Cha'el, Zeyta


Brownriders butt heads and arrive at an agreement


It is late night of the nineteenth day of the fourth month of the first turn of the 12th pass.


Archives, Igen Weyr

OOC Date





A grand room, lost to more pressing concerns, the Archives hold many treasures well past their prime, from instruments to examples of older flying gear and agenothree tanks. Faded and disused Records lean tiredly against their shelves, their bindings peeling and creating layers of dust on surfaces long left without maintenance. The floors are dirty, various footprints creating crisscrossing paths between rickety wooden chairs and drunkenly off-kilter tables. Columns rise upward to the ceiling, hung with glow-baskets scarcely tended and fast losing their strength. The hum of activity is duller, here in this forgotten space — few visit in search of historical facts.

Late night sees Zeyta return to Igen Weyr with the onset of the storm; fitting for the queen of doom and gloom to herald her arrival with a searing flash of lightning and clap of thunder. After a day local and abroad of deliveries of various sorts, the brownrider seeks the hallowed halls of the administrative corridor, intent on secreting herself away in the archives to burn the midnight glows. Sweeping into the room in splendid white furs and transporting a sterling silver tray balancing a pair of matching, jewel-encrusted goblets, she paces to her staked out desk in the corner. Don't mind her, really.

With his usual place of work currently occupied by a meeting in progress that thankfully doesn't require his presence, Cha'el, less excitingly, is making his way to the Archives with a bundle of hides under an arm, which look to be little more than work. Deep in thought, head down, he's through the door before attention lifts and he comes to an abrupt halt a dark brow jacking upward at Miss Fancypants with her white furs and blinging goblets. "Planning on entertaining a Lord?" Faintly sardonic.

Zeyta ferries her decadence to the wooden expanse of table, dropping her cargo with a metallic clatter. Lavish trappings, however extravagant, cannot reform a foul mood into a state of languor; the tempestuous scowl speaks volumes on its own. Flinging her jacket onto the ornate, plush chair hauled from her weyr, piercing topaz regard hones in on the person entering and speaking, settling grimly on Cha'el. "Holders are a waste of time." Decisive and forthcoming, she drops a hefty satchel next, leaving her in a storm cloud ensemble composed of layers of grey and black chiffon sewn into a dress. "Don't you think."

Dry amusement curls Cha'el's lip at the female brownrider's scowl and then eyes the gauzy creation beneath her jacket once its flung aside. "Back from a Gather?" He guesses next moving to the other end of the table and setting the hides down. As to Holders a tight smirk appears. "They serve their purpose of tithes." That his take on the uppity lot. "And they can throw a good party." Because there's always that.

"Mm, no." Zeyta scoffs, incredulous at the suggestion he ventures. Still standing, she begins to pile several books on an extended forearm, fingers clutching their front for support, pinning them against the crook of her elbow. "I dressed in frippery for myself. It has been a stressful few days," she supplies to satisfy curiosity, ducking down an aisle of shelves to return records to their proper place. Manifesting again with the clack of heels preceding her, she shakes her head, disagreeing. "The best parties are thrown by traders. This is unassailable fact."

"Do you ever just do something for fun?" Cha'el asks, drawing out a chair and eyeing Zeyta with some amusement. "Or is going around snapping at people your own unique brand of doing so?" But it's a real smile that peels out at her confession about her getup. "Well, you look lovely either way." And truly, he means it. A low chuckle will greet her last when she returns as he extracts a hide from the pile. "Depends on what you're looking for in a party. Those trader ones can be lethal." Take that how you want.

The look of disbelief that answers Cha'el's questions before its verbal complement remains. Zeyta is an adult playing dress-up, and she's her own decked out doll. "I collect antiques." Boring to some, perhaps, and not made to sound appealing by her colorless inflection. Rehanging her coat on the back of her chair, the empty-handed brownrider tucks herself into her seat, unhitching the clasp on the front flap of her satchel. "Mmm, a party should be uninhibited indulgence. It is not complete without a murder or a wedding to finish the night. Sometimes both." Her deadpan humor relates this in all seriousness.

