Eyes And Ears


Randi.jpg Ahnika.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 2010.10.07
Location: EW - Lakeshore
Synopsis: Max comes upon Ahnika and Randi separately down at the lakeshore while walking Spring Breeze. What follows is a discussion between the three of recent weyrling related events with a solution reached at the end.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Max

It is the early afternoon but cloudy and drizzly off and on, and as such Ahnika avoided the afternoon swim while Jhath dozed. Instead, she ran around the lake, because for some odd reason that makes more sense to her. Once completing her circuit, the green weyrling returns to her camo-colored militant green who seems to be anything but militant as she dozes from her afternoon meal. Ahni wakes her up gently just enough to tuck her feet and ankles in under her tail, and using the weight while Jhath sleeps, Ahni continues her afternoon work-out with sit-ups. Normally, Jhath would help her count. But this time, Jhath barely roused awake for the task. Must be the rainy day.

Undaunted by the off-and-on rain, the younger, more junior of the current weyrwomen ambles down towards the now-full lake, accompanied by her blinding golden lifemate. She settles herself on a flat boulder placed conveniently near the shore and Kaseth curls around it so that her head is near enough for an easy reach and scratch. The young woman's brown eyes are dark today; the shadows beneath them haven't been covered very well by the powders she uses like war-paint. Lashes that have been overly blackened lift and fall slowly as she processes her surroundings. Kaseth rumbles a subdued but comforting croon, then lifts her head as she spies one of Rauzath's children and her rider. That recognition is passed on to Randi just as the blonde pulls a small glass bottle from her pocket and she dutifully raises one hand in greeting to Ahnika as she passes.

Despite the drizzle, Max is making his way down to the lakeshore, the pregnant Spring Breeze plodding docilely along behind him. With his head slightly bowed, the rain collects and every so often disperses a trickle over its brim. If not for the fact that as far as possible he takes the chance to get out and away from it all under the guises of exercising the mare at least once a day, one might question his sanity for deliberately heading outside when it is far dryer to simply remain indoors. Deep in thought over something or another, he has yet to notice either a certain flame haired weyrling or the junior goldrider.

Finishing her jog and her sit-ups, Ahnika gently slides her feet out from under Jhath and is about to head past that boulder to another outcropping that does well for a circuit of pull-ups. Some of the tree limbs that Ahnika can reach, she doesn't quite trust to bear her weight. It's at this point that she spots the gold and her rider and the wave that follows, and a moment later the mare Spring Breeze being led by Max around the lakeshore. It is the former that which has the weyrling slowing down and not wanting to be rude to the queen and her rider. She pauses to salute Randi and offers a bow to Kaseth, though says nothing for the moment. Jhath seems to be happily dozing where Ahnika left her for the time being, with Ahnika trying to decide if she should wake her green or not for the opportunity to greet one of the queens. Jhath might nag her about it later if she doesn't.

Max's approach gets a tired sort of smile and it's to him she speaks first. "How far along is she?" Just to make sure she doesn't miss him while she talks with Ahnika. As for the fiery weyrling, that tired smile extends in her direction as well, though it takes on a wry edge. "So, Ahinka," she begins, her voice strained and heavy with the fatigue of the insomniac. "I hear weyrling lessons have become a bit … interesting of late." Kaseth's mind brushes against Jhath's just enough to determine that she's asleep before retreating to let the young green get her rest. "Why don't you tell me about it?"

At the sound of the junior weyrwoman’s voice Max lifts his head, dark eyes finding first Ahnika and then Randi, a warm smile sent to both before changing direction and heading over their way. Spring Breeze for her part only offers the slightest resistance at being made to get that much closer to the dragons. Giving a respectful nod of greeting to first Kaseth and then Jhath, Max uses a finger to tip his hat back from his face a little, “Randi, Ahnika.” A glance behind him where the mare is understandably keeping as much distance as she can between her potential predators, “Going on three months now,” he gives on how far along the mare is. He looks set to add something else and then the goldrider is addressing the redhead on the matter of weyrling lessons and he schools his expression into a neutral line, keeping whatever might be going through his mind to himself for the time being.

