W'lin, Amani


Southern's newest bronzerider and junior Weyrwoman have a small clash in perspective.


It is midmorning of the fourth day of the seventh month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.


Weyr Entrance, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 21 Mar 2018 06:00


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"Did I offend you?"


Weyr Entrance

No standard weyr-arch for Southern, no, not when an open-air bridge could curve so gracefully into the exterior of the bowlwall, the concave swoop of the weyrbowl itself nestled against the far high-rise of the rivercliffs. A pocket of white marble is delineated in gorgeous architecture at the termination of the bridge, a staircase switching back to a terace above; the stone buildings of the guard compound rise in a vivid vein against the rough-hewn darkness of the cliffs it settles against. The classic arcs only possible by ancient stonecutters show through, Southern's ageless beauty to be admired by all who trespass her walls.

Storm clouds hang over Southern yet, despite the lack of rainfall throughtout most of the day. Cooler temperatures have fallen as the sun has, dipping down as Rukbat descends towards the horizon line. It's in these hours before the night falls that W'lin returns from his duties outside of the Weyr walls, and while his bronze wings on the thermals above the Weyr, luxuriating in what's left of the day, his rider trudges through the entrance carrying a dropsack. His hair is a bit disheveled from his riding gear, his gear bulkier for a thick-knit sweater layered underneath. He looks distracted as he hefts his baggage along with him, and that says nothing of the bright red bandana he wears loosely over mouth and nose. After all, there's a sickness ravaging their wings.

There's a loud thwack from the direction of the Guard Headquarters near the entrance, followed by a faintly metallic ratcheting, a click, silence…and another thwack. Someone is in the middle of target practice at the butts in the small fenced-ff yard in front of the edifice, and it isn't a guard. Amani, dressed in her leathers against the cold, wields a crossbow with familiar ease, loading and firing at a deliberate tempo, occasionally moving to study where the bolt has landed. Anything off-center is frowned at, of course…but there's only one out of what appears to be a dozen. The junior Weyrwoman is a good shot. She's also still attentive to the goings on around her and spies a bronzerider making his way in with a burden, his face obscured by a red bandana. Still, the glimpse of blue eyes in contrast to black hair is striking enough to be memorable, and she places him. "W'lin," she calls, lifting a hand and setting the crossbow against her shoulder to come his way once she's over the low fence. "What has you hiking in with all that?" As opposed to getting dropped off by his lifemate.

"Amani," is the bronzerider's warm reply, once his blue eyes have lifted from his feet and he's pulled down the bandana. "Did you come out to welcome me back? I've never recieved such attention." W'lin's voice is full of amusement as he changes course - from a generic path towards the caverns - and angles towards the goldrider. He ambles leisurely up to the fence, only to set down his burden, and lean a forearm on a slant post. "I thought I'd get a few things to spruce up my weyr." And then he nudges the dropsack with a booted foot. "Doing a little practice?" he asks, curiously assessing her weapon of choice and the targets she's been practicing with up until now.

Amani simply smirks, chuckling softly. "If I'd known you were gone in the first place, I might've made more of an effort," she counters drolly. His reply, though, brings about a smile of understanding. "Feeling at home as quickly as possible ought to be a priority," she opines. "At least that's more immediately possible in your own living space." To his question, she nods, letting the crossbow drop into her upturned palm. "I like to stay sharp. And it's a good way to blow off steam," she replies. "This was what kept me alive several times in Igen. And got me a job with the Zingari at first. I was a guard for them." Slender shoulders hitch upward in a shrug, hiking the fleece-lined collar of her jacket up to her jaw momentarily. "Sometimes it just helps me focus."

"Should Khasvith let Zymuraith know when we leave from now?" There's a playful slant to his mouth, as he eases his other arm onto the same post. "I was doing some practical excerises when I noticed some of these…" W'lin looks a little sheepish, and casts a glance around to make sure no one is playing them undo attention. "I like plants. I try to keep as many as I can in my weyr. It makes it feel less.. claustrophobic." He shrugs off his admission and focuses again on her weaponry, though his expression becomes a little more sealed off than priorly. "You had to save your own life? From what?" could be classified as curious, but there's somehow an edge… Any weird vibes? Maybe.

