Ksenia, Cha'el


Cha’el returns to chaos after the flight and has some serious ‘splainin’ to do.


It is late night of the twenty-second day of the first month of the second turn of the 12th pass.


Igen Weyr, Eastern Road

OOC Date


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Eastern Road

Beyond a steep traverse down the eastern slopes of the Central Range, the road leading out toward Keroon becomes level and wide, a landscape of grit and sandstone giving way to flatlands and swamps near the Igen River. The air becomes thicker, the aridness of the desert succumbing to the atmosphere of the river and, further on, the sea. Eventually, this melds into the plains and foothills that define Keroon’s plateau.

It is late night, when Igen's winter is at it's coldest as temperatures plummet in the desert weyr, stirring eddies of chilling cold with each brush of the night's wind. It is clear and dark, and something sinister lingers on Sikorth's ledge, an emptiness that is felt as soon as one touches feet to the cold stone bearing the freezing chill of winter. Further, further in the weyr is lit, if only barely. Chaos reigns: the sharp, acrid scent of liquor fills the nostrils, glass crunches underfoot, and the weyr itself is in shambles. Notably, in the center of the vortex of chaos, is a single chair, the desk chair. It is draped in the lavender and magenta shaded shawl, set carefully so that the beadwork in the corner is presented to catch the spare light of the glows. Along with the shroud, is a length of rope, chewed through on one end by what must have been firelizard teeth. A simple note is left, for this weyr is empty — utterly, utterly empty. A note that reads, I have taken all that you treasure, ridden into the desert. A challenge exists in the angry scrawl of words, punctuated by holes where the nib of the stylus was driven into his precious parchment. Things of note: her things are still there, trails of ribbons haphazardly thrown in haste, but still there, although a few key pieces are gone as is the furry white coat he bought for her. Seems, she may have had some sense. Butterball. She has Butterball.

By the time Cha’el has managed to pry Sikorth away from Dhiammarath, exhaustion has crept along every bone and muscle. Post-flight sleep might be deep but it’s not the restorative kind. At least it never has been for him and generally leaves the brownrider feeling hungover more than it does rested. Given the hour, he’s not all that surprised to find the ledge empty but as he ventures down the short tunnel and into the weyr, everything changes. From wary about just how to explain it all to Ksenia so that she as a non-rider might understand to outright panic when the chaos and emptiness are taken in. “KSENIA!?” Southern’s new Weyrleader roars as if that might make her magically appear from out of the rockwork. The note is found, read, and reread and then crumpled into a fist. The rope and her shroud slash a cold rip of alarm down his spine and sour his stomach and then the absence of notable items of deep sentimental value are noted as is the absence of Butterball. “The fuck!?” CONFUSION heavily laden with anxiety. “Sikorth!!” Straight back out of the weyr Cha’el marches. “Find that fat little bastard and ask him what the fuck has happened here!!”

Butterball's images would be patchy: the images of the desert, a huddled woman, a fire and a horse. Someone stole a horse as black as night to carry her into the desert. She is not on a road, and huddled in the wilds of the desert. Images are patchy at best, but there are a few outcroppings of rock that could be used and the sense that they are four candlemarks ride by runner, at the most. Butterball's weak sensations would also include the warmth of Ksenia's arms and the slow feed of strips of crispy meat into his mouth from by the fire.

As images are fed from firelizard to dragon and then back onto rider, so Cha’el’s jaw tightens. While the knot of panic in his stomach loosens for having initially thought Ksenia had been kidnapped, so another forms for her having lead him to believe as much. Features grim and still wearing the clothing torn by Hannah, the command is given to ‘drop in’ on the runaway woman. Along the edges of thought, lurk flashes of vulnerability. She’s left your sorry ass! How did you think you could ever hold onto a woman like that? They all leave. They always do. It was only a matter of time. And so on and so forth mock dark voices at the periphery of conscious thought.

