Indira.jpg Jaya.jpg Keane.jpg Ralik (NPC'd by Jaya)

Date: July 26, 2011
Location: Eastern Weyr: Headwoman Office and Jaya's bar / The site that was the Blood and Bucket, Telgar area
Synopsis: Ralik delivers Keane's notes to Indira and Jaya, and the two ladies take the trip north to bring the grief-stricken owner of the Blood and Bucket back to Eastern Weyr.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya

Ralik worked as fast as he could given the circumstances, but it’s hard to flit from the north to the south unless you own a dragon of your own. As it is, he made haste to the closest Weyr from the burned-down Blood and Bucket tavern with two letters burning holes in his pockets with the hopes of catching a dragonrider for himself. Normally getting one was easy when you could flash around names – names like Serevan can get you far in various circles – but there were times….

He reached Telgar Weyr and was on a dragon within the hour – H’van wasn’t a regular he used so he had to convince the greedy man with marks. Next thing he knew, the blue dragon was spiraling down on Southern’s morning air, landing in the bowl with a thump. Ralik and H’van was down and off in moments, the informant clearly on a mission based on time. It didn’t take her long to find the Headwoman’s office, brushing passed her guard if he could and sweeping into the room if the door was not blocked or closed. One of the letters is out and in his hand as if in preparation of landing it on her desk.

Having just concluded her morning meeting with those that answer to her, Indira is to be found seated behind that imposing desk of hers with dark blonde brows drawn toward each other in concentration as she tallies a long line of figures. With Ralik having been successful in dodging Doran at the door the ensuing burst of the man into her office followed by the ensuing growl of threat coming from the big guard is enough to immediately snap the Headwoman’s attention upward.

A blonde brow cocks upward and Ralik is set with a querying look before sloe eyes drop to the letter he holds in his hand, “Yes?”

Ralik is barely paying Doran any mind, the informant shaking his head to him before he finds the Headwoman alone in her office. When she speaks, he walks in fully and drops the letter right on top of anything that she was working on or reading. His tone is brisk: “Name’s Ralik and I work for the crimelord up in Nabol,” he explains briefly before nodding towards the letter to get her attention there. “I’ve been sent to give you that. It’s urgent.” When open, the letter would simply read -

This is Keane. Urgent trouble up in Telgar. Bar has been burned down. Rordan is dead. Use Ralik to send my way this list. I am fine and will send you something proper once I get situated.

The letter has a list attached to it of things needed for outdoor sleeping and healing care. Ralik waits expectantly.

Indira leans back slightly in her chair when Ralik drops the letter on her desk, sloe eyes narrowing onto the informant as he gives his name and that of the man he works for. “You should probably be dealing with Max,” she notes as she leans forward and takes up the missive, assuming this to be business between crimelords.

That assumption however isn’t enough to curb the woman’s curiosity and she opens the message anyway and scans through it going pale as the words written there slam into her. For all that they’re written in familiar hand anger starts to flash through her ashen visage, “Is this some kind of sick joke!?”

But even as she asks and stands to her feet, a steadying hand set to her desk, the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach already tells her otherwise. Schooling all outward sign of emotion back behind a seemingly cold and unreadable mask Indira heads for the door. “Stay here!” given in brisk tone to Ralik then she’s gone out of her office at a brisk walk that’s just this side of being a run and headed in the direction of Jaya’s bar.

“It’s addressed to you,” Ralik answers immediately in regards to Max and the letter, standing by, his expression tight. He watches Indira read the letter with interest, her incredulous question getting a brief “I wouldn’t joke about this,” from him. One can easily assume the man hardly joked at all by the look on his face. When she got up and told him to stay here, the man was already turning towards the door stating, “Can’t, ma’m. I have a similar letter to deliver to the Weyr barkeep.” He knew where the bar was so he was keeping up a brisk pace behind her whether she liked it or not, his eyes firmly ahead of him.

Meanwhile, the bar was always a peaceful place in the mornings – even with a toddler now hanging about amongst barmaids and scarred-up barkeeps. This day Hayli had taken Hope off to the laundryroom with her while Jaya was helping to carry in some heavy shipment boxes. The crates were stacked outside the bar with her, Shijan and Suli working to transfer the crates from outside the bar to the storageroom behind the counter. Sweat beads the barkeep’s brow as she takes a break, wiping a hand across her face as she watches Shijan and Suli – more Shijan than Suli – work with a slight frown on her face. If she sees the Headwoman or the informant coming, she’s not verbally making any notice.

Along the way Indira collars one of her stores assistants, shoves the list attached to the letter into his hand and states in a tone that brooks no argument, “I want these supplies packed up and in my office by the time I get back to it.” – “Y-yes, Headwoman,” the young chap stutters nodding vigorously and is gone in an instant to do the woman’s bidding rather than find himself on the cutting edge of her sharp tongue. She doesn’t even question the letter that Ralik bears for Jaya or that he’s staying close on her heels rather than in her office.

