Returning Home


Jaya.jpg Hope.jpg Waine.jpg

Date: June 29, 2011
Location: Healer Hall, Fort
Synopsis: Waine unexpectedly shows up during breakfast to take Jaya and Hope back home. Little is given on the account of any events happening south, and his vague answers is not helping. Jaya also leave Jonavan a note.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya

Waine is generally one that is happy to follow orders, more often than not without hesitation; his loyalty to Max is without question. Over time however he has come to view the crimelord as more of a younger brother than an employer and it is this deeper, fiercer sense of loyalty that has him about to go against a direct order and puts him at Fort one very cold and frosty morning.

The big southerner is hardly inconspicuous for all that he's hunched down into his jacket in a bid to escape the icy wind that blasts across the courtyard, swirling eddies of powdered snow about the dragon that waits in stoic silence nearby. One or two people scurry quickly into the main entrance and its on their heels that his follows having no idea where to even begin to look for Jaya.

It’s just as well Jaya is outside of the room she’s been staying in with Jonavan and Hope. With the masterhealer still out of town, the barkeep and Hope were huddled up against the cold and moving on their way to the dining hall to get some breakfast with the other healers. Her nose isn’t altogether fully healed – it’s a gentle purple color now that’s only showing out more starkly against a skin that’s gone a shade paler since being up in the north. With her hair braided up out of her face to reveal the scar running down the side of her face, she has Hope in her arms as she follows the gathering crowd of healers into the dining hall while looking out for a spot that was off away from most prying eyes. She tries to spot Ellis, Jonavan’s only friend at the Hall wordlessly while doing so, his being the only familiar face there since both brother and sister have gone south.

After an incredibly long and trying night, the smells of breakfast wafting out onto the frigid air have Waine's stomach rumbling and contorting with hunger for food had been the very last thing on his mind when he'd left the Weyr. Now however, he angles his path in that direction, for the idea that where food is, people are and where people are there he may find someone who can point him toward…Jaya? The big southerner comes to a quick and sudden stop, his large bulk almost filling up the doorway as his keen gaze lands on the very woman he was there to retrieve. And while the easygoing expression he usually wears is missing this day, blue eyes ignite with a light of triumph and he's soon on a direct path toward her, his hand going to her elbow once he gets close enough. "Everyone needs to eat," he utters from behind her as if making the statement more to himself than her.

Jaya is leading her and Hope towards where the tables of food are before she could feel that direct touch to her elbow. She stops her momentum, turning to see if it was maybe Ellis coming around to find her when she gets an unexpected surprise. Holding Hope close in her shock, his voice familiar as the healers start to eddy around them, “Waine?” she drops his name into the air uncertainly, the frowning marring her features as she steps closer to him. “What are you-? Wait, Max sent you, didn’t he?” Her words get faster, her eyes wider as she connects his presence there as a signal to mean it was time to go home. “We can come back, right? I’ll get my things….” And she’s looking now to shoulder past him, all thought of food momentarily forgotten.

Thick fingers tighten briefly in a gesture of reassurance about Jaya's elbow as she clutches Hope closer to her and while Waine tries really hard to keep the grim expression from his wearied visage, he likely fails at some level. As she tries to shoulder her way passed him, so he'll try to firmly turn her toward a table in the corner that has just a young healer apprentice occupying it. "No," is his quiet reply on who had sent him though it may be mistaken for meaning that they're not to be returning to the Weyr just yet. With a quirk of a smile toward the little girl in her arms, he nods toward the table, "you should get some food into her first."

Yeah, Jaya catches that grim look on his face when she gets that moment to look closer at him. She lets him turn them towards a table, some of that joy at seeing him fades at that caught expression. “What’s happened?” she’s quick to ask more than on food, tension starting to enter her body. “What’s happened, Waine? Tell me.” But then he’s nodding towards Hope and talking about getting her some breakfast, and so, the barkeep has to concede. Sending the little girl a fond smile – the woman having clearly gotten use to her and has set up such a rapport with the toddler now in their time at the Hall – she sends to her, “Let’s get something to eat, shuga, okay? Let’s go….” And starts for the food tables once more with a look over her shoulder towards Waine. After a while she returns to the chosen table with a plate heaped enough for two or three people to feed on, though it was clear that the Bitran woman didn’t look hungry. She sets the plate down, then Hope beside her, and places the plate of food within her reach before she sets about with the intention of question Waine if he was still present.

