Who

Linny, Zeyta

What

Though once upon a time the two could be considered friendly, there's no doubting it now: Linny and Zeyta DO NOT get along.

When

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

Where

Mirror Cavern, Igen Weyr

OOC Date

 

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Mirror Cavern

Cordoned off from the lake under a cape of stone is a sheltered grotto sized like a dragon weyr. Running water dribbles over the entrance not in any great torrent but lesser strings of liquid. Within, isolated waters assume a perfectly protected calmness pitching prisms of refracted light onto the walls and dome-like ceiling. How they flash when the pool's crystal clear surface is disturbed, serpents of light scattering like tunnel snakes from a lantern. Surfaces are naturally unfinished which explains the varying depths, 2-12 feet, and ability to be comfortly seated. As with any small cavern sounds have a way of being amplified be they swim strokes or nuggets of gossip.


With her work already completed for the day and seeking some peaceful alone time, Linny has sought out the caverns for their quiet and remoteness, and while she soaks, Kaelidyth lounges out in the waters of the lake, mirror images of one another but in completely different surroundings. Naked, her clothes folded up and set off to the side safely so they don't inadvertently get wet, Linny's got her hair up in a high, messy bun atop her head, covering her healing Threadscore. While the back of her head rests against a rock, her eyes are closed as she drinks in the healing silence, allowing thoughts to roam freely and uninterrupted.

Free from the jealous clutches of her dragon, Zeyta slips unseen to the private grotto between dawn drills and afternoon appointments. She arrives veiled, headscarf and dust cloth tied over her mouth blending with the plain fabric of her dress. A wicker basket dangles from the tips of her fingers, grip loose as she totes along an assortment of bath items, plush towel included. The presence of the junior weyrwoman, nude and wading in relaxed bliss does not ward her to some other locale; she proceeds, slowly unwrapping her long, draping garments to prepare herself for a dip in the water.

The obvious noise of another pulls Linny out of her trance, eyes ever so slowly opening, due to the sheer relaxation of her body as opposed to tiredness, a drunkenesque grin tugging at her lips as those eyes land on the woman. "Zeyta," she greets, pushing herself to sit up straighter despite there being plenty of room for the both of them. Linny was sprawled out, and while alone that was acceptable, now with company she opts to be more proper and polite. "How are you?" Lately, their paths haven't crossed all that often, or at least not long enough for a personal conversation, and so it's with a genuine desire behind it to know that the question is asked, hands reaching up to tighten the mass of hair sitting on top of her head.

A natural dip in the cavern wall provides a small alcove for dried clothes, which Zeyta appropriates for just that purpose. First off: the head-wrap, loose curls tumbling outward, freshly free of their braided confines after a session in one of the bazaar parlors. Revealing her face, a thin sliver of a scar traces down her cheek, still prominent in its off-pink coloring and raised, uneven texture of knit tissue, still testing its elasticity. "Weyrwoman. Linny." No smile, although she breaks character with the falsified sweetness of her voice, sugar-coating her polite acknowledgment. "Weary of the world before noon," she murmurs, shamelessly stripping down to nothing as they exchange cordial greetings. "And you?"

Although the scar is certainly noticed by her, Linny says nothing of it, nor does she stare: given her own scarred state, it would be hypocrisy of the highest level, and so easily, eyes are kept firmly focused on Zeyta's own eyes. Head tilts from side to side as she considers the state of herself, before settling on, "Great, actually. I'm great." And it rings true in the way she says it accompanied by the look in her eyes and the smile on her face. Happiness exuding from every pore. "How's Wingleading? Have you settled in well?" Given that Linny hasn't heard anything to the contrary, it can be assumed as much, but she's not the assuming sort. Diplomacy functions on solid facts.

