Don T Run


Jaya.jpg Lorayit.jpg

Date: Sept. 26, 2010
Location: Bar/ fields outside EW
Synopsis: Spooked after her talk with Max, Jaya runs. She runs right into Lorayit. Takes place later in the night after The Name Game.
Rating: PG-13
Writer: Jaya

Jaya stared at her bar as if for the last time.

Broken things from the recent brawl had been shucked out of the way and to the walls, and the tables had been rearranged to hide the fact that such things were there at all. Despite that, it amazed her how attached to the little place she had gotten after only months. The bar had become a sort of home to her - complete solace from the dark past that constantly crept up to her.

The past that knew her as Bajaya Dicori.

Now, long after Max had left, it seems as if she would have to be Bajaya Dicori again. Dark eyes dropped to the backpack she had taken from out of the backroom she stayed in, the map she carried with her out and unfolded across a table. Before Eastern, she had been looking to move on to Ista and Keroon, eventually making her way down to Southern Boll. Certain areas she had to avoid, of course - her name was on the same lists as Vaput's, after all. A guard in the know wouldn't hesitate to drop her in the mines should they catch her. She didn't want to go to the mines, even though that was where she rightly should be.

Don't run.

Yeah. It was easy for Max to say to her. Easier said that done when she now knows there's a thief dropping names in Max's custody. Who knows how many more were with him. Vaput's men tended to travel in packs, and didn't Max mention that there was another thief that escaped them? Where was he? As much for all the blustering Jaya did in the beast manager's presence, hearing this news shook the woman to the core. How the fuck did they find out she was down here, and so soon? Her mind involuntarily thought of Suli and Max's distrust of her, but Jaya just couldn't make heads or tails of that. What Max didn't know was that she was sent from a trusted ally. Suli had done nothing to the contrary of suspicion. Right?

But Rio warned her, too. Shit, if she couldn't even trust the Telgari…!

Resolutely, Jaya snatched up her backpack and the map, tucking it folded into an inner pocket of her borrowed coat. She knew she promised Rio and L'ron that she would stop running, but she didn't bank on circumstances coming to the fore so soon like this. She almost wished she had forced Max to take her to the thief so she could find out how much of a head start she had before they came for her - if any. She wasn't thinking, but she seemed to be doing a lot of that lately.

Well she could change that, at least. She'd be damned if Vaput was going to hurt those she called friends, or anyone at the Weyr. Her staying would only mean trouble for those at Eastern Weyr, and Max had brought that home to her with heavy clarity. She wasn't yet sure how she was going to get back north, but she was sure that her problems were not about to become someone else's.

Later in the night, Jaya reaches the lengthy farming fields outside the Weyr when she realized that she was not alone out there. There was a man lounging out on one of the outcropping rocks littering the edge of the fields, his face lifted to the starry skies and looked as every bit as asleep as she hoped. It was too late to turn around now, the Bitran being too deep in thought (and expecting no one to be out here at this time of night) to notice him before. So she hesitates, steps faltering on the soft dirt as she regards his prone form before she chose to slowly move on.

It is with her turning her back to him that he spoke. "Going somewhere?"

Jaya looks back and at the familiar drawl and finds Lorayit slowly sitting up to send his gaze to her. It had effectively pinned her to the spot, the woman frowning at suddenly finding the Weyr gardener here and away from the Weyr. Since she only met him those few times at her bar, she found it best to say nothing at all to him.

Of course she was going somewhere. Lo could see the backpack like a star in the sky. Blue eyes meet Jaya's troubled ones, and the man keeps himself as calm on the rock as he could muster. He wasn't expecting to find his target out here, so seeing her was as much shock to him as he was sure she is at seeing him. Nodding sharply with his chin towards the Weyr, "Bar is that way," he adds a bit with a lazy drawl, leaning back on one elbow as his gaze never leaves her face.

"What are you doing out here?" Jaya finds her voice, and after the ordeal she had with Max, she was starting to see everyone she met in a suspicious tint. She follows suit and even gestures with her chin towards the Weyr as well, adding, "The gardens are back that way, along with proper sleeping arrangements."

Sniffing once as he rubs a thumb against his nose, "This is my territory," Lo answers that blithely, and there's far too much double meaning there to make that statement not sound ominous. But he knew she was frayed out of her nerves already, by the look of her, so he's quick to add in a more genial light, "I'm a farmer, by nature. Don't like to be boxed in. You know this." He'll even appear a little bored at her with this statement, as if they had talked of this before plenty of times. Then, with a drop of his gaze to her backpack, "Running?" he pokes at the hornet's nest, letting his eyes slowly meet her own.

