Bad Pickup Bounties

Participants:

Jaya.jpg Jonavan.jpg Shijan.jpg Suli.jpg Bhedri/Beddie, T'fas (NPC'd by Jaya), and Evie (NPC'd by Jonavan)

Date: Dec. 8, 2010
Location: EW: Bar, Lakeshore
Synopsis: It's a busy night at the bar and excitement around the Dicori twins comes equipped with a drunk bronzerider, intimidating bounty hunters dropping names, and knife throwing to round off an intense evening.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya


The bar is jumping this night, so Jaya was actually grateful for the fact that her twin sister, Beddie, offered to help her out with the patrons. The scarless Bitran twin could be seen flitting about the tables, appearing to be quite the natural at delivering drinks and bantering with the patrons – much like she was good at selling her family’s wares back home. Jaya was watching her for a moment until she was satisfied that Beddie could do the job (and not offend her customers), before she moved off to do her part of the job. Suli and Hayli were about to help the twin out after all, along with a still-amused Shijan guarding by the entrance as usual. All the card tables were full and loud, the men raucous in their play from the traders to the table of farmers. It looked to be a fun night – and profitable night – which has the Dicori barkeep in a good mood.

Two more come through the open door, mid-conversation and carrying it in with them. “You still should have told me,” Jonavan contends, looking down at his sister and standing aside so she can precede him. The resignation in his tone suggests that this is an old argument he’s already lost. He nods to Shijan while going past, but Evie goes a step further to greet the guard directly with a bright, “Good evening!” and a warm, cheerful smile. The smile stays as the petite healer considers her brother for a moment, and instead of responding to his grumbling, points out, “You know, you can actually fun to be around when you’re not being a misanthrope.” Sardonic, Jonavan’s brow lifts. “Is that what you tell your patients? Stop being such a misanthrope?” “You’re not my patient, you’re my brother and I’ll speak to you however I like,” Evie returns, grinning wider in the face of Jonavan’s slight pique. She links her arm in his before he can protest further and looks up, a good deal shorter but more than a match; there’s no doubt who’s in charge here. “Do me a favour and try to be nice tonight?” With that and a wink tossed over her shoulder to Shijan, Evie starts to steer her brother towards the bar.

“Evening,” Shijan actually speaks when Evie addresses him, the bodyguard genial despite both her and her brother getting one of his piercing looks as they walked past - and he catches that wink. Suli notices the pair wading through the crowd before Jaya does since she’s on the floor, the towering older barmaid’s eyes narrowing slightly as she passes them with her hands fully occupied in mugs. Jaya is making drinks herself, the barkeep engaged in a conversation herself with one of the dragonrider patrons that could be heard the closer to the bar the pair gets: “…and you should really look at going to the races up in Bitra,” Jaya’s telling the bronzerider, her tongue easy since there’s plenty of marks to be had tonite. The blonde bronzerider is smiling, seeming to consider her words before he puts in, “You must miss it up there…the way your eyes light up when you talk about it.” Jaya pauses in pouring her drinks, a slight entering her face until she looks over and spots both Evie and Jonavan approaching.

Evie has a look of slight satisfaction to have gotten a greeting out of the bodyguard, another smile sneaking into place that remains once she starts threading her way past the tables. Jonavan must have acquiesced because he lets himself be pulled along without further complaint, though he mutters rather petulantly under his breath, “Maybe I don’t want to be nice.” His sister ignores it though, much as she seemingly ignores the less-than-friendly look given by Suli, and elbows her way right up to where the blond man has engaged Jaya in talk of Bitra. “Hi!” she greets them both, perfectly willing to talk to complete strangers as if she’s known them ages. “Busy in here tonight, isn’t it?” Jonavan’s left standing behind his sister as she squeezes in to claim counterspace and says nothing for himself until Evie’s elbow comes back to connect with his stomach. With a mild glare for her crown of frizzing brown hair, he breaks his own silence to say, “Hey.”

The blonde bronzerider seems reluctant to turn towards the two arrivals from his conversation, but he does so and raises a slight glass in their direction in greeting. Jaya herself, she’s watching the pair - though her eyes linger on the male of the pair moreso the female. “I like busy,” the barkeep notes, turning only briefly enough to grab two glasses and set them on the table before the pair. Lifting up a chin briefly, “Pull up a couple of stools. What can I get you both tonite?” This is directed at Evie in particular, even though she’s asking them both for what they want. Eyes falling on Jonavan, “And hey.” Pause. “I miss certain things, parts,” she finally answers the blonde rider, grabbing a decanter to refill his glass. “Bitra was a different crowd, different vibe. I miss the races, yes.” - “You can always visit!” A woman looking quite identical to the barkeep save for the missing scar on the side of her face passes by, apparently having heard the comment as she was depositing dirty mugs on the counter in exchange for new ones to be delivered out. Before Jaya could respond though, Beddie’s already off towards the tables again with laughter in her voice as she tosses a randy comment to one of the passing farmers.

“Keeps you on your feet,” Evie says agreeably. There isn’t a free stool immediately evident so she leans on the counter, shoulders coming forward as she puts both elbows down. “He’s buying, so I’d say something expensive,” she answers the question of drink with unconcealed mischief, “and I remember you promised me brandy.” Jonavan, who had rolled his eyes at Evie’s announced intention to go through his money like water, nevertheless doesn’t contradict her and seconds it: “Brandy for me too, I guess.” Neither of the healers interrupt the barkeep and the bronzerider’s conversation to interject comments on Bitra as Evie instead turns to her brother and requests, “Get me a stool?” Which sets Jonavan off hunting for ones that aren’t taken, glancing at Beddie as she goes by, too quick to greet or even smile at.

“Keep him on his toes, mindhealer,” Jaya drawls to Evie making Jonavan pay for the most expensive brandy, her amusement evident in her husky tone. Nodding firmly to that, “Two brandies, coming!” She turns to get the right decanter while Beddie is back with empty hands and sliding in between the bronzerider and the mindhealer. With a heavy but satisfied smile, “Hello,” the scarless Dicori greets Evie first, propping her elbows on the countertop before she leans over and waves to get her sister’s attention. “Oy! That farmer’s table needs another round!” she calls out, then she shifts a look towards Evie again and adds, “Who would have thought men working with plants all day would drink worse than a fisher,” she sends this to her, shaking her head but seeming to find it amusing nonetheless. She leans a bit over to spy Jonavan heading off to get that stool, then she looks curiously back at Evie and tacks on, “You came in with him, right?” Jaya has turned with a dark bottle and is giving Beddie an oddly warning look before she starts pouring into the two glasses. “Evie, this is my sister, Beddie,” the barkeep gives in dry introductions. Then, pausing to pass Beddie another pointed look, “You know how to pour ale, right?” she directs this toward her twin, in which the traderwoman merely shrugs and doesn’t look to be moving to do it. Nope. Once both glasses are filled, Jaya passes both towards Evie and asks with Beddie listening, “So how has it been going for you?”

“But of course,” Evie replies to Jaya, her grin widening. Her attention drifts to Beddie as the other woman comes up alongside, looking at her with dawning recognition for Jaya’s spitting image. “My, you look familiar,” she puts out as a light tease. “I haven’t met a man who doesn’t drink - and it’s usually the ones you don’t suspect that have a hidden habit.” She glances over her shoulder as her brother’s indicated and nods, affirming the question with a simple, “That’s right.” Evie turns back towards Jaya at the bar in time to catch the barkeep’s look, which interests her though she says nothing of it and sticks with the introductions Jaya’s started. “Nice to meet you. Do you work here too?” She leans forward to claim the glasses, raising one snifter to her nose. “Mm, thanks. Alright - vacation is only half a vacation with Jonavan. I meant to leave earlier but work seems to have followed me.” She doesn’t seem upset on that point however. By now, Jonavan has located two stools, though it took him down to the other end of the bar and required waiting around for one of the clients to shove off the bar and head for the card tables. He brings both back and manages not to bump them into anyone after an initial mishap with knocked shins. “Here you go,” he says first for his sister, and she immediately hops right up. The second he positions to the other side and slightly behind, though he’ll scoot up once space becomes available. A glance towards Beddie brings recollection. “So she let you out?” he asks, glancing between the two Dicoris.