Another of those short chuckles greets Zeyta's brand of humor. "So long as I'm not the one wearing the knife between his shoulders, I'll agree with you." He tells her of what constitutes a good trader party. A notation is made in the margin of the hide Cha'el has before him and then he drifts back to the matter of antiques. "My cousin collects bits and pieces from before the time of the comet. He's found some pretty interesting stuff." Suggesting that the person in question literally digs them up. "What's the most interesting or valuable item you've found?" Look, he's actually interested. Even going so far as to set his stylus down and fit the other brownrider with an expectant look.

"I fear the ring more than the blade. One is used to end suffering, the other prolongs it," Zeyta mutters darkly, ignoring the tome dog-eared and opened to its most recent page of perusal, her writing instruments, her own personal notes. She produces a glass bottle from her bag, stained cerulean, adding it to her tray of silver. "Mm, sounds like competition. I collected what was valuable before the comet. An added four-hundred turns markedly increases the worth of the goods that interest me." It's cruel the smirk she cuts, almost feline in the chatoyant tightening of her eyes. "Interesting: pre-comet tapestries depicting scenes of Weyr-life, including a valiant Fall. They once hung in the High Reaches Weyr council chambers. Valuable? Mmm. I've jewelry; forgotten heirlooms of Ladies and Lords. I've furniture. Works of art." She shrugs, waving her hand to implicate a long, invisible list.

Zeyta's first earns her a rough snort but no verbal comment for the Weyrsecond knows well enough to let such a treacherous subject alone. Glancing up from the hide that appears to carry the numbers and names of those currently incarcerated in the brig, Cha'el fits the other brownrider with another of those browlifted looks. "And you don't think that perhaps the current day Weyrleaders of High Reaches might not want it back? Could go a ways to building diplomatic ties with them." Says he ever the one to try and work an angle on something. Real interest continues to lurk or perhaps he's simply filing all the information away to share with a certain Southern greenrider. "That's got to take up a lot of space." Is observed. "Where do you manage to keep such a stash in between trades and sales?" Idly queried though blue eyes have a keen glint cast in their depths.

Zeyta closes her satchel, clasp redone to lower it under the desk beneath her feet. Already immaculate herself, rather than preen, she perfects the arrangement of objects in front of her, staging them just-so. The look she counters Cha'el with mirrors his, albeit, only a single brow arches. "Would that they had accepted my transfer request, they'd have their tapestries and the countless records I've stowed away. High Reaches is no friend of ours, so they can rot ::between:: and live with their forged decorations and fragmentary accounts." Someone has a history there. "Fuck Q'ila." And that clarifies it! Searching Cha'el's face for some motive, she laughs. "In my weyr, guarded by Kczyslawborth. I'm not so stupid as to divulge the location of my troves. Come now, Cha'el, that is a rookie move."

Setting his stylus down, Cha'el leans back in his seating, the careful arrangement of objects noted with interest - Someone seems to have a touch of OCD - before attention flits back to the woman perfecting their placement to her satisfaction. "Ahhhh. Q'ila." There's a nod of head and tightening of bearded features for the name dropped. "And what I wonder, would someone such as myself," Weyrsecond to Igen, "have to offer you to get a look at those discovered records of theirs, hmm?" Perhaps opening the floor to negotiations there? A snort is uttered next. "Don't give a shit about your trinkets. It was merely a comment of passing interest." Right. "But I might take that tapestry off your hands. Why? He's not saying but instead rests an expectant look onto Zeyta, watchful for her reaction.

Zeyta is obsessive to say the least, with everything from her desk area to her vendettas. Achieving the desired presentation, she at last locates her last read passage in that open tome, resting an index finger at the beginning of a paragraph. "He used me to frame that greenrider for a murder neither of us committed." For someone who ruined the life of a certain Southern greenrider, she sounds remorseless — typical. Silence ensues, during which her fingertip travels along the line of text she reads, arriving at some terminating punctuation or natural break before she glances at Cha'el. "Your knot, mayhaps." She flashes pearlescent teeth in a cloying smile. "I'm sick of Nowtime men overlooking me. You'll receive neither my records nor my tapestry until I see some recognition. I'm through with Sadaiya and W'rin's gender segregated Weyr politics. So try me." Like a cornered wildcat, she lashes out, raking claws first. The quick, sudden change matches the turbulence outdoors in the sky.

