Who

Veresch, Tallel

What

Veresch loses her way among the Zingari wagons on her way to the Reika. Fortunately, Tallel is there to help.

When

It is the afternoon of the twenty-fifth day of the first month of the second Turn of the 12th Pass.

Where

Caravan Grounds, Igen Weyr

OOC Date

 

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Caravan Grounds

Deep grooves in the hard packed earth criss-cross a large patch of denuded ground, bearing mute testament to the caravans that frequent this area. Despite the midden holes set back a ways from the main center of traffic, the air is sweet, redolent with the sagebrush that forms a loose perimeter around the flattened expanse. In what is as close to its center as the vague boundaries suggest, a stone ringed fire pit has been dug and surrounded with the odd log or two, ash overflowing from its darkly blackened core.


If there's one thing that Veresch has never understood, it's what motivates courage. For sevens now she's refused to even walk past the caravan camping ground, afraid of too many things: having to admit weakness, having to look people in th eye again, a lot of things. In the end her courage had not so much appeared as that realisation that she's being a nut got too thick to ignore. Thus… the camping grounds. She's close, not close enough yet to have entered it formally, and stubbornly dressed in her weyr clothes, as if they provide an invisible shield. Her path takes her to wandering and then, because the grounds reconfigured when the Zingari arrived back, she doesn't realise precisely how far off the beaten path she's getting. The outcome? Lost in the brightly-coloured wagons, she searches for a point to recognise, anything to lead her to the Reika's more modest wagons.

Certainly, the arrangement of the Zingari wagons is a bit sprawling and tall and…loud - often in more than one way - and therefore disconcerting. Tallel's had to guide a few people in the right direction since the caravan returned, though it's been a while. Well…does Zalara count? Not really. At any rate, the tall, black-haired, brown-eyed teen is out and about and therefore fair game, should someone need such help - and manages to stop him. Or maybe he'll stop himself. Whistling as he wanders past a grouping of three smaller wagons on his way to the main one, he stumbles upon a most curious sight - a girl in weyr clothing, looking quite out of place indeed. A few easy paces bring him a bit closer in order to see her better, and he clears his throat to draw her attention. "Looking for someone?" he asks, a wide grin looking quite bright amid dusky features.

For a moment there's yawing vulnerability that threatens to engulf Veresch. Out of place, her mind whispers to her. At odds. Strange. No flashbacks, nothing like that, but that very intent feeling of does-not-fit makes her startle as Tallel approaches her. The vulnerability is reflected on her expression as well, making it altogether softer than her normal confidence would paint it. "I… yes. I seem to have gotten myself turned around." Her eyes flick around, focus on the Zingari wagons, tries to think. "This is… you look like a group that was here once. And. Um. How is Willimina? And Shevara?" The wagons look like so many gaudily-painted worms all of a sudden, and she gives a step backward.

Tallel's eyebrows tick upward as he observes that vulnerability about Veresch's face, warm brown eyes intent on trying to discern the source. He keeps his smile in place, as much to be reassuring as much as to be, well, just his charming self, and tilts his head slightly. "We're still Zingari," he informs her, "just a little different. Stronger, maybe? Willimina's our leader now, in fact. Shevara…" He shifts a little, his smile diminishing. "She passed on, out in the desert." Blinking at the lost girl again as she seems to lapse into bewilderment, he takes a step forward. "Are you alright? I can help you find your way…" He holds out his hand, a small smile making a return. "I'm Tallel, by the way. I'm a healer for my people."

The news about Shevara hits Veresch hard, like a punch in the gut in fact, and she flounders back to sit down abruptly on a wagon's front struts, body leaning against the one wheel. "Shevara's dead?" The woman that taught her about makeup, and clothes, and sat her down through a few frank talks about growing up — dead? The bewilderment fades, gets replaced by sorrow. "I'm Veresch," she says softly, slowly reaching to shake his hand. "I.. yes. I was looking for the Reika wagons. I'm a bit out of it, sorry. Uh, if you would convey my respect to your new leader? Or I'll come and do it…" Falling silent, she takes a deep breath, lets it out slowly. "Welcome to Igen Weyr, I should say. I'm sorry. I'm not normally mannerless. I'm an assistant to the Weyrwoman here, so if you need anything?"

Eyes widening a bit as Veresch finds her impromptu seat, Tallel draws nearer, reflexively keeping her hand and covering it in his other as a gesture of comfort. "It's alright," he says, his tone gentle. "I didn't know you knew her. I did not… The sickness took her and many others before my aunt and I could reach the caravan to help. I'm sorry." He listens as she continues to speak, giving a little shake of his head as a corner of his mouth turns upward. "I will, though maybe you'll be able to do it yourself. You don't need to apologize. I…we need nothing for the moment…though you might do with something, I think. Come with me?" he asks, gesturing with his head further into the midst of the Zingari wagons. "Just for a moment, I promise," he assures her, his smile warming again.

