Amani, Maevra, Tama (NPCs)


Amani finally makes the trip to her old home to check on her little cousin…and ends up with just about the reception she expected.


It is afternoon of the seventh day of the twelfth month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.


Kurkar Hold, Igen Protectorate

OOC Date 10 May 2018 06:00



“Mama said you were dead.”


Kurkar Hold

The small crevice to enter forthwith accedes to stone steps that descend for half a dragonlength, subterranean space broadening into the volume of five cathedrals, but a sanctuary of few saints. The heartbeat of Kurkar is an open courtyard of native soil ringed by domiciles and living quarters gouged into the bedrock. Fowl, caprines, and long-tailed ovines occasionally wander and sleep freely, except when assemblies, dancing, or the rare wedding features. Daily life starts and ends here, with a storied variety of commodities available, and exotics— for the right price. The living quarters carved into the rocks may be as simple as crawl space or a large enough family unit to house several members. Often cloth is used to separate one's 'claim' and to provide a modicum of privacy. A towering ceiling is forever safe from light's reach, its vacant blackness like a night sky without stars.

In the sixteen Turns she’d belonged to Kurkar, there was only ever one season in which Amani found the Underground beautiful - winter. The caves kept them all cooler than most in the summer, but when the air turned colder, fires would crop up everywhere - the plaza, in front of or in the midst of abodes, the shore of the lake, even at the edges of the Maw. Not that the firelight would ever reach to the bottom of that foreboding pit. It did, however, reach up and out to gild the stone walls of the subterranean warren in subtle, flickering gold, stone ruddy, light, and dark turning warm and almost welcoming while Kurkar’s residents held their hands and feet toward the flames. It almost felt…cozy.

It’s almost precisely as Amani remembers it.

This isn’t the first time Southern’s Junior Weyrwoman has visited since coming into her own, though she hasn’t ventured this far in since living here. She’d worn her leathers and knot openly those times. Some looked at her with open scorn or wariness when she did so. Today, however, she is simply one of the desert-bred again - outwardly, at least.

She’d always tried to keep her head down when she was younger, staying out of sight as much as possible. Her blue headscarf, the one she’s wearing now, was more or less her defining feature, obscuring all but the dark, keen eyes that took in her underground world a little too sharply, her gaze always edged with suspicion. She’d been a nobody, and expects to be regarded as such now. But she’d also caused a few people some trouble. A few gazes follow her in an almost startled manner, as though watching an apparition move among them. She thinks a few of them are people she ought to make amends to…if they’d accept her apologies.

Amani tries to walk like she used to - carefully, trying to blend in - but finds it nearly impossible. There were so many habits she’d so willingly shed once she left this place, and she never meant to look back. Perhaps some would come back to her without any effort, were she pressed, but the way she carries herself now - confident, purposeful, proud - isn’t something she can unlearn even for a brief time, nor does she wish to.

She isn’t that girl anymore.

So while she has dressed the part for this visit, loose, sand-hued robes flowing about dark pants with every step and obscuring her knot and dragonrider’s clothes, a blue sash cinching about her waist and a matching headscarf obscuring her face, the way she moves marks her as an outsider through and through.

She is not a woman of the Underground. She hasn’t been for some time.

Making her way around behind the plaza - or what she’s always thought of as “behind,” anyway - she moves past a few rough-hewn tunnel entrances leading elsewhere. The garden. The lake. There are more niches in the wall beyond. Some are shallow and simple. Others bear facades of stone and brick, colorful hangings obscuring entrances and the light of glows or candles or lanterns warming windows. There’s a proper building being assembled nearby, no doubt with the assistance of the Weyr’s Crafters. Hopefully the people living in hovels will use the place once it’s completed and not stubbornly continue to sleep on their straw pallets out of simple disdain for the Weyr. She has to pass by the foundation and half-built walls, rounding a new corner in order to reach where her aunt, uncle, and cousins live.

It’s one of the niches with a built-up front and walls, complete with rooms dividing the space into sleeping quarters, a kitchen, even a living space. For all Tama and Braevan were firm parents and harsh with Amani more often than not, they always did their best to provide for their family with an orderly living space that felt at least somewhat dignified and well-rounded meals. There just wasn’t always enough to include Amani in those things. Hence the trouble she’d taken to making for a few of the wealthier families until she’d learned to hunt.