That statement is enough to jackknife sea-blue eyes into an intent zeroing in on Zeyta. "Which…greenrider." He asks, baritone strangely tuned down low in the manner of one about to threaten unimaginable harm against another. Hopefully not her. Waiting in tight silence as she finishes reading her passage, the disquieting weight of Cha'el's gaze remains firmly fixed on her. "Oh for fuck's sake," he retorts. "Maybe if you got that sharding forest off your shoulder and started acting like someone that can be relied upon and trusted instead of fucking whining about it and throwing your toys out of the cot in a fit of temper, you might find recognition for something other than being noted as a stroppy whiny little bitch." Harsh perhaps but he's about had his fill of Women's Lippers cranking out the vitriol against his gender of late. "Recognition and position is attained on merit not who has the biggest dick or…" a hand waves at her chest area, "tits and mouth to go with it. You show me that you can earn it, that your loyalty is with the Weyr and not whatever self-serving scheme you have up your sleeve, and we'll talk again." Hides begin to be set neatly one atop the other as if he means to call the interaction to a close and leave.

Snake blinks in from ::between::!

Snake pops out of between, hissing at the unfamiliar surroundings. But, there is Zeyta, who she seeks; the bad-tempered gold flies to her, dropping a gift into the air in front of her before blinking out again. Two beach-smoothed pebbles fall, to clatter to the ground if not caught. Scratched onto one is the word 'foresight' in a poorly executed script; the other, a smooth nugget of marble, is roughly etched with a heart.

Snake suddenly disappears ::between::!

Is Zeyta oblivious in her egomania, or that heartless? She takes no heed of the dropped bar of the male brownrider's voice, undaunted as she grabs a stick of charcoal to scrawl a word in the margin of her current record. "Mm, I forget you're Istan. Br'er. This is old news." So she treats it as such, rolling her eyes at his ignorance. "I'm not whining, Cha'el. Far from it," is clarified in that deadweight monotone of hers, frigid as a winter's day. "I have merit and I have earned rank before. Do not confuse my personal machinations and demeanor for a lack of professionalism." Except, a firelizard intrudes just then, dropping her two stones that crash on the floor and roll away from their intended recipient. Surprised, but continuing her monlogue regardless, "I tried when I first arrived here and was humiliated and exiled from my home Weyr. Igen has been just as prejudiced. Unkind, I can handle, but I am no longer willing to slave or sacrifice for what should be mine. So state your offer and I will match it." She finishes, calm and even-toned, although diplomatic is a stretch. "Would you hand me those rocks." On an unrelated note.

"Is my cousin," Cha'el grates out when Br'er's name is finally put out by the female brownrdier. "And didn't deserve what he got." For all that the greenrider is no innocent by any means. Thoughts jar to a halt when the gold firelizard appears dropping pebbles in her wake. Ignored for the time being, blue eyes turning cold as the deep of the ocean fix to Zeyta. "I'm sorry that your Weyr saw fit to exile you," though on the one hand he certainly understand why given how much of a trial she can be to try and navigate. "But I had nothing to do with that. Neither did I have anything to do with your woes when you got here." A finger stabs to the wood of the table. "You tell me what you think it is that should be yours and we'll go from there." The Weyrsecond states and rises to gather up the stones not because she'd asked but because he wants to give them a good eyeballing. Turning the one over in his hand the poorly scribed word 'foresight' is noted. Closing his fist about them, Cha'el returns to the table but doesn't hand them over, instead he merely fits Zeyta with a level look and says nothing further.

