Who

Amani, Jazsael

What

Amani comes across a face she hasn't seen in three Turns - or more accurately, that face finds her.

Backdated

When

It is late afternoon on the 11th day of the 1st month of the 13th Turn of the 12th Pass.

Where

Weyr Entrance, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 26 Jan 2018 07:00

 

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“This isn’t the direction I thought you were aiming for when you asked me to teach you how to shoot a crossbow."


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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.


The Weyr entrance is, understandably, a popular gathering point for the newly arrived and those whose duty it is to greet them. Being the junior weyrwoman, that duty often falls to Amani. It can be tiresome at times, depending on the visitors, but she often finds herself enjoying it, fascinated by the different sorts and their reasons for coming by.

At the moment, the young goldrider is treating with a handful of wildlings, the exchange at least appearing civil as it draws to a close. As the small group makes its farewells and moves to depart, however, the smile Amani wears wanes subtly, her head shaking almost imperceptibly. Diplomacy is all well and good, but difficulties still abound, and satisfaction is often incomplete. So says her expression as she watches the wildlings leave, and she doesn’t move until they’re well over the bridge, and deep sigh lifting and then dropping her shoulders as she turns and moves a few paces toward a shady spot. She glances up at her lifemate, who watches from a ledge overhead, the great golden tail that drapes over the edge of it undulating slowly as dragon and rider engage in unspoken exchange.

Jaszael hovers in a shadowy niche not far away from the young weyrwoman. A little smile plays about her lips as she watches the girl she used to know seemingly deal with the wildlings with graceful success. Someone has come a long way up in the world! Intel is always key in Jazsael’s travels about Pern so when she arrived at Southern Weyr and heard that the newest weyrwoman was a young woman named Amani she had to find out if it was the same girl she had known as Amania. The name was unique enough but from the descriptions she had heard it seemed likely. It was easy enough to find out that the goldrider could be found here at the entrance, her duties apparently including playing Welcome Mat for visitors. Being politically correct was not something at which Jaszael excelled. She’d be more likely to cause an incident in such a position.

Moving discreetly closer to where Amani rests in the shade Jazsael notes her upward glance and follows it, almond-shaped eyes squinting slightly against the sunlight. Ah, yes. The young queen. Now Amani’s other half. Jazsael’s gaze drops back to her former student and she speaks up, just to the side of the rider’s peripheral vision. “This isn’t the direction I thought you were aiming for when you asked me to teach you how to shoot a crossbow,” she muses in a tone that’s filled with velvety amusement.

Welcome Mat. Amani wouldn’t be particularly pleased to hear that moniker, but she also wouldn’t be able to deny that it feels apt some days. She might even be relating a rather similar sentiment when a voice breaks into her mental conversation - a voice the registers as familiar. How in the world…? And yet, as she looks over to the source of the voice, there’s no mistaking the contrast of crystal blue eyes and tumbled black hair.

“Jazsael?!” Amani closes the distance to her erstwhile mentor quickly, grinning…and almost embraces the other woman, though stops herself, pausing uncertainly. In her old life, Amani had never been much for physical contact. That’s changed drastically over the past few Turns, and she realizes she has no idea if Jazsael would appreciate a hug or not. “Trust me, it wasn’t…but I wouldn’t change a thing. What are you doing here? I never would’ve expected to see you at Southern, of all places!”

Jazsael breaks into a wide smile at Amani's reaction. Though she was raised in a world where physical intimacy was a way of life it wasn't where she stayed, the more secluded and tougher life of a hunter her eventual choice of career. So when it comes to general physical contact she isn't typically apt to initiate it. In this case, however, she is genuinely thrilled to have found her old friend doing so well so when Amani hesitates to reach out Jazsael gives the other young woman's arm a squeeze with one hand.

"It's me," she confirms with a silky laugh. "I'm working, actually. It's my first time here. Quite the place. But how in the world did YOU end up here?" Tilting her head she teases, "And more importantly, how's your bow arm?"

Amani can’t help but laugh at that, reaching up to give Jazsael’s hand a squeeze upon her arm in turn. “A little rusty, but I’ve been able to start practicing again. My aim is still good,” the younger woman assures her. “And…” Moving a bit more into the shade closer to Jazsael, the junior Weyrwoman comes to lean against the stony wall, arms folding upon her chest. “After I left Kurkar, I wound up in Igen’s Bazaar doing odd jobs, since the Zingari were gone. When they came back, I went to them, got hired on as a guard, and they eventually made me one of them. But then a Searchrider from here came to the camp one night, and his dragon took a shine to me. They asked me if I wanted to come Stand for the clutch, and I thought…why not? I hadn’t seen anything of the world outside Igen, hadn’t ever ridden on a dragon, though another path might present itself, so I just jumped. Wound up here…and then Zymuraith found me.”

