Who

Divale, Talya

What

A familiar face from Southern is found among the spectators at The Pit and Divale attempts to work out just /who/ Talya really is…

When

It is evening of the nineteenth day of the eighth month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

The Pit, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 04 Apr 2018 04:00

 

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The Pit

One does not enter The Pit so much as descend into it. Why else the name? The Steen ancestors paid for their square footage with sweat, excavating the area and building curved walls up around it. Wide, smooth steps descend into a large entry area that overlooks the pit and galleries. Floors, ceilings and walls have been whitewashed with limestone paste, increasing the amount of light reflected back from the numerous glow baskets hung on the walls. A rounded doorway to the right leads one into the business' "office", which is furnished in spartan style: cushions for kneeling or sitting upon, a desk that's low to the ground constructed of the same whitewashed stone as the rest of the building, and niches carved out of the walls themselves for decorative pieces. Here is a small sculpture of men wrestling, there is a wooden carving of a champion with a foot upon his vanquished foe.

Continuing on through the lobby brings one to another set of six stairs that descend into the galleries surrounding the sand-filled pits. A low wall separates audience from combatants, but even at its highest point, those in the galleries are never more than twenty feet away from the action. The sand is raked daily, with fresh sand added whenever the blood to soil ratio becomes too great.


Talya is a face that has not been seen at Igen since the Hatching, having been whisked away shortly after and all her belongings taken with her. But when a visiting Southern rider offered, she had to jump at the chance. Even the memory of the heat does not seem to keep her away, though thankfully it was evening and the night did not have that bite that Rukbat brought. The Pit was likely not as likely as it got well into the night, but it was enough of a crowd and the start of a fight that had Talya intrigued, having avoided it (and its vices) during Candidacy. She's keeping to the back of the crowd, people watching on her own and sporting a tall glass of something mixed that smells strong and already half empty. The night is still young, and the fights are just beginning, even if her eyes are settling on those calling out bets and the marks passing hands.

Some would argue that the Pit is not a place for a (proper) woman, but the crowd here tonight is by and large uncaring to who may come to observe. For tonight is, indeed, a night filled with rounds of the popular bloodsport of watching two (or more) people fight for sheer entertainment! While many of the rows are not quite filled, the heat inside is only slightly lesser than outside and promises to become nigh unbearable should the crowds swell any larger. On the end of one round, with the victor being rightly cheered and the looser collected and led away (if he can walk, that is), one other is ghosting along the crowds. Divale is dressed casually in light woven fabric that is wound and folded over her frame in an androgynous style. Her head is uncovered, now that the threat of sunburn has passed and while she seems content to drift about on her own, when her dark eyes spy Talya, well… It’s no surprise where the brownrider veers next. “Well, well.” she muses low and dryly, as she just invites herself to come settle beside the young woman. “Decided to return? For nostalgia sake or for good?”

Talya's attention does trail more often onto the fighting when it does go on, but they stray. It's hard not to! So many people are moving in and out, raised voices, drinks moving hands… and after being anti-social for so long it's hard to mingle again. Thankfully the mingling comes to her. Her dark eyes look to Divale with an unfamiliar wariness that quickly alters into recognition with a wide smirk. "Hoping to torture me some more if I say I'm here for good, maybe wait around for the next clutch?" Her free hand goes up into a sloppy salute, a good dose of nostalgia there for the brownrider. "I'm actually catching up on all that I missed out on, it was hard to not want to dive down here after being told about it almost as soon as I arrived to Igen. And to indulge!" She drinks from her glass to prove a point (not that she hadn't before). "But nah, have to head back to Southern no later than the morning. Sorry to disappoint."

“Torture you? What ever gave you that idea?” Divale’s tone remains bemused, even as she dips her head in a respectful nod to Talya’s sloppy salute. She’s not on duty at the moment and so allows it to slide. Besides, it’s not like the Pit runs on formalities — at least not the kind most follow. A low chuckle and just as it was in the Tea Room, she won’t pin the young woman under a constant stare. No, her eyes drift down to the ring below, while she keeps to the conversation. “The Pit is certainly one of it’s own… I didn’t think you’d have the stomach for blood sport. Are you enjoying it?” Difficult to say if she means the fighting, the drinks or both! She won’t give Talya long to mull over it too, before she adds in the same expressionless tone. “If you are heading right back to Southern, time lag and all… I’d hardly say I am disappointed.”

