Creatures Of Instinct


Jaya.jpg Rocio.jpg

Date: Oct. 10, 2010
Location: Lake Shore, EW
Synopsis: Jaya seeks Rio out on the shore and catches her up to recent events. Then the two speak on various things, hashes out less-risky plans, and further strengthens their bond.
Rating: PG
Logger: Jaya

Another night out on the shore finds Jaya away from her bar - as part of her routine to get out more from there. Wrapped in her customary large blanket of dipped in reds and golds, the barkeep seems to be on a mission of searching for someone rather than in enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. There's the tall, familiar man trailing behind her as usual, his gaze more or less focused on her and the area she walks - as if he were expecting someone to appear and attack at any moment. These days, seeing the two together has become a normal occurrence, especially since the two hardly bother to walk alongside the other or talk.

The continued illegal gliding goes on nightly. And very possibly most of the Weyr, by now, knows about it. Rio does field comments, inquiries, but hasn't been exactly taken to task. She instead merely mentions that the gold has a mind of her own, and there are some battles worthy of fighting, and some not. Besides, really, Rio loves the shared sensations that Eovarijath sends back to her, and is often herself lost in the realm of air and water when her gold flies, and dives. This night is not any different. Her arms are crossed, hands tucked within the cowled sleeves of the other, while she stares sightlessly toward the black lake.

Jaya finds the pale gold gliding in the night sky first when she looks up, her steps faltering the closer she gets to the little queen. Then, spotting Rio just up ahead, the scarred woman's face brightens and her steps start up again and quicken to close the distance. Eyes going to where she had last seen Eovarijath in the sky, "I only ever see her in the air out of them," she sends the observation by way of greeting, stepping close to the weyrling woman's side before turning to send a genuine smile towards her. With Shijan paces away now, "Been looking for you, Rio," she admits to her being out, peering at her veiled face. "Haven't had much time until now to seek you out, shuga."

"We're not supposed to fly yet. But she's been trying since she was shelled. There's no point, to the fight anymore. She's strong enough, and I monitor her." Rio pulls back from her sense of other-self, and turns with a smile to Jaya. "Hello. I'm sorry, I'm usually here, at night. She won't let me sleep until she's come here and wearied herself. Then, we both sleep well. How," Rio murmurs, eyes flicking to the follower, "Are you?"

"She's the manifestation of you, I can see that," Jaya harks to Rio's spirit openly, her smile easy. She couldn't understand it, but being in the weyrling's presence always made her happy and at ease. She could even forget all her troubles in the woman's presence - almost. She reaches over to pull the woman into a quick embrace, "I should've known," she notes on finding the pair here after all. When she notes the other's eyes going beyond to a seemingly oblivious Shijan, Jaya follows suit briefly. "Alive," she answers, some of her contentment ebbing. "Sorry about him," him being here, "but it can't be helped. He's sort of my…protection," and she gives a significant look to that.

"So tell me," Rio returns the hug warmly, "About the why and wherefore of that, Jaya. Is there anything I can do to help?" She studies the tall man for another long moment, before trying to seek out her friend's eyes in the darkness.

It was like a dam being broken. The Jaya of old would have hesitated, but she was only too glad to unload everything on the veiled woman. "Vaput's men are here," she announces darkly, her expression pulled down into the frown as her gaze unfocuses. "Here right now, Rio! I dunno how they—" she stops, lips pressing together and she shakes her head before starting again. When she focuses on Rio, "Max, the beast manager, came to me one night telling me he has a thief in his custody. The man was trying to steal a runner, and apparently, when questioned, he mentioned he worked for Vaput." Eyes turning hard, "It's awfully far from Bitra for him to be stealing runners, you think?" she puts to Rio then, her voice turning cold. "What a coincidence that he chooses the stables here, in this Weyr."

"True. What does Suli have to say?" Rio asks, next. She is only too happy to listen, rather than talk, and nods again toward the Follower. "Tell me about him? And… Do you think Vaput's men are looking to kill you, or take you back to him?"

