Thierry, Zeyta


Chinks are made in two sets of carefully-constructed armour, revealing a little something that not everyone gets to see.


It is early morning of the seventh day of the fourth month of the first turn of the 12th pass.


Igen Weyr Standing Stones

OOC Date



Standing Stones

It is perhaps a pity that the Standing Stones lie in quiet isolation, half-forgotten in the Weyr's easternmost corner. Or perhaps it is inevitable: the grandiose beauty of these red rocks is ill-suited to Igen's coarse grit, and maybe only their loneliness allows them to survive unmarred. Whatever the reason, it cannot be denied that the Standing Stones, a lonely jumble of ancient boulders, have a glory about them. The tumbled field of pillars and arches has been shaped by eons of wind and water into strange shapes, twisted and rutted. The going is treacherous: only the Weyr's half-feral herd of caprines navigates the terrain with any ease. To the northwest, the lakeshore glimmers; to the east, rough-carved steps lead towards another ancient pile of rocks - though the Star Stones are less haphazardly placed than their Standing cousins.

Rukbat's glow is just starting to crest the rim of the Weyr, early morning's weak light casting Igen in a pale gold glow. The light creeps its way towards the standing stones, edging across the lake's surface, glinting off the water and lighting the way for one young candidate, who is taking the opportunity this early in the morning to get in a little private PT. Thierry's stripped down to his pants and boots, vest bobbing over his butt where it's tucked into the back of his pants, a light sheen of sweat covering his chest and forehead as he heads to the still-shadowy sanctuary of the standing stones.

The goats roam this hallowed temple of nature, frolicking amongst the monoliths erected eons ago, now weathered and crumbling in mute testimony to a fading glory. Grazing for the sparse vegetation struggling to eke out a meager existence through cracks in the rocky terrain, they bleat in merry bliss this early morning. Little do they suspect the monster stalking them, a creature as pale in coloring as terrible in his treachery. Kczyslawborth lurks, a surging mass of rippled muscle /pouring/ over the earth, spired length undulating his its sickening marble striations, catching faint glimmers of light where silver spans the hollow groove between each bladed 'ridge lining his back. Where he hunts, Zeyta is not far from sight, leaning against a lone pillar by her lonesome self, sipping from a steaming mug. Stationed ahead of Thierry, she is easily a destination - perhaps one that awaits him, sparkling amber gaze sunlight incarnate and encompassing the guard-candidate in her general field of vision.

He doesn't spot her immediately, though Kczyslawborth is not as easy to miss. Having not met the brown before, Thierry doesn't associate him with his rider - not until, finally, his dark eyes fall upon the leaning rider, and the connection clicks into place. He adjusts his course to head for her, drawing up from his quick-paced jog a few steps ahead of her. Breathing hard, he leans forward with hands resting on his thighs, kicking out his right foot to shake it, as if it may be injured in some way. Up goes his dark gaze, even as he's bent over, to settle on Zeyta, running appreciatively over her form. No words are spoken. Are they needed?

Kczyslawborth lowers his scissoring jaw, held agape as he creeps along, shoulder haunches protruding through gaunt musculature as he crouches. Hunger beams in his wicked face, locked on a solitary caprine separated from the rest of its herd and wandering farther. Zeyta flutters her eyes shut, caught in the moment of suspense and predatory thrill of the hunt, briefly slipping away into the labyrinthine vaults of her dragon's mind. The sound of his panting at his approach draws her back to her immediate surroundings, a quick glimpse registering the distance crossed since she last viewed him. She straightens, pulling the zipper of her decorative leathers: crimson jacket with flames stitched along the sleeves, white tunic with mandarin collar and proliferation of ruffles down the front, shiny black pants, brown boots. Equally content with silence, she stares at him, raising her mug to her mouth to inhale the curls of aromatic steam.

Breath caught, Thierry straightens and runs a hand through his dark hair, setting it at rakish angles with his ruffling. He digs into his pocket as he sidles - slightly favouring the foot he shook earlier - up to Zeyta, fishing out a toke which, within a step or two from her, he has lit. The first puff of smoke comes ring-shaped, no doubt intended to impress her, from his lips, puffed into the air above them to drift off and dissipate into the growing light. Without waiting for an invitation he leans against the stone beside her, silently drawing more smoke from his little cigarette, exhaling with the most blissful of expressions.