“You two, leave,” Indira commands of both Suli and Shijan as soon as she’s close enough for her voice to carry without having to shout to do so. From out of a formidable expression her gaze finds Jaya and for a brief heartbeat in time the mask cracks just enough for a flash of fear and apprehension to show through and then she’s stepping aside to allow Ralik to deliver his message.

Ralik remains silent through the orders being given, merely watching all and none at once as he moves towards the bar. Indira’s order to Shijan and Suli seems to catch at least one by surprise. Shijan gives no question, the Headwoman being his real boss after all, and so he seems to melt into the shadows of the entrance as if another door had swallowed him up. Suli, however, is sending Indira a mutinous look before shooting a dark, “But I work here,” towards a shocked Jaya. Perplexed by this sudden arrival, Jaya straightens with a look going to Suli along with a confused, “Well, what-?” before catching that brief slip of an expression on the Headwoman’s face. Something was clearly up. When Ralik approaches the counter with a folded sheet of hide in his hand, the tension was rising. “Go get something to eat, Suli,” she gives since the barmaid was bristling at being ordered in such a manner by Indira, and when the older woman doesn’t move fast enough, “Now would be choice.” To Indira, “What’s going on?” and then she turns to Ralik and adds, “Hey, shuga. What happened?” The letter gets slid over the counter in the ensuing silence, the barkeep looking from one face to the other before reaching for the letter and reading it. Something cold and dark steals over her eyes when she reads it, the brief words seeming to hit her like wooden planks. Dark eyes flick up towards Ralik as she asks, “Is this for real?” – “Would I come all this way to send falsities?” is the informant’s cool rebuke, not liking his validity being challenged. “I’ve seen the man write those himself, for you and the Headwoman.” Jaya’s gaze flies to Indira’s then. “I’ve seen the damage done, myself.”

Any looks coming from Suli are ignored for the time being, Indira’s focus pinned solely to Jaya though one can be sure she’ll more than likely apologize to the tall Telgari later. The headwoman continues to hold her silence, sloe eyed gaze sitting heavily on the young barkeep as she reads the letter adding only a quietly spoken, “It’s in his hand,” on the heels of Ralik’s assurance on the validity of the message.

“The supplies are being gathered as we speak. We leave within the hour,” Indira states, any and all emotion scraped free from her expression. “Where’s Hope?” it suddenly occurring to her that the toddler isn’t present, “She needs to be taken to her father. He can keep an eye on her while we’re gone.” The brisk businesslike tone she adopts clear demonstration of the headwoman’s ability to take control of a situation and think on her feet no matter the personal involvement she might have in the matter.

“His whole life was in that bar,” Jaya says, frowning heavily as she slowly closes the letter back up. “And Ror-? This is not good.” Glancing towards Ralik, “Do you know who did it?” – “Not for me to say,” the informant answers so quick that one would think that he was expecting that question. “That’s something you will have to ask him.” Stepping back so that he has both barkeep and headwoman in his sights, “I am to deliver the letters and be on my way. I suggest you find a ride to Telgar.” Jaya nods to that, not liking the fact that Ralik wasn’t answering her question the way that she wants – especially since she well knows that he knows what went down. She turns to Indira then with a sigh, her face as stony as a mask as she keeps her worries inward. “Within the hour?” she echoes before nodding curtly, “Good. That should give me enough time to get some things too. As for Hope, she’s doing laundry with Hayli. I can get her to Max before we leave.” She’s as brisk as the Headwoman, keeping her voice level as she looks around the bar and tries to figure out what needs to be done. It was likely that she wasn’t going to be coming back for days, so she adds, “We best pack some clothes. I have no intention of leaving up there until things are settled,” she tells Indira, her gaze boring into the woman. “We need to let Max know, too. He’s going to want to know about this.” She had a feeling that, once she did get up there, that she wasn’t going to like the answers she was going to get from the old barkeep.

“I know,” Indira utters quietly in response to both the heavy loss sustained by Keane and that of Rordan’s life to which she adds in reference to the latter, “He had a wife and children up at Balen Hold. I’ll…have to send word.” It paining her to have to do so for she’d really liked the little plump blonde the one time she’d met her. With Jaya asking of Ralik who had perpetrated such an act against the Telgari barkeep, the Headwoman narrows a tight look onto the messenger when he evades answering but she holds her tongue merely giving an irritated toss of head.

In silence, arms folded lightly across her chest, Indira listens as the younger woman speaks, nodding her agreement and then gives in a terse tone, “I don’t plan on leaving him up there.” Keane that is. “He’s coming back with us even if that means you have to sit on him while I hogtie the man,” a poor attempt at humour injected to overlay her worry over what injuries her beloved Telgari barkeep might have acquired in the fire.

