Who

Diem, F'in | Zsaviranth, Rhakanth

What

Zsaviranth is meddling. Diem is meddling? F'in is… F'in.

When

It is afternoon of the sixth day of the third month of the seventh turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Igen Weyr

OOC Date 21 Feb 2016 08:00

 

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“It’s none of your business what a lady wears to the latrines.”


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Central Bazaar

All roads in the weyr ultimately lead here, to this center of commerce. Canvas awnings jut out over time worn, sandy cobblestone, sheltering customers and wares alike from the majority of Igen's elements, and funnel scents both mouthwatering and vomit inducing through the thin streets. Almost all store fronts are open air, delineated by sandstone arches with intricately carved facades. The insides of these stone-shingled buildings act as an amplifier for the salesmens' bawled enticements, and are held up by the chipped swirls of marble pillars.


Wind chimes lightly ping along the edges of an internal Labyrinth while hawthorn leaves rustle in a breeze that precedes Zsaviranth. The queen, ever present, voices her arrival with a gentle tone so that she does not startle. « Rhakanth. » A thin plume of burning sage wafts through the iron gates and toward a small grotto where she said she would respectfully wait. Her last visit was short. She was inquisitive. This time she visits with purpose and for a greater reason than herself. « Where is your bond? » Projected images of Diem making her way toward the Bazaar are shared with the bronze, but then fade upon that same earthy breeze. « Please send him to her. »

Rhakanth looks off to the north at something unseen. The gate to the great bronze’s mind falls open at sage smoke’s touch, clanging welcome against stops. The court is different, subtly. Or the same. Things in the Labyrinth are hard to judge. Sympathies and synchronicities recalling one area to another. One thing is unique here… a silvery key upon an outcropping of rough amethyst. « Zsaviranth. » Rhakanth’s voice shivers the bones of the earth, felt as much as heard. « He is here. » The squadrons of Whirlwind scatter like their namesakes to baths, meals, rest, sweeps. F’in is shaking himself of dust and grit, clouds and falls of the stuff sifting off of him in the cold air. The bronzerider stiffens and looks east, then north and plots a path of intercept. ‘Please send,’ not ‘she requests.’ Uh oh. « We come. »

Waves of satisfaction ripple through the Labyrinth in the form of a light haze now scented with cedarwood. Zsaviranth does not fully remove her presence from the bronze’s mindscape, nor does she speak to him about her lifemate making the trek toward the Bazaar. Diem, however, is walking at decent clip and fastening the broach of her cloak before fiddling with the hood like she’s about to flip it up over her head. Dark colored hair is pulled back into a prim Fortian chignon with a jeweled clip jutted out from the side in some sort of fashion from western territory. It’s not just for looks, that accessory. She’s nearing the entrance of the Bazaar as heeled boots grate against the sand and dirt of the central bowl.

Perpendicular to Diem’s path come F’in and Rhakanth, F’in at a clip, Rhakanth in ground eating pace that send tremors ahead of him. On seeing the weyrwoman in fine form, F’in’s face brightens and he grins, “Diem! Afternoon, ma’am.” he raises a hand, calling, “I was jes headed that way.” Perpendicularly. Ahem. Mind if he tags along? He’s puzzled about what he could have been summoned for. Momentum bleeds off into long strides as he curves his trajectory to match the goldrider’s. “Pretty clip.” A smith’s appreciation for craft. His eyes catch on it a moment, brow furrowed, before he pulls them to Diem’s face. “Where ya headed?” Since he’s, uh, heading that way and all.

Diem stops short when F’in draws near and turns to look at him with both hands lifted to her hood. She’s at a loss for words at the moment as she touches base with Zsaviranth who obviously sent the bronze pair her way. Caught! Like a child with her hand in the cookie jar. Her inner eyeroll is epic right about now. Diem squints and then slowly lowers her hands when she determines that she won’t be needing to shield her identity afterall. Shardit all to pieces. “F’…in. Greetings.” Ah, there it is. Took her a moment to pull the information out of her lifemate’s collection of names and images. “I was just heading to… the latrines.” Which are waaaay over there through that entryway leading into the inner caverns. She smiles and laughs a little. “Silly me, I forgot where they were. Are you busy?” Hazel eyes cast over his riding gear, the dust and grime noted. “You must be busy. I won’t keep you. Ta!” And just like that, the goldrider is heading straight into the Bazaar in a flurry. He won’t notice!

