Spy Versus !Spy


Ahnika.jpg Jhath Lorayit.jpg

Date: 11/17/10
Location: EW: Lakeshore
Synopsis: Ahnika encounters Lorayit at the lakeshore and the two talk turnips, sex, and… runner thieves.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Ahnika

Evening along the lakeshore finds a certain green weyrling pair settled on and around that same flatrock where Ahnika had once spoken with the junior weyrwoman. Jhath has been fed and bathed and oiled, though she doesn’t shine quite as much as Rukbat has already dipped down below the horizon point along the bowl ridge, leaving the sky a tangerine-lavender and the sweltering heat of summer abating somewhat. Ahnika has obviously not yet had her own bath, as evidenced by the fact that, in bathing and oiling Jhath, her clothes are a mess and there are glistening smudges of oil across various exposed sections of skin, like along her wrist or chin. Her hair is swept back and fashioned into that braided bun she usually wears during the day, even on her freedays as infrequently as they are, but at this point at the end of the day, much of the neatness of it is frayed with wisps of hair pulled out and falling around the edge of her hair line here and there. She is back in short-sleeved wear, though, as her bandages have been removed, leaving only a thin pink line of a scar across her arm, the deeper of her injuries. She still puts ointment over it at night in the hopes of helping the scar fade a little, but there’s no need for the bandage itself anymore. With Jhath sitting up beside Ahni’s rock-bench, the tall and stocky green dragonet towers over her now at nearly six months of age, but both are staring out over the lake at some of the other dragons and riders and other people who seem to be taking advantage of the time by swimming. It’s not crowded, but there are definitely people about. Meanwhile, amidst holding some internal dialogue with her stately seated Jhath, Ahnika pulls out another meatroll from a small basket and takes a bite, getting her dinner in before going off to clean up and try and get some of this oil off her.

Lorayit hasn't been about the Weyr lately, but the times he has been around now that a certain package has been shipped off were times spent nearby the current group of weyrlings. The gardener may have been spotted by the weyrlings while they trained, while they were out and about, but he was always distant. He always had a friendly smile for those that ventured near him, but he never engaged any of them in talk. Well, until now. This evening he saunters along the shore with a rectangular pot of something planted and green held in both hands lightly. Blue eyes idly scan the people about as he walks, looking very much the part of a gardener on a mission to transport some precious plants to some destination or other. He appears tired and fatigued, his eyes lighting on Ahnika eating with her green and never slowly his steps as he suddenly changes course and chooses a nearby rock-bench to sit on. By his estimation, she was the one he was thinking was connected with Max - and with her having red hair, perhaps she was the one Jinnet was talking about? Lo wasn't stupid, so he wasn't going to give himself away in either case. Settling gratefully down at the near bench as he sets the pot to the side of him closest to the green weyrling pair, "Evening," he gives casually enough, wiping invisible sweat from his brow as he leans back to supposedly catch his breath.

The green pair must truly be lost in their internal conversation as they stare out at the lake and those enjoying it while Ahni eats because neither one seems to notice Lorayit even as he settles on another rock bench nearby. It’s only when he speaks and greets them that he draws their attention and the pair move their head as one, synchronized to tilt in his direction, one with a pair of grey eyes, and the other with a much larger pair of multi-faceted eyes currently swirling a curious azure hue. It’s Ahni who recognizes him first from the Infirmary (largely because that was long ago enough for it not to be remembered by Jhath without Ahni bringing the memory to mind first) and, here, with her weyrling knot clearly visible and her dragonet standing beside her, Ahnika actually gasps softly, her breath catching a little and grey eyes going wide as she momentarily panics. That is, of course, until she remembers that W’red already knows about her injuries and it’s no longer something she has to keep secret. She just had been trying to keep her true identity at the Infirmary so secret for so long that seeing Lo like this it was a mere kneejerk reaction to freak out a little. But a moment later, remembering that the feline is already out of the bag, Ahnika relaxes and exhales a long breath. She smiles sheepishly at Lo and nods to him, “Evening. Lo, right?” She takes another bite of her meatroll, chewing quietly.

