New Chapters


Ahnika.jpg Jhath Olira (NPC played by Jaya)

Date: 11/19/10 - 11/21/10
Location: EW: Lakeshore
Synopsis: Exploring new chapters of their lives in different ways, Ahnika and Olira finally get on the same page together and forge a new friendship.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Ahnika

It's been over a month now since she was taken from her cousin. Olira keeps score like she does everything else in her life - such things like accounting was her strong suit after all - and she could still recall the day that she was taken away via dragon towards the Weyr. Now here and working for a weyrlingmaster that wasn't having her hands sniffed at for poisons like her last boss did - the Telgari crimelord named Lorien - the redhead keeps constantly busy with her head down in order to avoid any kind of contact or conversation with anyone at the Weyr. Beyond W'red giving her a few instructions here and there, Olira pretty much locked herself away with the tasks she was given - making sure to stay out of the weyrlings' way when possible along with the weyrlingmaster himself. Her breaks were few and far between (she preferred it that way) and when she did take a break from all the tedious yet distracting work? She chose places to whittle away the time where people wouldn't be too inclined to speak to her. The garden was oddly enough one such place, even though the gardener was friendly enough.

Her work done for the day this evening, Olira takes a chance and settles herself on one of the stone benches at the lake to take the time to enjoy some of the sights she's been avoiding. Granted, she's not as 'stiff' and aloof like she was when she got here, though still she's not going out of her way to be friendly either. Pale fingers deftly run over a light blue painted bracelet she has in her hands as her gaze skims over the lake, the young Tillekian seeming to draw into the relaxing nature of her surroundings with each passing moment. There are a few people out and about the shore, though, they deign to keep their distance from her, and her from them as per usual as she continues to stare off into the distance - deep in thought.

And just as had been promised, Ahnika was only allowed access to Olira once she was vetted “suitable” to meet with her and work with her. No doubt part of the length of the time was due to the fact that Ahni had been, up until recently, still making regular visits to the Infirmary and on the mend with her wounds. Having finished Jhath’s afternoon bath and oiling on the other side of the lake, a very oily and wet Ahni treks around with her tall and stocky green dragonet beside her and her satchel of various implements and dragon-sweetsand and oil slung over one shoulder. She gives an intrigued but odd look to an empty tent that has been set up not far from the shore, but keeps moving, passing it, and nearly passing Olira before she recognizes her and redirects her course to the same bench. Her smile is shadowed with a troubled look in her eyes, but she does wave on her approach in an attempt to be disarming. “Hey, got a few minutes?” Jhath comes to a stop a few pages behind and to the side of Ahni, mostly because she’s big enough and her neck is long enough for her head to stay abreast of Ahni while her feet are behind them as they walk. Her eyes swirl a curious blue. Ahni has seen Olira around, but this is the first time she’s actually addressed her, and she doesn’t do it by name. She doesn’t know her name and more or less prefers it that way.

Watching the lake - and idly those about it - has Olira spotting the green pair easily as they amble along in front of her. Eyes track them curiously as she recalls seeing them in the barracks before, and so when they turn to approach her she doesn't look all that surprised to see them coming. All of the weyrlings have seen her a time or two over the month, but by far, Ahnika and her green are actually the first to approach. Fingers close over the bracelet she was fingering while she keeps her attention on the redhead weyrling, noting the things with her before her gaze shifts to her green. Like most criminal holdless folks - even though technically she wasn't a criminal herself - she had an inherent fear of the dragons no matter what size they may be. No fear shows in her eyes, however, only faint curiosity when Ahnika speaks, eyes narrowing a bit with no malice as she tries to remember the weyrling by name - at least, from what she was able to get by being in the barracks. "Ahni, right?" she hedges to ask, studying the weyrling while at the same time gesturing with one hand for the woman to sit beside her. Might as well be friendly, right? That, and Olira was starting to find it difficult not to be interested in the nuances of the Weyr and its people in it.

Ahnika grins a bit at the name and nods, “Yes, and this is Jhath,” she motions to her dragonet, who bows her head to Olira with a formality reminiscent of archaic ages. “I’d offer my hand to shake, but it’s covered in oil right now. Thank you,” the latter spoken as she takes the offered seat. She isn’t the sort to beat around the bush. Business first. “First, I’m sorry for not being able to talk with you sooner. I, uh, needed to mind myself a little more around the new weyrlingmaster,” though if Olira has been around the weyrlings enough, she probably noticed that already. “Max tells me you need some kind of cover story while here, keeping unpleasant folks out of your hair for awhile. Have you been using a new name already? Don’t tell me your given name. I don’t want to know it.” Safer that way, “But if you’ve already taken an assumed name here, better we stick with what you’ve already started going by.” Jhath assumes a stately seated position in front of their bench. From this angle, there’s only a couple of directions where the two can be seen since Jhath is blocking most of them out. Opening her wings would help that even more, but it would also call attention to her and them. So she just sits.

"Jhath." Dragons and their names still sound strange to Olira. With a slight dubious expression for the green now, it would seem as though she was distracted when she answers Ahnika's apologies with a brief, "I wouldn't worry." Pausing before elaborating more on it, "Things have only started to calm down for me so… Max?" Of course she remembers him - the kind one that practically brought her here - but she appears to be trying to recall a little of him anyway. "Ah, yes, he told me about you," she remembers then, fitting a measuring look onto the redhead. Stuff like names and cover stories get that dubious look from her, so it's probably obvious that such things haven't been a priority to her since arriving. "It's… what I have you for, right?" she tacks that on instead of answering any of it, the tentative smile fleeting at best. Nodding faintly as her voice settles onto the business at hand, Olira shifts to face a bit more towards her without moving her gaze away. Leaning forward a little, "Must I change my name?" she asks then, that particular bit unsettling her for some reason.

