Who

Cha'el, Ksenia

What

Ksenia returns home late after hunting for liquid marks with Prymelia, only to be caught in the web of her own lies. Turns out, lying to the Weyrleader is actually a bad plan. Who'd've thought?

When

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

Where

Sikorth's Ledge, Southern Weyr

OOC Date

 

Chael16.jpg 8.jpg

"I came home early…To surprise you. And made dinner."



Sikorth's Ledge

A newly swept ledge, awaiting its new occupant.



Timor: moon4.jpg
Belior: moon7.jpg

-- On Pern --
It is 12:10 PM where you are.
It is night of the seventh day of the seventh month of the second turn of the 12th pass.
In Igen:
It is the sixty-seventh day of Summer and 118 degrees. The day dawns bright and clear. Everything is
coated in sand, but no clouds linger on the horizon.
In Southern:
It is the sixty-seventh day of Winter and 42 degrees. The day is dreary and overcast. A chilly winter
rain is falling down in soft drizzles.
In Southern Mountains:
It is the sixty-seventh day of Winter and 7 degrees. It's really damn cold out.




Given that for the past few nights he’d been coming in late, Cha’el had decided to leave his super sekrit project alone and surprise Ksenia by coming home early. However, he’d come back to a weyr empty with no fire in the hearth and distinctly lacking in the delicious scent of dinner cooking and his gorgeous weyrmate puttering about. Disappointed at first, the brownrider had merely assumed she was still at her stall on the Boardwalk (Thanks be to Bailey!) and so instead of dropping in there to surprise her, sure she’d see it as his ‘checking up on her’, he’d taken himself off fishing.

His haul had been pretty good with three fat fish his for the catching. Scaling and gutting them on the quiet section of beach where he’d caught them and with Rukbat sinking toward the horizon, he’d made his way back, entirely relaxed and with a plan in mind. HE would cook supper tonight thus giving Ksenia a well-deserved night off. With this in mind and whistling a jaunty tune, Cha’el had returned to find the weyr still cold, dark and empty of the life that she brings to it. Refusing to pay heed to the worry licking along the edges of his mind – for she’d promised to be careful and had Jo with her any way – he’d gotten down to the business of building a small fire out on the ledge.

But the minutes ticked by into first a quarter candlemark and then a half a one until, eventually, with a pile of burned toast to one side and the mouth-watering aroma of fish wrapped in palm leaves soaked with lemon juice and spiced cooking in the coals of the fire, he started to become antsy. That’s when Jo arrived:

On near silent feet the androgynous person makes their way up the steps and comes to a halt just outside of the circle of firelight. “Sir.” – “Fuck ME!” Cha’el startles and drops the tenth piece of toast he’d been trying to get right, into the fire eliciting a growled curse. Stupid bread!! “What!?” He barks and then narrows his eyes. “Where’s Ksenia?” Up go both brows with an air of expectancy. “That’s the thing, sir. I don’t know.” – “WHAT!?” Sorry Hannah and Bailey if that carries further than intended. “What do you mean you DON’T KNOW!!??” Shifting awkwardly from one foot to the other, Jo’s attention casts to the fire. “She slipped me, Sir. One moment she was there and the next, just gone.” – “You have GOT TO BE SHITTING ME!! No one just disappears!!” A vein begins to throb in the Weyrleader’s temple. Never a very good sign.

Prymelia might have dropped Ksenia off just outside the leadership courtyard, but Ksenia is no fool. For this story to work, she's got to look the part as well as act the part. So away into the depths of the weyr she goes, to grab up a mop and bucket. The thing is full and sloshes with each step. How, exactly, does she purloin this mop and bucket? By sneakily stealing it, of course!! Some hapless drudge is left wondering just where their supplies went as the woman hauls her stash back through the living caverns, into the lower bowl, hauled up to the upper bowl and through the Leadership Courtyard.

