Simply Complicated

Participants:

Ahnika.jpg Jhath Merendezen.jpg Tuorth

Date: 5/1/2011 - IC: Turn 3, Month 1, Day 14
Location: Ahnika and Jhath's Weyr
Synopsis: M'zen and Tuorth pay a visit to the newly graduated Ahnika and Jhath in their new weyr. Talk ranges between the struggle of complicated relationships to simple interior decorating, but in the end, something happens to complicate the most simple of friendships.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Ahnika


The wet season though it may be, it is the evening of Ahnika’s first night in her private weyr and it is nothing but glorious sunshine for her. She has never, ever in her life had her “own room”. Not when she was with her foster family, not in the Lower Caverns, and not in the Candidate Barracks or Weyrling Barracks. She and Jhath had finally made it. The redhead smiles softly to herself, looking around the sparse but serviceable weyr. Despite the drab look of the place, it was hers and Jhath’s alone, and all the hard work paid off and then some, as far as Ahnika was concerned. It was their little private sanctuary. The smile fades as she realizes that the time has come to attend to a different matter altogether. It was really the appropriate thing to do, though the young woman couldn’t help but be apprehensive. Pulling out her one and only Gather dress carefully from her press, she spread it out across her cot and looked at it a moment. She’ll never be able to wear the thing again now. With a sigh, she moved on, selecting other items from her trunk and press, settling them down on the cot between the dress and an oversized woven basket. Staring at the items, she felt a little constricted, and began to loosen her hair and leathers, unbuckling her jerkin to let it hang off of her, revealing a simple light undershirt beneath it and unwinding the braid of her bun to shake out her red tresses. She sighs softly and rubbed one eye in weariness. Congratulations had been coming in throughout the day, some directly verbally and some through the mental link with Jhath, but for the moment it was quiet, likely because many of the rest of Eastern Weyr were having supper, bathing, or already in bed depending on their stations. At least that is until Jhath, somewhat sprawled out and enjoying the oversized ledge (compared to her couch), signals through the bond to Ahnika that they have visitors on approach: Tuorth and M’zen. Not having time to put everything back away, Ahni simply redid a few of her buckles across her middle for the sake of modesty before looking toward the ledge entrance.

Dragon> To Tuorth, Jhath offers a welcoming greeting that is genuine, quietly respectful but warm, as is Jhath's way. « Welcome, my Battle Brother. »

Tuorth's arrival is silent, not trumpeting as he normally does to announce his arrival. Perhaps out of respect or perhaps out of jealously, the bronze is silent even as M'zen dismounts upon the ledge and he even salutes the green with a polite smile before he gingerly pats the bronze hide of his lifemate. It takes a moment for him to examine the ledge and he nods his approval, remaining as silent as the bronze as the pair tends to be at the best of times. Calm, quiet, and composed are the two even if the bronze may be jealous. Zen walks towards the inner weyr, not waiting for permission from the green with the assumption that she has already warned her rider. “Ahni.” He calls out after a moment, but he doesn't enter the inner part of the weyr, for the respect of the woman, at least. He folds his hands behind his back and waits while Tuorth considers Jhath with a tilt of his head, and he chuffs a soft greeting.

Dragon> To Jhath, Tuorth's greeting comes with the heavy scent of bloodshed, soft battle cries in the background while drums pound the beat of a heavy battle while his voice is like the clang of metal. « Jhath. » The pause lasts only a moment for the battle begins to die down in volume though the fight is still waging. « You look as if you have settled in well. »

“Come on in, Zen,” Ahni greets as she moves aside some of the items on her cot, rarely ever getting used to the honorific in casual settings, though she was always good and respectful to address him as M’zen during more official moments in training. “It’s fine. I’m decent.” The items she moves aside Zen may recognize as mementos of her relationship with Max, from the more rough-hewn runner shoe to the wooden box containing the more delicately wrought necklace given to her on their anniversary. The dress remains where it is on her cot, but there’s room beside it to sit down now that Ahni has moved the other items. “I’d offer you a chair, but I don’t have one yet,” she smiles, which lifts some of the shadow in her eyes, “Maybe I can talk a crafter into a reasonable rate for one later in the month.” But she gestures to the spot on her cot for him to take if he wants it, and she moves over to take a seat on the edge of Jhath’s currently unoccupied couch.

