my friend here said, Lainier's expecting us." Big Bay and Ista. Just a couple of coastal boys come to wag a chin with the Roma leader. No biggie.

"Is he now?" The guard squint-eyes K'ane (eyes are lowered, hey what can you expect when you hire sellswords?) for a long moment before swinging his attention Cha'el'wards. "How come I dun know about it, huh?" He's almost about to prod them both back the other way, but the knot that's purchased as pretty-as-you-please on Cha'el's shoulder gives him pause. K'ane is just, well, a dream. As a homeless mountain man that inspires wicked thoughts, the bronzerider is easily glanced over in favor the knot. Which will probably come to bite this man in the ass, but as it is right NOW, he barks a query, "And what business is he expecting you on? I'll let him know you've arrived… and then we'll see if our Roma will see you." Something dirty pulls in the corners of his mouth by a smile most foul. The blackened teeth are not pretty to behold, some broken and some missing.

"Yup," K'ane easily returns to the guard, leaning forwards a bit in a stance that most anyone who has done protection will recognize: a bodyguard putting his physical bulk in between a potential assaulter and his ward. "Important business… about a dog." A flicker of something tossed into the air: a small-faced markpiece, around the right balance in a bribe: enough to gain attention but not enough to make one overly suspicious. "I'm sure we'd be obliged if ye'd let us through, aye."
About to proffer sardonic reply, K'ane beats him to the punch leaving Cha'el quite content to shove his hands in his pockets and rock back on his heels. Those two black eyes of his proof that he's recently rushed in without asking the questions so THIS time, he's trying the levelheaded approach. And maybe that's why he's wearing the knot. More as a reminder to himself than the man they're here to see. "I think he likes you." The brownrider notes in a muttered aside to his companion. "Ain't he purdy? Maybe you can ask him to dance with you at the graduation."

You overhear K'ane mutter, "Shut … … …" to Cha'el.

The glint of a mark is enough to spur the lust in greedy eyes — not for K'ane himself, but for the wealth that a mark would bring. The guard side-eyes the black-eyed Weyrleader and his lover (what? sue him later.), and then gestures to the pair of them. "Go on then." And hey, if he takes that moment to change shifts with another guard, equally as awful, well so be it. The leader's wagon is large, large enough to fit the man that lurks within it. He's rougher on the edges, more frayed as if the wear of ruling is unraveling him, or maybe it's the whisper of rebellion that lurks within the limbs of his people. A tension that tastes as bitter as bile and can be felt even by ones such as Cha'el and K'ane. "Rube! Didn't I tell you to bring me that asshole… right now?!" That yell is what will greet the dragonriders when they manage to make it into the space — a space big and wide, but with three large men? It's going to feel cozy and cramped. The desk is scarred but sturdy. Lainier, himself, is a big man. Settled in height somewhere between Cha'el and K'ane and full of bulk without the low body fat, so muscles are sheathed in the bulk of health.

See, Cha'el? Sometimes a free pocket and the right attitude can bluff your way through ANYTHING. Well. Almost anything. K'ane enters into the wagon without hesitation, taking the opening as it's offered, only the most cursory of knocks before he's climbing on up. "Which asshole were y'lookin' for? I may be able to help you out." K'ane's smile is unapologetically, and possibly regretably, toothy. (His are spectacularly white. Dhioth makes him brush every night. :-/ Dirty teeth are signifiers of personal injustice.)

Little more than a smirk greets that muttered comment and Cha'el's right on the bigger bronzerider's heels. Beneath the weight of two large men entering, the wagon rocks but hey, it could be for worse reasons. Or better. Depending how you look at it. Once again within the Roma leader's lair, the brownrider is reminded of the last time he'd been there and while he turns out a smile close to K'ane's toothy one, his eyes are cold. No love lost here. "I'm here, I'm here. Keep your pants on." Cha'el drawls happily labeling himself the asshole and steps out from behind his companion. "Didja miss me?" Without a pause for reply he jerks a thumb over to the hobo-rider. "This here's K'ane. And this," attention slides over to the man whose wagon they've filled, "is Lainier, current leader of the Roma. Ksenia's father."