This is how, as Rukbat's no more than a ghost of what was as Belior and Timor claim the night, the woman slowly approaches the ledges. There's hope that Cha'el isn't home on time tonight. A quick assessment cast to the stars gives a little hope and chance that work has kept the weyrleader occupied, but one does not bank on sugar puffs and coconut dreams! One comes prepared! So with a pride that straightens her spine, the dark cherry of her hair a tangled matt around her face — she thinks she plucked all the twigs from it — and on bloodied, bare feet she stalks the ledge. Cha'el's yell almost has the woman turning and running away, but that would be cowardly!! And Ksenia is made of sterner stuff. So onward, she marches with chin lifted and a dirty look cast to Jo when she saunters herself up the stairs to the ledge. "Something smells good," she chirps up brightly, a smile stretching her lips as a liquid, languid gait suffuses her limbs. Ksenia is absolutely at her showman's best here. "Sorry I'm late," breezily comes the light-toned voice so at odds with the slosh and bucket move she's got going on, "But I was helping a new friend clean out," beat, "his weyr." That smile widens. Nevermind the torn shirt, the scratches on her arms and the one on her cheek. Oh, and what is that funny, rust-colored red-black stain across the hem of her pristine white skirt? Nothing, her body language says, nothing.

“Well she did,” Jo returns with a lift of chin and challenging pin of eyes. “I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find her. So now I’m here telling you…” – “That you LOST an ENTIRE human being!? You’re fucking SHITE at your job!!” Cha’el bellows now on his feet and starting to advance toward the guardian he’d appointed to keep an eye on his weyrmate as if perhaps he might mean to poke a stick through the skinny individual and roast HIM over the fire. But then, the prodigal weyrmate returns. “Sorry I’m late? SORRY I’M LATE!!??” Cha’el roars. Oh dear, now there’s TWO veins throbbing. One in each temple. “I was about to skin this one,” he jabs his toasting stick at Jo, “and then send out a search party!” Ksenia’s next catches up just as he takes in her disheveled appearance in the dance of firelight. “What happened to you and why…HIS weyr?” Uh oh. Steam might start coming out of his ears. “Whose this HE!?” He demands to know.

Ksenia's look to Jo and the long suffering sigh that almost slips out says it all. If only the woman'd kept her mouth shut, this wouldn't be happening, Jack. Her fingers clench around the handle of the bucket which sloshes water with that minute action. Slowly, she sets the bucket down and happens to only partially flinch at that roar. Keeping her hands on the mop handle, the hair of the mop swinging ridiculously about the top of it, casting long shadows across her features. The firelight happens to highlight the long scratch that covers the honey'd expanse of cheek. "Nothing happened to me!" If it weren't for her appearance, the lie would roll off her tongue as smooth as silk and as golden as butter. "Just… a new friend I made. He's one of the new weyrlings! His name is Mel." In keeping things simple and not entirely fabricating things whole cloth, she takes a step closer, all but ignoring Jo, "They just got their new weyrs and he wanted help cleaning it. So… I did." She tries on a smile, but her posture seems to be waiting for the temper to explode on this one. Tossing the mop aside, Ksenia does the only prudent thing. Much like in the Ice Fields when he was railing at her, she skirts his issues and forges on ahead with a bright smile, and, "Ooooh, you made fish!" The sad stack of toast is eyed. "Is that burned bark?" Hey. It's possible.

For a long and tense few moments, Cha’el merely eyes his weyrmate. But she does have a bucket. And a mop. “M’el, huh?” Frantically he searches his memory of the weyrlings that had been present at the graduation ceremony earlier in the day. “Is he that smarmy bluerider or the brownrider with the frou-frou hair?” Because either way, there MIGHT be a weyrling about to meet the Weyrleader face-to-face. “What happened to your face?” Yeah, he’s seen that scratch. “And your clothes!?” At least he’s not shouting any more? Well, he’s not roaring. Jo is for the time being dismissed from attention but not from where she stands ramrod straight lingering at the edges of this little domestic fray. “I came home early.” Flat Cha’el’s baritone becomes and then, a touchy pouty. “To surprise you. And made dinner.” Affronted he draws up straight and snorts. “Its toast. Its just a little…crispy on the edges.” Mmhmm.

