Not So Happy Turndays

Participants:

Max.jpg Ahnika.jpg

Soran (NPC)

Date: 12.03.2011
Location: Just outside of Landing
Synopsis: Max and Ahnika manage to grab a few hours to celebrate their joint Turnday and things go south when Max makes an ill advised comment.
Rating: PG18 - Language & Adult conversation
Logger: Max

Max was fast coming to realize that as crimelord of such a vast territory as the southern continent, time was becoming more and more of a precious commodity, the past two months since his return from Tillek having passed in a blur of activity, not the least of which were the preparations being made to evacuate Little Bit and Lord Elisser from the Hold proper. Between his commitments and Ahnika’s, they’d not gotten to see each other much beyond a few stolen moments along the shoreline of the lake, or at the feeding pens as Jhath fed.

The encounters so brief that topics of a more serious nature had been left untouched in favour of spending what little time they had to spend together sharing in such things as Ahnika’s exhilarated recounting of her first mounted flight with her beloved green, or the slow progress Max was starting to make with regards to backing his unruly runnerbeast, Renegade. Topics such as his mother’s liaison with the older Telgari barkeep, or the worsening of the situation at Tillek Hold had been left unspoken, as had his seeking out of Kelarad in a bid to put to rest any misperceptions the Tillekian crimelord might have had of his intentions after having met with Olira and Ahnika.

And so it is that as the day bows out to make way for night on the twelfth day of month nine, that Max is to be found in a clearing just outside of Landing, deep in conversation with a rough looking thug of a man. Once again dark eyes cast toward the purpling sky, causing Saron to narrow his gaze onto the young crimelord, whose attire is out of place for a clandestine meeting in the woods. “What you lookin’ for?” spoken with a tinge of nervousness entering his rough tone as he sends a wary look first up to the sky and then back toward the lights of the tavern twinkling through the trees.

“Faranth,” Max gives in swift and caustic return, cursing himself inwardly for having been caught watching for Ahnika’s arrival in the skies above, “’Cause I’m more inclined to believe she’ll drop the cargo outta her arse before I believe that you’ll have the cargo delivered on time and intact as you’d have me believe.”

Rukbat may have disappeared below the horizon, but the sky is a starlit lavender as Ahni and Jhath sweep across it once, then bank to circle the clearing. Jhath bugles in greeting before her circling gets closer and closer and she backwings into landing a few meters away so as not to disturb Max and Saron with gravel or wind, should Saron still be around at this point. Unfortunately, Ahni doesn’t have the ability to dress nice for the dinner, but she does at least take her flight cap and goggles off and shakes out her bun to spin her tresses of red out across her shoulders before unhooking her straps and sliding down off her tall green’s shoulder to land with a soft thud. “Hey Handsome,” she greets with a warm smile, “Come here often?”

The rush of wings overhead, right on the heels of Max’s cutting response causes Saron to first duck and then fling a startled look skyward as if he indeed expects to see Faranth appearing from out of the depths of Pernese lore. Max of course, can’t help himself and lets out a guffaw of laughter at the man’s reaction and then turns a deep smirk onto him, “I know I’m good, mate. But I ain’t that good.” So as to be able to summon the great Queen dragon of history that is. Jhath’s bugle serves to have him stepping back from the thug, his demeanour changing for a fleeting moment from amused to that of being hard and unyielding, “You’ve got one chance and one chance only to prove yourself. Get the cargo to the docks within the next seven, and maybe we’ll have a deal.” By the time Jhath has landed and Ahnika has dismounted, Soran has slunk back into the woods from where he’d appeared earlier. Turning at her greeting, a warm smile falls into place and Max closes whatever distance remains between the two of them, setting an appreciative rake of eyes over the leatherclad redhead. “Well hey there darlin’,” playing along as a crooked grin forms, “what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this, hmm?”

By this point, the departing Saron, what little of him Ahni can see as he disappears into the treeline, gets only a fleetingly curious look. Jhath stares at the man’s back a little longer, ever the vigilant guard. What distance Max has closed between them, Ahni closes the rest of the way between them and returns her regard to him, smirking at his response and replying with a bit of country-girl drawl, “Lookin’ for a bad boy who’ll love me hard but true.” Jhath actually groans a little from the back of her throat, and would probably roll her eyes if she could. Ahni ignores her and tucks her cap and goggles into position on her belt and then moves to try and slide her hands up his chest and around his neck, leaning up to greet him with a good and proper kiss, “Happy Turnday, my Heart.”