Nodding a little to Olira’s initial comments, Ahnika lapses into silence as she listens. Her attention moves occasionally to Jhath and then back to Olira in that sort of lazy, all-inclusive social mannerism, not leaving anyone out, even if one of them is a dragon. To her statement about it being what she has Ahnika for, the redhead draws in a breath, looking out and considering the landscape. There’s another glimpse of a shadow in her expression suggesting there’s something not right about the whole thing, though what it is she isn’t saying. And then she looks back at Olira and gives her a little smile and a shrug, “I suppose. It sounds like you’ve not already given anyone a cover story yet, so that’s fine. We won’t have to work with whatever you might have already come up with.” It’s her last question that has Ahnika quiet a long moment, watching her, considering her, and … thinking. Finally she says, “I don’t know. To be honest, I am not good at this.” The last is kind of harshly put and Jhath snorts in disagreement, whatever ‘this’ is. “I’m guessing Max is thinking it’d probably be safer for you if you did. For any who’d met you so far. How many know you as your given name?” Ahni rubs the back of her neck.

Olira doesn't miss much, so she catches that shadow coming over Ahnika at her statement on having her for, and there's a slight brow raise. Listening to all said, "I've not been talking to anyone, really, since being here. Other than your weyrlingmaster," and barely him, at that. When Ahnika admits that she wasn't good at this, this time the redheaded Tillekian gives her a more solid smile. With an incline of her head, "Well, if it's worth anything, I'm not good at this either," she returns, perhaps the closest to her making a tease than she has done since being up north. "Perhaps we can figure this out together." Eyes go towards the snorting dragon, the green getting a long look before she answers the last with, "None." Yeah. Woman's been keeping out of the way enough that she hasn't bothered being friendly. In fact, Ahnika was the first she was even choosing to talk to since her arriving at the Weyr. Brushing her loose hair back, "Okay then," she says then, straightening up with a quick nod, "A cover story." They could work on that first. Hands coming up, showing how pale she is, "Something tells me people would know I'm from up north," she notes, turning her hands over, palms upward. The slight Tillekian accent would probably do it, too. "Maybe I'm here from another Weyr?" she guesses, frowning a bit as her eyes linger on those turning hands. Which could work…as long as no one asked anything that someone from a Weyr would know how to answer, that is.

Ahnika gives Olira a smile at the tease, genuine even if perhaps not her most brilliant, biggest smile. Then she nods to the suggestion they figure this out together. To the answer, her smile fades and she looks a little confused, “No one anywhere knows you by your given name? Not even up north?” Boy, this spy business goes deep. Ahnika frowns but not for her answer as much as thinking things through. The hand at her neck moves to her forehead and she rubs that before pinching the bridge of her nose a little. Nodding, she lowers her hand and of a cover story where she is from up north, Ahni says, “The easiest lies to maintain are those closest to the truth.” This is said as if Ahnika is an accomplished liar. It’s actually the other way around. She just knows the lies she’s struggled with the most are the ones that were direct, flat-out falsehoods that required much stronger acting skills as opposed to white lies or lies of omission. “Have you lived in weyrs before? Tell me what sort of skillset you have … like, pretend I’m a headwoman looking to find a place for you here.” At least that will make it easier for Ahni to manage this task anyway, “Tell me what sort of experience or background you have – as far as what you have done, or … roles you’ve played and know how to play well. There’s no point in putting you in the kitchens if you don’t know how to make dough, so there’s no point in giving you a cover story that would mean if you ran into a Baker here you couldn’t maintain that sort of conversation with him or her. You know?” Ahnika draws her feet up on the bench, crossing her ankles in near lotus-position, and getting a little more comfortable as she starts thinking things out.

"People up north know me by name," Olira clears that up with a quick smile. "Just not … down here. Does that matter?" Wide eyes fall on the weyrling. She nods on that bit about lies, seeming to take her word for it - not that Olira's a saint herself. As to her living in Weyrs, "Been staying among criminals my whole life," she tells her, voice lowering since this wasn't exactly the type of knowledge she wanted spread around. "I keep the books," she continues to say, hands folding together in front of her. "You know, accounting type of stuff?" It was what she excelled at, and what she knew. "My parents were weavers, though, so I can make a living doing that, I suppose. I'm good with my hands, see," and she unfolds her hands in indication for Ahnika to see. Her hands aren't exactly soft-looking. She ponders anything else, frowning a bit before she adds, "I can make a pie." That's for the kitchen comment, though there's faint amusement at it. The kitchens wouldn't be the place for her, no, her nose crinkling a little at the thought. "Do you have any ideas what I could do with that?" she asks then, looking towards Ahnika again before she turns to stare at Jhath.