Holding a cold, wet hand out for Evie to take, “Call me Beddie,” the scarless Dicori offers, her bright smile rising to the fore at the other’s light tease. “Evie, right? Well met! Ale, Bajaya?” she directs this last to her waiting sister, and the barkeep is rolling her eyes to the ceiling and turning away to make the drinks since Beddie clearly isn’t going to. At Evie’s comment on men - Beddie’s favorite subject - “Oh sweetie, when they deal with us all the time? The only man I ran into that didn’t drink was one that had more interest in himself than anyone else!” She winks to that and then slaps a hand on the counter as she calls out to Jaya, “They’re waaaaiiiiitting, Bajaya!” Yeah, any way to drive her sister crazy this night. “No, I don’t work here,” Beddie tacks on as an answer when Evie asks, shaking her head. “Well, I do work here, but just for a little while. Just here on visit. What about you?” - “She’s leaving in a few days, in fact,” Jaya butts in, dropping a few filled mugs right in front of Beddie to go and deliver. “One can hope much sooner.” Grabbing up the mugs, “Awww, how sweet!” Beddie purrs to Jaya’s dry remarks to the mindhealer. “Falling back on defensive tactics just to hide how much you’re going to miss me! She does that all the time,” she adds this as an aside to Evie before she’s flitting off to deliver those mugs. Once Beddie is gone and Jaya’s setting the rest of the order out for her when she gets back, “Does this mean you’re sticking around for a bit longer?” Jaya’s asking the mindhealer now, regarding her with some interest before Jonavan arrives with their stools and she’s returning to finishing off that round of drinks. Beddie’s back by the time the healer siblings have settled, catching Jonavan’s question while she started collecting up the new mugs. Light laughter meets that query and Jaya frowns. “I was never tied down,” Beddie tells him with a flap of her free hand towards him, ignoring the deadpan look from her sister. “Not even a Lord Holder’s son could ever tame me,” and she turns to blow a kiss in Jaya’s direction before she’s off again to deliver drinks towards the farmers’ table. “Congrats,” Jaya notes to them as her twin leaves. “There’s actually a person far worse in irritation than you, Jonavan.” Another glass is placed down and it looks very much like Jaya’s pouring herself a drink on the job.

Evie takes Beddie’s hand without pause and doesn’t even flinch. “Evie,” she confirms, then shows another of her grins for the interplay between the two sisters. “Sounds like someone I know,” she remarks to Beddie on the defensive tactics before the other spins away, at which point Evie turns a slightly sympathetic look on Jaya. “Family, eh?” She doesn’t linger on the point though. Nodding to Jaya’s query she manages to slide in, “Couple people I’d like to see,” vague on the details but giving Jaya a look that she hopes the barkeep will correctly interpret. Jonavan is none the wiser when he gets back, grinning at Beddie for her comments. “No wonder I like her,” he tells Jaya before reaching around his sister to pick up his own glass with the remark, “Do I even want to know how much this costs?”

“Family,” Jaya echoes that word, her dark gaze flicking pointedly towards Jonavan before the next thing Evie says has more of her attention. Passing a filled mug towards a waiting patron on the other side of the blonde bronzerider, “Looks like you will be here for awhile, then,” the barkeep interprets the look correctly, nodding slowly to that. “Hope the headwoman has you all squared away with long-term sleeping arrangements, then.” Once Jonavan’s there and making his comment on Beddie, the scar-faced woman couldn’t help but to roll her eyes and chooses to address his latter with a wry, “I can keep in the dark until the end - when you don’t have enough to pay me. Then you’ll just have to find another way pay off a very important debt.” Important to her, anyway, even though she looks to be joking. Looking between the two of them, “So how are things going in the infirmary?” she asks, looking from one to the other. “Anything, ah, interesting? Or is this moment becoming the highlight of your sevendays?” she adds the last somewhat dryly, the woman now knocking back some brandy herself as Bedding returns to the group empty-handed and laughing. “I think I’ve got one of those over there to buy something from me,” she announces to the group as if they cared, leaning against the counter with a hand brushing over her forehead. Looking back towards Jaya, “Profit should appease father for me being away for so long,” she notes with a slight shrug, then she passes a smile towards Evie and Jonavan. “What are you drinking? You should really try the peach rum! It’s my favorite.”

The undercurrents at play always interest Evie, but she sticks to what’s on the surface when it comes to commentary. Holding her glass lightly, she takes one delicate sip, then another. “I hadn’t thought to ask for that,” she confesses. “I’m used to just sleeping where I can, sometimes.” And refused to let Jonavan harass the headwoman for guest quarters on her behalf, figuring that Indira had more to deal with in the still rough-around-the-edges weyr than her material comfort. “You think I should?” She asks Jaya, not Jonavan. The latter leans forward so he can nudge his sister in response to the barkeep’s remarks on the debts he may come to owe, ostensibly speaking to Evie although his eyes are on Jaya. “Look, you’re going to get me in trouble.” As the person to his other side finally moves away, he’s is able to bring his stool right up to the bar in line with Evie and the others. “Boring,” the healer says shortly about the infirmary, to which Evie shoots him a look and counters, “Which is better - your version of interesting is cracked ribs and punctured lungs. There was a birth,” she recounts, turning towards Jaya. “The journeywoman who got married came back; there’s a new assistant…” “Not my assistant,” Jonavan interjects. “I’m not training anyone.” Evie shakes her head slightly, her look one of fond exasperation, then turns to share a smile with Beddie for her enthusiasm. “Next round; we’ve got brandy for this one.”

“Talk to Indira,” Jaya offers on sleeping arrangements, her hand lingering on holding her own glass. “Apparently my sister has.” Yeah, she knows all about what went down with Beddie and the Headwoman. The barkeep was amused nonetheless when Jonavan comments to his sister that she was going to get him in trouble, listening to the banter between siblings with a crooked smile in place. “Heard about the healer you work with,” Jaya picked that one out, “but, who’s the new assistant?” - “You can train me,” Beddie offers Jonavan, leaning over the counter to regard the man until Jaya’s playfully smacking her on the shoulder and countering back dryly, “Don’t let her near any healing tools, Jonavan.” Beddie rolls her eyes and straightens up. “I’ll have you know that everyone comes to me back home because I have great bedside manners,” she tells them all, chin lifting as she steps aside from the counter to let Suli approach. “I have quite proper healing capabilities.” Jaya’s lips press together at that, perhaps trying to suppress the response she wants to return that would clearly be too crass for the current crowd. Instead, she addresses the last that Evie says with “I don’t have any peach rum. Beddie thinks if she riles up enough of my customers that I’ll go get some.” - “Then this is not a fully-stocked bar,” Beddie is countering, turning a pointed nod towards the healers. “How can a place not have peach rum? The notion alone is simply ludicrous!”

Evie nods and files the advice away, looking considering and as as if she’d like to ask more, but keeps her own council for the moment and sips at her drink. “Vani-something?” Evie is great with names but is only going on hear-say, as she hasn’t met the new infirmary aide herself. “I suppose I’ll have to help out more if I stay longer,” she muses with only mild disappointment. “I’ve been hoping to coax out a ride so I can go see the sea.” Evie darts a look across at the bronzerider to see if he’s listening. Meanwhile, Jonavan’s amusement starts to show as he looks at Beddie and replies, “Are you even marginally trainable?” As for drinks, Evie just announces cheerfully, “Oh well, I suppose I’ll just have to keep drinking Jonavan into debt!” To which he gives a sidelong look and wonders rather pointedly, “How long did you say you were staying again?”