Ksenia is waiting for Cha'el. She has been for some time now, feeding the fires of her rage with each word flung to her by W'rin, until there are only sharks to feed the wrath that burns within. The tender way she cares for the fat little healing bronze firelizard is at odds with this rage, but the poor creature doesn't deserve to be put into a pot. So much time has passed that she begins to doubt Cha'el will come, and that perhaps that whole thing was meant as some sort of male form of woman exchange, which gets her jaw setting. Carefully, she sets Butterball onto the cushion of a blanket she snatched from the weyr before she left. Now she paces, her arms folded beneath her breasts, still wearing his shirt and the skirt that she put on during the altercation. Her hair is down, tangled and her eyes glitter with orange flames reflected in tawny depths. The runner sits patiently, chuffing now and again while a saddlebag is set against the shelter of the rocks, the clear glass of a vase catching the firelight like precious treasure. She seems to be silently arguing with herself.

Overhead a dark shadow sweeps temporarily blotting out the pale light of twin moons. Further on out in the desert there’s a muted thwump of sound and then stillness. With silent steps, Cha’el tracks toward the fire he’d seen from the air. Lingering a moment along the edge of its cheerful glow, he scans the area, picks up on the runner, catches the glint of vase, frowns and then returns his gaze to Ksenia herself. Mind already heavy with newly won responsibility and still more than a little dazed by how his life has been flipped on its head, the brownrider steels himself and steps forward into the light, expression guarded. “How did you get down?” Because that’s the most important question right now? Excuse him, he’s currently at sixes and sevens.

Ksenia's head whips around when she spots movement, eyes wild with sudden fear — she might be second guessing her decision here, actually — but that dissipates when she sees him. Something changes in her expression and with the flicker of firelight, it's hard to tell just what that is. She strides towards him, arms unfolding to stretch out so she can place her palms on his chest — briefly she stumbles when she notes his clothing, but it's not enough to deter her — and looks at him in the eyes just before she rams her knee into his balls. Finally, she's got her voice and she screams, the sound curling into the night air. "A BET?! MY HUMILIATION IS A SEVENDAYS WORTH OF WAGES? TIED UP, CHASED BY A BEHEMOTH OF A MAN AROUND YOUR WEYR, REMINDED OF MY POSITION IN YOUR-" She cuts herself off, backing up and presses her hands to her cheeks, finally noting something off about him. "Where — where were you. While your — your Weyrleader," she spits that word like it's dirty, fouling her tongue, "put his hands on me and tied me to a chair, Weyrsecond." His own title is eschewed, dripping in venomous poison from her lips. Yeah, his question is ignored.

Cha’el doesn’t back away but instead stands completely still when she advances on him. Some part of his brain raises a flag of alarm but is ignored. Regret singed across every nerve seared with pain when Ksenia knees him in the nuts. Completely unexpected as it is, the brownrider goes down like a sack of potatoes. Pain zigs and zags flashing explosions of white behind his eyes so that he’s unable to do little but groan in agony while clutching at his severely abused dangly bits. “The fuck!?” He wheezes with tears squeezing out of the corners of his eyes. But it also strikes a flash of anger for this was a conversation they’d had before with warnings of consequence attached. Rolling over onto his hands and knees, coughing against the quick rise of nausea, Cha’el pushes painfully up onto his feet and shakes his head to clear it. Only then do the accusations screamed at him register. Teary eyes fly wide and his jaw drops slack. “W’rin. The fucker actually DID IT!?” Nope, no denial there. “I was fucking around.” Pause to inhale a breath while fire lances his groin. “I never thought he’d actually DO it!” A thousand apologies and more besides crowd into his mind and thicken his tongue until he’s hit with the second barrage that questions his most recent whereabouts. Initially there’s no reply forthcoming, merely a strange look that crosses bearded features when Cha’el hobbles a step forward and reaches a hand toward Ksenia in silent supplication.