Dragon> To Tuorth, Jhath doesn’t shy from the sounds of battle, if anything it is music to her mind-ears, though in a solemn way. The crackling warmth of her mind-fire grows a bit more, accompanied by her signature incense when she speaks, « We have. We have ascended to our keep and are pleased. How doth you and yours fare this evening? »

M'zen moves in at the permission she grants, no longer hesitating at the entrance. His eyes scan the room, thoughtful in his examination and picking out the tiniest details before his gaze is moving to find the greenrider and to the items that she moves. A brow lifts but he says nothing in response to seeing them, being that such a subject likely rests on shaky ground, still. He smiles slightly in response to the offer, “don't worry about it. You just settled in.” He moves then when she offers the spot on the cot and settles there easily, turning a careful gaze on the woman and examining her further. It isn't like the gazes he may have shown before, purely curious and not at all predatory. His loyalty has tamed him, but, his Impression returned that state of calm he was oncein constantly and now constantly lingers in but with more silence than before. The silence lingers for a moment longer before he shakes his head, “I can get you some at a cheaper price, if you want. I still know a few people who are willing to make bargains. I still have my own stash of things that will catch a high price.” The smile on his lips grows almost wicked before it fades slowly and his eyes search the weyr once again. “How are you feeling about this?”

Dragon> To Jhath, Tuorth's reaction calms the battle and it goes to almost a casual meet of blades, those who are simply training rather than fighting for their lives and the sound of her fire begins a crackling one near the site of the training as if camp has been set up. Soft barks of canines join in with laughter of men and the scent of incense now lingers in the scene. « We fare well. Discontent in our positioning, remaining as Weyrlings still. It is an insult, but, it will come in time.. We will be patient. » There is never an I with Tuorth, for Zen is part of him and they will always be We.

With a smile and a nod to M’zen’s first, Ahni tucks her feet up under her as she gets more comfortable on Jhath’s couch, pausing in a moment of distraction as she picks up a scrap of material from it, so she doesn’t notice his gaze at first, until he’s just about to speak. She drops the material and rests her forearms across her thighs, letting her hands dangle together over her lap. Her eyebrows shoot up and a hopeful expression dawns, “Really? Oh! That’d be wonderful if you could! I mean, later in the month, when I can afford it. Maybe some other things too,” she looks around the weyr consideringly before a brief look of confusion crosses her face at his comment on his stash. She’s not quite getting the correlation. Yet that look fades with his question and she looks back at him, considering that a moment before saying, “Good. Well, you know, who wouldn’t be at least little scared?” It is Thread after all. “But the weyrleaders and weyrlingmasters have faith in me and Jhath … they trust me to know what I’m about up there …” the word trust brings another briefly shadowed glance for the items left on the cot and then it fades and she looks back at Zen, “We’ll do well. Jhath and I. Nara and Inefredath think we’re ready too.” Something about that makes Ahni look toward the items on the cot once more, and then she takes a deep breath, looking back at Zen and resuming the subject, “I’d be willing to bet you and Tuorth are getting your weyr soon, too. Perhaps even tomorrow.”

Dragon> Tuorth, Jhath understands this We, since it is the same context that she speaks of her and Ahni being pleased with their keep. « Patience is a virtue, brother » Jhath says without condescension, as one comrade in arms might say to another with a grasp of a shoulder on the eve of battle. Sober and respectful. Understanding. « And those who have it are marked for greatness, better than those who would rush in, foolhardy. » The hearth grows warmer still with the topic, and the taste of wine and a juice-sizzling game on the spit accompanies it. Companionably.

