Who

Goran, Erissa

What

Erissa takes Goran up on his offer of help. (Directly follows Sacrificial Lamb)

When

It is morning of the fourteenth day of the sixth month of the first turn of the 12th pass.

Where

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.


Characters


Log

In comparison to the other wagons drawn together in the caravan grounds, the one used by Goran is fairly nondescript with wood varnished but unadorned by paint. Functional. With a small campfire going to one side, the flint eyed Vara trader is perched atop the steps that lead up into his wagon looking as fresh and put together as if he’s already been up for several hours. Hanging on a metal tripod a kettle of water has been set to boil over the fire, presumably for klah while from Goran comes the rhythmic swish-swish of a knife being sharpened over a leather strop.

Here and there, others are stirring, voices mumble and camp curs slink about. A child’s cry pierces the post dawn activity backed by an almighty sneeze from a few caravan’s over.


Erissa makes her way into the caravan grounds with heavy steps and an even heavier frown. Too annoyed by the pounding in her head to stop and ask for directions, she walks the line of wagons looking for a certain trader.

Coming around the corner she nearly walks into the man, jerking to a sudden halt. As for a greeting?

“There you are.”


From his perch atop the short step of stairs leading up to the back of his wagon, Goran’s hand still in their task and he glances up, a sly smirk forming when he takes in the bluerider’s heavy frown. His greeting is far more cheerful than it should be given the hour.

“Lady rider! What a sight for sore eyes.” He declares, said eyes roving over every remembered luscious inch.

“Missing me already?”


“Hardly,” is Erissa’s friendly counter. In truth the ache of muscles over-used the night before are still abundant enough to be plenty a reminder. Dark blue hues take in his cheerful demeanor and up her annoyance yet another notch. Why does he get to be in such a good mood when her head is imitating a smithy?

Stepping closer she swings right into his personal space - something that hardly exists as a barrier after last night - and bumps a hip into his side with the intention of making him scoot over so she can sit beside him.

“Your note,” she says without preamble. “Said you might have something for me?”


“Liar,” Goran gives in gravelly return pitching the bluerider a knowing look and then sheathing the knife he’d been sharpening when she boldly claims a seat next to him. He moves, but only by an inch or so, so that Erissa is forced to either half hang off the wooden step or move in close against his side.

“Hungover?” Amusement is allowed to show itself turning sly when it hits blue eyes that narrow focus on the woman’s face.


Erissa doesn’t hesitate to take as much of the seat as she can, having long since gotten used to physical proximity to the trader. Hips and legs align as she sits and props one long-limned leg on a lower step, bracing an elbow on her knee. Fingers kneed her temple as she turns a sidelong look at Goran, dark blue hues running a critiquing look over handsome features.

“Why aren’t you? We both drank the same amount.” Didn’t they?


Every point of contact serving lusty reminder, Goran turns a smirk over to Erissa. “Perhaps I can simply handle my liquor better than you can. Besides,” the leather strop is lifted and snapped between his hands producing a satisfying crack of sound, “what has the creator to fear from his creation, hmm?”

Setting the leather item aside, the trader draws his legs in and pushes up to his feet. Pulling a key from his pocket he turns and mounts the last step. Unlocking the door to his dwelling space there’s a faint creak as it swings inward revealing a glimpse of an interior filled with dark wood and unusual scents before it closes behind him.

Goran isn’t gone long, the tread of boots over suspended wood heralding his return with the creak of door announcing him when he steps out again. In his hand is small pouch that he then holds out to Erissa.

“A special blend of tea. It’ll settle your stomach and ease your head. Be sure to let it brew well and don’t add any sweetner if you hope to hold onto your breakfast.” He instructs.


Pride pricked, full lips part to protest how well she can (normally) handle liquor when the crack of that leather sends a head-splitting bolt of lightning through her skull. Pale brows furrow over a scrunched nose as she leans away from him and waggles her hand in the air. She’s well and fully aware of what he can do with a leather strap, thank-you-very-much, but right now even his smug bragging is smothered by the pounding ache beneath those white-blond locks.

So she merely grunts at his comment and takes a number of steadying breaths as he goes inside. She doesn’t even bother to turn and watch what he does, simply noting when he returns and only then cracking her eyes open again to eye the pouch in his hand. Reaching for it she nods once, instructions filed away.

“Another of your creations?” she asks with a wry glance.