Rather contrary to what may be expected, Veresch's hand is warm, quite a bit so, even in the winter cold that still loiters. "Well, how could you?" she asks after his apology, and her shoulders lift and fall. "She was a good woman, a really good one. I'm really sad that you lost her." Baldly said, and heartily meant despite the cliche of the words. Still, despite the increasing calmness of her gaze, his offer meets with an abrupt removal of her hand and a shake of her head. "No," she says immediately. "I'm sorry. I'm not…" A deep breath. "I am sorry for not trusting you, but I had a run-in with bandits some time ago. I'm not going anywhere in private. I'm really sorry, Tallel."

"I've heard many people here say the same," Tallel tells Veresch with a nod. "I wish I might have known here, and I'm also sorry she is gone. Thank you." He gives that warm hand of hers a squeeze, then relinquishes it, a bit surprised at how she's interpreted his offer. "Oh, no! I didn't mean to give you that impression. It's not private, where I mean to take you; in fact, Willimina might be there. Others will be, certainly; it's just one of the little fires, close to where I work from. Beside, it's closer to a more direct path to where you want to go. No bad intentions here, I assure you," he says, giving her a little bow.

The girl blinks, then blinks again, and folds in on herself. "Oh. I'm sorry." There's momentary doubt, but she scrapes up what little courage presents and reaches out to take his hand again. "I should like to see her again, and welcome her back." Perhaps a mug of klah wouldn't go down badly either. "I appreciate your effort, Tallel, I really do. Thank you." There's a long pause. "You're a healer? A… a Zingari healer? I didn't even know they allowed guys to do it."

Tallel grins broadly when Veresch accepts his hand again, bowing over it and helping her to stand before giving it a little tug to urge her after him. "Sure they allow us," he says, his nose wrinkling a little bit as they move forward. "There are something things unique to men that only men ought to deal with, just as there are for women." They reach one of the small fires near a rather tiny wagon and a round tent with a shallow peak - the only such dwelling in the whole encampment. Another young man is there, stirring something in a pot, while a few more a standing nearby, talking quielty among themselves. "Engin," Tallel addresse the one stirring as he pulls a kettle from the heat, "have you seen Willimina yet today?" Engin shakes his head; he hasn't seen her since the morning, and Tallel frowns a bit as he pours klah into a mug hanging from an iron tree of hooks nearby. He looks between it and Veresch for a moment, then sets it down. "Be right back," he says, briefly ducking into the tent and returning after a few moments with a spoonful of faintly yellow powder, which he mixes into the klah. "Here you go," he says, passing it to Veresch. "It'll taste normal, I promise. It's just a bit of an infusion. Soothing. I usually put it in a tea, but it's good this way, too."

Veresch follows after, speeding up as he tugs her along faster, enough that the little bit of speed is enough to soothe her as they approach the little fire. She's still fast. She can still run… with a shake of her head, she tucks that thought away, finding her place next to the fire. "Hey," she greets Engin across the fire, sinking down on her haunches close to it, even though she doesn't really need the heat. "It's okay, I'll come and see her later, if she has time." She accepts the klah automatically and sips at it after the addition of the powder, nose wrinkling a little. "Thank you," she says gravely. "This is very kind of you."

Engin gives a quiet 'hello' to the outsider girl but nothing more, being rather shy. Tallel, on the other hand, is not so much so, offering Veresch a low stool before fixing up a mug for himself. "It's not trouble for a charming young lady such as yourself," the Zingari healer tells her with a flourish of his hand her way, trying to brighten her mood a bit more. "So," he says after a sip of his own drink, "you're the Weyrwoman's assistant. Were you, when you knew us before?"

Sip, sip, sip. Each time it happens a little of Veresch's tension zings away, replaced by trembling shoulders as her muscles relax. A tiny panic attack, perhaps. "I was a runner," she states. "Not from one of the established families, but I did well enough. I still like to do it every now and then to keep my hand in, or my feet as the case may be." She wrinkles her nose at him, hands cupping around the mug. "Not anything as interesting as being a healer, see? Was it strange, out there in the desert? I've only been as far as the oasis inn, but it looked so pretty…"

Tallel arches one dark eyebrow, a bit amused. "I'd think being a runner around here would be plenty…interesting," he observes, glancing around a little. "Not exactly a peaceful place, Igen. Or so I'm starting to understand. I think it would take a certain amount of courage to move freely here." His grins skews lopsided at her as he adds, "Or foolhardy. Though you might find most of the foolhardy types down here; I'm not sure." At her last question, he gives a quietly thoughtful bit of a hum. "Strange? Not really. Beautiful, and dangerous - especially with the sandstorms. My aunt and I actually traveled through one to reach the main caravan. When you live as a traveler, you just have to learn to adapt to wherever you roam. The desert is no exception. Not really stranger than anywhere else." He sips, looking vague for a moment before his gaze returns to Veresch with a small smile. "I decided it was most beautiful at night, myself."

