Quite An Impression


Ahnika.jpg Harson.jpg Nenienne.jpg

Date: 1/17/11 and 1/20/11
Location: EW: Baths
Synopsis: Ahnika and Nenienne and Harson all encounter one another while trying to get cleaned up. While Harson works to overcome his holder sensibilities, Ahni and Neni talk about how different Weyr life is from cothold life, including darker plots afoot.
Rating: PG18 (for references to nudity)
Logger: Ahnika

Just shy of a candlemark or so before curfew, Ahnika is enjoying a nice soak in one of the medium sized steaming pools of bathwater, slightly soapy from her washing up just moments ago. Normally, Ahni isn't given over to a lot of idleness, but these days in weyrlinghood she can't really help herself. The hot water is very therapeutic to her aching muscles and stiff joints. Leaning her head back against the lip of the pool, the redhead closes her eyes. She's not asleep, the occasional tale-tell sign of a smirk or some other expression indicative of the fact that she's holding some internal dialogue with Jhath as she soaks.

Nenienne wanders in and strips out of her clothes, revealing a bathing dress underneath. After folding and stowing them, she grabs a few handfuls of soapsand, a container therefor, and heads over toward the pools. She appears to be heading for an empty one until she spots Ahnika, at which point she redirects herself to the medium-sized pool and asks, "Mind if I join you?"

Ahnika opens her eyes and lifts her head, smiling as she eventually recognizes Nenienne through the steam rising from the water, “Oh of course, Nenienne, err, or Journeywoman, sorry. It’s been so long. How have you been? Busy, I trust?”

Nenienne slips into the water with a happy sigh. She luxuriates for a few moments before saying, "I'd say just call me Neni, but I bet the Weyrlingmasters would frown on that. I'm really busy, these days. Commissions have picked up, and of course I help out the other Smiths on a day-to-day basis keeping the Weyr functioning. How are you and Jhath?"

There's the sound of scuffling at one of the distance doorways. The scuffling turns into more than a bit of a struggle as two people can be made out through the steam of the place. "Now, if you don't get yourself cleaned up, I'm going to have you shipped back to the sharding crafthold! We don't have our posted students going around stinking like an porcine pen!" An older man's voice, gruff and angry. "Just…take to one of those back pools….clean up. Shards!" With a frustrated huff he pushes the wild-eyed Harson into the baths and the boy slip-slides across the damp stones as he skitters towards one of those more sheltered pools.

Smirking faintly, Ahnika says, “With as cranky as W’red has been lately, I think he’d probably assign me extra laps or something for it.” Then the smirk turns into a genuine smile, “Oh good! I’m glad commissions have picked up. Does that mean you have to travel to Landing a lot?” A small pause and then Ahnika adds, “Jhath and I are doing well. We’ll do even better when we’re able to finally leave the Weyr.” Not that Ahnika left the Weyr all that often before she wasn’t allowed to, but it always tends to seem like you don’t miss a liberty until you’ve lost it. Ahni’s feeling that now, especially with other things going on in her life. She blinks and looks over a little at the scuffling noise and what sounds like an irritable taskmaster somewhere beyond the steam, but isn’t going to get out of the nice hot water to investigate. It’s only as she spies Harson passing by her pool to get to one of the more secluded pools that Ahni smiles and waves a dripping hand toward him, “Evening,” in greeting.

Nenienne nods, quickly warming up to the subject. "It seemed I didn't get any before being searched, and then I got the two I worked on after the hatching. I'm not sure if people have seen what I already made or if they just got more used to having me around or something, but the number of commissions exploded. I even have one for a gift for the person who commissioned me the first time, and since she liked the piece I'll probably be using sketches from her commission to work on the gift." It may not make much sense, but to Neni it seems to. She's about to say more after catching her breath, but then the scuffle occurs. Her head snaps over toward the commotion and she blinks the steam out of her eyes to see what's going on, but it isn't until about when Ahnika can see Harson that Neni can as well. She gives a polite nod of her own.

Harson 's face as been dipped in red-ink. At least that's what it looks like as he stumbles by the pool shared by the two women. He gawks and his mouth falls open and then clicks closed on an uncomfortable strangled sound before he turns away. A little flap of his hand over his shoulder and a sound that would indicate he's trying to say 'Hello' back, except that his tongue is stuck somewhere between roof of his mouth and back molars. Making his escape to the 'private' pools only meets with a flurry of giggles from that direction, along with the grumble of a man's voice back in the steam for invading some private wash session. Nowhere to run apparently.