"Suli's not liking this one bit," Jaya answers that with a looking going behind her towards Shijan. "But I'll get to that. Almost ran out of here, knowing that Vaput's men are running about. If not for that new gardener, I would have." She pauses here, some of the guilt seen on her face as she looks away towards the lake. After a pause, "I got a chance to talk to him," she admits, keeping her gaze ahead of her. "The thief. He seems legit, Rio. Said Vaput had known I would come down here before I did. That's not good." Turning to face the weyrling as her tone remains serious, "He says there's folks here, and they could be anyone," she says, revealing her fear. "So this one—" and she turns again, gesturing with a hand back towards a watching Shijan, "-belongs to the Headwoman, Indira. Apparently her and Max have connections." She sees no reason to hide this from the other, seeing as how the woman was already in her confidence. Shaking her head again, "I don't want to get the Weyr involved," she says grimly. "Who knows how many of his people are here, and they're the type not to play nice. They won't kill me outright," she answers the latter finally, jaw tightening with a grim smile showing up on her face. "Not until Vaput has seen me. He'll want me alive enough, I wager."

"What new gardener?" Rio did meet a new gardener, but can't place his name, and there might be more than one new gardener, the Weyr being a large place and all. But she does think about the other's words, and then offers, "You could sleep in our bunks. There's no regular Weyrlingmaster, but there's enough Weyrlings that… A stranger would be noticed. And," Rio adds, "Anyone who is already here, you'd think they'd have made a move already. On you, or against you. Watch what you eat, what you drink. Prepare it yourself."

Scuffing her boots against the ground as she shifts weight from one to the other, "Lorayit," Jaya says the name without hesitation, the blonde man well known to him now. "Lo. I ran into him outside in the farming fields as I was leaving and he talked me back to my bar. He has easy words, for a mere gardener." When Rio offers her to sleep with the weyrlings, the barkeep shoots a long glance towards her eyes. "Don't know if that's safe for you all," she answers, sharply nodding with her head towards her bodyguard. "Whoever these people are, a few weyrlings might not stop them. What if they decide to come after you? Or Ahni or L'ron and your dragons?" To the latter, there's a brief nod of her head as she considers the other's words evenly. "Already started, shuga," she tells her evenly. "Not sure why they haven't put the drop on me, if they knew I was here all this time. Going out and trying to steal one of Max's runners sounds peculiar, too. What's that about?" Brows furrowing, "I got a plan, though," she says, eyes narrowing slightly as she pieces it together in her head. "It's risky, but it could work."

Rio flicks another look over at the bodyguard, with an exhaled sigh that reveals her discomfort. "Well. She'll kill anything that threatens me. People should know that, about dragons." Rio murmurs simply. "What are you planning?" Rio, by the shift of her feet in the sand and the cant of her head, her attention swinging totally to study Jaya now, is already not liking it.

"I don't know what I would do if something happened to you, to her," Jaya says, the concern evident in her voice for her close friend. "Don't underestimate him. He's crazy enough to not let a dragon deter him." As to that plan, she actually does hesitate in revealing it. She looks away, eyes staring hard at the dark lake before speaking. "If Vaput wants to see me so badly," she says, letting some of her anger roll in her tone, "then I'll let him see me." Dark eyes seek Rio's out, "I go back to Bitra. The thief mentioned there might be a chance he'll take me back. If he doesn't kill me, and I convince him not to, it will give me an opportunity the turn the tables on him." She feels she doesn't need to elaborate on what turning the tables meant, her look pointed. "It's risky," she says again, "but if I play it right, he won't bother this Weyr again."

"I vote no." Rio murmurs simply. "Too many 'if's' and too much turning tables." Rio shakes her head, before tucking her hands back into the cowled sleeves of her night-robe, and looking up at the moons. "You enter his lair, his city, you are lost, Jaya. Do not fool yourself otherwise. What have you, to offer him, that he'd even consider 'taking you back'?"