The advantage of height afforded to her once Cha'el has been reduced to tears, Ksenia's breath comes in great gasping sounds, whilst she tugs the coat she brought with her closer around her body — she is wearing it, don't mind the player for forgetting to describe it — and stares down at him. Strangled is the best way to describe the words that are pulled from the back of her throat, "Fucking around. You were fucking around with my life." Visibly, she swallows, the column of her throat working in the shadows of the wild espresso locks that frame a face who's expression is as remote as the Southern mountains. She doesn't back away from him, but she is not yet ready to cave beneath the towering inferno of her rage. "I won't go back there. I won't go back to Igen. You tore me from my life and have — have changed everything, but I will be your prisoner no longer." A hitch to her voice, but this girl is too strong to let him see her cry. "You can't do that. You go TOO FAR, Cha'el. TOO FUCKING FAR. He did it! He chased me around the weyr and LAUGHED when he said you had TOO MUCH faith in me. In overcoming him. What did you expect me to do." A question phrased as a statement as finally she stalks forward, firelight adding depths to tawny eyes. "Did you," a forced purr to her voice, "expect me to try to fuck him? Rut with him to overcome him? There's nothing in your weyr but a bed, but I suppose you expected —" Even she doesn't go that far, turning her face to the fire. "I'm done, done being a dirty secret." Something in her voice, something in that statement; it doesn't bode well.

Slowly starting to get a handle on breathing and the pain subsiding enough so as to be able to focus better, Cha’el frowns heavily. “What? No. Not your life! W’rin would never hurt you! I…that had nothing to do with…” And suddenly the enormity of what he’d done with his stupid bet, slams into the brownrider and he goes cold. “Fuck!! You thought he was there to….Fuck. FUCK!! Ksenia. Love, I’m so sorry that wasn’t.” Something else flung at him catches up and the former Werysecond goes very still and very quiet. “I gave you your freedom long ago. You didn’t want it. You said you had to stay to teach me about…” Her shroud in his weyr, the bells sewn along its edge. A black bell along with a flower embroidered with beads flowing into a name. That reason has been stripped away from them. And so, he reaches the only conclusion his muddled mind can: “You’re leaving me.” Hollow. A drop of chin and a step backward. “You were never my dirty secret, Ksenia. You are something that I treasu…” A cut of hand through the air to cut that off. “It doesn’t matter now. The point is, things have changed. Igen is no longer…Sikorth won…” Desperately he tries to arrange scattered thoughts but all he ends up with is a quietly murmured: “Please don’t leave.”

"And I taught you! I thought I taught you! And you did — you did THAT!" Ksenia's voice cracks on a squeak, giving the brownrider no quarter in the full wrath of her anger. Just be glad, Cha'el, she's not throwing embers at you. Be very glad. Eyes narrow to dangerous slits, lips compress into a fine line as she absorbs part of what he says first and immediately stomps right up to him the moment he backs up and raises her — no longer bare foot but booted foot — to stomp on his foot. "YOU HAVEN'T LEARNED, BOYO. YOU HAVEN'T. WHEN WILL — I would crush you in the balls again if I thought it would get through your damn head, you arrogant, asshole, scoundrel, Faranth-fucking dragonrider." Reaching up, if he'll allow, she tugs sharply on his chin to bring him closer to her face. "You don't treat people that way, prick. You don't. You do it again, and I will leave. I'll cut your balls off, feed them to your dragon and leave you with nothing but your pride left. And I will make sure everyone knows what happens." Is that a guilty look? It almost looks like she's about to confess to something when parts of his other words sink into her hearing. "Wait." Now she backs up, the ground unsteady beneath her feet in the shifting morass of his body language. "Where were you, baba?" Quietly asked. So, so, so quietly asked.

