Jhael, Onari


Jhael emerges from the shadows and Onari offers a place among the Reika.


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


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.

Timor: moon6.jpg
Belior: moon5.jpg

The last precious light of the waning day is fast leaving the caravan grounds, and the Reika camp is bustling as many of their number return from day-long trade routes and business throughout the Weyr. Onari, though dressed in her dusty winter trail gear, hasn't been out on a route, instead accompanying her mother out to the stables with a half dozen draybeasts and one of their good work runners for barter. The runner was sold, as were two of the beasts, so now it's her and Kona flanking the remaining four, patiently driving them back into the Reika livestock pens with hefty switches, whistling, and short shouts. Once they're in, the trader girl and her mother pause to lean against the outside of the fence, taking some water and talking quietly as they rest for a bit.

It's been…a long time since the teenager who is walking into the caravan grounds has been seen in this area. Long enough that his physical appearance has changed almost completely. Even his bearing and manner are no longer the same. Gone is the reckless movement of youth. Rather, there is a purposefulness to the teen's stride as he moves his way through the caravans. He needs no directions - he has been watching the grounds from afar for a long, long time. "I need to talk to Forin."

Onari spots the dark-haired teen approaching while he's still far enough away for talking or even shouting to be out of the question, watching him peripherally as she converses quietly with her mother. She isn't sure he's coming their way specifically until the last minute, and it's just as her mother has rounded the corner to return to her wagon that he speaks. His point-blank statement draws a sharp look from the trader girl - not unkind, but simply assessing. "My father isn't back from his trade route yet, I'm afraid," Onari tells him with a small smile. "If you like, though, you can speak to my mother when she's decent again. Or to me. I can speak for my father while he's away. My name is Onari. What might yours be?"

Jhael's dark gaze examines the woman from top to bottom. It's not a comfortable gaze, and it lingers where it ought not before flickering upwards to her eyes again. "Jhael." His name flicks out as if the young teenager is losing something by giving it away. "I would join the Reika." A simple statement.

The activity of Jhael's eyes doesn't go unnoticed in the least, and Onari takes a small step forward from the fence, forcing a different part of her body (one a bit higher up) into his field of vision as she gives him a slight, haughty jut of her chin, brown eyes flashing subtly. It's a good thing Finn isn't here right now. "Oh, you would, aye?" she asks in a tone quite similar to his…though there's a very slight smirk pulling at one corner of her mouth. "Well, it's not so simple a thing as yes or no, Jhael," she tells him, emphasizing his name carefully to show she's heard and committed it to memory. She beckons him to follow her into the brighter light of a nearby cooking fire. "Every member of our clan has a practical skill to offer, some understanding of life on the road…though that's not to say we wouldn't turn you away outright for not having either. It all depends." As she speaks, she's pulled over a hook holding a kettle of klah and poured a mug full. "Where do you come from?" she asks, offering the filled cup to the still-mysterious newcomer.

There's a particular looseness in the way Jhael stands, still for the moment, but as if poised for movement. Her slight shifting is not ignored as a slow smile curls itself upon his lips. When she moves he will follow, pacing carefully so as not to be in her footsteps. There he comes a few steps forward, pacing close to her. "It depends on what you feel is…practical." His hand flicks towards her, as if he might brush a hand through her hair, and then back again. A small knife is in his fingers, and he flicks it up and around to offer it to her hilt first. "As to where I come from…" his eyes wander away down to the fire. "Why don't I show you, and see if maybe you can be using that pretty brain of yours to be making the connection." If she takes the knife, he will do just that.

Onari flinches slightly when that hand darts out toward her hair, and it's a good thing it doesn't actually go there…or she might've flinched a hand right up against Jhael's face. The appearance of the knife brings yet more flash to her eyes, which flick from it to his as she sets the klah aside. "A fancy trick," she notes, her smirk lingering as she plucks the small blade from his grasp and flips it a bit in her own hand. "But the Reika deal more in making blades than throwing them. So. Show me, then, if this is where you want to be," she says, her tone quiet, yet bordering on challenging.