"I was one of his favorites," Jaya says that simply, the answer coming to her without thought. "I was willing to steal what the others wouldn't. I was willing to do what the others couldn't. Valuable." Glancing at Rio now, some of her gaze unfocused as she remembers those days in Bitra, "He and I were so similar," she relates, speaking about the man for the first time with anyone at the Weyr. "He took me in when my father kicked me out of the clan. Treated me like an equal. We talked so much, just like you and I," and her eyes focus back on Rio when she says it, nodding firmly. "I know him. At least, I thought I did." She goes silent, the memories bare in her eyes as they take over. Sighing in her weariness, "Have to do something, shuga," she says then, addressing Rio's decline of her plan. "If I can't run anymore…"

"Why did you run?" Not the situation. The feeling, behind it. Why. "If you two were so similar?" Softer, this is spoken. "And you don't have to do something. He does. You can plan, though. Do you think they'll not protect you, here? Have you spoken with the Weyrwoman?" Not her. She's Weyrling. "Jaya," Rio chides, "You are thinking crazy."

The why? Jaya pauses on that, her gaze falling on the lake again as she pulls the blanket closer about herself. "I've seen him act crazy before," she admits softly, carefully, "but not like that. For him to cut my face," and she instinctively raises up some of the blanket to brush across that side of her face. "To threaten so….he wanted me to take his fall. To go to the mines. I know I've done things that warrants me a trip myself, but…" Eyes darken as she shoots a glance in Rio's direction. "Makes me wonder, if the roles were reversed, if I would have done the same," she admits quietly, since she and Vaputero were so similar. "I'm afraid of the answer, Rio. Perhaps I'm changing, being here, but…the Dicoris have a long history of renegades. It's in us. In me." She lets silence reign for a long moment, regarding Rio for the revelations of deeper thoughts made before continuing on. "It's bad enough that Max and his mother is involved," she answers on the Weyrwomen knowing, her frown evident and in place. "I'm….willing to give Max's help a shot since he has one of Vaput's men in captivity. I'm hoping to not let it get to that point of involving Randi or Alara. And if they start looking into me and my background…" She shakes her head to that. She was thinking crazy, but it was all she knew. Her head drops a bit at the chide, but with determined gait, "It's kept me alive, thinking crazy, shuga."

"They know I killed a man, and they let me Stand." Rio points out. "You might risk it. I think," Rio murmurs, "That Randi is much less inclined to respect the mores and laws of the planet, than is Alara. She's who I would go to, if I had to." Rio's regard is devoid of color or light as she stares at her friend. "And desperation makes … Anyone do things that they would not expect of themselves. We are … Creatures of instinct, no matter how we hide it. And some of our instincts… Are to be warriors," Rio glances toward the lake, where Eovarijath now swims, "And some, to be peacemakers. You and I, Jaya, we're both warriors when it comes to it. But that begs a whole different question. How would we face down our worst fear? I both faced it, and ran from it, but those… Different fears. A fear of a life in captivity. And…" Softer, "Fear of what the man… I loved…Would think of me… Spoiled as I was." Rio exhales. "I never thought I'd have to face the second fear, because I never thought they'd let me live."

"Randi," Jaya repeats that name, nodding once as she considers the possibility of going to her. She wasn't sure, her fear of being carted off by guards foremost in her mind at the thought, but it was something she was keeping in mind. Rio's other words she remains silent through, her brows staying furrowed as her words resonate with her. "Warriors, are we?" she notes, allowing herself a rueful little smile. "We are warriors that run, and I the coward for spending too many turns not facing my worst." Straightening up, "Peacemaker I am not, you're right," she agrees, "and the man you loved should think highly of you, dear Rio. Or he would not have been worthy of you to begin with." Her smile turns more fond when she looks to the veiled woman, "I used to fear me becoming part of the Dicori legacy," she admits, "but that has already passed when Vaput came into my life. All I have left is to survive it."

"Make him come here, Jaya. On your home turf. If he wants you enough. Write him. Tempt him. Do not go there. Not to Bitra, not back there." She's not -quite- begging, but Rio is earnest, and one hand comes from within its sleeve to touch her friend on the shoulder, to squeeze it.