"Worse things have happened to a man. At least he is alive." Cruel and uncaring, Zeyta dismisses the familial bond between the two men; it disinterests her. "To be fair, I was manipulated into implicating him, after he accused me," she attempts to exonerate herself, staring at Cha'el with her severe gaze, gemstone bright, but cold and unfeeling. "At a minimum, I deserve to be consulted in practical matters of your duties, if you are to be reviewing my records. I want to be seen, with the understanding that I will also be heard eventually. And knotted." Wait, did she just hire herself as his personal secretary? This is a theme in her life; always the bridesmaid, never the bride. "And I really don't care for pity. I will force High Reaches to regret me by uplifting Igen out of its squalor." So she also has some delusions of grandeur. Patiently awaiting the retrieval of the dropped stones and their return to her, she blinks, leaning forward with elbows dropped over her desk. "What." His level look and silence motivate her to extend an open palm, fingers curling demandingly.

Cha'el won't fight his cousin's battles for him, deeming him big enough and ugly enough (Sorry Br'er) to do so himself. He will however, pin Zeyta with a tight look that threatens dire things should she so much as try to go after him again. "I find it hard to believe that a woman such as yourself is manipulated into doing anything she doesn't want to if it doesn't serve her purposes." A deliberately sardonic drawl of words after a few moments of silence. But then she delivers her demands and for a few moments the Weyrsecond is left staring dumbfounded at her. Not for long for next he throws back his head and lets loose with a hearty laugh that rumbles and prowls about the area like a feline in heat. Mirth is completed by the squeeze of tears, swiped away with a sleeve as he tries to regain control, eyes a-glitter with the remnants of high humor. "You're fucking something else, you know that? Why by Faranth's golden arse, should I hire you as my assistant when you've done nothing to show me I can trust you to serve the Weyr's purposes before your own?" A pause and then dark cunning lights those sea-blue eyes. "Bring me the records and the tapestry from High Reaches and we'll talk again. In the meantime," his fist opens to reveal the two pebbles in the palm of his hand. "You can tell me what this is about." The one with the word scratched onto it nudged with a finger.

"Well, it did serve my purpose, but I also thought Q'ila honest, and the integrity of Reachian 'riders intact in Your Time." Zeyta spits those last words with venom; so much of the world she knew before deteriorated in the turns spanning then and now. She watches him stalk the archives with her own stone-faced stoicism, a blank wall of apathy tracking his movements without the hearty guffaws or extreme sense of comedy he finds in her monotone. "Do you want a list of the weyrlings I trained? Ask Tuli, or Teya, or any number of solid dragonriders I minted back in my day. If you want me to personally show my worth, how I am I to demonstrate without any opportunity? What do you want. Put me in charge of a wing, I will organize them and lead them through tactics you haven't seen," (because she indefinitely borrowed those records), "Ask me to advise on the refugee problem in the bazaar or how to better foster diplomatic relations with them. I will." She shakes her head. "So far, you are only interested in what I possess and not what I offer. You may read my records in my presence. You will never see that tapestry. You may ask your cousin where he obtained its fake reproduction if you want, however." Rigid as iron, and now as straight-backed as a steel pole, she sits, reaching to uncork her blue bottle of liquor, pebbles left in his hold, although she reads the inscription on the first from the corner of her eye. "Despite what you think, not everyone finds me a whiny little stroppy bitch."

Impassive the expression Cha'el wears at the venom spat by the female brownrider. Does he care? Probably but he's not about to let her know that. Not yet. "Aye," the Weyrsecond replies on the matter of lists of those trained by Zeyta. "I'll be talking to Tuli and Teya as well as Sadaiya." And perhaps a few others too for he's not foolish enough to nab the senior Weyrwoman's assistant out from under nose without so much as a by-your-leave or knowing just exactly what he might be getting into. "Its not my place to assign you to lead a wing, its W'rin's. However, a recommendation can be made if I feel it's warranted." As to the problem with the bazaar and its refugees, he merely utters a grunt sure that he already has that well in hand. "No. I'm interested in what you'll give up to further your ambitions." Cha'el goes on to correct. "What you're prepared to sacrifice over and above what we ask every rider to sacrifice to demonstrate considering you for any position." There's a nod of head to viewing the records in her presence followed by a sharp cut to the side on the tapestry. "No. I want the original." Steely blue eyes latch to Zeyta mirroring the inflexible set of his tone. "That is if you even have it." Dropping his gaze to the pebbles in his palm there comes a faint twitch of lips within the neat groom of beard, unruffled by his descriptors she flings back at him. "An odd sort of gift from a beau. Care to explain?" Opportunity provided for a demonstration of trust being a two-way street.