“Th’ latrines.” F’in takes a moment to look at Diem’s garb. “In disguise?” His eyes widen and he hunkers, lowering his voice. “Oh, are ya goin’ incognito? Ta do an inspection ‘r somethin?’” He nods, sage. Is Igen’s senior weyrwoman literally giving Diem the shit jobs? Another possibility occurs to F’in and his face falls into sympathetic planes, nose wrinkling, “Oooh. ‘s yer stomach upset?” He puts a hand to his belly raising a little puff of dust, “Yeah. Happens ta me too, sometimes.” Another sympathetic grimace before he follows Diem’s perusal of his dusty goods, “Ach,” he waves a dismissive hand, grinning, “I’m always busy.” He trots after Diem when she whisks away like a dustdevil, “Latrine’s ‘re thattaway, ma’am.” Matching her pace, he lowers his voice in warning tone, “Yer not just makin’ that bit up about th’ latrines ‘cause yer headed into th’ Bazaar on yer own ‘re ya?” Can’t get one past F’in!

Well, he’s following her now and asking all kinds of questions that he shouldn’t be asking. Diem stops short again — hopefully F’in isn’t following that close — and turns around to give him a look. “It’s none of your business what a lady wears to the latrines.” She feigns being appalled. Maybe insulted? Something! “Is there some kind of dress code for going to the latrines? I can’t simply,” Hands gesticulate and motion to her… cloak. “Wear what I’m wearing? Plenty of women are covered at Igen, F’in.” And then he has to point out which direction she should be walking in. “Yes, I know where they are!” Irritated now, she is. That’s a real emotion she doesn’t have to force or fake, especially since she stalks past the bronzerider to head toward the latrines with a huff. Now she really has to go that way.

Boots scrape and scuff as F’in puts on the brakes to not careen into Diem. It would be no small irony if he — so concerned over goldrider safety — barreled one over for following too close. It’s a near thing, and it skins F’in’s eyes wide as he pulls up short. He blinks at the look he’s getting. “No, ma’am, I s’pose it isn’t.” He bears up admirably under Diem’s retort. “I dunno.” F’in ponders, “I don’ expect there is. Though,” he ponders again, tapping his chin with a finger, the elbow of that arm caught and held to his chest, “That wouldna be a half bad notion — then ya’d know who ta stand by fer.” He lifts the tapping finger to hail invisible bazaarites, “‘Make way! Make way! Got my pee pants on!’” He drops his arm, “Though, then folk’d jes wear the pee pants so they could get right o’ way. Hmmm.” He tucks thumbs into his belt, head bowed as he works through the implications of a wardrobe attuned to bodily function. “Maybe’s not such a good idea.” He hustles after Diem again. She’s quick! “Wait, if ya don’ have ta go bad, like, right now I know a stand in th’ Bazaar sells some yogurt’d fix ya right up.” He stops, stabs a thumb Bazaarward. “I c’n show ya.”

Diem halts yet again and lets out huffed sigh when the bronzerider mentions pee pants. And then yogurt. “F’in, stop talking about bodily functions and the latrines.” She is really going to strangle Zsaviranth for interfering this time. “If you must know, I was simply needing a mirror. Not that you need an explanation…” That last bit is half grumble-mumbled to herself when she turns to walk toward the Bazaar’s entrance with a glint of intent in hazel eyes. She ends up trotting by F’in to make it across the pathway before a large swarm of people pass through to the marketplace, which she conveniently joins in the process. One minute she’s standing there, the next she’s blending into the moving crowd and entering the Bazaar. “See you there!” Like she //actually //knows which vendor F’in is talking about. It doesn’t seem to matter, though, since she’s following the throng with a clever grin and a quick flip of her hood over her head. There she goes again!

Meanwhile, Rhakanth watches the two humans zig and zag across the stony, sandy expanse beyond the Bazaar. Outside of Zsaviranth’s Court, a mist thickens, creeping in through flowered thickets, flowing down the rough hewn limestone paths and pressing up against the circle scribed in gold. Shapes move within the mist, dark things that purr and slaver, the scent of their bodies rank and musky. Talons rake across the invisible wall that keeps the mist at bay. It is a long moment they press and grind against the ward and, somehow, Rhakanth is simply there. Or perhaps he’s been there. The gold cord glittering in periphery. « Which is she? » Sharp dragon senses could pick her out of the crowd into which she’s dissolved, indeed, but why look when Zsaviranth can simply tell him. “A mirror? Dah,” F’in dashes a hand through the air, “Yer a stunner. Oh, d’ya have a bit of,” he mimes digging at his inscisors to remove bit of green. “Gimme a smile an’ I’ll- wait! Where ya goin’? I didn’t get ta,” he hustles off after Diem who’s darted away AGAIN. “Woman.” Amended quickly. “Ma’am.” Woman-ma’am. F’in dives himself into the throng flowing in and out of the bazaar. He tips up onto toes, stopping amidst traffic to spot his target. This does not endear him to those wishing to move by swiftly.