M'zen watches her still, more curious still, as if waiting to see if she may break at any moment. This lasts only until she's looking to him again and with that hopeful expression, he laughs. "Really. I'll get back to you, then, I'll need to contact them beforehand, anyway. You're one of the few I would offer this to." And one other being Andi, if her family has cut her off from everything for going against them and Impressing a dragon. His expression darkens just for a moment before it slowly relaxes and considered the woman before him, waiting for her response. "You'll be fine, you've got a good head on your shoulders and Jhath is just as strong and smart. You were always ahead of everyone." He reminds her easily, his gaze focusing a little more intently on her. "You're a good pair." He doesn't remain on the cot, lifting himself in one fluid motion to close the distance between them. If she doesn't pull away, he places a hand upon her head, gingerly. "You'll be fine without him. You'd be fine with him. You'll be fine with whatever you do, Ahni, so don't close yourself off." Perhaps one of the few moments in which Zen expresses something close to sentiment, but, this is because he trusts Ahni as much as he does Andi. Though if they weren't alone, he would remain in his silence. "Perhaps. We'll see.. We are looking forward to it, but Tuorth is as impatient as ever."

Dragon> To Jhath, Tuorth is quite similar to his clutchsister, which is perhaps why they may butt heads occasionally. « It is, but, there is only so much patience or virtue that one can have. » This is more of a reference to himself, however, spoken so subtly one may not catch it but the sentiment is welcome as the smell of a roast begins in welcome for their guest to join them at the fire. « You speak the truth. We can be patient for some time longer, but the battle will call and to not meet the call would be most… Unacceptable. » The fire crackles violently, the flame licking the roast and would burn it had it not calmed in the next moment. « We will take our place soon. »

Ahnika grins a bit ruefully as Zen chuckles and she nods, some color appearing on her cheeks as he indicates he counts her among his friends close enough to give the offer, “Thanks, Zen,” spoken with genuine warmth and depth of feeling. The dark expression causes her brows to knit briefly, and then fade as it seems to fade on him as well. She doesn’t question it, perhaps assuming it was something between himself and Tuorth. As he moves away from the cot and closer to her, she remains where she is, her head lifting a little to adjust for the height difference, but when Zen speaks, Ahni looks down at the floor, thoughtful but accepting. She’s never liked dwelling on a past she can’t change, never seeing much use in it. Always best to just learn from a mistake and move on, as she often advises others to do. “Thank you,” she says more softly, still staring at the floor, “and we have, and we will. Jhath and I. Be fine, that is. Doesn’t make it any less sad, you know.” Her head lifts to look over at the items on the cot, “He was such a part of my life for so long. I can’t help but still love him, probably always will in some sense. He’s a good guy, deep down. He just … his priorities are different now. He’s changed, and he expected me to change with him. No,” she pauses, adding, ”change for him. He’s no longer the man I fell in love with.” Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, but such is not the time to speak so to a friend of the man she is discussing, “But if what he’s doing makes him feel happy and fulfilled as Impressing Jhath did for me, then I wish him the best. It just isn’t meant to be.” She looks back up at Zen then, moving to try and take his hand from her head and hold it in two hands, if possible, with her fingers gripping his wrist and her thumb folded in the valley between his and his fingers while the other hand covers the back of his hand. A warrior’s grasp, appreciative, loyal. “I won’t. Close myself off that is.” She laughs then, adding, “I doubt Nara would let me. She’s already talking of taking me up to some tavern on Ista whenever our rest days mesh up.” Then another glance around the weyr, “But it is nice to have a place of one’s own. Jhath and I never have.” Well, Jhath’s circumstances being obvious, but Ahni’s been around longer. Then she nods to Zen’s last, “I will be surprised if it doesn’t come sooner than you think, but it’s good that you prepare yourself for a little wait, just in case.” Her attention moves back toward the ledge and then she looks at Zen, “He’s ready. You both are. You’ll do well, too.” Then she releases her grip on his hand, if she had it at all, and leans back on her elbows, unfolding her legs and stretching them out in front of her, “How is Andi dealing with things?” Which is a sort of broad question, intentionally so.

