Who

El'ai, Prymelia

What

El’ai saves Prymelia from making a rather large error of judgment. She in turn purloins his flask.

When

It is afternoon of the twenty-fifth day of the second month of the second turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Southern Weyr, Clearing

OOC Date

 

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Clearing

The rise from sea to Weyr is made serene by a charming road winding sand-trodden from beach below to stonecut entrance above. The path wanders among a surprisingly green valley where purple flowers bloom in charmingly unfettered profusion. The meadows themselves are often in high demand as picnic areas, for dragons are not allowed to land in the narrow valley itself. No trees nor cliff lies near to shadow the clearing, however, and the intensity of sun can be unbearable for those not familiar with the humid drench of Southern's summers.


Its late afternoon and the eggs on the sands have hardened to the point that the candidates have all been recalled back to the Weyr. Although there is still a roster of chores, there has been allowed a period of adjustment to settle in with their being whispers of an impromptu party planned for later on the beach. Prymelia is neither amongst those resting up or those all-atwitter and planning party attire - The latter because she now no longer has any and the former because she’s restless. Astride a big black gelding – who knows if that’s even allowed – candidate and runner are idly following a track leading straight into the jungles, the young woman singing some or other song in soft lilting tones.

A darkness creeps overhead; a darkness encased in the flame-fire forge of orange feet to set of the glitter of black dragonglass that is the dark bronze’s body. Sekhaenkath lands far enough away to not crush woman and runner, but close enough to probably give the gelding a lovely jolt of adrenaline. Slipping through the wicked spikes of deadly neckridges, El’ai navigates the sharp edges of his dragon’s hide with ease. Older now, with the roughened edges that come with time and weathering, the boy is slowly, but surely growing into the cruel length of his dark lifemate. “Are you insane?” Those are the first words levied upon Prymelia when noting the direction of girl and runner. “The jungles are the first place a Candidate will be eaten and then you will doom the dragonet to die.” Harsh words? Perhaps, but he remembers her ( a little with embarrassment for having puked in a girl’s hair, but the young man holds to a callousness that sets him apart ), and he knows where she is and isn’t allowed to go. “They find you,” tactics changed, melting to humor, “And they’ll string you up.” Oh, flaskie, flaskie, where art thou? Right here, you say? The wink of silver catches the orange light of sunset. “But hey. Not my gig, not my decision. You wanna play fast and lose, go right ahead, sister.”

Lost in a rare moment of quiet introspection and for once not hating what she sees, Prymelia is shocked out of it the next moment when Soot rears up with fright and jinx sideways and then round and round in a tight circle. “ME!?” The candidate explodes narrowing a daggered glare at El’ai. “YOU’RE the one about spooking my runner senseless!” Hazel eyes then roll expressively. “There is no dragon stuffed into a shell waiting for me. I think you; Dhioth, K’ane, T’ral, Hannah and every other person who seem so convinced there’s a braindead dragon with my name on it have all been drinking from the Silly Fountain. Besides. I’ve been through these jungles a hundred times before with my wagon and been fine.” So there! String her up. See the fear in Prymelia’s eyes? Not? Right. Because its not there. She does however give that flask of his the longing eye. “You going to share this time,” the runner snorts and backs up a few paces before finally coming to a skin flickering halt, “or am I going to have to wrestle you for it?” And something about the way Prymelia says that, suggests she might very well do so.

El’ai does not immediately fire back to the girl’s words, rather taking a moment to consider her in a long, long, thoughtful pause. From the top of her head to the bottoms of her runner’s feet. “You think that,” he quietly states, something dark swimming in the brilliant blue of his eyes, “Then go.” It’s simple really, and possibly calling on Prymelia’s bluff – if there is one, that is. He takes a looooooooong swig from the flask and shrugs his shoulders. “Maybe.” On the edge of the jungle, where the leaves shelter them, there are no prying eyes to see what rules are broken. Especially as Sekhaenkath takes to the skies with but the fae-sound of a rumble. “Not sure I’m inclined to share with a girl who calls baby dragons braindead. Seems pretty callous, even for me.” He quirks a brow in her direction whilst shifting to lean one shoulder against the rough bark of a tree. Dark hair shiny in the late afternoon sun, he’s wearing mostly his leathers – minus the flight jacket. The burgundy tunic tucked into dark pants is unbuttoned about the throat and sets off blue eyes. Those same blue eyes narrow. “So which is it? Jungles or … ?”

