Backscrubbings

Participants:

Kestian.jpg Ahnika.jpg

Date: 10th July 2010
Location: Baths, Eastern Weyr
Synopsis: Ahnika and Kestian meet in the baths, have a conversation, trade back scrubbings. At the end there, Ahnika manages to disconcert the harper a titch when the talk turns to flights.
Rating: PG
Logger: Kestian

Ahnika
Ahnika is a young woman appearing in her mid to late teens, but with a tall, willowy and somewhat boyish frame. Her pale and freckled face is appropriately long to match that of her build, and the length of her coppery-red tresses complete the look as they cascade past her shoulders and end at about the middle of her back. Two narrow braids starting at her temples wrap around to the back of her head where a cord binds them together. Her almond-shaped grey eyes cast a gaze about her surroundings, sometimes curious in nature, and sometimes watchful, from above some rather pronounced and high cheekbones.

She wears clothing that suggests a practical nature without being out-of-fashion. The dyed deep olive, dark greys, and navy with yellow accents of the material of her modest top and ankle-length skirt seems to be a suitable mix of colors for her complexion and sets off her hair rather well, though falls short of being considered an expensive taste.

A line of bathing supplies is neatly set up along the rim of one of the smaller bathing pools and Kestian has just emerged from beneath the water, wet from head to toe and standing up to just above his waist in the pool in question. Hands rub across his face, lift to push bangs out of the way as the harper reaches for the first item in that line of supplies. Steam curls around the room and a group of young people occupies the larger pool, chattering away sociably, mindless of states of undress: it's all just par for the course in a Weyr.

As Kestian emerges from beneath the water's surface, Ahni was just arriving at the same pool on the other side. She pauses at the edge for only a moment before setting her sack of toiletries at her feet and beginning to disrobe. She is far from shy as she disrobes, but she is not very sensual about the intimate process either, treating it as someone might treat a chore—every movement practical and ordinary. But the pale-skinned teen does sink to the edge and dip her legs in first to test the water first. She doesn't greet Kestian verbally, and in fact seems to keep her gaze politely averted.

That hand drops after digging water out of the corners of his eyes and Kestian opens them to find a naked girl right in front of him. Blink. And there goes his gaze politely skipping away too, to the bottle his other hand has just closed around. Looks like shampoo as he opens it, pours some in his palm and turns slightly to give the girl some 'space'. "Busy day in here today," he does offer over conversationally, not making a big deal out of the circumstances.

To the comment, Ahni smiles. It is a genuine smile, but not overly brilliant either, considering said circumstances. One might consider it friendly and an attempt to be disarming. "Only likely to get busier as the weyr gets more folk," she says, her legs, toned and indicative of a person who is used to being on her feet a lot and not sedentary—swishing around about in the water a little. Her friendly smile fades as she seems to make an inference, "There's still some room over at the larger pool. I'll move if you're the kind who prefers less crowding, if ya like." She reaches for her clothes with one hand, the other still braced along the edge of the pool.

"True and the Weyr growing is a good thing," Kestian says mildly, lifts his hands to work the suds into his hair. "Oh no, I'm fine," the harper says with a shake of his head. "Plenty of room here. Just didn't want to be in the middle of all the chatter over there," a tilt of his head toward the larger pool that unsettles some suds that go sliding down the back of his neck results. "I don't think I've seen you around either," he adds conversationally. "I'm Kestian, Journeyman Harper." Polite in spite of the fact that they're sitting in a bathtub.

The red-head smiles again, but it is quick before she gets back to the business of bathing. She drops her previously worn clothes back behind her sack, and begins to unwravel her braids. "Ahnika, and I came with Headwoman Indira's group." She doesn't offer any other title or rank. "Nice to meet you, Journeyman Kestian," her voice as easy-going and friendly as it was at first. Her legs continue to swirl in the hot water as she finishes unwraveling her braids, and water tested and braids undone, she pushes off from the edge to slide in with a little muted moan of pleasure as her body slides in. "The water feels good," she says simply.