Silence meets Rio's earnest words, Jaya watching the woman beside her with her intense gaze. As stubborn as she is, she could not turn away from that look in the weyrling's eyes - especially on something as serious as this. Did she really want to go back, herself? Her smile is more pronounced at that squeeze to her shoulder, her head inclining a bit before answering. "We'll need to weed out the tunnelsnakes of his, first," she says, a glint of predatory trouble showing in her eyes. "That thief didn't come alone, of that I'm certain. They're here, hiding among us, and I want to find out who." Nodding, her voice turning softer, "I'm not going anywhere," she adds for Rio with confidence, "but I won't let them take me on their terms, neither. We'll take him down, shuga. One by one, before Bitra ever sees me."

Rio nods, then, with a sigh she didn't realize she was holding, exhaled. "Right. What can I do? What can we do?" A nod toward the lake. "Tell me. The lads who handle the glows… They will do what I ask, as well. Who do you want me to talk to? Who do we suspect? What can I do?" Her grip firms again on Jaya's shoulders, and Rio nearly sways with her own sincerity.

Once Jaya sees that Rio is calmed, she switches gear to 'course of action' mode and has a determined look to her face. "Right. For now, I'm going to need some eyes and ears around here," she details it out for Rio, letting the blanket slip down her shoulders. "I'm going to have to take that thief's word for it and suspect anyone. Crafters, dragonriders, even weyrlings," and she looks to Rio significantly on that. "We don't know, so if there's anything unusual you see or hear…even Eovarijath, let me know. I could use those glowtenders of yours, too. They might hear and see things down in the corridors that we don't." She pauses, eyes looking away briefly towards Shijan. "I might have something for you to hold onto for me soon," she notes, lowering her voice should the man hear. "It's something I took from Vaput. Might not be best for me to keep it in the bar until we find out who we're dealing with here."

Rio nods. "She can sleep on it." Let someone move a gold dragon, even a baby one, to get something. "We can do this. And I will speak with them when she comes in, goes to sleep. They're out now, but I can likely find them." She's had a lot of practice at locating her prior assistants by the light of dimming glows. "What is Max going to do with this man? How is it that he can hold him?"

"We both can," Jaya agrees with confidence, her own growing with Rio lending her a much-needed hand. "Maybe we can even infiltrate a mole once we find who's working for him, but that's for later." Movement from the corner of her eye has the barkeep sending a sharp glance towards Shijan, who's currently staring Rio down with unreadable eyes. Questions on the thief himself has Jaya shrugging just a bit, "Keep him locked up for now," she answers, eyes narrowing slightly in Shijan's direction. "He has him tied to a chair. Man looks beaten up pretty bad, but I could tell a healer's been to him. I'm wagering he's thinking to grill him more on what he knows, but it won't be any good," and then, she turns back to Rio to add this point. "That man has the look of death on him, so he won't think to have much to lose. Didn't seem very bright, but he may be smart enough to realize, should he escape or return to Bitra, he won't last long."

"What will happen to him, if he goes back? And," Rio adds quietly, softer, "Has anyone explained that to him?" Just those words fall, to add emphasis to each, to ensure what Jaya pays attention to, and answers. Rio reaches to re-adjust her scarf, perhaps aware of the eyes on her. And out in the lake, a splash. Not a fish.

"I found it wise to remind him," Jaya answers on the runner thief, the dark smile showing up in the dim light of the sky. "Anyone worth their marks in Bitra knows what Vaput does to deserters. He may have gotten caught instead, but Vaput's not going to see it like that." A look goes to Rio then, pointed. "People vanish, shuga," she elaborates, her shoulders bunching together a bit under the ornate blanket. "There one day, gone the next. I've heard too many stories. Maybe that's why I ran when I did. I was thinking of seeing him again," she admits, nodding sharply. "Maybe I can convince him to reveal his handlers in exchange for him a promise of him not being sent back to Bitra. Not that I know what Max has up his sleeves, but….this man won't know that." And Jaya was easy to lie to him on that, too. Without hesitation.

