Who

K'ane, Zeyta

What

K'ane and Zeyta catch up. It goes surprisingly well.

When

It is midmorning of the twenty-second day of the seventh month of the second turn of the 12th pass. It is the eighty-second day of Summer and 107 degrees. Mercilessly bright, Rukbat's light heats the desert as a small dark cloud appears on the horizon.

Where

The Tea Room, Igen Weyr

OOC Date

 

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The Tea Room

This shop is easy to miss from the street. It bears the same striped awning that most shops have, this one in shades of lilac and sand, but it has no sign save for a plaque of sandstone hung beside the door, on which a teacup has been carved. When open, the heavy curtain that covers the doorway is pulled aside to allow entry. After stepping through, one will find themselves in a tiny space decorated with classic desert touches.The walls are whitewashed to increase the sense of light within but the floor is tiled in hues of blue and green, with each tile bearing in its center a brilliant red lotus. There are only five small tables, all of them of dark, heavily carved wood set low to the ground. To sit at one requires reclining on the plethora of pillows and cushions and layered rugs provided for that purpose; each seat is provided with a carved wooden back-prop to rest the pillows against, for those who want spinal support. Tea is served from the service at the rear of the room, where a tiny smokeless hearth keeps water heated, and a row of trays are kept loaded with teapots, tiny cups, and containers for sweetener. There is a small selection of fruits, breads and cheeses also available for those looking for a snack but this is not a place for heavy meals.


Not even noon and the baleful glare of Rukbat parches the desert Weyr, searing as it drenches those luckless outsiders in butter-yellow light. A hard taskmaster to be sure, insane and power-hungry by the estimations of some, not even Zeyta can tyrannize the elements into submission. That, and the cold Reaches imprinted this delicate (ha!) snowflake with a severe aversion to the heat. Draped in the slack, featherlight fabrics favored by the native Igen women (albeit, chosen in garish, none-too-subtle hues), she dominates an entire corner table, pillows amassed around her and a giant bowl of fruit served her, regular-sized fork ludicrous in proportion. As ever, not a moment goes to waste — she brought some work with her, this one a single, slim ledger full of her neat and tidy script.

And suddenly, K'ane. No, really. Southern's weyrlingmaster manifests as if in thin air before that corner table, stealing a few of Zeyta's pillows without a by-your-leave and starting the onerous job of fluffing them up against his back-rest. It's like the man doesn't even get that a knot with triple loops should come with some small amounts of dignity. Brow set, lower lip wedged between square teeth, he looks like a manual laborer, the scruff on his cheeks and dust on his old mahogany leathers making him look ever more the ox in the china cabinet.

Ah, a familiar face — one four hundred turns old to Zeyta too. Doubtless, her teeny-tiny body requires few pillows to cushion her, but it's the principle. Blame the Napoleon complex, and need to fill out more space than necessary, as the firm hitch of her brow upwards etches itself as a near permanent look of surprising challenge and intrigue at K'ane the usurper. A wingleader now, her militant uptight attitude seems more justified. Halting her progress down the page, she picks up her free hand to take her fork and impale a berry on its prongs. "Well, well. I knew it was only a matter of time before half of Southern started dressing like farmcrafters, what with Tuli and you leading there." Neither monotone nor acerbic, her cruel-cutting commentary pitched in soft, melodious tones comes closest to any approximation of good humor or friendliness from the prickly brownrider.

"Leave Tules out of it, she ain't done nothin' to ye." K'ane's voice is bluff and hale and amused, pillows finally arranged to his liking: he turns and flops down. One pillow shoots out from under his lower back in luckily a way not angled towards Zeyta. (The last time he was in here he caused unspeakable amounts of damage. Or K'vvan did, at least. Whatever. He's got a beard now, surely they don't recognize him.) "An' you of all people know I ain't no farmcrafter. I know my dirt from good ol' hard work, no.." His nose honest to god wrinkles, "..classess." Because we all know K'ane thinks class is a HORRIBLE THING.