Ahnika watches Harson move past, turning her head over her shoulder until he’s lost in the steam, and then she returns to the conversation with Nenienne. With a little nod Ahnika responds, “It’s probably some combination of everything, really. That’s really great, though, and maybe in a few months I’ll be allowed to ferry you back and forth between here and Landing when you need to. I’ve yet to see it. Is it as fancy and sophisticated there as they say it is?” A giggle and a grumble catches her ear and she turns over her shoulder, calling out, “There’s room left in our pool if you need it.”

Nenienne nods eagerly at the part about being ferried. "I have offers from several Weyrlings — I guess that's an advantage of having stood with you." The "you" is a general plural one. She pauses, then says, "Landing is very… organized. Clean lines and all of that, building-wise." She doesn't quite smile, but does look amused at the newest turn the commotion has taken.

The suggestion to join the two girls might just kill the poor apprentice weaver. He manages not to fall into any pools as he whirls towards the pair of women again. Closer this time after running from the make-out-scene he just stumbled on, the lad is hugging a basket piled with sweet sands, towels, scrubbies and even some kids bath-toys. One or two of those floating sea-runners tumble out of the pile and clatter around his feet and into the pool. "Sh-sh-ssshhhhaaards! No, You're…No…I can't d-do this…." But he certainly can stare. All wild-eyed-heart-thuddering-boy stares at the exposed girl bits. Even if that's only a damp arm here and a leg there. He's apparently not been exposed *cough* to such female lovliness before and so forgets his manners for a moment as his eyes zip from shoulder to where it vanishes into the water. It's the not-quite-smiling expression from Nenienne that brings him up short and he sucks in a breath, frozen in the spot.

Ahnika chuckles, nodding, “We’re all starting to go a little bit stir crazy, I think. It will get easier when we are able to take that first manned flight with our dragons, but even then, we’ll still be unable to leave the Weyr until we learn to Between. So, I’m not surprised you’ve a lot of ferrying offers.” She lapses quiet to listen to the description of Landing, her head tilting a little to the side in consideration as she pictures it mentally, “Organized. Clean lines. Sounds like my kind of place,” well, not really, if she thought about it. Ahnika likes such environments only if she has a hand in keeping it that way. If it’s already like that, how would she feel useful? So, in reality, the would-be junior headwoman probably would enjoy living in a place where she constantly has to work to keep it organized and clean. The bath toy that tumbles down into the water nearby is given Ahni’s most immediate attention, even while she hears Harson sputtering a little to try and get a complete sentence out. In pushing off to reach for it, her chest comes up out of the water, briefly, and then down again as her hand grasps the object and she settles back against the pool wall, turning her face up toward Harson and smiling in what she hopes is a disarming way, “Here you go,” and holds the sea-runner toy up to him, completely not judging him for having it in the first place. Then, apparently realizing his awkwardness and why, Ahnika offers, “I’m about done here anyway. I was just soaking some of the ache from my limbs before getting out. If it’d make it easier for you if I left, I can.”

Nenienne glances over at the toy but doesn't comment and, more importantly, doesn't laugh. Or even smile. She does take up some soapsand and begins scrubbing her arms, and does not seem to be as generous as Ahnika is in giving up the pool. As Harson skitters away she resumes where the conversation left off, nodding when Ahnika mentions being stir-crazy. She seems about to say something, but thinks better of it.

As Harson apparently leaves and presumably finds some other recently vacated pool, Ahnika sets the toy down on the stone floor behind her, next to her own towel and pouches of sweetsand, fine and coarse, and goes back to enjoying her soak since she doesn’t have to give up the pool as she thought. Where were they? Oh, yes, Landing. “I look forward to being able to see Landing at some point, as well as everywhere else, of course. I’ve only ever known here and the cothold where I grew up, well, and some of the open road between there and Nerat before Randi caught up with us and brought us down here. I guess you’ve traveled a lot as a smith?” She sinks a little more into the water, politely keeping her eyes averted as Nenienne washes, even if the other young woman is in modest garb. Who wants to be watched while they bathed?

Nenienne rarely looks directly at the person to whom she's speaking, so she doesn't seem to consider it odd that Ahni isn't. She rinses her arms and continues onto her legs. She cocks her head at Ahni's question, then says, "Not as much as you might think. I stayed at the Smith hall for my first couple of turns as a Journeyman, and Eastern was my first posting. Beyond that, there was the cothold I grew up in and a few trips to Misty Hold, to which we were beholden."

