Who

Cleora, Prymelia

What

A half-hidden conversation over tea between two new friends.

When

It is midmorning of the nineteenth day of the second month of the first turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Igen Weyr The Tea Room

OOC Date

 

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The Tea Room

This shop is easy to miss from the street. It bears the same striped awning that most shops have, this one in shades of lilac and sand, but it has no sign save for a plaque of sandstone hung beside the door, on which a teacup has been carved. When open, the heavy curtain that covers the doorway is pulled aside to allow entry. After stepping through, one will find themselves in a tiny space decorated with classic desert touches.

The walls are whitewashed to increase the sense of light within but the floor is tiled in hues of blue and green, with each tile bearing in its center a brilliant red lotus. There are only five small tables, all of them of dark, heavily carved wood set low to the ground. To sit at one requires reclining on the plethora of pillows and cushions and layered rugs provided for that purpose; each seat is provided with a carved wooden back-prop to rest the pillows against, for those who want spinal support. Tea is served from the service at the rear of the room, where a tiny smokeless hearth keeps water heated, and a row of trays are kept loaded with teapots, tiny cups, and containers for sweetener. There is a small selection of fruits, breads and cheeses also available for those looking for a snack but this is not a place for heavy meals.

Though owned by Maryam of the Steen family, the shop is most often staffed by a pair of her unmarried, adolescent nieces- one to tend the hearth, one to serve the tables. An elegant wooden frame, etched with whimsical designs, surrounds a posted list of suggested flavors available for ordering Written in an elegant hand the list reads: ('look flavors')


Midmorning means the temperature outside is rising, even if winter's cool still grips the Weyr - especially so in the shade of some of the darker alleys of the bazaar, where Rukbat's rays have yet to warm the shadows. It's still chilly enough that a cup of warm tea is a welcome midmorning break, though, and so Cleora, dressed in her neatly-adjusted guard's uniform, slips into the specialist shop where such things are readily available. The looks she gets from patrons, undoubtedly for what she's wearing, are ignored; though she does look bashful as she slips through the tables to the nearest empty one, eyes fixed on the toes of her boots as she settles gracefully onto the cushions.

The Tea Room is probably one of the only areas that Pryska would ever leave Prymelia on her own and that only due to an arrangement she has with the young woman and her nieces that run the place. Keep an eye on her, I'll be back soon. She'd told the veiled young women of the Steen clan. And so, there Prymelia is clad in a multi-layered, multi-hued skirt, a long-sleeved white peasant blouse with a black intricately embroidered bodice cinched over it. Long mahagony hair is loosed in rich waves to the center of her back with a black scarf adorning her head. Eyes are downcast so that none that come or go are noticed, the tea before her stirred with almost listless interest. When Cleora takes up a place just a few cushions over from her, the trader woman casts a flicker of interest at the uniform she wears but quickly returns attention to her tea.

When she goes to order her tea, Cleora can't help but notice Prymelia's quick glance. She smiles encouragingly back, though with equal coyness; dipping her head to look up through dark 'lashes. There's no veil to hide behind in her new uniform though, so though she may bat her eyelashes at the other girl, she can't /hide/ her demure, yet warm smile. "Your outfit is beautiful," she ventures eventually, silky voice just loud enough to carry to Prymelia. "May I… join you? It's so lonely taking tea alone… so long as you don't mind, um…" A delicate hand signals her uniform; it /is/ quite a scandalous point at present!

A quick smile, sad at the edges yet with a certain hint of resolve to it is sent back Cleora's way though quickly fades as soon as the uniformed woman speaks to her. A few sevens ago such a compliment of clothing would have earned the brunette an engaging smile and an immediate offer to sell her something similar. But this Prymelia is a different animal. This Prymelia is withdrawn, caught in her thoughts as she tries to plot and plan her way free. At the request for company, hazel eyes dart first to the door of the tea room and then quickly over to enigmatic young women running it. "My mother is expected back soon," the trader tells the recruit in the softest of voices tinged with a natural husk. A pause in which she clearly grapples with indecision and then a nod, "She'll probably hire you to keep me out of trouble." Dark humor.