On the matter of letting her son know, Indira takes a step back her features setting to a grim line for the young crimelord was not going to take the news well, more so once he was put in knowledge that they planned on going up to Telgar, without him. “I’ll go pick Hope up from the laundry caverns and take her to Max. Shall I send Hayli back on to you? Also,” and here the older blonde pauses and produces a wry quarter smile, “Apologize to Suli on my behalf would you? It wasn’t my intent to ruffle feathers.

Jaya didn’t know that Rordan had a family, so she sends Indira a long look as she works to put her inventory lists away. She doesn’t look surprised to hear that she wasn’t planning on leaving Keane up there either, though the barkeep comments with, “He was never too fond of the south.” Until recently, that is. “Do you think he would?” There’s a hopeful tinge to her voice, it being an option of bringing the old barkeep down south with them. She looks around the bar, her mind in a whirl of that possibility as the other part of her is still anxious to see that he was alright. “I mean, where would he live? I don’t know if he would live here, as in, the Weyr, but… and what about all his work and the bar, and…” There was so much. It was enough to make her sigh and close her eyes. Shaking her head, “He must be….he must be just devastated, Indira. He put all his life into the Blood in Bucket. To have it all gone…” It’s enough to give her pause, looking at a loss as she continues to look around her own bar and imagine the same happening to her.

Jaya doesn’t protest the Headwoman picking Hope up, adding to those words, “Yes, please send Hayli back. I’m going to have her and Suli run the bar in my absence.” An absence that was starting to become slowly common with the barkeep. A hand reaching for Indira’s shoulder for the last, “And don’t worry about Suli. I’ll talk to her. She’s always been….prickly, about such things.” A smile is given, awkward at best, before she turns from her and nods to Ralik. “Max is likely busy out in the fields, so I’ll write him where we’ve gone. Would be deliver it to him before you go?” she asks the informant to which he answers, “Of course.” To Indira, “I’ll get packed now and meet you in your office.”

Despite the situation a small smile flickers to one corner of the Headwoman’s mouth on the matter of convincing the Telgari barkeep to join them in the south, “Oh, I’m sure I could find a way to convince him.” Not to mention that this was something she and Keane had already discussed during her last trip up to visit him. As to where he’d stay a light frown creases her forward and a soft sigh parts her lips. “He…could stay with me,” she states tentatively and then goes silent before adding quiet agreement, “His loss is enormous but perhaps its time he looked toward doing something for himself for a change, a new path, aye? Maybe go back to crafting knives out of the smithworks at Landing.” Again touching on things the two of them had spoken about.

It’s the sense of shared devastation in Jaya’s words and expression that has Indira moving to pull the younger woman into a brief hug when she reaches for her shoulder. “He’s going to be okay, darlin’,” though she sounds more like she’s trying to reassure herself than be a bastion of strength for Jaya, “Between you and me we’ll have him sorted out in no time at all.” Stubbornly believing it will be so.

The arrangements made for Ralik to deliver a message to Max are given a curt nod of approval. “Best we’re out of here before he catches wind and tries to send a posse with us.” For such a thing would simply hamper them despite the good intentions the young southern crimelord might have in doing so. Ralik is then given attention with the edge of a grim smile of gratitude attached, “Thank you…for letting us know.” Turning and heading toward the exit to get everything sorted out before they leave her words go to Jaya, “Bring booze.” Because they’re all likely going to need it. And then the Headwoman is gone, the sharp ring of her heels against rock marking the urgency in her pace.

“Stay with you?” Jaya gives Indira a curious look to that, clearly not realizing how deep things have progressed between the old barkeep and the Headwoman. The next gets considered enough that she does lapse into heavy silence, watching her for a moment before she nods and states, “He always wanted to get back into knife-making.” It still boggles her, however, but she shakes it off when Indira pulls her into a brief hug and she lifts an arm to her shoulder. “He will be,” she says woodenly to reassure them both. “He’s a tough sort.” Then she takes a step back and briskly look around before moving behind the counter. She only sends Ralik a heartfelt nod when Indira bids him thanks, the informant grunting before he turns and heads out of the bar. Jaya watches him leave before turning to the Headwoman, one of corner of her mouth lifting just a bit when she talks about bringing the booze, and her answer to that is a lift of one of the bottles in agreement.

-To Telgar –

The day is cold and crisp with little wind blowing in Telgar. It’s almost as if the land was mourning with haziness of the land around them. The brownrider dropped them down right at the site of what used to be the Blood and Bucket bar. There’s a makeshift tent being pinned up by trees with a little fire set before it for cooking. Keane is here, sitting in front of the tent with a stick of some white sizzling over the fire when the whoosh of the brown dragon got him attention. He looks haggard, ragged and worn – like he had aged a few turns in a matter of one day. Grim lines touch his mouth and eyes as he watches the dragon descend, not getting up from his overturned log perch to investigate. He didn’t feel like much of anything this day, anyway.

