Who

Tallel, Aztrexia

What

Tallel comes to see Aztrexia and extends an interesting offer.

When

-- On Pern --
It is 12:40 PM where you are.
It is noon of the twenty-fifth day of the fifth month of the twelfth turn of the 12th pass.
In Igen:
It is the fifty-fifth day of Spring and 91 degrees. It is overcast and cloudy.
In Southern:
It is the fifty-fifth day of Autumn and 50 degrees. Overcast with only a little rainfall, Rukbat's light is brighter as the storm clouds drift further west, leaving only intermittent cloud cover.
In Southern Mountains:
It is the fifty-fifth day of Autumn and 19 degrees. It's really damn cold out.


Where

Igen Caravan Grounds, Zingari Encampment

OOC Date 08 Nov 2017 07:00

 

Aztrexia_13.jpg Tallel20.jpg

“I think you’re forgetting that my wife can just throw something at me if she doesn’t like it. She has very good aim."


igencaravangrounds.jpg

Igen Caravan Grounds; Zingari Encampment

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.

It is the fifty-fifth day of Spring and 91 degrees. It is overcast and cloudy.



It’s an overcast day in Igen and it’s cooled the air down considerably from normal spring temperatures. But it’s still hot, hot enough that Aztrexia sits outside her yurt in nothing more than a light skirt and a dancer’s top, leaving her arms and torso bare to the air. She’s got a washtub in front of her and she’s avidly scrubbing away at dirty laundry. She takes a small break, wrist rising to run across her forehead before she takes a drink from her waterskin. Sighing after, she continues her work, hazel eyes watching the comings and goings of the rest of the Zingari. There’s a few that wave as they pass, students of hers, and she waves back, despite the glares from the parents.

Speaking of comings and goings, there is most definitely something coming around the bend in the form of what sounds like a herd of giggling children running for their lives. It turns out to be a small herd, at least, Willimina’s son among them…and her husband chasing after them. He might be a level-headed sort, but when it comes to his son, he can also become a gigantic child himself! Obviously he’s not above having fun. There are some laughingly roared threats about catching them all and eating their toes…and then, suddenly, Tallel is stumbling and tumbling in the sand, having caught his toe in a hollow left by an uprooted rock or pulled-up stake or something. In a flurry of dust, he hits the ground with an undignified oof! - right in front of where Aztrexia is working, give or take a few long strides.

The flock of little boys think this is hilarious, of course, especially since Tallel is dramatically sputtering and catching his breath to make it clear he’s not really hurt. They take advantage of their pursuer’s plight to escape the threatened toe-eating entirely, leaving the tawny-eyed second to roll over and sit up, wiping his wrist across his mouth and making a face as he tastes sand. Only then does he glance over and spot Aztrexia, peering at the woman with a dark eyebrow quirked and a faint, curious smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth as he gauges what she’s made of his little mishap.

Aztrexia has a bit of a soft spot for children and all they embrace herself. So, the comedic scene that comes racing towards her already has a smile sneaking across her face. She drops her washing and hides a laugh behind her hand as the Caravan Second goes crashing to the ground, his dramatic performance pulling true laughter out of her as the children's laughs right through the grounds. She's mostly done laughing by the time the kids run off and Tallel sits up, back to her washing as the last of her chortles escapes her lips. There's a look of innocent amusement on her face when Tallel looks over and she shakes her head, hair slipping over one shoulder as she returns to her vigorous washing.

“Looks like they got one up on you…” Trexa comments at last, flicking her gaze upward to watch Tallel as she tests trying to be more social. The fact that Tallel had not had an apoplexy over her interaction with his son at the last gather has her hopeful that Willa's husband is more amicable than the leader herself. Though her last interaction with Willimina hadn't really been all that bad…still, there's a slight air of hesitant caution about her.

While Tallel and Willimina are one in many, many things, the fact remains that they are still their own people. It takes a lot to provoke Tallel’s temper when compared to his wife…though when he is provoked, Faranth help whomever is in his line of fire. That he had been prepared to end Aztrexia himself at one point isn’t in question. But his ability to observe and analyze progress made is ever in play, and while it has been difficult when it comes to this woman, it has remained in place. That, and his rapport with the spymaster has been helpful.

That Aztrexia doesn’t hesitate to laugh at his tumble and subsequent antics actually goes a long way with him. Rising, he gives a soft chuckle as he brushes himself off. “That’s what they think,” he counters, straightening both his vest and his posture before fitting her with a pensive tawny regard. “Or perhaps it’s true. I find myself constantly surprised. I can’t help thinking it must be how my father must’ve felt.” Clasping his hands at his back, he slowly paces a few steps closer. “My next stop was going to be to come speak with you. Not that I meant to arrive by way of a faceplant…but it worked out.”