As the near the table, Waine sets the young healer apprentice with a hard look. "Clear off and go find your mates," he growls in a tone he hopes will have the lad up and moving. His bid successful given the way the skinny wide-eyed lad gulps, nods vigorously and then scarpers like a wherry with a dragon on its tail. The big southerner then turns back to Jaya and sends a pointed look Hope's way before setting her with a light frown for he doesn't wish to alarm or scare the child in her arms. "Max needs you," is all he states in that same quiet rumbling tone of before that likely conveys more urgency and worry than words could. And then he's folding his bulk into a chair and waiting in grim silence for her to return. Once she does, he flashes a grateful smile her way and immediately attacks the plate put before him like a man that hasn't eaten in days. Between mouthfuls he tips a fork in Hope's direction, a smile on his lips, "I swear she's grown since you left."

Jaya watches wryly as the healer apprentice scampers off, commenting with, “You sure haven’t changed.” But then, before she could say anything else, Waine is looking significantly towards the toddler and uttering those three words that puts coal down at the pit of her stomach. She watches Hope eat from the plate before she forces herself to do as well – just to keep the girl at ease before she steals a glance towards the big southern second. Forcing herself to swallow down a bite of sweetroll, “Is he—?” She wasn’t going to finish it, not infront of Hope as she assumes the worst. Then, her tone turning a shade colder, “Was it Vaputero?” She watches him eat as she takes her slower time than the two of them, her stomach in too much knots right now to eat. So, when Waine directs the topic away towards Hope, she looks her way and hesitates before giving in with a little smile. “She has,” she answers more calmly, nodding once. “Surprisingly the Hall took care of us. And Jonavan. I suppose he’s down south still? Yeah,” she answers that one before he does. “I’ll have to leave something for him then, for he’s not here. I won’t walk out without saying goodbye like he did me. It’s the least I could do.”

Brows furrow and lips purse, Waine feeling more than a little hamstrung by having to be careful what he says in front of the toddler while at the same time wanting to lend Jaya reassurance and so drops quiet for a moment or two as he formulates his response and shovels more food into his mouth. Eventually, his sky-blue gaze finds hers and he forces what he hopes to be a reassuring smile out, "He's sleeping," Max that is and then adds in a rueful tone as his eyes track to the scar down the side of her face, "Put it this way, the two of you are gonna be a matching pair." So to speak. As to where or not it had been her former boss he gives a quick shake of head, "Naw, some dead guy." Cue the dark smirk. As to where Jonavan is, the big southerner frowns again and then gives a broad shouldered shrug for he's not too sure where the masterhealer had gotten to after tending to his boss. "Maybe best you leave him a note for just in case," he ends up saying.

Hope however had caught that name that Jaya dropped and darts a look her minder's way, "Wapput bad man." Yeah, she misses and forgets very little. Now her attention goes first to Waine and then to Jaya, "Where S'hole?" Because where Waine is, Max is sure to be found, right?

Jaya continues to watch his face – to watch him struggle to answer her questions – and that only makes her feel uneasier. When Waine admits that Max is sleeping, she’s still frowning, though some of the tension in her turns a shade lighter. It’s when he mentions that they were to be a matching pair with his gaze flicking to her scar that the Bitran woman’s frown turns a shade heavier. Of course he couldn’t get into it, and she flicks a glance to a little girl beside her that soaks everything word and emotion up like a sponge. She stuffs the rest of a sweetroll down her mouth then before speaking again – “Dead guy, huh? I suppose there’s that. Seems like you all were having lots of fun without me,” she adds darkly with a look in his direction for the dark smirk. Jaya doesn’t much like to be left out, and if Vaputero was involved…. She nods on leaving Jonavan a note, the woman already starting to form one in her head before Hope starts to speak and gets her attention. Yep, a sponge. “Vaput is a very bad man,” Jaya agrees, sending her a lopsided grin. “You remembered his name. That’s good. He won’t be able to snatch you if you know his name, shuga.” Then she asks after Max, and the barkeep fits a long look to Waine as if to leave that very question at his doorstep rather than hers.

