Aim To Protect


Alara.jpg Jaya.jpg Kaskan.jpg

Date: Nov. 4, 2010
Location: The Bar, EW
Synopsis: Jaya's pissed, Kaskan's pissed, and Alara picks their brains on the latest going-ons in her Weyr. She doesn't really get all that much from the both of them.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya

It's a busy evening at the bar with business picking up once word got around that the bar owner was back in town. Even though she was only gone for a few days, it would seem most didn't want to frequent the bar all that much with Suli running things. The big barmaid was was strangely sullen and temperamental without Jaya up and about, which helped the business slag. Not even the pretty blonde, Hayli could help spruce up the business. Jaya was here behind the counter, her expression one of irritation and a brimming of anger despite the fact that she was running drinks and conversation to the patrons. Suli seems to be in a better mood than she had been in the last few days, Shijan is back at his customary post at the entrance, staring down any and all that walk through, and Hayli is a bundle of warm laughter as she flits about the tables. All seems to be right with the world - well, save for a churlish barkeep. But then, that might not be anything new for those that frequent the bar often.

It's been a long time since Alara's been out and about. She's seen here and there, but she hasn't socialized with people for quite a while. No one is sure of the reasons, but it might have something to do with the fact that Ockath and his rider have gone on another trip, and haven't returned. Or, it might have been the stresses of the Hatching cycle on her gold and herself. Speculation is rife, but the truth's unclear. She steps into the bar, and looks around. "Oh. You've returned." Alara smiles. "I'd heard you'd been gone for awhile. It's good to see you back." She sits down at a seat, and reaches into a pocket to fish out the payment. "Mmm. I like that sweet wine you served me last time. Do you still have some of that?"

Kaskan saunters into the bar with a negligent air, making a beeline for the bar without a care for who might be lingering in his path. A few gruff murmurs and angry looks are cast as he brushes past gamers and onlookers without apology but none seem up for challenging him directly. It could be the stiff set of his shoulders or the straight line of his lips, drawing a dark expression that optimizes scars marring an otherwise handsome visage. The smolder seems only to deepen as he looks ahead and spies the barkeep present but his path remains the same and he's elbowing his way up to the counter and leaning on it with one elbow. A burly man with a frothy mug glares over his shoulder and starts to complain for the space Kaskan demands but one look at the Bollian guard and the man merely grumbles sidelong as he turns back to his previous conversation. As for Kaskan, he watches. And waits. His light blue regard falls curiously on the goldrider as she takes a place at the bar but it's the barkeep that he keeps well within peripheral vision.

Jaya must be in popular form today, for whenever she turns to one patron another's calling for her name. It's clear she's in one of her moods, the last man to call rudely in her direction - he clearly has had one too many drinks – she sends glare strong enough to cut the words short. Her dark eyes finding Alara at the counter now, she scarred faced barkeep shoots a glance towards Suli on the floor and gestures with her chin for the woman to come over and take up the orders while she becomes occupied. “Been awhile, Weyrwoman,” she drawls, allowing herself a weary-looking smile as she goes to set an empty glass before her. “Yeah, back. Thanks, shuga,” she warms to that briefly, then when she is asked of the drink she was served long ago, the barkeep pauses with a slight frown and then nods sharply. “Spiced appled, laced with a kick, if I remember correctly?” she notes, seeming to match the drink to the person. “Or was it your weyrmate? Would you like it laced? It doesn’t come that way naturally.” In the corner of her eyes, she’ll pick out Kaskan’s presence like he was the gold dragon in a room full of bronzes. She makes to turn and reach for the spiced apple decanter, which puts Kaskan in her line of sight and her eyes connect with his since he’s staring right at her. She’ll shift closer, at least to try and keep herself from shouting as she takes in Kaskan’s appearance and her brows furrow slightly. “Something strong?” she asks him in a way of greeting, taking him his smoldering expression intently. She can tell something was up with him, and knowing her she’ll be prying for answers out of him in no time.