Nodding a little as Olira clears up the comment about her name, Ahnika takes that all in, quietly listening before shrugging a little to the first question, “Dunno. How important is it to you that people don’t put two and two together and figure out who you are? We’re still trying,” she starts and then stops, and after a moment resumes, correcting herself, “Max is still trying to find all of that Bitran’s,” avoiding the man’s name for a plethora of reasons, “contacts. But if you don’t think it matters at all, then we’ll use the name everyone up north knows you with, what you’re comfortable with. If you don’t want to take the chance, then we’ll come up with something else.” Simple as that for Ahni, a matter of priorities. “We can say that you picked up bookkeeping from your apprenticeship as a weaver, to explain those skills, but decided you wanted to see the world and didn’t want to have the where and when of it dictated by the Hall, so you worked a bit as a junior headwoman or assistant like that, traveling, and having heard that Eastern needed help, you decided to take your travels down here to the Southern continent?” She decides to leave off any commentary about baking pies for the moment other than to say, “I bake pies … I also bake sweetcakes. I can show you if you ever want to learn how.” She glances up at Jhath a long moment, as if wondering how things might have been different if she had apprenticed to the Bakercraft, and then shudders, assuming that would mean she’d be without Jhath and that is a decidedly unpleasant thought. She turns back to Olira then, smiling softly, “My foster da is a weaver. I have a decent hand at mending and darning, but afraid I can’t do much more than that.” Beat pause, “Well, I guess I did okay making my candidate robes,” her voice trails off briefly and then she asks, “Is there some reason you want to keep the name? Other than you’re just used to it?”

Jhath rumbles a little at something said, but it she makes no move from her dignified pose, seated before the women on the bench. She regards each one as they speak. The green appears interested in what is being worked out here.

Leaning back a little, "People that know? They'll figure out who I am either way," Olira says with some surety, her head tilting towards Ahnika with a faint wry grin. "I'm not…worried. Does Max need help with that?" She's not going to say the name of that Bitran, either. "I used to work for Lorien, and…" Not the same crimelord, but it's someone, right? Sending a small grin then, "We can change my name, for the sake of my being here," she decides to say. "Be nice to be different. Not that…" Not that person that got violated up north, perhaps? The thought of it makes her smile vanish, recoiling a little into herself as she adds, "Might be best that I do." She wasn't as strong as she was trying so hard to appear to be in front of Ahnika, and some of the mask was slipping. The story Ahnika comes up with though, that gets her attention and she frowns a little before saying, "Keep people from guessing where I've been. I can live with that," she admits, the smile coming back just a little. "Do I tell people I'm just here for awhile, or for now?" she asks then, not really sure how long she would stay down here. At the moment, she really didn't want to go back to the north. The south was providing her with a chance at a new life, and now with Ahnika providing her with a means and cover story to do that, she could perhaps stop being known as Kelarad's cousin all the time. It doesn't mean that Kelarad wouldn't come down here and claim her still as his family, however. "You do too?" Ahnika's words on pies and sweetcakes gets some interest to light her eyes, adding, "I'd like that. To learn. Would she mind?" A nod goes to the ever-watching Jhath, indicating that she wasn't sure whether or not the weyrling could go into the kitchen without the green dragon in tow. "Don't you have to stay together with her?" Pause. "I can show you if you ever want to learn more on it," she mentions on mending, borrowing the weyrling's words with faint amusement. "I'm pretty good. We could do a sort of exchange?" Truth of the matter was, talking to Ahnika was making Olira realize how much she was missing interaction. She couldn't stay cooped up in the barracks forever, especially since it just wasn't her nature. The last gets a wry "The name was my grandmother's. Kinda the only thing I have of hers that connects us. I'll still be known as 'Olira' up north, but down here…" any name would do. She was interested in seeing what name Ahnika would come up with for her, having already liked the cover story put together since it logically made sense. Then, pausing on something else said, "Your foster da?" she repeats, blinking a bit as curiosity gets the best of her."

Ahnika regards Olira a bit longer before biting her lip thoughtfully at her first, and then wrinkling up her nose a little, not seeming to like that much. Olira may not be worried, but Ahni is. “Well, if they do, and they come at you, you have several layers of defense here … with me and Jhath as your last line of it.” Jhath rumbles again, drawing herself up a bit more and puffing out her chest. Down with the invaders! Or something like that. “And believe me, knowing I’m your last line of defense, Max is going to do everything in his power to keep anything from getting to that point.” Which could mean that Max doesn’t really have much faith in Ahnika and Jhath’s abilities or it could mean that that Max just has a lot of interest in protecting Ahnika, herself. She nods then to Olira’s offer of help, “I think he’d love to have your help. Anything you want to share with me about …” she gestures vaguely in the northern direction, not wanting to name Vaput nor any of his associates, not that she knows many, “ … I’ll pass along to Max, or I’m sure he may come check in on you himself when he gets free.” If Ahnika was meant to extract information from Olira about anyone, including Kelarad, the redheaded weyrling is definitely not trying too hard for it. Not yet anyway. She remains quiet and for awhile there is a little awkward silence on Ahni’s part while Olira’s voice drifts off over thoughts of the Bitran and what happened to her up north and creating a new identity for oneself. Finally, Ahnika says soberly, “You’re still the woman you were where it counts,” and the weyrling points at her own chest, “In here, and,” she points at her head, “in here.” Ahnika is not a mindhealer. She’s just a girl who has gone through something similar. “Experience changes us some,” Ahnika says, still believing it, “but …” her gaze moving off to the horizon, “I think Max thinks you and I will be good for each other in some way. It wasn’t the Bitran for me, but … something kind of happened to me, too,” Jhath growls, fluffing her wings a little uneasily, “and now, well, now I have Jhath and now I know better than to think some fellow might be harmless with his over friendliness. And now I am careful about which tunnels I use when I’m walking alone.” Ahnika looks back at Olira, “Yes, it’s changed how I take care of myself, but,” she looks back at Olira, “It didn’t change me on the inside. It doesn’t have to, you know.” Not being a trained mindhealer, she doesn’t really know how else to address it. “I still have nightmares about it at times, and about … other things, but it … gets easier with time. They come fewer often now than they used to.” Then she gives Olira a soft smile, “So, how long you feel like staying, you’re welcome to stay. With that in mind, tell people you’ll be here however long you feel like being here. You’re not a prisoner, of course. You can go back whenever you like. Just let us know and we’ll get you back safely.” Then she chuckles, leaning forward a little over her folded legs, and murmuring as if a school girl with a secret, “I even have my own cabinet in the kitchen. I don’t make as many as I used to. Not enough time. But yes, next chance we get, I’d be happy to teach you and you can teach me a little more about sewing. Deal.” She smiles then and looks to Jhath and then back to Olira, “Not so much anymore. Jhath still likes to be with me when I’m outside, but she doesn’t have to be with me every second of the day anymore. Other dragonets, hmm, some perhaps, yeah. But Jhath’s good enough to let me eat in the living caverns or take a bath in the bathing chamber inside the weyr or spend some time in the kitchens these days.” The green in question warbles assertively, louder than necessary, “Jhath, take it easy on her now.” Ahnika gives the last to her green and then apologizes to Olira with, “She doesn’t always remember the strength of her own lungs,” big surprise there, considering dragon memories. Ahnika looks away briefly when Olira gives her given name and then back to Olira once more, letting that go. It’s done now. Water under the bridge, and so she says instead, “Well, did you have some kind of childhood nickname that you liked that we could sort of work off of for your new name?” Wanting Olira to be involved in her own cover story and new name as possible. “It’d be better if it’d be something that you could respond to without much thought, but something that wasn’t like your given name or your actual nickname, just maybe sounded like it.” Then she smiles a little and nods, “Right, my foster da. I never met my real parents.” She continues on, “So, a suggested name?” No, the issue of her origin isn’t touchy at all for her. Not at all.