Shame. Complete and utter shame for careless words and bets made with little thought to their consequences made, is written stark across Cha’el’s features. So much so that he barely flinches when she stomps on his foot that pain nothing compared to the ache of his nuts or that searing through his soul. In heavy silence, he stays put, chin jerked downward with a brief flicker of brows for the pull on the neatly trimmed bristles of his beard, eyes locked to tawny-brown lit with golden highlights by the fire nearby. He’s done wrong. And he knows it. Feels it as surely as if Ksenia had kneed him again and then shoved her knife back into his side. “I’m sorry.” The words little more than a croak of sound, misery joining shame. “I’m so sorry, Ksenia. I didn’t think.” He didn’t THINK! Period. When she backs up, the brownrider remains where he is, attention dropping to a point just ahead of the toes of his boots. Reluctant to answer. To add what he must tell her on top of what he’d done to her. “I uh…” Hands twitch at his sides and attention shifts to the glowing ember of coals. “I went to Southern to…” Get her something he’d spent long and hard thinking about. “I didn’t know Dhiammarath was glowing.” Stilted words. His chin comes up and Cha’el fastens an intent look on the woman he’s cut to the core. “She went up and Sikorth chased. He wouldn’t leave off. There was a fight and I got distracted.” The muscles of his jaw bunch tighter. “Sikorth won. He caught Dhia and I uh…” Breath drops in a quick exhale. “Hannah and I…we uh…we wound up together.” As for the importance of what that all means, it gets left alone for now, now he needs Ksenia to try and understand. “I tried, Ksenia.” Softer words a step closer taken. “I tried to stop him. I didn’t want…In a flight it all gets mixed up. You’re powerless. The bond with your dragon is so strong that…”

"No, you didn't think," is Ksenia's hoarse whisper. "You have a lot of making up to do." This particular thing isn't going to be so easily swept under the rug, but she's slowly, slowly coming around. "A lot." Okay, slowly. It's the latter half of Cha'el's words that get her attention as her eyes widen in slowly dawning horror. She is not a dragonrider. She is not wise in the way of flights other than that they happen. Sure, she trades around a weyr, but she's not really a part of the weyr as a whole. "Sikorth chased a female." The woman struggles to put together the elements of what he's saying, since he's stumbling so hard that information falls as tortuously as a starving man getting a meal one crumb at a time. "You were in Southern," brows draw in, "And you and Hannah," vague recognition comes to play here, but Lendai's transfer has happened whilst she's been in his weyr in Igen. "You didn't want what?" She frowns at him, "You," cue the bitchy air quotes now, "'wound up' together? What exactly does this mean, baba?" She takes a step back, eyeing him up and down and taking in the clothing tears and the fact that his — "YOUR PANTS!" Surely he didn't forget they're missing some buttons. A choked, odd sound comes out of her mouth. "You … were… rutting… while…" At least it's not a scream…? It's a strange sound, to say the least.

"I know, love." Cha'el murmurs in return and chances another step forward. "And if I have to spend the rest of my life making up for it, I will." But then she's picking up the bits he's been able to choke out about the flight and he goes quiet while she pieces them together. Until Ksenia's sharp gaze drops to his pants, barely held together with two fasteners. Shiiiit! He should have changed before he left the chaos of his weyr but panic hadn't allowed for that. "No!" He quickly counters when she makes it sound like he'd chosen to bed another woman. "Yes." Because in essence he had bedded another woman. "Fuck!" Because he's struggling to find the right words. Scrubbing his hand over his face, knuckles raw and red from the fight beforehand. "Not on purpose!" Cha'el scrambles to try and explain. "We don't have a choice. The bond is too strong. When a dragon goes up in a flight, you become your dragon. What he wants. You want. For that short space of time. He is you and you are him. Or her. They take over. He took over. So yes, when Sikorth caught Dhiammarath, I was…driven…" will she understand the intended use of that word? "Toward Hannah." A pause and then Cha'el adds: "She's got a weyrmate and a baby. It wasn't about her or the sex. I don't even remember it. It was about Sikorth and Dhiammarath." A ruffle of freezing desert air further chilled by night's dark touch mirrors the gaping chasm he feels like he's standing on the edge of just now. "Ksenia." Another step forward which puts him on the edge of her personal space and yes, in reach of another shot to the nuts but he'll dare it for what he needs her to know. "There is only you. No one else. Just you. But flights…I can't always pull Sikorth back no matter how much I might want to."