Such are the memories flickering through her mind when a soft gasp yanks her attention back to the present. She turns to find herself looking down at a little girl with black hair - long black hair hanging in gentle waves past her shoulders. So different from the favored twin plaits she’d been expecting to see. It’s the eyes that definitively tell Amani who she’s looking at, eyes she would know anywhere - deep green, softly quizzical, wide with curiosity despite being much warier now. “Amania?” The voice that so uncertainly questions is a little more nuanced now, no longer pitched as high and innocent as that of the toddler she’d left behind.

“Hi, kid.” Her smile squints her suddenly overbright eyes, and she tugs the scarf from over her face so that her little cousin can see her clearly. “Yeah… It’s me.”

Maevra, dressed in a long-sleeved blue khalat with a sash and simple soft shoes, pads a few steps closer to peer up at Amani. “Mama said you were dead.”

Amani blinks at the bluntness of the statement, though decides it would be just like her aunt to say so. And just like a child to put it so plainly. “I told you I was only going away for awhile,” she reminds the little girl, kneeling down on one knee so that Maevra isn’t craning her neck. Keen green eyes take full advantage, studying the young goldrider intently.

“I know. But she said if you hadn’t come back after so long, you were probably dead.”

“Well, I’m right here in front of you, aren’t I?” she points out with a smirk. Maevra nods hesitantly, some part of her still dubious about what her eyes are telling her. Amani glances down then, her fingers undoing her sash and slipping beneath her robes to a hidden pouch. “Look, Maevra.” She pulls free a care-worn doll made of burlap and reeds and coarse thread, fingers smoothing the little green dress that shrouds its stained body. “Remember her? She’s been with me the whole time.”

Maevra’s brows rise, lips curving into a bright smile. “Lessie!” As Amani grins and nods, she reaches for her old toy, which her older cousin holds out to her encouragingly. She takes it, running her hand over the stringy yarn hair and hugging it. “Did she help, Nia?”

Amani chuckles thickly, ducking her head for a moment to hide the sudden surge of tears she’s blinking against at the sound of her little cousin’s nickname for her. Shards, it’s seemed like forever since she’s heard it. “She did. Even when I was by myself, I was never lonely because she was there. And I’ll never be lonely again.”

Maevra is clearly trying to puzzle out exactly what her cousin means by that, but Amani shakes her head, still smiling. She’ll elaborate when the time is right. “You’re so big now, Maev!” she says, carefully reaching out to brush back a little bit of the girl’s hair. “What are you now, twelve?”

Maevra giggles, still holding her newly-returned dolly to her chest. “I’m nine.

“Oh, is that all?” Amani grins, knowing the math full well. “You look like you could be twelve.” It certainly feels like she could be twelve, considering all the distance Amani has put between herself and this place. “What have you-”

“Maevra! Who are you talking t-”

The woven white, orange, and gold hanging obscuring the entrance sweeps aside with the words, the woman speaking them stopping dead in her tracks as her daughter and the young woman with her come into view. Hard hazel eyes latch onto Amani in utter shock as her niece rises from kneeling, meeting her gaze. She’s much the same as Amani remembers her - rich brown skin accenting the green in her eyes and the silver streaking her black hair, creases from age and sun evident around her eyes and at the corners of her mouth. Her nearly too-slender frame and the wiry strength attending it once intimidated Amani, seeming to suit her severity.

Amani feels none of that now, save for a few reflexive flutters of apprehension in her stomach. The woman before her is…smaller than her. Someone made bitter and hard by her secluded world. Everything Amani was determined not to become.

Powerless over her, a goldrider of Southern Weyr. Amani has never felt what she’s become as keenly as she does in this moment.

Tama straightens, coming past the hanging just enough to let it fall behind her, the shock melting from her features. Her gaze narrows, lips pressing into a thin line as she finishes wiping flour from her fingers with an old kitchen rag. She’s sizing Amani up now…though Amani isn’t quite sure for what purpose.

“Well, well. You couldn’t have just stayed gone; you had to go and make a liar out of me, too.”

Some things never change.

To be continued…

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