Dragon> To Tuorth, Jhath responds with a little more sizzle and crackle, « They would be foolish to give the cry of battle without allowing you and yours to attend it, brother. You and yours are strong and brave and ready. » Some of the heat subsides, « It will come soon. Mine thinks sooner than the others. »

M'zen grins at the coloring of her cheeks, the grin a little more cheerful than the ones before as he allows emotion to be shown freely. "You're welcome, and you've earned it." By butting her way into his heart, but, it hasn't been a bad thing in result. Just like Andi worked herself in on her own way. The hand that settles upon her head ruffles her hair fondly, as one would to for a younger sibling that they consider close and his eyes focus on her. "I know." He doesn't relate more than that, simply offering the silent support that she seems to need without him relating his own woes into the situation. "He has changed and he is going down a path that I wanted to go with him. But, he questioned me on it and I was forced to rethink." And they haven't entirely spoken of it since, so whatever else Max has planned is lost on the man. At least until he tracks him down to get answers. He allows his hand to be taken and he gingerly grips her thumb as it settles between his fingers. "People said that dragonriders and non-riders have a harder time getting along in relationships. This is probably one of the reasons why. They change for other reasons. I won't try to convince you to try to find love, but I will say that… Without Andi I would be a different person. I would be so wrapped up in Tuorth I probably wouldn't even be here now." Their goals would be completely different, certainly, the Zen he could have been and the Zen that he is. "Friends are good, but they aren't exactly love. The one that you give all your trust to besides your lifemate." He clarifies after a moment but leaves it at that and simply smiles at the younger woman. "I am looking forward to it, a weyr of our own." And not for what his reasons would have been previously, either. "Thanks. We tried hard, even if we didn't speak much. I never slacked." But he never went as far as Ahni did, to say the least. "We're ready. Thanks for your support." He places his hand into his pocket as she releases it and when she asks of Andi the man offers a shrug that lingers on the point of defeat. "Her green still gets jealous of me. I think it is at the point where I have to convince her I love her just as much as Andi. But, she's doing well.. Trying to get her to open up to me a little more, still doesn't speak her mind as much as she should to me."

Dragon> To Jhath, Tuorth settles for this with a silent rumble of approval for his clutchsister, warmth filling the scene and then silence as the camp comes to rest and the bronze lingers in the silence and perhaps even taking comfort in Jhath's presence.

Simply smiling quietly as Zen speaks initially, Ahnika listens without response until he ruffles her hair and she laughs and tries to duck away a little. But that mirth subsides and a sobriety sets in as Zen talks of Max. She nods in the end, seeming to understand without knowing the details. Having a dragon changes everything, including your perspective and insight, at least a little. She continues to listen quietly, swallowing visibly when Zen talks of riders and non-riders allegedly not making good matches and why, but she continues to listen in silence, finally smiling again when he brings up how having Andi in his life has been such a positive impact. “I’m glad you two have each other,” Ahni says earnestly of Zen and Andi. To the rest of it, well, Ahni seems to keep her own council. She’d say she loves Jhath and Jhath loves her and that’s all the love she believes she needs above and beyond friendship, but she understands the point Zen is trying to make, and so refrains. She nods then, “You did. You are,” seeming to agree to his hard work ethic and while Tuorth may have been clumsy in the beginning as he got used to his size, that worked out in the end, too. Then another smile, this one commiserating, as she continues to lounge and listen and he speaks of the jealousy of Andi’s green. “Max had to win Jhath over, too. She even got comfortable enough around him to bespeak him directly. It’s all a part of things, I think, whether you’re a dragonrider or not, proving yourself and your intentions to her lifemate. Not all that far off from a Harper’s Tale, really,” she chuckles. Then the chuckling subsides as she asks, “Is she still in contact with her family at all?” Concern evident in Ahni’s eyes as she looks up at him, “I’ve been afraid to ask, really, not sure if it was a touchy subject or not.”

Dragon> To Tuorth, Jhath has never been a chatterbox herself, and so the quiet is fine with her, though her warmth doesn’t recede. The fire of her hearth is a soft glow of embers as she rests nearby on the ledge, her neck stretching out a little to rest her head a few feet from Tuorth’s.

M'zen grins at her reaction, not laughing alone as the laughter doesn't laugh all that long as he speaks of Max. The swallowing is noted without much of a wince in apology or any sympathy for his thoughts on why people advise against rider and non-rider coupling. He heard only of a rare few that do survive such coupling but it came with much struggling and an extreme gap for the lack of understanding on both sides. "I am, too." He admits quietly, his thoughts rarely escaping as much as they are this evening. The agreement to their hardwork is met with a nod as there was much struggling in their beginnings especially with Tuorth's size and M'zen losing himself in the bronze's overwhelming presence. "I don't think I have to win her over so much as make her love me. She doesn't doubt my intentions, I think, she just wants constant attention and gets jealous if Andi isn't paying attention to her. So if I pay them both attention, maybe she'll settle down." Laughter follows and he shakes his head, "trust you to compare this to a Harper's Tale… Shells. I'll have to contact one and tell them this so they can make an updated version." Though it is purely teasing and the amusement dies down at the mention of Andi's family and he shrugs. "I haven't asked her about them, honestly. I try to avid making her think of things that would upset her. She'll talk to me about it eventually."