"I think I have a scar from scratching because of those fucking Vtols that bit me back during that one time, before I figured your trick," Talya remarks with a huff of a laugh. "Must be fun to give candidates the least glamorous tasks to do, I do see the advantage of having them around." And that is likely the last salute that Divale may receive from Talya should they run into each other again while she's visiting Igen, considering she no longer sports the white knot and is obligated to it. Not disrespectful, more like just forgetful that others rank above her somtimes. Tal's own eyes trail to a passing waitress, who she makes a vague request on a new drink before she turns back towards the ring. "You need to learn more about me… I'd rather learn how to be down /there/ instead of up here." She grins into her glass, draining it before her new drink arrives. "Oh, /your/ morning. I've got the day off and all night. I've also not forgotten about that tea you mentioned, I was hoping to pick some up before I had gone too." Because she likely assumed the Tea Room served it. Her eyes give the brownrider a meaningful look. She knew the secret code.

Divale’s mouth quirks into a vague smirk for mention of the trip out to Vtol Swamp Hold. Oh, how that will be remembered! “I’m sure a tough thing like you will survive a few minor vtol bites,” she scoffs. “And it’s not so much the tasks and the glamor. You are aware of that, yes?” Her gaze doesn’t flick back to Talya quite yet, even with such an inquiry. It’s not until she opens up about her desire to be IN the fighting ring that Divale tilts her head and peers at her sidelong. “Clearly,” she murmurs and after a beat of silence, adds further: “I do not know as much about you. You do not come off as having the drive of a fighter. You’d not be met with approval in many circles here.” A vague smirk curves her lips. “But they do allow women to fight on the rare occasion. Special event only.” There are probably a lot more conditions to be met, but she does not elaborate. Her eyes narrow a bit when the tea is mention and Divale lifts a hand up to place a lone finger near her lips in a fleeting gesture. Not likely anyone heard, among the din, but she takes no chances. “We can come to an arrangement.” she notes quietly, just before the crowds erupt in renewed cheers: another round is about to begin.

Talya flaps her hand in a dismissive gesture, even if Divale is not looking at her. "Of course I'm aware of it." Maybe vaguely, but thankfully she doesn't have to school her expression into anything serious since Divale is looking elsewhere. She stares down into her drink with a frown at the brownrider's words. "What do I come off as, then?" Her dark eyes lift back up to the other woman, a brown arching curiously. "I mean, I don't go looking for fights but it's definitely a good way to let off steam, should the need arise." She gives a laugh at the idea of her not being approved by those around Igen. "I've come to learn that those here do not seem to really like most of what I say or do. I think I had that figured out on day one." Her toothy grin seems to be answer enough that she does not mind her reputation. She gives the brownrider a look when she motions to be silenced. "I'll hold you to that," she notes, putting a mental pin in it. When the cheers rise up, she raises her glass as if to join in, then drowns down a good gulp before standing up straighter. "Oh, that little guy. That little guy definitely is going to win." Short people comraderie.

Divale’s look turns slightly doubtful for Talya’s dismissive return but she won’t pursue the topic further. Then she’s asking the right questions and the brownrider chuckles low and quiet again. She’ll leave the poor woman to squirm a bit too, as she seems to ignore her in favour of watching the crowds. Her gaze settles on one spot in particular but there is nothing of immediate note about what it may be. “You are not like most young women. Showed promise and I will admit, I was disappointed to see you left Standing.” Isn’t that so sweet? Only it doesn’t sound sweet given the shaded tones Divale is so fond of. Sincerity is there, however! “If it’s ‘steam’ you are looking to shed, you’d be better off just doing PT or mock sparring. Not full fledged fights.” Having pointed that out, she’ll turn her gaze back to her again, only to smirk. “It’s a shock, isn’t it? Misogyny is strong, here. Be it in the Bazaar or even in the Weyr itself. Some are becoming more progressive but… it is a slow process.” Pleased when Talya catches on to keep on the down-low about certain teas, Divale will relax enough to let her gaze slip away to observe the arrival of the next contenders. “Mhm. You may be correct in that guess.” Pause and one would think she’s grinning wolfishly; she may very well be, on the inside. “Do you gamble, Talya?”