Aaaaah, El’ai. You’re smarter than you look. Or pretend to be. For indeed, Prymelia is caught by a moment of indecision by that challenge. Attention flicks along the path leading into the heart of the jungles and then sifts back to the dark-haired young man. Up goes her chin in a defiant display and slender shoulders narrow. Gathering the reins together in one hand, she slips from the runner’s broad back and lands lightly on the ground with the grace of a feline. With Sekhaenkath now gone, she twines leather about a tree stump and still not having said a word, drifts over to where the bronzerider is leaned up against a tree looking all smug. “I don’t think I will, pretty boy. I made a vow and I plan to keep it.” From bright blue eyes to the enticing glint of the flask in his hand and then back up again, hazel regard is shielded. “Aye, callous. And a whore too apparently.” That last not carrying quite as much bitterness as might be expected. If anything, she seems amused. “Look. I’m sorry I puked on your boots and I am grateful for your help and for not telling Bailey. But what makes you think there’s a dragon out there for me when there wasn’t in Igen, hmm?” And maybe. Juuuust maybe, there’s a hint of disappointment in her husky alto.

“A vow keeping you here, huh?” El’ai’s query is thoughtful, though not condemning, more curious than anything else. Although curiosity is a thing that flares like a match: brief flash then dissipates. The winking light bouncing off the silver of the flask makes an appearance again as he tips it back for a sip. “Compliments will get you no where, Candidate,” amusement filters to the bronzerider’s world-weary eyes, no longer innocent. They regard the girl from behind the affected guard of a playboy. Blue fire flashes as eyes narrow for something in the girl’s words, but he’s getting good at biting his own tongue. “Not what I expected,” is what he answers her apology with, skipping over what she states regarding the callousness of whoring. “Sorry, I hurled in your hair. Couldn’t help it.” He shrugs, tossing the flask from hand to hand. “Because it’s the height of ego to think that it takes just one hatching to find a lifemate, if a lifemate is there for you. Do you know how many people stand over and over and over again? More than you can count.” Frustration now lines an expression shadowed by the scruff of careless facial hair, artfully cropped. “You Candidates and your, ‘waaaah it didn’t happen for me the first time, waaaaah, it’ll never happen for me.’” Words are cut off, lips pressed together and the boy turns his eyes to the sky. He shrugs. “I don’t know shit, Candidate.” Bitterness? Perhaps. “Prymelia,” carefully enunciating her name, removing her title from the equation.

“Compliments?” Prymelia echoes elegant brow tilting upwards while conveniently ignoring remark of a vow she’d made. “Oh puh-lease. You pretty boys are a dime a dozen. All big blue eyes and charming smiles to go with your roguish good looks and smooth tongues. If I wanted to get ‘somewhere’, it wouldn’t be by plumping your inflated ego, rider. S’fine.” That’s to his having hurled on her head. “Even if it did take me having to wash it twice to get the smell out.” More a grumble than an actual accusation. Expression morphs and once again, delicately structured features settle about an impassive line. “And it’s the height of ego to assume that everyone is panting for a dragon. Everyone has different reasons for accepting Search, El’ai. And that,” a finger stabs at his chest poking hard if he doesn’t jerk away, “is exactly what I’m talking about!” His mimicry of those that wail and beat their chests when they don’t impress. “I am capable of living a life without a dragon. I have plans and maybe, that scares you and challenges that fluffed up ego of yours.” She’s not actually angry. Frustrated yes, but not shouting, instead it’s an impassioned delivery of thought.