Jaya actually tries to recall whether she knows any people with a name starting with ‘Vani’, but the scar-faced woman’s drawing a blank. But she moves on, chuckling a loud at Evie’s mild disappointment and putting in with a lean-over, “Well, if you get too tired of helping your brother, you can always come sling drinks here with me,” she offers with a wink. “I’m sure my customers would enjoy you!” Not to mention all the head cases Evie could enjoy, to boot. Perhaps Jaya’s just saying it to get a reaction from Jonavan, but one would never know. Talk of coaxing someone to take her to the sea, does get the blonde bronzerider’s attention, and the barkeep tosses a wink his way before she moves off to briefly address a waiting Suli. “I just so happen to be heading that way tomorrow,” the bronzerider cuts into their conversation smoothly with a raised glass close to his lips, his blue eyes roaming over Evie’s frame in slight suggestion. While he’s speaking, “You can try me and find out,” Beddie delivers to Jonavan on train-ability in typical Beddie fashion - and somehow, in the way she’s answering that one can guess she’s not really talking about training to help heal people in the infirmary, either. Jaya was back in time to catch that little innuendo, eyes narrowing in warning towards her sister before Evie’s words on the drinks clears her face up. “Stay as long as you like, Evie,” the barkeep butts in and says only too lightly, though she does pass an amused look Jonavan’s ways and adds as an aside to him, “I rather like your sister.”

“Done.” Evie leans back as much as her stool will allow and glances at her brother to assess his reaction - sure enough, he’s not looking terribly pleased at the idea of unmoderated Evie-Jaya time. The discontent deepens further as the bronzerider makes his offer, and Jonavan gives him a long stare because he knows that kind of look, and this is his sister. Evie’s ignoring it - or maybe she just likes rattling her brother - and unconsciously fluffs her hair with one hand before reaching across to shake hands with the bronzerider. “Is that so! You wouldn’t mind me tagging along? I’m Evie.” With part of his attention still on that exchange, Jonavan answers Beddie with, “You’d better be a quick learner, because my patience is about this big,” holding up thumb and forefinger with less than an inch between. And no, he’s probably not talking about the infirmary either. The glance he gives Jaya is accompanied by a bit of a smirk; he is, after all, testing to see what kind of a reaction he can get out of her. “Of course you do,” he says of his sister. “She’s going to single-handedly account for half your earnings tonight.”

Oh yeah, the created tensions is one of Jaya’s specialties. The barkeep notes Jonavan’s reaction with a raised brow, but she tells his sister, “Look forward to you spending some time here. Maybe we can gab like old hold girls, too.” As to that blonde bronzerider, who is staring straight at Jonavan as if in a mild challenge while he leans over to take Evie’s hand. Eyes lingering on her brother, “It would be my pleasure, actually,” he drawls out, then meeting her eyes and tacking on, “Name’s T’fas. Well met, Evie.” And then Beddie’s smiling all the more towards Jonavan’s answer for her, ignoring the cold look being sent her way from her twin as she shifts her body close to him and responds with, “Actually, you’ll find that I am quite determined, when it comes to learning, sweetie. I never leave a place where those that work with me are unsatisfied by my progress - isn’t that right, Bajie-dear?” She turns this last towards Jaya in seeming innocence, the woman trying to rile the barkeep up herself over something that happened recently between the two - something she was still smarting over. Jaya has no amusement for the both of them at their little exchange, her dark eyes flicking from Jonavan to Beddie as the both of them try to gauge her own reaction. Their words striking a cord, “I think the traders’ table over there is looking for you,” she directs at her sister, gesturing with her head for her sister to go see to them. As for Jonavan, she he merely gets a guarded look without further comment. Well, other than towards his last. “It’s not just profit, shuga. Another round?” Speaking of. “Fine, I’ll check on them,” Beddie straightens up and head off, but she turns a wink Jonavan’s way while doing so, adding for everyone’s benefit despite her eyes being on him, “But I’ll be back.”

“Well met yourself,” the young woman replies happily to T’fas. “Lovely! Thank you. Where shall I meet you, and when?” Evie kicks her brother in the shin before he can protest - she knows he’s about to even though she’s not looking at him - and leaves the question hanging as she turns to beams first at Jaya, then Jonavan. “I’ll tell you all sorts of embarrassing stories about Jon from when we were kids - it’ll be great,” she enthusiastically predicts, using the shortened form of her brother’s name (which he does not like said in public, given the rather pained look she gets for both that and her statement), a nickname sticking from a time when she couldn’t pronounce the full version. Jonavan, perhaps wisely, lets Beddie’s remarks hang unanswered and swings back towards Jaya though not before meeting the bronzerider’s look head-on, his own stare communicating something along the lines of ‘touch her and I will kill you.’ “That’s not awfully Bitran of you,” he tells Jaya, responding to the remark about profit. He glances down at his glass, which is still half-full. “Yeah. Think I might need it,” he mutters through gritted teeth with a brief look back towards that bronzerider.

Yeah, T’fas is beaming from ear to ear, leaning a bit more towards Evie as she speaks before he puts in quite smoothly, “You know, your eyes are quite lovely.” Jaya’s giving the dragonrider a look and rolling her eyes, and while before she was choosing to not butt in on the growing tension between dragonrider and brother, this time she does lean a bit towards the blonde and dryly notes aloud, “You do realize that the man giving you the eye over there is her brother?” She tosses a pointed glance in Jonavan’s direction at that, basically saying that if the healer chooses to launch himself at the man for overstepping boundaries, the barkeep was only going to make sure her precious glasses don’t get harmed in the process. Helpful, right? T’fas catches the warning, but merely leans over a little to put Jonavan more in his sights. To Jaya, “If the lovely lady wants to go see the ocean, and I was going there myself, then I don’t see what the problem is?” he counters, blue eyes lighting on Evie then. “It’s the gentlemanly thing to do, is it not?” And T’fas is a gentleman, see? He even will make the bold move to try and claim one of Evie’s hands so that he could press his lips to her knuckles before answering her. “How about tomorrow, in the afternoon? I’ll be done with sweeps by then.” Evie’s comment to the barkeep gets a short, wry chuckle in initial response. “Embarrassing stories about ‘Jon’, no less,” Jaya seems to perk up at this turning a look towards Jonavan for his reaction towards his sister. “I think it will be great! Amazing what you can learn about someone from childhood.” Then, addressing Jonavan since he wisely does not respond to Beddie’s suggestive comments, “If I was being Bitran, there would be a brawl going on right about now,” she returns on that far too sweetly before she sets about getting their refills. Eyes flick towards the traders’ table where Beddie could be seen laughing it up among them, not really looking like she’s playing the role of barmaid like she’s suppose to be.

“I get them from my mother,” Evie says quite brightly, like she has no idea that bringing one’s mother into the conversation is a great mood-killer. Jonavan is containing himself beyond the scowl, though he stares at the bronzerider enough to memorize his face should he ever come in needing treatment for Threadscore. “Well, I do appreciate it,” Evie responds sincerely, amused by the bronzerider’s mannerisms but for all the world looking like she’s charmed. “Well then I clearly need to spend more time with your sister,” Jonavan proposes dryly, deploying eye-for-an-eye logic against Jaya though his eyes are still on T’fas. His gaze does skip towards Jaya for her remarks on the brawl, a smile starting to touch his lips. “Works both ways, doesn’t it, Bajie?

