Back In The Saddle


Indira.jpg Keane.jpg

Date: May 8, 2011
Location: Fields in Telgar area
Synopsis: Keane takes Indira out riding (the innocent kind) and a picnic. Confessions and talk of the future strengthens the emotional bond between Headwoman and Telgari barkeep.
Rating: PG-15 for innuendo
Logger: Keane

The next day from Indira showing up in the cold of the night, Keane thought it best to get them away from the Blood and Bucket for some time. Telgar was still cold, though not as bad during the day as it is during the night. After a brief talk with Rordan and his close patrons friends that show up daily in the morningtime, the old barkeep came to the decision to offer Indira a nice runnerback ride and a picnic. Rordan prepared the basket of goods along with a blanket while Keane went off to a nearby stable to procure a couple of runners. When Indira gets out from the bath to find him, and is pointed outside of the bar, that is where she will find him: standing dressed in the various browns of riding leathers and looking every the part of a well-bred holder looking to take out his lady. He stands between the two runners, holding both their reins and holding one of them out for Indira to take. "Thought we could take a little tour of the countryside in my neck of the woods, this time," is his explanation, the picnic basket already fastened to his runner's side. "Hope you don't mind getting out of the bar for a bit. Thought we both could use some fresh air and some alone time. Brought lunch," and he reaches to pat his runner, as if that alone should squash any protests from his southern Headwoman.

And so, after a nice ride runner back through a land far different from the south, Keane settles them in a little covered hill shaded by trees on one side. The packed blanket is spread on the grass along with the contents within the picnic basket: fresh sweetrolls with butter, bite-sized fruit and nut salads and marinated herdbeast thinly sliced. A nice bottle of white Tillekian wine accents the prepared blanket, in which Keane is currently pouring two glasses of it for himself and for Indira. Sweeping his gaze over the food while he pours, "Don't get to do this much in my life," he comments to her, his tone one of such calm and carefree - much like it was when they spent a few days at the secluded cove down south.

Indira had been surprised to say the least to find Keane waiting outside of the bar with a pair of runners in hand not to mention grateful that due to the dictations of the cold Telgari climes, she was already dressed for riding having donned a pair of soft black breeches, boots and topped a sweater of pale blue with the jacket that she’d been wearing the previous evening.

Given that she doesn’t often get the time due to the burden of extra duties, she’d found the ride to be liberating and so as she settles down next to Keane, face flushed with the exhilaration of the ride and appetite sharpened, she turns a warm look onto the older Telgari. “More’s the pity,” she comments to his not getting to do such things very often and then her gaze sweeps over the bounty spread out on the blanket as she works on loosening her hair from the braid it had been in. “Keep feeding me like this and they’ll have to roll me to the dragon and widen all the doorways back home,” a teasing smile in place.

The ride to the chosen spot for lunch was exhilarating, Keane allowing himself to kick back and throw all the stresses attached to being the bar owner of neutral ground among renegades to melt away like the sun’s rays. Still flushed from the thrill of pushing their runners to their limits, his stomach rumbles in hunger as he passes over a filled glass of white wine to Indira. “More the pity, so,” he agrees, nodding curtly. “I used to do such things in my more roughened youth. I would have thought the older you got, the more time you had for such follies again, but alas.” If Indira takes up the offered glass, he would take up his own before he one-handedly starts to fill some of his plate with the laid out food. “I wasn’t sure if you liked to ride,” he grunts with a sly tilt of his eyes, the innuendo present as he drops a beat later, “Beyond the walls.” He spears himself some herdbeast slices then, her remark on the very food he’s attacking getting laughter and a wry, “Blame that man of yours, Rordan. He seems to be making it a personal mission of his to make sure you and I are comfortable. Either the man’s grateful for the second chance, or he’s robbing me blind.” The flippant way he says it, the old barkeep seems to not care at the moment if the young man is. He was out and about, feeling like he was thirty turns younger and enjoying this impromptu time with a woman that haunts his dreams at night. What more bliss is there? “News travels quick to the Blood and Bucket,” he states conversationally, dropping a sweetroll on his plate. “Some traders that have come in from Tillek have been clucking about the shake-up that happened Lord Elisser’s way – and I reckon certain crimelords have something to do with it, if a missing child is any indication,” he notes, well aware that Hope is the missing child. “Just haven’t gotten a visit from Kelarad to confirm it yet. I trust things went well then?” That meaning Max, giving the Headwoman the leeway to unburden herself with the thoughts of the child and her father.

Tossing her jacket aside and then stretching out languidly like a feline on the blanket, Indira rolls over toward him, propping herself up on one elbow and taking the wine glass offered her way. “The young, never appreciate the time they have, do they?” she asks, her voice husked by that first sip of wine. “And,” leaning closer toward Keane as if in attempt to kiss him, though she doesn’t, “even more reason for those such as ourselves to be making more time for such things, hmm?” And then its low laughter that greets comment of riding having caught the innuendo laid into his tone, “Darlin’, I’ve been riding almost as long as I’ve been walking. That, was much needed.” The rush of wind passed her ears, the pounding of hooves as the runner moved beneath her all serving to lighten her spirits and wash away the stresses and strains of the past few months.

Indira doesn’t bother with taking up a plate for herself but instead uses her fingers to pluck something off of Keane’s plate, mischief dancing in dark eyes as she does. That fades a little in light of his idle enquiry into the manner in which Hope came to be with her rightful family. A soft sigh passes seductive lips and she rolls up into a cross-legged sitting position quiet a few moments as she takes another drink. Eventually, catching up a few stray droplets with the tip of her tongue, the tousled blonde puts a wry smile onto the Telgari. “Your sources are good,” she notes before continuing on, “As Max tells it, the Lord wrote asking for his and Kelerad’s help…” the next few moments spent explaining what had happened up at Tillek Hold and ending with, “so he gave Kelerad to do with them as he saw fit and Max his blessing to bring Hope back with him.” There’s a pause and then she adds, softly, “I didn’t know what else to do, love. Save for what I’ve done in leaving Hope with him and hoping to force the two of them to find a way to connect. That little one’s about as stubborn as her father is,” a wry smile forming for that.

Keane watches Indira stretch without no apology in his eyes, swallowing through a piece of meat and following it down with some wine. Once she takes up the wine, “No they don’t,” he agrees on the young, raising his glass as if in a toast in her direction. She leans close and he follows as well, a hand reaching out as if to claim the back of her neck before he teases away with her words. “You’ve been riding that long, eh?” he teases gruffly, his heated gaze falling on those thighs of hers. “Mmmm, I think we need to take time to ride more often then. I take pleasure in it myself.” He takes pleasure in a lot of things, apparently, his gaze seems to say. More genuinely, “Glad you enjoyed the ride, my lady. Maybe next time down south we could do the same, hm? I hear there’s more to be seen down there than up here.”

He chuckles when Indira steals food from his plate, his gaze fond on her as she explains the shake up in Tillek. Claiming his wine again, “Sounds like I missed all the fun,” he drawls, sipping from his glass. “I suppose Lord Holder Tillek owes them now to taking his trouble off of him? Rad never does anything for nothing.” He doesn’t know Max’s ethics yet, but he was certain Max was of the ‘scratch my back-scratch yours’ philosophy as well. “What will Lord Elisser do with himself now, I wonder?” he muses, watching her. “No Lady, no brother, and the man as far as I know didn’t take a mistress or two.” On the matter of father and daughter, his expression softens before he shakes his head in grimness of the situation. “You did right to leave them alone,” he finally tells her soberly, his eyes full of that wizened understanding. “Max needs to learn his daughter, and she him. He’ll thank you for it later on. You’ll see, love.” Her last gets rumbling in his chest in amusement as he states, “Stubborn too? At least he has confirmation that she’s his.” Beat. “Has she taken to you then?”

