How To Handle Affairs

Participants:

Ahnika.jpg Kelarad.jpg Olira.jpg

Date: Jan. 30, 2011
Location: Lake shore, EW
Synopsis: Kelarad and his second come around to check on Olira after having not seen her for months. There's talk of the new order of things, in which the crimelord ends up leaving not pleased in the state of his cousin.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya


This has been quite the busy three days for Kelarad.

The crimelord of Tillek has been about the Weyr, took a dragonrider flight down to Landing for a smidge of business, met with the new crimelord of Southern along with his mother, and was now about to meet up with the real reason he was down here – his cousin. It’s been months since he’s seen Olira, and the renegade admittedly was wondering if she was well. Part of him teeter-tottered on the idea of whether it was a good move to even send her down here to a Weyr – something that didn’t sit well with him in the first place. Well, he’ll see for himself soon. He and Crawl, that is.

He settles himself cross-legged on a rock out on the shore, enjoying the warm breeze and the sun after a noonday meal with his second. Crawl was naturally anxious in seeing the woman, having held off from seeking her out all this time since Kelarad was not about to go about alone. Having now known that Olira was pregnant, he was anxious to see her. As for Olira herself, having been told about the meeting by someone working for the Headwoman, she informs Ahnika a day before and has prepared herself to meet her cousin. Red hair done up in the Tillekian fashion rather than how it’s been while being in the South, the woman strolls out of the weyrling barracks and towards the shore with Ahnika at her side. “I wish he would have written before coming, at least,” he murmurs to the weyrling as she walks, her grey eyes finding the two men easily enough since they stuck out like sore thumbs among the milling weyrfolk. Her eyes linger on the taller Crawl, however, whatever else she was about to say cut short at the sight of him.

Ahnika has been rather busy, herself, playing assistant-assistant-weyrlingmaster, or some sort of unofficial weyrling “group leader”, as since it was made apparent by the weyrlingmaster that her leathers and straps are what the other weyrlings should use as a standard, she’s been busy helping the other weyrlings strip, pull-stitching and repair as necessary. She, herself, is beginning to feel stripped, pulled-apart, and in need of repair. So, when Olira mentioned the meeting arranged by Indira or Max, or some combination of both, Ahni welcomed the respite from leatherworking – as did her fingers.

Tall-and-stocky Jhath made her presence known, as well, swooping down from above and across the lake in front of the two men who were waiting, as if to say, ‘try anything dishonorable, and look at this winged warrior you will have to face.’ She banks and comes in to land on their side of the lakeshore, though a good handful of meters away so as not to actually impose in their personal space, but cut off any attempts to run off, or cut off any attempts to call in reinforcements and ambush them, at least in that direction. As far as the other direction, well, Ahnika did dig out her little belt-knife, the one with the lovely and ornamental white handle that Max had given her so long ago. She may not have the muscles that either of the two men might have, but weyrlinghood training did include self-defense, and at 5’10”… she’s got legs and knows how to use them. Let’s hope none of the show of might between Jhath and Ahni will actually be necessary and will remain just for that: show. Well, show and tell. How many crimelords can boast they have a Weyr of dragonriders in their pockets, after all? It will hopefully give Kelarad and those he talks to back up north, something to think about.

Despite coming prepared for a fight, should one happen, Ahnika’s demeanor is more curious than defensive, studying the two men from the distance as she and Olira approach. “Hmm. He should have,” though Ahni has no idea which one she means. She suspects Crawl, but isn’t sure enough to verbalize it. “Maybe tell him you’d like him to write you?” Only Olira would really know how well he’d take that request. But she lapses quiet as they get closer, moving to try and put a reassuring hand to Olira’s back, and murmurs, “I’ll be right here with you the whole time, don’t worry, and we can leave whenever you’re ready to go.” Her own grey eyes never looking away from the two men as she says this, and then her hand drops back to her side.