Jaya's face closes up at his words, but it's the latter that brings her up short. Shooting a hard glance at him as she involuntarily takes a step forward, "Excuse me??" she tosses at him, letting her voice rise as nerves go taut.

"Unless you're taking a pleasant stroll far from the Weyr at this time of night…" Lorayit notes with just a touch of haughtiness, his gaze settling back to the sky above. "Looks to me like you're running away. From what? I wonder." Eyes flick back down then to see her reaction, keeping his voice neutral.

Jaya's eyes narrow to slits at the temerity of his words. "Keep the fuck out of what I'm doing!" she tosses at him, one hand balled into a fist. At this point, if the farmer didn't watch himself, he just might find himself in an unwanted fight with the bar owner. She really had no qualms with Lorayit, but his words were starting to hit too close to home and she was not in the mood to answer questions.

Both hands lift as Lorayit tried to dispel Jaya's ire towards him. "Making observations," he notes, brows lifting at her. "Can't fault me for that, can you?" When it looks like there's to be no fist coming in his direction, the hands dro back down and he straightens up his back to give her his full attention. After a beat, "Who's going to run the bar once you're gone?" he changes tactics, looking rather disappointed like a man losing his favorite runner. "The place won't be the same without you."

There's a frown, Jaya trying to make heads and tails of whether Lo was speaking the truth or not. She knew he was good with words, so one really couldn't tell… "The bar will be taken care of," she finally admits to the fact that she was leaving, her expression one of resignation. "No longer my problem." Then she turns to go.

"Wait." Lorayit is up and off that rock, taking a few steps toward her should she bolt. Jaya leaving Eastern Weyr was not a part of the plan, and should her bolting reach Vaputero… His voice taking on a serious note, "Your father," he brings up her family, for that's the one sensitive subject the two had actually shared in their brief encounters. He's almost certain now that something had spooked the Bitran into running, and he was determined to find out what (or who) it was and take care of it. "He told me about some of the trouble you're in," he continues on, hoping to stop her in her tracks.

Well, it did. Jaya turns around, eyes boring into the farmer with her patience going down the drain. "My father knew little of whatever troubles you're insinuating," she starts, the hesitation there in her posture. It wouldn't be far-fetched for her father to have found out about her. After he kicked her out, it would be like Bhadri Dicori to go looking for the man that was taking his estranged daughter down a dangerous path. So she hesitates, looking uncertainly at the farmer as he approaches her.

"Your father knew you were working for Vaputero," Lorayit took a gamble and names the notorious Biran renegade, lacing the lies through his words without a thought. "Been in Bitra long enough myself to even know about him. Way he talked, it sounded like you still got that tie. Hey," and both hands come up as if to ward off any comments from her, "if Vaput's got you on some mission down here, and that's why you're leaving, then I won't stop you. I've learned my lesson with getting involved with that man's people. I don't want no trouble." He sounds sincere, the look of feigned innocence on the matter laid bare before the bar owner. He'll even take a step back for added effect.

It effectively had Jaya rooted to the spot. She knew her father would eventually find Vaput out - she didn't exactly 'hide' who she was working for back in those days - but to discuss it with someone else… Eyes suddenly narrow. "How do I know you're not working for him?" she levels at Lo then, not exactly denying his words on her being on a mission for Vaput. "You seem to know an awfully lot more than you should about my business, 'gardener'."

Lo allows himself to appear exasperated with her for even suspecting him. Nevermind the fact that he's out here in the middle of the night, looking all amounts suspicious himself when it came down to it. Hands drop back to his sides with some force as he pins a pointed look onto the woman. "If I was working for a man like that," he says slowly and carefully, trying to make her words sound absurd by the tone of his voice, "then would I be here, trying to convince you to stay within the safe confines of the Weyr? That's if you're not working for him anymore," he adds, letting a brow lift imperceptibly at her. "Are you?"

"What's it to you?" Jaya nearly bites back the words forcefully, bristling at his tone taken with her. "What if I am working for him? Then you are certainly interrupting important business!" And she turns again to go.

"Then I would wish you caution and a safe journey to whatever place you're going," Lorayit appears undaunted, keeping his face carefully controlled. "But. If you're not working for him any longer, then that tells me you're in trouble. Vaput doesn't let go of his employees all that easily." When Jaya turned back to practically gawk at him, he took a step towards her and added, "Had a friend of mine that was good at sabotaging runner races for him. Ulas. Got all the way to Crom before he suddenly vanished." Well, that was true. Lo was certain the young man got there, though no one in the gang ever spoken of his fate.

Jaya couldn't help the color that drained from her face at the mention of Ulas's fate. It was through cold, stiff lips that she asks, "What did he do?"