Being eyeballed by Cha'el makes Ksenia send internal prayers to Faranth for giving her the foresight to grab up a mop and bucket from some hapless drudge. Never no mind that in no way would a weyrling really let her haul down a mop and bucket from his ledge. "Oh. Bluerider." Mel totally sounds like a bluerider's name. "Mel." Of which she forgets to elide his name, although it's difficult to tell in such a tiny name. Tossing aside the mop, Ksenia slips more fully into the little firelight that Cha'el's got going on. One, two, three steps closer to the Weyrleader that has her hands sliding up his chest until fingers come to rest on his shoulders. The smile she wears for him is genuine as she leans up on tiptoes to plant a soft kiss to the cleft of his chin. "It smells delicious." Into the firelight and the rim of dried blood is easier to see, soaked into her hem as well as the fact that she wears no shoes and has smears of the stuff caking off of her slender feet. "Oh, it was a very, uh, dirty weyr. There were some shelves, and uh, we might have knocked into them." That sounds all right, right?? "And there might have been some shelves falling, too. Luckily," Ksenia scrounges through her memory of the event to come up with a plausible truth to spread onto the honey'd lies she's serving him, "Mel protected me. He was very considerate." Does she explain all that well? Leaning over, she reaches for one of those sad burnt toasts. Reddened espresso locks spill over and down her shoulders. Is that… a twig with a little green leaf poking out of her hair. "I want a fish!!" Plaintive is her plea, although the name of her game is one of distraction.

It might be that Ksenia is slowly convincing her dragonrider with her adaptations of truth and outright lies for when she steps in wearing that smile and sliding her hands up his chest, Cha’el drops a smile (entirely manufactured) down onto her. Will she see the calculating light in eyes of ocean’s blue? Or will she miss it when he wraps an arm about her waist and draws her in closer. “You’re dismissed.” That goes to Jo. “We’ll talk in the morning.” And then, once the leanly built woman has left, he drops his head, lips parting to feather warm breath against her neck when he murmurs right against her ear, his arm about her tightening. “Then why shake Jo, hmm?” Using his teeth to nip lightly at her earlobe, he goes on to add, “And where…are your shoes? And why,” harder the next nip this time to sensitive skin at the juncture of jaw and neck, “is there blood on your feet?” That purring baritone has taken on a slightly colder cast as the man begins to draw his own conclusions of just what exactly had transpired with this blueriding weyrling. “Don’t.” Cha’el straightens, his arm dropping away from her, eyes glittering with accusation. “Lie.” The twig with its one little leaf is plucked from her hair when she leans over and held up as exhibit A. “To me!” Anger of a different kind prowls through the low set of his voice. Her request for fish, ignored. He wants answers and he wants them now.

Ksenia is entirely too wrapped up in weaving a blanket of lies to notice any calculating light that lurks within the blue-blue eyes of her beloved. She shivers for an entirely different reason after he sends Jo away and goes on to nip the skin of her neck. Not just for the sensual way of asking questions, but for that thread of coldness that comes to his voice. If it were just herself, she probably would just say something, given the way she teeters on the pivotal moment of telling the truth. He can see it in tawny depths of eyes that catch his small firelight like liquid caramel-gold. She can feel it in the way her tongue curls to tell the truth. Questions, questions swirl around her and for a moment she’s got no lie to give. The truth batters to get out, but when she pulls her eyes away from Cha’el’s mesmerizing blues, flinching at the presence of the twig — damn thing!! – and glances down to the blood crusted feet, she remembers a face, laughter, and a new friend. Drawing herself up, she lifts her chin and puts on the brightest smile she could ever have given him. “Blood? What blood? I was helping Mel paint. He lives over by the river cliffs and his weyr was full of overgrown brambles and jungle,” the lies, they roll off her tongue like golden honey, “That’s all there is too the story, m’lord.” This is chirped through forced cheerfulness, hands thrown behind her back so that they can clasp there tightly without him seeing. In the dark, she is relatively sure that the blood on her feet could easily go for paint – how little does she know – but to ensure her survival, she holds up a finger and sassily says, “If you’ll excuse me for one moment,” before darting into the weyr. It doesn’t take long for him to suss out how she’s beelining for the bath. Hey. Wash the evidence away!