Aztrexia grins. “Oh, but they escaped having their toes eaten… I'd say that's a win for them.” Aztrexia grins and pulls the article of clothing she was washing out of the basin to give it a good ringing. Her eyebrows go up in surprise when Tallel speaks of coming to seek her out, she certainly hadn't expected that. She laughs when the word ‘faceplant’ drops and shakes her head, arms dropping to her knees as she tries to rein in her amusement. “It certainly was an amusing entrance…” No wonder the leader likes and married this one, he's good at breaking the ice. “So what can I do for you today Caravan Second?” Aztrexia looks back up at Tallel and resumes wringing out her laundry.

“I’ll take the fact that you’re not afraid to laugh at me when I’d laugh at me as a good sign,” Tallel notes, a small, tilted smile remaining on his lips. Then, likely to the wonderment of anyone who happens to be looking their direction, he sits himself down on the ground again beside Aztrexia on the left. “Javid asked me if I would teach a few classes about field medicine and antidotes, from a healer’s perspective. I thought it might be best to introduce the antidotes side by side with the poisons they’re needed for. Splitting a few classes with you, in other words.”

The weight of his gaze is significant. The number of things teaching some classes in tandem with Aztrexia would accomplish extends well beyond the obvious educational aspect. After all, for Tallel to teach such a thing alongside the woman who poisoned his own wife… Even if very few actually bear witness to it, word tends to get around anyway. It’s the Zingari. “Or would that be…unsettling?”

“It's hard to keep a straight face around this lot. The Haeyleri seem to be the more vibrant of the clans, I've noticed.” Her own hidebound clan had not adhered to much merriment. Aztrexia stiffens just a little when Tallel sits right next to her, but tries not to get too tense. Javid's name comes up and it's hard to stem back the response that name elicits in her, but she manages, minus a small excited twinkle in her eyes. However, the idea of splitting a few classes with Tallel is a heavy one, considering how they are connected in the grand scheme of things.

Aztrexia is thoughtful for a good few moments, her hazel eyes a bit glossed as she mulls the idea over. She has no true issues with it, the idea is a sound one, and he's asking her opinion instead of just telling her it's going to happen. That is more unsettling than the idea of teaching beside the man who's wife she'd sedated and helped to kidnap. She sighs, cheeks puffing out before emitting a burst of air. “It's a good idea, I know a good deal, but not to the extent of you or Igraine. I've never really had to deal with the healing aspect of it all.” She sets laundry ready for hanging in a separate basket and begins washing another small batch, noting she'll have to change and prepare clean water soon. “And at the same time, I'm not so sure it's a good idea. I seem to walk a very thin line with your wife, understandably, and I'm not so sure you working with me would sit very well with her.” Aztrexia isn't trying to look down on the situation, she's just stating things as they are.

Aztrexia looks up from her washing a moment to stare directly at Tallel. “By the way… Thanks for not losing it over speaking to your child at the gather. It was… nice, not being on the receiving end of a sidelong glance for once.” Aztrexia regrets and admits to what she's done, is even repentant, but there's only so much of that sort of thing a person can take.

“It’s bad for the heart to keep a straight face all the time,” Tallel states factually, though whether he’s speaking as healer or simply from his own nature is hard to say. Perhaps the two are so tightly entwined that it doesn’t matter. The little glint in Aztrexia’s eyes at mention of Javid isn’t missed, keeping the caravan second’s little smile in place with a knowing quirk to one corner of his mouth. As for the matter of what Willa will think of him working with Aztrexia, Tallel laughs. “I think you’re forgetting that my wife can just throw something at me if she doesn’t like it. She has very good aim. But aside from that, I wouldn’t bring it up if I thought I wouldn’t be able to make her see the sense of it. And perhaps, if you stick around for the parts I teach and learn some of the healing end…it might go a longer way in perception than you think.”

A dark brow quirks upward at that, and he tilts his head to examine a tie on the small leather bracer around his left wrist. “The line you walk with me is rather thin as well, Aztrexia,” he notes, but there is no malice in his gaze when he looks to her again, only careful consideration. “Thin…but in no danger of snapping. I do not see you as a threat.” Though he once may have. “I can see your efforts for myself, and make my own judgements. And I trust Javid.”

Over the matter of not getting angry when Taimin went up to her at the Gather, he smiles, his entire countenance taking on a thoughtful quality. “There was…something that occurred to me, when he did that,” the tawny-eyed man confesses, noticing a scuff on the bracer that hadn’t been there before his little fall and licking his thumb to rub at it. “Taimin and other children his age, and especially younger, see the world and the people in it with a purity we lose as we get older. If they’re allowed to. Willa and I want our children to know that sort of joy. When he ran up to you that night, he knew nothing of what you’ve done or why anyone else should look at you sidelong. If you continue as you are, he may hear of things as he grows, but he’ll get to weigh you for himself and will likely choose what he knows over a past he doesn’t. That night, he simply saw the ‘pretty spinner-lady’, dressed up for the same reason he was dressed up, and immediately accepted you as you accepted him.”