The moment the brown had broken from Between, Indira had begun scanning the ground below as it loomed closer so that by the time they were deposited at the burn site she’d drawn a few shades paler for the destruction wrought. For many a long moment she’s able to do little but stare at the blackened ruins and then with an angered toss of head she hefts one of the two carrysacks she’d brought with her and turns. It’s only then that the makeshift tent and more importantly the devastated man seated before it and the small cooking fire catches her attention. A man she had come very close to losing. That’s when all composure flees the usually in control Eastern headwoman and with a sob captured in her throat she quickly closes the distance, tears starting to track silently down her cheeks.

You should have come on dragon rather than sending some fucking letters,” Jaya seems to be scolding the moment she’s free of the dragon and its rider, the woman turning with a bag of supplies from the beast. Keane looks at her with hard eyes, but one could tell that the man has not gotten any sleep. She stalks close, her eyes flicking over to Indira with some veiled concern as she passes her and crouches down. Keane’s eyes move towards Indira then as Jaya unpacks, watching the Headwoman before he straightens up and states, “Indira. I…..I didn’t hope that my note was a burden, but I just…” and he shakes his head, his eyes immediately drawn towards the black, charred remains of his life’s work. She’s coming close, and he’s reaching for her – for now the young barkeep by his side forgotten in the face of those tears that she’s shedding for him. To have her cry for him was too much, and he wanted to embrace it away, adding in a lower voice, “Indira….”

“He’ll be going back on one, today!” Indira states grimly on the heels of Jaya’s comment. Good luck fighting these two, buddy. The Headwoman misses any looks coming from Jaya as she passes by, her full attention fixed onto Keane, searching for any signs of injuries as she drops to a crouch before him alongside the younger barkeep.

There’s a shake of head and a hard swallow in response to the Telgari’s words on being a burden and then she’s leaning forward into that reach for her, arms wrapping tightly about Keane and damp face burying into his neck. That lasts all of two minutes before anger borne of relief sets in and Indira jerks away to slam both palms into Keane’s chest hopefully not hard enough to knock him off the log he’s sitting on.

“You stupid bastard! I can’t leave you alone for more than a few sevens and look what happens. What if you’d died instead of Ror!? What would I have done then!?” tears stream freely as she chokes on sobs borne of panic and fear for having come perilously close to losing him as she had Max’s father. “You said…you’d never leave me, promised you’d be careful,” she accuses illogically sounding more like a small frightened child than the hard-as-nails Headwoman that had been running a Weyr almost single-handed for a turn. Rocking back on her heels, she puts the exhausted man under watery-eyed study, some of the heat starting to wane from her expression as a shuddering sigh escapes, “Sharditall Keane, I don’t want to be a widow before we’re even wed and Jaya doesn’t need to lose anymore people in her life either.” Yeah, she’s really not thinking straight is she? Especially not considering that Jaya is right there and likely thinking the Headwoman has taken a dive off the deep end.

Keane looks more taken aback by Indira’s adding comment in regards to him returning on a dragon than Jaya, and so he exchanges looks with her as she pauses in her rummaging before he turns his body towards the Headwoman. At most, his injuries were cuts and bruises, some fresh on his hands from clearly having to dig Rordan’s grave. His eyes even track towards the fresh-looking mound underneathe the very tree he was perching under but on the other side – half-hidden by the thick base trunk. Jaya follows where he looks and slowly gets to her feet to investigate it in silence. Looking there as Indira falls into his arms, the stiffness probably felt from the strain of the labor done in digging the grave, “A dragon? Now, Indira, I-“ but then, her anger slams into him full force both literally and figuratively. He rears back in shock, it working as a bucket of ice cold water from the slumping stupor he was under. Both Jaya and the dragonrider looks on through Indira’s tirade, and the old barkeep is staring deeply onto her face as he tries to rationalize through the last day and her fretful words. No anger ever touches his face – it’s a mixture of frustration, sadness, and being at a loss on what to do. He’s silent through it all, even after the storm that is Indira blows over, and then the Bitran steps up to them with a long look towards the Headwoman before quietly asking, “Who did this?”