Ahnika’s reply might draw a groan from Jhath but it serves to have Max giving a low laugh in response as he touches two fingers to the brim of his hat, “At your service, ma’am.” Once she’s close enough to be sliding her hands up his chest, so he wraps his arms about her, savouring the feel of her against him and the sweet taste of her greeting. As she breaks the kiss, one corner of his mouth crooks upward, dark and slightly shielded eyes caressing across her face for a moment before he responds in kind, “Happy Turnday, Baby.” And then his attention falls to her green and he gives a short dip of head and a quietly spoken, “Jhath.” With his attention falling back to the redhead a moment, it flickers briefly off into the woods and then onto her again, “How long can you stay?”

Another loud trumpeted trill in greeting to Max’s acknowledgment comes from Jhath, and the green dragon turns her visual attention from the disappearing man in the woods to the couple behind her, shifting a bit to settle more comfortably in the ground, assuming Ahni will be awhile, especially as Ahni answers Max with, “Long enough to celebrate and have dinner with you and your mother,” or at least she is assuming his mother is having dinner with them considering how they celebrated without her last time. “Technically, I have until curfew, so a few hours, but a lot depends on Jhath’s comfort, too,” she elaborates with a hand sifting through the hair on the back of his head.

As Jhath shifts position, Max sends a long look the green’s way for the manner in which she’d tracked Soran’s departure, lips twitching about a faint smirk. Yes, there was certainly something to be said about surrounding oneself with dragons. There is only the barest trace of regret for Ahnika needing to return by curfew but its there and gone so quickly, it may not be noticed, “Then best we don’t waste time hanging about in the middle of nowhere, aye? With your permission of course, darlin’.” That last directed at Jhath. As to whether or not the Headwoman will be joining them for dinner? He makes no comment merely sending a crooked smile as response before his arms tighten about her and he gives in playful growl, “But keep that up,” the play of her fingers through his hair, “and I’ll be tempted to skip dinner and go straight to dessert.”

There seems to be no outward acknowledgment from Jhath to Max’s long look and smirk, and Ahni doesn’t seem to notice it either, or she is just ignoring it for now. Ahni gives Max another quick peck as he suggests they not waste time, and Jhath gives an amiable toss of her wedge-shaped head when Max seeks her permission, punctuating it with a warble of agreement. It is to Max’s last that Ahni tosses her head back and laughs, a light lilting sound, and then looks at him again, “How is THAT an effort to dissuade me? Maybe I want dessert, too?” But despite her words, she does slide her hand back down to his shoulder and gives it a little squeeze, “Come on then, Stick-In-The-Mud. Let’s not keep your mother waiting.”

“Thank you kindly,” that goes to Jhath for her agreement given to spirit her rider away for a few hours, at least in the physical that is. Ahnika’s laughter is infectious and serves to pull a wide grin into place as he teases, “Aaaah, so it turns out that the ‘nice’ girl, is actually a bad girl at heart, hmm?” He of course, looks anything but disapproving thereof. Loosening his hold about her but keeping an arm in place about her waist in order to keep her close to him as they make the short journey across the clearing and along the path through the trees to the tavern, Max lifts a brow and feigns shock, “Stick-In-The-Mud? Right, that’s it. You’re in big trouble now, missy!” The young crimelord turning what is meant to be a glare onto Ahnika, though it fails dismally for the laughter betrayed in his eyes. As to keeping his mother waiting he utters a soft snort as they draw closer to the establishment, the muted sound of laughter and music filtering between the trees, “If I know her, she’s already got old Messon,” the tavern keeper, “eating out of her hand and serving her free drinks.”

Jhath watches them leave, content with what is likely an internal conversation happening between her and Ahni right now, and being able to participate through Ahni’s senses. “’Bad’ is all relative, naturally. But I don’t have to tell you that, my ‘lord,” Ahni grins as she teases Southern’s crimelord good-naturedly without exactly spelling it out should they be overheard along the path by others. Then she giggles, “Big trouble? How? Are you going to spank me?” She punctuates it with a seductive purr and leans in for another quick kiss, and then chuckles as she ducks under a low-hanging bough over the path, continuing onto the tavern. “I really should probably get lessons from your mother on how to deal with people.”