Ahnika nods again as she listens to him, smiling once more as he laughs over the comparison made to a Harper’s Tale. The smile fades as his amusement does and she nods again in understanding of avoiding the topic. “Probably for the best,” she agrees generally, not exactly knowing all the details, only bits and pieces. She does, however, glance toward the ledge once more, though from the angle she’s at, she can’t exactly see more of their dragons than perhaps a piece of hide or some of a tail. “I don’t think other people really get how complicated it can be, how different the dragons are from one another, not just physically but in personality, too.” She turns back to Zen, “I’m beginning to see the appeal to living simply on the ground to balance the complexities in the skies,” where one missed skip to evade Thread could be disastrous. “I think I get why riders keep things so loose and fluid in their lives outside of formation.” Nara is a supremely good example there, living each day to the fullest when Thread is not falling, never knowing when the next clump of the stuff has her name on it. “There’s something to be said for keeping things simple and uncomplicated when your primary function in life is anything but, you know?” Then she grins, and speaking of a fluid, aloof life …“You think you can convince Andi to go to Ista? I’m sure Nara wouldn’t mind having the two of you there. The more the merrier, she always says.”

"Yeah. I'd rather avoid mentioning them, though I think her brother is still around the Weyr." Zen muses. Not the one he wanted to punch, however. He considers and looks towards the ledge as well when Ahni does, likely having a quiet conversation with Tuorth for the moment before she speaks. "I think some understand and some don't. I got the general bit of it but, Tuorth fits into what I expected of bronzes. Determined, headstrong, stubborn.. But there were bronzes that I saw that didn't fit what I thought, either." He considers Ahni now and shrugs, "perhaps. But, it is also up to preference. I didn't want anything permanent before Andi and as long as she, her dragon, and Tuorth are stable in my life, I'll be fine with everything else. I may try to become Weyrleader." The last bit is tacked on idly, and he glides over that as if it were a normal part of conversation. "I think I could convince her, it should be fun."

“Hmm,” Ahnika nods to the notion of her brother still being around the Weyr somewhere, but her attention settles on Zen again as he speaks of bronzes and of settling down with Andi and their dragons. A somewhat wistful smile touches her lips for a moment and then her expression is somewhat thoughtful of him becoming Weyrleader one day. Or at least Ahni is thinking he means ‘one day’ when he said it, not right now. It’s not an off-the-wall idea, considering he did Impress bronze. Eventually, Ahni reasons, he’d likely get there. He has the disposition for it, and she says as much, “You’d make a good Weyrleader, Zen. I look forward to hearing of Tuorth catching one day.” She smiles, her comment being entirely genuine. Then she nods to his thoughts on convincing Andi to go with them. It’d be a sort-of triple date, except Ahni won’t have a date and Nara’s likely to go home with three dates. The thought amuses her, but reminds her more of the earlier part of the conversation, and of Zen settling down. “Are you going to ask Andi to be your Weyrmate?” a sly smile forms on her lips and a twinkle enters her grey eyes.

M'zen is certainly confident of himself, having explored the thoughts before and Tuorth certainly pushing them forward as well. The pair certainly tend to mesh in their wants and desires, and after the conversation with Max he reaffirmed his wants to do so. "Thanks. Ahni. We're looking forward to it as well." But not just any gold will do in his mind, but that isn't expressed in any shape or form as he simply smiles in response. The question has him lifting his brow and the bronzerider shrugs in a manner. "If she wants to. Maybe she will want her own space, or maybe she won't. Either way, it won't change our relationship. Living together or not." Has he thought about asking her? Yes, but likely it is the one thing that he's openly a coward about facing.