Zeyta stands immaculate in her stern confidence, mug gripped between both hands and savoring its warmth against the chill around her. Again, she drinks, mouth hovering behind the rim of her tea to block its animation from his view. She reveals the whole of her face to blow the circular smoke Thierry forms after dragging from his toke, causing it to prematurely disintegrate into a formless cloud. Unwilling to budge, she condones his enclosing in on her space, brow arched in bemusement. "Mm. Smoking is counterproductive to the efforts put forth to regain your breath." Just then, a true disturbance occurs: Kczyslawborth lunges, hooking raptor'd talons through a screaming goat, teeth ripping into its neck to shred its jugular.

The blown-away ring is replaced by another, and another after that; Thierry's proving a point here. "/Is/ it now." As if he didn't know. Smoke is blown in dual streamers from his nose, followed by the flicker of his tongue across his lips. The brown dragon's kill is watched with a morbid sort of curiosity; he's certainly not put off by the sound or sight of it. "Wouldn't've thought that'd be enough for him," the candidate says idly, gaze dropping slowly back down onto Zeyta. Another smoke ring is blown, and he smiles crookedly at her. There's a healthy dose of leer in that look, too.

In the field, a spurt of blood stains Kczyslawborth's maw vermillion. A calculated killer, he drains the felled goat, slicing into its belly to spill its intestines on the ground. Such neat gutting, such morbid dissection; he plays with his food before eating it. Zeyta looks away, treated to a mental projection of this process, splitting her attention between this encroachment of invasive experience and Thierry in front of her. Pulling a hand from her mug, she /fans/ his rings from her face, shaking her head. "Mm. We'll be here until afternoon drills. He'll kill three or four, though inevitably a carcass will rot on my ledge as his plaything." Thierry can leer all he wants and receive no response; her stonewalling is art.

"That's gross." The dead beast on a ledge, of course. Thierry looks up to Kczyslawborth once more, wrinkles his nose thoughtfully, then looks back to Zeyta. She's afar pretty landscape to admire, as he puffs his toke to its end, then stamps it out beneath his boot. "Hey lady," he murmurs, leaning side-on against the pillar so he can face her fully, hands dug casually into his pockets. "Did you find your crate?" After he hid it for her, of course.

"Some times, he wastes, picks a herdbeast apart to lay its organs out to study. Or he'll keep a wherry alive for /hours/ before he kills it." Zeyta relates this without disgust or enthusiasm, shoulders hunched in a shrug. She waits for him to discard the butt of his toke so it flies and rolls into a crevasse of a pillar across from them. "My crate." Looking straight ahead, she holds her tea against her chest, elbows slightly jutting to demand privacy where they threaten to poke the candidate if he steps much closer. "I found it, yes. I suppose I owe you thanks, but few spoils are allowed candidates. Perhaps some expensive poison for your lungs." Because when guilty or embarrassed she showers people with gifts to cheat apology or any other emotion. This is how Zeyta works.

Even for someone who's family is in the business of killing creatures for fun, the brown's antics aren't that pleasant. Thierry frowns, shaking his head just the tiniest bit. "Cruel," he murmurs, drumming his fingers against his thigh. Those jutting elbows speak volumes, and make him smirk; of course, he'll step in towards them, brows quirked as he looks down at the shorter rider. "Imagine I weren't a candidate," he purrs raspily - it's not the sleekest of sounds on him. Tongue protrudes to flicker over his lower lip, which he then bites on, suppressing his sly grin. "I'd take a taste of those lips as thanks."

Lucky for them today, Kczyslawborth sups on his fresh kill, slurping at caprine guts as he buries his muzzle in its hollowed stomach. Zeyta tilts her head, frowning at the brown monster, forced to pull a heavy draught from her mug to stave off a contagious appetite. She flaps her arms, elbows raised to reinforce her barrier with a jab against Thierry. "We are a cruel pair," is affirmed, a masked neutrality faced towards him. "Mm. You'd be a streetrat masquerading as a guard. A white knot affords you /prospect/ - but neither it nor its precedents place you above rules. Or appeal to me." Dull, dry, sardonic - this sums her tone.