To say Lainier is not happy to see who climbs into his wagon is an understatement. The flesh of his honey'd skin purples in sudden outrage as fury forces the veins to stand out from his forehead as the man lurches to his feet before falling back down again. Oddly, something like pain briefly crosses the black wells of his eyes and tightens his lips. "Why the hell are you back?! Did you come and return my daughter to me. I want my damn daughter back!" Hey, maybe this hints at some dastardly plot to go and fetch his child back. K'ane — who the fuck is K'ane? — is glanced to, eyes narrowing. "The fuck are you?" The fact that he's alone in his wagon with these two large dragonriders is enough to get a tick throbbing at his temple. Oh, and there's certainly a hint of envy for all the white-teethed men around here. Apparently, traders just don't brush. Lainier's front tooth is kind of black and gross. Then again, he might have the pox. Wanna kiss and find out? "What," finally settled on a booming voice of authority, "the fuck do you want?" The you seems to group them both. He does not offer to let them sit, though there's one chair. Who's it?!

K'ane takes close note of Lainier, giving Cha'el the lead in this first interaction, momentarily. See, he could sit here and pick his teeth, waiting for the right moment of this little interchange… but Lainier gives it freely to him. "Oh, nobody you'd be concerned with, I'm sure," he pitches his voice darkly humored, "Just th' father of your grandchild." NBD. He doesn't move to sit. "I'm here t' talk to you about her." Presumably his child. He tilts an eyebrow upwards: can you hear him NOW, Lainier?

Smug satisfaction wreathes a cold tilt to Cha'el's mouth at Lainer's reaction to his presence, that flash of pain, or whatever it is, noted and filed away. "Tough shit." The Weyrleader grinds on his wanting his daughter back. "She's mine now." Possessive. Territorial. Unyielding. And HIGHLY approving of K'ane's explanation of just exactly who he is. That one chair? Ignored. He rather prefers the advantage of looming over the Roma leader while he sits. "Like he said. We're here to talk to you about K'ane and Ksenia visiting with their daughter." Beat. "The one you forced my weyrma…wife, to give up."

K'ane gets the lion's share of Lainier's attention for that proclamation. At first his face purples to the fine thread of near apoplexy before all color drains away to leave him much colder and much more calculatingly evil. "You're the one that defiled my daughter." Observe K'ane. He KNOWS you are a taker of VIRGINS. "And ruined her chances for a good match. Or almost did." He flicks his fingers, dismissing the child as his grandchild as a matter inconsequential. "The child is nothing but a bastard. You want her? Go ahead and take her away. She'll be less evidence of my daughter's infidelity." Of which he will GLADLY send on it's way out of the caravan. As for Cha'el, his words are like a drama bomb that lands on his desk and blows his arm off. Eyes bug out and off he lurches up to his feet once more. "WIFE — wait." Fury is arrested on the gasp-fished sound of something choked and dying in his throat. "You're a dragonrider. Even I know your kind can't marry. I want my daughter." To K'ane, "Your child for my daughter." Maybe he figures K'ane'll care more for the child. It's his flesh and blood! Right? He'll barter for that, right?!

THAT causes K'ane to laugh, freely and loudly. Whups. Probably not the best thing in the world. "Defiled? Your daughter seduced me. She is her own person, an' this ancient notion that virginity is somehow sacred…" K'ane's voice is disgusted, at that. He even mutters something to himself before stepping closer. "No." His voice is dark and deep and daresay threatening. "I am not you, Lainier. I do not take away my child's happiness just because it's inconvenient t' myself." That's a WHOLE LOT of eye contact, intense. Good think Pern doesn't have soul-gazes. "I am not here t' give you what isn't yours t' be given. On th' one hand you tell me t' take the child, an then in th' next breath you try t' use that which you would freely give as a bartering chip?" Even K'ANE can see that logical breakdown. A momentary pause, then into the silence K'ane drops a simple statement. "I come t' broker a deal with you, Lainier. One in which we both get somewhat that we want, I think."

The only evidence that Lainier's words have had any effect on Cha'el, will be the twitch of his hands in his pockets where they're tempted toward fists. Oh, that reaction to the news! If Pern had camcorders, this would be one recording played over and over and OVER again because that imitation of a dying fish is just PRICELESS! "Wife." The brownrider confirms and then snorts. "We use the term weyrmate. Either way, your traditions have been fully and wholly observed and I don't rightly care whether you acknowledge it or not but you ain't never getting Ksenia back." But then, then the Roma leader crosses the line and with the flip of a switch, the illusion of amicable is stripped away leaving nothing but the promise of pain and death etched across grim features. Roles are reversed and now its Cha'el that backs K'ane up, letting the bronzerider take the lead in the fight for his right to see his child.