"Perhaps you will be able to guess where I come from, and we can begin negotiations from there." Jhael bends down and carefully pulls three burning sticks from the fire. He is cautious enough with the fire, not allowing it to touch a bit of his clothing. No need to enter in a BLAZE of glory after all. A flip sends the fire upwards into the air, followed by the second stick, and the third. He stands easily, his feet braced. "My grandmother is a jeweler."

As Jhael takes the flaming sticks from the fire, Onari watches curiously, not sure precisely where this might be going. When those sticks start flying, she takes a surprised step back…but only one as she notices the control with which he juggles the blazing brands, her eyebrows arching gradually. Alright, fine - she's a little impressed. Just a little. Her gaze drifts briefly across the grounds to the the louder, more colorful encampment of their recently returned neighbors. "Zingari," she states simply, nodding her comprehension. "Aye, that covers half of it, I suppose. Does that make you a jeweler, too?"

The sticks flip for a little longer after Onari hits the coin on the head. They slow, and then come to a halt. Almost the sticks have burned to where his hands catch them as they flip. For all of that, there is no hurry in the way he slides them back into the fire. "In one. I am impressed, Miss Onari." There is a slight sarcasm placed on the Miss. Upwards his gaze moves. "I am whatever is required." His hands spread to encompass the whole of the Reika area. "I am… adaptable."

Onari purses her lips a bit at the sarcasm in his tone, and starts to step around him, slowly, looking him over from head to heel as if that might help her decide. It just might; one never knows! "Just Onari will do," she says, fiddling with the end of her braid absently as she comes to a point where she can see his face again. "Adaptable is good - certainly necessary, if you'll not be naming a particular skill you favor. Father would have you shadow someone for a time to know your strengths- Isa, if you fancy jewelry-smithing; my brother Finn, if you'd try your hand at bladework. I'm a tannersmith, if you feel so inclined to follow me around - or Goran," she adds with the barest hesitation. She pauses for a moment, studying his face. "Why leave the Zingari?" she questions. "And why come to us, instead of the Wherz or the Flynn, say?"

The barest flash of a smile comes across Jhael's lips as Onari circles. It bothers him not the least to have the woman behind him. Is it confidence? Or simply a disbelief that she could do ought to him which he could not match? "The Zingari are fools." Coolness brushes his lips as he flicks the smallest of glances over to where the colorful wagons gather. "They have lost their way as traders, and I would have nothing to do with them." A small flick of his fingers, as if he might brush away any association he has with his former clan and kin. "They believe me dead, and for their purposes, I shall remain that way. As for shadowing, I have been watching for Goran." No flicker of expression this time, "Perhaps there is much I could learn from him."

"Perhaps they're a different people since returning from their wanderings," Onari observes, still watching Jhael's face. By his demeanor, she's not certain whether or not she ought to trust him to simply serve as part of their people…or with anything else. He doesn't make her feel ill-at-ease, per se, though there is something about him that sets her on edge. She also can't tell if it's a good or a bad sort of on edge, which is slightly disconcerting. Now she does wish her father was here to be making this decision. "Or perhaps it doesn't matter. You seem quite set on a clean break from them. Won't they recognize you on sight?" When he says he's been watching for Goran, her smirk disappears, and she stills. "Why Goran?" she wants to know, folding her arms.

Perhaps Jhael senses her unease. The smile widens as he tracks her with his dark brown eyes. "My break from them came over a Turn ago, and I'll not be going back." Dismissively he flicks his fingers at the Zingari wagons and takes a small half step towards the girl. "As I have said. I have been watching. Tannersmithing seems…. interesting. A pursuit which could keep my attention."