She looks upward as her lifemate lowers her head toward the pair with a fond croon, and Amani can’t help but grin. The queen’s great eyes glint like faceted emeralds as she surveys Jazsael, weighing the woman with a deliberateness that conveys wisdom beyond her few Turns of life. “She says hello and welcome,” Amani passes along before turning her dark gaze back upon the bounty hunter. “So you’re working. Anyone one we need to worry about, or…?” Is it taken care of already, as her trailing off fills in.

Jaszael nods as Amani explains the path life has taken for her, elegant brows rising slightly as she mentions getting swept up in a search and impressing. Jazsael knew she was a rider, of course, but to have it happen so unexpectedly and turn out so well is interesting. "Zymuraith, huh?" she echoes in soft contemplation. "Pretty name." Following Amani's gaze she smiles back at the gold's display of interest, her mind automatically cataloguing details and noting nuances of the young dragon's appearance and demeanor. Never having been close to the great beasts of Pern she is at once curious and wary of them.

"Hello back, and thank you," she says with an incline of her head. Amused, her gaze returns to Amani and the younger teen's pride and affection is obvious. "This seems to suit you," she tells the goldrider. "You look happy." Asked about her own activities Jazsael laughs again and waves one hand in dismissal. "No worries. I already took care of it. Just a minor thief who thought he could run far enough to hide." The hitch to her grin tells the folly of such thinking. As if anyone could elude HER tracking skills!

Zymuraith rumbles softly with the compliment to her name, pride evident in the subtle arch of her neck. She might be rather laid-back for a gold (or so it would seem outwardly), but she isn’t immune to praise. Amani chuckles as she conveys Jazsael’s words, smiling and nodding slowly with the other woman’s observation. “I am happy. That’s not to say it’s not challenging in all sorts of ways, but…that’s life, no matter where it lands you.” And no matter how she looks at it, this is a thousand times better than any other outcome she could have ended up with after leaving.

There’s another grin to answer Jazsael at her last. “No rest for the wicked,” she notes, using the double edge to the term very deliberately. “Does that mean you’re leaving soon? There’s a great bar here I’d love to acquaint you with before you go, if you have time.”

"That sounds deep," Jazsael teases, canting her head slightly to eye her former pupil. "You're not supposed to start spouting random wisdom until old age. Or.. Is that something you learned from your dragon?" The last occurs to her out of the blue and could be rhetorical, less joking in the question as she glances upward again toward the lounging gold.

But then Amani is teasing her in turn and crystal blue hues snap back to the younger teen, Jazsael's lips closing in a crooked grin that could very well be described as 'wicked'. "Indeed," is all she says to that. A subtle change comes over the hunter at Amani's final question, a bit of sensual smolder glimmering within dark eyes as she replies with a feigned casual air, "Actually no. There's something else I want to look into first." Slender shoulders tilt at mention of a bar, however, and she leans slightly closer. "For you I will make time, Amania…. er, I mean Amani now, right? Didn't like that 'a' on the end, hm?"

“Of course I learned it from her,” Amani counters lightly. “If I try to say otherwise, I’ll end up in this game where she’ll talk me around until I end up saying it anyway.” Cryptic, that…but “cryptic” may as well me one of her lifemate’s secret nicknames. Not that Amani will ever say so, of course.

The change in Jazsael’s expression earns a curious quirk of the goldrider’s eyebrow, what she sees in the other woman’s eyes something she’s familiar enough with now to recognize. “Something, or someone?” she asks teasingly, and tilts her head in the direction they need to go before starting that way - conveniently, a swinging door across the way from where they’re standing. “Zymuraith’s idea, but I’ve never questioned it. The dragons always change a boy’s name, but only sometimes do it for girls. I’ve wondered why, but when she called me that…it just became my name.”

The fine lines of Jazsael's brows rise sharply upward at Amani's assertion and Jazsael can't help laughing again for having been so obvious. "Maaaaaaaaybe someone," she clarifies with an elongated drawl, her chin tucking downward with the emphasized ending.

Following Amani's lead as the other woman begins to walk Jazsael keeps pace alongside her while they cross to the swinging doors, winding their way around the folk still coming and going from the weyr. The explanation Amani gives as to her name is definitely curious, earning a thoughtful glance from the hunter. "Huh. Interesting," is Jazsael's response. It's traditional on Pern for parents to give their child a name that's easily contracted in case they have the honor of impressing one of the planet's mighty defenders, tho for some like Jazsael that outcome isn't even considered an option so doesn't come into play. Shooting off on a tangent she asks, "How long has it been since you impressed?"

It isn’t necessarily that Jazsael was being obvious, just that Amani has been learning how to read people a bit better. The young goldrider chuckles. “Well, there are plenty of very…exotic someones to capture the attention here,” she notes with a faint blush. “It’s been a little over two Turns now.”

Amani pushes the swinging door open and holds it so that Jazsael can pass through. “Welcome to the Tipsy Kitten,” she says with a smirk, a hand sweep toward the impressively-stocked bar. “Southern’s counterpart to the Dustbowl Cantina, though more open and less shady. Most of the time.” Shady being relative, after all.