"That weren't your tune in front of your brother." Thierry doesn't back down, or off; he readjusts his leaning stance to continue smirking down at the brownrider, one corner of his lips quirked up in leering amusement. "I had ya all snuggled up to my side like it were the best place in the world - which it is." Naturally. He leans down a fraction, to where Zeyta will perhaps smell the smoke on his breath - smoke, and klah. "Ain't gonna have a white knot forever, lady. Just like you can't deny wanting this," his hand runs over his bare chest, over blooming abs and down to hook his thumb into the waistband of his trousers, "forever. I saw you looking." Did he? He could be lying.

"Ah, my brother is a scoundrel. A savage, truly. His Istan Impression ruined him," Zeyta clarifies with that same inflection of incessant boredom in her voice. Her elbow digs harder in warning, pressure slacking when she side-steps to escape the acrid scent of burnt tobacco and klah. The mixture of malodors screws her nose into her face in displeasure, breaking through her stoic facade. "Men of power interest me. Not boys. Find yourself a bronze and fly yourself into Weyrleadership. Then we'll talk." Oh, she turns to follow the flourish of his hand directing her deep, penetrating gaze down the length of his torso — an act that earns him a derisive snort.

Thierry's eyes narrow, his smirk fading to a thinly-drawn line. Brows lower over his dark eyes, and he stops leaning against the stone to stand up straight, both thumbs hooked into his waistband. "You blow fucking hot n' cold, don'tcha?" And it would seem he doesn't know what to do with it, so he stands, watching the brownrider with a gaze that's as curious as it is shifty. "Suits ya to use me when it works for you, don't it? I ain't no toy, lady."

Zeyta notices the change in his features, the way they flatten, deflating his ego with the uncertainty that unhinges it. Tracking these differences coaxes a smirk first, then a mocking laugh at his expense — a sound still chiming, and not without its charm, however callous. "I'm as cold as the High Reaches mountains that bore me." As her auditory amusement dies, so too does its visual relay, countenance soon mirroring his with challenging intensity. "Toy implies fun. I'd label you a tool I use at my convenience. Does it bother you? Would you not use my body and sex in the same manner to bolster your self-esteem? It's the same way I'd use you as a prop, or capitalize on your knot. You cannot say you're /truly/ interested in Zeyta, bitter and twisted and unlikeable as she is. Hm?"

Does it bother him? His expression says yes, but Thierry's not about to admit it out loud. His fuzz-covered upper lip puffs out as he runs his tongue over his teeth below it, flicking his gaze over the brownrider's form - lingering on her chest. It's a look that weighs her up, deigns whether she's worth it. "D'you think I'd be here wasting breath, if I weren't interested, lady? Bitter, twisted bitch that you are, and yet I'm still here." He leans in towards her, one brow raised high above his dark eyes. "Still talking." A tiny step brings him closer. "Still saying I ain't gonna wear this knot forever, and I'm gonna get what I want from you. One day."

Zeyta derails the rapt once-over Thierry conducts by stooping, knees folding to bring her low to the ground where she rests her empty mug in a niche at the base of the pillar supporting her frame. Erecting herself, she stands soldier-stanced, arms criss-crossed over her bosom. Despite her wintry carriage, her eyes glint and settle on his face with incendiary purpose in a glance fraught with provocation. "You'll leave. Eventually," she tells him, crisp and confident. "And you already prove my point — you want something /from/ me. Not me." She pivots, shoulder leaned against the pillar to face her profile toward him, unafraid.