Really, letting Jhath sleep is the best of ideas at this point, considering what the topic appears to be leading up to. So, Randi's question only serves to help her make up her mind and lets her sleep. Unfortunately, the nod in greeting from Max goes unnoticed as the green continues to sleep in her little nest of sand and mud made back a bit from the lakeshore itself and out of the way, but still visible, obviously. Yeah, Ahnika's going to be giving Jhath another bath before the day is out. Oiling is a given of course. Believing the goldrider has given Ahnika clearance to speak with the address, she lowers her saluting hand to her side, and gives Max a smile for his greeting, though doesn't speak to him, just yet. Clearing her throat and adopting a more formal posture without actually going into rigid formation pose mode, Ahnika dips her head to Randi, her grey eyes taking in the tired look of the woman sympathetically, before saying, "One lesson, as far as I'm aware, ma'am. If it's the one you're referring to, it was more than a month ago, and I dutifully served out my penance. I don't object to the penance as I did dress Acting Weyrlingmaster F'min down in front of the class. I don't deny that." She'd be hard-pressed to, considering it was right there in front of everyone, "To my knowledge, the weyrlingmasters have not found fault in me or Jhath on a behavioral level within a lesson before or after that particular lesson." Her mind recalls her conversation with Mohria, and then the trap, as she saw it, by L'han earlier that day, but these were not actual lessons. She glances a moment at Max and seeming to find some strength in his presences, continues, "But … if there's something else that I've done wrong in a lesson, I would like to know, please. So I can try and improve." There is a pause, and knowing that the goldrider's time is valuable, she adds, "If you refer to the tone of my conversations with Mohria and L'han recently, ma'am, I'd like to please note that these were not actual lessons and both riders bid me to speak freely with them. That said, I perhaps used language that is inappropriate, and if you and the weyrlingmasters see fit to issue me a penance for that, I'll serve it out as I did before without complaint."

Randi nods once at Max and pats the stone next to her in idle invitation - just in case he wants to sit. She listens in quiet non-judgement as Ahnika speaks and does not open her mouth until she is sure the weyrling is done, though she registers surprise at the mention of two riders who don't - to her knowledge - have anything to do with the weyrlingmaster staff at all. "Please, Ahni. Just sit down and talk with me." There's no hesitation as she pats the stone on her other side. "I haven't the presence of mind to slog through all of that militant discipline today." Nightmares really cut into beauty rest, after all. "I'd only heard about the lesson and was curious. I hadn't had time to talk with you before now." She pauses and takes a deep breath, rolling the little glass bottle between her palms as if to warm it. "What happened with L'han and Mohria?"

Through all of Ahnika’s reply to Randi, the beast manager remains silent, meeting the weyrling’s glance to him with the edge of a small and encouraging smile. There comes only the barest narrowing of eyes to indicate that what is stated last, is something he’d been unaware of until just now. However, Max continues to hold his silence, letting his gaze drift over the goldrider as he awaits her response and taking in the weariness she wears, faint vestiges of concern showing in the brief twitch of brows. The invitation given by the junior weyrwoman to join her however, has him tipping his head ever so slightly to one side, as if in curiosity and then he’s stepping away to loop the mare’s reins around a tree a little further down. Walking back, hands set to pockets the hint of a vaguely troubled look goes between weyrling and weyrwoman and then rather than actually seat himself beside Randi, he’s taking up a lean against the boulder next to her, arms folding across his chest. Silence still firmly in place despite the deepening frown for the goldrider's exhausted state, eyes drop to the glass bottle she toys with.