Alara bites on her lower lip, indecision crossing her features for just a moment, and then she shrugs. "Why not? I think I'll be brave." She grins, but the mention of T'ryn makes the smile slide off rather quickly. "He likes the harder stuff, I think." She can't remember at the moment, and he's out of sight. She purses her lips, and looks at the decanter. When Jaya speaks to Kaskan, she turns her head, following the other woman's gaze. With the lift of an eyebrow in inquiry about his obvious strop, Alara frowns, more in consternation. "What seems to be the problem?" Maybe if she knows what's going on, she can help. She might be unaware of a lot right now, but she does still care for the residents of the Weyr. "Maybe I can help?" It is a question. If nothing else, she can listen for a moment or two to someone else's problems, leaving her piles of stress and hides back in her Weyr.

Kaskan watches Jaya keep the bar supplied with quick efficiency, waiting on the goldrider then turning his way. Still bristling, he purposely leans into the bar a tad more, further annoying those directly to either side of him. He doesn't care. To his credit he makes an effort to reign in his negative expression somewhat for Jaya, the unspoken message that she isn't the source of whatever is bothering him. But before he can reply the goldrider speaks up and his internal shield immediately rises. The boy has trust issues. Even a hot-tempered ruffian-turned-guard, however, knows when to show respect for a knot as well as a lady so he schools his features even further to offer the goldrider a friendly but weary nod lacking hostility. His stance remains rigid even while supposedly engaged in a casual lean though, emotions hovering just beneath the surface of his demeanor.

"Thank you, weyrwoman, but unless you're willing to drop someone off the heights there's nothing you can do, trust me." A little twitch sneaks into the corner of his lips for that image, then he looks back to Jaya with a grateful nod, "Absolutely."

“Seems to be the night for it,” Jaya remarks to the Weyrwoman on being brave, delivering a small smirk her way before she goes for the decanter in question. Once she has it in hand, “You don’t come to my bar enough,” she idly notes, pouring the deep red liquid into Alara’s glass till it’s 3/4's full. She picks up that change of expression on her face when mentioning her weyrmate easily, the woman frowning a bit as she goes to lace the drink with something stronger. “He does,” she seems to recall T’ryn, her amusement with the man and that memory evident. “How has it been for you both?” Once Alara’s drink is made, the barkeep turns to sidle over to Kaskan and sets a mug down for him. When Alara speaks to him, she looks toward the guard in kind until he answers her. She’s regarding Kaskan all the same, not helping the level of concern on her face at his demeanor – even if he’s irritating those sitting at the bar and not her. It’s even enough to make her almost forget why she’s so pissed off tonite. On his response to the Weyrwoman, “So who’s the cause this time, shuga?” she gives a follow-up question behind Alara, not helping the fact that some wryness enters her tone as she sets about getting him something much stronger than the laced spiced apple juice. “Don’t really see any new scars…” she doesn’t think anyway as she studies the scars already seen on his face.

"No, we leave that to the greenriders…." Alara comments softly, as close to snark as the polite woman ever gets. "Well, if it does turn out to have a better solution than defenestration or its cousins, let me know." She snorts, and then turns around to Jaya. "Well, he's gone off again, on another trip. I'm not sure how long he'll be gone again, but it is important that he do these things…" What 'these things' are, no one knows, or why it has to be T'ryn doing them, and not herself and J'cobi instead. "Oh, I know. With Theron gone, I haven't been doing much at all except paperwork and caring for Rauzath." She gives a small smile. "I tend to lose track of time. I cannot imagine what would have happened had Kaseth cracked shell for me. That would've just been disastrous." The smaller queen is known for having a far view, as opposed to Rauzath's up-close-and-personal way of looking at things. "I'm just glad Rauzath has kept me apprised of most things." She shrugs. Most things. Probably not the important things, either. She takes a slow sip of the drink, appreciating the 'kick,' and leans back a little, letting go of some of the stress of her days. "I'm sorry things are so grim, sir." She's still not got his name, nor is she particularly worried about it at the moment.

Kaskan is too wrapped up in his own issues to pay attention to what transpires between the two women. The words go in one ear and out the other until directed at him, the many names not clicking with anyone he's met yet. So much for his alternate agenda on this southern assignment - when pissed he could care less about politics. His superiors would be most displeased if they knew… but they are half a world away and don't have a clue. Instead Kaskan continues to simmer quietly, watching Jaya as she prepares the drinks and anticipating a strong enough selection for himself that will burn its way into his gullet and the frustrated anger coiling there.