"You can't marry, therefore, I can marry her to whom I choose," Lainier's triumphant in that fact, having hooked his hook through Cha'el's story. "And when I get her back…" When, not if. The man's laid a claim on his daughter that he'll not let go. Attention shifts to K'ane, eyes narrowing. "Yeah? And what kind of deal do you want to broker?" He's listening. He's a man bent on greed and destruction, not caring if his daughter or granddaughter are caught up in the crosshairs. "She might have seduced you," he'll give the bronzerider that, "but that just makes her a little slut." A little slut that he needs. That desperation is a dark glitter in black eyes, fully resting on the pair of dragonriders. "I'm listening." To this deal where he gets what he wants. At Cha'el's ire, there is only the grin of a man who's eating of the fatted calf. No love lost there, buddy.

"But she can marry, and sh' has," K'ane comments, mildly. "Not that it matters, she ain't gonna marry anyone who you want anyhow." It's just a MATTER OF FACT thing, see. "You won't be gettin' her back. So shall we deal, Lainier?" He cocks an eyebrow upwards. "You've lost a bargainin' chip, in a way. Ye've lost your First Daughter." Look, he did his research, okay? He's not COMPLETELY as dumb as he looks. "But th' way I see it, you've got your first daughter's first daughter. Ksenia and I want t' see her raised in th' way of her family — your family." He hesitates, then forges on. "I've holder Blood, Lainier. I will allow y' to trade on a bloodline I've never called upon, for my daughters sake, but only if you give her this honor, and allow Ksenia and I to know our daughter as she is raised."

Cha'el is not about to stand there and argue the point with the black-toothed dimwit. Not when his temper is fraying threads faster than a hangman's noose run over the rough bark of a tree. So much so that he's not quite quick enough to swipe the teeth bearing, silent snarl that tears in when Ksenia is named a slut. But this is K'ane's show and so he backs off for the time being and says nothing save for flicking the big bronzerider a look when it turns out, he appears to be as good with his mouth as he is with his fists. He's HEARD things! Not to mention that whole affair at the end of the recent hatching feast. "S'fair deal, Roma." The Weyrleader weighs in. "You'd be wise to take it." He and K'ane will be talking later about this holder-Blood-ace-up-the-sleeve thing.

Lainier's greedy black eyes are focused on K'ane, his face mottling when K'ane points out how Ksenia can marry. Although, does it really count with a dragonrider? It's like when a girl claims to be a virgen after she does — ahem. Neither her nor there. "A Holder, you say." He pauses to weigh K'ane in a much different light. See, the man knows Bloodlines and he's got an errant son trying to take his kingdom away, and he will do anything to strengthen his own claim. "A First Daughter's Bastard First Daughter doesn't carry quite the same weight," he mutters, perhaps angling for K'ane to sweeten the deal. Yet the sudden intensity that comes to black eyes shows that for the first time, he's viewing Kaersi in a whole new light. The little girl's future of anonymity might have been the best disguise she had. "What Blood? I could trade on it, if it be good stock." As in, no damn ancient pock-marked squallar cothold in the bumfuck reaches of nowhere. "Hold blood? Or one of those little pissant cotholders that barely have two scratches to their name?" Because one is a much, much higher commodity. Minor Hold, even. Cha'el isn't ignored, but for the black look that would wither nether regions and cut the man down to death. All that snarling just gets a fatter, wider smile. Dark promise lingrs. He still wants his daughter back, really. But the granddaughter is suddenly way more valuable.

"Hold blood." K'ane's gaze is steady. "My twice-great-grandfather was th' Lord of Ista Hold, in his time. I'd say th' deal is good." His voice is mild. SUPER mild. But wait, there's MORE. "Th' way I see it, we have a new Hold, an' they're going to need good Hold Blood, aye? I'd say we're in a position to ensure someone Blooded a good spot. Or someone attached t' someone Blooded." There is a careful deliberation to every one of K'ane's sentences, and he doesn't dare look at Cha'el. Instead he stares straightforwards at Lainier. "Well? Do we've a deal, Lainier?"

