Ahnika.jpg Indira.jpg

Date: 2010.10.14 - backdated to while Max was away
Location: EW - Bathing Caverns
Synopsis: Indira tracks Ahnika down in the bathing caverns to get her point of view of what happened between her and Max and tries offering insight into her son. Her efforts appear to be in vain.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Indira

Another late night finds Ahnika in the communal baths, though late as it is there is hardly anyone around right now: just herself in one of the more secluded, out of the way pools (and only because she's not feeling terribly chatty), and then a small handful of folks sharing one of the larger pools, softly conversing and being sociable. Ahnika right now seems pretty intent on her hair, but that is little different from usual, considering it is her single biggest vanity. She is shoulder-deep in the steamy, hot water, but both hands are finger-deep in her hair that is currently well-lathered up with shampoo-like fine sweetsand.

Late as it is, Indira is clearly not here for the purposes of bathing. Not unless she intends using some of each of the basket full of sweetsand pouches she’s currently carrying into the caverns and ending up all pruned by the end of it all. Those in the larger pool are offered a polite nod of head as she passes by heading toward the back to where the shelves that hold the bathing accoutrements are set, which takes her path over to where Ahnika is situated in one of the smaller more private pools. Recognizing the weyrling, a light frown forms and then she’s passing by, no comment or greeting given until she’s done with restocking the shelves. Only then, empty basket under one arm does the Headwoman return and takes up silent residence on a bench situated right across from where the redhead has placed herself in the small pool, and waits.

There's the soft chatter of people in the nearby pool. It's not exactly a party, so with the exception of perhaps a bit of occasional laughter from the conversation being held, and maybe a splash of one person getting in and another getting out, it's not really loud. Being that the shelves are so close by and there's little noise to drown out the sound, Ahnika opens one eye, squinting the other to keep it closed, and seeing Indira restocking the shelves. The activity is a curiosity to Ahni, who knows Indira has countless assistance and drudges and such personnel to handle such a menial task. Ahnika, herself, has done it before. Nevetheless, she minds her tongue at least long enough to reclose her eyes and finish her meticulous scrubbing another moment to drop in under the surface of the water for a thorough rinsing. Once she has sufficiently rinsed, Ahnika surfaces and pushes back her sodden hair from her face before drawing another hand down her face and reopening her eyes. Spotting Indira now on a bench, Ahnika offers the Headwoman a dip of her head and a smile that is shadowed with something, regret perhaps? "I'm told the steam is good for one's skin," Ahnika says by way of greeting, and acceptance of the other woman just sitting there instead of getting in the baths herself. "How's your day been?"

Indeed, the Headwoman has enough assistants and drudges for one of them to have carried out the simple task. However, the woman is not one to simply meander idly about the caverns when in search of someone, choosing the route of multi-tasking instead. And in search of someone she had indeed been, and found as evidenced by the long and assessing look Ahnika is currently being put under. Thus it is that her own smile sent out in response to the weyrling’s might perhaps be perceived as cautious. With that smile still in place, her voice is pitched low so as to keep the conversation between just the two of them, “As is happiness I’m told.” Indira’s attention slides off the redhead and takes a slow meander about the caverns as if contemplating the question put to her and then settles back onto her once again, “Probably not as fraught with hard work and tension as yours has been.” Her expression turning slightly pointed though devoid of any kind of rebuke or anger, if anything, there’s an odd enquiring gentleness to it as she goes on to state idly, “Max left this morning.” Dark eyes watching keenly for what reaction that might draw from her would be junior.

Indira's initial response gets an odd, uncertain smirk from the weyrling, and Ahnika quips, "In these parts, happiness is a premium not many can afford, ma'am." She could just be talking about the dark times at the weyr, unhatched dragons being murdered, bodies found, candidates attached, runner thieves, conspiracies and plots within the weyr residents themselves, oh, and how about the Healer willing to sell weyr's supply of fellis for cold, hard marks. What's next? Oh, and the love of one's life gone for good. So, with Indira's second statement, all the disillusionment Ahnika's been feeling hit hard with the last few months sort of comes out with a sudden, sour expression, though not with any ire directed at Indira herself, and it shows in Ahni's grey eyes before the young woman looks away. "I think he left long before this morning, ma'am," she says, soft, but audible, or intended to be anyway. She moves back to the side of the pool with her satchel of bathing supplies and she retrieves the sweetsand for her body-washing, proceeding to do so, because that is much more pleasant and productive than talking or thinking about things in the past that she can't change.

To Ahnika’s first the Headwoman puts forward a small smile, “Only if you’re lax enough to let adversity steal it.” In that, with the slightly rueful tone attached, she might well be speaking of her own personal experience, or simply alluding to the troubles the Weyr has seen of late. Indira takes the sour look coming off of the weyrling with little to no facial response; it’s the softly spoken words that have her brows fitting together in a frown as she takes them in. Sloe eyes track the movements of the redhead as a lengthy silence forms, until she queries gently, “What happened, Ahnika?”