Ksenia folds her arms across her chest, hugging her midsection tightly and it's clear by the firelight that a myriad of emotions are dancing across her features. She gives him a dark look somewhere in the middle of his explanation when he claims to not remember it. Her eyes fall to the tears in his clothes and merely arches a brow and brings her expression back up to Cha'el's. She doesn't move backwards when he moves forward, but her body language isn't quite open yet. "Cha'el," she holds up a finger, a plea for silence, for a moment as she processes everything he says. The trader's background does afford her with some more flexible understandings of life that a Holder wouldn't have, though it all crosses her features in a miasma of emotion. "I…" She pauses and considers, "… understand." Kind of. "You… weren't there." Which is more of a sticking point right now than the flight or the sex or whatever else he did, though he gets such a narrow-eyed look that something is happening behind the veil of her lashes that lower. "What," she questions, tone held on a precipice, "can you control?"

He wasn’t there. And that more than anything else rubs Cha’el raw from the inside out. His stupidity had terrified and hurt a woman he’d bleed and die for. HIS stupidity. He the one that’s supposed to protect and defend her. An image of a dusty road heading out of the Weyr springs to mind and slams into him pulling a low groan from deep within. What he’d done was as bad as… Without a word and ignoring the state of his clothing or those marks that chafe and sting beneath it, the brownrider steps in and unless Ksenia knees him or darts away, will enfold her in his arms and draw her in close against him, pressing his face tight against the top of espresso hued hair. “I am so sorry, baby. I have failed you worse than you deserve to be.” Baritone low and cracked with deep remorse. The overlaying issue of the flight left to hover for the time being. “Most everything else except that,” flights, “and…” a slow swallow for she really may not wish to hear the next, “the fact that his catch has made me…Weyrleader of Southern.” The politics sure to follow but for now, that rather large and fancy knotted bomb has been put out there as carefully as possible. He doesn’t yet have the knot for he’d left as soon as he could, driven to get back to Igen. Back to Ksenia to try and explain it all.

"So you can control what… happens. How… many times." Ksenia's words are broken because she allows him to fold her against his chest, but she's not relaxing just yet. She sniffs. And then thinks better of it. Ugh. Her eye is currently pressed to the torn part of his shirt that's threaded with a silvery blond hair. Grinding her teeth, she chews on the cud of this issue and it doesn't go down well, but she struggles to understand, to consume the information. "I don't … like this," she starts to say, "but I am trying to understand… Give me time. I am trying… here." Muffled against his chest and that hateful hair, but they are an echo of the same request he's made of her. The first signs of life flare in the woman in his arms as something like relieved laughter is startled out of her. Despite the sex, despite the bet, despite everything, this turn of events strikes her as funny and through his arms, he'll feel her shoulders shake. "Oh Faranth, Cha'el. Thank Faranth. I want to live in Southern, not Igen, and," this is exactly the point that her own guilt sort of trips up her words, "yourweyrleaderknowsthatyoukidnappedme." Beat. "I was angry." Does she shrink a little in expectation of some anger? Maaaaaybe.