The display Jhath shows in coming from out of nowhere does seem to startle the second-in-command at least, Crawl, who was standing to the side of the renegade crimelord in this relaxed form of meeting, banks back at the sight. “Did hear she was hanging with one of those that commands a green,” Kelarad notes to the man from his rock, lips twitching to show his amusement at the reaction. He has no such reaction, however. If anything, he appears amused by it. “Flying too close .…” Crawl does grumble, however, throwing dirty looks towards the green as he looks around and finally spots the pair of women. His back going stiff at the sight of a very pregnant Olira, Kelarad notes the reaction and turns in time to see them approach as well. After a moment of silence, I see she does not come alone,” he observes to his second, a brow lifting as he studies Ahnika. It wasn’t, however, unexpected.

“Kelarad,” Olira corrects Ahnika without looking at her, her gaze firmly planted on Crawl. “He should have … I dunno, written or something. Not just show up.” Even though he was a crimelord and could probably show up wherever he likes. A stiff back becomes less so at the touch from the weyrling, and the Tillekian draws in a deep breath and nods at her words. Why was she so nervous? “Kelarad, Crawl,” she greets them once she comes close enough to hearing distance, a tentative smile touching her lips as she places a hand over her bulging belly. “It’s good to see you’ve finally made it down to the south. I’m sure,” and she turns to include Ahnika now, “that you know of Ahnika, weyrling to Jhath there, already?” No point in introductions. Kelarad had men in the Weyr that probably kept close eyes on her and on those she came often in contact with.

Jhath adopts that favorite stately, dignified pose of hers, sitting up and watchful, but not moving any closer to the humans. If Ahnika is enjoying the unease of Crawl, or the lack of any unease shown by Kelarad, she doesn’t express it, herself. Instead she gives a subtle nod of acknowledgment to Olira for her clarifying which ‘he’ who should have written. “Would’ve been polite,” Ahni adds a heartbeat later, more under her breath than anything, but perhaps audible to Olira. Then as they come within hearing range, Ahnika only slows to a stop once Olira does so, and she nods to the men in polite acknowledgment, “Welcome to Eastern Weyr, sirs.” There’s no tremor in her voice, but neither does she speak firmly or loudly either, mostly out of deference to Olira. This was really a meeting for her, as Ahnika saw it, and once introductions were out of the way, she and Jhath were there simply for moral (and bodyguard) support.

“Agreed,” Olira is quick to say, hearing that words under Ahnika’s breath after all. “It’s been long,” Kelarad greets, swiftly getting to his feet and closing the distance to Olira in swift movement. He collects the woman up into an embrace, being careful of her stomach before taking a step back and giving her a good once-over. Blue eyes shifting over towards Ahnika, “Of course,” he drawls in having heard of her already now, a light smile touching lips as he briefly inclines his head towards her. “I’ve heard lots of things … about you,” and he tips his head in the weyrling’s direction. What he’s heard is anybody’s guess. Crawl steps forward then to embrace Olira as well, the two appearing awkward in doing so in the crimelord’s presence before he steps back, nods his greeting and turns to regard Ahnika almost curiously. “Have you eaten?” Kelarad asks Olira then, turning to guide her to sit on the rock he had just vacated. Olira nods her head and settles down, looking to Ahnika in the hopes that she would keep close by. Then, grey eyes flowing over him, “You look well,” she makes her own observation before turning that gaze on Crawl and tacking on, “You both do.” Back to Kelarad. “How long do you plan on staying?” Strangely enough, Kelarad’s gaze lights over on Ahnika as he answers her with, “Well, now. Took care of some business with the new crimelord here, so my time is up. I leave out this evening, but,” and blue eyes flick over towards his second, “you might be pleased to know that my second will be sticking around to keep an eye on the guest that came down with me for the rest of the sevenday.” Lips twitch into something crooked.