Olira straightens up a little when Ahnika speaks about layers of defense, her interest showing her eyes at Jhath. Yeah, she's pretty much holdbred when it comes to dragons, so having to be in the barracks with the weyrlings was definitely her being out of her element. "I'll try," she notes on helping out Max when it comes to Vaputero. "Lorien was pretty tight-lipped, but I was able to learn a few things from his guards." For what it's worth. Then, she grows very quiet when Ahnika speaks about the incident, remarking on where it counts, "So you got over it, because of …?" and a vague hand gestures towards the green dragon, the woman trying to wrap her head around that. And then, "The Bitran," she repeats that name, a hollow coldness settling over her voice at the memory. "The Bitran will pay." Eyes seek out Ahnika's own, making sure the weyrling understands her meaning in that simmer of anger. "Did…he…pay?" she asks on Ahnika's experience now, staring the other down intently. Words on Max draws a faint nod to that, along with a smile lifting her pale features as she remarks, "I think he's right," she admits. "You and I would be…good, for each other. Never met a weyrling before." So it was all new ground for her, being around different types of people. It calms her to hear that Ahnika has had nightmares, too, and she nods a few times to that in understanding. "Thank you," she says on her words on staying, her gaze now easy. "I do want to … get to know this place. It's so different from Tillek, and Telgar." Talk of the kitchens draw a more genuine smile from the redhead, nodding her agreement and being about to speak until Jhath bugles her into being startled. Blinking back, "Is she always …like that?" she asks, looking almost fascinated by the green dragon in question. The answer on Ahnika's origins draw a flicker of interest, the woman saying back, "I'm sorry to hear that." Pause. Onto names, right. "No one dared called me some nickname," she recalls, the smile returning at fond memories, "I remember I used to like using my mother's name a lot. Relia. Some would call her Relly." There's a shrug to that, lips twisting a little as she tries to think up any others that could perhaps work.

To Olira’s first bit about what she knows on the northern renegades and how much help she’ll be, Ahnika looks indifferent, nodding a bit. Some spy she is. She apparently doesn’t even care? The truth is she’s sort of had her fill of cloak and dagger things and espionage and the recent nightmares over Jinnet aren’t helping her to really push for a lot of information. And so, a look of indifference it is. If it helps to convince Olira that Ahni isn’t here to pump information out of her, then all the better. “I haven’t gotten over it,” Ahnika says readily enough with a thoughtful frown, “I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. I don’t think you will either, but we can choose to let it control us or we can control how it affect us.” She thinks back the six months it’s been and says, “I threw rocks,” she gestures to the lake, now filled with water. “We were digging the lake there, at the time, and I was so … angry … and frustrated … and scared … so I sort of … threw a rock and felt so sharding good. So I threw another, and then another. Pretty soon, I was throwing rocks all over the place until I got tired and stopped, and another candidate walked me back to the barracks.” She takes a little breath and says, “It didn’t end there, of course. I had my moments afterward, but it helped me figure out a way of channeling my anger so it didn’t eat me up inside like some tunnelsnake. It wasn’t my fault, after all. I didn’t do anything wrong. If I let his tunnelsnake eat me up inside like that, then he’d win. I wasn’t about to let that happen.” There’s an awkward silence and then Ahni says, “He … paid,” with a slow nod, “And the Bitran will pay too,” she agrees readily enough, though soberly put. Even if not directly with Olira’s own hand, there are enough people out to get Vaput for Ahni to believe the Bitran’s time on this planet is coming to a close. She takes a deep breath then, seeming to push some negative thoughts away and the rustling Jhath even seems to quiet a little more now. Ahnika smiles then and nods to Olira’s agreement that they will be good for each other, “I agree, too. I think we will.” Then a slightly bigger grin, “And now you’ve met a whole clutch of weyrlings.” She smiles up to Jhath and nods a little to Olira, “Yeah … well, if I don’t know it’s coming first to warn her about her volume.” She lapses quiet then listening to the suggestion of the name and then nods, “Do you think if we called you Relly then, they’d recognize it?”

