Merakh, Zeyta


A late-night bath, and an unexpected sparring session.


It is the sixty-fourth day of Spring and 60 degrees.


Public Baths, Igen Weyr

OOC Date


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Public Baths

Stout walls have been erected around several naturally formed pools, serving to provide a semblance of privacy and protection from the harsh wind and sand. Above the pools, well cleaned walkways criss-cross beneath tiled arches and descend with a stairway or two leading down to each pool to provide one means of slip-free access through the area. Surrounding the pools there are benches, receptacles to put used clothing and towels in, and areas to get sweetsand and towels from - if you didn't bring your own.

Someone drilled in the rain, given the muddy treads of boots tracking through the baths. Freed from this labor, Zeyta sits where the footprints end, untucking and unlacing with meticulous calm. Every article of sodden clothing needs be folded into a immaculate pile, although her shoes she abandons, prepared with a pair of clean sandals to clad her feet whilst she goes about her routine. Beside her, in addition to the basket of soaps, oils, and lotions, there rests a brush and bucket, filled with sudsy water to scrub the dirty offenders caked in dried scum.

There are those whose preparations are not as immaculately made as Zeyta's; whilst Merakh is by no means slovenly, her clothes go into a little heap when she arrives a few moments later. There is tiredness in the lines of her tall body, and numerous contusions and bandages, likely from the purge that had just passed. It's one of the hotter ponds she heads to, close to Zeyta, and she gives a long, low hiss as she eases her body into the water, accomplishing it inch by stiff inch. It's a task that takes some time, and she slips beneath the water almost at once, holding her breath as she unravels her braid.

Oh, the purge. Beneath the surface layers of grit, Zeyta bears no mark of hard labor or the battery suffered by defenders of peace. No, whilst that chaos ensued, she sipped her tea and read charts on threadfall, hidden away until — now. Stripped down to a fleece robe, she bends over to her cleaning supplies, dipping the brush in steaming water, boot gripped in the other hand, and applies it, rough, raking bristles scraping over the encrusted leather. Of a private, but observant nature, her stern countenance catches Merakh from the corner of her eye and follows her progress into the pool, face a mask of cool repose. She'll watch, but she'll not engage.

After nearly a minute underwater, with her hair thoroughly loosened and soaked, Merakh emerges from beneath the surface of the water, choosing to stay submerged to her chin. A period of quiet reflection follows, though inevitably that's broken by her gaze slipping to Zeyta. There's a small nod for her, barely a fraction of an inch in her position — the danger of water up the nose, understand. There's little need, little desire to clog the humid, fragrant air with words. Instead, what there is, is the inevitable removal of soaked bandages some time later; the cuts below have been stitched tightly shut, and she hisses at the sudden sting before moving herself to sit on the rim of her pool for a good scrub-up.

A minute's worth of vigorous scouring loosens the earth stuck to the sole of one boot, turning Zeyta's attention to the rim before she attacks the ankle. Despite the intensity of her task, her facial expression betrays no exertion, no concentrated knit of brows or tightening of the eyes. Only once does she differ from glacial composure, chin dipping forward to acknowledge Merakh with the barest of movements. Silence reigns, although subtlety does not: she'll be overt in staring at the lattice work of scrapes and more precision-sharp slices of blades backed by a soft chorus of painful hissing in reaction to wet water liquifying the dried blood of scabs once more.

There's little body-shyness, strange in a newtimer, and Merakh is truly content to let the other woman stare. They both have boobs, legs, all the parts inbetween, as differently-distributed as those parameters might be. Her scrubbing goes slowly, taking care around the abraded patches and bruises. The stitching in the long wound up her back, as well as the cut on one arm, is tiny and neat, Healer-quality; the armwound is soon enough covered again, tied with a quick assist from teeth, but she frowns over her shoulder at the other, as inconveniently place as busted ribs. "Would you be willing to assist?" She doesn't say with what, it's obvious.

It's detached the manner in which she lurks and looks; Zeyta is clinical in her study, treating Merakh as an object and sweeping over anatomy to linger over the individual injuries marring her person. In the end it prompts a once-over of herself, pale, smooth arms and legs examined where naked skin peeks out from her robe. Dipping her brush down into the bucket to rinse it, she pauses, addressed, gaze flickering up to clarify herself the recipient of this request. "Mm. I am busy." Her monotone reaches her with steady, dull volume. Despite her answer, she soon queries, "With what," barked as a command.

"I can't bandage this neatly without twisting at it more than I should." Merakh's reply is meted, calm; even with Zeyta's brusque attitude there's little reaction beyond a vast tiredness behind her eyes. "It's clean, already bathed, but I need the support of the bandages so that the skin doesn't peel open along the wound."

"Perhaps you'd best visit the infirmary, let them slather you with numbweed before wrapping you in fresh bandages." Zeyta doles out this advice as she places her shined, black leather boot, newly cleaned and restored to pristine condition. Leaned over, her elbows rest on her knees, braids hanging limp over her shoulders. "Either way, you should not, mm, re-open them with strain. Tell me why you don't seek treatment." She blinks, expectant.

The guard sighs. "I did seek Healer treatment yesterday. They stitched my wounds and provided numbweed, but that was yesterday, today has been a muddy hell and I desperately needed a bath. I have a small tin of the stuff with my things, but, pardon me: whilst it's one thing to ask a stranger to help with bandages, it's quite another to ask them to put ointment on as well. That I can get done later, at the barracks." Her hands put the bandages aside, and she slowly gets to her feet, drying off as best she can. "Were you there?" she asks curiously. "Outside the bazaar. I didn't see much of the riders, they didn't venture into the area itself, I'm told."