"Yes, ma'am. Thank you," Ahnika says, still polite with the 'ma'am', but that was something she was saying to the weyrwomen back before she was even a candidate. Just simple good manners as far as she was concerned. In truth, she's grateful to sort of get to relax her posture some and take a seat. All that jogging and then sit-ups only to stand ram-rod straight like that? Yeah, she's grateful and it shows as she sort of shakes out her arms and legs a moment before joining Randi where she indicated, "I'd offer to massage your shoulders some, ma'am, but when I tried to massage A'kon's shoulders the other day, it … didn't go too well. I guess I'm too hard," (likely from all the twisting ears she's done over the turns). She tries for a sheepish grin, but she's a little nervous and with obvious good cause so it comes out more like a nervous smile. She knows she did wrong by badmouthing F'min, and while she's standing by the decision to do so, she's not exactly proud of the fact. It was a necessary evil, as far as she is concerned. So, yeah, she's a little nervous, sitting here talking about it with the junior weyrwoman. Who wouldn't be? That said, she knows she didn't commit murder, and so her little bit of nervousness is appropriate for the 'crime'. By the time Max gets back from securing Spring Breeze, Ahni has cleared her throat and thoughts about massaging and continued, "Ah, well, Mohria lectured me over the matter a few days ago, which to be honest it'd been so long and I'd finished my penance, I had to think a moment what she was talking about, and she said she felt she had to stand up for F'min on it, which I can understand. I stood there and listened to what she had to say and was quiet, and even did all my saluting properly, and didn't say one word against her or F'min, ma'am, honest. And then … she told me there would be no repercussions and she wanted to know my honest answer if I felt I did the right thing. So, well, I told her I did. She asked why I felt that way and I told her that too. I asked to be dismissed and she dismissed me, without a penance, which I was kind of half expecting even if she had said there wouldn't be consequences of speaking freely, but I'm guessing she was upset anyway because this morning L'han came to talk to me about it and he said something that was clearly only able to come from my conversation with Mohria, which put me on guard, of course, looking for the trap he was trying to lay out for me. He bid me to discuss the matter with him and well, I guess you could say ma'am I was kind of feeling a little ambushed and ganged up on, so I kind of let him have it, too. I won't deny calling him a lackey for Mohria and F'min to come at me in revenge and told him quite plainly that if F'min had issues with me, he should just have the …" brief pause and a cough, "balls … to come see me directly rather than send others to do his dirty business. And I expected L'han to give me a penance too, but instead he said he was going to punish the whole weyrling class and make sure they knew it was because of me and told me I should be prepared to be the loneliest and most miserable greenrider in the whole weyr or something to that effect, and then he left," pause, "Oh, but I saluted him before he left, ma'am." Because, saluting someone who seems to be out to get you and make your life hell is so important? Silly Ahni. After chewing her lip a moment and looking at the silent Max and then Randi, Ahnika says, "I do alright, ma'am, really, ask the weyrlingmasters. I only sort of flew off the handle at F'min that one time. And these two conversations with Mohria and L'han? Well, I was under the impression I was given leave to speak freely … if that matters at all."

Max is glanced at when he chooses his leaning 'perch', but the vast majority of Randi's - admittedly limited - attention is on Ahnika. "I see…" She lets her voice trail off and her gaze goes vapid as she processes all that information through the vast mental filter that is her lifemate. "First I should say that as neither L'han or Mohria have approached us to work with the weyrlings, neither had any official right to question you and certainly no right to punish the entire class." Her shoulders slump and for a moment her expression shows a little bit of the hurt she's been nursing these past few months of avoiding everyone. "I know why Mohria said something. I can understand the need to defend someone you love - even if you know what they did was wrong. I don't know her well at all, but I can very nearly excuse her lecture as that defense and as an outlet." She gives the young greenrider a sideways glance. "You know she has been caring for him herself, yes? That's a tough task for any one person, but she's also pregnant." Her voice is quiet and tired; there is no censure there, only the fatigued presentation of facts. "But L'han is completely uninvolved. Not that this has stopped him poking his nose places in the past, but if Mohria did send him…" Kaseth lifts her head a little to whuffle warm breath at the weyrling comfortingly. After a pause, Randi turns her gaze to Max. "You and your mother have eyes and ears at every turn." It's a quiet acknowledgement of their skills. "What have you heard about all of this?"

