Who

Sienna, Erissa

What

Continued from "Meet & Greet & Gossip". Girl chat moves to a 'cheesier' location.

When

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

Where

Cellars, Igen Weyr

OOC Date

 

Josie_Maran.jpg erissa18.jpg

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Cellars

Order at last, here in the cellar: foodstuffs in their proper places, floors cleaned and shelves organized: all the pots, pans, and flatware are properly hung on the walls and stored on their shelves, gleaming with careful cleaning. To one side of the cavern, there is a large outcropping of smoothed rock, permanently stained red: the place where all meat goes to be portioned for cooking. The air is cool and crisp and almost free of humidity and moisture, an astringent tang of salt and herbs hanging heavy in the air.


Characters


Log

Sienna leads the way, down through the kitchens and into the cellars, grabbing a glowbasket as she passes through. And further. Down this tunnel and that, into the very depths of the weyr itself. Does Erissa trust her enough to walk down this far? Most of these tunnels appear unused, though the path Sienna takes is fairly smooth, even if it’s relatively dark. “It’s just right down here,” Sienna assures, taking another turn before she stops before a closed, locked door. The door is sturdy, the lock new, and Sienna pulls the key out from beneath her tunic. Unlocking the door, she turns to smile at the woman. “It smells a bit,” she warns, before opening the door.

Sienna’s cheese cave is a small, but immaculate room. Shelves line the walls, upon which wheel after wheel glisten and ripen, each in a different stage of preparation. A table boasts metal and wooden buckets, tools, smaller shelves with all sorts of different items. All for making cheese. “I’ve got some things you can sample,” Sienna says eagerly, flashing the bluerider a wide and happy smile. “You like the smellier cheeses? Or the milder ones? I need to make some more soft cheeses for Ravene, but…don’t have milk with me.” Obviously.


Erissa is sharply reminded of how little she knows about her new acquaintance the deeper they go and more secluded they get into the bowels of the weyr. Dark blue hues narrow on the light-haired woman’s back as they walk, suspicion toying with her imagination.

Perhaps out of sisterly loyalty to K’vvan, her fellow greenrider, the woman was planning on taking Erissa out. There were deep hearths that burned hot enough to turn a body to ashes down here, dark rooms seldom visited in which to stash a corpse…. or perhaps with the sharp cutting knives at hand she’ll simply chop Erissa into tiny bits and serve her up fried as some new baked delicacy! Erissa-kabobs!

Fortunately as the bluerider’s creativity threatens to reach critical levels the two women arrive at their destination. Slender shoulders stiff and straight, Erissa stands erect to make the most of her height and watches Sienna closely.

“It smells? Why would it smell? What smells?” she fires off as they enter the room. Dead bodies smell, right?

Stopping just inside the small cave Erissa immediately tenses with a sense of claustrophobia. Pale brows furrow at the offer of a sample. Can a person die from cheese?

“Uh, nothing smelly, please,” the bluerider replies, eyeing the seemingly exuberant and bubbly baker. The name Ravene doesn’t ring any bells of recognition, nor why they would require softer cheeses. Is there a hidden meaning in the reference?


Sienna is oblivious to Erissa’s thoughts, but she would never soil her cheese cave with blood and bodies! At least she doesn’t make sausages? “It smells like cheese,” Sienna says with a little smile. She leaves the door open and opens a few more glow baskets, moving from here to there, flitting about the cavern and checking on things. “Looks like…yes. This wheel should be good.” Hefting a fairly large wheel from its rack, she sets it on the table and lifts a long, curved cheese knife. Using both hands, she slices it straight through the middle and bends to smell it. “Perfect,” she murmurs, slicing off a small piece of the center and holding it out to Erissa. (Think cheddar). As for their previous conversation…Sienna says nothing yet. Let the cheese do its magic before broaching uncomfortable subjects again.


Erissa stays close to the door as Sienna moves about, though the increase in light does nothing to ease the bluerider’s sense of being smothered by the tight quarters. The other woman’s confident grace is noted; obviously these are familiar and comfortable surroundings for the greenrider.