"She stopped letting me do her hidework," Zeyta counters, permitting a fleeting glimpse of a pout to push out her lower lip, mouth opening to close around her ripe piece of fruit. The rest of the bowl she presents with an invitation of sweeping fingers, propped on the rim to nudge it towards the center. Stylus abandoned, notebook flapped closed, she empties her hands to fold them together neatly in front of her, ready to entertain the vandal revisiting the scene of his crime. She curls her lip as she takes in the change, the facial hair, precious little about her own appearance transformed. Unless you count the threadscore cut across her cheek in raised, pink scar tissue, glossier than the rest of her freckled skin. "Huh. So you still don't know how to read, I see." Just as sure as Zeyta hasn't gotten laid.

"'Cause we all know that's a crime," K'ane mutters to himself. K'ane has weathered damage and disrepair, the long knife-scar trailing down his cheek faded but vivid, crows-feet showing at the corners of his eyes, his brow lined from decades of frowning and laughing, but blue eyes are still cornflower-bright. He eyes the bowl of fruit. "Uh, thanks." But no thanks? He doesn't move to take anything. Maybe he thinks she poisoned it in SPITE. You never know with this brownrider. "Oh, Yza. I was writin' songs long before your skinny ass ever got laid." White teeth are displayed against dark beard in a sprawl of generous smirk, laugh ill-hid in bright eyes.

"Killed what little joy my withered heart knew," Zeyta laments, flair for the dramatic sparking in the long-winded sigh and slackened posture, back thrown against a wall of pillows. "Woe is me." The retinue of age-defying cosmetics hawked at the bazaar do their best to mute the signs of age in her, even battling the worn lines of discontent encouraged by fierce scowls and fixed glares accompanied by her trademark flat-lipped expression. More statuesque and less human by the day, right down to the sparkle of her eyes, with their topaz shine. "Oh, come now, you know better than anyone I've never actually poisoned someone's food." Even she gets tired of the constant suspicion! To prove her point, she plucks a slice of redfruit and random, biting into the crisp flesh. "Oh, so is that how we're teaching the weyrlings these days. Gather them 'round the campfire so old uncle K'ane can lead them through the ballads."

"Oh, bless y'r porr withered heart," K'ane teases for the dramatic air put-on by his clutchmate, accent deepening to a rough back-Istan burr. "Uh huh. You say y'haven't, but it isn't as though I've been there for every bowl o' fruit y'offer to someone, aye?" It makes PLENTY of sense to K'ane, who as of yet still doesn't see the statue of Zeyta - only those newly-come can see that, not one who once saw her in what amounts to a giant bathtub with a gaggle of girls. He's seen her skinny-shanked and coltish, ain't no goin' back from that. "My weyrlings have th' best survival rates of any on Pern. If kum-ba-ya gets 'em there, who am I t' judge efficacy?" He winks and finally takes one slender grape from the bowl.

Zeyta flutters fingers over her chest, simulating a thump-thump of said dried-up husk pumping blood through her veins. Quick to straighten lest onlookers catch this rare insight, she clears her throat, "Well, I have no desire to transfer or teach children how not to kill themselves, so consider yourself safe," she assures him through a gleam of teeth, presented in predatory baring and capped with a wink. Beneath the hard exterior, and past the rounded additions of womanhood there is still that brash, arrogant little girl, tooth-pick thin and shameless about her flat composition. The intensity behind her hasn't changed, much as the brawn of the man across from her has stood the test of time. "Eh. I'll grant you that. Unconventional methods have their merit, when the payoff is tangible. Careful — not the green ones," she teases. "I'm saving those for this poor sod eyeing my Weyrsecond knot. He's supposed to meet me for lunch." Ok so maybe SOME of the hesitation was valid.

"Oh, I'm not scared," K'ane reassures Zeyta. "Feel free t' try t' oust me or beat my numbers any time." There is his grin, roughshod and confident; he's not a man to be uncomfortable in his own skin, in his own skills. "Hmmm," he pronounces, before deliberately fishing out a green grape. "Poor sod, hm? Ye think ye can win W'rin over to th' competance of a mere woman for th' vaunted post of his weyrsecond?" Rapier-sharp his grin: he played rough with her as a cub, no reason to change now. "Or are y' just setting some poor moron up t' play as your marionette?" Make no mistake, Rikane took the measure of Yzabet a long time ago, and that assessment has stuck.