Talya's one quirked brow is followed by two, but the brownrider not answering eventually makes her hum a note of wonder. She may have to bring that up again later, then. "Are you native to Igen? I imagine I stick out like a wherry in the weyrling barracks if so. But you aren't the only one disappointed, still it is nice to know others think so too." It may not have been sweet but Talya will place a hand to her chest and bat her eyes in jest at Divale. "I could have definitely had fun here in Igen, though maybe not that many friends." Considering her fun would probably have been to do anything scandalous to shock the conservative crowd. She gives the woman a wink as she replies, "Basically what you said, is what I've gone into. Joined up the Guards at Southern, since there was openings." Of course, the one Guard died and some where still sick, so she took advantage of the post available. But there's still a glitter to her eyes as she turns back to the crowd and the starting fight. "But when the day's just gone to shit or someone's annoying you, sometimes you just want to bash a face in or two without safeguards like sparring." Her eyes briefly flicker to Divale and then back to the fight, but she doesn't bite. "If it's marks you're looking for, you're asking the wrong person. Mine's going all to the lady that keeps bringing me these tasty drinks."

“I am not native to Igen,” Divale admits with a small shake of her head. “Though perhaps it counts as I lived under the desert? Formally known as the Underground, but now Kurkar Hold.” It’s not the truth but there is little that would betray that lie and most in the Weyr know Divale’s past as such. Only a very few know where she truly hails from. Now it’s her turn for her brows to lift in surprise when Talya mentions joining the Guards. “You do realize that Guards who routinely make a habit of ‘smashing in faces’ tend not to… do well. Or is Southern far more lenient?” Was that a jab? It was totally a jab. Thems fighting words! Kind of. As the crowd swells into another burst of animated cheering and conversation and the fight below starts to really pick up, Divale will keep her gaze trained forwards though she chuckles low for Talya’s answer. “I do not bet or wager with marks.”

"Cooler than the desert, living down there, from what I hear," Talya remarks at the other woman's background. She doesn't seem inclined to really dig into the brownrider's past, though she does have to ask, "So safe to assume they weren't as close minded as they can be around here?" Her grinning and fun is quickly turned into a reluctant frown and a deep sign. "Yeah, so I hear that," she replies about the Guards. "I did make a terrible bartender, but I never got kicked out for teaching those getting handsy with me or any of the other working ladies a lesson." Maybe a stern talking to or change of shifts, by the wince she gives. "I can't be much worse as a Guard. If I ever get to being a full Guard that is, mostly just dragging drunks from one place to the other right now, and perhaps there's no bashing-of-faces while on duty but they can't really stop me from defending myself off duty." Of course, she is not going to elaborate that sometimes she provokes the fights coming at her. She stands up straight and off from the wall, suddenly curious at Divale's wording, even as her eyes are going to the matched pair in the ring. "I guess it depends what exactly you want to wager. That man's gonna take that big guy down fast."

Divale’s brows furrow, “Kurkar Hold is… unique. When it was the Underground, we were nothing more than mixed holdless and worse. All under the control of one man. It was not — ideal.” To say the least and in the largest understatement. Talya doesn’t have to elaborate; the look that the brownrider levels at her from over her shoulder speaks volumes. She can assume and there’s a lot of that going on, as she continues to work out just who this young woman is. “Being a Guard does have some rewards…” she admits and when the bait is taken on wagers, a grin flickers briefly again on her lips. “We’ll see, won’t we?” As to who will wind the round; indeed, it seems as though Talya’s earlier guess of the smaller contestant isn’t far off the mark! “If you win, I will get you what you seek and take you back to Southern myself. If I win,” And here her voice lowers to an almost growled, throaty sound while a wolfish smile replaces the earlier ghost of a grin. “You will get what you seek.” That… doesn’t seem to work in Divale’s favour at all? Until she adds: “And one kiss.” Despite the ongoing fight below, she will keep her gaze held on Talya, one brow quirked in an inquisitive manner. Well? Of course, Talya could call her bluff too!