"Well met Ahnika," the harper says with a little nod. "You're very newly come to the Weyr then," he continues conversationally and pauses in his ablutions to duck down and rinse his hair out. When he surfaces again, he's suds free and reaches for the next item along the edge of the pool: an actual bar of soap which he uses to start lathering up the rest of him. "I can definitely agree that hot springs with self-circulating water are probably one of the nicest things about living at a Weyr. Nicer even than bathtubs with plumbing."

"You had plumbing?" Ahnika asks, looking impressed by the fact for a moment before she tilts her head back to the edge of her face to better soak the full length of her hair. She straightens then and turns back to her own sack of bathing supplies, her wet hair sticking to her bare shoulders as she reaches up and over the ledge to retrieve her own shampoo. She chuckles then, a soft lilting sound, and adds, "I must sound a bit backward. This is all rather new to me." When she turns around, shampoo in her hands, her grey eyes are alive with excitement, shimmering in the dim light, and she grins, "It's so exciting, isn't it?" Then goes about spreading a big dollop of the stuff into her hair.

"Not everywhere I've lived," Kestian qualifies his answer about plumbing, twisting about to get soap down his back. "You mean coming to the Weyr?" the harper asks, brows lifting a little for clarification. "I was pretty excited to get this posting. It's so close to Landing …" a note of wistfulness in his voice.

Ahnika grins a little more again, seeming to understand the significance of being near Landing for a Harper, saying appreciatively, "I can imagine." She works the shampoo material well into her long hair for another moment, falling quiet as she does, her gaze moving off to some place in the distance. Then she glances back in his direction before letting her gaze slide away once more, "Have you been posted here from the beginning? That must have been interesting, too, being able to see things from the start. Was it very chaotic and disorganized?"

"Mm. So many fascinating things coming from AIVAS," the harper says reverently, nearly forgetting to keep it up with the soap. "Not quite," Kestian replies with a shake of his head. "But early enough I guess. Lots of .. tunnelsnakes." He makes a face.

Ahnika frowns a little at the comment on tunnelsnakes and then takes in a breath before sinking under the water to rinse her hair. She's under there a second or two longer than someone with shorter hair would be and resurfaces, eyes shut tight and a little disoriented and off-balance. She pushes her now soapless and wet hair out of her face and then rubs her hands down her face as she catches her breath, but doesn't open her eyes yet, saying, "I guess you and the other Harpers here are very busy scribing… everything… all the development. There's a lot to do." Blindly, she stretches her hands out, looking for the edge of the pool and her cloth to dry her face.

"Pretty much," Kestian acknowledges and hastily puts his soap down, reaches for Ahnika's hand. "Here, edge is there and your towel, just to the right," the harper describes. "I've been trying to get some things organized and of course the Weyrwoman will probably need some support for her record-keeping now that that's been decided by the golds rising."

"Thank you," Ahnika says, a hint of a smile tugging at her lips as she feels his hand and is guided to her towel. As soon as she feels the edge of the pool and finds the towel with her other hand, she starts to try to withdraw her hand from his. She wipes the water from her face, adding conversationally, "I'm trying to help Headwoman Indira with some organization and support, too, point of fact." She glances his way, offering a modest smile, "Wherever I may be of assistance most." There is a yearning in her gaze for a moment when she says that, and then she looks away again.

There's no lingering of Kestian's grasp, just polite guidance and his fingers are gone. "Ah, perhaps I should touch base with the headwoman then, in case she needs an archivist's skills," the harper says thoughtfully and dunks under the water again. When he comes back up, he turns his back politely, picks up the soap again to finish off with his washing. With that done, he picks up the last bottle, which is apparently something for his hair, smoothed in and not rinsed out. Capped again, the bottle is slide aside and he leans his elbows on the pool's edge. "Will that be your job going forward? Assistant to the headwoman?"