The tightening that had started at the corner of Max’s eyes increases until eventually they’re narrowed to near slits, his jaw setting tightly as Ahnika recounts the post weyrling lesson encounters she’d had. At first, he doesn’t even try to hide his high irritation and annoyance and then after some time a rough snort is uttered and he can likely be heard to mutter something along the lines of ‘nutless wonders’. Though it’s more as an aside to himself than as a contribution to the conversation being held between weyrling and weyrwoman. Concern over Randi’s physical and what seems to be mental state however, washes the larger portion of that away and as dark eyes flit up and over her, he makes reply in a tight tone, “Nothing. This is the first I’m hearing of it.” A slightly brow lifted look being sent the redhead’s way and then the dry edge of a smile shows up, “Figure Ahni’s got enough fire to fight her own battles,” which doesn’t mean to say he’s not currently fighting back the instinct to get up in someone’s face about it all, he just knows which battles to pick unless ordered otherwise. “I stick my nose in where it ain’t welcome then I ain’t no better than those two,” Mohria and L’han. “Don’t go no dragon, so weyrlinghood ain’t really my business, aye?”

Ahnika relaxes a little with Randi's first statement, but remains dutifully quiet as the weyrwoman continues. The statement of Mohria caring for F'min by herself while she was pregnant, which Ahni knew because she saw her stomach that day, gets a little frown from Ahni. Why she is frowning is anyone's guess as she doesn't put voice to her thoughts, preferring to listen to Randi as she continues. The green weyrling's expression shifts back to neutral attentiveness as Randi continues, not nodding or shaking her head at anything, simply absorbing the weyrwoman's statements. She smiles and relaxes even more as Kaseth sends her warm breath across her, closing her eyes to it and letting the loose hairs from her braided bun tickle the sides of her face and neck with it, before rubbing them down once more and giving the gold a fond look before turning her attention back to Randi and Max while shifting a little to sit cross-legged on the flat rock. She smiles a bit more as Max talks of Ahni fighting her own battles, and then sobers at the conclusion of his input. "The incident in the lesson, that itself happened awhile back, but the talk with Mohria and L'han, that was just this seven, so it's probably not gotten around yet, and well, quite frankly, other than the other weyrlings? I wasn't likely to talk about it," oh yeah, telling the rest of the weyrlings probably would have resulted in a riot, whether against Ahni or in rallying to her side, who knows, but most likely a riot of some kind. To the statement about Mohria sending L'han, "In fairness here," and Jhath would thump Ahni if she wasn't fair, course Jhath is asleep, so … "I can't say if Mohria herself told him 'go talk to Ahnika about this', or if she was just letting off some steam to him about it and he took it upon himself to come at me, but I can say this much, what he opened with in that conversation was something that I hadn't said to anyone else but in my conversation with Mohria. So, if it didn't come from her directly, it came from her talking about it to end up at L'han's ears, ma'am." Ahnika frowns then a little, and sighs, "I am not a perfect diplomat, and I don't pretend to be. I know I have a temper, too, but sharditall, I can't help but feeling a little goaded and attacked and trapped here, ma'am, and if someone comes at me, I'll be a shardin' fool if I don't go down swinging and take a few with me, and maybe that's my folly, I don't know, but all I know is that I served my penance and I know I broke rules, and I know shouldn't have called F'min a twit," which is probably the only wrongdoing she'll agree to having done, aside from in the strictest sense, breaking the rules, "so why try and trap and ambush me like that? Aren't we all supposed to be on the same team here?"