Talya was hoping for a little more of a happier tale regarding Divale's original home. "Oh," she says in a sympathetic tone. "Well that's shit." That's about as far as she'll get into that, her frown and wrinkled face growing back into a smirk as she considers her future prospects. "I mean, it definitely is better than being a bartender." She could probably now list a lot of different career options that is better than serving food and drink to people with a forced smile on her face. While she matches Divale's grin with her own, her eyes still squint suspiciously. It's a weird look, but it works together. She listens to the woman's wager, going from squinted eyes to raised brows. She locks eyes with the taller woman, humming in consideration. The fight's still going! The crowd cheers! Tal still hums and takes a slow drink, teasing out the time it takes to reply… "I don't see why not. Little-guy's definitely gonna win." Not that she was watching the fight as intently as she wanted. She gives a laugh then, practically snorting in to the glass. "I think I'd still come out winning at the end, not that I'm gonna lose." She sticks her hand out to seal the deal, even as her head swivels back to return to the ring.

Oh, what Talya doesn’t know! Divale’s history in the Underground pales in comparison to the life she had before it. There are very, very good reasons she keeps her secrets her own. “Perhaps.” Is all she has to say on career options. She has never been a bartender, but she will not doubt that it has it’s downsides! Darkly amused when the wager is accepted, she will barely hesitate in taking Talya’s hand and gripping it firmly to seal the deal. True, she stands to win far more out of this but for the brownrider, there are hidden perks at play here. Enough that she’s willing to allow her to think she’s coming out the better for it! Divale knows better. “Plenty of time left in the match!” she muses dryly and, letting go of Talya’s hand, she will turn to watch the fight. It will be a close call and last more rounds than most would have guessed (and from some disappointed cursing and groans, a few lost bets!). Small does prove to win out this time but it’s a VERY close call and most of the spectators are on the edge of their seats by the time the match is called. Divale hardly seems ruffled that she’s lost and merely pushes to her feet, casually slipping her headscarf back up and over her head. “Come with me.” Is all that she will murmur to Talya, casting one lone sidelong look to be sure the Southern woman is following before she slips back into the crowds. Time to quietly disappear and tend to that wager, while the crowd is still riding the end of a good match.

Talya would probably have much stronger word choices if she knew anything of the rider's past. In the present, however, she is suddenly very wary at the brownrider's amusement, having caught it before looking away. "Why do I suddenly feel like I signed my life away?" she asks playfully on the side with a laugh. But the deal's a deal, and she doesn't seem to back down at it for one moment, giving the other hand a firm squeeze. Back to the fight itself, the alcohol definitely warms her to raising her voice to the crowd and no longer a wallflower. She's routing for Little-guy, whatever his name may be. She cleans out the rest of her glass before the end of the fight and cheers along with the crowd, as if she had just won a hefty bag of marks. Her big toothy grin is turned to Divale, perhaps hoping to see some dejection. Nothing there. She gives a chuckle even as she's paying her tab for the drinks. "Sounds like the perfect time to go." While she's winning, right? "Lead the way!" The ring is giving one last look before she slips past the grown crowd, trying to avoid bumping into anyone (or being unpleasantly bumped in return).

Never fear! Divale will see that Talya is led away “safely”. A deal is a deal, indeed and the brownrider will work with the small window of time she has to make good on it. Knowledge of the nooks and ‘hidden’ spots among the Bazaar are a perk and she will make sure to drift to one of these as swiftly as possible to avoid being seen. There, the exchange takes but moments: Mercy, Divale’s gold firelizard, will deliver the goods in a tiny little satchel. That satchel is handed to Talya with the stern warning that the young woman keep it safe and hidden. Following that? A rundown of how to steep it (or mix it) and to take it only when alone and at night when there will be no interruptions or early next day shifts. Ominous sounding, isn’t it? Or it’s Divale’s way of covering her ass, as she takes a risk in trusting Talya and the girl’s resolve not to be a flighty, panic-prone woman and live up to the image of a ‘tougher’ sort. Once she’s made her repeat the instructions and conditions, she’ll nod, satisfied. Then it’s only a matter of finishing the second part of the deal and that will be the easiest of all. Off they go to cross paths with Lukoith and it’s straight forward from there. Divale will see Talya returned to Southern and then promptly return to Igen.

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