There is little that Waine can say to assuage her worry for the truth is; Max is in pretty bad shape, though thankfully not nearly as bad as Kaskan is. Of this the big southerner doesn’t speak either for Jaya will soon find out the extent of injuries to both men and the cause thereof. Instead he manufactures a smile both for her benefit and the toddler sitting soaking up every word and nuance of tone and body language. “It’s not that bad. Gonna take more than a scratch to keep him down, yeah?” As to the ‘fun’ Jaya speaks of having missed there comes a rough snort, “The man’s a walking corpse.” Dark promise spoken over Vaputero’s future and then its head down and scooping up the last of the food on his plate. Pity the woman that ever marries this man for she’s likely to spend more time feeding him than anything else.

“Wapput no ‘natch, Hope. Hope make good fiss and hidda ball!” The two turn old’s spoon clatters to the table as small hands curl into fists and she demonstrates punching at the air in front of her as Jaya had shown her to do.

Laughter rumbles deep in Waine’s chest at the child’s antics, “She’s got her Pa’s fighting spirit.” Amusement drains away at Hope’s question and the subsequent long look sent him by the dark-haired woman. With a sigh he pushes his empty plate away and sets the toddler with what he hopes is an encouraging smile, “Your Pa’s real tired, baby girl. So he sent me to come fetch his girls, see?” An outright lie for Max in fact has no idea that his second is in the north, let alone that he intends taking Jaya and Hope back with him.

Jaya still doesn’t look too reassured, but it could be because Max had more of what she deems as ‘fun’ if he’s all broken up so. On Vaputero, she grabs another sweetroll and asks, “He’s still alive and well, then? Interesting. I would have loved to see him for myself. I do believe he and I have some unfinished business.” She watches him scoop food into his mouth then, and the barkeep can’t help the fond little smile that comes forth. Nodding towards his plate, “My sister and I used to feed men as big as you often back home,” she tells him, the memories of it coloring her husky tone. “Especially those that caught on with the clan. We used to make these big pots of stew and would never seem to have any left over for the morning. Beddie enjoyed singing to them.” Hope’s answer on the big Bitran draws warm laughter from the barkeep as she watches the toddler punch up the air, the woman shaking her head and stating, “Vaput wouldn’t dare, shuga. He’d have to go through the lot of us, and then your fists, hm? But I imagine you’ll be punching at boys’ hearts before you have to worry about the likes of him.” To Waine, “I see a lot of Max in her,” she notes, agreeing with him on fighting spirit, but then he’s explaining the state of her father to her and a brow lifts up when he mentions that they were, indeed, to go home. “We’re going home, shuga,” she adds encouragingly to her, the smile infectious. “We’re going to have to pack up, hm? And get Chicken Shit ready.”

“For now,” Waine replies to Vaputero still being alive, mopping up the last of the sauce on his plate with a hunk of bread. Chewing and then swallowing a smirk appears on there being unfinished business between Jaya and her former boss, “You’ll find yourself standing in line to take your turn with that one.” It’s her next though about home, her sister and men with big appetites that has a slightly sheepish expression falling into place, “Could be you fed one of my brothers then. He once spoke of a trader girl that had the voice of a harper. Said she could fight, feed or fuck any man into submission.” And then he abruptly halts and clears his throat as he remembers the little person sitting with them.

Luckily for Waine, Hope had just spied one of the ‘targets’ that Jonavan had her terrorising during her stay at the Hall and its not long before a mushy glob of what was on her plate goes sailing through the air and splats against the poor man’s back sending the toddler into an eruption of giggles. “Hope winna cookie!” So –that’s- where she’d been getting all the treats from then. And then Jaya says those three magic words and the little girl’s face fairly lights up, “Hope go see S’hole?” – “When he’s done sleeping, baby girl,” Waine adds with a glance going Jaya’s way. While he lunges to the side, he’s not quick enough to capture the toddler as she scrambles off her chair and makes a dash toward the exit of the dining hall, “Hope get Chicken Shit.” And unless Jaya’s quick enough, she’ll be gone in a flash back toward the room they’d shared with Jonavan for the maze of corridors have become as familiar to her as those of the Weyr by now.