Cha’el is somewhat confused. Shown in the way he hesitates before answering and then doing so by starting out with a question. “How many times what? He chases? That depends. Gold I have no chance. He’s an ambitious fuck. Green he’s ambivalent about but here and there one will strike his fancy.” Lifting his head, he tilts it to the side – is that what she’d meant? And in just she hadn’t, he grasps at another straw. “If you mean do I control what happens after the flight? Damn straight! Once Sikorth has his catch and the mating part of the flight is over, that’s when I hightail it outta there.” As politely as possible. Unaware of blond strands of evidence that cling to clothing or chest hair, Southern’s new Weyrleader does a double-take to the extent that the wrap of his arms loosen so that he can stare down at Ksenia. “Do you realize what that means? Weyrleader?” There is a of course a thread of relief when she perks at knowledge that soon she’ll be returning home and a smile begins to appear until she drops that bomb on him. Abruptly Cha’el takes a step back, bearded gone pale. “He WHAT!?” W’rin KNOWS!? Less anger more ‘OMFG I’m a dead man!!’

A deep breath is taken as Ksenia corrals her thoughts, and tries to force them down a road she's never traveled before. "I suppose I mean the extras." She happens to be glaring at something she can see through the torn bits of his shirt. "No extras, baba." Is that a rule? Possibly, though she doesn't lay it out as an ultimatum. More as a venturing into unknown territory. "Baths. You need a bath." Because his scent is not so fresh and she'll leave that to his imagination. Privately, the little smile curving her lips could be enjoyment for having crushed his so-recently-used-family-jewels. "Wait." She struggles a little in his arms and when he steps back, she's free. "You — You… you!" The first time the trader really sputters, waving a finger at his crotch accusingly. Jabbing at it frantically. Conveniently not answering the new Weyrleader's final question? Well, forgive her because a horrific thought currently has occurred to her and she's too busy gesticulating at his junk. "You — your!"

“Extras?” Yes he questions that because a man really does need to be sure what he’s being ordered away from. There’s a wrinkle of expression and Cha’el nods on the matter of needing a bath. “I do.” Simple agreement. “But I wanted to get back to you so I didn’t.” Bathe back in Southern first. But then she’s jabbing at recently abused junk and forgive the big baby, but the brownrider jumps back with a yelp and swats at her hand. “My, my, my what!? Don’t touch. You killed it.” Yup, he’s just covered his crotch with a hand and is fitting Ksenia with an accusatory glare. “And don’t try wriggling out of it by jabbing me in the nuts. How does W’rin know and exactly what does he know about how you got here?” Yes, Knsenia, your turn to squirm!

"Extras, boyo," Ksenia answers, gritting her teeth. "You know. Extras." That is an ocean of a category that's a man-trap waiting to happen, but she doesn't elaborate partially because of the fact that 'extra' category is still being massaged. "Don't come to me with another woman on you again." She snaps her teeth at that, but pulls back her hand and cradles it. "You deserve to have it killed," is what she says when she turns to scoop up the little fat firelizard. "And you need to take care of, um." How to phrase this delicately. "Prevention." W'rin? Who's talking about W'rin? Lalalalala, nothing to see here. She cuddles Butterball instead. "Don't tempt me to jab you again, baba." Maybe she means it, maybe she doesn't. "I told him, because I was angry and I was tied to a chair and I thought — " Never no mind what she thought, her face is turned away from him. "And rather than untie me, he left me there. And I stayed there until Butterball figured out he could drag himself into the weyr and chew on the rope. He left me there with no way to get free. No way," she lifts angry eyes to Cha'el, "to use the chamber pot." YEAH CHA'EL. How's THAT squirming going for you. "I told him I would kill him."

Extras. Yeeeeah, he’s still not too sure what that means and so Cha’el gives her the wary eye. No doubt she’ll clue him in, in a way he’s unlikely to forget. “Explain.” And then she’s pointing out his rumpled, torn (marked), post-flight status and the brownrider clears his throat and gives a sharp nod. Got it. Bathing first at all costs. Mention of prevention however draws a sharp look Ksenia’s way followed by a flicker of something else that’s deeper and far more personal tucked away as quickly as it appears. “Ksenia, do you have ANY idea of the kind of shit his knowing could have gotten me into?” Might STILL get him into if W’rin chooses to go to Hannah with this knowledge. And yes, he does squirm for the chamber pot comment, shifting awkwardly from one foot to the other and lifting his hand to rub at the back of his neck. “I fucked up.” Plain and simple. “I’m an idiot!” A pause in which exhaustion weighs in and drops through his baritone, “Can we go home now? Or are you gonna stay out here and get sick in the cold because I’m an arsehole?”

