Who

Cha'el Veresch

What

Intelligence delivered, and surprising concessions made.

When
Where

Cloth Corridor, Igen Weyr

OOC Date

 

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Cloth Corridor

Countless cloths of every cut, color, and size obscure the open air of this bountiful booth. Extravagant silks embroidered in so fine a metallic thread drape in diaphanous folds, billowing in the wind as one parts through veil upon veil of hanging fabric on display. Beyond, yet more plain or patterned cloth tower in neat stacks, the likes of which are oft seen wrapped about many a stylish Igenite.


Early morning finds the bazaar already alive with activity as shop owners open their places of business and set out their wares. Across the frosty morning air, cheerful greetings are exchanged while knots of men and women trade gossip from the day before. The cloth corridor is no exception save for the ethereal air lent the side street by lengths of fabric rippling softly in the light breeze. All is as might be expected. What probably isn't expected, is the presence of one tall and brawny rider, warmly dressed with a knitted scarf wound round his neck and in low haggling conversation with a woman peddling sumptuously embroidered fabric. Before him on the table is a black belt woven with a hundred neat knots, a tan shoulder bag woven in the same style with small shells hanging at the ends of the fringing strung along its base and a large much sturdier creation in denim blue that probably needs to be shaken out to identify its purpose.

There are always new sights to see in the Bazaar, new scents to smell, new things to taste. Today she wanders along the streamers and falls of material, eyes wide at the unexpected beauty: a shortcut brought her here, and she's been loitering ever since. Still, of all the sights she expected to see, Cha'el was not one of them, and seeing him haggle so expertly over such beautiful things makes her eyebrows arch. She drifts closer, soft-soled shoes almost soundless in this magical place, and examines the items from an angle, trying to discern who the recipients might be. The belt is nodded over - it's nice - and the denim-coloured bag appreciated - she could store a lot of things - but it's the whimsical creation adorned with seashells that tugs at her girly heart, and she gives a small, delighted little smile. So /pretty/. She has news to give him, has had it for a while now, but she's so enjoying the sight that she lingers, unwilling to announce herself just yet.

"Five," Cha'el tells the woman a brow lifted to mark his final offer. "Two," the peddler returns and crosses her arms over ample bosom. "Six." A smirk peels into place for the narrowed look that earns him from the woman. "And three skins of fresh saltwater from Ista." The brownrider adds, hefting said skins that had dangled from a shoulder onto the table. Longing eyes stroke over those skins and the woman sighs. "Fine. Six." - "Tonda, sweetheart, you know a good deal when you see one," the Weyrsecond returns with a grin and handing over the woven items, scoops up the six buckles and four metal hooks. "And I'll take that," a length of ice blue fabric is pointed to, unaware that the transaction of business is being closely watched.

The mention of Ista turns Veresch unexpectedly homesick, and she swallows against the sudden lump in her throat. She's not been to Ista since… well. Some things are too painful. It is, however, quite a surprise to find out the tall rider is selling, and her eyes glide over him with confusion and a tad of new appreciation. The glacial purity of the cloth he selects makes her swallow again, suddenly envious of whoever's going to be adorned with it; her hands clench deep in her pockets, and a tiny sigh finally escapes. Still, she's mannerly enough to step back, allow time for that bargain to complete before she clears her throat, this time loudly enough to be heard. "Wingsecond," her clear soprano comes. "Bright the day."

Waiting while Tonda wraps the length of fabric in plain brown paper, Cha'el turns at a voice suddenly right at his elbow. "Weyrsecond," he corrects and then blinks down at the speaker. "Veresch." A smile appears, "Good morning." At a soft clearing of throat from the woman he takes his package and tucking it under one arm, slips the buckles and hooks into the woven satchel he has slung over one shoulder. "I'll be back for the 'skins tomorrow." He tells Tonda and takes a step back, attention falling to the young messenger. "You're out and about early? Running messages already?"

Veresch inclines her head in polite apology, and her cheeks darken with the shame of that error. "My apologies," she says gravely. "I have news of the business that was interrupted the other day by Threadfall, the…ah, trip we had to take still? I'd like to speak to you about it if you don't mind, I have some new information." She's so solemn this morning, looking at him with clear hazel eyes and few laughs to be seen. She dips her head quickly sideways to nod to the trader as well, gives a few steps back and shakes her head. This is the part he might be angry with, especially as she's still dressed in what looks like boys' clothes much like her normal wherhide pants and jacket. "I was doing a little intelligence-gathering around the place," she admits. "To find out more about the fellow we were looking for. Do you have time to talk?"