"Mmmm," El'ai stands there and accepts her words, letting them wash over him and through him. Bitterness flares like brittle glass in those blue eyes. "Because you females are just so perfect." The pitch to tone is low, almost angry but not. It's an emotion far more complicated than anger, as it's stirred with hurt. "I am not the one whining about a dragon, trader. I am not the one who is calling into question the confidence of others that seem to see something in you. Have your reasons for accepting search, but damn have the grace to at least consider that you could end up on a dragon and stop looking down on us for not bowing to your trader ways, you feel me?" He doesn't wince when she pokes him, instead his expression tightens as he classifies her into the category of 'everyone else'. The bronzerider is cold rather than heated, blue eyes almost hurt before he pulls his gaze away, focusing on her rider. "The weyr doesn't force you to stay, y'know. Me? I'd say run far away. My life'll end in fire and death. Why WOULD you want that, eh?"

A little smirk tilts lopsided to a corner of pretty lips. “I’m not the one assuming compliment.” Prymelia returns. Though her voice is quiet and without the pitch of taunt for she’s picked up the strained tone of his. There’s a soft sigh and her hand lifts to sift thick mahogany strands from her eyes. “I wasn’t whining El’ai, I was….” Her hand flicks in the air in a dismissive gesture, “It doesn’t matter. If by some freak of the odds I wind up impressing, then so be it, the fates have decided and I’ll be the best fucking dragonrider there ever was.” Now who has the ego? “But you need to come down off your high runner and decide which it is. One moment you’re running down those that want to impress with all their hearts and the next you’re saying its something they should want. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Pot meet kettle. “We’re all going to die, rider. Some of us in a blaze of glory and others of us quietly on the side of the road somewhere.” A small pause develops in which the fire and heat melt away leaving behind a glimpse of a young woman whose life has been turned upside down and is struggling to find her compass. “Have you even found yourself in a situation so suddenly that you feel like you’re not even sure who you are any more?” Quietly asked. Sincere.

El’ai cants his head in her direction as if trying to figure something out. The sense of hurt fades like a flaw in a clear blue sky. Still, the eyes give little away. “I chased you down because your fool self was about to cross a line you might not want to cross, but hey,” he holds his hands up, flask catching the light from where it’s gripped between thumb and forefinger. “No skin off my back if the Weyrleadership finds a Candidate going into the jungle and ousts her because she could be lost. Next time, I won’t bother.” Because that’s what’s important. “You have to want it, Prymelia. Or what’s the point? If it’s something you don’t want on some level, then why go through the utter boredom of Candidacy? To prove something? To hold a false vow? Don’t toy with your life, you won’t enjoy the results.” The easy confidence overlays the hard boy beneath, the fake smiles and fake cheer that lights blue eyes the guards that protect. “Yeah.” The flask is offered, “A good tumble and a night of drinking myself into a stupor fixed that right up.” A half-humor’d smile perks. “Eh, you can’t let anyone else tell you who you are, but you can’t look down on them for trying neither, if you don’t know who y’are, you know? Because they can only define you, if you haven’t defined yourself first, there will always be someone trying to define ya before you can get a handle on that, you see?” Yeah, that’s right. Prymelia totally got offered booze. Let lightning strike the bronzerider down now. “Sometimes, you gotta just decide to serve yourself and damn anyone else. If that be sin, let sin be served.”

The lecture – for that’s what she sees it as – is allowed to roll over her with a few well timed nods and perhaps even the idea of a contrite downward cast of eyes. Or maybe, Prymelia is actually listening and is assimilating the information but doesn’t want him to know that. The offered flask is taken without hesitation, a soft snort given as she wipes the narrow mouth with side of her hand. “Well its not like either of those are an option just now,” she says of El’ai’s solution to finding one’s feet and takes a swig, shuddering delicately as the strong taste hits a throat that’s had nothing stronger than klah over the past few months. Handing the flask back, she hugs her arms about herself and offers a small smile. “And that’s what I’m trying to do here, El’ai. Before those eggs start cracking shell. It’s why I’m out here with Soot. I’m not trying to disappear and potentially threaten the life of a poor baby. I wasn’t even really thinking about where we were going. I was just trying to get my head straight.”