Erissa takes one step forward.

Then a wicked looking knife appears in Sienna’s hand and Erissa stops, tensing anew from head to toe. As the utensil (weapon?) is applied with precise skill the bluerider stands stiffly a long arms-length away. Then a piece of the cheese is being offered though and she’s forced to step closer to take it. Moving forward as little as possible she takes the small sample, never taking wary eyes off Sienna as she slowly brings it to her nose. First she takes a sniff. Slight pleasant scent. Then she touches it to her lips. Soft and pliant. Next her tongue slips out to lick it. Appealing flavor. Ok, so far so good. Time for the plunge. Keeping her back to the door in case a quick exit is needed Erissa brings the cheese to her lips and takes the smallest of nibbles from the edge.

Really now, can she taste such a small bit? Hardly. When she doesn’t immediately pass out she’s inclined to try again. And again. And then the rest of it disappears as she pops it into her mouth. Yum!

Giving himself away, Danorath’s voice brushes her mind with an amused splash of violet laced blue. «Good thing you did not die. I could not come pull you out.»

//Shut up!…… // Erissa casts outward.

«Cheese-lover.» The dragon’s mental touch fades again but Erissa has no doubt he’s still listening.

Pulling her attention back to her surroundings Erissa swallows, even going so far as to lick her lips for the last lingering flavor. Enthusiasm contained beneath stiff movements, she steps forward again in a show of good faith and slowly nods, white-blond locks falling across one eye as her chin bobs.

“Not bad,” she hedges. Gray shadowed blues casually wander the room a moment before sweeping the sampled wheel and cutting back to Sienna. “What do you call that one?”


Sienna pops a piece into her mouth while Erissa is so hesitantly nibbling, and then she smiles. “Uh.” She eyes the wheel, samples another piece and sets a few more slices on a wooden tray, nudging them invitingly towards Erissa. “How about Suspicions?” she says, lightly teasing. “Or Bridges? Or be totally random and call it Teal.” Green and blue, get it?

Sitting herself down on a stool, on the opposite side of the room as the door (so Erissa is closest to the door with nothing blocking her path), Sienna looks around the wheels and then back to the bluerider. “You must really love Cha’el,” she says with a warm smile.


As the suggestions get more humorous the ghost of a smile starts to linger about the corner of Erissa’s lips until the last finally earns a short huffed chuckle.

“I like Teal. It’ll make people wonder what’s wrong with it.” Which is even more fitting considering how messed up Erissa feels as half of the inspiration. Not to mention if people avoid it that will leave more for HER to eat.

Slender shoulders relax a tad more as Sienna sits across the room - though with how small it is that isn’t really all that far. Erissa considers the plate of additional pieces a moment then casually reaches out to pick one up.

Bam! The sneaky greenrider drops her comment out of left field and catches Erissa with the cheese hovering between parted lips. At least the question is an easier one. Holding onto the cheese she twists her hand in a rolling gesture.

“Of course I do! He’s….” The rolling hand pauses as she searches for an adequate word. “…he’s perfect.”


Sienna nods. “Teal it is, then.” She’ll jot it down, too, on a nearby hide, along with some quick descriptors of flavor and texture. Then she smiles a wistful, almost eager ‘girl talk’ smile, hands held in her lap as she sits up straight. “He does seem wonderful,” she agrees, “and he’s been an excellent Weyrsecond.” So far. “How did you two meet?”


Pale brows rise slightly behind the fall of blond bangs as Erissa watches Sienna record information on the cheese. She hadn’t thought the baker was serious about the naming but apparently she was. Huh. Imagine that. A smug little tickle of humor rises for having dubbed an actual flavor of cheese. Heck, she should’ve suggested The Erissa.

Munching happily on her second sample, concerns of poisoning slipping further from her mind by the moment, the bluerider is easily lulled into talking about one of her favorite subjects.