Brows dip lightly when Veresch brings up the business that the call to scramble for Fall had interrupted along with an oddly wistful look before its swiped away. Following her step back from the stand, Cha'el angles his path down along the whimsical corridor of cloth and turns into another street that sells all manner of more practical items. Yes, he's noticed her attire with a purse-lipped look but thus far, isn't saying anything. What appears to concern the brownrider more is talk of further intelligence gathering. "If you tell me you went back to The Wher, I'm gonna have Sikorth sit on you." The Weyrsecond threatens, stepping to one side out of the busy hustle and bustle of foot traffic flowing by. "I have drills in an hour and business still to conduct, but tell me what you've found out."

"I… don't think you should do that, or else this place is never going to be the same, and it'd be a shame to spoil this kind of beauty." As they step aside, she half-snuggles in underneath a length of radiant red that turns her skin creamy and her eyes bright, but the illusion is gone in a second as she looks left, looks right and reaches out to touch his arm, indicating that she'd like him a little closer. "I've found out that oddly, dressing up as a girl in pants is a bad idea, but dressing up as a boy can get amazing results — I went back to the Wher, yes." Her expression turns unexpectedly fascinated. "Some of the men there were so drunk that… well. I found the man gambling there, and found out his name." Her chin tilts a little. "Is that worth something?" Not money, nothing so crass, but perhaps a bit of kindness will go a long way.

A smirk curls out at the girl's witty retort on being sat on by a dragon. It slips right off his mouth the moment Veresch admits to having returned to The Wher. "Are you kidding me? Are you looking to get yourself into trouble?" Incredulous blue eyes pin to her. "What were you thinking!? No wait. Clearly, you weren't." There's an exasperated sigh that follows and a palm of hand over face. "Nothing is worth risking your life like that, Veresch. Nothing. You hear me?" The last reprimand spoken with more resignation than heat followed by a nod. "Aye, a name is worth something." A pause in which he drops a speculative look onto the teen. "What are you wanting in return?"

The girl winces away at the snarling he directs at her, and she looks away to swallow against the tears that want to threaten. They don't trickle down her cheeks, though, and after a deep, shuddering breath she looks back at him. "I was thinking," she says snappily, "that there's not a single person in the Weyr that doesn't know what the Weyrsecond looks like. Or K'ane. Or E'pha. I was thinking that they'd not notice another alley-rat around, because the place was already crawling with them, and you three would have stood out like big, fat, lumbering runners!" Seriously, even with a disguise and a fake face his walk would give him away; does he have no idea how distinct he is? "And, you know, just perhaps I was thinking of myself as well, okay? I wanted to do this! I wanted to be worth something to this place, to make it safer! I'm the only one that can decide what risking my life is worth!" It might be dramatically delivered, it might even be slightly histrionic, but there's a look in her eyes beyond the tears, an absolute will-not, that suggests someone made her grow up very quickly indeed, no matter what her outsides still looks like.

While Cha'el hadn't expected her to be happy with being dressed down, he hadn't expected quite such a heated display of response. Then again, he does deal mainly with grown men and women in a more militaristic setting and there's a reason why he's not on the Weyrlingmaster team. He also cannot refute the validity of what she points out. In tightlipped silence he pins a tight look onto the slip of a girl. The same look that often has adult men shifting awkwardly. Because he cares dammit! "Tell me one thing," his baritone a low grind of words, "the arrest Thierry made when he found some guy giving you a hard time, was that because of your little intel gathering at The Wher?" Oh yeah, he knows about that too.

The question hits her like a punch to the solar plexus, so hard that for a moment she gapes, as if there's not enough air in the world. "He told you," she strangles out miserably. "I can't believe that he told you." There's an expression of peculiar defeat and betrayal that moves across her face; the last person in the world that she wanted to know that she wasn't strong enough found out because some boy shot his mouth off. And then, "No. It was not because of that." There's no disguising the hardening her tone undergoes, desperately trying to shield a vulnerable inside, or the fact that she shuffles further away from him. "It was because, when I walked to go and have lunch with Reilan, I heard someone calling for help in an alley. When I got there, thus huge guy was trying to persuade an unwilling girl, and I wasn't about to stand for that. I managed to free her, but he grabbed me next. Reilan tried to rescue me, and the man turned on him. Thierry came by and knocked him out."

"Of course he told me, the kid looked like he'd gotten into it with a wher." Cha'el tersely returns. "It was either tell me or have me assume he'd been up to his tricks again." Which he totally had assumed at first. In the next moment, dark brows plummet toward one another and a low rumbling sets up in the Weyrsecond's chest as Veresch expands on what he'd been able to glean from the guard recruit. While she might expect him to lay into her again with another lecture on the importance of safety and proper conduct while traversing the seedier parts of the bazaar, he doesn't. "Fuckin' bastards with too much time on their hands," he growls instead and then flows an assessing look over the messenger. "You okay now?"