Cha’el is not by nature a jealous man but when faced with a tale such as this, the green-eyed monster begins to slowly raise its ugly head. “Paint, huh?” Note the dubious set of features shadowed by stubble making an appearance from the morning’s shaving. Hovering on the brink of indecision - for surely Ksenia wouldn’t outright lie to him, right? – the Weyrleader fits her with a look so intent that she might begin to think he can read her mind. “Mmmm.” Unconvinced arms fold across the broad pack of his chest. “And this M’el,” the honorific added without thought. “He asked you to help him wh….HEY!! Come back here, I’m not done with you ye….Bloody woman!!” Cha’el growls and loses a few precious minutes to hastily shoving the wrapped fish to the fringes of the glowing coals. “Why did you bring the bucket and mop home? And you still haven’t said why you left Jo behind. She could have helped you. KSENIA!!” All the questions flung at her fleeing back as he stomps after her. “Get your ass BACK HERE!!” That he’s going after her negates his order.

If Ksenia were a good weyrmate, she would absolutely turn her ass around and go back to answer Cha’el’s questions with truth and honesty and contrition. However. However. Ksenia is one concerned with saving her own hide and that of her newfound friend’s and thus she completely ignores him when he starts yelling at her to turn around and get her ass back. “Of course he asked me to help him! He’s my friend! I even got to ride his dragon up to his weyr and before you start groaning and pitching a fit,” this is all yelled as she scurries through the weyr and into the baths, “He took very good care of me!” She doesn’t even wait to strip, but plunges straight into the water. Something full and satisfied fills the smile and the sigh of relief that comes from having her feet in the water – although, blood takes a little bit more than that to wash off when it’s caked to the skin. “I didn’t mean to ditch Jo,” lies up on lies, the truth is nothing but a shadow woven into a fully, manufactured story, “But Mel had just graduated and he wanted help and I promised to help him! He’s quite perfectly lovely, you know!!” Standing in the baths deep enough to get her feet to soaking, the water whirls about her calves, which gets her skirt floating away form her body and when the white cloth turns transparent, the angry rust-red of dried blood turns into a sinister darkness that is entirely on display for Cha’el. “I swear,” oh how she damns herself, “that’s all that happened! I’m not lying to you!”

Although fast at a flat out run, when he’s having to navigate his way passed furniture in a confined space, Cha’el is no match for her nimble swiftness. Skidding into the walled off bathing pool just moments after Ksenia goes plunging into it fully clothed, the rider comes to an abrupt halt and for a few moments just plain out STARES at her. “Have you lost your mind!!?? You’re still dressed!!” And then something occurs to him. Something almost as dark as the rust red stain seeping out of her skirt tugged into place by the scratch across her cheek and her tale of falling bookshelves. The Weyrleader goes quite cold, paling beneath his tan and suddenly, he’s wading right into the pool too. Fully clothed though luckily he’s wearing sandals not boots. “Ksenia.” Right up to her he goes and gently cradles her face between his palms. “Did you fall? Did something hit you on the head when that shelving came down?” Deep concern wreathes across his expression as he searches her eyes. Nope. Pupils look fine. A little dilated maybe but not to the point of concern. “Did you cut yourself on something” For he’s not buying the paint story. There’s another question that hovers. One deeper and far darker but he can’t bring himself to ask it just yet.