"Yes. Then you're one step up. Toward the middle men. If you can take them out. And… If you think you can trick Vaput into coming here…" Both her brows quirk up, at that. "Write him? He knows you're here. Initiate contact. Maybe surprise him, instead of having you… As he is probably imagining, dragging you back in chains." She nods, warming to this. "Yes. Write him. Maybe try to cut a deal with the prisoner that you'll write, if he'll spill, but you'll write that he's trying to win you over to Vaput's side. And maybe you'll get the man on your side, at least."

"It will take much," Jaya muses on the options being given, a hand stealing out from under the blanket to brush a finger across her chin. "Convincing Vaput to come here. But to write him…or perhaps, send a sort of gift…" eyes narrow now as she considers this, chin lifting from her fingers as she watches the dark surface of the lake. Tapping a finger to her chin, "I think you have something there," she notes to Rio, her face clearing some. "To pull a trick such as this against him…it will be unlike me. He might not expect it. If the thief compromises," she corrects, the possibility being there on him not.

"The thief has little choice." Rio points out. "Especially if you sic your pup there, on him." Lowered voice, so that the 'pup' might not hear. "Terror comes in many forms. Threaten him with scars." She touches her own cheeks, both, for she bears twice what Jaya does, and yet covers them up. "And yes. A gift. A letter. Get the man to double-cross, and reveal his uppers, and then… Work on them." She sighs.

"If he's not broken already," Jaya agrees, hand stealing back under the blanket. "He seemed a rough sort, and he has scars enough to prove it, perhaps I can threaten him enough to see things my way. Unfortunately, I can't see him alone," she adds, shaking her head. "Max will insist on being present. Shijan, too. If they weren't there, slipping into Bajaya Dicori would be much easier." It was the first time she had said her full name aloud, the name seeming to sound like a lifetime ago. Eyes go to that veil when Rio touches her cheeks, grimacing at what's underneath. "Thank you, Rio," she says then, quietly and with earnest. "I needed to hear it. You. I'm glad I didn't run."

"I…Wish I could do more." She has been given her freedom with that dragon, but she is chained as well. These particular chains she is willing to wear, though, and though the knot often remains obscured by her masking scarf, she almost always has the gold-twined Weyrling knot about her shoulder, "But you're welcome. We're here. Please… If you can avoid it, do not run. I'd be worried sick." And is to some extent already concerned. "Talk to Randi, Jaya."

"You are doing something," Jaya answers, leaning over to nudge the woman a bit playfully. "Being here, shuga. I've never had that before. Not out there. For now, I'm safe. I have him," and she nods back over towards Shijan with a sardonic twist to her voice. "He's making privacy become a luxury for me, but I do feel better having him around. Suli's stepped up her end of security, too. We'll find these bastards, believe that." Beat. "In time, I will," she relents on talking to Randi with an incline of her head. "That I promise, dear friend. I wouldn't dare have you worry yourself sick over me. You," and she turns a concerned appraisal over the veiled woman, studying her face. "Are you well? I was concerned when you let the bar that night.." the night of the bar brawl, and the barkeep regards the woman for her answer steadily.

"We are well." The question pitched to singular is answered in plural, for these past months have seen Rio morph from herself to herself-and-Eovarijath. "She grows and becomes more enchanting every day. I think… As well… We temper one another. And… It did not seem like a good idea for me to be engaged in a bar fight, at this stage. Bad enough that she flies."

Looking out, trying to find the little queen herself in the dark skies, "You'll both be a force to be reckoned with when the time comes," Jaya says wit certainty, sparing an open smile for her confidant. "And I was figuring that, but I wanted to make sure, shuga. Haven't been able to check on you with all this….I had to see you for myself." And having seen her, the barkeep looks more at ease, her posture much less tense despite the fact that there's a man trailing her every which way. "I hope weyrling training has been well?" she asks then, searching her eyes. "Suli's taken to watching you all sometimes. It might be calming for her, being that she grew up in a Weyr."

"It's…" Finally Rio casts another look over at the man and has to laugh, with a shake of her head, "It's geared toward the fighting dragons, as it should be, and we should know what they do. But sometimes it leaves me wondering what we do. But yes, I enjoy it. Training. She, Eovarijath, she just seeks the skies, legally as well as illegally. She knows she does wrong, in this early flight, but it is her life, and what she breathes for all day." Rio exhales, seeming to smile, by the cant of her head and squint of her eyes, "Tell me about Kas."