“I’ve been standing in line,” Jaya counters easily on her former Bitran boss, her tone easy. “It’s not my worry.” There’s a short pause before interest brightens her tone on Waine’s latter, the barkeep frowning slightly as she asks, “You all ran with us once? Still? Who?” The crass words that follow gets some husky laughter from her before she gestures upwards with the sweetroll before stating, “Ahh, voice of a harper, you say? Then that must have been my sister. Men used to joke that a little feline could claws the eyes off a wher and still the sound would be better than mine’s.” Head tilting slightly as she grins through her own self-deprecating joke, “How did you get involved with us? I figured you were a Tillek man, maybe…..”

Then Hope catches her attention when she throws that missile, eyes widening a fraction as it hits target. “I did not teach you that,” she drawls, having a feeling she knows who. “There’s some cookies back in Jonavan’s room, shuga. Hope’s eyes light up at the thought of seeing Max, Waine’s cryptic answer getting a frown from her, and before she could question, the little girl is scrambling down and racing off. “Hope!” Jaya shoots up from her seat, dropping the sweetroll to the ground as some of he healers look around at the commotion. Cursing, “I know where she’s going,” she tells Waine, moving away from the table. “Best we go catch her before she does something I would do along the way.”

There's a flash of understanding when Jaya speaks of waiting in line to take her turn at Vaputero which Waine states somewhat cryptically, "Maybe you should get Max to teach him how to fly, eh?" Especially considering the last time the southern crimelord tried to teach someone to fly (Crud) it didn't work out all that well for the subject. "Met Max in Tillek, didn't say I was from Tillek," Waine responds with a grin attaching and then shakes his head on whether he'd run with the Dicori clan or not, "Naw, not me. One of my brothers headed up Bitra way. Might even still be there." A broad shouldered shrug is given but something in his tone suggests that he knows exactly where his older sibling is. He looked about to add more on the topic of traderwomen with sharp claws and a voice to take the sting away but then Hope's doing a runner.

Waine leaps up after Jaya and being as big as he is winds up bumping into the table, slopping the contents of drinks all over the place and knocking his chair over backwards. So much his trying to be a discreet presence at the Healer Hall. "Lemme guess, Jonavan?" amusement threads into his tone for the child's antics as he takes off at a jog after Jaya.

Hope had gotten as far as the busy intersection where several corridors cross each other and unsure of which one to take is currently hunkered down behind a potted plant waiting for one of the adults she knows are probably hot on her heels to come streaking by.

How to fly? There’s a touch of something dangerous to her smile, her chin lifting as Jaya states, “Now that would be interesting to see.” Brows lift more when Waine relates to her that he wasn’t from Tillek, the woman looking all the more ready to question him since he seems amiable to talk – and that also means that Max couldn’t that badly hurt if his second was in the calm mood that he was – but then there’s a toddler on the loose. She only has time to toss over her shoulder at him, “You’re going to have to tell me all about that!” before heading off, her eyes darting every which way along with calling out to her. “Hope, hey!” Finding that Waine’s on her heels, she turns to him when he questions the ‘who’ that was in charge of the child’s antics and she tosses out, “Yep. Who else would be so bold but the masterhealer?” in a dry tone. Then she’s off again, calling out the girl’s name until she’s approaching the intersection where the potted plant was.

Given that Waine is generally of an affable nature and that he’s a master at masking things to begin with, his demeanour is likely not the best manner in which to gauge a situation. Which means that Jaya is unfortunately, going to have to wait and decide for herself on which side of the fence Max’s injuries have put him for right now catching up with the runaway Hope is the first order of business.

Waine narrowly misses bowling over a petite healer and only just manages to side-step an orderly, both of whom send him a glare of disapproval. “No running in the corridors,” a matronly journeywoman calls out in commanding tone. “She started it,” Waine calls back, flashing the woman a grin so that it seems as if it were Jaya rather than the two turn old they’re both after that is responsible for such hi-jinks.

Hope hearing her name being called stifles a giggle in her hiding place and she times it just perfectly for just as Jaya is a step or two passed her, she leaps out directly into Waine’s path and with arms throw out wide shouts, “Boo!” There’s just no way such a big man, can stop in such a short distance. Waine tries to do so but ends up hooking the leg of a chair with his boot and lurching forward. Hands make a grab for something, anything, to stop him going down and considering how close on Jaya’s heels he’d been, she runs the risk of being taken down with him if she’s not quick enough to step out of harm’s way.