That Cha'el joins her in the baths, also fully clothed, is unexpected. As is the sudden concern that she can see in his eyes, but it's not what he says but what he DOESN'T say that causes her heart to lurch up into her throat. The hands that cradle her ace will feel the moment she swallows hard, before a truth slips out at the darkness gathered under her weyrmate's unasked question. "Oh, Cha'el. No! It's not mine." Chagrin somewhat destroys the artful display of lies as she does everything to reassure. "I'm fine! I didn't even fall down! All I did was throw up in the bu-er-bed." Hey, bushes are home to something that likes to bed down in them. She quickly throws her arms around her weyrmate's lean hips, trying to draw him in. "Me and sprite are just fine." She does feel bad, caught between her lies and this worry in Cha'el's eyes. "Mel was the one that got hurt. Poor dear," her tone is warm and worried, "twisted his ankle. I had to help him walk, but don't worry, he still held into me when he brought me home." Beat, then a spare whisper, "Really, my love, I'm not hurt." Notably, a twisted ankle doesn't bleed.

Heart pounding in his chest, Cha’el continues to search tawny-brown eyes and all that he finds when Ksenia reassures him, is truth. Relief exhales in a whoosh of breath and before he says anything further, she’ll find herself crushed against his chest in a bear hug. “Fuck. Ksenia I thought…I thought…” Nope. The words just won’t make it out of his throat. “So that’s what really happened?” He asks, drawing away to fit her with another of those searching looks though this one has expectation attached to it. Expectation and the desire to believe what she’s told him. “You were helping this M’el friend of yours clean out his weyr and he twisted his ankle and…” Frown. “Why did you throw up? Have you eaten today? Did you drink enough water?” Again with the questions though it seems that he has finally bought her stories if for no other reason than relief demands he believe her. That there are holes in it, now slips under his radar. Except for… “How did he hurt himself? Has he gone to the healers? Is it something K’ane needs to know about?”

Crushed against his chest is exactly the place Ksenia wants to be right now. Especially given the fright she’s had and the scratches she’s carrying and really, memory serves to remind her that at one point in the day, all she wanted was for Cha’el to be there and save her and carry her home on his shining – okay, maybe Sikorth isn’t shiny, but he’s still the man’s mount! “No! No!” she squeaks, voice muffled against his chest, “Don’t think that, I’m fine. Nothing happened to me, promise.” It’s kind of the truth, but the truth is starting to writhe in her belly, begging to be let out. Still, memory serves to remind her of Prymelia and the weyrling’s rather tenuous position. She can almost sigh a sound of relief when he starts to buy her lies, until he pulls back and gives her a searching look. “I, uh. Mel wanted me to see his weyr and help him clean it. And then, uh, we spent all afternoon up there, cleaning out the brambles and uh, a shelf fell down. Mel,” now she’s finally warming to this story and quite possibly starting to embellish a little too much for it’s starting to sound a little less like friendship and more like, well. Cha’el can make the distinction here when she continues with, “See, Mel is quick on his feet. The shelf was going to fall right on me, but he lunged at me and grabbed me in his arms and propelled us both forward. That’s how he twisted his ankle,” and not running from a wherry with a picnic basket – Oh! The picnic basket! “Because K’ane gave the weyrlings a picnic basket full of stuff, and he tripped on that.” See? Grain of truth. “And then, I was so startled,” warming up to the story, “that I got a little sick and that’s when Mel took me to the bed.” She runs through the questions Cha’el is plying her with, adding a quick, “I ate and drank enough. These things just happen, Cha’el. Our Sprite tends to just… kick up a fuss and make me nauseous… and no, Mel’s fine. I absolutely looked at his ankle. Totally good. No healers needed.” Someone’s already forgetting the blood, whups.

The first words that grate free are so low they’re almost a whisper. “M’el took you to his,” and then it changes, “BED!!??” Cha’el is back to roaring! Everything else Ksenia had said burned to ash. “I’M GOING TO KILL HIM!!” He bellows and stalks out of the bathing pool, dripping wet through the Weyr with a killing rage writ across his frame and out onto the ledge. “SIKORTH!!”