“He is!” she agrees wholeheartedly on Cha’el’s wonderfulness. “He’s really taken well to leadership. But that’s no surprise. He has a natural way of inspiring people.” Cue the sigh of admiration. Then, “We were both riders at Ista. Same wing so we knew each other before the goldflight, but after that is when we got really close.” Internal filters should have fired off at that statement but they didn’t, and it only gets worse. A knowing little grin tugs at her lips now that the dam has been broken. “The man knows how to use what he was born with, that’s for sure. It hardly took any coaching at all to hone him into the best lover ever!”


Sienna nods, “He certainly seems to have. He came in and just…some things changed rather swiftly. Things that needed changing.” Like the Bazaar layabouts. She smiles widely, bobbing her head and pushing back curls. Then..a giggle. “Oh really? Lucky you! Though,” she adds with a wry little grin, “bet he’d give W’rin a run for his money in that department.” Not that they’d ever find out who would ‘win’ such a contest. “Why did you both transfer? If I can ask, I mean.”


Those cheese pieces are fast disappearing for someone who was so leery of trying them in the first place! Erissa nods sagely at the greenrider’s response but then echoes the other woman’s grin when mention is made of her weyrmate. As her Wingleader as well as the Weyrleader, Erissa has seen W’rin often enough out in the hot Igen sun in clothes that show off his extremely muscular build.

“Should we have them compare?” she asks with a suddenly wicked gleam. She’s joking. Right?

Caution takes a sudden leap as Sienna’s next question arrives, skirting the edges of topics Erissa knows better than to discuss. Elaborating on Cha’el’s many attributes is one thing but even touching on his personal issues with the Istan weyrleaders would be going too far. So slender shoulders shrug in a casual manner.

“You’d have to ask him why he did,” she answers truthfully, if vague. “For me it was a change of scenery but the chance to still be with Cha’el.”


Sienna giggles, cutting up some more cheese to lay on the plate, and then slicing it in larger chunks to wrap for transport to the various places she does business with in the Bazaar. “What, I sleep with Cha’el and you sleep with W’rin and we decide who we like best?” Dark eyes gleam with mirth, and there’s another giggle. “Wouldn’t work, he doesn’t have relations with his riders. S’why I left Whirlwind.” She chose W’rin. Daww. “Plus…” she shifts to a bit more serious topics, “I wouldn’t sleep with another person’s man.”

She nods to Erissa’s non-answer with a little smile. “Lots of reasons to leave a weyr. Do you get to see him often? You both must be really busy…” Weyrsecond, Whirlwind…Sienna knows how it goes.


Erissa’s expression says it all. Fine features scrunch into denial at Sienna’s response, the misunderstanding nearly making her choke on the cheese she was chewing. Swallowing quickly she waggles a hand in the air.

“No, no, no!” is chanted in wry chagrin. “I meant have them compare….. you know…” A quick gesture of palms held about a handspan apart is joined by a marked rise in pale brows. For all her forward talk she’s surprisingly reluctant to actually name the male part that’s referenced. Her tone is lined with patent amusement as she adds, “Men like to do that. Boosts their ego.”

On less awkward topics she gives a shrug of slender shoulders. “More often on duty. Wing related stuff. But we manage. He’s dropped by my weyr. I’ll catch him in the Council Chambers….” She lets her voice trail off, indicating a longer list left unspoken.

The new samples of cheese are eyed a moment. Maybe Sienna is trying to kill her after all. Much more of the tasty stuff and her insides will curdle. Death by cheese. Would it be such a bad way to go?


It would be a delightful way to go. At her clarification Sienna giggles, and glances down at Erissa’s hands. Ah. Her own lift then in a curious series of gestures. Hands are held apart, studied, moved a bit further apart…then she seems satisfied with the distance between her palms with a sly grin. Then, middle finger and thumb curl to make a circle, studied, widened. Studied…widened. Another snicker, a grin, and she goes back to slicing cheese without any comment. Just those gestures - an estimate, though a very educated one! And she seems quite smug. Satisfied!