« There. » Zsaviranth shares an image of a hooded Diem leaning a shoulder up against a booth, ankles crossed, one arm bent over her middle while the other is upright. In her hand is a redfruit that she crunches on while watching the crowds pass by, hustling and bustling with activity and… is she grinning? Behind that redfruit, she grins and crunches upon the meat of the fruit. « I’m not sure if she sees yours. Perhaps she does. » Ohh, the weyrwoman sees the bronzerider in that crowd. She can spot him the way he lifts himself up to look over the heads of those much shorter than he is. And here she is looking like a Bazaarite all casual and munching on a snack. Then, very randomly, Zsaviranth sends a light fragrance of rose into the misty Labyrinth. « Your hide looks very nice today, Rhakanth. It reminds me of smoky quartz with highlights of amber. » Surely she’s not making small talk.

F’in is not looking anywhere at all towards Diem. Her ruse and camouflage complete. And then, upon his vision, a golden cord snakes through the crowd underfoot until it reaches Diem where it circles her feet and flares. F’in freezes at that, thunking back to his feet and then, eerily, turning his head to look directly at the smirking goldrider. His face is not exactly pleasant, gone grave with eyes darting to and fro as he makes a beeline towards the redfruit-crunching woman. “Why do I get th’ feelin’ yer not bein’ straight with me?” In the Court, Rhakanth makes a circuit of the space, the mists fall away as he passes revealing a landscape changed. Where limestone walls and hawthorn hedges were now wind narrow streets, paved gap-toothed with tawny flagstones. Crumbling adobe edifices slouch against one another, windows empty and open. Clotheslines criss cross the alleys dark and bright, hung with garments that flutter like banners on a breeze scented with the evergreen brightness of pinion smoke and the acrid tang of dungfires. Rhakanth’s neck arches, playing the sunlight to good effect. He rises from sphinx’s repose and turns to lope and launch towards where Zsaviranth observes, banded wings bright and dark as they flare upon landing. « Thank you, Zsaviranth. » The queen’s name tolls like a dark bell through the sprawling cityscape, spreading the scent of rose on waves of sound. « You’re… » Rhakanth pauses, neck arched, wings flaring and rustling before they tuck against solid sides and banded hide, « Luminous. » He stretches forward, pauses, a taloned forepaw lifted awaiting permission to join Zsaviranth in her perusal.

“What’re you saying, F’in?” Diem asks just before crunching into the redfruit. She pushes from the wall of the booth and starts walking down a calmer street, making sure that she doesn’t lose her unofficial escort this time. “I’m still looking for a mirror, I didn’t lie about that.” Is there a huge difference between lying and omitting the truth? Diem is brilliant at the latter. Heeled boots grate against the stone and she pivots to regard the bronzerider looming close by. “If you help me find one, I promise you that I won’t step foot inside the Bazaar for the rest of the day.” Crunch goes another bite of fruit. Zsaviranth rumbles her response to Rhakanth’s observation, though says nothing more to the bronze about it. She does, however, permit him to join her if he keeps his wings to himself — she is not one to be touched.

“I’m sayin’ it’s odd yer girl sends for me an’ yer tryin’ ta get away from me like I havena washed m’ leathers in a Turn.” He pauses, tensing briefly and ever so subtly sniffs at himself before continuing, “And then ya gimme a word feint about th’ latrines,” in other words: lies, “‘n dash off ta here.” The bronzerider’s pale eyes go skipping from stall to stall. THERE. There’s a man looking right at Diem. Tracking her. F’in hastens a bit to cut off the man’s line of sight. To Interpose himself until they’re well past. “What’re you up to?” For the mirror, “‘What about we leave now, stop by the Reika wagons, ‘n I’ll rustle a mirror up for ya from m’ brother.” F’in glances at Diem and her crunchy apple. He looks around for the guy skeeving him and adjusts pace to keep himself interposed. “An’ you promise not t’ wander hereabouts without someone watchin’ yer back?” Rhakanth settles next to Zsaviranth, drawn up neck curved and counter-curved, wings dusted with drill’s efforts, but gleaming beneath the dust.