“You wouldn’t be the first candidate to find a tumble in the barn before the eggs cracked. Get it out now before you’re bonded. Then, you’re in it.” Luckily, El’ai was too young for such things when he first Impressed. A bitter twist to his smile when he takes the flask out, some thought patterned behind his eyes before it’s lose. “That way,” towards the jungles the flask is pointed, “Bad plan. That way,” towards the clearing and river and sea area is jutted at next, “Good plan.” See? It’s simple. Challenge lights blue eyes as he takes a swig, not caring about the germs the girl might carry. “Personally, I think dragons Impress the candidates that are there. If you left and never came back, I don’t think a dragon would die. I think it’d choose the next suitable girl or boy. It’s more detrimental for someone to be there that doesn’t want the life, you feel me? When you Impress, you will want it no matter what. Those people what don’t want the life, will be forced to want it, and they’re the ones that’ll never be happy.” Dark brows raise, flask offered back. “Gettin’ drunk’s harder to hide than sex, so.” That part might not work.

“You offering?” Quick is the quip though its marked with a teasing slant of amusement rather than the simpering bat of lashes El’ai has probably become used to from the fairer sex. “Aaaaah.” Prymelia exhales the sound like a sigh. “Thatta way, huh?” An arm unfolds from about her waves in the direction he’d indicated towards the clearing. As for the choices dragons make in terms of human lifemates, there is actually genuine interest. “Well that would explain a lot given some of the blackhearts with dragons.” She’s looking at you, R’nyr. “I did wonder what sort of dragon would bond with a murderer.” The dark shadow that slips across pretty features is swept aside and in its place rests an expression of fierce determination. “Then clearly you don’t know a lot about traders. We always adapt. It might take a bit of time but there is no environment,” save for being locked up with freedom of movement removed, “we aren’t able to conquer.” Having started to reach for the flask again, El’ai’s comment about which vice is harder to hide catches up with her and draws a husky laugh from the candidate. “Aye, in the morning you’ll be sober. With sex, there’s always that pesky risk of something more permanent lingering afterwards.” A brow is lifted in pointed amusement. “Unless you have access to a certain berry tea.” Added as an afterthought.

“You offering?” Quick is the quip though its marked with a teasing slant of amusement rather than the simpering bat of lashes El’ai has probably become used to from the fairer sex. “Aaaaah.” Prymelia exhales the sound like a sigh. “Thatta way, huh?” An arm unfolds from about her waves in the direction he’d indicated towards the clearing. As for the choices dragons make in terms of human lifemates, there is actually genuine interest. “Well that would explain a lot given some of the blackhearts with dragons.” She’s looking at you, R’nyr. “I did wonder what sort of dragon would bond with a murderer.” The dark shadow that slips across pretty features is swept aside and in its place rests an expression of fierce determination. “Then clearly you don’t know a lot about traders. We always adapt. It might take a bit of time but there is no environment,” save for being locked up with freedom of movement removed, “we aren’t able to conquer.” Having started to reach for the flask again, El’ai’s comment about which vice is harder to hide catches up with her and draws a husky laugh from the candidate. “Aye, in the morning you’ll be sober. With sex, there’s always that pesky risk of something more permanent lingering afterwards.” A brow is lifted in pointed amusement. “Unless you have access to a certain berry tea.” Added as an afterthought with a slow perusal of the rider leaned up against his tree as if she’s deciding between dinner and desert.

Considering El'ai wouldn't know what to do with a simpering female, it's a good thing Prymelia doesn't try it as it would have unstable results. "Sweetheart," he drawls, leaning in real close to whisper against the shell of her ear, "I only fuck what I pay for. It's cleaner that way, less attachments." The warm hiss of breath, before he pulls back to lash a sweep of blue eyes from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. "And you are no whore, Prymelia." Unattainable, unapproachable El'ai, who has learned life's lessons well, expression remote. When she doesn't take the flask, he withdraws his hand with a 'suit-yourself' shrug, and then goes to tip it back again for another long drink before returning to his casual lean on the tree. "Aye. Unwanted surprises can easily be dealt with by a few solid trips between. No mess, no fuss." For a guy, anyway. "They catch you roaring drunk," the weyrlingmasters, "then there'll be hell to pay." Cause that's Faranth's honest truth there. "Well, trader-girl, you'll get your chance to see how well you adapt. Soon enough. Whatcha gonna do if you don't impress?"