“Ah, I see,” Ahnika says with a slight roll of her head against the lip of the pool as if in a nodding fashion, “Well,” she smiles, closing her eyes and just settling into the steamy hot water some more, “you probably have any number of weyrlings to take you wherever you might need or want to go when we can, but count me in on that, too. Especially if you happen to need to go to High Reaches.”

Nenienne nods, even though Ahni's eyes are closed, then suddenly registers the fact. "That's good to know. Thank you so much… is the Reaches where you're from, then?"

Ahnika does another little nodding roll of her head to Nenienne’s thanks, and then makes a sort of ‘mm-mm’ negative sound, adding, “No, I’m from Fort. Rural Fort,” feeling the need to clarify as Fort is typically seen to be a rather urban and sophisticated setting, “a fringe of their sweep area. Max is from High Reaches, though. We’re making a special trip to my old cothold when I’m able to leave so he and Jhath can see where I grew up, but it’d also be nice to see where he grew up, too.” There’s a little pause and she adds, “What’s your old cothold and Misty Hold like?”

Nenienne has been bathing quickly, and is working on her hair when the question comes. After mmmm-hmmmming about the explanation, she says, "The cothold was pretty small; just a few families, and spread out. Tillek is more about fish than farming, so ours was a bit of an oddity. We grew vegetables and had a small orchard, and we raised some animals. Mostly we were self-sufficient, but we supplemented the things the main Hold had to trade for." A breath. "Misty, I don't remember very well; we only went a few times, and those were mostly for harvest festivals and gathers and the like. We were usually on the road for longer than we were at the Hold. It seemed huge to me then, though now that I've lived at the Weyr it seems small."

Ahnika cracks her eyes opened a little, looking over at Nenienne, but briefly, and closing her eyes again, “I know what you mean about your perspective changing after you’ve lived in a Weyr,” and how your perspective changes all over again when you’ve Impressed, too, of course, though Ahnika is careful enough not to say that aloud, not really sure if Nenienne still harbors some residual disappointment for not Impressing in those first two clutches. “Your cothold sounds a little like the one I grew up in, only we didn’t have an orchard, and while we had a vegetable patch for our own meals, it wasn’t big enough to have leftovers go to a market. Seren and Xavier are crafters, so most of what we lived off of came from the other families in trade for their services, well, mostly Seren’s services. She’s a midwife, though we were rural enough that she was pretty much the only Healer around for miles so she ended up tending to everyone for everything.”

Nenienne mmms and nods. "We had an itinerant midwife as well, and learned reading and numbers from an itinerant journeyman Harper. That was always fun; he would stop at one cothold and all the children would be sent there for the lessons. Otherwise it was just my little sister and brothers for company."

“There were a lot of fosterlings at our cothold, more than we probably should have taken in,” including herself, Ahni reasons, not that she had a say in that, “but we made do, and sometimes we would get a little bit of elbow room as fosterlings were Searched or went off to the Hall before we got more in. We were never at a loss for company.” It’s said with humor in her tone, though it might be hard to detect any trace of a smile the way her head is tilted. “When all is said and done, they gave us a good home, even if we didn’t have a whole lot and it was so overcrowded. We were safe, fed, clothed, educated,” she pauses, then adds, “loved.” She straightens her neck out and cracks her eyes opened again, looking down at her pruning, dripping fingers, and smirking faintly, “I think the Ahni-stew is done.” Though doesn’t get out of the steaming pool of sweet goodness, as her aching muscles and joints would call it, just yet.

Nenienne says, "Sounds like a lot of fun. I'm not sure I would have liked it as much, though maybe your foster parents might have been more willing to let me apprentice, just to get me out of their hair." As usual, no smile, self-deprecating or otherwise. Her voice takes on a hint of mischievousness, though, when she adds, "I always took you more for a pastry-type person."

Nodding a little, Ahnika says, “As crafters, both, they tried to encourage all of us to go to the Hall, but for some being Searched was more desired than a craft, and for others …” her voice trails off, and then she clears her throat, “for others I guess you could say their paths led along a different line entirely.” Nenienne’s hint of mischief and her comment earns a blush at first, and then a wicked, impish grin, “You could say that. You know about my bubbly pies for Max, then, I suppose?” Ahnika chuckles, “That man can put them away faster than I can present them to him. I wish I had more time to bake them for him more often.” Speaking of time, curfew is coming up soon. Ahnika usually hauls herself out by the edge of the pool, but this time she starts to make her way to the submerged steps, probably not sure her firestone-sack-tossing arms could support her tonight.