Without ceremony the grim demeanor returns, face a granite construction of stone-cold stoicism. Not even the change of temperature as Zeyta lowers herself into the pool, sending ripples cascading across the newly refracted angles of light dancing on the ceiling fazes her. She sinks to her collarbone, water lapping at her neck as wet hands gather those curls to bind them with a tie around her wrist, copying the sloppy bun Linny sports. “Mm. Yes. I imagine you would be great, all things considered.” A loaded statement, with any number of interpretations, but none too apparent behind the mask of composure the brownrider wears. Pulling her basket to the edge, she begins to assemble a line of bottles, jars, vats, and vials of potions, lotions, scrubs, and salts. “I believe I am adjusting as can be expected. I’ve only been an assistant weyrling master prior, so I imagine there is some frustration as I adapt my instructional methods to leading.”

With anyone else, Linny would be quick to snap off an ugly retort or snarky question, but with Zeyta, she reads no intended malice in the comment, and so it's easily let go without being remarked upon. Idle eyes watch as the woman unloads her goodies before flicking back up to her face. "Of course, but hopefully the riders aren't giving you any grief about your ways. At least the two who would give you grief aren't in your wing." Though no names are given, it's obvious who she's referring to, given the little smirk that toys with her lips. Linny submerges slightly more, letting the water lap at her chin, careful to keep it away from getting in her mouth since that smirk refuses to go away.

“Mmm.” Zeyta lays out her spread, partaking of none of them as she scoops handful of water to splash over her shoulders and down the nape of her neck in back. Facing toward the center of the pool, she finds a suitable stone bench underwater to seat her tiny self without losing her nose or mouth beneath the surface. “Actually, the bronzeriders on Whirlwind respected me much more. Straightforward, that lot, with assessing your competence. No need to pad your orders with useless frippery and team morale.” No coddler, Zeyta, refusing to mince words even now with her blunt phrasing and poker face confronting Linny. “I have a few young, headstrong greenriders on my wing now who will at least require winning over.” Confidence brims in the sharp smile she suddenly bares, teeth shining through. She’ll have to be more explicit than that; she’s not biting any bait to discuss a certain pair willingly.

"I guess that's something I'll never truly understand. Being in a wing. I mean, obviously, I am in one, but it's so different than than you do or what Whirlwind does." A soft little grin as Linny shrugs gently under the water, sending ripples of water away from her body. "But I suppose the same can be said about leadership. Generally, most people know how it works, but as far as the inner workings go, they are clueless. And both require having to win people over." Now, the goldrider's smile becomes something more private, since Zeyta should also be well aware of the ass-kissing that goes into running a Weyr. "Are you satisfied with Wingleading or do you still aspire to more?" is asked now as a hand gets lifted out of the water for inspection, the right one, to see how wrinkled her skin has become. Not very, so she's still good to be in the water for awhile longer.

“Ah, even less so now, hm? Rumor has it you no longer fly falls.” But Zeyta never believed in rumor, explaining the pointed glance she affords Linny, searching for confirmation. Before she receives an answer, her head disappears as she dunks herself, full immersion sending rivulets of water streaming down the ends of her hair and face when she breaks for air, tossing her head back and applying fingers and combs across her scalp. “And then there are the ones you do not have to win over at all, for whatever reason.” The Holder heirs, the metallic riders of the Weyr — it’s all implied, all understood by the woman who first introduced her to diplomacy so many turns ago. For this, there is a begrudging respect. Laughing, dry and bitter, “Oh no, of course not. I only accepted this knot to build my case for promotion to Weyrsecond. Then we’ll see if I’m content with rank.” Dark and predatory, she watches, sizing up Linny from their separate ends.

Linny waits until the woman resurfaces, grinning as she watches her for a moment before she answers Zeyta's question, attempting to keep her voice neutral when discussing this particular topic. "I do not, for two reasons. Pregnancy being the temporary reason, but W'rin has also accepted my request to no longer fly Falls ever again. After my injuries, I just fear what my next one would be and just how severe, so it's in everyone's best interest if Kaelidyth and I sit out." There's a carefully casual shrug, not wanting to appear boastful that her life is spared and safe during Falls, while everyone else risks theirs, and so Linny is quick to move onto a different subject. "Weyrsecond, huh?" There's a moment of consideration, assessing, but finally, a nod. "I think you would be a great Weyrsecond. I've been surprised W'rin hasn't found someone to replace Cha'el yet. Might be time for him to look into that more."