Max has pretty much given up trying to divine what sort of conversations might be going on between the greenrider and her dragon at any given time, and so for the most part, is able to ignore the gnawing need to be in the know of all things at all times. His grin turns out crooked, wry in its presentation for the hidden meaning attached to her words, “They say if you can’t be good, then you may as well be good at it.” That giggle coming from Ahnika has him affecting a show of solemnity, “Oh aye, big, BIG, trouble. Might even have to put your over my…” Words break off and a decidedly sly cast enters dark eyes as she beats him to it with him turning his head into that kiss, the arm about her waist pulling her briefly in against his side, ducking as she does and then stepping over a rock in the path. It’s as they emerge from the trees and into the pool of light cast by a row of glowbaskets placed outside of the Feather and Fowl, that her comment on dealing with people is spoken. And there Max stops briefly to turn a serious look onto her, his voice held low to keep his words between just the two of them, “Lesson one, don’t go round leading men to believe I aim to take over their turf, aye? That’ll be the surest way to find me face down with a knife in my back.” The admonishment given without heat, he gives her a gentle squeeze and then will steer them toward the entrance of the tavern, just as a lively jig starts up within, unless she resists.

The tavern is taken in with interest, Ahnika not really having had much opportunity in her life to explore and see the world outside of the brief stint of traveling she once did to try and catch up with Indira’s group before coming to Eastern. So she doesn’t catch his serious look at first until he’s already admonishing her, and then she looks more confused than worried or contrite, “What? Of course I wouldn’t do that. That’d be pretty dumb. You think me a simpleton, Max?” Her voice sounds just shy of actually indignant, giving Max opportunity to explain the reason for the comment before she’ll allow herself to get too offended by it. She moves toward the entrance with him, unresisting, but her attention is still on him, waiting on his response.

A foot or two from crossing the tavern’s threshold, Max halts once again a slightly perplexed look creasing a frown into place when he realizes that Ahnika’s not latched onto what he’d been referring to. And so, stepping to one side to allow other patrons passage, he lets out a short sigh. “Kelarad,” he puts the name out there, “was pretty pissed after his meeting with you and Relly when he was at the Weyr. Seemed to think I was after his territory and that of the others, seeking to put myself above them.” Whatever anger had been at play over the potentially dangerous situation he’d been put in, is long since gone, instead in its place there is to be found a calm wrought from the need to try and get her to understand the treacherous path he treads in trying to negotiate his place with the northern crimelords. With a hand lifting to stroke the knuckle of a finger down the side of her face, Max is silent a moment as dark eyes search out grey and then he adds quietly, “Just…watch what you say and who you say it to, aye? I’d rather like to live to see you graduate.” Wry humour inserted in a bid not to ruin an evening meant for celebration.

Stepping to the side with Max, Ahni listens a moment attentively. “Oh that,” Ahni makes a wrinkled face at the name and Kelarad’s pissed reaction, some regret showing, “He was criticizing your methods. I stood up for you. I pointed out that his way only serves to hurt people, like Relly, and those who don’t make an ally of you and your new way of doing business would regret it, like Vaput. So, yeah, he had a bit of a bruised ego when he left, but Relly didn’t think it was that bad, and felt he’d get over it.” She frowns, “Sounds like he was playing you, Max, if he made you think I told him you were taking over his territory. I never suggested anything of the sort.” And then the fact that Max took the word of a crimelord over her sinks in, and she bristles, “So, you just took his explanation and immediately thought his word was the truth? That I had betrayed you?” The redhead crosses her arms over her chest. “That’s real nice, Max. You’d trust a crimelord over me.” She’s getting angrier with every passing second as she thinks more about it, so his bid for humor is apparently being ignored. "I'm going home, now," and arms crossed she turns and heads for the path back to the clearing.