"I wouldn't want to upset your mother," Cleora replies quietly, lowering her head respectfully. She's interrupted before she can speak again by the arrival of her tea, which prompts her to move a little closer to Prymelia, without leaving her own table; they can be close and talk, if not sitting by one another! "Out of trouble? Dear Faranth, how could you possibly find yourself in trouble?" She seems surprised as she peers through the steam rising from her cup, which is raised to her plump lips. Cleo blows gently on the tea's amber surface, cooling it before taking a tentative sip. "Would a lady guard not cause you /more/ trouble?"

"No," Prymelia agrees on angering her mother with a tight expression in place. "You wouldn't want to. She makes a wher look like a pet." A wry quarter smile for the disrespectful comment which disappears the moment Cleora's tea arrives and pale eyes from the veiled woman delivering it are flicked her way. Waiting until she's gone, she lifts her tea cup as if to drink and uses it to hide the movement of her lips. "By being a disobedient daughter and trying to flout the traditions of my clan." Spoken in clear mimicry of someone's disapproving reprimand. Her tea already almost cold, Prymelia takes a drink but doesn't yet set her cup down. "Not unless you're a man in disguise." Dry comment followed by a sideways flick of eyes, "And those," the other woman's bust, "look quite real to me."

"Oh /dear/." Cleora sounds genuinely concerned, even if she's very quiet about it. She looks fleetingly and sympathetically at Prymelia, before looking back down into her tea. This is a conversation that is apparently /not/ happening! She can do discreet, though, and Cleora raises her own teacup to her lips to hide her words, too. "They're quite real, thank you. Happily tucked away behind the uniform too." There's a hint of a wry smile there to tweak up one corner of her plush mouth, before she sighs gently. "What could you possibly have done that's so disobedient?"

For the first time in a very long time, hazel eyes glint with flecks of genuine amusement at Cleora's confirmation of gender. A soft smile greets the query reply staved off by a proper drink of cooled tea. Shifting her position slightly so that the mane of copper streaked mahogany spills over one shoulder and more of her back than her profile is presented to those eagle-eyed Steen girls, Prymelia utters hushed reply. "I tried to run from my betrothal and fell in love with, 'the wrong man'." Air quotes evident for that last despite her lowered voice. In a bid to shift the focus off of herself, the trader tilts her head slightly. "I didn't know they were letting women into the guard. Do you like it?" Clearly the idea intrigues her.

Cleora watches Prymelia over the rim of her teacup, through her lowered eyelashes. She sips as she listens to the girl talk, gently tutting and softly shaking her head at the cause of trouble. "Goodness. That sounds… /terrible/, sweetness. It must have been /awful/ for you." Another sip of tea follows, before she sets the cup down and gently brushes away those few dark strands of hair that have fallen from her braid and into her face. "It's quite a /new/ development, actually, though honestly? Sleeping in a barracks full of men is far more favourable than sleeping with a barracks-full of men." There's a subtle emphasis where it's needed to establish the distinction between the two. "Do you know where your man is, sweetness? You oughtn't let love go, you know."

There's a flash gratitude for the tsking and tutting and kind words but Prymelia isn't one to wallow for too long and so she gratefully falls on the reply the other woman gives. Surprise and then a flicker of ribald amusement greets the distinction made. "I'm going to assume that the one pays better than the other?" Politely fishing for information before making an assumption. Cleora's question though, that brings a frown to freckled features. "Aye, he's a rider at Southern Weyr. But…" once again she darts a hasty look around the tea room then lowers her voice to barely a whisper. "I saw him. The other day. At the caravan grounds. He was in disguise. But I know it was him. He was playing my song." Joy shines briefly in expressive eyes and then is tucked safely away. "I either let him go, or I let my family go. My father has made it quite clear that I can't have both."

"Oh yes, one /does/ pay better than the other - though it's sadly not /this/ one." The one that provides her with the uniform she's wearing now. Cleora sighs softly, giving a dainty shrug of her narrow shoulders. "The satisfaction of /this/ one, however, is far more rewarding than the other." She gives Prymelia a quick little wink, before half-hiding behind her teacup again. "That's so /terribly/ romantic, and /awfully/ heartbreaking. He sounds incredibly brave, your rider…" Her soft voice trails into a dusky whisper, masking an attempt to lean closer, and therefore speak more quietly, by shifting her position against the cushions. "Whatever will you do? Is family loyalty worth losing such a wonderful-sounding love?"