If the fact that Kelarad knows ‘lots’ about Ahni is supposed to unsettle her, it quite frankly doesn’t. It probably should, really, but the weyrling former-country-bumpkin is so far out of her element, she simply smiles with a mildly oblivious look to her grey eyes as Kelarad says so, perhaps assuming it’s just a consequence of her being so forthright and honest that leaves her life an open book, so to speak. Whatever the case, she’s not ruffled by it. As Olira settles down and looks to her, Ahni just gives another reassuring smile to her and takes a sort of sentry-like position a few feet front of the gathered group, facing them, feet somewhat apart, hands resting at the small of her back, one over the other. She doesn’t bother to pretend not to be listening in, especially when Kelarad looks at Ahni and mentions his business coming to an end and Crawl staying on. Ahnika gives the second man a speculative look before looking back at Olira and Kelarad. She’s curious about this other guest, but isn’t so rude as to ask directly. That decision not to be nosy earns a snort of disagreement from Jhath, who more or less sees it as imperative to be as interrogative as they want to be. Though only Ahnika is aware of the reason for the green’s disagreement. She could be simply sneezing as far as anyone else is concerned, unless they know her kind well enough to know better.

Catching the dragon’s snort, “I trust you will be flying your green soon?” Kelarad takes that time to ask Ahnika, right when Olira addresses his comments with, “Who’s your guest?” and she looks to Crawl, knowing he couldn’t be it. “The barkeep from Telgar, Keane,” Kelarad answers promptly then, looking her way briefly before returning to regard Ahnika and her dragon. Olira blinks to that one. “Keane’s here? You choose to tell me this now? Why didn’t he-“ – “He’s been … engaged, with some business he also had to see about down here,” the renegade crimelord cuts her off to say. “I’m sure he’ll come up for air eventually to see you, too.” He finds his own words amusing by the tone of them, but since Olira haven’t a clue what he means by it, she doesn’t share in the inside joke. She glances briefly at the weyrling by her side, and then gives a heavy sigh for what she has to say next. “I’m sure… you’ve heard about …” well, she couldn’t say the words in front of him. Her eyes drop to her belly, then looks back up to him in which she does now catch him regarding her instead of Ahnika. Some of his amusement fades at this, and the man straightens up to settle on the adjacent rock in silence. Exchanging significant glances towards his second, “Here I was expecting you to drop a note my way,” he notes on a serious note, a brow twitching. Blue eyes dropping towards her belly instinctively, “Not to mention the implications of keeping such a bastard,” he adds a bit more harshly than intended, perhaps. He doesn’t temper it afterwards when he could, though. Olira visibly flinches a bit at the note she hears in his tone, but her jaw tightens up. “I figured you wouldn’t be happy,” she says low, eyes not meeting his own. “But I wasn’t going to … I thought that …” – “He will come for you,” Kelarad cut her off crisply, trying to drop heavy implications of what she has done. “It’s fair to say that Vaputero knows you are with his child by now, if I had known.” Olira throws a look his way at hearing that.

To Kelarad’s question, Ahnika shrugs in answer, as if to suggest she doesn’t know, and neither does she find it particularly important to discuss right now, comparatively, and even if she did know, she sure as hell wasn’t going to admit to it to him either way. So, she just shrugs and keeps quiet for the moment. Her gaze drifts from one person to another as they all speak or shift positions or look to one another, adopting a more observer role for the moment. It’s only when Kelarad calls the baby a bastard that Ahni’s eyes narrow at him a little and remain on him with his talk of Vaputero. She finally speaks up, her voice firm and assertive, unlike the holder women he’s perhaps used to, “If he comes for her, he won’t be leaving.” Not 'he won't be leaving with Relly'. Vaput won’t be leaving at all. And as if to dissuade any thoughts that the leggy redheaded weyrling’s threat was merely idle conjecture, she puts a hand to the white handle of the knife blade at her hip, and then lets the hand drop. The rich alto trumpet of her green several feet away backs up that silent claim of Ahni’s. It’s intended to make it clear that though Ahni and Jhath may be Relly’s final line of defense, should Vaput get through all of Max’s thugs and weyrlingmaster and the other weyrlings before her, Vaput will not find getting Relly away from Ahni and Jhath terribly easy either.