"If he wants," Amani says with another shrug, and leans against the fence herself. She also lowers the crossbow to stand it on it's end and do the same by her knee. "No shortage of plants here," she notes with a quick grin, "though I'm guessing you might mean different kinds than what you'll find…well. Everywhere." Nothing from the jungle, she suspects. She looks a bit bemused at W'lin's last, something in his tone striking her as odd. "Well, I sure wasn't going to get help from anyone else," she answers with a snort. "Starvation, thieves, tunnel snakes that got too close. It let me hunt, and it let me defend myself." A gloved hand reaches up to shove back some of her hair - a self-conscious gesture rather than a necessary one as klah-dark eyes flicker downward briefly. "The desert is…it's own kind of rough. Add to that a less-than-ideal upbringing, and it sort of forces you to grow up faster than you ought. Not that I'd really change much, in retrospect. I might not be here now without it, after all."

"But only if you're going to be the welcome wagon every time." What can a man say? Dragging your feet home to nothing but an empty weyr or seeing a friendly face instead is hardly a competition. "It's hard to grow plants up there. I had a harder time in Telgar than I will here, I think. Plenty of vegetation that likes growing in the humid dark." W'lin is hardly a horticulturist, but he sounds like he has plenty of experience - probably from en masse plants that he accidentally killed in Telgar's frigid months. "Igen," he ruminates, leaning forward until he's almost leaning over that fence, "lets anyone be guards?" Oh, no. No, no. He's not necessarily guarding himself anymore, but no longer is there the edge, his tone conversational: "It seems a little odd to allow young girls to be guards." There it is, folks!

Amani just laughs at W'lin's first, mostly for the impracticality of it but blushing lightly just the same. It's an interesting quirk, the bronze rider's love of plants in his living space, though perhaps it's her desert breeding that makes the notion of it a novelty. Things take a shift, however, when he makes his comment about "young girls" as guards. A dark brow arches, and she turns in her lean against the fence to face him, arms folded and a glint about her deep brown eyes that might be a little…dangerous? Challenging? It's a spark of something that might be risky to provoke, certainly! "Igen Weyr allows both men and women to be guards, and there are trainees in their teens," she informs him. "I was a guard for the Zingari - traders. Not the Weyr. And I proved myself quite handily before being allowed that knot. I was seventeen then, in terms of Turns since birth." Her head tilts slightly. "What defines a 'girl' to you, W'lin? What should a 'young girl' be?"

A smarter man might makes moves to backpedal from that particular conversation, but it's not his intellect that W'lin is known for. "That's interesting," he murmurs, unaffected as yet by her change in stance, "I thought they leaned in the same direction as Telgar did." He wears a pensive look for a couple of seconds, and then he's flicking a glance in the goldrider's direction. "Something that's not quite as…dangerous. Crafting if she wants. Marrying if she wants. Standing and Impressing if she wants. Enjoying her life? I think it's odd that she'd be defending Weyr or trader caravan, when there's plenty of able-bodied boys who could see to it." He's not shy about expressing his opinions, apparently. "You look capable of it, but…still." There's a shrug of his shoulders, as he uses forearm strength alone to push up and away from the fence post, relaxing back into his heels.