One could certainly cut the tension in this part of the bar with a knife, and what better person to raise it up a notch then Beddie Dicori? T’fas is appearing really interested in hearing about those eyes that came from Evie’s mother: “She must be a beauty then! What else do you get from your mother?” Yeah, he knows he’s crossing a line and the look he’s giving the woman is something no brother would want to see, but then he’s acting rather oblivious of the rest of the conversations going on around him. Other than Jonavan’s glare, that is. He notices that. Beddie arrives right on Jonavan’s words involving her to her twin, the pleased smile falling on soft lips as she slides in to stand right beside him and props her elbows on the counter. “About time you came to my way of thinking, sweetie,” she says to him, passing a staring Jaya a look in return. As for Jaya, “Go ahead,” she says back to him coolly, hands falling briefly on her hips with a chin-nod towards Beddie. “Last thing you’ll be getting from her is some story-telling.” Eyes even narrow further on his use of that dratted nickname Beddie has for her, but being 18 after all, she just can’t help but to respond back, “Sure does, Jon.” Beddie looks from one to the other now, finally realizing that she was in the middle of some sort of conflict that before she wasn’t picking up on. “Relax, Bajaya, no need to get tetchy,” she tries to soothe, but the look being shot her way closes that attempt up real quick. So instead, “Another round is needed for the traders,” she directs her end of the conversation back to something innocent, like - work.

Evie maintains the appearance of utter obliviousness to any innuendo and says something bland: “Oh, definitely not my height, everyone else in my family is tall.” She retrieves her hand and suggests, “Meet you in the living caverns, afternoon? I do want to see the ocean.” She’s sincere in that, though struggling to contain her laughter; Jonavan, watching his younger sister closely, recognises the tell-tale sign of a sudden, concentrated squint at her nearly empty glass which lasts a moment as she composes herself, and he relaxes marginally. Marginally. “Would you excuse me?” she asks T’fas, all sweetness and sincerity. “I think I see a friend.” She tips back the rest of her brandy and exchanges the empty glass for the refill, then slides off the stool. She squeezes Jonavan’s upper arm subtly on her way past and disappears easily in the crowd, resurfacing a few minutes later by Shijan with a few giggles spilling out once she’s far enough away for it not to be heard. “Can I use you for a minute? Pretend to be my old friend?” Back at the bar, Jonavan’s face scrunches up in a wince as he hears his childhood nickname coming out of Jaya’s mouth. “Truce?” Following that he ignores the two Dicoris for a minute to lean over and tell the bronzerider, “If you do so much as look at my sister wrong, I will make your life miserable.”

T’fas is settling on every word until Evie announces her departure and he leans away and says to her with a nod, “Tomorrow to the ocean, then.” He exchanges a glance with Jaya, who is giving him a flat one before he shrugs and returns finally to his drink. When Shijan suddenly finds his comfortable personal space invaded by the familiar mind healer, he sends a slightly dubious look her way along with a “….old….friend?” A brow lifts at that, the man not really used to falling into conversation with anyone at the bar since most make sure to cut a clear path from the teak-skinned man. In fact, his seemingly slowness to react might suggest that the man purely does not know how to go about exactly asking in such a way. Yeah. Shijan’s probably the last person in the bar right now that would look to have old friends. Back at the bar, however, Jaya’s working on that round of drinks for Jonavan and his sister when she immediately tacks on a “Wouldn’t that be ‘boring’?” borrowing one of his favorite words in a deadpan voice to his truce - but the nickname is not uttered in any case. She passes Jonavan a drink before she starts on the round for the traders, Beddie remaining silent as she watches the exchange between her sister and the healer. Yeah, she did not imagine it. “What’s going on between you two?” she asks aloud, right when Jonavan leans over and delivers that threat to the blonde dragonrider. Slowly, he turns to regard the man delivering it, the glass halfway to his lips before he sets it back down and turns in kind to face him. “And what are you going to do to me?” T’fas puts forth in a challenge, ignoring the hard look coming off of the barkeep with his sole attention being on Jonavan. “I was just talking to her, pal.”

“Yes, it’s alright, you don’t have to talk to me - much.” Evie modifies the last since supposedly friends talk and leans back against the wall alongside Shijan, cutting him a curious look. “You don’t mind, do you?” At the bar, Jonavan is more focused on protecting his sister’s interests than watching where she goes. He glances at Jaya to allow “Probably” for her question and reserves nickname usage for later, when he hasn’t got a bronzerider to stare down. “Volunteer you for medical experiments,” Jonavan gives as the second half of his threat. “Yeah well I don’t like the way you were talking to her - or about my mother.” He sits back - verbal abuse is one thing, but Jonavan is not a violent man and does not intend to start swinging - and takes up the new glass with a brief, “Thanks.” An answer for Beddie has to wait as the threat takes precedence, but it isn’t much of one: “Nothing.”

“Define ‘much’,” is Shijan’s small stab at humor, the tall man with the dark curls regarding Evie out the corner of his eye now for her response. His gaze lingers off of her when a couple enters the bar, the bodyguard giving them the brief once-over before his piercing gaze is back on the mind healer. At her question, a pause lingering after it along with that gaze, “I can talk and work at the same time.” Beat. “Who are you running from?” is his next logical question, his dark eyes darting towards the part of the counter where Jaya and her twin is. Back at the bar, T’fas is looking for a fight even if Jonavan isn’t, so the response on what the man is going to do to him gets loud laughter from the bronzerider. “You’d have to tie me down first,” he states with heavy arrogance, buffing up the muscles in his shoulders when Jaya steps in and says, “Enough, T’fas. You fucking throw one punch in my bar and you’re out of here faster than a girl can lift her skirt.” - “Would you prefer me saying something foul about your mother?” T’fas is tossing back at Jonavan right behind Jaya’s words, frowning heavily at the man now as he rises from the stool and looks to be heading the healer’s way….until a slender hand lands on his shoulder. “How about I buy you a drink?” Beddie offers the dragonrider, turning her sweet charms to avoid the fight from happening for her sister’s sake. “You can tell me all about what you were talking to my sister about earlier. Bitran races, wasn’t it? I was just at one before I got here, you know…” That seems to mollify T’fas, though he throws a dark look towards Jonavan as he slowly sits back down. Jaya goes to refill the man’s drink and then Beddie sidles over to Jonavan for his answer to her question and asks, “Maybe lucky for me, sweetie. How about we make that training session a reality?” out of her sister’s earshot, the brow lifting archly and playfully.

Evie raises her small glass to her lips, where a smile is surfacing. “This works.” She tips her head back against the stone wall, chin pointing up and angled towards Shijan. “Rider over there,” she indicates only with a glancing look back towards the bar where T’fas looks ready to bloody her brother’s face. “Not running, just had make a move before I started laughing. It would have been rude. I am, after all, getting a lift to the beach.” Jonavan, meanwhile, looks annoyed that the girls are stepping in on his behalf and cannot resist a snide aside before T’fas sits back down. “I’m sure that can be arranged. Maybe you’re into that. Masochism beneath the super special rider exterior.” Rather than blunt his mockery when he is just getting going with a gentler demurral or more noncommittal response, when Beddie approaches the healer looks at her a long moment then asks, “Isn’t it past your bedtime?”

When Evie directs his attention towards the burly-looking dragonrider, three equally burly-looking men choose this time to enter the bar. With the two of them flanking them, the one in front that looks to be the leader is glaring about on the bar’s threshold before he gives both Shijan and Evie a dark stare and he starts making his way further into the room. They have Shijan’s eye now, but he keeps up his conversation with the mind healer nonetheless. “Was he saying something worth laughing?” he asks distractedly, his frame suddenly on alert for the three men he’s never seen around before, and he watches them slowly make their way toward where Jaya and the small group are at. Back at the bar, T’fas didn’t look ready to let it go either despite him taking the drink being offered from the barkeep. As the three thugs approach them, their presence getting looks from other patrons on all sides, “Just like I can have your face arranged if you want to keep on talking,” the dragonrider starts up again, knocking back most of that drink as if he was about to use it as fuel against Jonavan. Jaya’s mouth is parting to retort her warning again until she catches Suli’s expression going her way and she finally spots the three thugs bearing down on her. Her face almost blanching of color, she pauses all activity to watch them approach while T’fas is looking to be getting up again to see about putting action to his words. As for the ever-oblivious Beddie, Jonavan’s has her current attention rather than anything else going on in the bar, his question getting a breathless, “Why? Want to tuck me in?” Yeah, no shame, this one.