"Kinda not fair, right?" Jaya laughs a bit with her, following her gaze over to the ever-watching Shijan. "I don't blame her, your dragon. I think your time will come, fighting or not. And," and the woman looks to the skies, "it would be great to see you and her in the skies, soaring high," she adds, her words sounding poetic even to her own ears. Glancing Rio's way with a playful smirk, "Save a flight for me?" she asks, amusement in her voice until the other mentions the guard. That smile slips somewhat, blinking once as she registers the name before her chin lifts. "Ah. Kas?" A half-shrug, eyes studying the other intently before adding, "Guard from Boll, or so he says. Guards make me tetchy, so I wonder if he's here for some other reason other than just that charge he's looking after." Boot scuffs against ground, the barkeep looking away towards the lake as she tacks on, "He's got something to hide. I'm certain of it. Any man that works hard to charm a woman, from my experience? Then they've got something to hide. I'm looking to find out what, shuga."

Rio observes, "He looked like he was out to charm you, to charm you." Rio observes. "Perhaps you should take it as a distraction, and a compliment, rather than with such great suspicion." But she does nod, "Eovarijath speaks, daily, of our flights to be. Absolutely, you should join us. She… Takes me, each night, with her. There's a connection, so I can… Feel, " Rio tries to explain with inadequate words, "What she feels, to slide through the air. I cannot deny her."

"I dunno," Jaya doesn't look convinced, the sigh heavy and uncertain. "Made enough mistakes in my lifetime thinking a man wanted me for me. 'Sides, he's a guard, shuga," and her look is a pointed one. "For all I know, he's probably got a list on him with my name on it. I'm not going to the mines." It's said adamantly, her jaw firm before she softens it at the latter. "I'd love to experience that with you," she says, the grin bare. "You and her. Someday, when all of this blows over."

"When she can fly, and take passengers," Rio corrects, then her grin is audible in her voice, "If we wait until your life is free from problems, we'll both be old and grey and not have any sense of balance at all. So, the sooner the better. And," she nods slightly, "Yes. I think… I have Eovarijath. And men…Are just men."

At that, Jaya's laughter is loud and gusty. "Old and grey? Are you saying trouble will follow me for as long as I walk?" she teases, nudging the woman again with a snicker. "You could be right. We'll celebrate when I make it to my 25th turnday. My father thinks I won't." A wink is given on that account, then her smile turns gentle at the last before another shift of movement from Shijan gets her eye. Sighing, "I better return," she announces, moving to pull Rio into a tight hug. "I'll come by again and we'll talk. Maybe I'll send the guard your way so you can figure out what trouble he is, eh?" The look is comical, the brows lifting and falling briefly.

Rio returns the hug, firmly, warmly, and she seems reluctant to let go, but she will. "Sure. If you need me to vet him for you, Jaya. I can do that." But she will glance toward the guard, with a slight shake of her head, "You've no privacy, woman. I'm sorry. Yes. Let's get this taken care of. We will listen, and I will alert you. The boys will come talk to you, tonight or tomorrow night." That will be Rio's next move, to get the boys to help Jaya, to go seek her out and speak with her.

"At least he doesn't watch me bath, I think," Jaya drawls on privacy, her tone dry. "I will look out for your boys, then," and she reluctantly lets the other go, rearranging her blanket around her shoulders before taking a step back towards Shijan. Sending Rio a warm smile, "Be well, until next time, shuga," she gives in her husky alto, nodding her farewell. "Send your queen my love. And….thanks. Again." She gives a little wave before turning, her slow steps starting her off back to the Weyr proper with Shijan waiting behind long enough to send Rio a look.

Rio salutes Shijan, perhaps unexpectedly, before she turns to walk along the beach in the relative privacy of the darkness there. Somewhere, her lifemate swims toward her, and then, eventually, the two of them will pace back toward the barracks, to finally sleep.

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