“I tell you and then what?” Keane breaks his silence, his eyes never leaving Indira’s as he reaches up to touch a strand of her hair. “You go and declare good ole’ Dicori vengeance? You’re in enough trouble as it is, Jay.” Jaya shakes her head and looks away, “So then it’s something worth claiming vengeance for,” in other words, the torching wasn’t an accident. Keane realizes the slip and curses, shaking his head and closing his eyes. “Fuck it all, I don’t want you ladies involved in this,” he says aloud to encompass them both. Eyes open and he addresses Indira now with, “Luv, you’re not going to lose me, hear? It’s going to take a whole lot more than this to get rid of me.” It’s much easier to sound brazen when he was a puddle of nerves watching the Blood and Bucket burn to then ground last night. “I worry more about Rordan’s family than me. I’ve got obligations to tie up here…” – “Then we’ll tie them up together,” Jaya cuts in with an determined air, Indira’s speech seeming to lend her some boldness. “Indira’s right. You’re coming south with us either with dignity or with shame. This time, I help you.”

It’s only once her tirade has ended and Indira pauses to take a few deep breaths that she notices the cuts on Keane’s hands, lifting first one and then the other to her lips. “Thank you,” she says quietly for his having buried Rordan, deep sadness echoed in sloe eyes that track after Jaya as she goes to investigate the freshly dug grave. When her red-rimmed gaze returns to Keane there’s a faint flush of embarrassment that accompanies it for having lost her cool in such a way. It doesn’t last long in light of Jaya’s question and his ensuing reply. “Whoever did this,” Indira states her expression hardening into a cold and unforgiving line “is going to pay.” And that’s no idle threat. “I became involved the day you gave my son your backing and the Aloujah never forget a debt owed.” That last spoken in a low growl of promise that is meant to be between just the two of them but may or may not make it to Jaya’s ears too.

For a long moment, Indira is silent, still under Keane’s bold assurance of not losing him and then with a wan smile she leans forward and brushes a gentle kiss to his lips before murmuring against them, “Good, because then I’d be really pissed off and I’d be forced to dig you up just to smack you with a shovel.” Interesting threat. On the matter of Rordan’s family there’s a soft sigh and slowly she stands and makes her way over to his grave where she hunkers down and trails her fingers over the mound of dirt. “Together we stand, together we fall. Always as one, or nothing at all. What’s mine is yours, what’s yours is mine,” the pledge of loyalty quietly intoned in a voice respectful of the sacrifice made. Standing and dusting her hands off, Indira turns a look back onto Jaya and Keane, “His family are my responsibility. I’ll see that they’re taken care of.”

With Jaya checking the grave, “He was a friend,” Keane gives on her thanks, the man shaking his head wearily. He was tired, it was clear to see. The man barely slept the previous night, having chosen to watch his smoking bar and stay vigilant by Rordan’s side until morning. Indira’s anger on who has done all this gets his hand to lift and touch the side of her face as if the gesture would calm her before stating, “In time, love. In time. Right now, we have more pressing matters than revenge.” He regards her when she speaks on being involved already, not protesting the matter. Instead, he leans over to bring her close, to hug her and release some of the tension from his stiff frame as he states in a voice low enough for only the Headwoman to hear, “I’ve missed you more last night than I’ve had in months.” He pulls back then to see her face, studying her for a moment before a sigh escapes and he turns to find Jaya returning to them. Kiss from Indira is returned then along with a hoarse sort of short laughter to her quip as he tightens his hold on her arm and tries to finally stand. “I know you have stake in his family,” he speak aloud on Rordan now, “but so do I. I want to be a part of them being taken care of, love. You and I will deal with them. And Lorien,” and on this, he looks at Jaya, who’s watching them both. “I need to deal with Lorien. He’s going to want to know – if he doesn’t already.” To Indira, “Do you know where exactly Rordan’s family is located?”

There’s a wan edge of a smile that fits to Indira’s mouth as she turns her head into Keane’s touch. “Mmm, like getting you fixed up and fed,” a dubious look going the way of whatever it was he’d been cooking when they’d arrived. Pulled into that wrap of his arms, hers slide up his back, running palms in a light press over stiff muscles. A turn of head and Indira’s nuzzling her face in against his neck inhaling Keane’s scent that lingers despite the overlay of smoke, ash and blood. “I wish I’d been here,” she returns quietly to his low words, “Maybe I could have…” words trail off with a helplessly frustrated shake of head. Could have what? Possibly gotten herself killed too? Meeting that study coming from him the smile that turns out in response is small and laced heavily with regret for the losses sustained. “What you need is sleep,” her no-nonsense Headwoman tone adopted as she braces herself and wrapping an arm about his waist helps the exhausted man to his feet.

“We’ll do it together then,” she promises on taking care of Rordan’s family and then tacks on, “Up near Balen Hold,” as to where they are to be located. Dark eyes follow Keane’s shift of attention to Jaya and a slight frown forms at mention of the Telgari crimelord. “You need to rest,” she reiterates sending a pointed look the younger woman’s way, “Let Max and Jaya take care of it.” The inflection of tone used suggesting the pair were working far more closely together these days than before.