Nenienne nods. "My parents had been cotholders time out of mind, and I think they would have preferred me to settle down and marry like a sensible person. But fortunately someone was able to convince them that crafting would be better for me." She looks a bit distant, as if pondering who that "some one" was. At Ahni's blush and question she says, "I hadn't. but I do now. I just seem to recall a late-night encounter with you in the kitchens, though maybe I'm thinking of the wrong person."

Snorting derisively, Ahnika says, “There’s everything plenty sensible about taking on a craft, especially for us women, if you ask me.” She eyes Nenienne’s distant expression a moment, and seems ready to ask about it, but as Nenienne continues, Ahni lapses quiet to listen. Chortling a bit at how bad she is at keeping secrets, which really shouldn’t be much of a surprise to her, “It probably was me. Up until W’red became the new Weyrlingmaster and instituted a curfew, doing baking in the middle of the night was my only chance to do it. It’s a little easier now that Jhath’s older since I don’t have to wait until she’s asleep, but it’s still hard to find time during the day in between training and lessons and such.” She grins, “And speaking of that curfew, I’d better get to drying myself off and dressed for bed here,” and with this, she lifts her left arm out of the water in a wave, revealing a long pencil-thin pink scar. It’s more noticeable than the one on her chest, but given that she’s naked, it might be noticeable, too, as she passes. “It was good catching up with you, though, Journeywoman,” she adds as she moves up the stone steps, splashing and dripping as she goes until she gets to her towel.

Nenienne means to avert her eyes but doesn't in time. At the sight of the scars she asks, her voice horrified, "He did that to you besides the bruises?" She doesn't say who "he" is, but Ahnika being attacked by Phineas (even if she didn't know his name) was another thing Neni had figured out before the hatching.

Unfortunately, the last thing on Ahnika’s train of thought was W’red and his curfew, so the horrified voice and question on her scars has Ahnika pausing on her way to her towel. “What?” Ahni takes a moment to gather her thoughts and pull it together, “Oh, this? No no no. W’red didn’t do this. Jin—um. It was an accident. I was … being stupid and rash.” She reaches for her towel and does a quick dry of her torso before more vigorously drying her hair, bending over a little as she does and saying to the floor, “I can’t say I regret it. I got involved in something I shouldn’t have, even if I was only doing it to try and protect someone. But I learned a lot that night. It was still a foolish thing to do, but if I hadn’t done it then, I might’ve gone and done something more foolish in the future without thinking it out more carefully. You know? You ever do something like that?” She stops toweling off her hair and looks up and over at her.

Nenienne shakes her head. "I can't imagine even a Weyrlingmaster could get away with scaring you like that, with Jhath around. I meant the one who attacked you before the hatching. Was his name Jin, then?"

Ahnika goes very still for a moment, and then slowly resumes drying off. She continues to quietly and with circumspection get dressed into her nightshift and settles onto the bench seat behind her to braid her hair. “No, his name was—is—was, oh shards, I dunno … his name’s Phineus. He didn’t cut me. He just …” her voice trails off. And then she looks around for eavesdroppers and mutters a little, “Don’t get drawn into the business with the other man, Neni,” the weyrling says, dropping out of the formal address in the hope it will convey the seriousness of the matter. The other man being Jinnet, of course, but Ahni’s not about to make the mistake of giving his whole name. It’s bad enough Nenienne got the first part. “He’ll try to … use you or hurt you, too, or any number of his cronies might, if they hear you say his name. They’ll want to know why you know it, and they’ll do worse than this,” she motions to her arm, “to find out. It’s bad enough that I’m involved. Trust me. I’d rather not be.”

Nenienne's eyes go wide. "Was he the one who… murdered the hatchlings?" she asks, her voice equally hushed.

Frowning, Ahnika ties the thong around the end of her braid and studies the surface of the water a moment, “No, he was after Jaya …” Ahni, CIA material, you are not, “So, I … don’t think so …” there’s a little pause, “I don’t know …” there’s a longer pause, “Shells … I hope not.” Especially considering she was responsible for the man getting away. Suddenly bothered about this line of thought, Ahnika distractedly goes about gathering her sweetsands and towel and riding leathers she peeled out of before getting in the pool and putting them all in her satchel, finally saying, “Just … be careful. Please. Don’t say anything about it to anyone. This Weyr has all sorts of spies everywhere.” She looks at the cavern floor, lost in thought, as she starts to carefully pick her way out toward the exit.

Nenienne digests this, her expression mostly disbelief, but just the slightest bit intrigued as well. Almost to herself she says, "Wow, things must get exciting once you impress."

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