Lo looks grim, his blue eyes searching Jaya's before he answers. "One of the sabotages went wrong. Wasn't really his fault, but, Vaput wasn't going to hear that." He looks away, his eyes narrowing at the memory as he adds, "He came to me before he took off. Tried to help him. Even recommended him to your family to take him in since Bhadri was heading them off." He shakes his head slowly, "Ulas was too spooked to want to stick around," and at this, he turns his gaze fully on Jaya. "He might have saved himself if he ran to the nearest Weyr instead. Don't know if it would stop a man like Vaputero, but, it's a better shot than rotting in a ditch somewhere."

Silence meets those words, the Bitran woman at a loss for what to say. She had heard the stories of men being hunted down by the renegade, but since none of them involved those she considered friends, they were mostly ignored. She found it odd to be having this kind of conversation in the middle of a field with a man she only met about a month ago, but his honest face and the words given rang true. At least, for now they did. "It's …too late for me," she finally says, the resignation heard in her husky alto. "They are here." Beat. "Sorry about your friend."

Lo merely studies her, letting the silence after her apology linger as if he were stuck in dark memories of his friend Ulas. Really, he had gotten over the man's death turns ago, but Jaya didn't know that. Letting his head hang forward a little, as if the weight of the memories were proving too much for him, "Do not suffer the same fate as my friend, Jaya," he warns, blue eyes glinting at her with full grave meaning of another kind than what's being projected. Is it coincidental that one of his men got caught, and now his very target is spooked into running? Someone's been talking, and the farmer is practically itching to seek Suli out as soon as he managed to shepherd his target back to the Weyr. "I don't want to have to go to your father, and tell him what had gotten you," he continues on, invoking her family in order to make her see reason. At least, his reason. "I don't know all that's going on with you, and I'm not going to pry, but…take it from me? You don't want to be out here," he gives this with an ominous slant, alluding to the fate that will become the bar owner anyway when the time was right.

"You're out here and seem just fine," Jaya is quick to note, the words about her father bringing her up short.

Hands spread wide, and Lo allows himself to finally appear at ease with his surroundings. "I'm just a farmer," is his simple response, the bland smile that attaches to it crooked. "I'm not on the run, and I've got nothing to hide. Been working the fields in Southern Hold for turns and haven't seen any action - well, other than where it counts," and his look is a little suggestive towards the end, letting that smile deepen as his hands fall to his sides.

"No one's just anything anymore." It's the sign of the times that Jaya doesn't rise to the bait of that little innuendo, her nerves frayed enough for her to gloss over it. Grimacing a bit now as she considers his words, and those about Ulas, "You're….right," she admits openly, grudgingly. "I shouldn't be hasty. Need to think. Drink." She didn't really want to leave, when it came down to it. She had to force herself to admit that, out of all the places she ran to, she was liking Eastern Weyr the best. She had never been in a Weyr this long before, and despite all the frustrations certain people were giving her, it was nothing in comparison to the kindness she has been shown so far. Don't go. Max. Rio. Ahnika. L'ron. Suli. Even the headwoman in her roundabout way… Could she really leave them?

"Let's go back to your bar and have a drink," Lorayit offers, seizing that opportunity he feels where the scarred woman is wavering. "Then, I think sleep will do you a whole lot of good. You look like one that's been sent to the mines, if you don't mind my saying so." Stepping much closer to her now to offer her his arm - gentleman that he is with that worn but charming smile - "Things will look favorable in the morning," he adds, waiting for her to take his arm so that he could guide her back. "You'll see not being hasty in this is the best decision. Get some perspective."

Jaya hesitates for a good moment before she reaches out and slips her hand through his waiting arm, and once she does it's like the weariness and stress of the day finally take its toll. She sags against him, the backpack starting to droop as she allows Lorayit to start leading her back to the Weyr and her bar. "Sleep would be good," she says then in her weariness, not looking like one that needs a drink at this time. "In the morning. I'll think in the morning. Please." She looks over and up at him from her slump, no longer paying much attention to where she's going as she requests, "Tell me more about your friend, Ulas. Everything." She wanted to hear about a man with so similar a fate as her own, and to perhaps glean what she could do differently so as to not end up somewhere in a ditch.

Lorayit is only happy to oblige Jaya in telling her about his late friend. Her hand through his arm, the Weyr gardener relates to her from the beginning his meeting of Ulas as he treks with her through the soft dirt fields and back to the Weyr. The man really had missed his calling in being a harper, for he carefully keeps his tone at a soothing level in order to lull the woman close to safe comfort and sleep. She had nothing to fear from him, after all. That way, once at the bar, he makes sure she is secured and sleeping in the small backroom behind the bar before he finally takes his leave of her and heads out to find Suli to report what had went down in her absence.


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