Decorum reigns this much longer, the well-crafted disappointment and filtered criticism paring her voice down to its habitual monotone: “Oh, I’d be excellent. I worked under Cha’el expecting to replace him someday. Unofficially, of course — except, when he left for Southern I was left in the dust,” Zeyta says glibly, the curve of her mouth waning to a slivered slip of a razor-sharp smirk. “But W’rin will do as he pleases.” As the last of her barbed praise falls into hearing, her expression erases itself, face a blank slate upon which to portray cunning or malice. A spark kindles, igniting deadly fire in her gemstone-bright gaze. “Ah. Another child. My congratulations. A new start, I presume? The better to keep track of your new children, instead of leaving them to their fathers, hm? I hear you have a boy in Southern now, newly Impressed. Have you at all managed to retrieve Dalia from Sh’z? He’s raising her you know, despite all my protestations that it’s not his responsibility. Or what of my uncle Il’ad? I hear you cozy up to D’ren every so often, but what of the poor, broken, dragonless man who also impregnated you.” Nevermind her thoughts on her arrangement with W’rin, she lights right into where their lives entangle — in the past. She’s not yet truly touched on the present and future.

Oh, and things were seemingly going so well. That belief held onto until just after the congratulations, which now, Linny realizes, weren't as genuine as that warm smile she gave Zeyta deserved, her face immediately falling into an angered state, eyes flashing, chest heaving heavily under the water. "My children and my relationships are none of your damn business," is tersely replied through tight lips, attempting to keep her temper lidded in vain hopes of salvaging this encounter, except that now, she has no idea where to go from here or what they could possibly talk about to get back on track. A final breath, and Linny allows herself to relax, muscles visibly returning to their previous positions, even as she opts to remain silent, glaring at something under the surface of the water, real or imaginary.

Zeyta meanwhile, remains a glacial calm, no where near as volatile or mobile in expression as the shifting depths beneath them as she wades back to the shore. So nonchalant, so composed as she pours a handful of some rich cream she wets a little and begins to rub between her palms to produce a lather of suds. Cloying again, she shrugs, “Oh, no, of course not. I’m not offering an opinion where it’s not my place. I’m just apprising you of common gossip, and remarking upon our shared connections. Perhaps I made my own observation, but I do believe I am free to do so.” She stands higher, enough to bare her arms and part of her chest to soap herself down with the perfumed foam. “I did not think it an insult to inquire whether you were at all invested in the livelihood of our mutual acquaintances. I only say it because I myself have such grave concern for Il’ad and Sh’z…and, well… I know how much they loved you. But believe me, I am the first to sympathize when feelings aren’t returned in the slightest.”

Sharp eyes snap up when Zeyta's words continue, Linny losing her attempts to stop her temper from getting the best of her. "I made a choice to send my children forward, and at the last moment changed my mind for myself. I opted to travel with my father to make up for lost time between us, knowing my children were well taken care of," is replied as calmly as she can at the moment, which is certainly a forced civility. "I love both Dalia and Il'ad, and I'm thankful to Sh'z for taking care of her, and it's because of that that I haven't gotten involved. Dalia has a life now, and I don't want to ruin that for her and snatch her away from everything and everyone she knows." Something deeper presses at Linny, causing her eyes to narrow in more upon the woman. "Until you are mother, do not pass judgement on someone for how they raise their children, and don't presume to know things that you cannot even begin to understand."

Zeyta learned from the best, her own mentor right before her in livid rage (has the student surpassed the master?). Since then, she’s honed and cultivated her diplomatic skill and harnessed it as a political monstrosity, cutthroat behind an impeccable reserve and frigid candor that never strays beyond bitingly professional and always polite. “Oh, of course. I know nothing of mothers. Mine left when I was two and I haven’t seen her since. It didn’t take a natural catastrophe to drive her away.” So indifferent, the way she drops this piece of personal history like deadweight, a pebble cast in the pool of life without a forcefull ripple. Rinsing herself, she continues, “It makes sense. As a goldrider, I’m sure you have no time for children.” Is that adulation? False hero-worship? “It also makes sense that you’d carry this child to term, too. I mean, it’s purely for its potential, right? I know all F’dan can talk about is how limitless a child with your lineages might be. Bronze or gold for sure. It makes sense that you’d want to ensure your diplomatic legacy is carried forward. This is a child you can raise to succeed.”