All is well and good. Ksenia is absolutely stewing in the ingenuity of her lies, starting to feel a measure of relief that all the secrets will be kept safe. That little bubble of relief is tainted with a sickening guilt, but hey, life’s not always easy, right? Thing is, she doesn’t expect that little detail – but she’d already chosen that path when she almost slipped on bushes! – to get that response. This time she is left with her mouth open and given pause before she’s also slogging out of the baths – it’s a bit harder in a SKIRT, see – and chasing after him. The slap, slap, slap of wet bare feet on their stone floor can be heard a mile away as she run for Cha’el. Without thinking of the consequences, she throws her arms around his waist to try and stop him, yelling, “NO NO NO NO NOT LIKE THAT, GREAT FARANTH, HE WAS A PERFECT GENTLE-ER-MAN! I JUST HAD TO — stoooooooooooooooop, Cha’el. Stop!” She will absolutely use her weight to try and slow down the killing rage-filled Weyrleader. “I would never – I – uh – I – “ She’s now quickly fumbling over her story to find something for plausible explanations, and it’s giving her a stuttering stop-start as she tries for something innocuous. “I BARFED IN HIS BUSH—ER—BUCKET, OKAY?! HE WAS JUST BEING NICE, CHAAAAAAAAAA’YAEEEEEEEEEEEEEL, DON’T KILL HIM FOR IT!!” Huffing and puffing and screaming: her face is quickly turning a few shades red and mottled.

Sikorth is at the feeding pens but when his rider yells like THAT! Its all hands man your battle stations!! With the unfortunate herdbeast he’d just dropped onto still twitching in his jaws – Take out!! – the big brown THWUMPS down onto the ledge with his kill trailing blood and guts. The ferocity of the wind that accompanies his arrival almost puts out the little fire cheerfully glowing off to one side. A grunt greets the sudden grab of slender arms about Cha’el’s waist but Ksenia’s weight is no match for his and he continues to surge forward merely dragging her along behind him. “Blue bastard. Rider by the name of M’el!” The Weyrleader cuts out to his dragon. “Find his ledge!” He’s almost out of the tunnel and onto the ledge, Ksenia’s screeched insistence that he stop, bouncing off the walls and smashing into his skull. Without warning, Cha’el suddenly jerks about, hands flying to her shoulders so that she doesn’t land on her arse. “You better tell me he’s into men. Because right now, that’s all that’s going to save his thieving arse!!”

In vain does Ksenia try to move the muscled weight of her weyrmate, but it’s like a butterfly trying to move a mountain lion. It just isn’t happening. She’s still babbling about Mel and how helpful he is or was up until the point that Cha’el jerks about and settles his hands on her shoulders. She absolutely would have rocked back at that given the sudden nature of it, and the sudden release of tension in her arms. Tawny eyes go wide and her head shakes mutely. This would be the point that she starts backtracking hard. “There’s no Mel. No malerider named Mel. My new friend…” Breath catches as the whites of her eyes show in the darkness, gleaming from the twin lights of the moon’s caress. “… is a female!” Either she’s lying about Mel from the beginning or she’s lying about Mel right now to save his ass. Either way, she’s tangling up in her own lies, here, but that head of hers is bobbing up and down in mute emphasis as tawny gaze latches onto the shadowed blue of his. “She’s a girl! And she’s my friend! And she just helped me!” Truth? Or lies?

Much like that mountain lion just mentioned a low rumble of extreme discontent begins to set up in Cha’el’s chest. LIES. He smells LIES!! “You.” A low hiss of sound escapes clenched teeth, his hands tightening reflexively into slender shoulders. “Better start talking and talking fast! And if I so much as THINK you’re bullshitting me….” With a sharp sound caught in the back of his throat, he releases Ksenia and takes a step back. “Better yet. Don’t. I don’t want to talk to you right now.” With that, he swings back around and stalks out onto the ledge, down the steps and into the bowl. The dinner he’d been trying to put together, completely forgotten in the sad little pile of guttering coals.

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