“I'd rather throw daggers at men," Olira shows her wild streak, being that she is related to one of Pern's notorious. The glint in her eyes show it, being that throwing rocks wasn't going to cut it for her. All the same, she seems to like what Ahnika says on choosing to let such things control them. "You're strong," she observes, regarding Ahnika steadily now. "I can tell. Perhaps I'll get there one day, too. Maybe find my center." Looking about them, "And maybe, give this place a chance, hmm?" Because the hiding in the barracks wasn't all because she was scared. Her deep-rooted dislike for the Weyr stemming from her criminal connections was bare, even though she has done nothing wrong in her life. There's a gleam in her eyes when she hears that the man that went after Ahnika paid, the Tillekian openly pleased by it. Oh, she was certain Vaput would get his. Pushing such thoughts out of her mind now, "My relatives might," she notes on the name Relly, putting a light frown on before she nods. "Others…might not. Maybe." Anything was possible, after all. "I like the name, though. Relly. I can pass for a Relly." She tries the name on for size, seeming to like it since it did have a connection to her family. Then she glances over at the green, "How long have you been a weyrling?" she asks, trying to remember the last time she had heard anything about hatchings.

Ahnika just sort of stares at Olira for a moment with that first piece, not really astonished, but she certainly doesn’t know what to do with that one. At the same time, Ahnika recognizes that the offense done to her, while similar, was no where near as grievous. Jhath appears intrigued and confused all at once. So … moving on. Ahni smiles a little to the strong compliment, looking away as the shadow crosses her features once more. “Thank you. Not as strong as I used to be, but I like to think that’s because I’ve learned to choose my battles a little more carefully. Handle things smarter. I think. I hope.” She frowns again here, then blinks the expression away to nod, looking back at Olira, smiling again, “I hope you do, give this place a chance that is. You might find yourself surrounded by similar company more than you think. Let’s be honest here, those who were assigned to this weyr, were assigned because they rebels of a sort, somehow, be they riders or crafters. Those who chose to come here did so to try and start over, usually because there was something they wanted to leave behind, something they weren’t happy with or proud of or something. So, that sort of makes this weyr a home for those who have the strength and will to …” be the misfits of society? Be progressive? Well, that doesn’t work since not everyone here was progressive, but Ahni lets it trail off for lack of really knowing what to say. She’s no silver-tongued harper. She smiles, “I like Relly too. Relly it is. I’ll let W’red and Max know when I go back to the barracks.” The question is quickly answered considering it’s not really some dark secret, “About six months now.” She glances at Jhath and then back at Olira, “I don’t know if this is possible for you,” not knowing her age or family obligations, “but … candidacy might help in protecting you for awhile, too. You don’t have to go through with Standing, though I’d certain encourage if it you could. You can always ask to be let out of Candidacy before the Hatching. Just … think about it maybe?”

Does Olira look as if she's taking back that initial statement? Nope! She stares right back at Ahnika, her expression showing little else but that semblance of a wild streak - perhaps alluding to how she was before Vaput. "I wasn't thinking less strong," she continues to observe, brushing a hand through her hair. "Don't…you change, when you become a dragonrider?" She had heard somewhere that they do - like some kind of worm-turning-into-a-butterfly sort of change. She finds interest in the talk of rebels, this talking being a far better distraction than her being holed up by herself in the barracks somewhere. "Are you saying you're a rebel of some sort?" she puts to Ahnika then, that smile almost crooked as she tacks on, "I've noticed. People are different here, sure, but they seem the same at the same time. A few of them even seen shady, but I was chalking that up to them only being visitors. The dragonriders here just let . ." and a hand waves back and forth in the pause, ". .anybody in here?" That was a shock to her. And then, it was decided. She nods firmly to using Relly as a name. "So I've got me a cover story, and a name," she says, seeming pleased enough by this as a new change for a new chapter in her life. "I like it." Talk of candidacy at first puts her on guard, such thoughts having never entered her mind save for once or twice when she was a child and didn't know any better (according to her shady relatives), but the feeling abates and she actually gives it its due consideration. "Me, a dragonrider, huh?" she muses lightly on that, her gaze going towards the lake for a long moment. "It'd be a change. If I Impressed, there would be no way he would come after me, right?" Vaput would have to be stupid to attack a dragonrider, anyway. Frowning a bit, "Does Impressing…hurt?" she asks, hearing plenty of the twisted stories about Weyr practices in her youth growing up. New weyrlings being in pain upon Impression seems to be one of them.