"I would love it if it were so," Ahni says, putting the towel back down on her sack and reaching for her own bar of soap, "But I think that is all still being worked out. I have some skill in the kitchens and looking after youngsters, too, so it all depends on how they get it all sorted out. I'm sure everyone has their uses, some in more areas than others." There is a bit of wistfulness as she says the last, and then she clears her throat, lathering up her shoulders and arms, "I'm sure the Headwoman would appreciate your offer," Ahnika smiles again, watching the suds slide down her wet arms for a moment before moving to her chest and other regions. "Did you get your back?" she asks casually. "I can get your back for you if you didn't, and you can get mine."

"Ahh, I see," Kestian replies with a little nod and remains where he is, lounging back against the pool's edge, just enjoying the soak. "I'll be sure to speak to her," the harper affirms and then lifts his shoulders slightly. "Some of it. What I could reach. I haven't invested in a good back brush yet." A little pause follows and he nods. "I'd be happy to help."

"Well, turn around then and I'll get the rest of it for you, if ya like, Journeyman," Ahnika offers amicably, moving to be within reaching distance of where he is soaking, "I always say, why spend the marks on something if you don't have to? Plenty of good, sensible folk around to get your back for you, you know?" She works the soap a bit to get it in a good lather.

"Thank you," Kestian says simply and turns around, setting his elbows on the pool's edge again, but facing outward. "Generally speaking, yes, but there are times when it's good to be able to handle your own back yourself," the harper points out with a quiet chuckle.

"I suppose," Ahnika says, sounding not very convinced, but not feeling it worth a longer disagreement either. "I've never been alone enough to need one, I guess. A lot of fosterlings at our cothold, coming and going, myself included. Always someone about to wash your back. Someone always needing… somebody… else…" her words get farther apart as she speaks toward the end, now lathering up his back with her hands and the soap bar as he offers it to her, and getting lost in some thought. She's not overly rigorous with the washing, but not terribly gentle either. It is a chore to be handled like one, efficiently and thoroughly and then finished. "There you go, Journeyman," she says when she feels she is done, and steps back, asking conversationally again, "Which part of the North are you from, if you don't mind me asking?"

"You've a large family then," Kestian remarks conversationally. "I'm an only child. Though I did grow up amongst the others at Nerat Hold and a little bit at Ista Weyr so I am no unused to many being around." He's remarkably still during the back-scrubbing, no twitching or jerking under the less-than-gentle scrub. "Thank you," Kestian says again, takes back the soap and lowers down to rinse of just his back, which leaves his chin on a level with the water's surface for a second or two, before he straightens again. "I was born at Ista Weyr, but grew up mostly at Nerat Hold until I apprenticed. I was at Harper Hall near Fort after that until I walked the tables and was posted to a little seahold in Boll.

"Certainly," Ahnika says to his 'Thank you'. "You've seen a bit of Pern then, it sounds like, Journeyman, which I suppose is good to have done as a Harper, no?" Her smile is a thoughtful one as she regards him when he lowers himself to rinse and turns around as he straightens, handing the bar of soap toward him over her shoulder with one hand while sweeping most of her hair off her back and over her other shoulder with the other. "It must have been a bit exciting, wandering around, learning new things, knowing you'll always have a home wherever you go," she murmurs, "and well, and so forth, that is." She clears her throat and squares her shoulders a little, looking straight ahead with her back toward him now.

"Yes, I think it's pretty standard for harpers to see at least a few places before settling down in one more permanently," Kestian agrees, taking the soap and turning it about between his palms to get some lather going, then returns the favor of washing her back in rather methodical fashion. "Personally, I hope that the Masterharper will see fit to leave me here for some time. It's always been what I've longed for: to be near Landing and have a chance to really study what the ancients left behind." There's earnestness in his voice. "I can't really imagine not having anywhere to go. In the worst instance, my mother or my father would always welcome me, I'm fairly certain."