Broad shoulders shrug, fondness edging Tallel’s smile at the memory. “He had a blank slate with you, then and there. It’s nearly impossible for us to do the same, even if that is what honest effort deserves.” Something he clearly implies he has seen from her. “I was reminded that it might do me some good to glimpse things through his eyes for just a moment. It’s something Willa will come around to at some point, too, I’m sure. Believe it or not. Things will take time yet, with her, but…the people can at least begin to be persuaded into seeing more than talking now, I hope.” Part of the reason he’s chosen to sit right here.

“I've heard of her aim, I wouldn't envy anyone at the end of something she throws.” Aztrexia nods at Tallel's comments on perception, she'd basically assumed she'd be staying for the parts of the class Tallel teaches. Despite her trade being used for things quite opposite of healing, Trexa thinks it's be worth knowing the other end of the stick too. That she walks a thin line with Tallel is no surprise to Aztrexia and she accepts that fact with a nod. She reaps the products of what she's sewn and she knows it.

Ah, yes, the innocence and blissful ignorance of childhood. How Aztrexia would give to look at the world through a child's eyes again, to be ignorant of the world as she knows it. As Tallel goes on to explain the values he and Willa are trying to instill in their children, and how they want them to experience that childlike innocence for as long as they can, it brings up old feelings of resentment towards her upbringing. Perhaps if someone had cared for her the way these two care for their children…but they hadn't, and Trexa can't afford to dwell too much on the past. “I understand that, I don't ever truly expect your wife to feel comfortable around me, or to fully trust me. I just wish her to know I'm no longer any sort of threat to her.” She says this, reinforcing what Tallel had said about no longer seeing Trexa as a threat, though she certainly could be if she was of a mind to. However, this is not something Aztrexia aspires to be anymore, at least not towards her own people.

“Well, I certainly appreciate the effort to make people see. And it's certainly broken up the monotony of my day.” Aztrexia really does appreciate the company, no matter how awkward. “I never wished your wife any true physical harm you know…” Which is why she'd only sedated everyone instead of outright poisoning them all.

“Yet you paved the way for if someone else had wished it,” Tallel counters immediately, the faintest of sparks snapping around the edges of tawny irises. “But it’s in the past now, and I’m well aware of how hard you’ve been working at your penance. So let us move forward from there.” To his mind, there isn’t much point in revisiting what’s gone before in all this when it can’t be changed.

The caravan second glances briefly out at the swatch of grounds and wagons observable from this vantage. “I hope your days are less monotonous than they once were,” he notes, and tilts his head back to regard her. “Many of your students have take to you, I’ve noticed.” After a sigh, he nods subtly, pensively. “It isn’t those our age and younger you need worry about not accepting you, I think. It’s the old ones. Those who are still so sharding hidebound even when they say they support our reforms.” All the old aunts and uncles who would rather yell at everyone to get off their lawn instead of inviting camaraderie upon it.

Aztrexia flinches when Tallel mentions those who actually would have wished harm upon the mother clan’s leader. But she’d deserved it …so she doesn’t say anything. “They are, now that I have more responsibilities.” And less drudge work. She smiles when Tallel mentions the students. “Aye, some of them don’t seem to mind me too much, but not all of them like me. The young can be just as hidebound as the old sometimes, and just as unaccepting of change. The Elders weren’t the only ones railing against you, they just made up the main force.” Aztrexia stops her work and turns to Tallel. “I know my path will not be an easy one, and that not everyone will forgive what I have done. And I have to live with that.” She sighs. “In many ways Caravan Second, it is the same for you. Not everyone will accept, forgive or follow the changes you make or wish to make to our culture.”

“I know. They’re called teenagers,” Tallel drawls, rueful wryness coloring his tone. “Or children not allowed to think for themselves. Still, I think they are the lesser part of the challenge.” When Aztrexia turns to face him, his eyes meet hers intently, still studying and weighing and measuring. Her last earns a humorless laugh as he thinks back. “We’re both well aware. The same was true when Willa and I decided to be together, too. Someone tried to kill me after our first night, in fact.” The memory makes him smirk; he’d let his attacker make a fool of himself.

“So what do we do in the face of these resistance, hm?” He gives a tiny shrug, dark brows flickering upward. “Trust in what we know is right, always face the direction we want to go, with whomever our hearts drive us to go with,” he says, carefully weighting the last bit in order to subtly let her know of his awareness of the depth of her connection to their spymaster, “and press on despite those who glance sidelong at us, always in pursuit of what we want and what is better. You’ve been wading through the truth of that for over a Turn now.” His dark head tilts again, the glint of tawny eyes curious. “I find it worthwhile. Do you, Aztrexia?”