"You /are/ you," Thierry counters, leaning in, echoing Zeyta's lean by pressing his own shoulder to the stony pillar. "Can't want summat from you if I don't want /you/. Dunno what the fuck you're talking about." His lip curls into a sneer to hide his confusion, and he hunches his shoulders to lean down towards her. "Y'know I ain't never left Igen? Ain't never left /here/." He draws a vague circle in the air, suggesting the Weyr's perimeter. "Fuck, I'd barely even left the sharding bazaar until a turn or so ago, so I dunno where the fuck you reckon I'm going, lady. What the fuck's got you so freaked out, anyhow?" Not afraid. He can see that there's no /fear/ there… but there's /something/ that he thinks he can pick up on. "You scared've giving up summat to a streetrat? Scared it'll fuck that stony bitch front you got up? I see right through fronts, brownrider. Know enough about 'em."

Zeyta clicks her heel against the column of rock, ankle lined up against it, hip pressed in at the middle so the pillar bears more and more of her weight. "I can easily desire your guard privileges without desiring /you/, is one counter-example," she murmurs, quieter for lack of interest in educating Thierry. Her arrogance confronts his in the opposite manner, borne by subtlety of expression and that impregnable, marble countenance he inches nearer. "I don't speak of physical distance. What is that to a dragonrider? I can be anywhere in three seconds. I simply mean to say, besides my twin and my lifemate, there are no permanent figures in my life, and I've no interest in founding unsustainable relationships. It's a waste of time." She shakes her head at him, perturbed and surprised at his innocence. "This is all there is to me, Thierry. I care little for opinion or reputation of others. I have been the subject of gossip and scandal before."

Thierry shrugs his shoulders. "I don't believe you." Then he reaches behind himself, tugging his vest free from where it's been tucked into his trousers to pull it on over his head. "I saw a different Zeyta the other night. Ruined by her bastard brother with the touchy-touchy hands, but /different/. Everyone's got depth, even if they ain't gonna show it." Perhaps Zeyta is an onion. Which could make her an ogre, with all those oniony layers. "'S'your choice, anyway, but you'll be missing out, lady." Because he's worth it, or something. Or so he seems to want to suggest.

"Then delude yourself." Zeyta rolls against the pillar, shoulder-blade to shoulder-blade as she repositions herself to check on her gorging dragon rather than watch Thierry undress. Arms still locked in a barricade over her chest, she sighs. "N'ayl brings out the worst in Zeyta when he visits her while roaring drunk. If you mistook our antagonism for depth, well." She shrugs, indifferent to his confusion (read: suspicion) of there being more to her. "Show restraint. Throw yourself into candidacy. Contemplate your future. Speak to me post-hatching, and I'll let you down fully. I've no objection to teaching you disappointment." Curiosity usurps her blank-faced composure, head canted to gauge his reaction to his words and whether they sink, or he deflects them, something /earnest/ in her careful analysis of expression and movement, tone and body language.

"Lady, I've had a fucking lifetime of disappointment. There's fuck all you can teach me." Thierry straightens up again, shoving hands deep into his pockets. "And my future's as damned bright as the shit-lined streets of home." Not at all, in other words. "Ain't no point living for tomorrow or yesterday, cos it's all bullshit. I ain't planning for my future any more'n you're planning on dropping that stony-bitch face, yeah?" He exhales a smoke-bittered breath, looking out over the lake, then up to where Rukbat is still rising above them. "Chores're waiting. Unless you're gonna sweeten up in the next half-breath, lady, I'm gonna go get some work done."

Zeyta's brows push together, forehead furrowing in fleeting vulnerability let show between the transition from inquiry to apathy. Thierry matches her cynicism, threatening her title as detached ice queen. Brooding, she follows his gaze in silence to stare at the glittering lake surface, brighter as the morning continues. "Mmm." She drops her arms to her sides. "I agree with you," she admits. "But the future is all I have." It's no more sweeter, but then it is more similarly bitter, and not /aimed/ at him as she slips back into silence, grown thoughtful. "What makes you think I'd miss out if even you hold no prospect for tomorrow." When in doubt, deliver questions in the form of orders. She's not letting him depart just yet.

Thierry shakes his head. "Today's all you got, brownrider. Could be you don't wake up tomorrow morning. Could be there's fall, things fuck up. Could be you trip getting outta the baths and split that pretty head open, making a bigger mess than that beast of yours up there." He jerks his head towards Kczyslawborth. "There ain't no tomorrow 'til it gets here, and then it's today. Mebbe you oughta start realising that, yeah?"