"Come now, a small dose of fear keeps you on your toes," Zeyta chides. "I helped train many a rider as part of R'yst's weyrlingstaff, and I've yet to lose a single one during a fall as head of Arroyo," she boasts. Stern and factual, the fingers drumming across her ledger look ready to rifle through and confront him with statistics there and now. Shaking her head in reproach, she finishes the second half of her redfruit slice, twirling her fork, no longer forgotten as she mock jousts towards him in spearing motion. "No, no. I'm done playing the fool. I want all the recognition. W'rin'll have no choice but to look beyond my tits, or else one of those chauvinistic transplants come down from 'Reaches'll throw us all into chaos. I'll not be led by a man trained under Q'ila's tutelage, mark my words." He knows well how to raise her heckles and redirect her rage: she practically froths at the mouth as she spits her vitriol. She knows it too: her lack of censorship and frank condemnations bespeak of an implicit honesty, however raw and ugly it paints her. "How're all those children of yours. Do you even keep track?" It's not a clean segue, just another reckless jab as she inquires as to the wellbeing of his own flesh and blood.

"Fear, feh." K'ane dismisses it with a swipe of one broad, calloused palm. "Of th' people I fear on Pern, you ain't one of 'em, girl." She can keep trying to cultivate it, though. It's adorable in a chibi-vampire kind of way. "Keep your riders alive, that'll be good enough for everyone. Be glad they didn't give y' Sandblast." Though that would have been HILARIOUS. His nose wrinkles at mention of Q'ila's name. "Man gave me the creeps, not t' speak ill of th' dead. Put th' full come-hither join-High-Reaches on me, y'know, when we came forwards." One of the largest bronzes of Pern? Masculine manly man? K'ane, aka Q'ila's wet dream. The statement is put forwards sly, as if pressing against a bruise to see if it still hurts. "Of course I do," he easily replies. "Kari's still a hellion, but Lendai. Th' rest are sweet darlings." His smile slides easier. "Even th' last one, though she's causin' me a hellfire of trouble."

"Bleh. Tell me, who does strike fear into you, K'ane." Zeyta flicks the end of her fork, settling back down into her seat, legs curled beneath her. Instant boredom follows the failed attempt to get a rise out of him, no further threat of her lunging across the table at him presented. "That's the plan. I even tried to get to know them, but they don't seem very interested in anything but serving the wing." Nevermind her utter inability to relate, much less inspire any sense of morale or a culture amongst the members of Arroyo. When poked, the wound still proves fresh enough to sting, as K'ane finds from the pressure he applies. "Q'ila's the entire reason I can't even set foot in High Reaches even after he died." So bitter, with that inter-Weyr fiasco on the mind. "Kczyslawborth is larger than most of their bronzes. Hmph." Another scoff. "I'm sure your children will make fine 'riders someday. Do tell, how one can be more high maintenance that a daughter of Lendai. Oh please."

"Now that," K'ane brandishes a tidbit of mango at Zeyta, "Would be tellin'." What passes for an enigmatic expression filters over the bluff plains of his face. "Wingriders are kinda grovelly when it comes to wingleaders. You should throw a party, get everyone drunk. Great bonding exercise, they'll love y' for it." Okay, just as a general fact, if K'ane and Zeyta actually joined forces they'd have three weyrs under their thumb in probably less time it takes most people to get ready for bed. The bronzerider doesn't poke against that bruise, content with the reaction he received. "I had t' trade on my Blood just t' get to see her. She is fine as a fettle, just dealin' with elite fuckin' trader assholes…" K'ane shakes his head. "Almost makes me wish I'd just gone and got her." Dhioth proves handy as an assistant in snatch-and-grabs.