So close and yet so far, her smirk tells when Keane’s hand teases toward her neck and then away again, thighs shifting slightly under his gaze as if he’d reached out and physically touched them and then low laughter falls. “Mmm, who can resist the thrill of the ride, hmm? Blood singing through your veins, a powerful animal between your thighs carrying you away from stresses and tensions with each pounding stroke of its strong body…” voice purring across words heavily laced with double innuendo, “I could get used to that.”

Stealing a piece of bite-sized fruit Indira chews, swallows and then washed it down with some of her wine, silent for a moment and then shoulders lift and fall in a shrug. “The Lord doesn’t owe Max anything, he got what he went there for,” his daughter. As to what Kelerad might want from it all a short chuckle spills, “Having a Lord in one’s debt is payment enough I’d think.” For she has no knowledge of what it is the Tillekian crimelord might be planning in terms of payment. Sloe eyes lift to Keane’s and Indira’s mouth patterns about a short smile, “We’re not all cut out to be parents, love. He may not be. But the way he fought to get Hope back would suggest otherwise to me. He’s never been big on patience.” The Telgari’s last question draws a warm smile into place and she nods, “Oh aye, that she has. I expected more trouble from the little one given that bitch she had for a mother but it would seem that whatever minders she must have had, were good to her.”

“You tease,” Keane drops with amusement for both her words and her moving from his reach, laughing. “You make a man forget where he’s from,” he notes, taking a lingering drink of his wine. He quiets up when Indira starts to speak on the shake-up, nodding at the news given while he samples some food on his plate. “Rad asks for much at times,” he says on the Lord Holder,” but I suppose Elissar has an inkling of that already. Max, too. But Max….yes, I agree on parents, but I know he has it in him. He’s a good man, your son.” Leaning back into a more comfortable position as she talks about Hope and her relationship, there’s a warm smile and a wry “I’m glad she was taken from there. I didn’t think Max was going to be able to get her. And you,” and he looks her over, especially her face, “it must be hard on you and either case. You seem as taut as me on a bad day.” Eyes drop to her shoulders, his concern evident since he does not know of the latest going-ons in the south. “I trust the Weyr hasn’t been running you to the ground?” he asks then, now getting to the matter of her suddenly showing up at his bar – not that he’s complaining of course. If it was up to him, the Headwoman would never leave the north.

A feline smirk of triumph paints across Indira’s lips when the barkeep calls her a tease. “And you love it,” she counters with huskily, eyes taking a slow meander across his frame to the point that she almost misses what he says next. “Hmm? Oh aye, I’m quite sure the Lord is an astute business man and realizes that nothing comes without a cost.” And then a warm smile laced with maternal pride shifts into place, “Aye, he’s a good lad. He just needs to realize it for himself. That whole mess with the greenrider…” Words trail and she lets out a sigh before giving a toss of head as if to throw the matter aside and dark smile appears, “I never doubted he’d get her back. When Max sets his mind to something he’ll let nothing and no-one get in his way.” The upside to being stubborn it seems.

When Keane asks after how she’s doing in all of it, the Eastern headwoman regards him silently from over the rim of her glass and then forces a smile into place as one shoulder lifts and falls in a shrug. “We all do what we have to do, love. We can’t risk having Hope in the general children’s caverns just yet. Not until Max has sorted out who will stand with him as allies and who would seek to use his child against him.” As to the Weyr a light frown forms and she sets a careful look onto the Telgari, “Things are a little…strained at the Weyr right now. Our senior goldrider has had a family emergency to tend to and her second in command…well let’s just say she’s not been too much of a presence either. Which is why I can’t stay as long as I’d like to.” Alluding to the greater burden of running a Weyr now having fallen on her shoulders, though there’s no complaint, just a tired smile attached to the end.

Laughing on the return quip of her being a tease, “I do,” Keane won’t lie, raising his glass briefly to Indira before taking a drink. “You are quite the charming woman, and get more so everytime I see you. I’m lucky to have met you, you know.” He knows the odds of meeting her would have been slim if not for his business. “My sister Yaira will be visiting soon,” he tells her conversationally, leaning over to grab at some fruit. “She knows about you and is curious. She has business down south as well, actually, and may need to spend a sevenday at the Eastern Weyr until business is concluded. You don’t mind my giving her your name?” When Indira speaks on her son, and the troubles that assail him, his amusement ebbs and he nods curtly to it. “It does bother the lad,” he admits, alluding to Max having come to see him about with an apology in his tone. “Love and business are hard to handfast, and the position he’s chosen won’t be an easy path. A lot of things will suffer, and love won’t be the only one.”

Focusing on Indira particularly, her words on the troubles at the Weyr earns a respectful smile before Keane gets to his knees and ambles over to approach her. He moves just behind her his strong hands lifting to knead into her shoulders if she permits before stating, “You take enough on these shoulders as it is,” he notes, though he does understand the need for it. “I hope the Weyr isn’t too heavy a burden. Do you have assistants? Max providing for you?”

Warmth infuses the smile Indira turns out and she leans toward Keane, seeking to brush her lips gently against his a hand lifting palm lightly against his jaw if he’s within reach, “No love, I’m lucky the one to have met a good and wise man like you.” Surprise colours both her expression and voice next, “You told your sister about me?” though it’s plain to see that it pleases her that he had done so. “Mind? Silly man,” a playful swipe made at him, “Why would I mind? I’m dying to meet your sister. You tell her that any time she’s of a need for somewhere to lay her head that Eastern Weyr has a place for her.”

Where one might expect annoyance for Max having clearly sought Keane out on the matter of Ahnika rather than herself, Indira exhibits only relief and gratitude, “I’m glad he came to you. He needs someone he can trust not to steer him wrong. Faranth knows he’s had enough of that in his life.” And there a touch of guilt shows up for not having been there for her son in the past.

Keane’s strong hands starting to work over shoulders knotted with tension draw a low groan from Indira, who doesn’t answer right away to the questions put to her but instead closes her eyes and gives herself over to his ministrations. Eventually in a distracted, almost dreamy voice: “Mmm. I have an assistant steward that I’ve left in charge but he’s young and somewhat…to the letter of things, so I worry about leaving him to deal with things on his own for too long.” As to her son a rueful smile appears, “He does what he can but he has enough on his own plate without my adding to it, love.”

Keane is indeed within reach, and so the man takes up that brush of lips and the hand to his jaw seems to warm him where it touches. He looks pleased that Indira is pleased to meet his sister, the surprise coloring her tone and responding to that with a wry, “She has noticed the changes in my letters, the rat,” in an affectionate tone on his sister. “She guessed something, or someone, has come into my life and has been pestering me ever since. She has business down south every now and then that her and her husband deal with, but this time she’s made a mission in meeting you while south. You can toss her into the ocean and she proves to be too nosy, hmm?” Riight. He laughs at his own jest, adding more sincerely, “She’s one of the good ones in my family, and so she’s likely to be jumping to conclusions. She wasn’t really fond of Regane, for some reason.” He smile more at her response on the woman being welcome at the Weyr, nodding and putting in, “Good. I’ll let her know. Maybe she’ll leave off pestering me for awhile.” Yeah, likely not.

Keane looks glad that Indira isn’t upset about Max seeking him out, and it shows as he spears some more fruit. Catching that touch of guilt, he moves to try and touch her chin, moving it so her gaze meets him eye level if succeeding with the words, “I reckon you done the best you could, given what was thrown your way, my lady,” he grunt encouragingly. “Max could be a whole lot worse off. Think of it that way.” Claiming his wine, “Max is going to be alright,” he continues to say, confidence in his tone. “Man has a lot on his plate is all. Likely needs to take a step back for a day and get his shit together. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get some perspective.” And then, the old barkeep is working on the tension in the Headwoman’s shoulders while he speaks, his voice staying low as deft fingers seem to know where to go and hit before he answers her words. “Sounds like you could use an extra hand down there,” he muses while he works, seeming to offer the same thing that she had in giving him help for his bar. “If ever you want it, I might be able to help there. Know someone that is good in management. Worked for Lorien, if you want credentials, and Lorien is an efficient sort. Like sticking to the shadows so you wouldn’t be burdened with their presence, but they always know to appear when they’re most needed.”