With Zen’s reputation being what it was before he Impressed Tuorth, Ahni has little doubt that both he and Tuorth are looking forward to that mating flight. Heh. Her smile is wry, but she keeps quiet on that train of thought. Instead, it’s the mention of Weyrmating Andi that has her outright grinning, “It’s nice to … see and hear that kind of devotion beyond a dragon bond, Zen.” Jealous? Who wouldn’t be? “That’s wonderful,” Ahni sighs a bit, her gaze moving to her Gather gown nostalgically, and then she shakes it off and stands up from Jhath’s couch, looking to Zen, “I’ll be going home for a brief visit to see if my foster da can fashion me up a new Gather gown. But such things never really fare well in presses and trunks. How much do you think it’d be to get some kind of small wardrobe made for me? I don’t need anything big. I might one day get as many as two Gather dresses, but probably not any time soon. I just want to know how much I need to start saving for it.”

That is certainly not the reason Zen mentioned their eagerness for the flights, more towards the golds and the potential clutches that Tuorth will sire but that remains unspoken as the pair don't seem to mind other's opinions on their motives. Instead he smiles at Ahni and nods. "It is, I suppose we're lucky I'm so stubborn." He looks about to offer her more comfort but hesitates as she stands from the couch. "Then don't store them in the presses or trunks, find a way to hang them along the walls here." But he's not really a man who cares much about the storing of clothing, however, being the type of man who can sweet talk a weaver into giving him a considerably cheaper price than normal. "Depends on how much I can blackmail the worker for." He offers with a teasing grin before shaking his head. "Smallest you'll get probably will run you 'bout… 50 marks? But that depends on the type of wood and who made it. You can get an older one for cheaper, or I can bargain around and see what I can get you. I've still got one or two feline pelts, I was going to give one to Andi for her weyr. You can have the second for your weyr or I can bargain with it and get you a few things."

Smiling somewhat sadly at the mention of stubbornness being the reason he and Andi are still together, Ahni nods, speculating that it was probably stubbornness, both hers and Max’s, which proved to be their undoing. But that is four months ago now, and Ahni mentally chastises herself for dwelling, something she has to do regularly, remind herself that dwelling on the past beyond learning a lesson from one’s mistake was unproductive. She snorts a bit at his suggestion, and then thinks on it more seriously, especially as she listens longer and learns that it’d cost her 50 whole marks. Frugal Ahni is frugal. “Hmm,” she says, putting a hand under one elbow and using the other hand to rub her chin in thought as she looks at the wall, “That’s a good idea, Zen, thank you. Cheaper and more sensible. After all, it will be a long while before I get a second Gather dress, so just having a peg put in to hang my new one from would be okay, maybe if I put something around it so it doesn’t get dirty from the wall.” She looks at him and a proverbial glow goes on over her head, “You’re good with your hands, Zen,” she grins, “Would you be able to put the peg in for me?” Without, like, bringing the walls of her weyr down around them. Then she brightens all the more, “Oh, that’s so nice of you! I’ll take the pelt since I’m betting it gets pretty cool up here at these heights at night,” and she has no one to cuddle with for warmth under the sheets. There are some advantages to loving beyond your dragon, it seems.

M'zen drops the subject of the stubbornness, likely picking up that unspoken unease or simply knowing the two of them so well to know that they were both stubborn in their wants and needs. Especially after that one time in which Tuorth broke that door. Fond memories, there. The man lifts a brow at the woman in response to her musing sound. "Really, it depends on the quality, but you'll want something well made to last you longer. I'd offer to make you one, but I don't have the time or materials to get you something right away. It'd take a Turn, more or less, if I were to make you something." But the offer is out there. He doesn't say much on it getting dirty on the wall, however, simply nodding his agreement. The mention of him being good with his hands earns a lift of his brows before he heaves a sigh, "you're just trying to sweet talk me, woman. But, I'll put it in for you, it won't be a problem." He is good at those things, after all. "I'll have the pelt for you soon, then. It's still in excellent condition. I'm sure once seeing it I'll want to join the feline hunts again." But with Thread falling and being too important to risk, such things would have to wait until felines became a threat once again.