“I love tights,” she adds. Slightly related topic, with a wistful sigh. Someone is going to want some attention tonight! “Men didn’t wear tights in my time. It’s a shame.”

Glancing up again, she tilts her head. “And you two aren’t exclusive?” Because something isn’t adding up for the greenrider.


Erissa watches the adjustments to Sienna’s gesturing with a curl to lips that finally brightens into the first true smile of their encounter, the laugh that follows full of infectious mischievousness. A knowing nod is shared, silvery glints of gray highlighting the look cast through the fall of skewed blond layers. We women know what we like!

Mention of tights garners a bit of surprise, muted by the sampling of another piece of cheese. What’s left of it after she takes a bite rides along on the casually flung gesture of her hand.

“I don’t think they’re all that popular with the Nowtime men either. Cha’el wouldn’t be caught dead in them.” A thoughtful set of lightly tanned features still holds amusement as she shares, “I must admit W’rin does wear them well though.”

Interrogation has met it’s Master! Forget torture! Forget threats! The hardest criminal would surely sway beneath the influence of Sienna and her cheese. Erissa’s emotions tend to swing rather quickly anyway, but faced with the unflappable camaraderie presented by the greenrider she is gradually seduced to the…… Dark Side?….of pervasive feminine curiosity.

A little twitch tugs at the bluerider’s lips at the question next asked, her answer accompanied by the flippant shoulder shrug of someone born and raised in a weyr. “We’re riders. Both of male dragons. It isn’t really an option. Doesn’t matter though. Flights are just about sex, not love.”


Sienna giggles, pushing curls away from her face with the back of her hand as she continues to wrap the cheese slices. “Yes, he certainly does.” MmmMM.

Being riders of male dragons has her nodding. “Or even if one of you rode a female…wouldn’t mean the other would always catch. Valiuth doesn’t even chase greens, but…” She pauses. “I’m grateful for that.” Another little smile. “And yes, that’s certainly true.” Just sex. No love. Instinct-driven mating. Sienna knows it well, by now.

Glancing at her new friend (?), Sienna smiles again, more of that girl-talk gleam in her eyes. “Can I see your ring?” Her own left hand ring finger sports a ring as well, a silver band set with simple green stones. Understated but elegant, and simple enough to be worn beneath gloves - perfect for a busy rider.


There’s something rather lulling about watching Sienna tend to the cheese. The unconscious grace of a skilled aritisan who loves what they do has a certain flowing feel to their movements that’s soothing to observe. Erissa’s stance relaxes till she actually leans one hip on the counter, her nibbling slowed to a matter of eating just because it-tastes-so-good-you-can’t-stop-even-though-you’ll-pay-for-it-later status.

Sienna is on a roll with the questions as the easy topics are a helpful distraction from the darker news the bluerider had been contemplating beforehand. Her earlier suspicions start to wane as she gets yet more opportunities to elaborate on anything to do with her brownrider.

Her hand is held out, slim fingers slightly spread. The silver band is simple, engraved with a single whimsical pattern and embedded with a black onyx stone that soaks in the low lighting like a pool of ink.

“It really shimmers in the sunlight,” Erissa notes, “Deep bits of sparkle that remind me of flying at night beneath a clear, star-filled sky.” Le sigh. Wriggling her fingers a bit she adds with a touch of speculative curiosity, “When I’m inside it almost seems to hide though.”


Sienna sighs happily, not touching but

Leaning in close enough to study it. "it's really beautiful," she says appreciatively. "he's a good man, Erissa." Flashing the woman a warm smile, she turns back to her various chores in her cave. Tending and turning, starting to hum softly to herself as she works. Not to end the conversation, but because she's happy.

Still baffled about cha'el and k'vvan, utterly, but she won't bring it up again. Not her business. Shouldn't get involved. Plus…she is enjoying this girl time, tentative though it is.