Zeyta removes the wooden cork from her bottle, tipping it over the rim of her silver goblet until a rich, red wine pours from its neck. "Go ahead; they'll tell you the same story: I'm an unpleasant person but damned well good at what I do." At this she radiates pride, contained to a thin-lipped smirk, mouth pressed. Gripping her goblet by the stem, she lifts it, raising it towards him. "Yes, I know it is W'rin's place to pick wingleadership. I was speaking in hypotheticals." Toasting to herself, she sips, fanning her face with her free hand. "I've given up everything already. I'm a mere wingrider, in a foreign Weyr in a foreign time with a sullied reputation." She shrugs, telling him this; it's not a list of complaints, just solid fact: she is at her lowest. "Listen, I am not parting with that tapestry. It has nothing to do with diplomacy or politics; it belongs to me and my compatriots. Those of us from Oldtime who represent what High Reaches should be. It is more mine and ours than theirs." It's a rare glimpse of sentimentality, communicated in a level tone, as unyielding as the rest of her. Swirling the contents of her goblet, she snorts. "He's no beau of mine. Misled candidate mistook my repaying a debt. It would seem he's seeking favoritism."

Cha'el is quiet throughout, those piercing blue eyes not leaving the other brownrider's face for a moment and only briefly flicking to the wineglass she raises before attention sets back to her features again. "Now that," her explanation about the tapestry, "is the first real thing I've heard from you that I can get behind and respect." He says with mouth moving to one side beneath the bristle of beard and moustache in a lopsided pattern. "Everyone needs something that provides an anchor in the uncertain storm of life. So keep it." As if he had any hand in her doing so. "But I do still want to see those records. See if there's anything in them that can prevent us getting our arses handed to us up there." Another moment of silence and then a brow hikes upward in vague amusement. "A candidate seeking favor, eh?" His gaze drops to the pebbles in his hand. "How does such a self-sufficient woman," sincere compliment given, "find herself in a position where she owes a candidate a debt, hmm?" Idle interest there.

"Would you care for a drink?" Zeyta brought two goblets, after all, the other resting empty on its gleaming metal tray, bejeweled sides twinkling in the light. She gestures to both the empty cup and the bottle, inviting him to help himself. "I shall," she proclaims, triumphant and self-pleased, expression hidden behind the lip of her chalice she holds in front of her face. Only her eyes dart out over the top, studying him with keen calculation. "Very well, I'll retrieve a decent selection. You may peruse them in my weyr, sometime, I am not, mm, enthusiastic about others catching word or sight of them." They are contraband, technically. Sighing, "Bazaar boy. Thierry. I'm told he also cozies up to assistant weyrlingmaster Sienna." Lowering her drink, a frown is visible as her pinched brows crease her forehead. "Because on occasion my scoundrel of a twin brother appears and complicates my life, drunk and surly. I owed the boy an apology for falling victim to our … interactions."

"Don't mind if I do." Appreciation sits in Cha'el's baritone as takes up the bottle and half fills the other goblet. "These part of your collection too?" He goes on to ask lifting the vessel and turning it this way and that to inspect its jeweled finery. "If I find out you're lying to me and are trying to play on my sympathy about that tapestry," the Weyrsecond appears to idly muse as he brings the goblet to his lips, "your next stop will be Southern." Just a little something for Zeyta to think about. "I have one rule, and only one," he states setting his goblet down without having yet taken a sip and leaning forward. "You don't lie to me. Ever." Is he agreeing to take her on as his assistant. Leaning back in his chair again the wine is taken up and a sampling sip savored with a faint smirk making a show when it moves away from his mouth again. "Thierry, eh?" Approval warms his baritone. "Got a lot of potential that kid. So how was this debt of yours paid when he sends you pebbles in return?" Said pebbles now set onto the silver tray. Hers to retrieve should she wish to.