His sharp look is met with an unfathomable one, before her eyes drop and she rubs her nose with her finger. The trader takes a moment to come back to herself after that. "I'll explain, later." Ksenia is still mulling this over! For now, Cha'el is left with the nebulous command of no 'extras'. Don't break that, boyo! She's silent for a long, long moment before she finally turns bruised eyes to the brownrider. "And if your heart were broken do you think you would have full control of what you blurt you? Yeah, I don't think so either." Because that question just answers itself. She probably does feel remorse about blurting that out to W'rin, but that won't get shown to the brownrider until she's damn well good and ready. "Psh. Now? I hardly think you have anything to worry about. It's not like you're chaining me down, now." Ever so gently, she cradles the spoilt bronze firelizard and scoops up her bag, hefting it over her shoulders. "I am ready." She pauses and looks uncertain. "Which home?" Hey, it's a legitimate question. "I…" Another confession time? "… Your Weyrleader, after pretending to just be your friend and not the Weyrleader wanted to have a drink with me to make the experience easier. So I threw all of your liquor bottles at him." That's right. Cha'el's poor liquor.

Wariness deepens when Ksenia fobs his query off with ‘I’ll explain, later’ but the newly minted Weyrleader, merely gives a mute nod. Guess he’ll find out later just how tight that leash is that she’s planning to yank around his neck. Those beautiful eyes smudged with hurt because of his actions lends further weight to her words and drags the burden of guilt yet further down into his soul. “No.” Quiet confession on the matter of broken hearts and words blurted out. Shoulders square and Cha’el straightens. “Whatever the consequences of W’rin now knowing. I’ll take them because you,” soft yet pointed the look he sends her, “are worth it.” Except exile because that would just SUCK!! “Baths and then back to pack. I need to meet with W’rin in the morning and get paperwork sorted out and hand things over and then we leave for Southern.” There’s a frown for the bag hefted to shoulders and he wiggles his fingers for it and then passes a glance back to the runner. “You coming with me or riding back on that.” Yeeeah, not a huge fan of the creatures it appears. “You what?” That to his collection of expensive alcohol now being little but smashed glass. But he’s not in any position just now to protest or exhibit any of the dismay currently felt. “Did any of ‘em hit him?” Because now, as a little of tension eases away, there really is something quite amusing about W’rin chasing after Ksenia and having bottles of booze flung at his head. Also, Cha’el needs to know what he’s likely to be walking into the following morning with the man that was once his superior but now, through an act of dragonlust, has become his equal in terms of rank.

“Later”, Ksenia confirms for her definitions of ‘extras’. She does, actually, pass the satchel to Cha’el, a tiny, glassy clinking coming from it as she does. Butterball, however, is not given up, cradled in her arms as he is. “It’s to late to close the barn door when all the cows have fled, Cha’el, besides, ‘kidnapped’ could mean a lot of things, and lies are not hard to spin out of truths.” Lips quirk, voice pitched to teasing. “Kidnapped by love?” A slight smile forms, but then she gives him a queer look, brows drawing in. “Cha, by the way, sounds like a man passing gas or spitting from the back of his throat.” That particular nickname W’rin used did not go over well, seems. Closer, she comes, chancing the lightest of pats to the safest part of torn clothing before she draws her hand back and rubs the fingers together. “I am going to ride back to the weyr, because I am not leaving this animal here to be eaten and I cannot…” She gestures, vaguely at him and his flight-sex ridden self. “No. But your dirty underwear did. And everything else I lobbed at him, did. I scratched him and bit him and kicked him in the nuts and nothing I did stopped him. I threw everything I could at him.” Almost everything. “And he laughed at me and told me I was unworthy of your faith.” Brows pitch downward. “He even told me that you probably would have bought me something with the earnings of my humiliation…” Beat. “… had you won.” Yes, W’rin. You are a cruel, cruel beast! And at that parting comment, she turns to get onto the runner, but hesitates, biting her lip. “Maybe,” is acquiescence hard? “You and Sikorth can follow us?” It’s almost tentative, this question, for reasons that have nothing to do with their current, tenuous peace.