"Then you don't know Igen and have probably never stepped foot on the sand." Amani straightens as W'lin comes out of his lean, stepping closer to the bronzerider to pin his gaze, very much in his space now. "And what if defending her home and people is how she enjoys her life? If she's strong and quick and can run circles around even the 'able-bodied boys,' what should stop her? And what if, even if it isn't how she would've chosen to live her life, she isn't given a choice?" Klah-dark eyes narrow subtly as she finally lowers her arms, the glint within brighter now. "I'll give you credit for believing a girl ought to do what she wants. To a point. But there's more to the world than Hold, Hall, and Weyr, bronzerider, and I am not a girl from any of those. The children of the jungles, the traders, the renegades, the Holdless, the Bazaar…" A hand lifts to tap a finger against her chest with her next. "…The desert, the criminals, and those all but ignored - they are the ones to break that mold you try to fit them into. Over and over and over again." There is no self-deprecation for her origins, however; pride marks the lift of her chin and the desert-forged fierceness of her gaze. "Take a walk down among them sometime, W'lin. Learn to see a few new colors."

"I haven't." Surprise strikes the dragonrider's face when she steps closer, but he's not going to step back either, however stunned he appears. "Did I offend you?" comes at the end, his hands lifting and then falling helplessly at his sides. "I can appreciate that you come from a different place than I did. I'm sure you had a much different upbringing. It's.. you had it harder," he allows, nodding his head along with his own words. "It's just.. that's my own perspective. I didn't mean to offend you, but I don't necessarily know if I'll ever agree with that.. that line of thinking." His mouth forms a pensive line, his gaze steady on the woman before him. "I think women, especially young girls, should be protected. They're our future. It only takes one man, but.. ah." There's that helpless lifting of his hands again.

"The truth of the matter doesn't revolve around whether or not you agree with it, thankfully," Amani counters, her words clipped now. "All people need protection. If it were only girls and women who needed it, I'm sure it wouldn't be in any man's nature to raise a hand to them, mark them, use them, kill them…but no. It happens. It did where I was born, and it does in far more places than you know. To more than just girls. Protection is nice when you can get it, but most of the time, we have to make our own. We're not like the dragons, who will automatically protect their queen and destroy the threat by instinct. We're broken compared to them." The notion that 'it only takes one man' earns a scoffing bark of laughter. "And if that one man trips walking through the living cavern and splits his head open on a table, what happens to the future then?" Her expression is incredulous as she shakes her head at him. "Yeah, I might be a little offended. And I think I know where I'm taking you before showing you around the Barrier Hold, if I'm still feeling inclined toward it afterward."

The bronzerider is starting to look like he's regretting coming over to the fence, and regretting bringing up the topic even. "All people need protection," W'lin parrots, nodding his head up-and-down again, "that's why we do what we do." He understands that much it would seem. "Where?" he asks, and then frowns, because he's likely aware of how it all sounds, even if he's not bent on changing his perspective. "You shouldn't feel obligated." And he rakes a nervous hand through already disheveled hair, his gaze finally lifting to rove without reason around their immediate surroundings. Perhaps he's looking for a way out, or someone to save him from the situation he put himself in. It's not very clear, though what is, is that he's not as at ease as before, his posture rigid; the dropsack all but forgotten in lieu of the unexpected turn of events.

"Oh, there's nothing coming from a sense of obligation here, I promise," Amani answers, her smile sharp and sly. Even if she hasn't changed W'lin's mind in this little exchange, she can at least take some satisfaction in seeing that he's in a state of discomfiture now. "I'm going to show you a little of the desert. Two mornings from now, meet me in the upper bowl. After breakfast." Stepping back from him at last, she uses her foot to tip the crossbow out of its lean and into her hand, hefting it up into her grasp once more. "Enjoy making yourself at home with your plants, W'lin. I think I have a bit more to finish up out here. See you in a few mornings." If not before then. With that, she hops back over the fence into the guard's training yard and strides decisively back to her mark. There are a few more targets whose bullseyes haven't been introduced to her bolts…but they will be in very short order.

Oh. Oh, no. That mouth of his, the one that got him into trouble, opens, but no sound comes out in the heels of the goldrider's commands. He looks all sorts of disappointed, but eventually, he'll sigh and give a sound of agreement. "In a few mornings," is his farewell, before he jerks the bandana back into place. It's a furrowed brow now that shows above the red cloth, rather than the air of distraction, as he hoists up his dropsack and starts meandering his way back towards the caverns.

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