“Not really, just - the obviousness of it all,” Evie answers, watching what she can see of the action at the bar with the beginning of a frown. “Bad pickup lines. Oh Faranth, what is he doing…” She starts to push off in order to go diffuse the situation at the bar, but the three men entering give her pause. The mindhealer glances towards Shijan with a bit of a question in her regard, though she doesn’t voice one openly. Jonavan hasn’t noticed the men yet, attention on T’fas except for the little he spares for Beddie, which isn’t much - just a look. His response to the dragonrider isn’t immediate, Jonavan preferring to consider his retorts prior to making them for fuller effect. He remains seated, and while eying the bronzerider, he catches sight of Jaya’s whitened face. That in turn leads him to glance back towards the door towards the thugs approaching. “Did you need to call back-up?” he asks T’fas with a touch of ridicule, at first assuming that the rider had called his cronies via dragon. He starts to reconsider though as the men come nearer; surely the rider doesn’t need wingmates just to get into a barfight.

“Well he is a dragonrider,” Shijan seems to note on bad pickup lines - as if they all do it in his eyes - but it could very well be another one of his stabs at humor again. Brief, at least, since now he’s slowly moving from his position to trail behind the thugs in the case they look to start causing trouble. Whatever argument that is going on between Evie’s brother and the bronzerider is not getting his attention at this moment, which is just as well - the three thugs have made it to the counter, those sitting in their way hastily giving up their stools and getting out of dodge. Suli lingers close to listen while T’fas is answering Jonavan retort on backup with a tight, “I don’t need no back-up to knock you down, you numbweed-fingered-” The rest of his words stall when one of the flanking thugs knock into him, upsetting his drink all over himself. The blonde turns to retort some heated words at the perpetrator until he finally notes the men and stumbles out of their way with his stool towards Beddie. And of course, Beddie….she’s still not bothering to notice why the noise level in the bar was much lower than it was moments ago. “Oh come on,” she’s continuing up her flirting tactics with Jonavan, and it’s only when his attention shifts towards something behind her that she rolls her eyes and whirls around to find who was usurping up all the attention that needs to be on her. Three thugs. Who gives? She certainly didn’t know why Jaya was looking at them like they were about to slam her face down into the counter at any minute, but since everyone was studying them she reluctantly was choosing to do likewise. Once the leader reaches the counter and Jaya, “What do you want?” Jaya is the first to speak, her tone wooden as she keeps her eyes solely on the man in the front. The leader slides dark glances towards the bronzerider and Jonavan, then over to those on the other side before he addresses Jaya in his deep, heavy voice. “Looking for Lorayit. I was told he would be here.” - “Well he isn’t,” the barkeep retorts without any pause. “Either get a drink or be gone.”

Evie certainly isn’t going to be left by herself manning the door although that would be the safer, smarter option. She follows though not quite at Shijan’s heels, leaving space in case things start to get rough. The petite healer wading right into the thick of it is remarkably similar to her brother, who hasn’t given up his stool to the approaching men and shows absolutely no qualm that he might be in their way. Jonavan ignores the bronzerider’s half-finished insult (it was a bad one anyway) in favour of the thugs. He just listens, attention shifting between the leader of the group and Jaya, except to reach out to try to capture Beddie’s wrist and pull her off to the side and a little further away from the three men now at the counter alongside him.

Shijan is close behind them to the point that should the thugs turn around, they’ll be walking smack into him. A hand is slowly straying to his concealed knife at his side, not making any sudden moves and only turning his head a fraction when he can sense the mind healer not too far behind him. Beddie was being drawn to the thugs’ attention to her sister when Jonavan has her by the wrist and is pulling her back and away from the thick of the heat. Passing a quick glance his way, “She seems to know them,” she mutters low, about to put herself in the fray of it all again when she tries to release her wrist from his hold. The lead thug is staring Jaya down long and hard for her cheekiness, then turning to give most in the bar a good once-over as if to see for himself that the blonde gardener is nowhere in sight. The farmers’ table is the only table where the men are giving each other significant glances while the rest of the patrons just look merely curious at their presence. The lead thug finally nods to that, seeing that their target was not in the bar, and so he gestures for the men with him to turn and be on their way. Well, that is until something pulls the leader right back to facing Jaya again and with narrowed eyes, “Waitaminnit,” he says slowly, eyes immediately landing on that exposed scar running down the side of her face, “I know you.” - “He isn’t here,” Suli forces their attention on her, the barmaid coming up beside Jaya and remarking gravelly. “Best you gentlemen be getting on from here.” The leader flicks a look of dismissal towards Suli, then his eyes suddenly light on the identical Beddie when Jonavan makes her move away. He looks slightly confused now, but his gaze lingers on Jaya’s scar as he asks, “Which one of you is Bajaya Dicori?”

At some point Evie peels off and joins a small group of young men at a table along the way as if that was always her destination. Her sharp eyes have caught the movement of Shijan’s hand as well as of his head back towards her, and if there’s something about to go down, the last thing she wants is to act as a distraction. The men she’s sitting with don’t pay her much attention, more interested in the trio at the bar than with her, which suits Evie just fine. At the bar, Jonavan isn’t letting go of Beddie’s wrist, his grip firm though hardly vice-like. “Don’t,” he murmurs back and hopes that the single word will be enough. He doesn’t look pleased when the leader of the gang targets first Jaya and then Bhedri and only then speaks up, voice warm, lazy, and casual - completely at odds with the tension communicated through his grasp. “Thought you were looking for Lorayit.”

The small group of men Evie joins only gives her a cursory glance, their attention mostly on the drama unfolding at the counter. Shijan remains where he is, his shoulders only tensing up when the leader of the thugs turns back towards his charge acts as if he recognizes her. That doesn’t sound good at all, and it’s just as well that Jonavan is giving the scarless twin that warning. Beddie notes the tone of the healer’s voice and subsides, letting her wrist stay in his grip as she keeps her eyes on both the thug leader and her sister. It’s only when the man turns to notice her and asks after her twin that Beddie’s frame finally shows signs of tension. She knew Jaya was in trouble before, but not knowing what or who, she was quickly making the assumption that these men are connected with it. Silence greets the leader’s question anyway, up until Jonavan asks his own and both Dicori twins are shooting him a glance. The leader slowly turns more to regard Jonavan now for his far too casual question, the bulk of him shifting as he lets his dark eyes settle over the healer. “He’s not here, is he?” he gives back slowly, rhetorically, seeming to dare the man to speak to him again. Eyes back on Jaya then, he was already pretty certain he knew who Bajaya Dicori was. “Think me and my boys will have us a drink after all,” he decides to say, settling down right beside Jonavan while the other two men take up the other side of him at the counter. Those close scuttle away, and once the leader notices that all eyes are on them, “Go back to your drinks,” he calls out with a sweeping glare over those in the bar - especially towards Shijan, who’s still linger close. “Nothing to see here.” Back to a cold-looking Jaya, “Think I’ll have me some Bitran stock whiskey, Bajaya Dicori,” he announces her name with a showing of rotted teeth, his meaty arms settling on top of the counter. Beddie stares after the man before she meets Jaya’s eyes, and Jaya forces herself into motion to get the men their whiskey. It’s only when the barkeep walks back with their mugs, passing them stiffly over that the leader snaps out a hand and grabs Jaya’s own by the wrist. Almost pulling her close as he leans over with his voice lowering, “Fancy running into you here, sweetcheeks,” he states, showing his teeth in a smile again. “Only one cut-up pretty face I know of around, and that makes you a pretty marked woman.”