“You seem so certain of your lover’s prowess at keeping a madman at bay,” Kelarad counters on Ahnika’s words, eyes flicking towards her only briefly before settling on Jhath for her cry. “Perhaps Max is out of his depth in this. Throwing a dead body in another’s territory doesn’t fully constitute that he knows what he’s doing in all this, Ahnika.” Pointed words from the man, in which Olira speaks up and comes to their defense by saying, “Then you underestimate them, cousin.” – “How so?” Crawl speaks finally, choosing to remain silent during this exchange until such words were uttered. Olira looks to him then. “He has dragonriders in his pocket.” – “So do I,” Kelarad counters that easily, shrugging. “Doesn’t explain why you chose to keep the bastard child.” At that comes silence, in which Olira tries to put together her thoughts on the matter with a look towards Ahnika. Then, rather boldly, “It … felt right, cousin,” she explains, her chin lifting up in a rare act of defiance. “You won’t understand, and I do not see a point in trying to explain. It’s happened, and Spindle does not belong to him.” She will make sure of that. “She belongs to me.” Such pride in her voice, along with a touch of arrogance, shows that Olira is indeed, Kelarad’s relative.

Bristling for Kelarad’s first, Ahnika had opened her mouth, about ready to toss a retort right back at Kelarad in kind, crimelord or no, when Olira jumps in, which is probably better because what Ahni was about to say might have been a veritable gage tossed on ground at his feet (and wouldn’t Max have been glad for that?). At the very least Olira’s defense manages to temper some of the natural feistiness in Ahni enough for the weyrling to get her breath and cool down a little, following the exchange between the three for a time until Olira asserts her claim and Ahnika steps forward, squares her shoulders, and looks imperiously at the men, “And no one can take her away from her.” She allows a pause for that to sink in before she says, “There’s a different between having a few dragonriders in one’s pocket, and having an entire Weyr willing to fight for you—not because you’re paying them so well or doing them any favors or because they owe you something, but because you’re one of their own, family, and your cause is just and you deserve their help. No amount of marks can buy that rallying passion, that fierce a loyalty, gentlemen, and no amount of Vaput’s thugs or menacing schemes can turn aside that kind of protection. It is a shield made of the strongest metal: honor, valor, righteousness.” Okay, so Jhath is obviously helping and coaching a little in this speech. “Can Vaput say the same? No, I’ve already encountered a few of those formerly employed by him. Formerly. The risk was too great or the pay not great enough. They joined him for themselves and found the price was too high to stick around. Max surrounds himself with people who rally to his banner because they know it is the right thing to do. The just thing. They want to do it even if there is no reward, and even if it means their very lives. I wager no other crimelord can claim such loyalty. If it looks to the other crimelords like he doesn’t know what he’s about, then that just makes me and others like me want to fight for him even more because the old way is not working, else Vaput wouldn’t have been allowed to amass the power he had. He would never have come to that doorstep. He would never have violated your cousin. You, all of you up there, allowed it to happen just as surely as if you held her down and lifted her skirts for him.” Oh yeah, she went there. This is Ahni, after all. She tends to not really guard her tongue as well as she should, especially when she’s gotten worked up over something. “Max knows that enough is enough. The old way of doing things is not working. It is time to reset this game’s rules. A new age of the underground is beginning, and those who do not wish to join him and his way will find themselves swept off the playing field entirely. By the first egg, Vaput will be first.”

Kelarad, who was on the verge of responding to Olira’s claim to her own unborn child, shoots a frowning glance towards Ahnika for her input. It rather catches both crimelord and second off-guard, no words coming forth just yet as she speaks on Max having the entire Weyr at his disposal – and he doesn’t have to pay them to do so. Of course Kelarad takes that personal. “Max isn’t above any of us,” he states that calmly – all too calmly, rather. “Just because he’s made loyalty out of the lot of you only means that this particular novelty gives him an edge. I like him,” he admits that easily, muscled arms coming to a fold across his broad chest, “but he’s not better than me and mine.” Yeah, he’s arrogant. He doesn’t look apologetic for it, either. Perhaps feeling a storm coming, Olira steps in with a sharp look towards Ahnika before saying, “That’s not what she means,” before he cuts her off with a sharp gesture of one uncrossed hand. “Furthermore,” he continues on to say, “what do you mean you’ve already encountered some of Vaput’s men?” Yeah, he caught that, too. That’s not what gets his britches up, though. What does was her words on Olira’s rape, which has Olira’s voice catching and Crawl bristling from Kelarad’s side. “You better get your girl, Olira,” the crimelord quietly warns, eyes narrowing onto the weyrling. “She’s starting to speak above her station.” Of course he would consider dragonriders, and female dragonriders especially, beneath him. Blue eyes flick towards Olira, “I don’t speak for the others,” he says quietly, his anger at Ahnika’s daring words evident in the tight cording of his arms. Gaze finding Ahnika pointedly then, “But we all do things our way. We’re renegades, dragonrider. We take your rules and fuck right through them. Max can do what he likes, his way and all, but don’t get it mistaken that we could be the type to fall in line like you do for your Weyrleaders.” As for Vaputero? There’s cold laughter to that one, her last getting a dry, “Vaput will die, sweet Ahni,” he says in slight mockery. “It may not be by his hand, or mine, but he will die. It’s only unfortunate that those innocent of it have gotten caught in the middle.” Eyes find Olira, who’s fallen silent since her rape was directly brought up, her frown prominent on her face as she stares between her friend and her cousin.