"Let's not talk of mothers," Linny replies in the way that someone would when they know they would win the argument, or at least she thinks she would win. Lzi doesn't even deserve to hold the title of ' mother '. There's obvious surprise, though, when Zeyta knows of the paternity of her child, immediately chilling her temper as the woman eyes her. "F'dan has told you of our baby?" For the moment, Linny doesn't comment about her child's 'legacy', something more internal nudging at her to make her feel that something is all wrong about this turn in the conversation to stress the love she has for the baby over any desire for its potential.

“Well, our is a generous term. Aside from being some meek and fragile kept woman growing his child inside of her, you were little more than a name on a pedigree. I’ve heard herders talk of prized mares from distinguished bloodlines with more affection.” Cruel and calculating, Zeyta sheaths the cut of her words in honeyed cadence, lapsing only when she immerses herself again. Hair sodden and sliding loose of its bind, she resecures the bun atop her head. “But I’m sure you’re more aware of whatever arrangement you and he have worked out than me, hm? Not my babe. I’d not bother either, the man has no paternal instinct in him whatsoever. Every person’s a pawn in his game or else a toy he fucks on the side. The only reason I have continued to let him bed me is because he knows to hold me in high regard.” Again, her smile debuts, more hungry and predatory than any true display of human kindness; there’s no warmth emanating up from her frigid depths. “I suppose I owe that thanks to you. You taught me how to be a strong woman. Always diplomatic. Inside and outside of the council chambers. I try and uphold the legacy we women of Oldtime High Reaches carry with honor.”

Anything Zeyta says after she reveals allowing F'dan to bed her doesn't make it to Linny's brain, the soul crushing evident on her face as the pain hinders any attempt at a poker face to take over. Anger completely gone, and in its place, unspeakable heartache. Brows raise slightly as she licks her lips, attempting to steady her breath before she speaks. "You and F'dan are still sleeping together?" is asked far too softly, barely loud enough to make it over to Zeyta. Her core tightens and braces herself for the confirmation she knows is coming, but hope springs eternal, and there is always the chance she misheard her, right?

“Huh?” Glee dies from her forced facade of excessive and saccharine geniality as the corners of her mouth drag down into a frown. Zeyta’s brow knits, confused by Linny’s sudden fixation: yes, she intended to wound, but so much more of what she said dripped with bittersweet venom coated over a double-edged sword. “Well, yes. Insofar as I know he has not ceased any of his…ah, promiscuity. You know the type: the High Reaches bronzerider has not deviated much from the ones we knew. Too many women to count. As many children. Beyond reform. Monogamy is not something they do.”

Linny shuts her face down, finally having the presence of mind to carefully protect herself with a perfectly cultivated poker face, looking much like her typical self now as opposed to that ghost of a woman seen before. "Excuse me," she says hastily, twisting her body to plant hands on the stone so she can haul her petite body out of the water, heading immediately to where she has her towel and clothes. Without a care, given that the dust will coat her regardless, she's barely half dry before she's pulling on her clothes, not particularly caring how or where they cling to her body. The only thing she makes sure of is her headscarf and veil to protect her wound and face from the storm outside as she battles the storm within herself.

“Fare well, Linny.” Zeyta’s not one to invite her prolonged stay when she so prefers solitude herself. She has all those assorted bath luxuries to utilize still, only the first employed in a long series of lathers, rinses, and soaks. So she pushes off, claiming more of the pool as the goldrier exits, dressing herself with such haste while she continues unperturbed, already walling herself up behind an impenetrable devotion to her long bathing routine. No storm here: just calm, placid waters, still and clear as far as the eye can see.

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