"No, I do not make mistakes," Zeyta negates, firm and regaining her self-assurance as Thierry catalogues her possible demises. Instead of observing her (almost finished!) dragon whilst he eats and mutilates, she peers at him. "Perhaps if /you/ had more foresight, you'd enter into the present with less expectation of chaos." She clicks her tongue, chiding him, quid pro quo.

"I don't even know what that means," Thierry admits with a dismissive shake of his head. "Today's my day, Zeyta. Fuck the rest of 'em. I'm here, this is now, and it's all that matters. Y'got it?" He reaches towards her, intent on stroking the tip of his index finger along her cheek. "I mighta tried kissing ya, if I din't think you'd ram your knee into my googlies." He winces, just for a second. "And if I didn't have /this/." His knot is given a flick. "That'd be enjoying now. Enjoying you. Pretty ladies oughtn't be so sour."

"Foresight, the ability to predic— I'm no harper. Visit the archives, candidate." Zeyta indulges an eye-roll, animating her annoyance. She lives amongst the old tomes and forgotten records. "Today is so… unpromising," she remarks, voice dimming into nothing when he traces her cheek, proving her myth a lie: she's human, not statue. Remaining still, she cautions, "You're playing with knives." It could be self-referencing or a broader statement; regardless, she retreats into ambiguity.

"Archives're dull. Too many words." Thierry is no great reader, though he does read a little into the reaction to his touch, perceived or real - whichever it may be. The corner of his mouth tweaks up briefly, a hint of a smile to suggest he sees /something/ there that he likes. "Today is full of promise," he retaliates, shifting his weight towards her. "And I'm good at handling knives. Ain't had a little prick in a long time, lady…" He leans, maybe even seeming like he's closing in for a kiss; then he pulls short, dark brown eyes fixed on her amber ones. "I see ya, Zeyta."

"…" Zeyta balks at the idea of too many words, repeating that same eye-roll, gaze revolving around to meet Thierry's face. Lips assume a quick frown, consternation mounting at his smile. "I will accomplish nothing in my day that is not banal. Ordinary. I want to feel important. I want power." She draws a blurred line between political and personal, protesting against him. "Mm," expresses doubt at his professed skill, contradictory to a slight physical recoil. "What do you see," maintains verbal confidence, as she draws herself up to full, diminutive height to compensate for that reflex, bold and unapologetic in her stare.

Thierry's hand raises, thumb and forefinger curling gently around Zeyta's chin, tilting her head up just slightly - it makes it a little easier for him to look at her properly, instead of him stooping down. "I see you," he repeats, quietly. "Cold. Pissed off." His brows knit together, a smirk tugging at the corners of his lips. "Not wanting anyone t'get close, cos everyone disappoints you. Standards're so fucking high that no-one'll ever live up to 'em, right? Cos that means you can't ever let anyone close enough t'getcha hurt." There's a pause, during which he exhales softly through his nose, giving a gentle squeeze of the brownrider's chin. "But I reckon there's summat in ya that wants /someone/ to get past all that shit. D'you know why I reckon that?" Another pause; he runs his tongue somewhat nervously over his lip, looking away from her for a second. "Cos it's nice to be able to have just one person who you trust enough to let the shit down around. Fucking fronts're sharding exhausting." He drops his hand, frowning knowingly down at her. Maybe the brownrider just got a little look into his own personal brand of shit?

Zeyta is not sweet and soft, even condoning this proximity; Thierry describes her well in that sense, given the hands planting on her hips and brow raised in incredulity. "Do you," is the remote rejoinder, quiet but dull in its utterance. "You presume that I am afraid of being hurt. That this is not just who I am. That I don't enjoy pushing others away or tearing them down because it proves I am superior. I do it for me," she enunciates slowly, emphatic in a rebuttal that could be rehearsed for how ready it is. Where she ceases to be stubborn and begins to be genuine is veiled in mystery. She is an enigma, reluctant to break eye contact and only averting her gaze the longer he continues to speak. "N'ayl understands me. Kczyslawborth knows every facet of my being. But. Mm. Perhaps." Her face lingers where he left it, face captured in the same, knowing frown he wears. Some insights hit their mark.