It may not be too visible from the distance Ahni insists Jhath keep, but as Kelarad continues, more and more yellow edges into the green’s multifaceted eyes until Kelarad actually goes so far as to imply Ahni is Olira’s servant. At which time, Jhath’s eyes aren’t yellow, but red. A dangerous red. Though only Ahni is perhaps likely to know it at this point. Ahni, herself, is ready to give right back to Kelarad when she catches that sharp look from Olira and stands down. Well, she stands still anyway, she doesn’t back away physically. “I live to serve,” Ahni nods in acknowledgment of Kelarad’s words, smiling icily while Jhath would probably very much like to grab him by his collar and toss him in the lake, “and don’t deny it. I live to serve to protect those who were left to twist in the wind by others, and practically staked and left for the Threadfall of a madman like Vaputero. I do so with pride.” Then she scoffs, “Your rules… my rules… You’re not listening, sir! We stand at the beginning of a great and glorious future. None of the old rules apply! Not yours, obviously, for look what it’s led to.” And she doesn’t nod to Olira’s belly, not deeming it necessary, “And not the traditional rules of Holders and Weyrs and Halls either, for they only dismiss the bountiful resources of those previously thought beneath them merely for outdated social standards. Whatever alliance you and Max choose to forge, it can be as groundbreaking as AIVAS. It will bring about changes and new rules that are only limited by your imaginations, where men like Vaput are isolated quickly and put down like the mad canines they are before they have a chance to hurt anyone else, innocent or not. Build on your experience, sir, certainly, but do not be so dismissive of the new world order that Max seeks to build with you, else you will find yourself with nothing to show for it but your own close-mindedness.” As to Vaput, well, to Ahni’s thinking, it doesn’t matter who ends up killing him as much as keeping Olira and her baby safe from him does, so she offers up nothing in response to that.

“Next I’m going to hear about us crimelords and dragonriders and holders alike holding hands and singing harper songs under the burning sun,” Kelarad mutters in Crawl’s direction for Ahnika’s words on the future, in which the second-in-command merely snorts her way. Shaking his head, “I’m getting rather tired of you blaming me for what happened to my cousin,” he states to her then, a bit heavy on the emphasis for his cousin. He seeks out Olira, who was looking between the two of them in this verbal sparring match with a pale face. This was not what she had planned. Moving to place a hand on Ahnika’s shoulder gently, “We must calm ourselves,” she says, her grey eyes on Kelarad as she says it – mostly for him, really. “The only one to blame here is Vaputero, and he’s not here.” The crimelord doesn’t hear her all that much. No. Ahnika’s the one with far more interesting things to say. “No, he’s not,” he agrees on the Bitran not being present, but he not looking Olira’s way. There’s a long pause, and one that is seemingly thoughtful before he says, “You seem so certain that your Max would make a difference. That he could change things. What is he going to do for this ‘new’ order, hm?” Low chuckle chases this, the blonde man getting to his feet and taking up a slow pace before them all. Hands gesturing, “Will he kill those of us that will not comply?” he asks then. “Does he think to kow those like Borrento or Timekis, or even the Ralka brothers?” Turning to face them now, “And by doing so, will he fit himself to be the renegade version of Lord Fax, come to whip us rogues and troublemakers back in line to his tune? No,” and he slowly, deliberately shakes his head at Ahnika. “You over-reach, my dear, and he will too if that is his real intention. Make no mistake,” and he steps towards the women, chin lifting in his show of arrogance. “I am willing to ally myself with Max, but he has much to do to convince me of his … cause. A matter that is business between him and me, only.” Turning abruptly towards his cousin then, blue eyes falling on her belly, “Unfortunate, that you did not get rid of it, but what’s done is done,” he announces crisply. “I suppose you’ll be wanting to stay here longer?” He’s not pleased by having to ask for such, noting the closeness of the two women, and Ahnika’s dragon, with barely-held distaste.