The command from the matron does little to stop Jaya, the barkeep passing the potted plant to go in the direction of Jonavan’s room when she suddenly hears a ‘Boo!’ behind her. She turns too late – stops too late – finding the large man looming over her and heading towards her before she could get away. Before she could call out, and only seeming to manage to throw out a hand as if to stall the oncoming fall, both barkeep and second are going down. One hopes the little girl is not in the crossfire! “Ack!” There is just no helping what is about to happen.

Score!! Or so Hope would likely have yelled out were she a few turns older when her devious little plot proves to be a resounding success with not only Waine but also Jaya going down in a tangle of arms and legs. As it is she flings her little body on top of the pile that is now completely blocking the walkway laughing and giggling with glee. "Hope winna nuva, cookie!" Best fun evuh!

As to Waine, he was at least able to get his hands out in time, which considering his sheer size is a good thing or else there might have had some 'splaining to do to his boss when he returned Jaya looking like a dragon had sat on her. For a moment or two he just lays there blinking not too sure how he got down there in the first place and then Hope flings herself onto his back, her first shout of triumph followed by, "Gidyap wunner!!" He can't help it, laughter rumbles in his chest as he shifts to one side to allow easier access for Jaya to squirm out from under him while reaching an arm behind his back to hold onto the toddler, "Looks she's done this before, eh?" Pointed amusement sent to the faint purpling that still shows across Eastern barkeep's nose.

With Hope squealing like she does and Jaya on the ground, she fits a short-standing scowl onto the little girl. Waine’s laughter has her laughing a little too though, especially when Hope seems to be thinking that the second has become her runner. “A handful,” she drawls, moving to crawl to her feet when Waine shifts to give her access to do so. “She’s a handful.” She gets to her feet then and reaches out with arms for Hope to climb up on to lure her from Waine’s back when he nods towards her injured nose. Wrinkling said nose a bit as she hesitates for one second to consider what to give him, “Naw, Hope didn’t do that,” she tells him then shaking her head as she brushes a hand over the poor nose. “Got into a little tiff at one of the local bars is all.” Yeah, play it down as much as she can, she will. Sniffing, “The other guy looked worse, even before I hit him. Come on, Hope. Let’s go get packed for home, eh?”

Jaya scowls and peering over Waine's shoulder, Hope sends her the most beatific of smiles, dark eyes thrown wide with feigned innocence. A handful indeed! The big southerner hauls himself and his little human backpack upward; completely ignoring the dirty looks they're being given as foot traffic once again finds a path through which to flow. "Takes one to know one," he states with a wink and then he's unwrapping small arms from the strangling grip they have about his neck and throat and handing Hope over to her minder. "Mmhm, and your boy fell off his chair," he quips in response to her downplaying the injury to her nose.

"S'uga fall down," Hope adds her half mark's worth of explanation on Jaya's nose and then, once in the woman's arms plants a careful kiss to the afflicted area, "Hope make better." - "I'll wait here for you," Waine suggests already spying out a chair in which to fold his large frame and keep watch until they return. "Go pack now," the toddler tells Waine, "Hope go home!" Fairly beaming with joy at the prospect, "Hope see S'hole."

“Talking about yourself?” Jaya quips back on taking one to know one, the smile crooked in the face of Hope’s radiant smile. Some of that fades in light of what he says next, assuming that to mean Max and his injuries. Some of her worry is starting to creep back in and it’s openly plain on her face before she turns towards the toddler now in her arms. Hope delivers that kiss to her nose and she can’t but help to smile, reaching up to pull Hope close to her as she says, “You have, shuga. You’ve been a good girl.” They make it to Jonavan’s room and she lets herself in once Waine finds a chair, nodding to him before heading in and setting Hope back on the ground. “Get your things together, Hope,” she tells her then as she sets to stuffing all her clothes back into Hope’s carrysack. She’s grabbing her own as well, though there’s not much that she has to pack up – the tension between her and the masterhealer had her staying in the position of being able to pick up and leave at a moment’s notice. Once her things were put together, she looks over to watch Hope’s progress before she’s pulling out a sheet of hide with a writing stylus from her carrysack. She keeps most of her eye on Hope then as she pauses before scribbling down something for Jonavan, adding to the girl, “You got the chicken?”