"Bullshit. No-one likes getting hurt, no matter what face they show the world. Everyone's scared. Some of us just hide it." Thierry's frown deepens, and the curl of his hands into fists makes his trouser pockets bulge - though only briefly, as the flex is soon enough let loose. He watches Zeyta quietly, blinking slowly down at her. "Your brother's a drunk waste of fucking space." That's a big opinion, considering they've met all of once. "Dragon's might be summat I don't understand, but they ain't people. Everyone needs people, even if you're just gonna snap 'em and toss 'em aside. It's easy, right? Put up your fuck off face, tell all Pern to go get thread-eaten cos you don't give a flying fuck what the shell happens to 'em. I getcha, Zeyta. 'S'why I'm talking to you. Betcha I'd be you if I had tits."

"No one can hurt me." Zeyta refuses to signal even the most minimal presence of fear in her defiance, frown shifting into a scowl. Thierry strikes a hostile chord maligning her brother, hand unclenching from her side to stab a (manicured) nail-tip against his bare chest. "You do not know him. Or us. Or what we have been through. Bite your tongue and speak no further ill of N'ayl," she scolds him, eyes smoldering in anger. Kcyzslawborth warrants no defense, nor needs one, monster he is, finishing his caprine carcass. The brunt of her foul, turbulent mood crystalizes into her frigid demeanor, head shaking slowly at him. "We're not alike. I have no —" Hesitation cuts her words from full articulation. Speaking more requires divulging information she guards, demands acknowledging feelings she denies. Instead she glances to her side, pouting in frustration.

Thierry looks down in silence, his eyes focused on her face, fixed on her own, if there's the chance for it. His lips twitch thoughtfully, his nose wrinkles in irritation, but his expression is otherwise one of concentration, of soaking in what details the brownrider provides him with. "Whatever," he says eventually, the word coloured with disbelieve as he shrugs. "Don't know your brother, no, but he ain't so good at making first impressions, lady. Don't know you either, but I'm guessin'. And I want to get to know you. You ain't gonna let me though." He raises his arms, draping them lightly over her shoulders as he blinks curiously down at her. "Are you?"

Zeyta flares her nostrils, exhaling heavily in her disgruntlement, fierce gaze pitted against his own with intrepid determination. She drills her index finger against his skin, leaving a crescent imprint when her hand folds, curling loose against him. "Whatever." Parroting him, she smirks, feigning complacency as her resistance achieves its desired effect. "I make miserable first impressions. You cannot know me without knowing N'ayl. We are two halves." She defends her unhealthy attachment with a matter-of-fact tone. "It's ugly in here." Shoulders tense under the strain of his arms, but she does not shove him off from the makeshift scaffolding her frame provides him. "I don't know. You're … young."

"And you're old?" Thierry scoffs, discarding that ageist excuse. "I don't see nothing ugly." He shrugs, lips puckering into a momentarily thoughtful pout. "Just you." A beat later, he smirks, adding quickly: "And you ain't ugly, lady." Quite the contrary, his full-of-himself smug smile suggests. The candidate sighs heavily but not unhappily, shoulders heaving. "Age is fucking stupid anyway. Ain't gonna make no difference to what I can do, yeah? I could still…" He leans forward, down, moving with the intent as if to try and kiss her; head canted just so, eyes half-closing. Then he stops, holding himself inches from what /could/ have been. "I ain't a baby, Zeyta. I'm a Sersang. I'm a guard. I'm a candidate. I ain't no fucking squalling baby."

"Several turns older," Zeyta insists, musing, "Four-hundred, if you count the turns I skipped to arrive here." Humor accords her voice a dulcet quality, monotony broken by inflection. Her bottom lip juts forward, petulant in contrast to the harshness she usually exhibits. "I don't look ugly," she scolds, lighter than before, more accustomed to his missing the meaning of her figurative language. Her hand falls away from him, hanging limp at her side, shoulders unmoving beneath the weight of his arms. "No, you are not a baby, Thierry. But I am settled. Entrenched in my ways. You are — in flux." She watches him, up to the moment he halts a hairsbreadth from her face. Bowing her head she steps forward, touching her brow to his chest.