Butterball throws his former human a dirty look and burrows his fat little head into Ksenia’s neck. Mean man!! There might even have been a hiss leveled at Cha’el. One that draws a blink and tilt of brows from the rider. Nice. Even his flit has chosen a side. Frowning, he begins to counter, “When you start telling lies you’re starting down a…” Lips snap shut and he finds himself unable to complete that mini lecture of a sentence at her teasing comment for having been kidnapped by love, a small smile edging out. “Aye, well…” The tips of his ears begin to heat up but he ignores it in the hopes that night’s cloak will disguise it. As for the nickname W’rin had used, Cha’el utters a snort. “They called me Chad back in Ista.” Clearly he’s not too fond of the Igen one bestowed upon himself. Carefully slinging the satchel over his shoulder a little distracted by the clink of glass within, he goes very still when Ksenia dances in closer and inspects her fingers after touching him and for the first time in his life, the rider feels about as cheap and dirty as a dockside whore. Enough to bring a lick of shame back to his expression quickly switched about by a flame of anger for W’rin having called her unworthy of his faith. No man, Weyrleader or not, speaks ill of his chosen! “You have proven yourself more than worthy time and time again. And I’m sorry that he scared you like that when he just kept coming. He’s…single minded sometimes.” Aren’t all men? As Ksenia turns away, Cha’el reaches out to touch her elbow so that she’ll turn back to look at him. “We’ll be right above you, love.” Silent vow and understanding in the looks exchanged.

Awww, Butterball. Ksenia bestows a little kiss upon the firelizard’s head. She’s come to adore this little creature, and she calms him with a few, well-placed fingers to the soft little sides. Shhhh. “Sometimes,” she murmurs, “A lie needs to be told to protect something precious.” At least, that’s her take anyway, unconcerned about his qualms about lies. She wouldn’t have marks if she couldn’t lie her way out of a paper sack, now would she? “I like Chad,” she affirms, flashing him the beginnings of a real smile. “It suits you better than something that sounds like a bodily function. Tcha. Tcha. OH TCHA.” The sound she makes is almost vulgar, cast in her trader’s rolling accent. “Yeah, doesn’t work.” She teases, which is a good thing, all things considered. Pausing, when she feels his hand on her elbow, to look over her shoulder at him with vulnerable eyes. Holding his gaze for the longest moment, seemingly frozen in time before the woman does finally nod and give him the smallest of smiles. “Thank you.” A warmth suffuses those two words, a tenuous line given out on a road to forgiveness. “I’ll look for you.”

Butterball is a traitor!! Or so says the humph and narrowing of eyes the little fella gets from Cha’el. But as Ksenia softens, so does the rider though he’s not under any illusion that he’s been let off the hook. He does manage a wry quirk of lips at the manner in which she manages to make ‘Cha’ sound vulgar. “Thought you might find it appropriate that an arsehole has a nickname that sounds like that.” Cue the self-deprecating smirk. Once he’s seen her safely up onto the runner and mounted tracked back to mount Sikorth, Ksenia is escorted all the way back to the weyr at a height enough not to spook the creature she insists on riding while still remaining visible to her when she glances upward.

“Cha’el,” Ksenia gives him a warning look for something in what he says, a reminder of something, but she doesn’t elaborate. And that, is quite simply that. As to what Cha’el is going to be forced to do to get back into her good graces is for behind the curtain. For now, it’s good enough that she didn’t kick his ass to the curb, right? Right.

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