The playfulness eases off of Waine's expression and he sends Jaya a slightly rueful smile, mentally kicking himself for having ruined his effort at distracting the woman by obliquely mentioning Max. Blue eyes track Jaya as she carries Hope off, a light frown lingering across the man's forehead and a quiet sigh slipping passed his lips. She'd find out soon enough.

With Jaya taking care of most of the packing, Hope crawls in under a chair and extracts a shoe which she then dumps into the carrysack. Next is a knitted ball stuffed with surgical wadding given her by one of the healers. Probably in a bid to get the child to throw something softer rather than the missiles Jonavan had been providing her with. Last but by no means, least, is her beloved chicken that she'd let loose in the apartment before going for breakfast and which she summarily stuffs back into its crate. Curiosity draws her over to where Jaya is settled with hide and stylus, "Hope want w'ite Bastard too." Quickly understanding what her caregiver was doing by what she'd said at the breakfast table.

Jaya puts down the finishing touches to the short note before looking up and finding Hope running about and putting things away. She watches her for a moment, thinking on some of what Waine has let slipped in trying to reassure her on Max’s condition. Not really sure what to expect, the last of the easy grace she had starts to fade the more of she thinks about it before she finds Hope next to and stating that she wanted to write Jonavan too. Brows lifting, “Who taught you to write?” she asks, hesitating before she folds the hide in half and flips before giving Hope the blank side. Passing over a writing stylus as well, “What are you going to tell him, hm?” she asks her, curiosity there in her voice as she fits a quick look about the room to see if there was anything of theirs left and needed to be packed.

Hope of course can't write but she understands the concept well enough it seems for once Jaya hands over the writing stylus out comes her little tongue and she licks the tip like she's seen adults do so many times before. With great concentration she pulls the folded hide closer and starts to draw a rather lopsided circle. "Hope say…" pausing as two dots are placed within the circle, "Wuv Bastard." Tongue peeking out at one corner of her mouth a shaky curved line is added just beneath them so that if looked at from the correct angle, it resembles a very crude, smiley face. Setting the stylus down the toddler beams up at Jaya and then tugs at her hand, "Hope go home now."

Jaya watches Hope try to figure out the concept of writing, her words spoken drawing a lopsided smile from her. When she looks down, all she sees is a drawn happy face, and she smirks all the more to that. “I think Bastard would know that this was your work, shuga,” she drawls, taking the hide and stylus from her. “And, I think he will know what this means, too, shuga.” With that, she smoothes out the sheet before folding it up all over again, this time in quads before getting up and setting it down with his name on it on a table where he could see it. At Hope’s announcement, she picks up both of their sacks and slings them on each shoulder before holding out a hand for Hope to grab. “You’ll see him again, I’m sure,” she drawls down to her with certainty, much less sure if the same could be said of him wanting to see the barkeep again. “He’s going to miss you.” With that, she’ll lead them out of the room, closing the door behind her once Hope and her are out of the room.

The head of dark curls moves up and down in a vigorous nod, "Hope w'ite!" Thoroughly pleased with her efforts it seems. Little hand curled about Jaya's the toddler pauses in the doorway and sends a lingering look back into the quarters they'd shared with her godfather during their stay at the Healer Hall. Then she tilts her head back and sets the woman with a long look as she closes the door behind them, "S'uga miss Bastard?"

There’s pleased laughter from Jaya at Hope’s initial words, the barkeep idly running a hand through the girl’s curly hair in response before they head out. She looks back when the toddler does, seeming to wonder what the other is seeing before she poses that question. It’s unexpected, the Bitran woman blinking back at that long look being sent her way. Looking about them, “Not like you do, shuga,” she says more solemnly than she wanted to. “I miss how he used to be.” She probably won’t understand, so perhaps that is why she’s comfortable to tell her. Squeezing the girl’s hand in the silence to cut off any further words on the masterhealer, “Come on, shuga. Waine’s waiting,” she gives, leading them away from the door and towards the area where Waine was left seated.