Thierry seems surprised by Zeyta stepping towards him, but once he's over the shock he curls his arms gently around her, holding her in an easily-broken hug. "Best fucking 400-turn old I ever saw," he murmurs, resting his chin atop her head. "In flux. We're in flux. Whole world's in flux. I'm just me." He smirks, leaning back a tad to be able to look down at her, trying not to pull away from where her forehead rests on him. "Y'make it sound like I'm saying you gotta change, or summat. Why d'you reckon you hafta change, when I can see what I see and not tell you it ain't good?"

Zeyta keeps her arms flat against her sides, awkward in the embrace and venturing no further contact. She rests, inert and standing as solid as the column of rock behind her. "Mm. I know how to preserve an antique," is mumbled with dry wit. Sighing, she lifts her face to consider Thierry, scrutinizing him with so little distance separating them, picking out the minute details of his features. "They always expect change," she generalizes, hinting at her romantic history. "But I'm not interested in that. I'm me. I do not become nicer, or more tender, or less insufferable over time."

"I ain't 'they'," Thierry snorts, smirking down at the brownrider. "I'm /me/." And he's proud of who he is - or at least arrogant about it. "Don't matter if I'm standing here holding a 400-turn old ladyrider. It's alright, cos I wanna do it. That's /change/. 's'happening all around." He grins boyishly, with the sort of confidence that comes with believing he's just said something huge. "Flux. It's a good word."

"Mm." Ever the skeptic, Zeyta regards him with suspicion, squinting. "You could use improvement. Harper lessons, for one. Modesty for another. A bath." Blunt honesty: her specialty, ringing without any joking indication except her reproving smirk. A palm inserts space between them, not forceful enough to dislodge him. "Shall I tear you down now? I'm a former assistant weyrlingmaster. I've ambitions. I could see you stripped of your knot." She teases in her serious way, more entertained at the prospect of perturbing him than threatening to enact these threats. "How is that for flux."

Thierry snorts, pressing against her palm, pushing his luck simply because he can. "Never liked Harper lessons. There were always something more /fun/ to do." His grin grows crookedly, causing a ghost of a dimple to appear in his cheek. "Baths're easy to get, though. Lake's right there." Because who needs /real/ baths? Her teasing turns his grin to a smirk, and he shrugs at them. "Y'wouldn't be the first to push my life about to suit y'self, lady. Ask that goldrider've yours. Reckon I might be a /habit/ of hers." One arm leaves its Zeyta-perch, so he can fondle his knot between thumb and forefinger. "Knots come and go. This one ain't mine forever. Whatcha gonna give me if I hand it over to you?"

Zeyta shrinks back from him, glaring with reproach, small stature conceding its physical weakness to his larger one. She squares her shoulders, stiff-backed in her tallest posturing. "You sound worse than the drunkards who raised me. Or the weybrats who grew up beside me," she says, the corner of her mouth twitching in distaste. "You swim in the lake. A bath entails warm water and soapsand, at the least." Again with the disapproving stare. "Mm. Goldriders from my time are notorious for their … upheaval. Tuli at least possesses sense — or did, once." When she let Zeyta do her hidework and puppet her from the shadows. Her eyes flick to his knot, pinched to draw her attention to it. "It's not an economic item. A white knot is worth nothing, but holds the potential for everything. It is a gamble with low risk for you, I am guessing."

"A bag of soapsand and hands willing t' spread it make anywhere wet good for a bath," Thierry laughs, turning to lean against the stone pillar once more now that Zeyta's pulled away. He won't follow her; she's shown he can get close if everything aligns properly, and that's all he wanted to know. "How'd you know I meant Tuli, huh? Coulda meant the Weyrwoman. They ain't that far apart, from what I've seen." Which is blissfully little, and yet probably still too much. He digs in his pocket for his tokes, dragging one slender stick from its pack with his thin fingers, sparking life into the end of it. "Gambling's alright if the odds're good." Spoken around a mouthful of smoke. "I ain't giving it up, lady… butcha didn't answer my question. What'd you give me if I did?"