While keeping a weather eye on those coming and going, Max listens in silence a smile threatening as she speaks of having stood up for him and then a brow goes up. "Ahni…you can't go saying things like that. What happened to Relly was…unspeakable, but you gotta understand, it ain't Rad's doing. That Bitran bastard's a mad canine in need of being put down. No one coulda seen what he did, coming." And then he frowns a little, "Look Baby, what you said probably wasn't that bad, but men like him, they're always gonna read between the lines, always on the lookout for someone waiting to do them in because that's exactly what they're doing. Especially when it comes to someone like me that's staking a new claim. They don't know me or my methods and for all they know, I am looking to set myself up as the Lord Fax of the…rene..gades." The pause comes before he completes the sentence as her next words hit him and he actually blinks as Ahnika starts to get steamed the only sign of any anger or frustration coming from him, is the way in which his jaw sets but he says nothing until she's had her say. "Hey now, I ain't never said you betrayed me. I only asked that you be careful what and how things get said around men like him, aye? You wanna know how Ma has men like that and others in the palm of her hand?" without waiting for her to reply, he answers, "She tells 'em what they want to hear in a way they want to hear it. She plays the game their way. Lets 'em think she's pandering to their egos but all the while she's quietly getting her own way without 'em even seeing it. There's a whole other set of rules for life out there," in the lands beyond Weyr and Hold, "that I don't expect you to understand. I'm just…" However, when she turns and starts to head back toward the path, he lets out a heavy sigh before calling after her, "So that's it? That's how you work through a problem? Just walk away like you did last time?" Not going after her just yet despite every part of him champing at the bit to do so. This was so not how he'd wanted the night to go.

As she’s walking away, Ahni makes a rude gesture at Max over her shoulder, the equivalent of the bird as it were, but she keeps walking, “Don’t expect me to understand? So I am a simpleton now? Forget it. I’m too angry to sit at a table with you. Not until I get an apology, at the least, and maybe not even then!” Now who has the bruised ego? “I can’t believe you’d take the word of a sharding ne’erdowell over me, Max. Of all the awful things you could do …” and her voice trails off into discontented mutters as she heads back up the path, unstopped. Maybe after she cools down she’ll want to talk it out, but right now she’s apparently too steamed and talking it out is the last thing she wants to do.

A brow goes up at that hand gesture and oddly enough, it draws a faint margin of amusement to flicker across Max’s features as well as a snicker from a couple passing by him, which of course has him throwing them a dirty look. He’d have put answer to Ahnika’s next diatribe except that now with the distance she’s created between them, it would mean raising his voice and thus really putting on a display for all to bear witness to. Instead, he shoves his hands into his pockets and watches her go, rocking back on his heels as he mutters in sardonic chastisement to himself, “Bang up job, mate. Real smooth!” Yeah, he could have handled that better. Exhaling a long breath, he slowly takes to meandering along behind the redhead, wanting to give her space to cool down in but realizing the woods weren’t exactly the safest place to be alone at night. Not with the likes of Saron about. Should she come to a rest somewhere along the path, so too will he, however he’ll maintain his distance, his dark eyed regard remaining fixed to her.

Ahnika doesn’t suspect he is following her, or at least she’s not looking back, muttering to herself angrily as she moves around this stump or under that low tree bough, and not really paying attention to anything but the path in front of her. Neither does she stop and rest, fueled too much on anger and adrenaline to need to. She breaks the treeline to find a yellow-eyed and huffing Jhath awaiting her. A pity they can’t Between yet, as the icy cold of Between is bound to cool off that hothead, right? Well, maybe.

With Ahnika having not stopped along the way and now breaking free of the treeline, Max sends the agitated Jhath a glance before leaning a shoulder up against the trunk of a tree at the clearing’s edge. Maintaining his silence for a few moments longer, he then breaks it as his voice comes low in the gathering dark, “You done now?” With the hissy fit. The question not meant to be either mocking or condescending but rather him attempting to gauge just how pissed off she is and whether or not its even worth his trying to engage her right now.

Ahnika is busy putting her flight cap and goggles on when his voice comes across from behind and she turns around, frowning, “Am I done now? Am I done now?” Her voice getting a little shriller with each intimation of the phrase, “Oh, you have no idea just how finished I am, Max.” With that she climbs up Jhath’s foreleg and shoulder and onto her neck, settling down and strapping herself in, “Have fun with your new cronies. You obviously have more faith in them than you do me.” Yellow-eyed Jhath spreads her wings in preparation for launch, and Ahni says, “Go fuck yourself, Max.”