When Alara speaks to him again he blinks, drawing his attention back to the goldrider and pulling a wry grin for her. "S'way it goes some days," he says with a shrug. "But thanks for the sentiment…ma'am. I'm Kaskan, by the way, visiting from Southern Boll."

The grin turns downward at Jaya's questioning and blue irises turn a stormy slate hue as they switch to the barkeep. Dark brows arch slightly, inviting her to guess and indicating she should know the answer already. "That tanner," he provides after a moment, imbueing the adjective with several meaningful layers of hostility. Then he snorts, twitching his leg unseen behind the bar for the hard kick that Bowen delivered recently leaving his knee a big purple bruise. "Not a chance," he grumbles with typical male pride.

At that remark from Alara on greenriders, Jaya fits a rather taken aback look on her face before she snorts it into a pleased smile, but it fades some as she listens like the rapt barkeep that she is to the Weyrwoman’s words on her doings. She frowns on the bit about T’ryn’s going off to doing something deemed important enough to keep him away, “Can’t someone else do it for awhile?” she puts the question out in the open, the woman not one to not question such things. “It must be tough – not having him around. Don’t lock yourself up in your weyr, eh?” Her brows does lift however when Alara mentions she was being kept abreast on most things going on the Weyr, blinking once and choosing that time to asks, “Has there been anything going on lately? All I hear here in the bar is about the mundane news up north.” Yeah. Like the happenings down in Eastern are just as ‘mundane’, her expression seems to suggest. She finishes pouring Kaskan his drink then, passing the mug over to him as she catches that look in his eyes. “Bowen?” she supplies the name when a tanner is mention, the barkeep blinking a few times. “You and he…?” Yep, she guessed it. Shooting a quick glance Alara’s way, “Is his face in the running to become your look-alike?” she seems to tease, but the barkeep has no laughter in her voice or eyes. “And I missed it. Drats,” she adds dryly, shaking her head as Suli bustles behinds her.

"I can't leave right now, too much to do, and J'cobi won't leave." Alara still doesn't clarify much. "I trust Theron to do the job admirably, and he doesn't suffer too badly from the absences. He and Ockath are skilled enough in the air, that with a little personal practice, he will fit back into the wing cycles pretty easily. Not many of our other riders can do that. And I'd like to see this done before we start flying the Thread ourselves." She purses her lips, and takes another long sip of the drink. "I'll probably go find him for a bit soon, if I can." Barring emergencies. "It sounds like there's been quite a bit going on that's just under the surface. Like in the back corners of things. Rauzath only hears the hints and whispers." She rubs a hand over her face, and sets the glass down again. "Or when the trouble bubbles up enough to catch draconic attention. Lazy beasts, the lot of them." She says this indulgently, with a fondness borne of time spent with her own. However, it engenders a response, which in turn causes the woman to wince. "Ouch. Appparently, that bit was unappreciated." She rolls her eyes. "Well met, Kaskan, I'm Rauzath's Alara, and welcome to Eastern, though it seems our Tanner may have given you his own sort of welcome." Perhaps not of the normal variety. She takes another drink.

Kaskan snatches up the mug from Jaya and immediately tips it back for an unwisely long swallow. When it comes down again he drags in a sharp, extended breath and gives his head a shake, setting dark layers askew about his face. Curling what could nearly be called a true grin at the barkeep his he casts a brightened regard through over-long bangs, declaring with a slightly strained tone, "And that's why everyone comes when you're here!"

Alara's greeting is given a more enthusiastic return now that Kaskan has a strong drink in hand. He lifts the mug slightly in her direction by way of salut and takes another drink in her honor. Then he procedes to tune out the chatter of weyr folk and weyr business, glancing about at nearby patrons until Jaya's observation draws a scoffing snort. "Last thing we needed was you swinging that knife around in the dark. I might've lost an eye for real instead of just a nick on the temple."