Jazsael is good at noting details herself so that faint blush of Amani's isn't missed but since they reach the bar she reserves commenting on it for the moment. Walking past Amani she enters, approvingly amused by the girl's polite manners. "Tipsy Kitten," Jaszael echoes with a smile. "Perfect name for a drinking establishment." Blue eyes scan the room in one quick sweep then linger longer on the display of alcohol behind the bar. "Any suggestions?" she asks, tilting a light challenge in the curl of lips.

“Honestly…I’m not a huge expert on the drinks. Yet,” Amani replies as she comes up beside Jazsael again, her sidelong glance somewhat sheepish. “But I know that rum in mango juice is delicious, and so is the Zingari Red, which found its way up here somehow. And they have this creamy, cheesy wherry dip they serve with toasted bread, and it’s worth making a meal out of sometimes.” This is said with the weight of experience behind it, of course…and her stomach appreciates the reminder. “I think I’m going to get some of that actually; I haven’t had lunch yet.” She tilts her head toward the bar, inviting Jazsael to head that way with her.”

Jazsael actually is quite familiar with a variety of alcoholic drinks but being in a new place for the first time usually adds to her growing repertoire. Local favorites are a perfect example. That being the case, her eyes light up when Amani mentions the cheesy dip.

"That sounds like a delicious combination!" she declares with enthusiasm. "I think I'll have the same." Following the rider's nod Jazsael walks over to the bar and, ignoring a pair of men who give the women lingering looks of obvious interest, she purposely hops onto a stool out of their earshot. Once settled she looks to her impromptu dining companion with a wide smile. Rum and cheese dip - this day just keeps getting better! "Soooooooooo," she starts, giving Amani a narrow-eyed look of mock intensity. "I'm guessing there was an exotic someone who caught your eye to cause that pretty little blush?"

And since it sounds so agreeable to them both, Amani orders them a double helping of that and two Spiky Mangos, as this particular combination of rum and juice is called on the menu. The goldrider does see the men who look their way but keeps her expression neutral, her chin lifted. She’s wearing her knot, so if they have any ideas about approaching, they’ll do it respectfully if they know what’s good for them. It one of the advantages of wearing the fancy knot that she isn’t shy about taking advantage of.

Jazsael’s question earns another of those pretty little blushes she names, and the goldrider laughs softly. “His name is Ibrahim. One of the wildlings here. We’ve been seeing each other since about three months before I graduated weyrlinghood. I figured out his interest not long before then; doing anything about it just wasn’t allowed.”

Between Amani's knot and the knife sheath strapped to Jazsael's thigh anyone would be out of their mind to be disrespectful to the two ladies! The men at the bar apparently get the idea for neither of them come closer once the women sit down. Once Amani orders Jazsael listens to the other teen's smitten reply with a happy smirk to her lips. Ibrahim. The name is filed away. "A wildling?" she echoes that detail aloud, expression reflecting a touch of surprise. Remembering the encounter she'd seen at the entrance between the weyrwoman and the visiting wildlings she ponders, "I had heard some rumblings about relations with the wildlings not being so great. Are they more accepted here in the weyr?"

“The Weyr is more accepting of a lot of things, but the wildlings can match us for stubbornness, too,” Amani replies, knowing full well the answer isn’t a clear one. “Tensions between us and them don’t have an easy solution. But just like anywhere else, there’s acceptance to be found among some on both sides. And that’s a place to begin. I’ve met Ibrahim’s people and they are…very steeped in tradition and superstition where the Weyr is concerned. He’s tired of it, so got away from them, even if he still keeps up ties.”

Jazsael listens attentively. She may not be fond of politics but knowing the political situation of any given group is always helpful, especially if she should get a future contract that takes her in new directions - like this one. As Amani finishes she leans one arm on the edge of the counter, automatically positioning herself so that she can take in the rest of the room with an easy glance. Not that she anticipates any problems here but old habits keep one safe. "Just the weyr?" she asks. "Or strangers in general?"

“That’s…a good question, actually,” Amani replies with a subtle frown of thought, though it disappears swiftly as their food and drinks are brought out. Following her thanks to the server, she says, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a general thing, considering how insular some of them seem to be. What I see is mostly directed toward the Weyr, though.” Naturally. That matter set aside for a moment, Amani picks up her Spiky Mango and holds it for a clink. “To surprise run-ins.”

Jazsael's expression is intently focused as she listens to Amani's reply and the information is filed away for safekeeping. But then the food arrives and, unsurprisingly, the smell alone melts the straight line of the hunter's lips into an instant smile of anticipation. Retrieving her drink first though, she matches Amani's gesture and holds it up to lightly tap the delicate glass.

"And old friends," she adds, crystal blue hues alight with the heights of her good mood. Taking a healthy first drink, Jaszael doesn't waste time on a petty sip - no! Rum and mangos are both yummy so how could it go wrong? Happily, her assumption is proven true and she lowers the glass slightly, giving Amani a firm nod and wide smile. "Good suggestion!" Now, about that delicious sounding dip…

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