Ahnika’s gaze slides away again with Olira’s first statement and she just says, “I’ve learned to choose my battles. I didn’t use to,” because if she gave the weyrlingmaster lip every single time she felt like it – as she would have previously – well, that wouldn’t turn out well. Still looking away, but this time turning her gaze to Jhath, Ahni says, “Oh we do,” change, “but doesn’t everyone? I mean, are you exactly the same person you were before I walked up here and talked to you? You know a little more about me and this place and that is a change. But Impressing is a change of a different magnitude, I think, yes.” Ahni smiles and Jhath leans her large wedge-shaped head for a brief affectionate nudge against her chest. Braced for it, Ahni doesn’t go rolling off the other side, fortunately. Chuckling, she rubs Jhath’s headknobs briefly before the green dragonet returns to her more regal and pompous posture once more. A faint smirk comes from Ahni with Olira’s query and Ahni being a rebel, and the weyrling shrugs a little, “I left home and went … in search of my destiny,” to use a Jhath phrase, “rather than wait for it there. Ended up here.” She smiles, and looks every bit happier for it, especially with the way she looks at Jhath. She nods then, turning her attention back to Olira, “That’s not to say everyone is criminal, mind you,” and there’s no judgment in her tone with that. It’s flatly stated as if it were just an observation, “and not everyone here is someone I’d call a rebel, either, really. But many are. A lot of folks who tend to go against society’s grain in some way end up here.” Call it Misfit Weyr. Ahni doesn’t though. She does smile as Olira seems to like her name and cover story. “And anything that you come up with beyond that, you know, as you meet people and get settled and talk, just let me know so I can be sure to keep W’red in the loop,” and Max, “and make sure we all stay on the same page.” She seems to focus and go a little more sober as Olira talks of Impressing, “Eight or nine months ago I would have said that’s true. He’d be insane or a twit to come after a rider, but …” she sighs, thinking of those dragon eggs that were destroyed, “I never thought anyone would be so … just so … villainous as to destroy helpless dragon eggs. Maybe someone might come up with a way to go after a rider without consequence, but I will say this, it’d be one sharding of a hard thing to do. If it even looks like I’m in trouble, Jhath can have an entire weyr of dragons at our backs in a moment’s notice. And when a rider’s life is threatened, a dragon won’t hesitate to use lethal force to defend the rider.” Jhath rumbles in approval for the fact. But Ahnika is already talking again, “The Impression itself doesn’t hurt, no. I heard of some candidates getting knocked down by a dragonet trying to get to its chosen, but I’m told they had little more than a scratch or bruise. I’ve only been to the one, myself, so I can’t tell you from personal experience. Just what I was told when I was a candidate.” The more verifiable information that is, not the scary rumors of being gored to death on the sands that were spread around for awhile.

"I have changed," Olira admits, being that she could say that she wasn't the same woman that she was before coming to the Weyr. For one thing, here she is having a conversation about Weyrs with a weyrling. The Olira from Tillek would not have done so. She watches how Ahinka and Jhath are with each other, seeming to be fascinated by the play between the two before she speaks again. "You think you found your destiny here?" There's interest in this answer - destiny. Eyes landing on the dragon, "Or with her?" she adds. After a moment's pause, "I thought it was my destiny to be married by now," she admits a bit sheepishly, stealing a look towards Ahnika. "Looks like destiny has something else in mind for me." What that was, though? "Can't imagine an entire Weyr being criminal," she agrees, though the concept alone does give her pause. When she hears that eggs were destroyed, both brows lift at this. "What happened?" she asks, leaning forward a little with a small frown. "How can dragon eggs be destroyed? Aren't they protected?" Even then, this was interesting news as well. She was sure it was stuff like this that her cousin would want to know about when he does arrive down south one day. Talk of not getting hurt while Impressing seems to have her shoulders relaxed more than how they were a bit stiff before. "That is…good to hear," she says after thinking that over, perhaps looking at candidacy as an option should the moment arrive for her.

Ahnika is slow to answer the question of destiny, her attention going to Jhath as she listens to Olira continue on. Finally she says, “Destiny is a moving target, I’ve learned. I’m not sure we’ll ever know it, truly. I do know that I’ve found the beginning of my destiny here, with Jhath, and Max here, and my friends. I can’t imagine my life without any of it now.” A pause and her voice turns sad, “I don’t want to imagine it that way anyway, despite everything that’s not really gone … maybe as I would have liked for it to.” She turns her attention back to Olira and asks gently, “Is that what you want? To be married?” She smiles a little, “You’re still young though,” or so Ahni thinks, “if that’s what you want for your destiny, there’s no reason why it still can’t be.” Talk of the dragon eggs being destroyed sobers both her and Jhath, even if they weren’t actually from the same clutch that Jhath was in. It still grieves them both, and for Ahni’s part it grieves her much more now than it did when it first happened, having had the joyful experience of bonding with Jhath and knowing there are now two fewer wonderful dragons in this world on account of the villain. It was a shock then, definitely, and utterly terrible, but it didn’t really hit as hard or as close to home until Ahnika had Jhath. Unfolding her legs, Ahni stands up and moves to lean in against Jhath’s chest, wrapping her arms around the green’s chest as much as her reach allows. Jhath lowers her head to nuzzle Ahni’s back comfortingly, both moved and feeling a need for reassurance. Resting her cheek against the oiled hide, Ahnika speaks finally with her eyes closed, “It was the worst thing in weyr history,” or so she imagines. “It happened when most of the dragons were away and Kaseth was asleep. They were completely helpless. No one thought anyone could be just so … cruel and heartless and … daringly stupid.” She lowers her arms from Jhath’s chest and steps aside a moment to reach up again to tenderly stroke the side of Jhath’s head and eye ridge there. “We won’t make that mistake again will we, Jhath?” Spoken as if Ahni is now personally in charge of the security of the hatching sands when in fact it’s just a matter that Ahni just intends to park herself and Jhath at the entrance to the sands if there is ever a moment when the usual dragon guardians have to be gone. In answer, Jhath rumbles deeply and punctuates it with a snort and a scratching of the ground with her silver talons. Just let them even try it and Jhath will nab them and drop them Between before they can even say the word ‘eggs’.