Something else occurs to Erissa as a content silence stretches across the room. It makes her uncomfortable to think about it and the distraction helps her finally stop reaching for another piece of cheese. Folding her arms across the open fall of her black riding jacket she takes advantage of the other woman’s preoccupation with her work to observe her closer for a few moments. Nothing on the baker’s exterior explains what she’s thinking, however, and she muses aloud.

“I wonder if it’s because you’re an Oldtimer.”


Sienna pauses, looking back at Erissa. "Wonder if what is because I'm an Oldtimer?"


Pretty features scrunch slightly as Erissa concentrates, her lips tightening and tilting. What she wants to say swirls around in her head but the words are hard to nail down. Oldtimer? Igenite? Female? What is it?

“You’re being too nice,” she finally blurts, her tone infusing the accusation as if it’s a bad thing. “Nobody’s that nice. I don’t get it. What’s your angle? What do you want?”


Sienna’s brows lift in surprise, turning fully to face Erissa, a length of washed cheesecloth hanging from her hands and dripping a bit. “Too nice? I…” Then she shrugs with a knowing smile. “Uh. I am that nice? I guess? I don’t have an angle. I like talking with people. Like making friends, like sharing my cheeses. I…guess I get something out of seeing people enjoy themselves?” Then she frowns. “I don’t want anything, Erissa. This isn’t some…elaborate plot.” She just…is that nice. Ask K’vvan. Or Thierry. Or any number of people Sienna just seems to get along with even when no one else does.

Maybe it’s the cheese.


Erissa’s gaze drops to the dripping stretch of cloth and pale brows knit a little closer. Ew. She’ll just eat the cheese and leave the making of it to nice folk like Sienna, thank you very much.

Ah, there it is. The ‘F’ word. Erissa sighs.

“What is it with people wanting to be ‘friends’ at this weyr?” she sighs with a shake of blond head, tone rhetorical. First N’cal. Now Sienna. Then, aimed at the greenrider, “I find getting to know other people exhausting. And a waste of time. It never lasts. Something always ruins it. You’ve lasted longer than most…..” Meaning even when Erissa was a grouch at first. “Which is why I wondered.”


Sienna shrugs. “Not like you become friends overnight. Not like I’m going to run out and get us matching friendship bracelets and demand we have sleepovers and paint each other’s toenails.” Her nose wrinkles, and she chuckles. Then she shrugs again. “It is what it is, really. And if you’re not interested, that’s fine. I’m not…/looking/ for anything. Just thought you might enjoy some cheese and I had to come down here anyway.” As for it never lasting, she nods. “It takes effort, that’s for sure. To maintain a friendship. Trust. It’s hard. Acquaintances are easier. You see each other, you nod, maybe smile, maybe chat a bit…and that’s it. No obligations to acquaintances.” As for lasting longer than most, Sienna casts her look of surprise at the cheese wheel she’s staring at. Longer than most? And they’ve been talking for…how long? Surely no longer than a few candlemarks, at /most/. Shards. “I’m not looking for anything, Erissa. I don’t have an angle. But,” she adds, smiling over her shoulder, “I really /do/ like it when people enjoy my cheese. So call that my angle if you want.” The selfish pleasure of knowing she’s crafted something truly delicious. Makes her little Baker’s heart sing.


Erissa doesn’t say anything for a few moments but her gaze drops to the counter, to the floor, and back to the counter before finally venturing somewhere around Sienna’s mid-section. Chagrin and uncertainty soften her voice, hitching her tone a bit and filling the space between the words with ten times as many left unsaid.

“I like the cheese.”


She likes the cheese. But not the company? Sienna tries not to read into that, instead offering her a warm smile as she goes back to work rotating the wheels. "I'm glad," she says warmly, over her shoulder with another smile. "Kehemath says your Danorath reminds her of the sea." Another safe topic? Or Erissa could take her leave. The door is open.


That was as close as the Erissa can get to admitting she might possibly feel a twinge of fondness for the amiable greenrider. In Erissa-speak, it was a gushing endorsement.