"Of course," Ahnika says softly after a moment's thought, her body moving a little in the water as he washes her back for her, but she maintains her footing well enough. She lapses quiet again for a moment during which time the bits and pieces of coversation drifting over from the larger pool dominates and the gentle lapping of the water in this pool echoes softly. Then Ahnika says, "I'm sure the weyrleaders could talk to the Masterharper for you if he tries to send you elsewhere. There's always a way to work out problems like that, especially if the people in charge like you enough and are sensible enough."

After a little while, Kestian's palms stop moving across Ahnika's back and he steps away to put the soap back on the edge of the pool, rinse off his hands. "If my work pleases the Weyrleaders, then of course they're at liberty to request my services, however it wouldn't be appropriate to put myself forward like that," the harper says gently. "I don't expect to be called back any time soon however. I should be here for several turns at the least."

Underneath the upper set of hatching sands, this cavern is fairly large in size, though it is dwarfed in comparison to others nearby. A natural hot spring, the steamy water has been diverted into one large pool - capable of holding about twenty odd people - and several smaller ones around the edges. Shelves have been set up along the northern wall, lined with different scents of bathing salts, sweetsands and oils. Under the shelves are benches where folk can dress and undress. Even given the tropical nature of the climate, this is still one of the most popular places in the weyr.

Ahnika turns a little to look over her shoulder and seeing the soap being put up, she smiles a little and nods, "Thank you, Journeyman," and sinks a bit to rinse off her back. When she straightens, she moves over to the edge where her satchel is and puts the soap away once more. "Well, I'm glad to hear it. I'd hate for you to leave too soon. You seem a very nice sort of person to have around, Harper and all, Journeyman," she says, refolding her towel on top of the satchel a bit before turning around and lounging against the side as he had been before, enjoying the nice hot soak easing away some of the strain in her muscles.

"Kestian," the harper offers a little absent-mindedly. "No need to stick to titles," he continues, a faint smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Given we've just scrubbed each other's backs."

Grinning a bit impishly for the first time, Ahnika says, "Right you are there. Well put." She chuckles softly but briefly and adds, "Tell you what, anytime you need your back scrubbed, Kestian, feel free to come to me, yeah? We'll make fast friends." She grins again, this one more innocently friendly. She sticks out her hand, dripping with water, to him to shake on it.

"I'll … keep that in mind," Kestian says with a bemused expression though he does laugh and he does extend his hand to take hers, shakes briefly. "I'll be happy to have a friend here, since I haven't really made any yet. Only acquaintances."

Smiling and moving to close her wet hand around his as he extends his hand in return, Ahnika says, "Me too, although I count Headwoman Indira as a friend now, I think. She and I have some very similarly progressive notions." She pauses and then adds with a look to Kestian, "And a true friend will do what she can to save a friend from spending unnecessary marks on backscrubbers, no? And anything else unnecessary for that matter." She grins.
GAME: Save complete.

A firm shake follows, ends soon enough. "Progressive?" Kestian prompts curiously. "What counts as progressive in your estimation." The remainder of what she says sees him quirk brows upward, like he's trying to parse that through and ultimately he ends up at laughter. "Yes. A true friend will. I'll take that as a sign of getting off on the right foot. Though I'll admit to being pressed to think of what other unnecessary things I might need saving from."