It interests Olira that she had singled Max out from just saying 'friends'. "Max," she says the name, remembering how kind he was up in Telgar. "Are you and he…?" It wasn't far-fetched to figure, being that Ahnika has said his name numerous times so far and it's the sort of thing she picks up on after having to deal with renegades on a daily basis. At the question of being married, there's shy hesitance there, the small smile brightening up her features just a little as she shrugs. Scrunching up her face a bit, "There's been talks," she tells Ahnika, nodding once. "Glad you think I look young, though. I hear you age faster out in the lands." Looking away as she draws a hand through her hair, "I thought it was my destiny but after… well, you know, I don't think so now. I never thought I'd leave Tillek, and I've certainly never thought I'd be down here. That's says something, don't it? Like, the beginning of a new and different story." The topic of the destroyed dragon eggs has Olira's interest peaked when Ahnika gets up and embraces her dragon. She watches in silence, a slight frown on her face when the weyrling finally speaks. She's silent long after she's done, head bowing a little to mull over what she's heard before she breaks her silence with "Did you find who did it?" she tentatively asks, peeking a look towards both dragon and rider in a quiet voice.

Ahnika simply nods in answer to the question of her and Max, smiling softly over it. But her head tilts a little and she attentively listens to Olira talk of marriage, “Talks? You mean like an arranged thing? I thought that only happened among the Blooded.” There’s no judgment in her tone. She is simply a country bumpkin who is new to the world in a lot of ways, most especially the criminal network and how it works. So, she’s plainly curious. Then she grins and nods, “Though, you’re still you.” A reference to what was said earlier about not letting Vaput take the ‘core’ of her away, “So … maybe it’s not so much a different story, just a new and different chapter of your life story.” It’s stated as a suggestion and not really forcing the perspective on her. Continuing to lean against Jhath and rub her various places around the head and neck affectionately, Ahni shakes her head, “No, never found out,” and for some reason she leaves off the ‘yet’ that might have come from others. Her own investigations having reached a dead-end long ago and the fact that it’s been probably close to seven or eight months now since it happened, Ahni thinks the villain will never be caught at this point, at least not for that crime. All she can do is hope that he will be caught for some other heinous crime that leaves him staked out for Thread or something.

"He's really kind," Olira says on Max, seeming to approve of the fact that Ahnika and Max were together - not that she really knew either of them all that well enough to have an opinion. Still, she goes by observations, and as such, she bases her opinions on that. The smile slips just a little on the marriage talk - or rather, of it being arranged. "Kinda," she admits, making a small face. "Lorien has a brother, in which Kelarad was thinking would help in…solidifying friendships?" Or something like that. It sure sounded like something arranged, but Olira was quick to add, "But Rendov's very nice. I got to know him while working for his brother. He's not …like them. He's more like the folks here." Normal? And Ahnika's response on new chapters does give her pause, the redheaded Tillekian flashing a quick grin to the weyrling before allowing that perspective to suffice. "I think about maybe not going back there," she admits her speculation aloud, her eyes roaming about them at the sights and the people. "I haven't told Rad that, and he wouldn't like to hear it. Just a thought, and I might change my mind, but… here, I feel like I could breathe, you know? Not have my cousin's guards breathing down my back all the time. I know he means well, and I appreciate everything he's done, but…" one shoulder lifts and falls, falling silent. That silence only breaks again when she looks towards the green pair at that answer of the criminal having never been found, Olira pressing her lips together almost austerely at hearing that. "I see. I'm sorry to hear that, Ahni. No one deserves that…even dragon eggs." It was the most kind thing she's probably ever said about dragonriders and their eggs, having been bred to dislike the Weyr naturally, but clearly she was starting to see that the things she was taught about the Weyr were not as what they seemed since being here.

Another smile for the compliment to Max and Ahnika nods in agreement. There have been times when his darker nature has … caught her off guard. Like when she found Jinnet the way she did. But those were mitigating circumstances, she’s told herself, and right now they aren’t as prevalent on her mind. So she doesn’t qualify the compliment, just smiles and agrees with that nod, and continues to listen as Olira talks, nodding again as she explains the nature of arranged marriages among the renegades, her smile fading a little as she considers Max having to marry off one of their future daughters to some renegade up north and not liking the notion at all. Surely Max wouldn’t either? Something to bring up with the Beast Manager later, that’s for sure. Another pat to Jhath’s neck and Ahnika goes still, her attention more closely on Olira as she speaks of considering not going back. She mulls that over a few moments before Olira goes on to talk of never finding the criminal who did the ill deed, and Ahni says with a little sigh, “Thank you. It was a terrible loss, but the important thing is to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Because Ahni really doesn’t like to dwell when she can avoid doing so with other distractions. She adds a heartbeat later, “There’s no rush in making your mind up about staying or going. Even if you think you’ll stay there’s no one holding you prisoner here to never allow you to go back up north one day. While you’re here under Max’s protection, we want to try and keep you safe, though, so if you do want to go somewhere else, we only ask that you give us notice so we can properly make arrangements for you. You know, just don’t go walking off alone out of the Weyr or anything.” Ahni grins a little at the silly example, knowing Olira is smart enough not to do that. “And I can understand the appeal of making your home here and getting away from all that,” she makes a vague gesture toward the north, “makes perfect sense. He and his guardsmen are good to you, but you want your freedom and independence. I left home at sixteen for similar reasons, though … I wasn’t involved in anything quite as exciting and dangerous as what you’ve grown up around. But I get it. Why you’re thinking of it. There’s a lot to be said for making your own destiny.” She grins and winks.