"I promise not to exploit your weakness," Zeyta fibs, unable to keep the snicker from sneaking out and ruining her usual stoic facade. The provision of advice earns the most genuine response from her yet: a calm, quiet nod, mood gone contemplative. "I've thought of it. I already commissioned new decorative leathers for the wing." Here she waxes nostalgic, full-on homesick and reminiscing over a bowl of fruit with her clutchmate. "I want to foster the same sort of camaraderie our wings had. Nowtime and bastards like Q'ila have taught me that much: it's important to treat your 'riders as actual people." Think not she's gone soft though, for lightning quick she viper strikes, "and still demand excellence. Adequacy is not an option in my wing." Oh, if only their ambitions ever aligned; yet with different Weyrs and such vastly different lifemates attached to them it seems ever more unlikely. "…on your Blood. Ah, how interesting." Instant scheming. "Mm. That's how we Search half the time. Why not kidnap your own child? Place a premature claim on her birthright to Stand as daughter of a dragonrider."

"Riiiiiight," he drawls. "An' I promise I won't have another kid." Sarcasm, thy middle name. He eats more of her fruit while she waxes eloquent in her monologue on the nature of rider treatment and the necessity of rising above mere adequacy. He chomps loudly, to prove the point that he's an unlettered barbarian, just in case she was thinking otherwise. Notably no one has come to offer him tea. Perhaps they recognize him, wildman beard and all, and are keeping wary distance. "Aye. Poor ol' bastard doesn't realize that his granddaughter is countless generations removed from Lord Ista with th' times bein' as they are, but that's his loss." Here's a one-shoulder shrug, despite K'ane's fingering of how high his Blood can trace, previously unremarked by the big man. "Well, y'know. I don't quite need any reason t' kidnap her. Just… I think she'd be better raised there, than th' brat caves." Does he look at Yza? Does he? The rat bastard.

"You could take your greenstuff. Or heed Dhioth's calls more often." Oh yes, Zeyta still remembers /those/ preachings of hellfire and brimstone leaked from loud little dragonet minds. Her speech concludes, a strawberry and slice cube of melon skewered on her fork, ferried with such dignified grace to counteract his uncivilized savagery. While their etiquettes clash, she chews in brooding silence, jaw working in careful circles to grind the pulp in her mouth. Between the two of them, it's not much a mystery why no one offers them service; it could be as much a recognition of the vagrant as it could be an earlier evisceration keeping the waitstaff away from their section. "Mmm. Shards, I will bear your child if the babe can claim Holdership. I'll start sending old Ista a fruit basket every turn to mark his grandchild's age." Careful now, he's given her rise to lean forward, smiling cloying and deadly. "Mmm. The brat caves weren't so bad. Just don't let the children play on the Star Stones, it's not that difficult a rule to enforce. Luckily you have a few to spare." If she's going to be comical, expect it to be equally morbid.

"It just doesn't work on me." Greenstuff. K'ane sounds almost perturbed about it. There are always those that are resistant to the effects of certain drugs, aye? Or something. "Ha. Dhioth'd praise your name for sayin' it." Heeding his tyrannical marches on the slovenly sins of the flesh, that is. The bronzerider clips a short laugh, leans back with an indulgent grin for Zeyta's offer. "You an' I both well know I'm a bastard in more ways 'n one, Yza. Ain't no child of mine have a rightful claim on anything, just th' Blood runnin' in their veins, recognized or not." His grin for her last is boyish, approving of the morbid bent. "Brothers, children," he casually dismisses the topic, "Everyone dies in th' end, don't they."

"Mm. My solution is to just not have sex," comes the candid statement, putting truth to the condemnation dropped upon her over the wall of steam curling up from the volcanic pools a decade ago. Zeyta shrugs, indifferent towards her lack of bedfellows. "Mm, and Kczyslawborth would have a million questions to follow-up." Thankfully, the days of their bickering life mates are well beyond them. Although Kczyslawborth remains a cerebral predator, prying and cunning. The smile narrows down to a sliver, lips reverting to their thin, tight line, near seamless in their press together. "You'd be surprised at the sorts of skills one picks up in the records room. I've enough talent to forge a document and pass a master archivist's inspection down at the Harper Hall." Or so she'll boast. Nodding sagely, "The only variable is the number of days and the amount lived in between. Of course, I refuse to die until I've a whole Weyr kneeling at my feet." Right… and now's when the delusions of grandeur begin to eke out from h er.