Having grown strongly attached to her in their time spent away from the Weyr, Jaya's hand ruffling through her hair has the toddler leaning in toward the woman to nuzzle her cheek against her leg. But as predicted, she doesn't understand the reply to her question though she does seem somewhat satisfied with it for she's easily led back to where Waine is waiting for them. "S'hole sleeping," she solemnly repeats what Waine had told her as to why it is that Max isn't there to fetch them back.

Waine had started to grow a little antsy while the pair were gone, not sure how long the fellis Max had been given would keep him knocked out and preferring to get Jaya and Hope back before he woke up. His hope was that if his boss woke up to find Jaya at his side that he'd maybe not be quite as pissed off as he was otherwise likely to be for his second having taken matters into his own hands. And so it's with some relief that he meets their return. Quick to his feet he offers to take one of the carrysacks from Jaya as he gives the two a quick once-over, "You two warm enough?"

Jaya hitches up a grin to the little girl’s response to her hair-ruffling before they find Waine and she lifts one of her shoulders to indicate the carrysack to mean they are packed. She hands over Hope’s own to Waine when he leaps to his feet, “We traveled light,” she tells him, “considering we had little time to do so. I suppose the dragonrider is taking us back?” M’las, as she recalls his face, but not his name. She nods to his question before looking down Hope’s way as if checking twice, the woman adding, “Jonavan got us some warm clothes. We’re ready.” She will give the Hall a once-over as she stands there since it may be that she’ll never see it again.

The pack handed to him is shouldered and having slipped into an oddly shaped silence Waine gives a nod to it being the same rider that had brought them up to Fort. Leading the way and hunching down against the cold as they exit the building, Waine turns a long look over to Jaya as snowflakes start to spiral downward, "Ready?" The question a loaded one as M'las and his brown move over to where they stand under a small awning that provides minimal shelter rather than have the trio trek across the length of the Courtyard.

Jaya catches that loaded question pouring from Max’s second before eyes slightly narrows, the woman not sure whether to response in light of the tone she hears. She follows him with Hope at hand, them both a few paces behind. “Ready enough,” is all she’ll give in answer to that, her apprehension returning to the fore as she nods her wordless greeting to M’las. It’s to him that she offers her own carrysack to be packed before turning towards Hope, adding to her, “You ready, shuga?”

Waine's mouth twists briefly about a shallow smile and then he's handing Hope's carrysack up to M'las. That done he waits on hand to offer Jaya a helping hand in mounting. The toddler as always is captivated by the dragon and is currently murmuring unintelligible words to the big beast that is until Jaya addresses her. "Weady!" she declares lifting her arms to be picked up, dark eyes so like those of her father and grandmother sparkle with anticipation that is twofold, both for returning home and for getting the chance to ride a dragonback.

Jaya watches Waine closely, watching that smile before she takes the offered hand and mounts the brown dragon with the ease born of now getting used to being on the beasts. She sends a smile over towards Hope once she announces that she was ready, having picked her up and carried her up with herself to sit right infront of her protectively. Looking over at M’las, there was so much that she wanted to ask him but staves off since she was sure the man wouldn’t share here. So she secures herself tightly with Hope in the front, wrapping arms about the girl and waiting for the men to follow suit in mounting in heavy silence.

There's a whole lot M'las could have told Jaya but she'd been correct in assuming that he wasn't likely to, especially not in the presence of the little girl, he and Waine merely exchanging a look as the big second settles himself behind Jaya and straps in. With the snow starting to fall thicker, dappling across the brown and his passengers, the brownrider pulls his goggles down over his eyes and sends back a grin, "Alright then, hold on tight." Fair warning considering the abrupt manner in which the dragon takes to the flurried skies and with a few great sweeps of wings to gain enough height, blinks into the blackness of Between carrying its precious cargo back to where they rightfully belong.

The note left behind for Jonavan when he should arrive back north leaves this upon reading the top half of the sheet:

Hey Jonavan,

We’re southbound. Send gratitude to Ellis for me. You can take a dash of it for yourself. Or more than half. It’s been…real.


Looking at the bottom half of the same sheet would find a crudely-drawn sketch of a happy face, which looks very much like it was done by a child's hand.

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