“Oh, no. That’s not odd, love.” Diem says just before taking another bite of her redfruit. Her Fortian accent is thick upon her tongue to match the Bitran brogue spoken by the bronzerider. It takes a moment to chew and swallow the piece of fruit before she continues her thought. “Zsaviranth just wanted to see if the rumors were true.” A beat, “We wanted to see.” Nothing more is said about the latrines or of the mirror she is supposedly looking for. Instead, Diem leans over to toss the core of the redfruit into a trash barrel and brush her hands together with purpose. “My being here makes you very uncomfortable, doesn’t it?” Hazel eyes look up into his lighter blue. “Else you wouldn’t be trying to block that man’s view or hustle me to the caravan grounds.”

Without ceasing his watch, F’in rumbles at Diem, brows ticking down, furrowed, “Rumors?” He pauses to let Diem lean across him to the bin. “Aye.” No hesitation in F’in’s response to Diem’s question. “Care ta speculate on why that might be?” He glances over his shoulder, is the man following them? “‘f we cut through here, ‘s a pretty straight shot to the wagons.” He draws up, a berm of muscle and bone and leather, directing Diem with an arm pointed southwards down a middling sized sidestreet. Large enough for a guard, too small for booths on both sides, one long section of it the blank wall of the enclosure to the crafter complex.

Diem lifts her shoulders into a shrug and pivots to look down the narrow sidestreet like she has a choice in the matter. F’in’s arm is directing her to take that path and she stands still for a moment while considering if this is really the safest route to take. She flicks her eyes to the man standing off in the distance watching them and then feels that familiar tightness in the pit of her stomach once again. “I’m not entirely sure. I was hoping you’d tell me.” Diem steps down the narrow pathway with a spiked pulse all of a sudden, though she does a good job at keeping her voice calm. “Do you have a temper, F’in?” The pace she keeps is slow so that he doesn’t fall too far behind.

“Weyrwomen ha’ been attacked ‘ere. Mobbed.” F’in leans into stretching strides as Diem takes the cue and turns down the street. The residences opposite the stalls are slouching edifices with blank windows, like empty eye sockets. Household sounds filter from within to the bustle of the street. Clattering pots, a wailing babe. The sellers on the street are of a more quiet bent, selling, as it were, right under the nose of the Crafts. Still, the goods are proudly displayed and to good effect. “Dragonriders. Me. Before and after Impression. It’s not safe.” He weaves along through going ahead and dipping behind as needed to preserve space around Diem. “An’ your safety is everyone’s safety.” There’s a sympathetic look there, for the burden of Diem’s mantle, that forms in the watchful planes of dust-grimed face. The non sequitur catches him off guard. Watchful planes shatter to reveal a flash of guilt, a flicker of wariness, “A bad one a’times, aye. Not known fer it, so folk rather notice when it shows.” He looks at her, curious, “Why?”

“Mobbed.” Diem repeats F’in’s explanation. It’s not that she’s challenging him, but rather considering his words and correlating them to her previous endeavors. Lips purse and she nods when he’s finished speaking. Her breath quiets and she lifts her gaze again when there’s mention of a very nasty temper that lurks beneath that charming exterior of his. Ah. Zsaviranth had found the truth through draconic gossip that often cannot be trusted. “What,” She swallows. Causes it to flare?” His temper, that is. Curiosity is getting the better of the bronzerider and Diem shakes her head after his inquiry. “I suppose I want to know why you attacked the Weyrsecond.”

“Aye,” F’in lifts his head as if scenting then points off east, “Few streets over. During a leadership flight bazaarfolk rioted and attacked our Senior Weyrwoman. ‘nother time, at the Pit during a meeting of notables… riot. Attacked. The weyrwomen had to be hustled out under guard.” She can believe him or not. It’s a matter of record. A visit to the archives or talking to folk who were around would suffice. “A nest o’ tunnelsnakes infested,” he pauses, looks around. They’re crossing a broad square. “Right here. They boiled out one day… wasn’t pretty. A guard carried our Senior Weyrwoman out on ‘is back. Women were wieldin’ their shoes against th’ damn things.” Not. Safe. All documented. Brow furrows at the question, wrinkling amply. He winces, “Same as anyone, yanno. Threats t’ family. Friends. Th’ Weyr.” It gets specific now, this questioning. Direct. F’in halts, grabbing at Diem’s sleeve to pull her around to face him, “Now hold on a tick.” F’in’s jaw sets, “Who toldya that?”