The first statement has Ahnika looking up sharply at Indira, but it is brief before she remembers herself enough and looks away again. She resumes scrubbing her shoulders and arms with the sweetsand as she answers with a little shrug, "He's of a mind that he doesn't need anybody, least of all me, so who am I to argue?" Her tone is petulant slightly, but not exactly whiny. Perhaps a bit sarcastic to a degree. Her shoulders remain tense and her jaw set with frustration, but her expression speaks of a desire to just cry over the whole mess. Perhaps it is a testament to the discipline she's getting as a weyrling that she doesn't. "It doesn't matter what happened. It's over."

Catching that sharp look Indira notes in that same quietly moderated voice, “I would hope that you know that you can speak freely, Ahnika.” Dark blonde brows lift slightly and the Headwoman shifts to cross one leg over the other, hands setting to either side of her on the bench as she leans her upper body forward a little, “He said that?” not bothering to disguise the surprise should this indeed be so. Chances are, aside from how it might upset Jhath, that if the weyrling were to give in to tears, she’d find only comfort from the older woman. However, she is ever the one to respect another’s space and privacy and so she simply remains where she is, the redhead put under close scrutiny. “I see,” a slow breath taken in before tipping her head to one side, “And am I to take it, that’s how you want it to be? Over?”

Sighing softly, though not in irritation as much as just frustration. Ahnika shakes her head to the initial question put to her, but doesn't speak on what exactly Max said, perhaps not exactly knowing - despite Indira's assurances - what Max has revealed to Indira about his plans and the entirety of the situation. It is to the second question that she speaks, rinsing herself off in the steamy water without looking at the Headwoman, "What I want," she says with a rather calm, though resigned voice as she is settling onto the submerged ledge and lifting a knee and calf from the water to scrub her leg with the sweetsand, "he can't give me. What he wants, I can't give him. It just wasn't meant to be, ma'am. It's time for us both to move on."

The offer has been made to speak freely and so Indira accepts the shake of head but isn’t going to press further on the exact nature of whatever had been said or not between the two. It’s Ahnika’s spoken words that has the Headwoman drawing out of that lean forward and settling her shoulders against the wall behind her, the booted foot of the crossed leg setting to a sharp up and down swinging movement. Putting aside whatever irritation might be accompanying that telling movement she simply re-iterates in a firmer tone than before, “Forget what he wants right now. What is it, that you want?” and then with a soft snort and toss of head she notes, “I didn’t take you for being one to give up a fight so easily, Ahnika.”

Working on her other leg next, Ahnika opens her mouth to reply to Indira's first, about what she wants, and then pauses with Indira's second statement. Frowning, Ahnika says stiffly, "Who said it was easy? This … relationship hasn't ever been easy. Nothing about it is easy. It never was. It never will be. All we do is fight, if not with each other, then with ourselves about our desire for one another, and now I'm learning to fight Thread, well, pardon me if I'd like to keep one area of my life free of fighting." She rinses the rest of herself off and grabs one of the leather thongs she uses to bind her hair and starts to braid it to drape down along the side of her neck to rest on her chest. "Besides, it doesn't matter what I think. He's going to just go off and do his own thing whatever I say or do," she says with a soft snort, stopping short of saying Max is going off to get himself killed. For now. "I want a partner in my relationship, Indira. He wants a pretty pet he can keep in a gilded cage and ignore whenever it suits him. I can't do or say anything to change that, especially since I'm the one he's ignoring."

Something said by Ahnika draws an oddly approving smirk from Indira, but she remains quiet until the weyrling’s done talking. That swinging foot halts and drops to the ground and the Headwoman straightens out of her lean to fix the redhead with an intent look, “Life Ahnika, isn’t easy but anything worth having, is worth fighting for,” pausing and then continuing on that same topic, “Your duty is to be up there fighting Thread, his is down on the ground fighting whatever else comes the way of the Weyr, except that he doesn’t have a dragon to back him up. Only you to come home to. Like it or not…” a sad little smile appearing for the truth of what she adds next, “fighting is the core of a Weyr’s existence. You’re both strong people, with strong opinions and strong ideals. Did you honestly think you weren’t going to butt heads?” Putting her hands to the tops of her thighs, the older woman stands and paces away a step or two and then paces back as silence prevails before putting words to the next. Stopping directly in front of the redhead she drops down into a crouch and will try reaching for the girl’s chin to claim her full attention, “If he wanted a pretty pet darlin’, he wouldn’t still be with you and would have moved on to the next pretty thing that caught his eye, three times over already,” fully aware of how her son used to operate and then the edge of an understanding smile flickers out, “Give him time to find his feet, love. Your impressing has put him at an incredibly big disadvantage. And no,” forestalling anything the younger woman might interject with, “there isn’t anything you can do to fix it either.” Releasing her chin if she’d been successful in capturing it in the first place, she stands once again, “But I suppose none of that matters if you’ve already made up your mind that it’s over.” No rebuke in that, simply an observation as she turns back toward the bench uttering quietly, “I once had something worth fighting for, but instead I let it go when it got too difficult.” Touching on something never previously admitted to anyone else. Turning a short look over her shoulder to Ahnika, “Be sure of what you’re giving up, Ahnika, because regret, is a cold bedmate.”