Soft laughter greets Keane’s confession of his sister having divined there being someone in his life by the tone of his letters. “So she wants to come and see if I’m treating her brother right, hmm? I can understand that,” apparently at ease with such a thing what does give her pause for thought is what the Telgari says of Yaira not having been fond of his deceased wife. “She didn’t approve of her?”

Her chin is then easily captured by his fingers, sloe eyes taking a while before they lift to his and she lets out a soft sigh, “No love, I didn’t do right by him. And I accept that. Perhaps with Hope…” Words trail and she looks away for the near confession of hoping for a second chance at getting it right with her son’s daughter. She covers with a smile and a nod, “Aye, I think I’ll see if I can’t get him to take a break when I get back.” A soft snicker follows then, “He’ll likely need it after having had that little hellion of his to cope with.”

Keane’s fingers working their magic lull the headwoman to the point that he’s in danger of relaxing her to the point of falling asleep. She doesn’t however and though her tone may come across as drowsy there’s no denying the smirk set into it, “And he’d not be reporting back the goings on of the Weyr to Lorien, hmm?” Quite sure that would probably be the case. “I’ll speak with Max,” she concedes and then adds, “I am thinking about moving one of the gold weyrlings up into position. It’s a little sooner than she’s likely prepared for or expecting but she’s got a good head on her shoulders and there’s nothing like on the job training, aye?”

“She’s been in the mother role for as long as I can remember,” Keane explains, at ease in talking about his erstwhile family with the Headwoman. “Our ma was hardly about so Yaira was the one that kept us together. She tried, anyway.” Grinning then, “She likely wants to see what you’re about,” he confirms it, shaking his head. “She thinks I’ve gone the straight and narrow path since I don’t run under any crimelords anymore. She’s got this notion that I can be good,” and he looks pointedly at that. Yeah, old dogs hardly learn new tricks. Indira’s interest in hearing about Yaira not approving of his late wife gets a wry “She thought the handfasting was unfounded. Either that or Regane insulted her the moment she met her by trying to tell her how to make a tastier bubbly pie.” There’s a snort on that, the old man shaking his head and remarking, “That’s how Regane was, though. That woman always thought she was right, even when she was wrong.” Catching Indira by the chin, her counter on her son draws a small frown as she explains. “There’s no hide out there telling us how to rear our children, he says quietly, watching her with interest. “We learn as much as they do. At least you did the honorable thing and stuck around. I can’t say the same for my own. Not even sure she’s alive, wherever she got to.” Nodding then, his thumb brushing her bottom lip idly, “Perhaps she could take a breather at that cove you found? That place seems to heal many a person, I think.” He’s still hasn’t forgotten the time spent there.

Fingers work continuously into Indira’s shoulders, Her words on the person in question helping out in the Weyr getting a short chuckle. “Lorien has no use for her,” he drops, his hands now straying lower down her back without stopping. “I was about to find her shelter in Boll, in fact.” He’s not denying that she would be an informant, though the news wouldn’t be falling to the Telgari crimelord’s ears. When Indira states that she has someone in mind herself – a gold rider at that – “the weyrlings have graduated already?” he’s asked, taking a guess as he massages her back earnestly.

Indira listens quietly as he speaks of his sister and family and then passes wry comment, “Good is as good does, love. It makes no matter whether you run with crimelords or Weyrleaders. And that’s all she’ll hear from me.” In other words, she’ll likely be keeping their join affiliations with the underbelly of Pern to herself when it comes to dealing with his sister. A short laugh greets talk of how Regane might possibly have offended Yaira and then she utters with more sincerity attached, “L’min was the same. There was nothing you could tell that man that he didn’t already purport to know or could do better. And in the end, it was his arrogance that killed him.”

On the matter of raising children, the headwoman gives an accepting nod of head to what Keane says and then stills, sloe eyes flaring briefly, “You have a daughter somewhere?”

She had almost quite literally become putty in his hands, that is until they start moving lower down her back then they start to have quite a different effect as evidenced in the manner in which she stretches and arches slightly. “Her,” Indira files that information away, her tone having drawn huskier and then she nods, “If she needs somewhere to lay low for a while, I’m sure I can keep her busy.” As to the weyrlings graduating and the young goldrider moving into position, “Some of them have been graduated out of the barracks earlier than the others and are now deemed senior weyrlings.”

There’s easy laughter for Indira’s remark on Yaira, the old barkeep seeming to approve. “Then you’ll get along just fine with her,” Keane notes, taking up his glass and draining it. “Just wish I could find the rest of our siblings. I know they’re out there.” Talk of L’min gets that flare of quiet understanding – of one having lost someone does with another – “Under the sun, we really are all the same,” he agrees, shaking his head on arrogance. “Seen many a crimelord killed for the same. Is there much of him in Max?” When Indira asks on whether he has children or not, the man thinks on that for a moment before frowning and answering back, “I honestly don’t know. Back when I younger, I spread my seed around so much that I wouldn’t be surprised if a child of mine should show up one day. Regane and I never did have a child successfully, but, I’ve always wanted one. Guess you can say, chalk it up to old age, hm?” He snorts his amusement on that one. “Perhaps that’s why I take in the likes of Dicori and Olira so much,” he muses, regarding his empty glass for a moment. “Feel like I should pass on all I’ve learned or something.” He does continue to massage his woman, having reached her lower back so deftly without stopping discussion. He even leans forward momentarily to plant a kiss on her shoulder, breathing in the scent of her and keeping his body close to her own. “I would appreciate the help, as always,” he breathes close to her ear on giving someone a place to stay, smiling against her neck. He grunts on the matter of the weyrlings then, remarking, “I imagine they need you to help with all that. I can imagine some queen there would be ready to fly soon. What about Landing? You been there lately?” he asks, thinking about the possibility of moving there.

Compassion softens Indira’s features, and while she doesn’t have any siblings of her own, she understands Keane’s need to try and find his. “If I can be of any help, you need only ask, love. I still have people up here that I could put to helping find the rest of your family.” A light frown forms next when he queries how much her son might be like his father and she drops silent a moment before stating quietly, “He can be as pigheaded and hard to reach as L’min was. And just as impulsive at times too. But,” and here a small smile flickers out, “he has more compassion in his little finger than his father had in his whole body. And he tries,” dark eyes lift to Keane, “he tries so very hard not to be like him. Too hard sometimes I think for L’min did have his good qualities. He was a good though at times unforgiving, leader.”

The headwoman’s features warm and setting the palm of her hand against his strong jaw she reiterates what she’d said down at the cove a few months back, “You’d be a good father, love. You have a lot to teach. Those such as Olira, Jaya and Max are lucky to have you.”

Him leaning forward and putting that kiss to her shoulder has Indira turning her head briefly into Keane’s a light shiver going through her as his goatee tickles at her neck. The matter of a gold going up in a mating flight has her giving a nod, “Aye, not soon enough if you ask me. People start to get anxious when a queen passes her time of flight without looking ready to rise.” Amusement laces into her tone as she turns to more fully face the barkeep, “Landing? Aye was down there yesterday with Hope delivering something. It’s an interesting place though I don’t get much chance to nose around. There’ve been a couple of questionable characters hanging around asking questions as Max tells it.”