Evie picks up the deck of cards in the centre of the table she’s joined and starts shuffling to occupy her hands, but doesn’t ask the men at her table what the game is - no one’s really in the mood to play anyway. Jonavan doesn’t really know what sort of game he’s just got himself into or how it’s played, which makes him subside with a shrug once the leader pins him with the question. He releases Beddie when she finally seems to recognise the menace posed by the three, and he certainly won’t keep her in the line of fire when the three settle beside him. The healer picks up his drink when the thug issues that order for the bar as a whole but doesn’t start in on it, instead glancing to see where T’fas has gone. The bronzerider may have annoyed him but didn’t seem the bad sort that these three are proving to be, and having a rider on your side is nothing to sniff at especially when it comes to that uncanny ability to alert others at the blink of an eye. Jonavan almost stays silent - this is, after all, the sort of thing Shijan’s there to take care of, isn’t it? Almost. When the thug in need of good dental hygiene lays a hand on Jaya, it strikes a chord. Jonavan’s never kept his mouth shut before. Why start now? “I don’t know what hole you crawled out of,” he speaks up, tone laced with derision, “but around here you don’t touch a woman unless she actually wants you to.” Each word is clipped and precise, carrying some of that cultivation Beddie once suggested he had; it suits him now to sound like it, as it extends the patronisation that much further. The healer remains seated rather than escalate the situation, but he’s got a good grip round the glass in his right hand just in case.

With T’fas managing to maneuver himself to the other side where the flanking thugs are seated - just in something was about to go down and Jaya needed back-up - and the men at Evie’s table are far from obeying the thug leader’s orders of getting back to their own business, it was only a split second of the leader pulling Jaya by the hand towards him when two slender but strong hands find purchase on his shoulders and suddenly yank him back from her. Shijan’s ripping the man off the stool after Jonavan speaks, the leader releasing his hold on the barkeep so that he could focus on not falling. Jaya still looked cold, but the sudden tug had put her into the motion since now there was a knife in hand where there wasn’t one before. Even with the man’s words, she had to be real careful what she said next since there was so many witnesses. Most didn’t know that there was a bounty on her head, and she wasn’t about to let that become public knowledge by morning, either. Eyes darting towards Jonavan for his words for the leader, “You’ll get your marks from him,” she lies smoothly, eyes then falling on the leader with that hard glint present. Setting her knife on the counter but not loosening her hold on it, “You take it up with Lo,” she says to the silence in the room. “Put your hands on me again? And I’ll have Shijan here give you over to him,” and she jerks her chin right towards Jonavan, making the the option of going with him to be quite ominous. Even T’fas shoots a wide-eyed glance in the healer’s direction now, seeming to recall Jonavan’s earlier threat. The silence lingers on that, the leader thug still struggling in Shijan’s grip as he shoots a murderous look towards Jonavan before he meets Jaya’s gaze. Then, slowly leaning forward in his captivity towards the counter, “You tell ‘Lo’ that Solak’s looking for him, Dicori,” the one named Solak says this heavily, the man choosing to keep his rage at the public humiliation in check. He has nothing to worry about, anyway. Bajaya Dicori will get hers, soon enough. “Him and those ‘marks’ he owes me.” He violently tries to shake Shijan off, but the bodyguard is proving to have a strong grip, so he gestures to the thugs now standing and adds with a sharp but brief look towards both Beddie and Jonavan, “We’ll be around, sweetcheeks.” - “Get them outta here,” Suli orders Shijan right then, the towering woman still hovering protectively next to Jaya as they watch Shijan turn Solak around and push him forcefully towards the bar entrance.

Jonavan has no knife to hand, but the steely glint in his eyes and humourless smile is very real indeed. Although relieved to see Shijan moving, the healer’s flinty facade doesn’t change a whit. His glance flicks to Jaya with slight surprise for her choice to involve him in the threat, but it’s easy to shift the dark amusement rising towards contempt as he lifts his gaze towards Solak in a mocking salute. Otherwise, Jonavan’s uncommunicative, watching until the thugs are escorted out. Then, swinging back towards the bar with his attention going straight to Jaya, he breaks his silence to ask, “You alright?”

The crowd along with Jaya watch the three thugs get escorted out by Shijan, but T’fas is trailing along after them just in case the men decide they want another go at the barkeep. Suli’s muttering words to the barkeep in the meantime, the two exchanging short words before the towering barmaid finally moves off once the threat seemed over. The men that Evie is sitting with, now that the entertainment for the night seems to be over, now notice that she is, indeed, at their table. At least one of them is leering at her now. Perhaps no one will notice that the group of farmers at one of the card tables have risen as one, quietly heading out of the bar and leaving the table empty as they trailed after the leaving thugs, Shijan and T’fas as well. Jaya didn’t seem to, her eyes fixed on something on the opposite side of the bar when Jonavan breaks into her thoughts. She blinks once, turning a guarded look his way before his question even registers with her. Just as well; Beddie has come to life, too, after having been frozen in one spot at Solak’s tone of voice. She moves toward the counter as well, Jonavan beating her to asking after her sister’s well-being but waiting for the answer nonetheless. Jaya drifts over to them both, having composed her gambler’s mask in place as she first looks toward Beddie, then Jonavan and answers finally with, “Of course. Takes much to intimidate me.” She lets in some arrogance to boot, making herself seem less shaken than she really is. To Jonavan, “Sorry about that,” she adds then, reaching forward to claim the untouched full glasses she had set out for the thugs. To clarify, “For putting you in that, shuga. I don’t think he’ll retaliate.” One can hope, anyway. She meets Beddie’s eyes then, and the scarless twin is returning a significant look her way in her silence.

Evie gets up almost immediately, leaving little time to leer, and makes her way back towards the group gathered at the bar. Once there, she settles a hand on her brother’s shoulder but doesn’t ask questions or comment on what just happened. Sometimes, she feels, it’s best to simply be present. Jonavan glances at her and gives a quick, preoccupied smile, but it’s clear that his attention rests on Jaya. An eyebrow raises slightly; he doesn’t believe her arrogance for an instant, that all that can just be shaken off as she would seem to have them think. “Don’t need to apologise,” he says, dismissing that sentiment in short order. “Apparently I have an infirmary at my disposal.” He turns the last into a quip on his supposed capabilities as given in the threats.

Once Evie arrives, Jaya is looking her way before she looks down and finally retrieves the knife she had on the counter. Putting it away, “Apparently so,” she answers Jonavan then, meeting his gaze guardedly. Shijan arrives back into the bar then, nodding discreetly across the bar towards the barkeep before he sweeps a cold look over those left in the bar and settles himself back at the entrance. Jaya could tell Beddie is just dying to say something, the twin trying her best to get her attention again, but she avoid it and says, “Beddie, help Hayli out on the floor for me.” She didn’t want to deal with her questions, and so with that pointed look going her way, Beddie shows reluctance before moving off from the counter. “Someone needs to let Lo know,” Suli is back at the counter, her voice low but heard as she delivers this pointedly towards the barkeep. “Yeah,” is all Jaya says at first, the woman glancing over towards Jonavan before she turns and tells Suli, “Mind the bar for a moment.” She was heading out, the barkeep simply unable to hold back any anger or any other emotion in front of her patrons and is now choosing to go somewhere to do so. The lake, perhaps, or at least the gardens in the hopes of running into Lorayit there and giving the man warning before Solak found him. For now, she’s not paying any attention to the fact that Solak seemed to have made a connection between herself and the blonde gardener.