The Headwoman has Ahnika's attention as soon as the young woman is finished braiding. She remains in the pool of water, but her grey eyes are focused on Indira and nowhere else. She listens to the older woman speak, but her expression is unusually guarded, though if that is just something she's started learning to do with all the "cloak n dagger" subterfuge going on at the weyr lately or if it's specifically a guarded look for the topic here in front of Indira, it's anyone's guess. At one point, Ahnika opens her mouth, but when Indira continues she shuts it and remains quiet to listen. When Indira moves away again, heading for the bench, Ahnika finally speaks, shaking her head softly even a little regretfully, "In many ways, your comments make sense and fit this situation, ma'am, but not all. Max wouldn't be in any disadvantage at all if he'd sharding let me in once in awhile, let me help him. - I - could be his Jhath, but he won't let me. He has to be his own sharding island. He doesn't need anyone. That's how he wants it. It's not a matter of not being willing to fight for something or giving up; it's a matter of having the resources to tear down a fortress that's locked up tight. I've just come to the realization that I don't have the key, and I don't have the resources to tear it down. Maybe some other woman does, and for his sake, I hope so," and it's here that her voice cracks a little, but she keeps herself together after a swallow and a breath, "but he obviously doesn't respect me enough, doesn't trust me enough, doesn't believe in me enough. He obviously wants someone who isn't me." With that, she hauls herself up out of the water and begins to towel off.

Seating herself back down next to the basket she’d brought in with her, one of Indira’s hands traces fingers idly over the woven texture of its lip, listening in silence as Ahnika speaks and then lets that draw out longer as she wrestles with disclosing the next or not. Eventually she chooses in favor of doing so, though by her expression alone it’s clear to see she’s trusting the weyrling with something that her son might never forgive her for doing so, were he to find out. “Have you never wondered how it is that he knows so much about weyrlinghood and what it is to be a dragonrider? Where that strong sense of duty comes from?” A quick curve of lips, barely there and then gone again, as she looks off into the distance, not really focusing on anything in particular as her next words come in such an emotionless way as to suggest there’s a whole lot of it being held under control, “From the time he could walk, L’min started grooming him to one day become a dragonrider, aiming him toward wingleader. Taking him everywhere that he could with him, making him sit in on weyrling classes, having him bathing and oiling Argonth, sitting for endless hours at night explaining fighting formations and the bond between dragon and rider. Letting him join in with his wing when they went through drills on the ground. The boy lived, ate and breathed the dream his father was carving for him. When he wasn’t at the stables, he was with L’min.” The headwoman’s jaw tightens slightly as she steels herself and continues, “The day he saw his father die, is the day that dream died too.” Slowly her head turns back to the redhead, sorrow written clearly in her dark eyes, “So if he’s presenting himself as an island to you, Ahnika, it’s because he had it drummed into his head exactly how limited a person is by weyrlinghood in some aspects. He probably believes that in doing so, he’s protecting you and your Jhath until it’s safe to do otherwise.”

Ahnika slows her toweling off as Indira talks, listening and watching the other woman and the information she gives and just how she gives it. She knows it's not a trust given lightly and it shows. When Indira finishes speaking though, Ahnika is slow to respond to any of it, perhaps letting it all sink in, mulling it over, and then finally she sighs, changing into her nightshift and wrapper and slippers and stuffing everything else back in her satchel. "I'm sorry," and she looks like she truly is, though if it is for L'min or Max or everything and anything, she doesn't clarify. Then she shrugs a little, "Maybe he has just cause to feel the way he does as you say, to be that island he wants to be or he thinks he needs to be, but that doesn't change the fact that he's wrong, that a relationship is more than just one man being an island, and that nothing I say will change his mind. He's written me off for good; he can't be reasoned with, at least not by me. Anything I say or do falls on deaf ears, Indira. I sure as shells wish it were different, but it's not. You can lead a runner to water, as they say, but cannot make him drink." The last is said as she swings her satchel over her shoulder and looks to the Headwoman, blinking back the sting in her eyes as she swallows hard, and then she just nods to her, "Thank you, for wanting to believe in us anyway, and for … explaining … some of it. Goodnight." Then the redhead quietly pads her way toward the exit.

With watchful eyes on Ahnika as she dresses and sets everything back into her satchel, Indira remains silent, with only faint signs of regret showing in her dark eyes. Regret for the loss of a ‘hero’ and the dream once shared with his son. Regret for having played her part in the teenager having lost his path and a part of himself when she wasn’t there for him. And regret for the resulting pain and hurt written across the weyrling’s words and expression. She pays no voice to any of it, simply standing to her feet and tucking the empty basket beneath an arm as the young redhead makes to leave and nodding quietly states, “My door is always open, Ahnika.” Wanting the younger woman to know that despite the break up of the relationship with her son, that it has no bearing on the friendship already in place between Headwoman and her once junior to be. She’ll hang back a moment or two, casting a last sweep of unseeing eyes over the ghosts of her past, a soft sigh exhaling and then makes her own departure with the realization that this was a problem that was well and truly, out of her hands.

Closing Credits Music: Carrie Underwood - Stand By Your Man

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License