Zeyta runs fingers through her loose curls, between braidings and unbound in the hundreds of medusa coils she wears most often. Left alone, she preens, pulling at her jacket zipper, centering the buckle of her belt and so on. "Weyrwomen rarely search candidates, so it must have been the clutchmother who asked you to stand for her own brood," she deduces, explaining her train of logic to him with a shrug. Reaching for his cigarette, she yanks it from his mouth, throwing it at her feet to stamp out its flame, toe grinding it into the dirt. "I don't answer hypotheticals. You'll never know." She smiles, sharp and mean.

Thierry lets her extinguish his toke, with just the slightest narrowing of his eyes. "Uh-huh. She asked me to do summat for her." His hand goes back into his pocket, pulling out the packet of tokes again. One more is removed, tucked behind his ear this time. It remains unlit, possibly there just to annoy the brownrider. "Shame you ain't gonna tell me, pretty lady." He shakes his head in exaggerated disappointment, tutting. "Cos now you're just gonna leave my imagination t'go /wild/." Dark eyes lustfully skim her frame,and he shrugs casually.

Zeyta has no qualm plucking a second toke from the crook of an ear, reaching for the whole bag before it disappears into a pocket. "I could ask Tuli to ban them on the whole, or you can refrain from smokin in front of me." Again with the cruel, mobile curve of her mouth, framed by dimples. "It's Zeyta," is her no-nonsense correction. "I can assure you, it'd be nothing to your pleasure." She rolls from the balls of her feet to the tips of her toes, advancing forward in his direction.

She can have that second toke too, but he captures the pack and slips it into his pocket before she can steal it away. Thierry smirks, running his tongue over his bottom lip in response to her correction. "Thing is, lady, you ain't got no control of what's going on up here." He taps his temple with his forefinger, then drops his hand down into his pocket - protecting the precious tobacco products inside, no doubt. "And in there, you're gonna do all sortsa /pleasure/-stuff. That's just how it goes, y'know?" He doesn't shift when she advances; just remains casually leaning, lips curved into an amused part-pout.

Zeyta scowls when denied the pack, looking over the one toke in her hand to examine the papers used to roll it. Predictably dissatisfied, she discards this one too, wearing a frown etched over a face previously apathetic; it's not a smile, but it is expression. "Tch," she hisses, tucking each hand under the opposite armpit, brooding with all the patience in the world. "Enjoy your fantasies, then. Watch reality slip away as a result." To demonstrate, she backs away from him, turning with the intent to leave.

"I gotcha scent, pretty lady," Thierry straightens up, hands dug more firmly into his pockets. Whether he means literally or not is up for debate. "You know where to come find me if you wanna give me a dose of the /real/ stuff, yeah?" He tugs at his vest, smirking at Zeyta's back… and taking advantage of her turning to get an eyeful of her rear. "Any time you want. Zeyta."

"Because your tendency to objectify me melts my brittle, shrunken heart." Zeyta looks over her shoulder with a brow already hitched in speculation. "You're crass. It undermines your ploys to appear sensitive, speaking of fronts and such. Your game could use refinement." And that is her final assessment, or so she'll contend, ignoring whatever progress was forged in exposing a softer underside to herself or Thierry. "To your chores candidate. If ever you've a desire to learn, you'll discover me in the archives."

With a click of his tongue, Thierry salutes the brownrider - their unlikely run-in is defnitely reached its close. He pushes up off his leaning-post pillar, trotting to her side. "Mebbe I'll come findja, if I wanna be taught a lesson." Cheeky, playful, every bit the teenager that he is, he jogs on past her with a wink. Once he's a few steps away he turns back, running backwards as he called for her attention; "Hey, lady!" Then he kisses his fingers, blowing it her direction before shooting finger-guns at her, complete with a click of his tongue in his cheek. Back around he spins then, putting on a decent pace to jog off across the bowl.

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