Jonavan puts the glass he’s still holding back on the counter, not in the mood to finish the drink whether it’s expensive or not. He glances at his sister again, who gives his shoulder a light squeeze before dropping her hand, perfectly aware of Jonavan’s disinclination towards sustained physical contact and displays of intimacy. With his attention primarily on his sister but not speaking, he notes Beddie leave, put to work, and catches most of the exchange between Jaya and Suli. As the bar owner starts to leave, coming around the bar, his gaze goes to her momentarily. “You’ll be alright?” he asks Evie, nearly the same question as the one he’d put to Jaya but with an entirely different meaning. “Of course,” she answers, smile quick but present, and steps a little to the side as her brother vacates his stool. “Alright,” Jonavan says and stoops to press a quick kiss to Evie’s cheek. He has every intention of following Jaya out before she gets too much of a headstart, putting the lie to that earlier ‘nothing’ he so blandly told Beddie.

With Beddie keeping her gaze towards the counter while she trails behind Hayli, Suli merely nods and watches Jaya intently as she makes to leave. As for Jaya, she’s at the entrance by the time Jonavan delivers that kiss to his sister, and the moment she crosses the threshold Shijan straightens up from his post and makes to follow after her. Those men could be out lying in wait for her, after all - even though the man would follow the barkeep for far lesser reasons. Jaya doesn’t seem to notice that she’s got followers, the woman making quick work in reaching the lake shore where it was for the most part alone. Shijan slows his steps, already noting that Jonavan was trailing as well, and he eventually stops altogether when he sees Jaya reaching the tall block of wood that looks to have been set up for training practice. Immediately, the knife she had pulled on the men back at her bar was back in her hand, eyes narrowing at the block of wood as she takes a few steps back, reels back her throwing arm, and lets the knife loose in her burst of frustrated anger to end up sticking weakly to the very of the wood block. All of this is done in silence, the scarfaced woman seeming to choose to put all her anger on punishing the wood block - a murderous glint being seen in her dark eyes.

Jonavan has long strides but even those don’t allow him to catch up quickly with the pace Jaya’s setting. The distance doesn’t bother him though, and the man even holds back when he comes in sight of Jaya knifing the wooden target, prepared to give her space. He draws alongside of Shijan but with several lengths in between himself and the bodyguard, glancing briefly at the other man to see what cue he gives, if any. Otherwise the healer watches Jaya in the spirit of self-possession and assessment, giving nothing away of his own internal motivations except the fact that he is, quite simply, there.

Shijan merely passes Jonavan a look when he comes up alongside of him, his sinewy arms coming up to fold heavily across his chest to resume his watching. In the stance he gives, one perhaps suspects that he’s been here in this situation before. Meanwhile, the woman oblivious to both as she collects up the knife from the wood and moves several paces back to let it fly again, “They were hunters, weren’t they?” she cries, the sharp sound of metal hitting wood heard in the quiet breeze of the lake. Bounty hunters. One would think she was asking the air, being that no one answers that question right away. Then, in his usual low and quiet tone, Shijan answers her shortly with a “Yes.” - “I could smell it on them,” Jaya tosses back, throwing the knife again and retrieving it. The frequency she was doing this cycle, one might wonder if it was being any help to the barkeep’s temper. Once a throw doesn’t connect to the block, she bends to retrieve where it’s fallen and it’s then that she notices the healer standing there. She pauses, dark eyes darting towards Shijan before meeting Jonavan’s again, and the knife is held limply in one hand in the silence. Perhaps it was on cue, but the bodyguard takes a few steps back and starts to distance himself from the two, seeming to give them some privacy as he makes to choose one of the benches further down the shore. Once he is essentially gone, “You ever throw one of these before?” Jaya guardedly asks the healer then, the woman raising her knife hilt-up before she abruptly turns towards the wood block and throws. The knife glances off the block by an inch.

This is a side of Jaya hinted at but not seen, and the healer watches quietly as she throws that knife again and again. Jonavan hooks his thumbs into his pockets, keeping his own council. The cried question only makes sense in the context of what just transpired at the bar and Jonavan’s indeterminate understanding of Jaya’s past and Shijan’s purpose as her guard. When she finally notices him, the healer gazes back cool and collected except for a fleeting look to Shijan as he starts to fade into the background. “No,” Jonavan then responds succinctly, taking a few steps forward before pausing to watch her throw. “Unless you count sticking kitchen knives in the cabinets when I was a kid.” The comment isn’t meant to be witty, delivered in the same low, even tone as the initial answer. He waits a moment, then asks, “Want to teach me?”

The side Jonavan’s probably seeing is the one Jaya’s been trying to hide - the side of her connected to the days when all she cared about was getting a job done, no matter what it was. Even now, that Dicori temper was simmering up as she continues to throw her knife, and when the healer answers her she turns to face him and watches him come forward. The hand around the knife is clenching and unclenching, her lips stiff until she hears his question. She doesn’t answer him right away, seeming to be considering both him and her knife before she suddenly tosses the knife in the air a bit and catches it with the hilt facing Jonavan. Holding it out to him, “Had this knife from around the time I left Bitra,” she tells him as she offers it over, her gaze hard and guarded as she recalls old memories. “Probably before then. It’s seen a lot of wood blocks in its day.” It’s seen a lot of more darker things, too, but that she leaves off - even though such thoughts going down that path shows on her face. Turning towards the wood block and gesturing for him to position himself to aim for it with a sharp wave of her chin, “Never used a knife, then?” she asks before she tacks on, “Level it at the block. One line. Lean forward a bit when you throw, but keep yourself leveled.” If he takes the knife, she’ll step out of the way, willing to watch him have his first throw with it.

Jonavan watches until she offers him the knife, then moves forward the rest of the way to reach out and take it. He holds it up, examining the blade in what light there is while Jaya gives part of its history, then steps into line with the block serving as target. He weighs the knife in his hand, getting a feel for it, and answers, “For surgery, yes.” Meaning for other things, no. For a moment the healer’s gaze lingers on Jaya, then he focuses on the block and tries to follow her directions. For a first throw it’s passable, but the point doesn’t stick.

It’s a sturdy blade, long and very sharp at the tip. It looks to be a hunting knife more than anything with its hilt wrapped tightly in braided runner hair, and one with the eye for it could tell that it’s a well-made knife. When Jonavan takes his first throw, “My father taught us how to throw from where we were kids,” Jaya tells him, acknowledging his answer to her question with this grave statement. The woman was trying to calm herself down so that she could think - trying to currently ignore her more primal instincts right now, which would be telling her to run and run as far from the Weyr as her legs could carry her. Talking to Jonavan seems to be delaying that instinct, at least for the moment. “He would tell us that if we didn’t know how to throw it right, some dirty sort looking to steal all our stuff would sneak up on us and slit our throats.” Some children’s story. Once she goes to retrieve the knife, she moves back to him and offers it again. “Throwing is an emotional sport,” she offers along with the knife, a free hand moving up to press against her own chest. “Anger, rage…even determination. Can work for you, or against you.” Should he take the knife again for another go, she’ll turn from him this time towards the lake, letting the silence linger before she says quietly to the breeze, “I promised I wouldn’t run… but what the fuck am I do to now? To come at me in my own bar…” and the barkeep, voicing her heavy thoughts aloud, will only turn back when she hears the knife being thrown again as she seeks out the smooth surface of the lake.