Jaya notes that emphasis in regards to the Weyrleader, and that gets her interest, but for now, she’s willing to leave it off of further questioning for now. “I hope you can, ma’am,” she answers on Alara going out to see her weyrmate soon, nodding to that before she takes up the deposit of dirty mugs that needs to be cleaned from a passing Hayli. What even gets more of her attention was the Weyrwoman talking about the hints and whispers she’s been hearing about. “Your queen hasn’t been saying anything of late?” she asks the question oh-so lightly, sliding the wash towel over the current mug she’s wiping clean with her dark eyes staying on Alara. Her amusement lingers on the exchange of dragonrider and dragon, but she looks expectantly on the former for her response to her question. She can however spare the words toward Kaskan some interest, adding with a touch of wryness to them both, “Boys will be boys, and men will be men.” She’ll let them decide of which category the guard and the tanner can place themselves in, for the smirk pointed Kaskan’s way is pert. Yep, that response is good enough to Kaskan’s declaration on why folks come when she’s around, but his last to her does draw one of her three-second smiles and a wink before she’s willing to leave him to his drink for now.

"Nothing major that I can remember, or I would've acted on it…." Alara is worried now. "Why? Have you heard something? Rauzath's ideas of what is important is often skewed." Sunlight, a herdbeast, a good long flight, lots of eggs… her rider… her Weyr, but possibly in almost that order. Dragonminds are focused mostly on the present, and Rauzath more than most. She replies to Kaskan's nod with a nod of her own, and falls silent, wanting to listen to the barkeep and drink her own spiced — and laced — cider.

“Of late?” Jaya is appearing dubious at best, taking to leaning against the counter as she thinks up a suitable response. She frowns a bit, then shakes her head slowly from side to side as she answers, “Nope. Nothing dangerous to the Weyr and its people.” Which is kinda true. She doesn’t know about Max going to tell Randi, so the barkeep is keeping it her cool for now. She was planning on taking Rio’s advice to tell them about herself, her life, but the Bitran had to admit that she was scared of what the outcome would be. And so, “Just trying to keep the peace around here,” she adds, setting her hand flat to the counter with a firm nod. “Making sure the Weyr wants for nothing. You all have been so good to me, despite my fighting it,” she adds, though the edges of the irritation that so captured her before was starting to creep back in as she says it. Looks like Kaskan’s not the only one needing a strong drink this night, but the barkeep’s on the job.

Alara purses her lips for a moment, then decides to accept the woman's words. For all she knows, Jaya's right. "Alright, then. If you do hear something worrying, and you feel I need to know, don't hesitate to stop by my Weyr, or tell me when you see me. It's been difficult to keep abreast of everything, as well as do a lot of the mundane work. I haven't even done what I need to do for…" She sighs, and then takes another drink, nearly emptying the glass before settling it back into its place. "I appreciate that you're feeling more at home, Jaya. I'm glad you're here." A genuine smile appears.

Jaya almost shows her bout of concern, the barkeep hesitating before she allows a nod to suffice. “It would be too much of a burden, Weyrwoman,” the barkeep responds to the expression along with the words, her tone sober. “Let me hold onto it just a little longer, shuga.” One might find the reassuring words odd or disconnected from the conversation, but the Bitran woman doesn’t. Trust is a big thing for her, apparently, and the she’s still of the point to play her cards close to her chest. She’ll turn her head only slightly, perhaps brining pointed attention to the scar running down the side of her face, before she adds, “I’m…actually glad to be here,” she admits, giving the bar a long look. “Gets kinda lonely having to be out on your own without a place to hang your panties. Done it too long for my age, I guess. The lands aren’t really good place for a young woman, you know?” She alludes to her past, perhaps coming to so close as to lay a little at Alara’s doorstep as to what she has been about before Randi found her. “Another?” she asks, watching the levels on the glass before Alara.

With a distracted nod, Alara pushes her glass toward the woman. "Mmm, yes, please." She looks up at Jaya, considering her words. "Alright." Whether she understands them or not, she'll accept the situation for now. It is true that she does have enough on her shoulders. The comment about somewhere to hang her panties gets a soft chucle, that with a moment or two, and the pleasant buzz of alcohol, turns into a full laugh. "Too right. Must have somewhere to dry such things." She shakes her head. "It becomes even harder to find such a place in these times, and when constrained by the bonds borne by us riders." She shrugs, adding her own tidbit. "It's far enough away from the strife that seems to brew everywhere else, but I'm concerned it has hit, or will hit soon enough." One of the things that has crossed her mind many a time lately.