The neutral expression he’d maintained up until this point cracks as a frown presses into place when Ahnika mounts Jhath and slings those words down at him and is enough to have him pushing away from his lean and taking a few steps out into the clearing. Hands still in pockets, and head tilted back the smile produced is wry and edged with regret, his response is quietly given, “Perhaps if you had more faith in me, you’d take a moment to see I ain’t the enemy here, Ahnika.” However, rather than take a step backwards and out of range of dragon launch, he instead places himself almost directly under the green’s chest thus leaving himself vulnerable to harm should she still choose to take to the skies. Dark eyes cast upward to the fuming redhead and despite the situation, slowly but surely a crooked grin patterns into place, “Fuck, but you’re sexy when you’re pissed!” Er what? Excuse him, he’s male. Just as well she’s up there, and he’s down on the ground or he might have gotten his face slapped for that one.

“You have only yourself to blame for that, Max.” Ahni says bitterly, “You made yourself the enemy when you decided you’d trust the word of a criminal over your girlfriend, who had SO much faith for you, she stuck up for you when that man, who if anyone needs lessons in how to work with others he does, talked bad about you. You just assumed I fucked up somehow when, in reality, he obviously was trying to use it to win more concessions from you. So, you made that bed with those bedfellows and now you have to lay in it with them. But I don’t, and I definitely won’t if you don’t trust me over your new shady buddies. So, get out of our way!” While Jhath won’t ever go as far as to snap at Max, she will attempt to make his presence there as uncomfortable as possible by simply breathing her foul breath down on him in a slow, deep hiss. There’s probably some spittle joining the bad breath directed at him, too. She doesn’t rely on him moving, however, to get airborne, so the tall green starts to back up to get clear of him. As to the comment over Ahni being sexy when she’s pissed, the young woman simply snorts derisively.

Hands remove from pockets with one setting to his hip while the other runs through his hair in a small show of frustration. “For fuck’s sake, Ahni, if you’d just take a breath and listen, you’d realize that at no time did I say I trusted his word over yours! Just that he’d taken yours to him, up wrong.” And there he pauses a moment, eyes narrowing slightly for the Tillekian being reported to have spoken badly of him but he doesn’t question it at this time, more interested in addressing the issue that seems now to have developed between himself and Ahnika. Despite the redhead’s words to move out of their way and the foul stench of her green’s breath washing over him, Max remains exactly where he is, stubborn in his determination not to let her go until they’ve sorted things out. Even with Jhath starting to back up, he remains where he is. It’s that derisive snort coming from the greenrider that eventually does it and has him lifting his hands up and away from himself in an apparent show of defeat, though his words are for her dragon, “And you’re good with this? Letting her turn and run from the battle? I expected more…” guarded the look he now sends up to Ahnika, “from the both of you.” And with that he finally turns and without a backward glance to see if the green pair leave or not, heads back toward the path that leads through the trees and back to the tavern they’d almost spent the evening at. Unlike Ahnika, he’s stuck there until the brownrider that had brought him down to the area returns in a good few hours time.

“I did listen!” Ahni snarles, leaning over a little in emphasis, while Jhath’s eyes start to edge with red, “I listened when you told me not to tell folks you’re moving in on their territory, Max. You didn’t even give me a chance! You just jumped right to the conclusion that whatever he told you MUST have been right, and have given your loyalty to him. Well that’s just fine. Next time you want a cuddle and fuck, go find your new friend up in Tillek since you like him so much better!” As he clears the area, Jhath trumpets angrily, and follows it with a fiery thrust of her mindvoice within both Ahni and Max, the latter as he is departing, « A smart warrior seeks the higher ground in combat. I support her strategy and will never abandon her. Unlike her parents. And unlike you. » And then she launches with another obnoxious trumpet as if charging the sky itself, beating her wings until she has enough altitude and catches a thermal to carry them away, toward Eastern.

“No, Ahni,” weariness tainting his voice as she continues to misunderstand him, “you never gave yourself a chance. Because rather than properly hearing me out, or giving me the chance to hear you out, you grabbed the moral high ground and ran away with it.” If her words have stung him, he gives no indication thereof, merely giving a slight shake of head as he continues to walk away. It is only when Jhath’s mindvoice blasts into him and sends him reeling that Max finally loses it, frustration causing him to turn and yell futilely into the wind as the green launches upward, “I have never abandoned her!! She’s always the one doing the fucking leaving!!”


Closing Credits: Daughtry - Every Time You Turn Around


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