Aztrexia laughs, she can’t help herself. “I would say that I find it hard to believe anyone would want to kill either of you…but it might be in poor taste.” Considering what had happened just over a turn ago, it would be in very poor taste indeed. “Why? You are both from leading families. It seems a good pairing, even without the love match.”

Tallel’s next has a small look of doubt crossing Aztrexia’s face, but then, the way the Elders had been doing it hadn’t worked either, so who is she to say which way is right? She can’t really, because she really doesn’t know, she just knows what feels good. And what she’s doing now feels a lot better than what she’d been doing before. So when Tallel asks her if all the toil and effort is worthwhile, she looks thoughtful before she answers. Is it? Is all this work worth what she’s getting in return? Is the long road worth traveling? If Javid is at the end of that road, then the answer is most definitely, “Yes…yes it’s worth it. If you have something worth fighting for.”

Aztrexia blinks, never shaking the gaze she shares with Tallel in that moment. She doesn’t care that he knows the depth of her relationship with Javid. At least someone does. She wishes she could scream it from the wagon tops. But she can’t.

“My parents are not the Kheeriin leaders, just very well respected among them,” Tallel points out, then shrugs eloquently. “Still, I was the young upstart usurper in the eyes of all her suitors. In some eyes, I was stealing a prized possession from them. But I believe a man who looks at a woman as a possession is fully deserving of being stolen from, so. I can’t say I much cared what they thought.” For several reasons.

He watches Aztrexia work past the flicker of doubt she displays at first, smiling in the wake of her answer. “There is always something worth fighting for. Usually in the form of someone,” he says quietly. “In which case, it’s good to know you have just that.” Then, almost inaudibly, he adds, “And that he does. I’d worried that he never might, for himself.” It seems the caravan second and spymaster have established enough of a friendship that he’d been concerned.

“My mistake.” Aztrexia says when Tallel corrects her misgivings about his lineage. She listens as Tallel goes on, waxing poetic about having someone to fight for. The notion does make her smile a bit, though she keeps most of how she feels on the topic in reserve. Though, surprise filters in around the edges when Tallel specifically brings up being happy for Javid, and for the relationship between he and Aztrexia. She pulls her version of blank face then, it's one thing to have the leaders know of the relationship, quite another to give away the details and if she shows any care for him she'll show it all. Though, she cannot pass up an opening to ask a question about the spymaster himself. “Was he really that much of a loner?” She has a hard time imagining that…

The expression Tallel gives Aztrexia in return for her blank-facing may as well say something along the lines of “don’t give me that look”. There’s a knowing sort of admonishment there; he has his own intuitions and won’t dare pry into either her or Javid’s take on things, though he can see plenty. Love can usually intuit where love blooms, after all.

The woman’s question has his brows furling a bit as he considers how best to answer. “I think…he felt he had no choice,” Tallel replies finally. “A person can be surrounded by those who care and yet feel very alone. Javid didn’t hold himself apart, but sometimes it seemed like he was just…yearning and didn’t know quite how to put it.” His lips quirk in a small grimace, showing his uncertainty about how he’s explaining. “That’s how I perceived it, anyway. I didn’t want to ask him, but that’s what my gut was telling me.” And he trusts his gut quite a bit.

Aztrexia listens and nods, sighing a bit heavily. She certainly knows what it's like to feel alone when surrounded, even if that's where the similarity ends. Thoughtful, she finishes the remainder of her task before dumping the wash water to the side and into the sand. She then stands, tucking the washbasin inside her yurt and picking up the basket of clothes needing drying. “Is there anything else I can do for you Caravan Second? I should get these hung before the wrinkles set in…” She's up for whatever life or leader wants to throw at her, but there are tasks at hand that need seeing to immediately.

While Aztrexia ducks into her yurt to set her washbasin aside, Tallel rises once more, dusting off his pants and then watching as she reemerges. “None right now,” he replies with a shake of his head. “I should make sure my son and his friends aren’t trying to pull up yurt stakes or ride Dustin’s sheep or something. But find me after you’re done for the day and we’ll discuss when and how to split the antidote classes. Even roads, Aztrexia.” With that, he strides off, a few heavy glances laid upon some nearby gawkers as he goes. Yes, he just did that. Now let them think on why.

Aztrexia watches Tallel move off, a thoughtful look on her face. Once he's out of site, she gives her own heavy glance to nearby gawkers and sets her basket to her hip before moving off to finish her work. There sure have been an odd series of encounters for the woman lately.

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