"Mmm. Yes, expensive liquors I rarely every drink." Much of the vintage and antique items Zeyta acquires never realize their functionality — visit her weyr and see much of her furniture buried under white sheets, unused. If Pern had haunted museums… she'd be their curator. "I'm not lying. I'd pawn it if I thought it'd provide me some advantage, but no knot can ever replace a sense of what was." Sincere in her reassurance, the brownrider, is also solid in her resolve — if she is one thing, it is blunt and honest, most often to a fault. "Consider it a contractual obligation," she purrs, lips stained red with the liquid in her goblet as she sips yet again. "Telgar red, from the 10th Interval, aged 12 turns, and then brought forward another 400 to the present." In case he was curious; she enjoys boasting of her collection. "He is interesting. But weyrwoman Tuli would rather I cut him down than blow up his ego. As it stands, he'd be a casualty at minimum during a Threadfall. If no one checks him now, he'd make for an insufferable bronzerider." The thought merits a jutting lower-lip in contemplation. "The candidates are stranded on an island. I delivered him a crate of food. For which I've already been punished." In interest of full disclosure. She makes no move to claim the pebbles.

There's a short incline of head in acceptance for what Zeyta reveals about the tapestry and her thoughts on it followed by another drink of what turns out to be a rather rare bottle of wine. Amusement, wry with a dash of approval shows in the turn of Cha'el's expression. "I pity the man or woman that makes a play for your attentions. They're going to have to work hard to top the style to which you've accustomed yourself." Silence gathers as the Weyrsecond considers the matter of the bazaar streetrat turned candidate. "I've been training with him every day to help him learn to channel that temper of his," a rueful pause, "Or was until that bastard decided to kick my ribs in. Point is. He's one of those kids that if you hit too soft he'll sneer but hit him too hard and you'll destroy any improvements he's made so far. Gotta smack him right in the middle somewhere. So be careful how you cut him down, eh? If he impresses, O'ell and his team will whip him into shape." A soft snort spills into the antique goblet for her last. "Should I be worried about this punishment of yours?"

"I can provide style and substance on my own. There are other things I need that one cannot come across alone," Zeyta opines, batting her lashes and smirking. She lowers her goblet onto the desktop, perching her chin on an upraised palm to gaze openly at Cha'el, suspicious of his good humor. "But most often I am content with solitude. Cut your losses, and hold few dear." That she practices this philosophy needs little articulation, it's evident in her day-to-day coldness towards others. "I've seen less of his temper and more of an, mmm, flagrant disregard for rules and crass, uncultured attitude. He needs refinement, and some sense of direction. And goals. He has almost no interest in the future whatsoever," she answers, stating her observations with a careful sense of character analysis developed through her turns as an AWLM herself. Glancing down at the pebbles, she murmurs, "I'm afraid he's under the impression the two of us are alike, and that he might expose his soft side around me." Her gaze lingers on those two inscribed beach-stones, obvious proof sitting in front of her. "He's wrong. And I've already served my penance by transporting supplies to the whole class of candidates. Now. If you'll excuse me, I've this fascinating account of crop yields in Igen's river delta region to finish transcribing." It would seem their discourse has reached its close.

"Not a bad philosophy," Cha'el commends, "but be sure that you hold at least a few dear." Enjoying the rich luxury of the wine provided, he listens in silence as Zeyta delivers her opinion on Thierry. "If he does expose his soft side," the Weyrsecond begins, his baritone low with the strength of his convictions, "try not to grind it to a pulp beneath your boot, aye? A young man like that, he's putting up fronts to hide behind. Being kicked like a common cur, will do him more harm than good." Swilling the wine about in his goblet, its drained and the antiquity set down on the tray. "Report for duty tomorrow morning after the wingleaders meeting. I've got something I want you to look into for me." Cha'el states, taking up his stylus and pulling the discarded hide back before him. "Fair skies, Zeyta." Would you look at that, they didn't kill each other.

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