"No," she says, voice clipped. "But I don't think you'll be interested in more of my emotional drama, so if we can please note talk about it I'd appreciate it." Defensive, wary now; it'll take some time for trust to build up again. "In any case, I tracked him down to the Wher, as I presume E'pha already told you, but I couldn't find out much, because they'd have noticed me. You have to be pretty scummy to fit in." She glances down her front then — no breasts at all, not even the hint that had been there before, and she's slim-hipped enough to pass for a dirty refugee boy. It might also explain why she's so dirty at the moment. "I managed to find out the name of his lady first. Well, the one that he pays for, or whatever — not his wife, you understand? Her name is Asaiya - about a hand taller than me, skin almost like Chel, has a really irritating giggle. I asked around a bit more, and found out Asaiya's new gent was called Katzir. He sleeps a bit away from the Wher at that old crafter's stall, the one with the hand-carved bowls and things."

Features twist about a perplexed line at the reply Veresch gives and the hand not curled about his parcel plants to a lean hip. "Hey, don't assume to know what I am or am not interested in. If I wasn't interested in how you're doing after what must have been a frightening experience, I wouldn't have asked." Cha'el returns in a gentler tone than before and reaches to wrap his hand about the girl's upper arm unless she pulls away. "Its why I wanted you to try and dress like you did at the Cantina. Scumbags like that Phib," yup, he got a name too, "will generally think twice before approaching a female they believe to be attached to one of the clans of the bazaar. "What you did? Jumping in there to help that girl? Was brave. Stupid. But brave. Who knows what might have happened if you hadn't been passing just then, aye?" Sending a long look her way, trying to catch her eyes so that she can see the sincerity in his, the brownrider moves on to the information she's just handed over. "Asaiya and Katzir, eh?" The names and the location of the man's chosen place of sleep are filed away with a firm nod. "You did good, kid. Thank you." A pause and then with the hint of a smile. "So, what is it you're wanting in return."

Veresch pales again, but this time from the grip he's got on her upper arm. She can't step away quickly enough from the grip, and in that moment she knows something is too late. Then, stiffly she turns around and begins to gather up her shirt. The first thing visible besides smooth skin and the tight strapping around her back is the design drawn there, vivid and girly and pretty. The second is the large line of mottled bruising that stretches from shoulder to hips. It's faded already, quite a bit, and the show is over in a quick flash. She takes her time to tuck her shirt back in, make herself presentable. "I don't know how long they'll stay there," she mentions as she turns back. "You might have to move fast. I'd've liked to be there, but I'm pretty sure you're going to put your foot down on that now." Her head tilts. "I'd like you to speak to the Weyrwomen for me, if possible, about Reilan. If they could pull some strings, find him a nice job somewhere in the Bazaar, I'd appreciate it. He's decent. Or as an assistant somewhere." No, not a favour for herself.

That grip isn't meant to be threatening, if anything, more of a gesture of comforting human touch. But then Veresch turns and starts to lift her shirt and Cha'el releases her as if he'd just been stung by a vtol. Woah! Hey! Old enough to be your father here..WTF!? Much as he's trying to look away, the curling design patterned up her back catches his eye and then, the bruising. Undisguised anger coils tightly about bearded features. "Do your parents know about this?" He asks in a near growl. "Because if so, they should lay a charge against that bastard that Thierry has locked up in the brig." He's not her parent and so he'll not interfere but he will give his opinion and advice on the matter. The request she then goes on to make draws a lick of surprise into place. "Reilan? The girly looking blonde one that Thierry calls Worm? Uh…" Excuse him for a moment, he's been caught off-guard. "I'd have to meet him first, figure out how or where he might fit in before making a recommendation," is pointed out once the Weyrsecond has recovered himself.

Veresch shakes her head dully. "The healers are the only ones that know about everything. Kyara suspects a lot, but she didn't actually see; I needed someone that made me safe to give me a hug, and talk. I pretty much kicked the stuffing out of him beforehand, to make him let go of the girl." Her lips twitch a little at that before her expression fades. "That's him," she says quietly, almost sadly. "They're very … close. I can probably get a message to him and ask him to come and see you. I don't know if he'll say yes, or if you can find anything for him, but I want the effort to be made anyway, if possible." She pauses. "Have you ever felt utterly helpless, Weyrsecond? I mean, you don't really have to tell me, I'm just some teenaged girl, but… you know how it feels, right?"