Prymelia hadn’t expected him to take her seriously but then that’s what happens when you make flippant comments. So it is that when El’ai leans in, she goes quite still until he’s done delivering his knock off. Once he draws away again there’s strange sadness to freckled features. “Attachments can be ugly.” She’ll admit it. “But never connecting with anyone because you fear them, isn’t healthy either.” That’s just her two marks worth. From the woman skittish of anything beyond casual encounters where names aren’t even exchanged. A small smile, just a deepening at the corner of her mouth meets his observation of her non-whoring status. “And I’ll bet under all that bronzerider strut, you’re probably a fairly decent, lad.” Moving on there’s a grimace for the supposedly simple Betweening solution to unwanted consequences. “Would you turn me in?” Back to teasing challenge on the matter of getting roaring drunk. “Might be a little hard to explain if its your flask I get drunk off, hmm?” As for what she’ll do if she doesn’t impress the candidate’s gaze goes distant before returning to him again. “I’ve been offered a position as assistant headwoman, either here at the Weyr or up at the Ice Hold.”

"Better to know where you stand than suffer a broken heart," El'ai offers with the sardonic lift of his flask to lips, although he gives her a flat look. "It's not fear, trader. It is prudence." A slow smile grows, distant as he looks inward for a brief moment, "I have friends. I have wing mates. I have Sekhaenkath." Does he even acknowledge her assessment of him? Barely at all, beyond giving her a quirky half-smile before handing over the flask again. "I don't really care about what would happen to me. Besides, that," the flask, "doesn't have my name on it. The only person that matters to me in the world wouldn't dare hate me." That causes the softness of a smile to warm the chill of the blue of his eyes. "But she's obligated to love me, no matter what stupid shit I do. If you got roaring drunk and then did something stupid, I'd string you up and cut all that pretty hair off and tape it up like a trophy of war in my weyr." Is it a warning? Maybe. Then he blinks, unable to help himself from choking. "You? Work as an assistant headwoman? Well. That…" Wait, wait, Prymelia, he's snatching the flask back for another drink before pushing it back at her. "… is not at all what I expected."

Prymelia can’t dispute that and so she doesn’t try for perhaps he makes a valid point there, her silence possibly quiet agreement on the matter. The flask, handed back into her care is tilted one way and then the other, carefully inspected for any signs of ownership etched on it and when none reveals itself, a sly little grin appears. “In that case, as they say,” a pause for a sip with a finger lifted to indicate she’s not done delivering her thought, “possession is nine tenths of the law.” Has she just stolen his flask? Maybe. She is holding onto it rather tightly. “Bailey.” A quick smile for the one person he mentions that would never desert him. “Its good to have someone like that.” Neutral her tone followed by a tightly narrowed look for talk of desecrating her hair. “You wouldn’t dare! Besides, if you did that, everyone would just think you keep my hair because you’re hot for me.” Smirk! But then he’s snatching the flask back and staring at her as if she’s just grown another head. “What!? You don’t think I’m up for the task?” Again light challenge is laid out there. “I’ll have you know that I ran my wagon by myself.” Which was probably stupid given the dangers of the wilds. “And brought in some very lucrative contracts for the Weyr. I am capable of behaving like an adult.” Which means she’s well aware of her less than stellar behavior of late.

"Only if someone came into my weyr, but since all of my debauchery happens outside my inner sanctum, well." El'ai pauses, flask at the edge of bottom lip, thinking. "Yeah, I can't think of anyone that's come to my weyr in any capacity, so there would be no one to see the sad remains of your hair." Is he warming to the idea? Perhaps. "It would be easy," he muses. Sorry, Prymelia, he's stuck on this topic now. Until she stands in all her indignation, which earns her the flask back. "Did I say anything about your abilities? Don't put words in my mouth, trader." Folding his arms across his chest, he watches her. "Why would you want to? To be an assistant headwoman versus going off into the wilds with your wagon and nothing but true grit to carry you into the sun?" Something in his expression provokes a hint of teasing, but it's hard to discern. Lips twitch. "The last girl I had the hots for, I didn't take her hair," he leans in, balanced still against the rough bark of the tree, and presents her with a dark smile, "I'm not afraid of gossips. They can't do worse to me than's already be done, you feel me?"