“And I’m getting tired of you not acknowledging that the current system of you and your ilk handling your affairs is bad business and hurts more than it profits,” Ahnika gives right back at Kelarad, but for Olira’s sake she does temper her timbre enough to remove some of the bite from her tone, at least. She straightens as Kelarad continues, however, and crosses her arms over her chest, “He won’t just change things. He’s going to change everything.” Idolize much? Well, maybe a little. Forgive her. She’s biased. “There is no convincing to be done, the way I see it,” Ahnika shrugs, staring directly at Kelarad, unmoved even as he approaches them, “Max isn’t some peddler with tunnelsnake oils and promises of eternal youth. He’s building a foundation for a coming age. The northern crimelords will either be with him or against him, or stand aside and grow old in their rocking chairs while the world passes them by. It’s entirely up to them. Those that stand against him won’t live long enough to regret it, whether it is directly at his order or just simply done by those who are moved by changes he is creating. It is of little concern to me whose blood will, in the end, be spilled,” including Kelarad’s really, “and whose open-mindedness will spare their own throats. Be convinced by him or not, sir, but let it not be said you weren’t made aware.” Her arms remain crossed over her chest as Kelarad speaks to Olira, Ahni’s eyes narrowing briefly for his comment on Olira getting rid of it, but she refrains from actually answering for Olira or speaking up again.

“I am not about to sit here and have my business be talked down to by a woman,” Kelarad tosses back at Ahnika, his patience reaching the end of his line. Sniffing his disdain like a Lord Holder would do, he delivers over to Olira, “Nice friends you’re making here,” in a tone brokering no approval in it his gaze hard on the weyrling. If she was not a woman, a brawl certainly would have broken out by this point by the way the muscles in his arm twitch. Taking up for herself and her friend then, “I’m sorry if you don’t approve,” she answers back, a small smile finally touching her lips. It’s not everyday that she sees someone – a woman, at that – take on her cousin. It heartened her enough to add, “And yes, I want to stay here.” Grey eyes lift over to Crawl, “At least a bit longer.” Back to Kelarad. “But as you say … what’s done is done. Spindle’s not a bastard, and she will be raised loved.” Eyes flicking over to Ahnika, “I’m sorry if that’s something you weren’t expecting to hear,” she says softly, some of her holder-like demeanor returning to the fore somewhat. “But you know I’ve always danced to my own tune. You’re welcome back here, of course, to see me.” A brow lifts at that from her, such bold words spoken from her that Kelarad regards her with slightly narrowed eyes. Olira wasn’t done. “What Ahni says is quite true,” she goes on to say, inclining her head to him. “Max is different. Vaput would do well not to cross him, and those with him.” – “Surely the Weyr teaches strange practices,” Kelarad drawls dryly, brushing hands over his attires, “if I am entertained this day to two women lecturing me on how I should run my business.” Blue eyes flicking up and down both women in disapproval, “I suppose there’s nothing else to say then,” he adds then, stepping away. “Other than to say that it’s high time I return to my-“ slight emphasis here is given “- business.”