“I have some clues,” Keane gives on him trying to find his family, “but no more than that. Yaira’s really the only one that’s kept in contact, and I know of one or two of us that could be dead.” Just how many are they? “One of us brothers is one his way to ending up dead, but me and Yaira haven’t been successful in getting him to stop risking his own ass. So, thanks, love. I will appreciate the help, and I’m sure she would too.” His smile is gentle when Indira speaks on the differences between father and son, understanding in his tone for Max’s dilemma in not wanting to end up like his father. “Mine wasn’t much of one,” he admits with a brief nod. “Worked hard trying not to end up like him growing up, but, more and more I was drawn into the lifestyle that shacks me up with the likes of certain crimelords.” Beat. “You act much like your own parents?” His chin warms to Indira’s touch, as it always does, her words on him being a good father getting a fond smile, reaching over to plant a kiss on her cheek. His hands now settle to wrap around her waist instead of massaging, leaning her against his strong chest as he feels the shiver going through her body. “Never been about a gold mating flight before,” he notes idly, thinking about the times he has been in a Weyr. “Heard some things about them.” Beat. “Interesting place,” he muses on Landing, his gruff voice close to her ear since he has her against him. “Questionable characters, hm? What kind of questions?” Tightening his hold then, “I’m thinking, next time I’m down south, we should take a ride down there and see Landing for myself,” he muses wryly. “I’ve been rather curious about the technicians down there and all the discoveries they’ve been making.” He moves to refill his own glass then, lifting the bottle for his own.

“Only my pleasure, love,” Indira states with a smile before adding, “I’ll speak to Yaira when she comes down and see what she can tell me that might help.” And then amusement flirts in, “Just how many of your lot are there?” intrigued by the fact that Keane seems to come from a large family. Brows flicker toward a frown and then smooth about before making it there, “Max was destined to lead. Whether it was a Weyr or…the path he’s now chosen. L’min saw to that.” Amusement returns once again, hidden for the most part by the glass Indira tilts to her lips, “I take after my father more. My mother was…” everything that she’s not, “a lady in every sense of the word, except title. My father, now he was the free spirit, happier when out on the hunt than cooped up inside.”

With Keane wrapping his arms about her, she settles in against his chest and leans her head back on his shoulder, her arms wrapping over his, and eyes going to the view, drinking in the peace and quiet, feeling safe and secure. Low laughter spills on the topic of goldflights and one corner of her mouth hitches up in sly amusement, “And tell me, Telgar, what have you heard about goldflights, hmm?” Shoulders then move against his chest as she snuggles more into his embrace, “They were asking after someone at the Weyr. A friend of Max’s who is currently playing guardian to one of the lordlings from up Boll way. Which is a little concerning but Max is keeping an eye on things.” Turning her head, she then brushes a kiss against Keane’s neck, “Then that’s what we’ll do. It’s about a day’s hard ride by runnerback but we could camp over along the way, aye?” Warming to the idea as already, ever the headwoman, she’s making plans for such a trip.

Chuckling at Indira’s amusement of his having come from such a big family, Keane answers with “Five of us in total. Three sisters and two brothers. Lost one of my sisters already out of them.” Beat. “L’min’s right,” he notes on her son being destined to lead, nodding briefly. “He is destined. Anyone would be able to see that. It’s why he will have much to sacrifice in his life, love. Not anyone can claim a territory like the southern continent.” Like Ampherol, who was still missing in action. Keane certainly was enjoying hearing Indira speak about her family, it showing in the smile being sent. “You ever went hunting with him?” he asks, liking this moment in getting to more the Headwoman more. “What hunted various kinds?” Translation: did he did more than the hunt he specialized in and hunted things like canines? He chuckles on hearing about her mother, “My mother, Sirinanne, was the exact opposite. She was one of those that traveled a lot from place to place, moving things from one place to another,” and he gives Indira a pointed look as to the nature of ‘moving things.’ Pretty much theft.

Once Indira leans back more comfortably against him, the man moves his drink aside to fully wrap his arms about her and enjoy the cool late morning. There’s amusement rumbling in his tone on the question of goldflights, the man far too old to appear innocent of such rumors as he answers, “Well…you know what I heard…gold goes up, pants come down.” Yeah, the man is crass. The man is incorrigible too. “Something hard to fight, in the moment…” and there’s laughter, low in response. “I know a few renegades that would enjoy that.” Beat. “Any of them smack of crimelord activity?” he asks now on the trouble in Landing, his interest peaking on the matter. Her last gets a kiss to her blonde hair in agreeing to go to Landing, pleased to have something to look forward to. “Been thinking about maybe getting back into making knives, after the last time we talked,” he announces, perhaps alluding to his reason for wanting to check out Landing.

There comes a light frown at hearing that Keane has already lost one of his sibling along with a murmured, “I’m sorry to hear that, love.” Then she drops silent, fingers of one hand drifting idly along the sleeve of the arm he has wrapped about her. Coming quietly with maternal melancholy stitched into her tone; “Aye. I just wish he wasn’t facing it alone.” Indira let’s that topic alone to move onto the next with a chuckle, “Every opportunity I got, much to my mother’s disgust. He trained me in the use of knife and bow.” As to what it was that her father hunted, Indira turns her head enough to see the barkeep’s face and states with a lift of brow, “Anything that brought the marks in, darlin’.” Thus implying the man had been more than merely a hunter of animals. On the mater of Keane’s mother and the business she’d been into, a sly smirk appears, “Lucrative business,” says she who has shifted cargo from one place to another when the occasion has called for it.

Laughter spreads out onto the morning for Keane’s humorous assessment of goldflights, “Well you heard right, love. When a gold goes up it can affect everyone in the Weyr but not to the degree it does the actual riders involved.” Thankfully. A brow goes up, “Crimelord activity,” she echoes, “No, not that Max has indicated. Then again, these days it’s often hard to determine who might be mixed up in what, aye?” And then she goes quiet, a warm smile in place, pleased that he seems to be lending proper thought to moving down to the southern continent. “You should,” she states with a firm nod of head on his getting back into knife making, “those that you have in your chambers are certainly of high enough quality to sell and make a living from. One…” turning in his arms to put a pointed look on the older man, “that allows for more days such as today, aye?”

With a nod of ease to the lost of one of his family, “It was expected, my lady,” Keane tells Indira grimly. “The lot of us either turn out like our mines-bound father or our crazed-out mother.” Interest flares at hearing Indira knows how to use a bow,” Really?” he asks, shifting to see her face better. “You use it for sport or to hunt?” Yeah, Keane is clearly the outdoorsy type, and the fact that Indira has such a background bodes well with him. “I used to do a lot of hunting myself, though, not the serious sort your father was into,” he explains, interest in his tone on the subject. “I’ve always wanted to go south and hunt those beasts I hear some men talk about. I think, if I were Max’s age, I would do so, but now…” he gives a self-deprecating laugh, “…well, I still think the hunt’s good.” When she turns to look at him on the matter of her father’s business, there’s wryness in his tone as he states, “Explains the strength of spirit I see in you. See it in your son. Is likely in that daughter of his, too.” He snorts his amusement in lucrative business, especially with his mother involved. “Yeah, if she wasn’t pissing the marks away before she got back to us. We hardly ever saw any of the profit she made.”

You learn something new everyday, or so that’s the look Keane gives her as she confirms the rumors he’s heard on the Weyr goldflights. “I wonder if anyone likely runs out of the screaming before the dragon hits the skies,” he muses, giving it much thought. Her words on Landing and his taking up the knife business again has him going contemplative as he moves to lay his chin on the top of her head. “Would likely need a good apprentice,” he entertains the thought, thinking. “Someone that’s not afraid of a hot forge. Gonna need a forge, rather. Been turns since I’ve done any of it,” he seems to warn, not sure of his skills in comparison to the knives made all those turns ago. “Still….I could use more days like this, just relaxing with you…” he drawls that out when she turns to look pointedly at him, laughing. “Yeah, I can just see Lorien’s reaction right now. Maybe good to have a good talk with him. Bar’s in his territory, really, and I should test the waters, as it is. Hands tightening about her, “And if I were to move south,” he drops the words low, close to her face, “will I get to see you more?”