It’s an impressive retelling of previous encounters that Weyrwomen have had in Igen’s Bazaar. Diem is so focused on what’s out ahead of them that she doesn’t quite catch that last bit about the tunnelsnakes. It’s the shadow that crosses into the pathway that catches her full attention, which might be why she gasps when F’in tugs on her sleeve and pulls her around to face him. Dark colored brows hike upward until she realizes that he’s asking her another question. “I’m sorry?” The goldrider blinks and then swallows again when she finally processes what F’in’s asking. “Oh. Zsaviranth was curious about a conversation I had with G’tan the other day and discovered that it was you who got punched in the face during that flight.” Diem straightens a bit with eyes looking up at F’in. “Which would explain why you reacted the way you did.”

“I threw words at ‘im, he threw the punch.” F’in’s lip curls at the recollection, a dark veil drawn across friendly features. “The first one.” F’in will own that bit of the violence. The veil dissolves with a blink, animation returning to his expression, “Why I reacted ta what now?” It’s not a good habit to stand still — like a target. F’in realizes that he’s still got Diem’s arm grasped and flinches a bit, “Sorry ‘bout that.” He offers his arm instead for her to take so they can get a move on.

Diem would rather lead the way than accept F’in’s arm at the moment. When he loosens his grip and releases her, she turns and continues walking down the pathway with a quickened pace. “It sounds like both of your tempers flared in the heat of the moment.” And that’s putting it very lightly. She doesn’t answer his question, but rather makes an observation instead. “Flights do that. They make everyone,” A hand motions to her head. “Lose themselves. Wouldn’t you say?” The end of their small journey is coming to an end now that the pathway is growing a bit wider.

That’s twice now, both times they’ve met, that Diem refused F’in’s arm. “I ain’t lookin’ to excuse what I did. An’ I feel the same t’day,” he pauses before continuing, “Less tetchy. But th’ same.” As she steps along he surreptitiously sniffs again at his armpit. Maybe his leathers do stink. They just smell… leathery… to him. Stone stele mark the entrance to the bazaar on this side of the sprawling buildings and stalls. Beyond the wagons of the Trader ‘vans. “Queen-” A bazaarite in dark yellow pants goes hustling by. F’in straightens, eyes wide, taptaptaptaptapping Diem on the shoulder, “Look! Look!” Pee pants! “Ya know. I don’ reckon they’d work so good. If ya had ta go bad enough ta need the right o’ way, changin’ into ‘em, well. It’d be pretty impractical.” He follows the man’s progress through the crowd. “Maybe an armband.” He turns back to where Diem is probably giving him a look.

Zsaviranth is a dragon that does not communicate through touch, but rather through scent and emotion. Diem is very much the same and is usually spritzed with a subtle fragrance of rose or vanilla — like she is right now. She may deny F’in’s offered arm, but that doesn’t deter her from staying closer to him than she normally would. It’s with perfect timing that he’s distracted by the Bazaarite in yellow pants and she just might flinch slightly at that taptaptapping on her shoulder. “You’ve a very vivid imagination, F’in.” Theeere’s that look she grants him. “Let’s go find that mirror, yes?”

F’in very much uses touch to communicate. And maybe through scent too, if Diem’s reaction is any indication. “Can’t say as anyone e’er said tha’ of me b’fore.” Imaginative. Though he is an inventor of sorts. It’s a time of transition in the Bazaar. The sun is falling towards the horizon. Merchants who have been here since dawn begin to pack their wares, headed home to their families, ceding the streets and alleys to different trade. The calls to examine goods are fewer, farther between. Packs of curs slink from the shadows to nose for scraps, showing teeth and hackles and tucked tails. Smoke from cook fires begins to rise. “Aye,” he nods. “Let’s.” Paved stone walks give way outside the Bazaar to packed earthen trails, wet with mud from Spring’s rain, rutted with the tracks of wagonwheels. Having the Reika wagons in sight gives F’in a measure of ease he hasn’t had since stepping into the Bazaar after Diem. “Have ya visited the Reika wagons?” A beat, “No? Well.” F’in draws up, chest puffed out, “I’ll show ya ‘round, ma’am. An’ if ya don’ have pressing duties, maybe entice ya ta stay fer dinner. Though,” because Onari’s not here to gainsay him, F’in grins and looks sidelong at Diem as they’re swallowed by the bustle amongst the wagons. “Guests wash dishes.”

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