Once that glass moves towards her, Jaya gets the right decanter and pours before lacing it up again. “Thank you for understanding,” for not pushing the issue, she seems to say, inclining her head briefly to the Weyrwoman as she returns Alara her drink. That would go a long way with her, such small gestures, and the barkeep passes off the clean mugs toward a nearby Suli without even looking at her. She shares in the laugh, though hers is more subdued – her gaze remains slightly speculative at best before she responds with a jaunty, “You catch me!” Then, the amusement ebbs off a bit. “Bonds?” She wants Alara to explain, her expression curious as she leans a little towards her. “Should this concern be mine as well?” The Weyrwoman’s words sound ominous, and with the things going on in her life lately, she couldn’t help but to be a little anxious. And then, after a lengthy pause, “Is this why T’ryn’s been missing lately?” she tries to make the connection, her barkeep instincts kicking in to get down to the meat of the matter.

"I don't know…" This answer fits one of the questions, and at first, it's not certain which one. However, Alara does elaborate, fortunately. "It may be that I'm just worrying more than I ought again, but I see everyone so on edge… before, before all that happened, everything seemed rather idyllic. Now, it seems like everyone is at each others' throats, or something." Even her own family has fallen prey to the tension, and fallen apart in its wake. "Well, I can't rightly take a beastie the size of my Rauzath into many of the safe places you might go, true?" Her mood shifts again, brightening with mirth. "I've gotten to where I sleep best when curled up beside her." There's another tidbit. "Yes, Theron's up north trying to do a few things for us, to keep us aware of matters as they stand. The queens often talk when important things arise, but with the tensions and such, they've not done it as much. And, too, it might be a distance thing. Something we've not tested. Though I'm not as certain on that." She purses her lips again.

Ahh. There’s a slight touch of guilt on Jaya’s face, as if she was the one that had somehow put everyone on edge with each other. She’s silent despite the loud conversations going on around them, noting the preoccupation of Kaskan (who’s on edge) and her own. “Now, now,” she tries to soothe, fitting a warm smile upon her face. “It’s all just a rough patch? Things have been tense lately, but I’m sure things will be right again. Right?” Well, it looks like she’s trying to convince herself along with Alara. She colors a bit at Alara’s next, the look curious at best before she drawls in a lower voice should anyone hear, “Safe places, shuga? Here in Eastern’s the only safest place I’ve ever been, Weyrwoman,” she admits wryly. “Even back home in Bitra had too many dark corners, and in those days I was just a mere trader.” Her voice falling back to normal levels, “Slept best outside under the stars,” she shares that as well, but her owner amusement is short-lived as she hears what’s been going on with T’ryn. North? Jaya’s immediately thinking of the renegades, her brows furrowing as she regards the other woman for a long time. Her movements on washing the mugs still for a moment, then she slowly takes up again, this time thoughtful. “With the other Weyrs?” she’s taking a guess, but the Bitran somehow knows what the other means. She’ll keep that non-chalance in her voice, too.

Alara refuses to answer the last question, waving her hand idly, then reaching the same hand to grab her drink. "I sincerely hope so, Jaya. I hope so." She takes a long pull of the drink, setting it back down, and nods. "Well, we aim to protect." It's a twist on an old trader's saying, she thinks. But it works. "I think I'll finish this one up and head to sleep." She gestures lightly to the glass, then reaches in for the marks. "I don't sleep much under the stars unless it's on the sands." There's another slight shrug of one shoulder, and she takes another drink. After that pronouncement, she falls silent, her thoughts awhirl, and worry etched on her face.

“That you do,” Jaya agrees on the old saying, the slightl concern for the senior Weyrwoman apparent as she speaks. She’ll let it go, not question so much after this – nodding gravely to her wanting to finish her drink and reaches a hand out to say, “On the bar, shuga. I’ll pay it.” Looks like the barkeep has a heart, somewhere, after all despite her working hard to not have it be the case. Then with a lingering look on the Weyrwoman, the barkeep ticks a nod to her and turns away, leaving the woman to her own silence and thoughts as she continues on to serve the rest of the patrons at the counter with heavy thoughts of her own.

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