Fond memories, indeed, and Ahnika still bears the pencil-thin scars as testament. To his offer of making her a wardrobe, a little bit at a time over a Turn’s period or longer, Ahnika looks like she is genuinely interested. After all, she isn’t the shopper-type of woman, and so likely won’t be needing it for a Turn or more anyway. “That’s … really nice of you, Zen,” she says, meaning it, but feeling awkward about it at the same time. She lifts a hand to run through her loosened hair and then slips it at the back of her neck, rubbing there in thought, before saying, “I wouldn’t want to take up your time and marks and energy for such a long project, though.” She turns her grey eyes on him again, considering him a bit longer, and then laughs at what he says next, relaxing once more. It felt good to laugh again. “If I am sweet talking you, then you know it’s said in earnest, since I can’t convincingly lie to save my life.” Then she nods, turning more to face him instead of the wall. She exhales a short breath and says, “Thanks,” brief, but meant, and in more ways than just for the peg and the pelt and the wardrobe, “If it weren’t for Jhath, and my friends and training, I don’t know how I would have made it through these last four months.” She reaches to rest a hand on his forearm, meaning to give it a clasping squeeze before releasing it, if possible. Then she looks back to the rest of the room, “Maybe some paint, too. Curtains…” Curtains? Yes. Her voice drifts off as she starts making mental notes on how to nest here, so to speak.

"Ahni, you don't need to worry about it." Zen says as she takes an awkward tone, pinning a careful look at the woman before he shakes his head. "I like working with my hands and I wouldn't offer if I didn't mean it. I'd enjoy making it, so don't worry over it. It'll be something to do on my off days when nothing else is going on and when I need a distraction." That isn't of the womanly nature. Green eyes find grey and he doesn't relent on the subject, in fact, it is considered done in his mind already. "That is true, you are an awful liar, Ahni. But that's one of the things I like about you." He promises. Her thanks are met with a shake of his head, brushing it off entirely. "You would have made it just fine." He promises, "you're a strong woman." Stronger than when he first met her, certainly. It's the hand that comes to rest on him that is the straw to break the camel's back, however and before she can pull away he is taking her wrist with his opposite hand. There's a different look in his green eyes, one that he has not shown her and one that can be difficult to describe for all the emotions that linger behind it. Her thoughts of paint and curtains go unheard as he pulls her close to place a kiss upon her lips. Gentle in nature, unlike the man who tried to work a deal out with her to get a kiss from before. Though it only lasts for a moment should she respond or not, he pulls back and his eyes display a conflict of emotions once again. "Shit." He releases her with that, and if she doesn't try to stop him, he makes it out to the ledge in an attempt to flee before Jhath can show her rage towards him in response with the redhead's anger.

“I … okay,” Ahnika says, shifting her weight once and looking at him again, “Thank you.” Again. When he talks of liking her being an awful liar, she grins a bit, rueful and appreciative at the same time, “Not everyone thinks it’s a good quality to have these days,” but she won’t name names. Strong woman. She likes it, and the fact that Zen — probably the most critical of women that Ahni knows of — thinks so means something. But she knows nothing of straws or camels, seeming oblivious to whatever internal struggle Zen may be having here, and it shows as he tugs her in suddenly and kisses her gently. She is quite literally stunned and bewildered, neither responding to the kiss nor pushing away from it. She doesn’t even close her eyes. So it is as he releases her, she takes an audible breath, nearly a gasp really. But by the time she has her wits about her, he’s already moving away and to the ledge. Jhath is not enraged so much as confused, likely because Ahni isn’t angry so much as bewildered, so as M’zen comes out onto the ledge the stocky green simply lifts her head at him. She doesn’t even huff. If he continues to depart, she will wait until he and Tuorth have left the ledge before going back inside with Ahnika. Meanwhile, inside, Ahni sinks back down to Jhath’s couch, her elbows on her thighs and her hands flat against her cheeks as she wrestles with just what took place and why and what to do now. Her first order of business is to block off the dragon rumor mill before it gets started, and so her instructions to Jhath are immediately to say nothing to anyone about what happened, allowing M’zen to be the one to tell Andi first, if he chooses to. And if he chooses not to … well, one can be sure the self-righteous Ahnika will take matters into her own hands.



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