After the handshake, she lowers her arms back into the water. Ahnika's head and shoulders are all that is clearly visible for the moment. His laughter generates a chuckle of her own in return, though there's a bit more heat to her cheeks in addition. She lifts her arms out of the water and gathers her soaked hair, pulling it away from sticking to her back briefly as she clears her throat before responding, "Yes, well, you know. The odd thing someone might spend a mark for that a friend could save him from." She frowns thoughtfully, lowering her hands and arms back into the water as she studies the gently rolling surface, "Come to think of it, I don't have much to offer. I traveled light to get to Headwoman Indira's group, but well… if you were to need, say, a comb… or a new pillow… or.." she frowns, realizing she is rambling non-sensically, and finally she turns her grey eyes up at him and shrugs, "I just like to be useful," she concludes lamely with an odd smile, "Seren used to say I was good at solving problems at the cothold." She examines the state of her pruning wet fingers a moment, the water dripping back into the pool in quiet drops, "As for what I mean about progressive notions, well, that's probably most evident by the fact that we're here, as opposed to somewhere else." She gestures vaguely off in the distance before resuming her lounging position against the edge. "I've always felt that tradition is all well and good, as long as it remains practical and useful, and doesn't stand in the way of new and more useful ideas."

"Problem-solving is a very useful skill," Kestian says gently, the expression in his eyes kind and listens to her thoughts on progressiveness. "Personally, I just can't fathom turning my back on a precious store of knowledge. The opportunity it presents," the harper says, waxing poetic and a bit more passionate on the topic.

Moving from examining her fingers to rubbing some of the ache from her arms and shoulders while absorbing the hot water, Ahnika glances suddenly from the water to Kestian, her smile brighter than before now after his kind comment, "Thank you for saying so. I like to think so, too. Rather versatile. Can take it anywhere." Then she nods, looking back at the water, "Oh certainly. I think it's rather bold and arrogant to say we've learned everything we can ever hope to learn from Landing. Even if we think something doesn't make sense at the time, we likely can figure a way to use it in the future." She looks back at Kestian, adding with a smile, "I love seeing and learning new things. It will make me smarter and wiser and perhaps one day when I'm as good and smart as Headwoman Indira, I might actually make a Headwoman myself somewhere." She punctuates it with a wistful sigh, and then goes back to rubbing her arms and shoulders.

"Exactly. Harpers value that kind of skill for exactly that reason," Kestian points out. "It's a big part of our job outside of teaching and making music. Solving problems." Referring of course to the diplomatic side of what harpers often have to do. "So that's your ambition? To be a headwoman?" he asks curiously. "You've never considered a craft?" He by contrast, largely holds still, just dripping slowly half-dry above the waist, elbows perched on the pool's edge again, perfectly relaxed.

Nodding along in agreement as he speaks on Harpers and knowledge and solving problems, Ahnika continues to give herself a little slow, methodical rub-down during the soak, not seeming able to sit still without some more pragmatic purpose to drive her. "Quite right," she says to his first commments, and then slowing her massaging down even more to his last questions. She stares at the water's surface a moment and then lifts her leg up, leaning heavily against the wall of the pool for balance as she massages her dripping calf muscle. "Oh, I've considered apprenticeships," she says vaguely, lifting one of her shoulders in a sort of apologetic and half-hearted shrug, and then saying with more breath, "I'd like to be a headwoman I think, someday, but I'm not all that certain how much it covers in a weyr or a large hold. I've only helped run the rural cothold where I was raised and as I'm six and ten turns old, I've not seen anything outside of it… mostly… until I left. This is honestly my first time in a weyr." She lowers her leg and lifts the other one now, starting to massage that calf muscle.

For a moment, Kestian's gaze focuses on that lifted calf then returns to Ahnika's face. "First time in a Weyr," he echoes and his brows knit briefly. "There's a lot to learn about Weyrs," he says casually. "Though at least you haven't got to worry about any of the golds going up again any time soon." He's silent for a moment considering something by the look of him. "So you've never been intereste in apprenticing?"

Scowling briefly, and looking uncomfortable, Ahnika says, "Seren is a Journeyman Healer, midwifery, and I wanted to apprentice to the Healercraft when I was little," spoken as if she were a completely grown woman of long, mature years now, "but… well, it just didn't work out." Her expression smoothes a bit, closing to some degree, and she adds with a sigh, "I considered the Bakercraft, too, with my knack in the kitchens, but they were a little… constricting." She clears her throat then, seeming happier to be on a new subject. "Golds going up again? Oh you mean for mating flights?" Ahnika asks naively, wincing a little as she hits a particular knot on that calf and working it a little longer, "Oh, well, I'm not a rider, so… wait." She looks over at Kestian, hand still on the back of her leg, "What about golds going up again should a non-rider worry about?" And her question seems entirely genuine, suggesting she really doesn't know.