Just then the dragonrider who had gone to do a quick scout of the immediate vicinity returns, a sweeping look encompassing the three clustered together under the tree. “Brometh checked in with our contact at the Weyr. Thread falls at first light,” he notes grimly, “Best we’re long gone before then.”

"And where do you plan to do that?" Keane seems to almost tease about Indira's first - the getting fixed up and fed. "A bath. I could really, really use a hot soak." The meal he was cooking was promptly lifted from its stick and he waves it her way to see - some sort of meat, clearly, though it wasn't smelling all that well. It was still half-cooked, too as he drops it back into the fire. Holding her though, that was what he wanted right now. Her wish to be there gets a quick, "And then I would be putting more than one to the grave. I cannot handle that." Now he's to his feet as she mentions he needs sleep, and it's like his body suddenly remembers that he does. He sways enough even in Indira's arm-help that Jaya is by his side and stating, "A nice bed should suffice, I think, right? Are we taking him back?" - "Jaya-" Keane seems to protest, shaking his head as he adds, "I can't leave Telg-" - "You'll leave if you want that warm soak," Jaya cuts him off, sending Indira a look. "So I'll hear none of it."

Keane subsides when the Headwoman mentions that they can visit Rordan's family together and where they were located. He doesn't, however, make the connection in regards to the relationship between Max and Jaya being more than it is, his mind more on immediate matters like food and sleep. Reluctantly, he nods to that, though he adds, "Lorien's going to want to see me," with a bit of 'old man' stubborness. He was going to add something else when the dragonrider returns, the old barkeep frowning at what he hears. "My Thread maps were in the bar…" he states to no one in particular, looking around at what remains of the Blood and Bucket tavern. Jaya asks, looking over Keane towards the woman, "Where to first, Indira?" for as far as she was concern, she was finished with the area since she took down the makeshift tent and knocked out the bonfire. The less evidence of further occupation, the better.

“Right here,” Indira replies through the glimmer of a smile for let it never be said that the woman comes unprepared. One of those two bulging carrysacks she has with her contains basic medical supplies and a clean set of man’s clothing while the other has food and skins of clean water. When Keane waves that stick of rank smelling meat about, she calmly reaches for it and if successful will pluck it out of his hands and toss it away to land somewhere in the dirt, “I meant real food.” Clearly the woman has once again regained her equilibrium for next a brow lifts and a cold smirk settles into place on putting another body into a grave, “It wouldn’t be mine.” She’s that sure of herself? Clearly so.

With Jaya stepping in to assist Keane from the other side, Indira sends the younger woman a grateful look. “You mind our Jaya here or there’ll be no massage to go with that hot soak or breakfast in bed the next morning either,” added to the Eastern barkeep’s admonishment in her best ‘no nonsense’ voice though it lacks any real heat or snap to it and carries instead undercurrents of warmth. It’s the dragonrider’s return and comment about Thread that has Indira once again meeting Jaya’s gaze. A moment’s hesitation and then, “Home.” Back to the southern continent and back to the Weyr and in counter to her earlier words of the when and where to getting the older man fixed up and fed. And just in case Keane protests again about meeting with Lorien personally, she adds, “F’rago here will bring you back to meet with Lorien after you’ve had some rest.” There see? She can be reasonable.

Keane looks almost relieved to hear that Indira has brought the supplies per letter, nodding to her and taking a look around the make-shift little camp he had made. “As for real food,” he notes as he watches her throw away what was essentially his ‘meal’, “this must be your way of enticing me to go live at the Weyr, eh? Bet you a whole mark that that meal you just threw would taste better, unless it’s really true that the dragonriders eat better than us simple folk.” With Jaya helping him up along with Indira, and he pauses when Indira makes the decision to take them home. “I think Indira here can set you up so nice that you’ll forget that you’re living in a Weyr,” Jaya notes wryly, releasing her hold on the man once she feels he’s regained some of his footing. Keane snorts, sending her a look along with a dry, “You’re acting like my bar burning up was a good thing, kid. Well it ain’t. Had my whole life in that tavern.” To Indira, resignation in his voice as his looks around what is left of the Blood and Bucket, “Suppose there’s not much choice. Pride must go before a hot bath and some decent food in my stomach. I’ll need to come back here and see what all can be salvaged once it cools though. Tomorrow would be good. Think I could get a rider out?” he looks from one woman to the other, to which Jaya replies with a quick look towards Indira, “I don’t see why not.” He subsides with a healthy grunt once it’s been decided on him being able to see Lorien later, turning now with a gesture of his chin towards the dragonrider as he says, “Alright, alright then! Take me on your dragon. The sooner out of this cold, the better.” Yeah, blame the weather. It’s easier that way.