"Right." Prymelia's return is flat and unbelieving. "So your mates never just drop by? Or Bailey? Keep plumbing that line, bronzerider because the hole you're digging is getting deeper by the moment and you're going to need a rescue team to get out of it." Were her tone any different those might be seen as fighting words, however, given the crooked grin attached, they're clearly little more than yanking his chain for the fun of it. Flask back in hand another sip joins the others, warmth spreading through her veins in a pleasant languor. Not quite on her ear but enough to draw a laugh from the former trader. "I need time to rebuild my stock and my finances before I can even think of heading out trading again. Besides, just because I take on a role and bigger knot doesn't mean I'm tied down. Nobody ties Prymelia down." Topics switch like breath. "Ha! Clearly she wasn't that good in the sack then if you didn't take a momento." Cheeky the grin, which slides at his last and will find El'ai set with a long look. "What was it you said? Only you can define yourself and no other, aye? In that case, who cares what the gossips say."

"Bailey," El'ai comments, pausing. "But Bailey would understand what a trophy like that really meant." Prowling a step closer, he pins a look on the trader woman, "Bailey wouldn't betray me and spread false stories." A little closer. "Bailey is the only person that I can count on." On that note, he's leaning back to the tree and affecting a bored, sleepy look. "Mmmm. Good luck with that." He doesn't look convinced that no one pins down Prymelia, but his eyes narrow dangerously at her last, patience pushed at. "Did I mention anything about sex?" A whisper of a question that carries more than meets the eye to it, tone holding tight to neutrality. "No one defines me, but they sure as hell can ensure life is miserable."

Mahogany brows arch upward, amusement etching lines of strain across pretty features as Prymelia does her best not to double over with laughter. “Bailey…” a giggle is stifled and she tries again. “Bailey keeps hai-ai-air…” Giggles escape and then are swallowed down again. “She…she…keeps hair trophies of those she’s bonked?” Sorry, El’ai that’s just struck a funny bone with the candidate. Or maybe it’s the effects of the booze so that she’s almost snorting with the strain of keeping a roar of laughter contained. That is until he prowls right up into her personal space. Like a switch flipped, mirth subsides and hazel eyes round as she has to crane her head back to keep her attention on his face. Prymelia is quiet for a long time and then breaks that silence with murmured observation meant to be just that and without taunt or challenge. “Whoever she was, she musta really done a number on you.” There’s brief roll of eyes for his narrowed retort about sex. “Oh keep your pants on. I was just teasing. Jays, if you don’t get that stick out your butt its gonna knock your teeth out when you sit down.” Grumble, grumble…grumble… Thoughtful the look he’ll now find himself fit with. “And that, dear El’ai, was all I’d been trying to say to begin with.” A conversation come full circle.

"Fuck no, she doesn't, but if she saw a hair trophy, she wouldn't judge," that is choked out, because everyone keeps taking everything he says wrong! Which just begs to question whether he should just keep his mouth shut. So, El'ai gives Prymelia and empty look, blue eyes seemingly vacant that just gets chillier and chillier as she continues on and on and on. With a slight smile and debonair bend at the waist with the embellishment of a flourish of his hand. "And you, dear Prymelia, are just like every other female, but I do wish you well. In," he flicks his wrist when he straightens, blue eyes still empty, neutral, "all that you do!" Easy-going smiles, fun-loving mien; all the trappings of a boy who uses life to drown his sorrows. "Keep the flask. I don't need it anymore." With a mocking tip of his hat, he will affix the girl with a last look and saunter right up to her, into her personal space, and then onward past her unless she stops him.

Too late, El’ai, that idea is now firmly lodged in Prymelia’s brain and will take some time before she bores of the humor it provides. It’s the chilly reception she’s now getting that tucks the last outward signs of humor away and sees her own guards coming up. The bow so perfectly executed is observed with little reaction, as is his denigrating remark. Lips purse and brows tweak. “You are a very frustrating man.” She finally states, not moving an inch when he pauses all up in her space, fingers tightening about the flask. Only once he’s moved passed her, will she turn her chin over her shoulder and swivel slightly to track the rider’s path. “One too many trips Between for that one.” She mutters under her breath and tucking the flask into a pocket of the baggy trousers she’s wearing, she returns to Soot, mounts and heads off in the CORRECT direction, AWAY from the jungles.

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