Smile while you can you smarmy bastard, because soon it will be one set by rigor mortis if Cha'el has anything to do with it. Cue the internal BLINK in the next instant! Yeah okay, K'ane. You coulda warned about that fat little gem. Lord of Ista Hold!? Dafuq!? To his credit, the Weyrleader exhibits none of this externally, merely keeping Lainier pinned with a cold, dark stare that yes, holds more than a lick of challenge to it. Just try it, schmuck!

< Southern Weyr > Khalyssrielth senses that: Southern's senior queen's touch is a rolling sense of heat that spreads outwards, touching all of the minds of those within her domain. The flicker-fire of lantern light flares to blinding brilliance as the dark spike of sudden //emotion is wound through the soft senses of sand and romantic light. Gone is the sweetgrass and lemon as it is consumed from the outside in, leaving little to be misconstrued. « Fire. » The clarion bell of alarm is driven into each draconic mind she touches, driving them to push a desire those tethered to them to aid the weyr. « Mine and Khalyssrielth's risk death. » Perhaps melodramatic, but there's a sense of two women — one short and one tall — fleeing the choking smoke of the depths of the weyr while fire threatens. With a lone guard struggling beneath the weight of a plump woman. « Fire. » (Dhiammarath)

"Even if her mother is a slut," Lainier entirely states this to provoke Cha'el, sensing the man's weakness, but suddenly K'ane's explanation is given a whole new light. "
Blooded." Now here's something to cause his eyes to go greedy and his mouth to water and his hands to rub together like some bastard giant of a leprechaun. "Deal." He starts to pull out some vellum and an ink well and a pen. "We'll write it down." Don't mind him, going all Crawley on their asses. "All of the terms of the deal." Because really, Lainier is nothing more than a glorified crossroads demon bend on bettering his own coffers. "I'll expect you to provide for half of her expenses." This to K'ane, because hey, money talks, and if he's //Blooded… then he's surely got riches. Common misconception, see. "Let us go over each one in detail. Detail."

< Southern Weyr > Khalyssrielth senses that: Sikorth thinks « In an instant, that sentinel presence idling in the skies just outside of the Weyr, snaps to attention in a thunderous BOOM of canon fire. « We come!! » That is it. Nothing more. Over and out. Seconds later the wingleaders of the various wings are rallied with clipped instructions conveyed via the draconic grapevine to set up a water line of buckets. »

Poor Lainier. If only he knew all the things occluded from the deal: notably, the fact that K'ane's a bastard son of a Paradise cotholder, and yes, his great grandfather's great grandfather (that's twice-great, right?) was Lord Holder of Ista… some six hundred turns in the past. What? He only spoke the truth. Fact is, the big bronzerider is good at what he does, when he wants to be a dick. (Thanks Dhioth!) But before Lainier can get to the nitty gritty, K'ane's head is SHOOTING to the west as if driven by a lodestone. "How 'bout you write it up, Lainier, and we'll come back t' sign? There's, ah," Dhioth's HORRENDOUSLY FUCKING LOUD BELLOW OF RAGE can be heard, even through the thick wood of the wagon, "Trouble at th' weyr." And without a by-your-leave K'ane is ducking out, heading at a full run towards where Sikorth and Dhioth are stashed.

<Southern Weyr> Khalyssrielth senses that: Now is not the time to dally - Desmeth flings his bourbon to one side, slips off his house coat and into his cape. « Mine is close! She comes! She… wonders if anyone brought corn? » Desmeth. Over and out. Confused. (Desmeth)

"FUCK!" Cha'el suddenly explodes, completely out of context though Lainier couldn't know that. Turning to bolt after K'ane as he dashes off, the Weyrleader pauses to stab a finger at the Roma bastard. "You can work out the terms of your greed later. But I warn you now, if you so much as THINK of even looking at Ksenia when she comes to visit with Kaersi, you'll find your ass stuck between dragon teeth and your arms used as a tooth pick." And then he too is gone before the roaring brown destroys the area around him in his agitation. Never a dull day in Southern.

Never a dull day indeed. For once in his life, Lainier finds himself without something to say. His expression is utterly shocked as his jaw drops open in a rare, rare moment of vulnerability. In the silence left behind, he shakes his head and goes. "Dragonrider. Fucking crazy." Then he's back to bellowing for his minions. Time to get down to the particulars. At least, he can have a mile-long list of details for them to sign. Already, he's chuckling at himself for his cleverness.
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