With a nod, Onari lets the matter of the Zingari drop, remaining in place when Jhael moves that bit closer. "You must have a talent for watching beyond notice if you've been doing so without one of us taking note," she observes. "Or we've simply been busy. Either way, if it's something that interests you…" She shrugs a little, a smile curving her lips that belies her love of her work - and perhaps a bit of competitiveness with the unnerving Goran. "And it is certainly interesting. If it's Goran you seek, you're certainly welcome to meet with him and discuss the details. He may not be keen on taking on a shadow; he likes to keep to himself. But who knows? He may surprise us." With a small sigh she gives him one more look-over. "Able-bodied, determined, and adaptable. We have use for the likes of you, Jhael, but father will want to watch you for a month. Then he'll say whether or not you can remain. In the meantime, I see no reason not to welcome you in. We have an accord." She holds out her hand to him for the deal to be struck. "Do you have a place to stay?"

"You will find I am very good at watching." The smirk has grown to almost predatory, though perhaps it is just the cast of the firelight as the sun settles and leaves only the fire and glows to illuminate the teen. "A month then. A fair enough time for evaluation. I am sure your father will find no reason to send me packing. I intend to be an asset." His hand reaches out to take hers, and they do shake, but when it is done Jhael does not release it. Rather he steps forward again, closing the distance between them. "The places which I stay would interest a lass like yourself… little."

Onari clenches her jaw a bit as she observes the smirk accompanying Jhael's first, thought against frowning or smirking further herself, she isn't certain. "Then watch where you tread here, stranger," is her reply to that. When he doesn't let go of her hand, there's another somewhat defiant jut of her chin up at him as he comes closer still, but she doesn't jerk out of his grasp. If it were Goran, she would - or she'd try - but Jhael is still someone she's trying to figure out. And likely will be for a while yet. "No doubt," she returns quietly, slipping her hand out of his but not breaking gazes with him. "But if you wish to be part of us, I'd assume you'd want to stay with us at some point, and we've the room. A bed, and food. And if you remain on, perhaps you'll have a wagon of your own." But there's a lot to be figured before that happens.

Keeping his gaze fixed upon hers, Jhael's smile only deepens. "Is that an offer of a place to stay?" Jhael allows his eyebrow to move upwards, as if he is perhaps surprised by the offer that it sounds like she may be making. "For if it is, I can think of little which would cause me to refuse it. I find the Reika have much," a hand is raised, as if to brush against the side of her cheek, though slow enough that she can step back or bat his hand away, "which recommends them. Beyond their tanner skill, of course."

"It is," Onari affirms with the smallest of nods. "Half of the large wagon, just there." She gives a quick toss of her chin off to her left, where the wagon in question stands shadowed. "Our guard lives in the first half, but it's partitioned for guests. The space would be your own." The hand rising toward her face has her stepping sideways, but only enough to be sure it doesn't reach her as she turns the slant of a smile somehow both coy and sharp with warning on Jhael. "Perhaps you'll find much more, then," she suggests, "being part of us. Do you want the bed? Either way, I'll need to go let my mother know we've taken someone on." Now she takes a few steps back, toward her mother's wagon - not retreating, but simply making good on her words.

Jhael lets his hand fall, completely unfazed by the fact she did not allow it to touch. Perhaps her coyness is put more weight upon, versus that sharpness. Even when he was younger Jhael was never one to heed warnings well. Perhaps that is what made him such an apt student of fire throwing. "I will gather my belongings and return tonight then." He doesn't wait for further words from Onari. His eyes simply slide across her form as the smile returns, this time for inward thoughts. He turns on his heel and begins to walk out of the edge of the firelight, as boldly as he had walked into it.

Onari doesn't turn away directly as Jhael leaves, watching him for a moment as a slight furrow creases her brow. What to make of him? Huffing a sigh, she grabs the untouched mug of klah, long forgotten, and returns the contents to the kettle to reheat. There will be plenty of time to figure out just what to make of him, certainly. For now, she leaves the firelight herself, venturing to Kona's wagon to let her know of the new face they've added to their number - and that the empty bed won't be so any longer.

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