“You didn’t,” Indira notes quietly of his disaster bound family, “Neither did Yaira.” Amusement greets Keane’s interest in her skill with the weapons named. “Both, there’s nothing like the thrill of the hunt, is there?” Pleased that he shares similar interest in outdoor activities as she does. Glossing over the fact that her father had hired himself out as a bounty hunter, the headwoman gives a soft cluck of tongue. “You’re still more than young enough to hunt those ornery feline,” she states with confidence in the man, “when you move down south,” already deciding this to be a done deal, “we’ll get a hunting party together and ride out. I could do with new furs. Had to leave the others behind in the Reaches when I left.” Or rather, when she was tossed out of the Weyr. A light frown forms next for talk of his mother’s ways with her earnings, “That’s not right.” But considering the benders she used to go on when Max was young, she doesn’t really have much room to talk herself.

Once again laughter greets the topic of goldflights, “Oh there have been a few holdbreds that locked themselves in their quarters and refused to come out until it was all over.” Eyes close, Indira enjoying the sound of his voice rumbling in his chest against her and a smile graces her lips, the woman’s mind already scheming ways to wangle getting premises and a forge set up for Keane. She doesn’t however lend any hint thereof. “I have no doubt it won’t be long and you’ll find your rhythm again, love. A bit like getting back into the saddle again, aye?” Turned now in his arms a determined look, not unlike the one often worn by her son, fits into place, “Perhaps I should pay Lorien a visit and explain the ways of things to him, hmm? Or get Max to negotiate some sort of deal with the man on your behalf.” Uh oh? A warm smile melts away the fierce look and she tilts her head enough to set a soft brush of lips over his. “You’ll get to see me as much as you want to, love,” she confirms, searching his eyes to see what might lie hidden in them.

“Because we knew how to save our own asses,” Keane remarks on Yaira and him not falling by the wayside, a finger lifting to tap Indira on her chin. ‘We’re survivors, right? Well, the bar saved me, and having a family of her own saved Yaira.” Beat. So I could have taken you hunting,” he remarks when she answers on the subject, thoroughly pleased – even though this current scenario would have been far more romantic than taking his lady out to go hunting. He chuckles to still being young enough to go hunting for felines, wryly returning, “You could talk a man out of his life with that silver tongue of yours,” that being both for the matte of moving south and hunting felines at his age. Still, he’s not protest the idea of a hunting party, too. He laughs on the hearing that holdbreds would lock themselves up during a goldflight, seeming to find that highly amusing as he brushes a hand up and down her arm idly – just needing to touch her and keep in contact with her. “Getting back into the saddle,” he then considers those words – both with underlying innuendo and the true meaning in regards to his knife business, nodding a few times. “If I can get the materials I need, and I can only think Landing would be the place to do it, then there’s a lot of merit to this plan. As for Lorien….” Indira’s words get a raised brow of interest, knowing full well that the formidable woman could very well march herself up to the taciturn crimelord and that tell him what’s what. “I’d love to be the fly on that wall,” he grunts to that, pleased that she would. “I likely doubt I would stop my dealings with either him or Kelarad. It’s not like I would be going into hiding, being down south. Some northerners think so, but…” He meets that kiss then, touching on those last words, searching her gaze for a long moment in the pause before he exhales and he states, “I’d like that, Indira – to see you often. The cold up here just isn’t agreeing with me anymore.” Nodding, moving a hand to brush at any escaped tresses at the side of her face, “I’ll hunt for a good replacement….or maybe, pack up and move the bar down south. Hear tell it enough that you all down there don’t have enough taverns for us wayward folks.” Especially since he would be loathe to leave the Blood and Bucket, but the man would do what he must once his mind if put towards it.

“Aye, that you are,” she states on he and his sister being survivors. A soft chuckle escapes next and Indira gives a small shake of head, “Next time maybe. This,” the peaceful surroundings, the picnic and being wrapped in his embrace, “is what I needed. Thank you, love.” Sincere until a brow lifts, amusement high on being accused of having a silver tongue, “I’d rather talk him out of his trousers.” Indira quips in response, an unapologetic grin in place.

She relishes the simple touch of his hand moving along her arm, enjoying the sense of safety she feels in having his warm chest against her back. “If you were to give me a list of what you’d be likely to need I can get to work on procuring at least some of it you.” So helpful isn’t she? And absolutely without the ulterior motive of doing all she can to get him to make the move. Mmhm. As to Lorien and giving it to him straight, an impish grin appears, “Well you know what they say, love. Sometimes all it takes is the right…touch, hmm?” Teasing for since having met up with Keane, she’s not taken another lover and isn’t about to do so now. More seriously she nods and then notes, “I think it would be beneficial to both you and Max if you were to remain in contact with those that you work with now.”

Indira’s features soften and the smile she produces has almost a shy quality to it when he brushes escaped tendrils of hair aside and speaks of wanting to see her often. “I’d like that.” On the matter of opening up another bar down south a laugh starts to form and then melts away as a thought occurs to her, “You know, if you could sell the Blood & bucket for a good price, old Messon, the tavern keeper just outside of Landing, might be willing to sell the Fowl and Feather to you. Or perhaps…” the gears in her mind turning now, “you could just swap outright. I know he has family somewhere up here that he might be of a mind to closer to?”

“I was more than happy to oblige,” Keane answers for the thanks, smiling that gentle smile that was only for Indira. “I needed the getaway, too, with the way the bar’s been busy. Usually the season for it.” He rumbles his amusement on her talking men out their trousers, quipping, “Yeah, I seem to remember being a victim of that perhaps?” His hand still rubbing her arm in idle circles as he listens to her, feeling completely at ease and calm embracing his woman out on dangerous lands, her offer to help with getting some of the needed stuff together gets wry look from the old barkeep as he leans over and says, “My helpful Headwoman. Aye, I’ll put that list together for you,” he agrees, nodding once. “I’ll send it with one of my letters to you, hmm?” Beat. “I think the right touch would probably have Lorien turn into one of those stone statues,” he quips, laughing. “Man doesn’t like dealing with women. Thinks they’re fickle for the most part.” He catches her chin in one hand when her features soften, brushing a thumb over her bottom lip when Indira admits to liking that he wanted to see her often. “You’ve been so patient with me,” he says that easily in a low rumble. “I know it’s been hard, us being so far apart. The days are starting to come where I’m wondering why I’m still up here. It’s not like I haven’t paid my dues in life.” Then Indira talks about the bar – there being one up Landing way and he silences in consideration of the option. Frowning a little, “What do you know about this Messon?” he asks then, thinking on this possibility.

Again there’s laughter. “A willing victim,” Indira corrects him with a teasing lift of brow. All his wry look gets to her offer of help is one of pure innocence from the headwoman. “Anything for you, darlin’,” she drawls, pauses and then adds, “that had better not be your way of avoiding doing so, hmm?” Sending her the list of things needed to open a smithy for knives down south. “He prefers men?” the tousled blonde asks of the Telgari crimelord, “because…I do happen to know one or two cute blueriders that I’m sure would be happy to oblige. I hear the man’s easy on the eye.” She’s terrible and she knows it.

No longer half-turned, but now kneeling and facing him Indira lifts her arms and laces hands behind Keane’s neck, the soft brush of his thumb over her lower lip earning him a warm smile. “As you have been with me,” she notes quietly on patience, there still being a tiny part of her that wants to bolt at the realization of what he’s come to mean to her. “I thought it would be enough, just knowing you were here, and trading letters but…” a light frown appears and she leaves the rest of the sentence unspoken, shaking her head in annoyance with herself and then moves smoothly onto the topic of Messon and the Fowl and Feather. “He’s a lot like you in some ways, different in others. Knows who and what Max is and has never denied me overnight storage for…goods in transit.” Said goods being the people she moves about from time to time along with the supplies they’re often in need of.