Despite the severity of the situation a small amount of amusement trickles into Indira’s expression. “Mmm, because you left the Weyr after your visit starving and wasting away for lack of good food, hmm?” teasing lightly as she casts a look over to Jaya for her comment, “In fact if you’re good I might know a Headwoman that might be willing to share her bed with you.” A faint frown traces out for his reply to the younger woman of the two, “No love, not good by any stretch of the imagination but now maybe its time to look at making yourself a new life, aye?” Slightly pointed the look that turns back onto Keane as she drops reminder of the conversation they’d had the last time she’d been to visit him. “Max is going to want a full report when we get back,” that sent to Jaya with edges of worry shading her tone for her son was likely to pitch a fit second to none for their not having waited for him to go with them.

“A hot bath, good food,” Indira states going back to the Telgari’s words of earlier the arm wrapped about his waist giving a small squeeze of encouragement, “and a good night’s sleep and we can come back tomorrow to see what can be recovered.” Stressing the ‘we’ part of that for there was no way she was going to let him come back on his own. Not after he had narrowly escaped with his life. Once again amusement threatens to twitch at her lips when Keane finally gives somewhat grouchy agreement to being taken back to the Weyr. However, in the short path back to where Brometh is patiently crouched she pauses and casts a look around, “That brute of Rordan’s,” the big black canine that had belonged to the man, “Did it…make it out?” For as much as the creature sets her on edge, she’s not so heartless as to leave it behind to fend for itself with its master gone.

"Well, now, that was different," Keane is quick to note on his last trip down to the Weyr, a finger briefly lifting at Indira. "You know it. I was in your most of that time." Jaya snorts at that. "But you know, I know a Headwoman willing to share, too. We must know the same person." Just then, barking could be heard some ways into the trees, in which out pops the big black canine with a dead hare in its mouth. Jaya turns in time to see the beast make a wide path around the dragonpair and goes to drop the dead creature in his mouth right at Keane's feet. If that doesn't digust the Headwoman enough, perhaps the fact that the old barkeep bends down to pick it up by its neck to examine it. "Nice kill for a scruff," he notes before dropping it back on the ground and wipes his hands on his dirty trousers. He grunts thoughtfully on the idea of starting over, his eyes on the canine that is now nosing at the white meat on the ground that Indira had tossed. When Indira mentions Max to Jaya, the barkeep steps up and nods. "Yeah, and he's not going to be too happy, either," she notes to her with a look towards the charred remains of the bar.

Then Indira's enticing him with ideas of food and bathing and sleep, and Keane seems won over with a squeeze about her waist. "Aye," he states with resignation, nodding once. "Together. We'll bring carrysacks. I hope the knives made it through the fire." As for the dog, "We'll have to take him," Keane states, it being already decided. "Dunno how, though, but I can't leave him. He was Rordan's." Jaya steps forward, bending to run her hand into the black canine's fur as she offers, "I can stay behind and book us a passage to the south. Or steal one. Get me a fast runner and I can get back to Eastern with him for as long as the waters are calm." Apparently running the lands is something she's used to, the Bitran looking over at the pair and adding, "You two take the dragon home and I can catch a ship. I think he and I can get along," and she jerks a chin towards the canine now sniffing about Rordan's grave.

“Indeed,” Indira returns in a tone warmed with affection to all he says. But then that big black beast is making its appearance and she takes a quick step back and away from it leaving Keane to fend for himself in terms of staying on his feet. Being of hunter stock and having survived on such fare whilst on the road between High Reaches Weyr and Nabol, the dead hare is given only a brief glance of attention, the rest warily set on the canine itself and the way Keane interacts with it.

Jaya’s comment draws a flick of eyes her way then Indira’s gaze follows hers back to the blackened remnants of Keane’s life and for a moment she’s quiet, her jaw working tightly. Eventually hard and unforgiving eyes so much like her son’s slide back to the younger woman her voice held low to keep the next words between just the two of them, “Shit like this is what starts turf wars.” A long look pinning to Jaya and then in a more audible tone she adds with a lift of brow, “You go riding off on your own in such clearly troubled territory for the sake of getting this….this thing back to the Weyr, Max will come after you.” Wasn’t she just the one stating concern for the mutt’s whereabouts?

That affection is returned with ease, Keane having realized through the haze of all he’s lost how much he had missed the Headwoman by his side. He may not yet have gotten over the fact that this life he had worked turns on is over, but for sure he was glad that Indira was not one of the things he had lost. He notes her stepping free when the big black canine appears, amusement coloring his tone as he grunts, “Big brute ain’t gonna hurt ya. He’s more like to slobber on your clothes than bite.” He gives the canine another ruffle of his fur before turning towards the dragon. Jaya catches that comment Indira sends her way in regards to the bar burning, her own gaze falling on it with a heavy frown. “Very possible. I’d love to get my hands on who caused this, though,” and she makes a show of sending a look Keane’s way before adding, “and he who did it. Might be good to try and get it out of him, hm? Max is going to want to know.” Speaking of the southern crimelord, her offer to help get the canine to Eastern gets a wry, “Max will come either way. Do you have a better plan? I doubt we can get this beast strapped to the back of that dragon.” And a brow lifts with some amusement at that.