Just before Erissa is able to take possession of the pouch, Goran jerks it just out of reach. “Nuh, uh, uh.” He sing-songs, waggling a finger at her. “Not so fast, honey.” Moustache topped lips pull about a taunting line and he taps at a recently shaven cheek.

“Gotta pay the price first.” With a kiss apparently, as if he hadn’t just gotten her weight’s worth in payment the night before.


He wants payment on his cheek? Fine. She can do that. The hand that had been reaching for the pouch darts northward and aims for an open slap to the indicated spot. It doesn’t have nearly the power behind it as the one he got the night before, being delivered more with smug annoyance than passion-filled anger, but it’ll still sting.

“That’s what you get for trying to take advantage of a lady in distress,” she points out, and crooks her fingers over an open palm. “Hand it over.”


The instant Erissa’s palm slaps across his cheek, lips curl back and teeth bare in a snarl. Quick as lightning, Goran snatches for her wrist and if successful will jerk her forward until their faces are a mere half inch apart.

“Do that again, and I’ll turn you over my knee and spank you like the ungrateful child you’re carrying on like.” He growls, cold flecks of the dangerous creature that lurks beneath the roguish exterior, slipping through the shadows of steel-blue eyes.

Turning her hand over, he’ll go on to dump the tiny pouch into her hand and close her fingers over it.

“Remember, it was you that came to me for help.”


Ok, so Erissa should have expected that, especially after what she’s already learned of the man’s proclivities and temperament. Though fine features remain in a stubborn set she holds an indrawn breath as he yanks her close, dark blue hues boring into those of steel.

She has no doubt that he’d carry through on that threat, audience or no. Tugging on her wrist is of no help other than to make her feel a little better for trying. He’s already proven he’s stronger than her and she’s in no mood for a public reminder.

Jaw tightening as full lips form a pouty line, she allows him to turn her wrist and put the pouch in her hand, a low-voiced retort forthcoming only when she has it firmly in her possession.

“It was you who got me into this situation, and you who offered to help.”


Aaaah. And there’s that bratty pout he’d so thoroughly enjoyed dominating. A low and throaty chuckle smothers the brief appearance of his true self and Goran leans away with a smirk in place.

“Did I hold you down and force the booze down your throat?” Eyes glint with a knowing light for the subtle reminder slid in to the sardonic query. “No, my lovely, it was you that chugged them down like there was no tomorrow. But,” a cheerful note slides through the rasp of his tone and he slaps his hands to his thighs and stands, “as it turns out, there is a tomorrow and that is now and now you’re feeling like shite and now…you need me.” The last three words purred against her ear when he bends to do so.

Straightening, Goran deliberately leans passed Erissa, crowding her personal space and takes up the leather strop. “So try to show a little gratitude and be a good girl and say, thank you. In fact,” the leather is coiled about a fist, “If you’re really good, I might even let you have some of that hot water and brew it for you.”

Such a saint, isn’t he?


Erissa crooks a look that could turn thread to ash for his not-so-subtle play on words, blue hues shadowed with silvered slivers of stormy gray. Guilt tugs at her pride with an ugly undertow. Some of the things he’d done had made her angry, yes, but then she’d stayed and wantonly participated in the rest of the night, with frequent breaks for that particular Bitran drink he favored. So now it was a confusing game of tug-of-conscience, which fit rather well with the rest of her confusing life.

His obvious enjoyment of her predicament helped boost her dislike so when he leans in to whisper close to her ear she grumbles and turns her head away. Then he has to top it off by leaning into her personal space and with the leather in hand to goad her memory the last straw is broken.

“I can find my own hot water,” she snaps, shoving a hand against his chest and rising from her seat. With a jerk of her chin that does her pounding head no good but adds a satisfactory sway of white-blond locks to her exit pose, she adds, “See you around.”


A grunt of taunting laughter shoves free when Erissa pushes him away with Goran even going so far as to take a step back to open the way for her piqued exit. Thumbs hook into belt loops and his gaze claps to the defiant sway of her rear as she departs.

“Mmm, mmm, mmm. A sight to see coming but even better to watch leaving.” He murmurs appreciatively to himself and then gathering up the kettle now boiling merrily over the fire, using the leather wound about his hand to protect his palm, the Vara trader disappears into his wagon where one assumes he enjoys a strong mug of klah before prowling down into the bazaar.

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