"Courage and foolhardiness live in the same pocket, my mother tells me, especially recently. And interesting… well. Things can get a great deal too interesting at times." She finishes off the klah, but keeps the mug cupped between her hands. Though she doesn't realise it herself, the set of her shoulders is returning closer to what most would call normal, breathing slowly easing and words becoming stronger. "That sounds like an ordeal and a half. Your aunt must be a strong woman, and you a strong man." Her eyes flick to Engin, then back to Tallel. "It must have been quite beautiful to you. I'm glad your caravan has returned to Igen; I've missed the Zingari and their…fire."

Veresch is playing to Tallel's ego a little bit, and the Zingari teen waggles his eyebrows at her for the compliment, grinning rakishly. "Well…it isn't something I'd care to repeat, though I'm sure I'll see plenty more staying here," he supposes. "We just won't be traveling in them." Looking Veresch over, he can see that his little concoction has served its intended purpose, and he gives a subtle nod. "I think you might like my Aunt Melusine," he observes, leaning back on his hands for a moment. "It is good to know the caravan has been missed here. I really had no idea how much of a fixture they - we - had become here. I'm trying to convince Willimina to have a party, now that we're back. To show we haven't lost the fire that everyone knows us for." Noticing her empty mug, he holds out his hand for it. "So. How do you feel now?" he asks. "Shall I show you how to get to…wherever it is you were going?" Yes, he's forgotten already.

That makes Veresch smile a little. "I saw your leader dance at a party once. Had everyone standing there gaping at her. I'd like to see a party like that." Standing, she casts around, and finally finds no suitable place for the dirty mug, she's forced to put it in his hand — that doesn't suit her. "I need to go to the Reika camp. My friend…Onari. I've not seen her in longer than I've wanted, so I need to make a turn past there." Lips quirk. "She doesn't come weyr-side very often. Do you?" There's a tilt to her head. "I've not seen you there, after all, and traders normally keep to themselves."

There's a quick press of Tallel's lips into a thin line at the mention of the Reika - he must've missed it the first time around. But the expression is gone as quickly as it appears, and he stands, setting both empty mugs aside in a basin before turning to offer Veresch a hand up. "I'm not surprised that Willimina is able to make people gape," he says with a chuckle. "Now, to get to the Reika…" He glances around, then beckons her after him as he heads in a somewhat northerly direction through the wagons. At her question, he shakes his head. "I haven't been further than the baths," he admits, rubbing his neck. "I'll have to make my way through the Bazaar at some point…though I suppose I'd like to make it out into the Weyr itself sometime. I don't like staying put for too long." Lives in a tent, likes meeting outsiders, doesn't like staying in one place too long - Tallel is the weirdo of his clan, it seems.

There, that sees a smile on her face, one black sheep to the other. Veresch follows him on that vaguely northwards course, soothed as much by the easy, uncomplicated company as the medicine he had put into her klah. "Ah, well. You should come by one day, I will show you the sights, if you wish to call it that. Any time. You can just send a message when you have a moment." There is, of course, also the opportunity to ignore it. As they wind their way through the thinning Zingari caravans, she hastens her steps to set a hand on his shoulder, fingers biting in slightly in a gentle squeeze. "Thank you, Tallel. For everything."

At the hand on his shoulder, Tallel turns and looks at her, his head canting slightly again. "Are you saying you wouldn't mind seeing me again, runner-girl?" he asks, teasing lightly as he grins down at her. "I may just take you up on that, so long as you come by here again sometime. You're a known face to some of the Zingari, so it won't be counted strange to see you here. And if someone gives you a hard time, just tell them you know me." With that, he takes the hand that touched his shoulder, bowing over it again and touching her knuckles to his forehead before straightening once again and gesturing to a path of packed dirt curving gently along the back side of the grounds. "Just follow this, and you'll end up there in no time," he says with a smile, stepping back from her a bit to let her be on her way.

That throws Veresch for a loop, and not just a little. She stares at him, confusion growing again as the back of her hand touches his forehead. "May your fires burn ever bright," she stumbles in the traditional greeting, and dips her head a little. Charming, yes, so charming, but confusing as well — the only boy that was ever nice to her got stolen by Southern's Candidate search. "Um. I will, yes. I need to welcome willimina back, and … talk about the dead." Her eyes flick to the path, and she nods. taking her hand back to lift it slightly. "Goodbye, Tallel. Thank you again."

Tallel's grin only grows when Veresch trips over the words a little. Does he know he's flustered her? Probably - but he doesn't know that he's confused her. He probably wouldn't be grinning so much if he did. "I will let Willimina know you asked after her," he promises. "Goodbye, Veresch. I'm sure I'll see you again." He leans up against the nearest wagon and watches her leave for a bit, smirking. One more thing about his people he doesn't really understand - the suspicion of outsiders. He doesn't seem to have a problem interacting with them, whenever he's had the chance. And Veresch was quite nice. That, and a bit pretty, too, he muses quietly. He shrugs himself off the wagon and turns to amble back into the camp, pleased that he was able to help yet another wanderer.

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