Having lost everything she’d ever worked for when she was thrown out of High Reaches Weyr with little but a carrysack to her name, Indira has come to learn in the past few turns what is truly important in life, thanks in no small part, to Keane. Thus it is that he’ll find her at his side every step of the way in building a new life for himself down on the Southern continent.

“Mmhm,” Indira gives in dubious return still eyeing the canine warily, “He slobbers on my clothes I’ll be the one doing the biting.” Yeah right. Sliding one of the carrysacks she’d brought with her off of her shoulder and holding it out to Jaya her next comment is kept low, “Darlin’, unless this was Lorien’s doing, then someone else has stepped on his territory and left a dark mark. No crimelord is going to let something like this go. Not given the ties Keane has to him.” A look is flickered in the Telgari’s direction as he makes his way to the dragon and then turns back onto Jaya with the steel edge of determination cast into the Headwoman’s expression, “I’ll get it out of him even if I have to tie him down to do so.” Right, because that would be such a terrible punishment. She can’t however help the small emergence of wry amusement for the idea of trying to strap the big canine to the dragon or the fact that wild whers probably wouldn’t be able to keep her son away from Telgar with Jaya staying behind to escort the mutt.

“You take these,” the carrysacks, “And Jaya, be careful. Stick to the treeline, Max can track, he’ll find you.” With that the older woman steps in and unless Jaya moves, will catch her up in a tight hug before stepping away with a quick swallow and a tight smile borne of worry in place. “You come back to us now, you hear?”

A brow arching, "You're willing bite that dirty canine?" Keane seems to tease, standing by the dragon as he watches Jaya with the beast. "That would be the day." Beat. "Lorien knows, I'm sure," he cuts into the conversation in regards to the crimelord, sniffing. "Nothing gets passed that man, I assure you. We'll straighten it out, he and I." Jaya, moving over from the beast to the Headwoman now, "You get it out of him," she states out of Keane's earshot, and then let me know." The grim look suggests she may already have a few ideas as to who would do a thing, but she's keeping it to herself. She takes the carrysacks off of Indira slowly and hefts them over her shoulder, nodding stiffly before she adds, "I've ran these lands while you and that son of yours was mingling with dragonriders up in the Reaches," and she adds a lopsided grin. "I can hold. The Dicori name still sheds some sort of fear into hearts, even if my face hasn't made its rounds up here lately." She gets drawn into that hug then, the barkeep raising a free arm over in a comforting manner before the embrace is broken. She finds Keane there as well, and he steps forward to press a hand on her shoulder with a nod and "Guess I'll see you down south, Dicori. Don't get yourself killed. Come on, luv." His hand moves to Indira's shoulder then to beckon her along, turning from the Bitran woman as he starts back towards the dragon. "Until then," is what Jaya gives to them both, the canine standing by her side and nosing after the bottom of the carrysack she holds as she watches them move away.

“Perhaps I’ll bite his new owner instead,” Indira is quick to toss the tease back at Keane. “Tomorrow. Bathe, eat, rest, first,” she reminds on the heels of his statement about sorting things out with Lorien. “You’ll know as soon as I do,” the headwoman agrees in response to Jaya’s lowheld return and then the edge of a wry smile flickers out in response to the younger woman being able to hold her own in the Telgari lands, “Of that I have no doubt.”

A heavy look drifts over the blackened ruins of the Blood and Bucket before Indira heeds Keane’s call to get going, her hand reaching for his at her shoulder and lacing her fingers through his as a last look passes over Jaya and the canine at her side . “Aye, time to go home,” a warm smile marks the significance of simply spoken words.

Indira's quip back to him does have Keane grunting his laughter, though it's short-lived when his eyes find the remnants of his bar. With a sigh and a firm nod, "Aye, tomorrow, luv." He responds warmly to her touch, and then at Indira's last words he finally forces his eyes away from the ruins and towards their waiting transport for home. Jaya collects both him and the Headwoman up into a fierce hug before stating, "Take good care of him before I get back, shuga," she directs at Indira before letting them go, and she plants a kiss on the old barkeep's cheek before he protests. Of course, protest he does, anyway with a grumbling of "…watch that cheek of yours, Dicori." Then Jaya steps back as the canine rears up with tail wagging for Keane to give him a similar farewell, and the man grunts as he ruffles the canine's head before he gestures for him and the Headwoman to leave. Jaya watches them, hand in hand, head back towards the dragon, not choosing to move from her spot until her former boss and friend was safely mounted and Between.

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