"That I can verify by the needlework; at least journeyman care, too." Zeyta smirks, a ripple of emotion let run through her facade. While she buys conversational time, she stoops to lift her second boot, prepared to begin its cleaning. "Mm. The barracks. Cramped." Commentary aside, she purses her lips, thoughtful. "Ha." Her vocalized laughter rings with a hollow lack of humor. "What do I care for the bazaar or its criminals? Cha'el may play whatever games he wants, but I'll be no part of them."

"It wasn't a game," Merakh reproves quietly. "It's never a game, and people aren't playing pieces. I suspect, however, that it was a choice." With everything dried as well as she can reach, Merakh sets the bandages aside and starts dressing in fresh underwear, clean, warm clothes and two pairs of socks, before she stamps her feet into her boots to settle them correctly. Then, exquisitely courteous, she gives the nod that she can't turn into a bow and makes her way past Zeyta to one of the little staircases to take her above the bathing level."

"Oh, it is a game. You're a fool if you think grandiose schemes with large-scale impact meant to upheave the culture of an locale as rich as the bazaar have no political motivation. Especially when orchestrated by a transfer from another weyr. I daresay he's been here no longer than a turn, and yet." Zeyta pounces upon this rebuttal like a lioness, sinking her teeth into this tender morsel of discussion and ripping Merakh down to shreds with her careful oratory. "In fact, I suspect there was little choice exercised at the individual level; /you/ certainly followed orders, and given the resistance with which you were met, I am convinced others felt quite deprived of free well. Now, fetch me your fresh bandage." She'll dress her physical wounds while letting her verbal ones just inflicted fester.

Merakh pauses on the stairs as the offer is made, and turns to thoughtfully consider the rider. "It was a choice," she repeats calmly. "I made that choice when I became a guard, and tried for a better life than the one I had before." She thoughtfully leans against the railing, eyes running up and down Zeyta measuringly. "It was an interesting question you asked just now, regarding the reason why you should care about the Bazaar and its criminals. From your words, I take it you've lived here longer than the Weyrsecond? Obviously you don't totally align with his way of thinking or methods — what would you have done, if you had to make that choice?" She doesn't move closer, doesn't offer the bandages just yet, but neither is she turning away.

"Mm. I'll refrain from arguing the point further, let you leave with some notion of freewill." Zeyta smalls, sharp and cruel, to frame her bitter generosity she so graciously allows, hauteur obvious. "Mm. You take it correctly about my residency in Igen. However, I never said I disagreed with Cha'el's decisions. I simply have no personal interest in them. No, mm, motivation. Entertaining theories about what I would have done is pointless."

The guard slowly walks down the staircase again. Her movements are spare as she hands Zeyta the bandages and turns to take her shirt off again — that pulls enough to get a wince. "As pointless as it might seem to be, it would be just that, entertaining," Merakh corrects. "It's always entertaining to hear how people think, and what motivates them. Sometimes it even makes me glad I don't have to live inside their head." Her gaze droops to the knot visible, with the strand of brown through it, and her smile ratchets up a couple of notches, as if it imparts a secret to her, one tangential to Zeyta's espoused opinions.

Zeyta drops her scrub-brush in the bucket, setting her second boot down, task suspended. An open, upturned palm presents itself to accept the roll of bandages, fingers curling around it. "I've not time for entertainment, least of all to strangers. If you'd like that, find a healer with bedside manner." Her expression erases, wiped clean as a blank slate of marble except for the imperious judgment her eyes conduct. "I've enough of an other with whom I share thoughts."

Judging from the guard's smile, she finds entertainment nevertheless. "So I see, rider," she says wih a nod to the knot resting so neatly coiled on the pile of clothes. "I only have time for so much bedside manner. After someone chides me for the third time for having gotten hurt, it wearies me a little. There are others that need it more." She holds still, stretched precariously, waiting for the bandages to be wrapped around her. The slice looks to be long, stretching from shoulderblade to waist, deep enough to need stitching but not particularly life-threatening. Awkward, certainly, for an active person.

"Mm." Zeyta responds to the invocation of her rank with little enthusiasm, hardly discernible from her general disposition. Unraveling a strip of bandage she begins at the shoulder, wrapping a diaganol that crosses around to the front of her torso and down her back again. It's tight, it's meticulous, it's almost healer quality. "Others. Hm. You're of little use to them if you don't care for yourself first, however persistent an annoying healer treats you."

The guard breathes in little puffs and hitches of pain as the bandages go around so tightly and perfectly. There's a visible shudder as muscles release tension slowly, and a relaxation of shoulders as they no longer need to hold up her shoulders and spine against the dull throb of pain. "I suppose that's so. I shall certainly attend to them more vigorously in the past, if I ever come across such a wound again." It's not the first of her life, judging from the nicks and faint scars, and with a guard's life, likely won't be the last. "I shall leave you be now; I am no good at lingering conversations." Perhaps Zeyta isn't either. "Fair skies, correct? At least once the rain lets up."

Zeyta halts her re-bandaging to let muscles acclimate to the new layer of binding tied over them, letting the pain of constriction and contact against fresh wounds subside. Far from gentle, she at least proves attuned to the neural stab spreading lock a shockwave along the nerves. "Well. Numbweed and fellis will see you survive these without too much inconvenience." Keen as she is on retreating into silence and solitude, the curtness of the other woman surprises her, brow raised in visible display of this. "Mm. Clear skies. And farewell to you," she says, regaining her discipline.

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