"Surely even you've figured out a way t' get laid, Yza," K'ane's eyes are laughter-hooded as he selects one final strawberry for his oral attention. It would be an indolent expression, possibly appealing, if not for the gleam ill-concealed. His amicable laziness of form and feature is entirely at tiddlywinks and widdershins of what Dhioth would have made of them; they are both strong of personality, in their own ways. "Oh, I'm sure y'are. You could make me th' blooded second son of Ista in a heartbeat, an' me th' knowledge t' back it up. But I wouldn't ever have a child just for someone t' use in their political machinations." It's mildly stated, at least. Almost in apology. No readily-given K'ane DNA for Yza's engine of biological reproduction. "So you're gonna paint Coleslaw gold an' force him t' act girly, is that it?"

"There are men stupid enough." K'ane himself knows more than a few: H'ai, M'yck. With Zeyta they reside in a nameless realm, matters of the heart not spoken of, not even around a man whose seen her tempered and hardened into the resilient specimen before his eyes now — seen the vestiges of that girl that was even when they first met. Yzabet. Lapsing from her own impeccable manners, she slips the melon from the top of her fork, tearing it apart with her fingers to pass a juicy morsel up to her mouth. K'ane's contagious with his eating habits. "Well. It'd be a contingent back-up plan, truly. I'd not sentence my child to the stuck-up Hold life unless they failed to find their destinies on the Sand. Or Impressed chromatic." Faranth help whatever luckless child she ever bears, if there's enough warmth in her to harbor one in her womb. Glaring, "No. We're beyond that. I'll take the more traditional avenues to power for a brownrider. I'll be Weyrleader in all but name, and never have to sleep with the insane lot that Impress golds as an added bonus. Perhaps I'll even recruit you as my Weyrlingmaster then, join in on the campfire sessions with my own kumbaya from time to time." Y'know, to show the poor weyrlings what the boogeyman REALLY looks like.

"I suppose there are. Then again, y'can't be all ice, can ye?" K'ane is crude enough to glance at her lap, his eyes narrowing as if to ascertain the true heat of Yzabet, of Zeyta. His smirk is boyish again, returning. "Y'know, goldriders actually don't make that bad of lays, generally speaking. Lendai may be crazy, but bend her over a couch an'…" His voice trails. A smile hides behind it. "Faranth help any spawn of yours," he makes voice the sentiment. "If y'need t' foster it with someone that ain't fuckin' crazy, call me." Since apparently it's predestined to happen. Hopefully not with K'ane's genetic material, but who knows what the future will hold. He moves to stand, the great bear of a man, licking his fingers shamelessly. "Well, I thank ye for your hospitality, Zeyta of Igen. My best and warmest regards t' you and…" Why do his lips curve again? "…yours."

"K'ane." Zeyta achieves her level monotone, icing him out with the cool, grim punch of her words, as loud as any bark. To overreact invites a flustered response, so instead: her arms wing outward, splayed akimbo in the same defiance with which she stood stark naked over the water to him the first time they truly butted heads. History repeats itself, always circulating back to that single, pivotal moment like a hinge. No matter how many times the door opens or closes, or in what direction, the mechanism always brings the back around to this. She'll ignore the attention given to the space between her legs, the explicit imagery of Lendai leaning over a sofa. All of it. "I'll be taking you up on that, you know. I've not a single maternal instinct in me, but I am a legacy child." Through her mother and the countless generations before her, through her Weyrleader father. Tipping off her own clean-fingered salute, still seated, she nods, "Just don't go broadcasting how charming I am now. I've a reputation to maintain. Clear skies to you and yours, K'ane."

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