Randi manages a more genuine smile at Max's mention of minding his own business. "Yes, but you're allowed to be nosy for me. How else am I supposed to keep on top of this mess?" She makes a good attempt at being light and playful, but her lack of energy leaves it falling noticeably flat. She heaves a heavy sigh and massages her temples. "I'm beginning to wonder if we wouldn't have been better off naming a single Weyrlingmaster from the start…" Not that they had one, but still, there must have been something they could have done better. "This whole process is a lot of trial and error, to be honest. I'm just sorry that it's you lot who have to be our test subjects." One hand reaches around to rub at a knot in her shoulder while she thinks; Kaseth bumps Ahnika's shoulder with her nose before settling back to doze. "I think I may have to call in some favors and get a dedicated team in here, even if it is just for this clutch."

Max can’t disguise the smirk of approval that pulls into place when Ahnika speaks of going down swinging and taking a few with her, he does at least have the common sense not to break out into applause or put forth any other more open display. Brows lift and he turns a long look onto Randi, “Eyes and ears on the riders too?” he looks away going quiet as he mulls that over and then slowly nods, “Reckon we could do that, aye.” Straightening out of his lean against the boulder, dark eyes flick between weyrling and weyrwoman once again, “Chain of command, Randi. Without one for the ‘lings the other riders seem to be looking to think they have free rein with them. Might be you could put out some feelers up North and see if there’s anyone from up there willing to come down.” Again he drops into silence, a slight frown forming and then he states carefully, “If you can find someone to give me a ride back to the Reaches, I can ask around my Pa’s old wingmates, see who might be interested?” Though it’s clear to see that’s something he’s not looking forward to but which might be a necessary ‘evil’ for both Weyr and beast manager alike.

To all of Randi's comments, Ahnika remains quiet, seeming to be out of her depths with regards to weyr-eyes and ears and weyrlingmaster organization and structure, and so forth and is content to listen for now. It is the bump from Kaseth that has Ahnika shifting again, initially thinking the gold wanting her headknobs rubbed and preparing to comply, but seeing Randi rub at a knot in her shoulder, she hesitates, uncertain, and then finally offers, "Ma'am?" with her hand outstretched for that knotted shoulder. She doesn't bother with warning, as she's already mentioned A'kon's reaction to her massages, but she does state congenially, "I'll see if I can work that out for you. Just tell me if I get too rough, please, ma'am." And if allowed to put her hands to it, she will try to work the knot out. Part of the issue with her strength is that with all of the PT, she's having to relearn just how much strength she has with things now that she's developed some muscle tone she didn't have before, but the issue with A'kon has allowed her to be a little more mindful of the fact now and she will try to be a little gentler if allowed. Max's words earn him an uncertain look, though if it is about a trip up to Reaches or North in general, Ahnika is too silent to make it clear. After a moment, she says softly, "What if me and Jhath were one pair? Eyes and Ears for the riders? We're riders, and Jhath somehow always ends up hearing about someone's problems, at least among the weyrlings." Likely Randi doesn't want to hear about who stole Balkrith's lunch or which weyrling pranked J'ret and Uallath, but still, she offers what she can and Jhath does have an ear for those who want to share their troubles with her.

Randi nods gratefully - not enough together to even remember the warning - and leans into the massage. Her shoulder has three distinct knots along the uppermost muscle and is tense all over. Up into her neck, it seems as if the muscles may have calcified for how stiff and tense they are; no wonder she has a headache. "Give me a few days to touch base with 'La and update her on things, Max. If she's amenable, I might take you and stop by Telgar as well. Got a few names that might be persuaded to help out." As for Ahnika and Jhath, Randi manages a soft - though tired - smile. "Didn't you just finish telling me you weren't good at diplomacy?" She's not poking or prodding, though. The tone is entirely teasing - exhausted, but teasing. "Still, it couldn't hurt to listen. It seems there's much more going on around here than I was aware of." She sounds regretful but also a little bitter, as if she knows that's her own fault but not how to fix it.