"Marks aren't everything," Prymelia quietly declares, seemingly unfazed by the idea of what the other woman's profession might have been previously. A soft snort that disappears into her cup precedes her next, "Its only romantic in the harper tales otherwise its just…" Yeah. Heartbreaking. Gliding away from that rocky topic, the trader lowers her cup, refills it with tea from the little silver teapot before her and adds some sweetener. "You know how the saying goes," she remarks on loyalties, her lips barely moving. "Lovers and friends come and go but family is forever. I just…I can't take the risk of being cast out from everything and everyone I've ever known only for things with T'ral to maybe go South," excuse the pun, "and then…" Slender shoulders lift and fall. The steaming cup of tea is lifted again. "How about? Do you have family here?"

As it wouldn't be appropriate under the circumstances for Cleora to reach out and pat Prymelia's hand comfortingly, she does so on the cushion she's leaning on. Hopefully Prymelia will pick up on the intention! The doe-eyed guard recruit sighs heavily into her tea on behalf of the poor woman's tragic story, then nods in agreement with the saying that's stated. "Oh yes, I've heard that one before. You're in a /terrible/ quandary, sweetness, aren't you? It's hardly enviable." Cleo shakes her head, biting softly into her plush bottom lip. "My family aren't here, no. But, do tell me…" Grey eyes flicker up to look side-on at the trader girl. "What does your family have against a rider? Is it not a respectable match, now that thread's returned?"

Prymelia doesn't at first catch the intention of that transferred gesture, her gaze dropping and then lifting with just enough expression at play to suggest she's taken that pat to cushion as a nervous twitch of some kind. Hazel eyes drop to her tea, the trader having a hard time coming to grips with what she interprets as pity but it's clear that Cleora means well. When her gaze lifts again, she's met by that grey-eyed look coming from the recruit and lips purse about frown. "A rider brings nothing of material value to a trading clan as far as the Wagonmaster is concerned. I've tried to argue that during a Pass a rider can carry trades far quicker and safer than a wagon and bullocks can but he'll hear none of it."

"I think I can understand that thinking." Cleora nods gently, reaching over to her table to refill her cup with tea that's thankfully cooled by now. "And of course, a rider is unable to offer you a handfasting either. Especially not with such dreadful times as we find ourselves in." Threadfall, and all that! "Matters of the heart really are the most complex, aren't they? I'm quite happy that my former career required no sort of emotional bond, and that sort of thing is hardly required in my current role, either. It works out quite nicely, actually; I'd say this seemingly offensive get-up significantly impacts my ability to find a husband." And she sounds /so/ torn up about that fact - not!

There's a somber nod to what it is a rider can or can't offer followed by a statement, Cleora might not have expected. "Its not that I want to get weyrmated to him or whatever it is that riders, do. I just want to have the freedom to decide for myself." Having relaxed somewhat in the easy company of the female guard, Prymelia even manages to draw up a softly husky chuckle for her remark about entanglements. Just as lips part to lend opinion, a tall, dark-haired and handsome older woman enters the tea room, her stern chocolate brown gaze pinning immediately to the trader. "Shit." Prymelia mutters. "Its my ma. My name's Prymelia," she hastily tells the other woman while her mother exchanges a few brief words with the Steen girls. "You could come and visit me if you wanted to? No one would question a guard." Because apparently guards are held in higher esteem than dragonriders are with the Flynn clan.

The mother alert makes Cleo stiffen up; her back straightens so she's less leaning towards Prymelia, and more just reclining as a relaxed lady should. The invitation to visit is received with a demure nod and smile, which she quickly hides behind the rim of her teacup. "I shall," she promises on a quiet breath, raising her cup to drink from the lukewarm tea within it. "It was a pleasure, Prymelia. I'm Cleora."

"Cleora," the newly minted guard's name echoed as if it were a thing to be treasured. And indeed, for a young woman rudely yanked from the life she'd created for herself on the Southern continent, it is. "Prymelia," Pryska's rich tone rolls near at hand, "finish your tea and say goodbye to your friend," there is very little that escapes the shrewd Flynn woman's eye, "its time for your fitting." A guilty look is darted Cleora's way but the trader does as instructed, and setting her empty cup down, rises gracefully to her feet. "Yes, mother." The obedient daughter demurs and with a regretful cast of hazel eyes to the woman who had taken the time (and the risk) to talk to her, she leaves with her austere parent.

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