Yes, Danorath is definitely a safer topic. One that she could gush about all day, in fact. A soft smile crosses her lips as she nods. “His coloring and his mindtouch both do, though his voice often reminds me of wind. Kinda funny for a dragon hatched no where near the sea.”


Sienna smiles back, nodding. “Isn’t that intersting? Kehemath’s mind…well.” She chuckles. “It’s vast and complicated, but a lot of the time she’s in the forests or the plains - and was well before we ever left Ista. Where was he hatched?” Didn’t they transfer from Ista?


Erissa notes what she says about her green, having always found the vast variety of imagery associated with Pern’s mighty dragons interesting. But then Sienna asks a question and the answer is a brisk two words devoid of the warmth one would expect with someone’s birthplace.

“High Reaches.”


“Ahh,” says Sienna with a small frown and a look that suggests at least a little understanding. Her “I’m sorry” certainly adds to it. There’s another pause, and then, “I’m glad you’re out of there.”


“Yah, you and me both,” Erissa replies with a bitter clip. Not about to go into that history she shoves off the table to stand straighter as if readying to leave. A quick glance tossed around the room, however, with it’s countless wedges and rounds and wheels has her hesitating. “I would think being around cheese all day long would make you sick of it eventually.”


Sienna straightens a bit too, ready to bid Erissa farewell…but she doesn’t. Instead, she just grins. “Well, I’m not around it all day long. My time down here is precious. I savor it. Plus…cheese is so complex and so different, it’s always something new. I never know exactly how something is going to turn out. It’s always a surprise.” So, no, she’s not sick of it. She /loves/ it, and that’s apparent as she gazes around the cave adoringly.


Full lips compress slightly even as they lift at the corners. “It’s nice that you have something to be so passionate about,” the bluerider muses, noting and perhaps even envying that adoring look on Sienna’s face a bit.


Sienna considers the bluerider for a moment. “And you don’t? I’d have thought Cha’el, or Danorath, or your work…” Something? “I think everyone needs something to be passionate about. Keeps us moving forward.”


“Oh of course them,” Erissa is quick to assure. “But this…” Her chin rises as she glances about along with the roll of one hand in gesture. “All this. I like lots of things, but no one thing….like this.” A little chuckle slips free. “You should see my weyr sometime. A little bit of everything.”


Sienna smiles, bobbing her head with curls swaying. “A little bit of everything is great,” she giggles. “That’s how I feel like my life is sometimes. A little bit of everything. And just a few things that are…” She gestures around to her cheeses. “I’ve been doing this longer than I’ve been doing almost anything I’m still doing today,” she muses thoughtfully.


Pale brows rise slightly at the greenrider’s last, Erissa’s stance shifting as she hitches palms on either side of slender hips. “I had no idea there were so many different kinds of cheese. I mean… a few colors, sure, and I’ve seen one with holes in it….. but enough to keep you interested for a lifetime?” A little grin appears as she tilts her head. “I’m glad there are people like you around because I’d either die of boredom or eat myself out of inventory.”

Hefting a light sigh, the blond woman glances toward the door, but not with the anxious tension of earlier, then turns back to Sienna.

“Thank you, for the cheese…” One hand flips in a quick rolling gesture. “And the tour.” Honesty nudges her, knowing she isn’t nearly as uptight about the message in her pocket as she had been before the woman had sat at her table in the Living Cavern. “And the company.” There, she said it! Now bolt! Half turning she flicks one last quick look at the cheese-maker. “I have to get going now.”


Sienna smiles, nodding her head in understanding. “You’re welcome! Thank you for the company too. Clear skies, Erissa. Hopefully I’ll see you around again sometime.” Then she turns back to her cheeses. She’s got work to do before other duties encroach on her precious cheese-time.


Erissa nods briskly, white-blond mop of uneven layers shifting about her face. “Same to you,” she tosses back as she moves out the door. Hesitating just on the other side she gives thought to the woman’s last and adds in an uncertain undertone, “I’d like that.”

Then she’s gone, leaving the amiable greenrider to her beloved cheese.

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