Catching Ahnika's look sent to him, Max sends her a small smile but doesn't lend words to their silent communication. The chances are good there's going to be discussion about that some time in the very near future between them. Her suggestion of her and Jhath being a set of eyes and ears earns her longer, more contemplative look and then the beast manager nods slowly and sends his comment on that to Randi, "Jhath seems more…together and less phased by things than her counterparts," going purely by what the redhead's green has thus far handled, although he's definitely not going to go into details on that one. Ahem. Randi's words on touching base with her gold counterpart first, earns her a short nod of agreeable understanding from him, "I'll speak to Indira in the meantime. See if she has any to recommend." And then an odd little smile crooks out and is sent over to Ahnika once again, his next words amused, are sent to Randi, "Best you let her in on it. She'll just do it anyway if you don't." Knowing the weyrling well enough by this stage.

Momentarily distracted by the knots in Randi's shoulder, Ahnika actually sticks part of her tongue out a moment as she looks skyward and works on said knots, just hoping that the weyrwoman or her gold, will be sure to let her know if and when Ahni gets too firm. And so it is with a few blinks she looks at Randi and then Max and then, more softly, "Oh, I … didn't know you had to be diplomatic … to do that. But I guess there's some beguiling to be done, at times," she nods, drawing the correlation. Maybe she can get some lessons on how to be diplomatic from Kestian, if time permits, or really, hell, anyone for that matter. "Hmm, and Jaya," Ahnika comments, remembering her conversation with the bar owner in the kitchens recently. Max's final words earns him a playful, mock scowl.

Randi snorts, giving Max an 'eye'. "I never had any intention of stopping her. I'll take any help I can get at this stage." She's too numb from pinched nerves back there to really take much notice of Ahnika's work. Still, as the knots ease and blood fills the starved capillaries, she spares a moment to wonder if she'll feel this more in the morning. "Thanks, Ahni. I didn't mean to make you late for anything." In fact, the idea of having schedules you had to keep has been quite a bit distant from her mind of late. "Max will walk me back to my weyr, won't you, Max?"

Excuse him for being somewhat captivated by Ahnika’s distracted face that comes complete with tongue sticking out. Remembering himself, Max quickly glances away and clears his throat, chuckling a little either at himself or what the redhead says, “Well, you could always just deck them but I doubt you’re likely to get anything from them while they’re out cold.” At mention of Jaya, a dark shadow flickers across his features and he’s quickly shaking his head, “She’s got enough worries of her own.” Which have somehow now become his too, but that’s another story entirely. With Randi requesting he escort her back to her weyr, he gives a warm smile and a nod, “Aye. Just let me get Spring Breeze back to the beast caverns first.” And then his attention is tracking back over to the green weyrling, warmth written across his expression, and where it’s on the tip of his tongue to ask her to drop by his office after classes, given their present company, he daren’t. So all she gets is that smile and quick tip of hat, “Ahnika,” before heading back to the mare to get her situated in the stables.

As Randi thanks her, Ahnika smiles and releases her grip, nodding, "Certainly, ma'am, and … thank you, for hearing me out." With that she then turns back to Kaseth and smiles to her too, saying, more softly, "Thank you, too, Kaseth ma'am." And finally scooting off the flat rock and hitting the lakeshore ground with a little soft thud before looking up and over at Max, grinning warmly with his words on decking people, and then more softly she says, "Take care … Max," seeming ready to say more a moment and then shutting up to give a proper bow to Kaseth and a salute to Randi and finally a wave to Max, "Whenever you all leave, have a safe trip. Maybe try to have a little fun while up there, too." She'd normally wait for proper dismissal from Randi, but the weyrwoman has already said she didn't have it in her to follow stiff protocol and such this afternoon, and so, pushing back some of her drizzle slickened fine hairs around her face, Ahnika heads back to her sleeping green.

Closing Credits Theme Song: Tina Turner - We Don't Need Another Hero

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