Continuing to stand there, arms crossed, and staring down his disdain, unmoved, Ahnika chooses not to dignify his first comment with a reply. Ahni just nods once to Olira’s declaration that Spindle will be born and raised among those who care for her, but her attention remains on Kelarad. She remains quiet at Olira’s side and watching the two men all the way until Kelarad is stepping away. At that time, Ahnika breaks her crossed arms to try to reach an arm around Olira’s shoulder, if possible, watching Kelarad go. With a tired-sounding sigh, she says to her friend, “Sweet Faranth but men can be such big babies at times, can’t they?” She doesn’t shout it, but neither does she mutter it. It’s simply spoken in a natural volume, neither appearing to try to taunt them as they go, nor appearing to try and keep them from hearing it. “You were great, Relly,” she adds with a genuine smile while watching the men go. “And I’m sorry if anything I said made you uncomfortable.” Sure. She’ll apologize to Relly, but not to Kelarad.

“I . .. . suppose not,” Olira states quietly, frowning at her cousin as he turns to leave. She watches Kelarad deliver a few low words to his second, in which Crawl glances over at the women with no expression before the two head off. Nothing is said at their retreating backs, though the turmoil raging within the woman is evident since the meeting did not go as well as she had hoped. Sighing deeply once they were out of earshot, she leans into Ahnika’s arm, blinking a few times in initial answer. “He’s not used to being challenged by a woman so,” she says low, for her ears only now that they were gone. Pausing long then, “This … did not go well,” she admits to having done well, her skepticism evident when she looks at her. “I knew he would be upset but …” Well, she didn’t know what to expect anymore. It disconcerted her that Crawl didn’t even speak to her, either. She grins at Ahnika’s apology though, turning to place a hand on the woman’s shoulder. “You’ve said nothing of discomfort, Ahni. If any,” and there’s faint amusement here, “your word rattled my cousin more than I think even he expected.”

Giving Olira’s shoulder a squeeze attempting to be encouraging and comforting at once, Ahni sighs a little, “I am sorry for any part in it that ends up being dished back onto you, though. Please tell me if so and I’ll try to make it right. I just …” she sighs again, “I just have so little tolerance with boorish men who think they can push anyone else around like that.” Her hand rubs the other woman’s opposite shoulder a little, “Well, we knew he wouldn’t exactly be happy, and it’s not changed anything for you here. You’re still welcome to stay as long as you like, make a life for yourself and Spindle, as long as you want. None of that has changed, Relly, if it helps to think so. And if my words got your cousin to open his mind even a little, then the rattling was well worth it.”

A hand lifting up to press into Ahnika’s arm, “Then you truly haven’t met my cousin until now,” Olira notes on boorish men, small amusement evident with her looks. “Kelarad … will either come around on the matter or won’t,” she tries to explain, frowning towards the lake. “It’s probably best to … give him his space, you know? Perhaps, once Spindle is born …” he will change? She doesn’t sound sure of that, but she says it anyway. Ahnika speaks the truth on the matter though, and so she brightens up just a little and nods her way. “I appreciate the words,” she says softly, smiling Ahnika’s way. “I don’t think I could … or want, to go home now.” She still felt a little down though, just hoping … “Do you think we could … get some sweets from the kitchen?” she asks her then, needing something to cheer her up before she returns to her work in the barracks – or seek out Crawl since he was still to be about for the rest of the sevenday. “I know it’s early, but …”

Nodding a little in thoughtful acknowledgment of Olira’s words on Kelarad, but Ahnika doesn’t speak on that matter again, just putting the whole situation back in her mental file cabinet for later use when she speaks with Max, internally cringing at how he will react to her offending his first crimelord ally. Well, what’s done is done and in true Ahni fashion she knows dwelling on it won’t help anything. She grins and gives Olira another companionable squeeze of her arm, “Great idea! I could go for something sweet, myself. If there are no sweets left, I can whip up a fresh batch of cookies or sweetcakes in less than a candlemark.” With Jhath falling into protective step on the otherside of Olira as they begin to make their way toward the kitchens, Ahnika looks ahead of them thoughtfully.

What’s done was indeed, done. Olira wouldn’t have dwelled on it openly either with the man gone out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind. With companionable squeeze, “I think that would be perfect,” she says on the matter of sweets, heading towards the kitchen with her close friend and her dragon close behind them. For now, until she could speak to Kelarad again and he was alright with her, it would be enough for her.



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