"Kyara?" There's a name Cha'el hadn't expected to hear from the girl. "You should tell your parents, Veresch. They might surprise you, aye?" As for her having wanted a hug and someone to talk to, there's an odd little twitch of lips for that as the conversation with Thierry is recalled - The hero of the tale that had lost the reward to his mate. "Sure, send him a message and have him meet me in the Council Chambers. I'm usually there in the afternoons if we don't have drills or a meeting." At her last, the question put to him on feeling helpless, the Weyrsecond goes quiet and remains so for a long while, his gaze drifting off into the distance before it finally returns to her. "Aye, felt like that the first fall over Keroon watching wingmates dies and get scored."

Veresch leans back against a stretch of star-lit blue. "You know what it's like then, when it seems your stomach drops out and for a moment, just for a /moment/ you think you're seeing wrong, or hearing wrong. And then, when you wake up from that you realise the world just changed around you, and you don't have a sharding hope of changing it back?" Yeah. Yeah, she thought he might. "But even though you were piss-scared you went on and did your thing, and today you're a Weyrsecond? This is my weyr too. I want to protect people too. So I'm going to do it, if it means tracking down more people like the Bitran, or rescuing girls from shithole alleys." She sniffs. "But Veresch, you're just fifteen!" she mocks. "Well, big deal. I'm just fifteen, and if I lived in this time next year I might already be married off and in the business of producing babies. I won't be fifteen forever, and even if I am, some things you can't allow to happen. I decided that the other night." Something, something big stoked a fire in her; she's practically aglow at the moment with sheer determination and indignation.

When Veresch launches into her tirade, Cha'el is left blinking at her as if perhaps she'd just sprouted wings and a tail. "Uh…" He's at a bit of a loss for not having expected it. Another few moments go by in which he continues to stare mutely at the girl and then cogs and wheels begin to turn and blue eyes widened by surprise narrow with intent. "If that's what you really want to do? Help protect people on the ground? Then maybe you should consider getting yourself some proper training from the guards." What!? The Weyrsecond is endorsing the idea of a female in the guards!? Yup, Southern just froze over. "Get yourself an audience with one of the weyrwoman," since its their bright idea to put women in the guard, "and see if you can get taken on as a recruit with an idea to training toward gathering intelligence." Yeah. Some things you just can't fight.

The girl is physically out of breath as she finishes, but in that moment where he makes the suggestion and she can see that he means it, the world flip-flops for her again. She's stunned and a little relieved and a little in love and a lot proud in that moment. Despite what he might actually have meant with it, the man that dislikes female guards so, thinks that she has what it takes. For a moment it washes away at that icy patina that's been creeping over the core of strength inside her recently, where all the whispers fled that she wasn't worthy of anything in this new world because her reproductive organs happened to be on the /inside/. "I'll do that," she says hoarsely. "I mean, I have an idea. I figure if I mention your name now, they'll really listen." Then, a peep of the frightened girl: "I never meant to upset you. But you understand, right? You said you did. Seeing something so /wrong/."

"You can mention my name only if its to point out that I can think of no other way to keep your behind out of trouble. At least this way, you'll have the training and back-up that you need and might live to see another turn." By the timbre of baritone and grimace the Weyrsecond wears, it might be apparent that he's not one of those infused with enthusiasm for the weyrwomen's most recent decree. "What I understand," beat, "is that you're going to go ahead and stick that pretty little nose of yours into dangerous situations no matter what I or anyone else says." Cha'el goes on to add fitting Veresch with an exasperated look.

veresch nods solemnly. "Yes," she confirms. She's indeed going to stick her nose into every bit of interesting info she can find — riders may have the most power in the weyr, but she's not going to lie down and roll over just because she's a messenger either. "I'll tell the weyrwomen. Perhaps Tuli, since I think Sadaiya might send me to Southern in exile if I tell her what I've been up to." See, she can understand, albeit objectively, his point. She doesn't close for a hug, or a small touch as she would have days ago; there are memories that he evokes simply by being so large and muscled, and they make her skitter off to the side. "Good day, Weyrsecond. Thank you for your time. I hope that you can still get your trades in. the bag was nice, by the way. The shelled one. Goodbye."

There's an approving dip of head when Veresch confirms that she'll be following the proper channels and seeking out one of the weyrwoman. "Good. See that you do." A quick smile and then as he's turning to leave, Cha'el pauses and lifts a brow in surprise at compliment paid for the bag he'd just traded. "Thank you," the expression slipped across bearded features oddly retiring. "Safe paths, Veresch. And try to stay out of trouble, aye?" He may as well try to stop a sandstorm.

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