“Uhhhh huh,” Keane draws on help, knowing very well what the woman’s end game is, but the man is willing go along with it either way. “Ain’t avoiding,” he answers with open innocence before chuckling, adding, “Truly, not avoiding. I’m serious about the bar. If I can find a good solution to this place, then I am willing to go. I’m getting far too old for the north and all its…” and he waves a free hand about, indicating all that goes with living north and on its lands, especially. At the question on the Telgari crimelord preferring men, that gets a brief pause before he erupts into full blown laughter sounding from his belly. “Good shit, no!” he cries, highly tickled by the thought. “I can just imagine one of those blueriders passing on him, too! I think the man would declare that dragonriders are the banes of Pern and only keep his guards about him for the rest of his life. Hehe, perhaps you should send him one as a gift? He’s been in need of more dragonriders to pay and deal with in business.” Ohhh, what cruelty that both Keane and Indira wield! He looks at her, impressed, however, glad to see he does have a woman with his kind of sense of humor.

Laughters dies away when she speaks on their relationship, the old barkeep watching her eyes and features like he would a painting as he listens. His thumb still brushing the bottom of her lip, “But?” he wants her to continue, moving his head a little closer as if trying to get more of her attention. On the topic of Messon, he nods to hearing that, appearing pleased by it. “Don’t want no strict barkeep running the Blood and Bucket,” he agrees with a grunt. “Got a lot of criminals that come this way looking for solace, not judgement. If Messon is as good as you and Max believe, then perhaps we should take a visit the next time I’m down south. Want to see the man for myself, see what he’s about.”

Keane’s assurances draw a smile and a nod of head from the Eastern headwoman though she does state with a touch of humour to his comment of getting too old for the north, “Don’t you know? You’re only as old as the woman you feel.” Wink. And then a wicked grin turns out in response to his laughter over sending the Telgari crimelord a charming bluerider, “You know, I think I might just do that. Call it a token of strengthening ties between Telgar and Southern. I’m sure Max would agree.” Max is more likely to think his mother has finally lost it, but that’s neither here nor there right now.

Indira drops quiet then, eyes downcast as he questions her on what she had left off saying. Slowly they lift back up to him, large pools of vulnerability. “But I need you more than I thought I might,” she confesses quietly as hands unlace and slide down to rest on his chest. “I don’t want to be alone anymore.” On the matter of Keane meeting Messon to assess the man for himself, she gives a short nod, “I’ll set something up for you.”

“My naughty Headwoman,” Keane laughs at those initial words, leaning forward to try and capture Indira’s mouth with his own. Surely he feels much younger in her presence, and it shows in the ride and the spark of life in his eyes. He rumbles his approval of the deviousness in the Headwoman for agreeing on gifting the taciturn Lorien with a gay bluerider, dropping, “It’s really a shame the man doesn’t have a sense of humor. Most of other crimelords would have found the gift to be amusing at least – especially the Istan.” When Indira admits that she needed him, that she didn’t want to be alone anymore, the man looks at her for a long moment as if studying her face before he nods and states quietly, “I don’t want to be alone anyone, either.” Thumb lifts to brush the side of her face, leaning to kiss her more gently. Breaking the kiss to look at her, “You’re worth the risk, Indira,” he tells her, meaning leave his comfort element of Telgar and his bar for the south and all that came with it. He nods decisively on meeting Messon then, stating, “Good. Perhaps we can make it sooner than later. Don’t want us sitting on this.”

Her mouth is easily captured, lips curving in a smile against his. “Well then…perhaps the others will at least be able to find the humour in it,” Indira replies without apology and then curiosity lifts up, “The Istan prefers men?” Which is apparently amusing news to her. With Keane’s return admission, her mouth tilts in a soft smile and she leans her cheek into his brush of thumb to it. Arms lift to wrap about his neck and she returns that gentle kiss in like manner trying to convey through it, all that he’s come to mean to her. With the kiss broken she studies his face solemnly for his comment on her being worth the risk and then she tips her head to one side, “Just as you are, Keane. If not for Hope and Max, I’d move up here in a heartbeat.” Fingers then pluck lightly at his goatee where it covers his chin, drawing his mouth back down to hers where if successful she murmurs against his lips, “I’ll keep you safe, my love. Mmm, sooner rather than later.” Agreement given, this kiss a little more heated than the last.

The kiss is lingering, longer, Keane giving into it with the taste of the heady wine on his lips before breaking it breathlessly before there’s a ragged laughter and he nods on the Istan crimelords wryly. “Aye, that he does, so I hear. Good man, though – one of the few of that lot. Makes no difference to me what a man does on his own private time.” The second kiss is heady, feeling the strength of it as if he was sealing a pact with the woman one his leaving the north. Chuckling, “I must be if you were looking at moving up here with its dratted cold!” he teases on risks, then adds more soberly, “I wouldn’t have asked. You need to be with your son, and you got a child to help raise. You have far more to lose than I do.” Her keeping him safe, he feels that, and his answer to it is returning that kiss with amusement rumbling deep, his arms coming up to wrap about her shoulders and bring her close to his chest in a case of protective security.

Left slightly breathless by that first kiss, Indira chuckles on the matter of crimelords and their proclivities, “Each to his own, love. Besides, you know what they say. A good man is hard to find, and a hard man…is good to find.” Wench! Pacts silently made, a sigh of contentment escapes with the second kiss, teeth catching briefly to her lower lip once Keane breaks it. “Oh, I don’t know,” Indira teases, “I can think of a few ways to combat the cold, hmm?” A small smile appears then, fingers touching to his lips, “I know you wouldn’t ask love. And I love you all the more for it.” On what stands to be lost, a slight tremble goes through the tousled blonde, similar to the sensation of someone walking over one’s grave. But it’s soon gone, soothed away by being caught up in his strong embrace, she nuzzling her nose in against his neck in response.

“Well spoken from a Headwoman of the Weyr,” Keane grunts in approval of initial words, breathless himself as he sweeps a glance over the uneaten food left. On combating the cold, “I suppose it all starts with drawing up a warm bath?” he teases, much like what they did the night previous when she showed up at his bar. Yeah, he’s just as bad, and he kisses the tips of her lips though he catches the slight tremble, looking to watch her face as he asks, still keeping Indira in his embrace, “Is there anymore trouble?” he asks quietly, studying her eyes steadily. He wants to know everything about her – her fears, her dreams, her troubles – and the man has gotten sensitive to every nuance of the woman’s frame against him.

Low, husky laughter greets Keane’s return tease, “Nothing like a nice long soak in the tub with a man as hot and soothing as the waters themselves.” To the quiet query put to her Indira shakes her head, mute for a moment until she in a voice touched through with fear and that sense of foreboding that had caused her to tremble, gives in hushed answer, “I just…I don’t want to lose you, Keane,” like she’d lost her weyrmate, “Promise me you’ll be careful and that you’ll keep that mutt of Rordan’s close by you.” Her deepest fear being now that she’d found someone she could love and grow old with, now that she was happy for probably the first time in her life, that it would all be taken away from her.

Laughing, “It’s cold out enough to take to the baths for a dip once we get back,” Keane suggests slyly, already feeling the rigors of the ride that morning in his legs. That amusement fades in light of what Indira says next, the man tilting his head to look at her before saying, “I ain’t going anywhere without you, love. Ain’t one risk anything I don’t need to in this day and age – not like I did when I was younger. Not careful’s been me staying up here,” and he nods about with his chin, indicating the Telgari lands and his bar. “I need to take better care of myself, I know that,” he rumbles close, touching her face, “and I will be able to, once I’m south. I promise to be careful, and you ain’t going to lose me,” and he looks pointedly at her, knowing where her fears are coming from. “You got me, Indira. You’ll have me for as long as you want me.” He grins on the big black canine currently touring the bar by his master, remarking, “That mutt belongs to Rordan, unless the man’s to come south with me. If not, I can always get me another canine…though I warrant you don’t even like the beasts,” he remarks, one corner of his mouth lifting.