“Hmm.” Jonavan watches the blade skitter off the target and considers how to self-correct with an expression of concentration. The remark on Jaya’s father receives faint amusement encapsulated only in the look crossing his face; he doesn’t try his luck by making any wry remarks on Dicori parenting skills. Jonavan does take the knife a second time when it’s offered, but he doesn’t throw it immediately. “It was bad luck,” he judges after a minute, sparing with his reply. “They didn’t come for you.” Being on the run has never been a subject he’s dealt with before, but he will say this much: “If you run, you’ll lose all the protection you’ve got here. No one was going to let them get far.” He has another go with the knife but the second throw is worse than the first; the healer’s focus is off. A scowl for that, though he doesn’t indicate whether the introduction to this sport should be taken as a budding interest instead of a passing curiosity. Rather than move to collect the knife, Jonavan heads towards Jaya with the intention of gathering her in an embrace.

Jaya sends him a brief look for his ‘bad luck’ comment, it being the understatement of her life. “No they didn’t,” she agrees on that - on them not coming for her -”…but that didn’t stop him from wanting to make his presence known to me. Dropping his name like that? He wanted me to look him up.” Only, she really didn’t need to. The look in Suli’s eyes confirmed enough, along with Shijan’s answer on them being hunters. She watches the lake and seems to miss Jonavan’s throwing attempts, the barkeep letting the dark thoughts and memories stew within her until the metal sound of the knife hitting wood stops and she turns - just in time to see the man approaching to pull her into that embrace. There’s hesitance in her frame, the woman searching his eyes as she considers his words on being on the run again along with his approach. All the same, her arms slide up his back when he’s close enough, her frame stiff at first as part of her tries to rationalize his unpredictability in such an action. She wasn’t sure what to expect from the healer these days anymore. After a moment, the barkeep does start to relax, needing the feel of warm and strong arms around her, but not yet tightening her hold in the case that he wants to pull away. “I won’t run,” she tells Jonavan then in a near-whisper, her eyes closing for a moment. The instinct to do so has passed now with the therapeutic sounds of metal hitting wood, a numbness settling in her as frustrations start to abate.

Further mention of the leader of that gang makes a stormy expression materialise, and Jonavan adds on to Jaya’s analysis with the words, “He wanted to scare you.” It seems to both unsettle and anger him, those emotions surfacing to the fore when he does not contain them. When he isn’t met with any resistance, he pulls Jaya close, arms wrapping around her without hesitation. The man looks over her head and out at the dark lake, breathing in deeply once with a long exhale to calm himself for he is tense, even if he barely shows it. “Good,” he gives in short reply, almost cursory, then looks down in the following lull and adds in a more muted tone, “I don’t want you to.” Jonavan does not offer any explanation for his behaviour, though it must make sense to him - at least in part.

“He would have succeeded if he had hauled my ass out of there,” Jaya quips dryly, letting her pride show through over the fact that she was, at least, spooked by the man. The way she watches the healer, though, she does pick up on the anger surfacing on his face but she makes no comment on it. Instead, she settles herself more comfortably in his arms, lingering in this brief moment of privacy before she has to put her ‘brave’ face back on for the crowd in her bar. It wouldn’t do to have her patron see her rattled, being that she worked so hard on her reputation of steel in the Weyr. However, for the moment, all of that has fallen away in his arms - Jonavan’s words seeming to calm her even further and lets the murderous glint in her eyes dissipate. To his last, Jaya glances up at him as if it gauge his expression, her current steely resolve against him wavering in her eyes at that. Keeping her feelings in check this time, “Thanks,” she says, her voice quiet but genuine now that most of her raw emotions are now on lock. She tightens her hold on him before releasing, reaching up to try and kiss his chin briefly before she would step back. “For back there,” she clarifies then. “For here. We should head back.”

Jonavan certainly understands the need to put on a front for the outside world. Perhaps that also explains some of his efforts towards providing Jaya a moment when it can drop away. “Wasn’t going to happen,” he says quietly but firmly. He does not expose himself further, expression largely unreadable though softening slightly when he feels Jaya shift to look back up at him. Jonavan allows that quick kiss and would continue to hold her as long as she wants it, but there is no demand; when Jaya moves away, he lets his arms fall. “It’s nothing,” he says to her thank you, not yet moving away. With his regard still intent upon Jaya, she may catch the slight hesitation that arises for her use of the plural pronoun, though he knows it was probably not premeditated. “Right,” he agrees, but before going to collect her knife, puts forward after a cautious pause, “Do you want me to stay?” With her at the bar and after, he means, but feels more comfortable being slightly oblique; he almost doesn’t ask it at all.

Jonavan’s quiet but firm words seem to reassure the barkeep, though it would be hard to tell - Jaya continues to meet his gaze in his arms before she does break away, and she turns to nod discreetly towards a waiting Shijan for their return to the bar. Being that she regards the healer as intently as he does her, she does catch that slight hesitation in him before she sets to watching him go to collect up her knife. Reaching out with a hand for it back, as she catches that hesitant question, and she delays in answering. She starts to walk backwards towards the direction of the bar with her hand still out for her knife, perhaps trying to read off of him what’s not said. After a moment, “Do you want to stay?” she finds it best to answer with a question, their last encounters and the words exchanged between the two still fresh in her head as step by step - and with each slight sway of hips - has her moving backwards. There’s a slight emphasis on ‘want’ lingering there, the barkeep continuing to reveal nothing in that intense gaze of hers.

By the wooden block, Jonavan bends to pick up the knife and with it back in his hands, considers it for a moment with the flat of the blade in his palm. Then he returns it, hilt first, and gives Jaya a look for her question. It is just not fair to answer one question with another. Nor is it fair that she moves like she does, prompting the healer to drop his gaze to her hips for an instant though it isn’t his intention, nor the implied pursuit of his original question. “If you want me to,” he replies, his own small stress laid on the ‘you.’ Then, to place the onus back on Jaya while simultaneously mitigating the split-second when his gaze strayed and the inclinations she’s trying to coax out of him, Jonavan adds, “Thought you might not want to be alone.”

Taking the knife back as she meets that look Jonavan gives head-on, “I want you to,” Jaya answers that without hesitation before she turns to start heading off properly. “But I’m never alone.” Head turns a fraction towards a trailing Shijan in indication of him, then she sends a look over her shoulder towards Jonavan as the knife is hidden somewhere on her person. Well, at least for now, she never is. Then she’s intent on walking, not waiting for neither her bodyguard nor the healer as she makes her way back towards her bar and her patrons with a much more composed demeanor in place.

Duly corrected, the healer lets it rest at that. He’s curious to see where the knife goes but misses it as he too glances back towards Shijan, a reflex when Jaya indicates him. “Alright then,” Jonavan gives in short answer, a tone that imparts that the question is settled. He steps quickly to catch up and after a few long strides subsides to the pace Jaya sets, eyes straight ahead.

And so, Jaya strolls back into the bar in silence, neither speaking to either bodyguard nor healer and looking for all the world as if she had never left. She passes her watching sister without comment, going to her post behind the counter and exchanging a few words with Suli there before she passes brief looks to those that happen to be watching her. Otherwise, the Bitran barkeep is back to her work - a smile shooting up once one of the counter patrons flag her down for a drink while anyone else that hasn’t returned to their business yet, looks on. Meanwhile, Beddie has her eyes on Jonavan and Shijan once they arrive with her, though it’s the healer that gets most of her curious attention before she shoots looks from her sister to the healer, and back again. For now, even she keeps her counsel for once, the twin-turned-temporary barmaid choosing to continue on chatting up the traders at one of the card tables with all the oblivious that she could muster for the rest of the night. After all, she can always corner Jaya later if she so chooses.

As for Jonavan, he’s got absolutely nothing to say for himself and has an excellent poker face when it’s called for. Beddie isn’t getting anything out of him, and Evie knows better than to try, especially here and now. The visiting healer is, in fact, remarkably discrete when it suits her, and after staying to chat a bit as if nothing ever happened, claims tiredness and retires for the night. Jonavan stays on, ostensibly to have a hand at cards before settling the bill and whatever else is owed.



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