"I'm sorry it didn't work out," Kestian says sincerely and nods about the bakercraft, not pushing for more information at this juncture. "Yes. For mating flights," the harper says evenly and clears his throat. "It's not so much of a concern with greens, but gold flights … tend to … affect people. Rider or not. The degree varies, but it can be interesting. The atmosphere around the Weyr during a gold's flight." Interesting. That's some euphemism there, Kes.

"Thank you," Ahnika says in a murmur to his sympathy, and then her voice lifts to the last, "Interesting?" Ahnika repeats his word with eyebrows lifting as well. Some of the stiffness in her legs worked out between the hot water and her hands, she lowers the second one back into the water and straightens away from the edge of the bathing pool again. She considers his words a moment, then smiles at him, "I regret I missed them going up then. I would have liked to have experienced it for myself." That Ahni, always wanting to see and learn new things and experience new experiences. She knuckles the small of her back briefly before turning around and grabbing the edge of the pool with her hands, "I guess it will be awhile before they go up again, eh?" She hauls herself up onto the edge, her elbows locking as she heaves the rest of her body out, the water dripping and splattering back into the pool and on the rock beside it.

Silence for a moment and then Kestian draws breath. "Intense." Another I-word. "It's … an overwhelming amount of … desire. For some." The harper says carefully, expression betraying nothing of his own opinion on the matter. "Likely several turns," Kestian agrees and looks away as she pushes out of the pool, gauges the distance to his own towel, then turns and pushes up and out of the pool in turn, back turned for the duration until his towel has been picked up and wound around his waist. His bath items are collected and he pads a short distance away to settle them in a small basket, slips his feet into a pair of braided sandals and picks up his cast off, dirtied clothes. "Thank you again for the help with my back. I should go check on a few things before I turn in."

"Desire, hmm?" the red-head comments while she stands and towels herself off, careful to keep her eyes on her own body or trappings at her feet, especially as she hears him haul himself out. "Well, I suppose most everyone who spends their lifetime in a weyr probably has some reasonable yearning to fly a dragon of their own," Ahnika says, apparently not quite getting it. Once she is finished with her drying off, she takes the ties she had been using for her braids and uses them to affect a loose, quick bun at the nape of her neck. She grabs her satchel with her towel wrapped around her and pads carefully over (not wanting to slip) to the wall, not far from Kestian. "I guess I will have to hope to be here in a few turns so I can see it for myself. Perhaps if you're still here we can watch the gold's flight together, Kestian." She smiles at him briefly, not sure of his state of undress, and then sets about pulling on some fresh clothes from her satchel. "Oh certainly. And thanks, too, for getting my back. Sleep well when you do turn in. Perhaps I'll see you for the morning meal tomorrow?"

"Not … that sort of desire," Kestian remarks quietly from where he's piling this things together and checking to make sure his towel is securely fastened and looks up suddenly, startled by that proposition, then shakes his head and says simply: "No. I don't … watch flights." Pause. "In company." Another pause. "I don't recommend it." Breath out and he nods politely. "Perhaps. I usually eat early," he offers over the information then smiles again. "Have a good night Ahnika." And off he goes, sandals slapping the floor lightly with a slight splosh as he walks through spilled over water and out into the hallway to find his own quarters.


Kestian isn't a very buttoned down sort, but having 16 year old girls start talking about going to flights with him was enough to ruffle his equanimity. Memo at the back of his mind: write up short informational pamphlet for Weyr newcomers about possible effects of gold flights. So he doesn't have to actually talk about it.


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