“Promise?” Indira asks with a coquettish tip of head and bat of eyelashes. Keane looks at her and she momentarily drops her gaze, embarrassed by the confession and then slowly meets his eyes a small smile appearing. “Aye, I know that in here,” she lifts a hand and taps a finger to the side of her head, “it’s in here,” her hand then touching over her chest where her heart is, as she adds softly, “that it gets…a little harder.” The headwoman swallows and flashes another quick smile and covers with playful threat, “You come to any harm before you get down south and I’ll personally come up here and kick your arse for you. Deal?” Mention of Keane potentially getting his own canine flares dark eyes briefly and once again she covers with a wrinkle of nose, “They’re smelly things with…fleas and…mud and things.” Not to mention big teeth that nip at a little girl’s butt when she’s stealing redfruit from the neighbour’s tree.

“Promise,” Keane returns with his chin dropping, alittle playful though with a masculine tilt to head before his smile blossoms. His smile turns gentle with understanding for her words on knowing, stating gently, “Then we’ll just have to teach here,” and he reaches to place his hand over hers that is placed on her heart, “to realize that this one here,” and he’ll take her hand if he could, moving it towards his cheek, “ain’t about to get his ass killed anytime soon. Or ever. Worked too hard to let myself die, shuga.” He chuckles on the playful threat then, appearing cowed enough to say, “I hear men behave better if spanked. Haven’t seen that theory tested.” Yeah, he’s bad. He could be worse. Eyes sweeping the banquet before them, “Anything more to feast or do you want to head back?” he asks then, it meaning another good ride before they returned to the bar. Of course, he expected the reaction from Indira on the matter of the canine, bearing his teeth in a tease as he returns “I can get him a bath! I hear canines liked baths!” Uhhh-huh. He’s going to make Indira bathe him, too.

A grin tilts the corners of her mouth upward for Keane’s promise given and then it fades and she’s regarding him with dark eyes become pools of solemnity laced with darker drops of anxiety for his next words. Her hand is easily led by his warm, larger hand from her over her heart to palm the side of his face and she gives a soft smile before leaning forward enough to brush her lips against his in a gentle kiss, at least partially mollified by what he says. “I love you, Keane of Telgar and would rather die with you than be left alone,” again. His cocky response on the threat given has her mouth twitching and a brow lifting as she pretends to lend though to his alternative suggestion, “Perhaps I should spank you then. Aye, I think that would work better.” Riiight. Her attention drawn back to the food so carefully selected and thoughtfully provided has Indira leaning over to pluck up a few pieces of fruit, “In a hurry for that soak in the tub are you?” wink. And then she sends a light frown his way when he teases on bathing his potential canine and finds another excuse as to why canines are apparently not good to have around. “They chew things too,” she notes with a firm nod as if to convince herself more than him.

That gentle kiss taken with experienced passion, Keane groans into the sensation before it breaks and he hears her declaration. He looks deep into her eyes then, searching them, her hand still in his own before he puts forth, “You truly love me, Indira?” tentatively, his own heart swelling at the thought and skipping a beat. “You’re serious about wanting me, for good?” To have her, see her everyday, to spend out the rest of his days – and his were far shorter than her own… Laughter greets Indira’s words on spankings, remarking cockily, “I knew you were trying to get at my ass from day one.” In other words, she was going to have to catch him first, though that would probably be easier done than said. Back to the food, he picks at some of what’s left on the plates before answering on that bath, “Well, you know…hard day’s ride, good woman by my side, and it’s not even evening? I figure a good soak and maybe even a little game of chance could top this day off as one of the best in my life,” and he returns that wink. Moving to get the bottle and refill his glass before raising it to her, “Here’s hoping for more to come,” he toasts, grinning on their budding future together. Her look on canines gets her a little teasing nudge, stating, “Chew things, sure. We can make sure he’s stocked with bones, eh? I’m sure your son could help with that, him running the stables and all! My brother, Siret, always wanted to have a canine but we could barely feed ourselves let alone a beast. Maybe if I get enough profit and all,” he adds, starting to warm up to their plans, “I can purchase a few runners, you know? Always wanted some of my own. I could take out a room at the Weyr and ride down from Landing every few days, eh? Maybe even help Jaya with her bar if she wants. Go fishing and grow my own garden to cook from…might be pretty good living, that.”

The words were out before she’d even realized she’d spoken them, words she’d sworn she’d never speak again. And so Keane’s cautious querying of them has Indira going still, gaze latching onto him as if he were some kind of lifeline and then slowly she nods. “Yes…I do. I love you,” Indira confirms quietly as a smile flickers in and out again, and then she tips her head to one side, regarding the Telgar barkeep through a few more moments of silence, almost wary as she asks, “Is that what you want?” For her to want him for good.

Playfulness returns and she gives a snap of fingers. “Darn! You’ve seen right through me,” spoken in response to his comment on spankings. Pause is given to enjoy one of the pieces of fruit she’d plucked up and then a warm smile turns out on Keane’s analysis of the day, “Mmm, you make it hard for a woman to resist such offers but one does have to wonder what sort of game of chance you have in mind and what we’d be playing for, hmm?” Her wine glass is empty so instead she’ll try to snag his (minx) as its lifted in toast, and she speaks her agreement thereof, “Many more to come.”

The teasing nudge however earns Keane a look of mock rebuke, the wariness over talk of him possibly getting a canine of his own still there though its leaning more toward the side of dubiousness. “Runners sound like a far better option. They’re useful, you can race them,” those bred for it, “and they don’t bite.” Shyeah right. “You’ll do no such thing,” Indira states in a tone that brooks no argument, “you’ll stay with me when you visit.” She’s decided. There’s a moment of pause when he mentions helping Jaya out with her bar and sincerity enters her tone, “I think she’d appreciate being able to take a break here and there and just…be a young woman for a change, aye?” Warmth infuses her expression as he continues to speak his dreams out loud and fingers touch in light gesture to his lips, “You’ll do it all, love.” Especially if she has anything to do with it.

Keane continues to search Indira’s face as she answers, and then after a moment of silence, a gentle smile warms his face as he states back, “Yes.” Beat. “I love you too, Indira, and I think you and I are meant to be. I’d give anything to get my turns back, be much younger than I am, to give you more time…” time he sees that he’s wasted by not having her in his life until now. There’s strong confidence in his voice now, having gotten his confirmation of her love, and he moves to cover one hand over her own. “We’ll be alright, you and I,” he grunts, smiling at her broadly. “More than alright.” There’s laughter on their playfulness in spankings and games of chance, the old barkeep remarking wryly with just a tad bit innocent, “A nice and simple game of cards, of course.” Uh-huh. What more would he want? He lets her snag his wine glass with amused rumbling in his chest, not protesting the theft as he instead wraps his now free arm about her waist again. Turning to the talk of canines and runners, “Why not both?” he puts forth with tease in his voice, watching her face. “What if some, I dunno, some erstwhile woman sneaks up on me and tries to do me harm? No runner’s going to come to my aid, hmmm?” He’s also looking to happy to comply with staying in Indira’s room on the days he visits the Weyr, nodding in agreement to that. “I just didn’t want to make assumptions,” he explains, tightening his hold on her. “I know some women do prefer their private spaces. Be real nice though, sharing a room with you. You can come see me down Landing way anytime as well. Far better than Telgar.” Far closer, too. He considers her words on him helping out in Jaya’s bar, the smile for the Dicori genuine since he does regard the young woman like a daughter to him. “Aye, she hasn’t had much time to grow up properly,” he notes, “or rather, she’s had to grow up too fast. She deserves time to herself, and besides, might be good to get to know some of the folks at the Weyr. Make contacts.” The plans form more in his mind as he voices them aloud, the touch to his lips getting a kiss and a wry, “I have every intention of it. If I’m to move south, I intend to do it with style, my lady. Man’s got a reputation to uphold after all,” and he sends her that roguish wink.