"Kelarad might make me go back," Olira says on that, the woman remaining silent until that point with a slight roll of her eyes. "I doubt there would be much Max could do on that, but, I might be able to convince him otherwise if that's the case. I dunno. Don't worry," she adds a bit wryly now, "I won't leave the Weyr unless someone goes with me. Not really into the whole 'exploration of the fields' type of girl. I think the Weyr will be exploration enough for me in my stay here." As to growing up in such exciting and dangerous surroundings, there's her vaguely shaking her head and responding back, "I'd give marks to have had a more normal life, Ahni," as if in confidence, color entering her tone with a light in her eyes as she leans towards the pair. "I probably would have if my parents hadn't died. I always think about that. Been around such lifestyle, sure, but… Simple. I'd prefer something simpler. Making my own destiny, like you," and she returns that wink, the smile more genuine now. Straightening up now, "Thank you," she says with emphasis on both words, staring intently at the pair. "For the talk. For… this. I was nervous about being here before, but now…" she nods a few times in the pause, not finishing that sentence as she regards their surroundings once more.

Ahnika frowns a little at the thought of Kelarad making Olira go back, and there was a time when she would have put her hands on her hips and said something like ‘over my dead body’ in a very Ahni-obstinate way. But as she pointed out to Olira before, she’s learning to choose her battles. Not to say if Olira really, really doesn’t want to go back Ahni won’t try and find a way, but she’s not going to make vows and promises she isn’t sure can be kept. She nods then, her frown fading and being replaced with a simple smile to her not leaving the Weyr without someone, and considering the Weyr itself exploration enough. “That reminds me,” Ahni says, gathering up Jhath’s bathing and oiling trappings, “if anything ever happens where you need me, and I’m not immediately nearby, all you need to do is ask the nearest dragonrider to bespeak Jhath for you. Don’t even have to tell the rider anything more than your name. The rider can tell me where you are when you ask, and I’ll come as soon as I’m able or ask W’red to come for you if it’s something … dangerous.” She’d ask Max too, but alas Max has no dragon or firelizard with which Ahni could more immediately reach out to.Yet. She still means to try and talk that man into a firelizard if she is able. She’s pretty certain he’d die before ever putting on a candidate’s robe, but a firelizard? Maybe. One day. Will take some work. She’s lost in her thoughts a moment and so belatedly blinks over at her a few times, “I’m … sorry about your parents.” Her eyes alighting on the other woman’s red hair briefly before looking away, this time at Jhath, “I can understand the appeal of a simpler lifestyle, just having gotten the little glimpse of that kind of life through Max.” There’s a pause and then she says, “I’m hoping we can talk more,” this to her thanks for the talk, and Ahni looks back again, smiling softly, “I’ve enjoyed it. It’s … helped me some, too.” Another pause and then a grin, “Relly.”

"Thanks, I'll remember that," Olira says when Ahnika offers her a way to get in touch with her or W'red should she have need, the Tillekian glancing over at Jhath with a faint lopsided grin. "I'll keep my nose clean, like I promised Max. I won't be any trouble." Well she hopes not, but one never really knows. She won't be trouble intentionally, in either case. The condolences on her parents gets a wave of one hand, "It's okay. That's how Rad took me in, actually. My parents, they…weren't involved in such things either. Simple folks. Guess I have too much of them in me to be anything else, right?" The smile warmer on Ahnika's words on simple, "Perhaps things can still be simple here, despite all of that?" she suggests, herself deciding that for as long as she's here, she wasn't going to get actively involved in any shady business. New chapters mean a new type of story to her. "And…I'd really like to talk more too," she adds this a bit shyly, nodding once. "You've helped me a lot in putting some things into perspective. Perhaps we can meet more like this? When I'm done doing all the work I have," she tacks on with a gesture towards the barracks and the work W'red has set her to do. And so at that, Olira gets to her feet and brushes the sand from her trouser pants, the short chuckle coming forth at hearing her new name. The chuckle felt even foreign to her, being that she hasn't done so since before Telgar. She steps away then, "I better get back," she says, backing away slowly towards the direction of the barracks with her gaze remaining on the pair. "Still getting used to the time shift here from up north. Talk to you soon, alright?" And Jhath is included in that, her eyes taking the dragon in even though she has yet to speak directly to the dragon.

“Yeah, I’ve stopped trying to promise Max that, myself,” Ahnika says with a rueful smile, “Trouble seems to find me whether I’m looking for it or not.” Much to Max’s chagrin, no doubt. She gives a simple smile and a simple nod for the words on a simple life and how Olira’s parents fit into it, not seeming all too comfortable on discussions of parentage for the moment, but not shutting Olira down either. If the other woman wants to talk, she’ll let her talk. Talking is good. Another nod for meeting like this and Ahnika glances around briefly, not so much worried about anyone overhearing at this point as much as just taking in the scenery, mentally marking which rock bench this was at and so forth. “I’d like that,” she agrees with a smile and a look back to Olira as the other woman makes to leave, “and I’m sure I’ll see you soon in and around the barracks, too.” Ahni waves to her while Jhath bugles in dignified, if loud, farewell. “You take care, Relly. I’ll talk you later.” Then, rather than follow the woman back to the barracks, Ahnika decides to retake her seat on the bench, resuming some quiet conversation with Jhath and stealing a few moments away from duties in the hopes of encountering Max along the lakeshore and give him the update.

"Good to know I'm in good company then," Olira notes on trouble, continuing her exit backwards. "Have a good evening, Ahni, Jhath." With that, the Tillekian redhead pivots on one boot and heads off towards the barracks, hair bounding out behind her with a little bit of bounce in her step as she calls it an early night.

Closing Credit Theme Music: Diana Ross - "I'm Coming Out"

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