As Keane had searched her face, so Indira now searches his eyes, trying to look deep into soul when he tells her that he loves her. She’s heard those words before, from another man. But they were hollow, empty things that meant little. When she finds no mockery, or the taint of blithe and thoughtless response there, she smiles. Hesitant at first and then blooming with the realization of his truth, the shine that lights dark eyes lending her a youthful look as she gives a small shake of head to his wishing to be able to turn back time, “No love, you and I are meant to be just as we are.”

Drinking a mouthful from his wineglass, Indira returns it and chuckles, “Somehow, I get the feeling that ‘nice and simple’ has nothing to do with this game of cards you propose.” But she doesn’t press further on the matter for with his strong arm wrapped about her once again, there’s the matter of canines and runners. “Both? Where would you keep them all? Or…” tracing a finger down his chest, “are you planning on staking a piece of land between the Weyr and Landing and calling yourself Lord Eastern, hmm?” teasing. A dark blonde brow arches upward, “Some previous woman of yours dares to show her face and she’ll find something worse than a canine snapping at her arse.” That being one Headwoman handier with a knife than some men are. That possessiveness falls away into a warm smile, “I’m about done with having private space, love. I’ll have a key cut to my quarters when you down south.” Offering further incentive perhaps? The invitation to share his dwellings with him in Landing gets a crooked grin, “Be careful, Telgar. You might find yourself with a woman in your bed more nights than you can keep up with,” teasing again.

On the matter of Jaya and being able to afford the young woman the luxury of some time to herself there’s a nod given which serves as joint agreement to Keane getting to know a few people about the Weyr too. A light laugh is next in response to both his words and that roguish wink, “In style, eh? If anyone can do it, my man can.” Ownership of him is spoken to that comment without her even realizing she’s doing so.

Finding the blossom of a smile on Indira’s face, Keane wants to touch it and so he does. “I’ll be a good man to you, Indira, for as long as breath has my body,” he swears almost fiercely, nodding. “I’m not a wealthy man, and my parents made sure I had nothing for an inheritance, but I’m a hard worker. A good worker. I’m good with my hands, and good with folks, so there’s surety that I’ll never be out of work. I’ll keep you happy, and if there’s any reason that I don’t, well, you just let me know, ehh?” and he peers into her eyes. “You let me know and I’ll do my best to change it. Ain’t as stubborn as I used to be, growing up. I’m gotten too tired to fight unless when it’s necessary. Ain’t trying to force myself into your family and all either,” he feels the need to say, squeezing her hand. “Max is grown now and the last he probably needs is a father, but I want to be available to him if he needs me.”

Getting the wine back, he drains the glass and remarks on the game of cards, “Somehow I have a feeling that you’re right, but we shall see, hmm? I’m sure we’ll find some way to amuse ourselves this evening.” Yeah, which means he likely won’t be working the bar tonite – at least not in a bar owner capacity with his lady. The man chuckles on him staking some land down south, then turns his head and looks as if giving it a good thought. “Lord Eastern? Hmmm, that does have a nice ring to it….Lord Keane of Eastern…” and he makes a show of rubbing his chin, like a Lord Holder preening infront of a looking glass. He rumbles his amused shock at her flash of possessiveness at the thought of a woman coming after him, the man rumbling in her ear, “My fierce woman would fight the whole of a brothel for me, ehh?” in a bare whisper. “I think I would like the sound of that!” That low tease falls away as he nods and says, “Aye, a key for me would be choice.” Incentive indeed! Keane knows exactly what she’s doing by the amused look on his face. “As for finding a woman in my bed more nights than I can handle, well then, guess you’ll have to just see how many nights I can handle, ehh?” he puts forth in a roguish challenge, bearing his teeth in a smile. Oh yes, he likes the fact that she claims him as her man, sealing such words with a lengthy kiss over food and wine, not caring if they’re out in the open for any passerby could see.

Lips part and put a kiss to the fingertips that touch to her mouth, silent as Keane speaks earnest fealty to her. Something about the way he says what he does and then squeezes her hand at the end has the tousled blonde tipping a curious look up to him, her tone held low and is laced with uncertainty when she responds. “What are you trying to say, love? Are you asking me to…be your betrothed?” That being something she’d never really given much thought to and enough to have the woman going as still as a forest creature caught under the stare of a predator. As a result it takes a moment or two to slip away from that topic and onto the next with a shaky laugh of agreement to entertaining themselves.

“A very dashing Lord Holder you’d make too,” she quips, amusement flashing in her eyes for the manner in which he rubs at his goatee and then a faint shiver goes through her for the query rumbled into her ear. A light smirk pulls up, “Of course, it would depend on what she looks like, wouldn’t it?” a pointed wink sent to Keane as reminder of past conversations. A soft chuckle then spills out, “You already have the key to my heart so it stands to reason you should have the one to my quarters too.” And strengthens into laughter for his devilish challenge to test his endurance, “You just want to be sure to one day die with a smile on your face, don’t you?” teasing. His lips closing over hers at the end has the woman wrapping her arms about his neck and then trying to draw him down with her to the blanket, just as heedless as he for what any that pass by might hear or see over the next span of time.

The kiss to fingertips gets a warm grin from Keane, and then she speaks. She asks. It’s a moment of silence before answering low, “I wouldn’t presume to lock you under key so soon,” with slight amusement, “but I do believe that life is short. You’re all I ever need, Indira, and when the time comes – when you’re ready and would want to – then yes, I want you mine in title as well as name. I want to make sure things are really good with us first, so that you whatever uncertainties you may have is gone. I’ve handfasted once,’ he remarks with a rueful twist of lips, “and this time, I want to make sure I do things right.” Laughter greets her quip on his being Lord Holder, the man patting his own belly and stating, “I think I’d drive all the Lord Holders nuts at conclaves. I can’t abide with rich men and their silks thinking they’re better than me just because they just happen to be born into a better family. Even running this bar, I run into those types.” The laugh smolders on pervious discussions involving women, the man giving her a meaningful look as his response to that along with a rumbling in his throat before addressing the last two statements with a wry “I’ve paid my dues, I believe. I just want the good life due me, ehh? I am lucky to be still alive, given my background.” And then he’s wrapped in Indira’s embrace, the kiss deepening and lengthening, letting her draw him down on the blanket to show his love to her in ways a young holder would blush.

In that brief span of silence from Keane, worry that perhaps she’s hurt him, flickers across Indira’s features. But when he answers her like he does, granting her the time she still needs, a warm smile appears and moisture suddenly collects in dark eyes, “You are a dear, sweet man and I have no doubt that you will do right by us.” Both hands then lift and soft palms touch to either side of his face with the headwoman kissing him tenderly. Blinking the emotion away that had so swiftly risen she gives a soft laugh, “Perhaps its time those stuffed shirts had someone more down to earth in their midst. Who knows, you might even start a new fashion trend, hmm?” a pointed look going to his attire which in her opinion is far more attractive than pompous sisals and fur-trimmed robes. To his having paid his dues and now having earned the right to a good life and pursuing a few personal projects of his own, “That you have, love.” Those the last words, aside from whispered sweet nothings, to pass from her lips with just the distinguished barkeep and the way in which he demonstrates his love for her that matters for the next hour or so.

Ending Music: Your Love Is King - Sade

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