The gardener seems to act as if he hasn't notice their attention falling on him, choosing instead to try and calm his nerves by enjoying the light breeze coming off of the lake. When he does look over at her for that small sound coming from her lips, it's a lazy look along with such an unassuming and disarming smile as his blue drop oh-so briefly to that visible knot on her shoulder. Watching her visibly relax before him, "You remember," he drawls, letting light approval enter his tone. Eyes graze over her form, landing at the last on her dragon as he turns alittle to take the sight in. "Is this Jhath?" It's likely she's not ever told him her green's name, so the gardener's gotten it from somewhere. Still, it's all delivered with hopeful ease of one not meaning to deal any harm. "She's quite the charm," he compliments, letting his study fall on the green's folded wings. "I don't believe I've ever seen a young one so up close." Blue eyes meeting her own, "Such an abrupt change of life, hm?" He's trying to draw her in, engage her in conversation as he mulls over what he thinks he's heard of her. He was certain that she was Max's, and with Jinnet description of the dragons he saw coming at him when he made his escape…well, one of them he was told was certainly green.

Still with that bite in her mouth, Ahnika nods mutely as she continues to chew, one side of her mouth pulled up into a slight, shy smile, and then she finishes chewing and swallows, taking a sip of water from her waterskin, before blinking quickly to his clever guess, to her mind, of Jhath’s name. She glances from him and up to Jhath and then back to Lo again, blinking more as her gaze moves again and lands on that potted plant. Eventually her gaze moves back to Lo and she nods slowly, making polite and semi-formal introductions, “Jhath, meet Lo. Lo, this is Jhath. Apparently, Nobleheart,” the last directed to her green, “Your reputation precedes you.” Somehow. Ahnika is not a good enough actress to hide some skepticism for it, but she doesn’t exactly look threateningly suspicious either. For Jhath’s part, with the introduction, she stately lowers her head in a sort of regal bow toward Lo. If she is, in fact, the dragon who so furiously blocked off one of Jinnet’s exits with hissing and snapping jaws, she certainly is playing the part of one with a much more calm and noble bearing now. Of course, her lifemate isn’t being sliced open presently either. Ahnika smiles, shifting her position a little because, well, she’d been sitting there long enough for her butt to start hurting the way she was, so she draws one knee up to rest her elbow on it while her other leg bends and tucks in behind her other leg’s ankle. “Abrupt,” she nods in agreement, “Some moreso than others.” Ahni and Jhath took to each other like duck to water, but others struggled a little more. “What kind of plant is that?” She asks with a gesture of the meatroll toward the plant, seeming to ask simply for the sake of curiosity for now. And then she asks, “Can Jhath sniff at it?” on behalf of the camo-colored green. But … it might beg the question of why?

"Mind if I have a drink?" Lo asks when Ahnika takes a drink from the waterskin, the man nodding towards it as she eats. If he's finding her shock in him knowing her dragon by name of note, it's not registering on his face. With introductions made, he leans over the potted plants to regard the green closely before answering with, "Well met, Jhath. You must be quite the wings of influence in your little circle." Little circle. The Weyrling group. With the green seeming to bow to him, chuckles some - the gesture almost infectious in nature, and in warmth - before responding in like kind. Finally meeting Ahnika's gaze now, "Regret?" is his only question to her agreement, his meaning whether or not she regretted the Impression and the change of her life. He knew of some that did, but he was on a mission right now to determine as much as he could about this young woman before him - especially since he currently had no one on his payroll to do the task for him. Sure, there was Suli, but with her being kept on watch most times that she really couldn't linger around the barracks like he can… Once the redhead draws attention to the plant, Lo acts as if he had forgotten they were there in the first place. Startling and straightening up abruptly, "Oh! Ah, they're sort of experiments I've been working on," he explains, now leaning back to look the plants over briefly. "Been trying to see if I could breed strong medicinal plants, so I've got some modified comfrey here, featherfern, mosstea…" He trails, his fingers picking over the different shaped plants sprouting from the red rectangular pot before looking up at her. "It's been one of my passions to experiment with different strains, to see if I could grow something more potent," he explains, showing some of his animated excitement as he speaks. "Even when I was farming…well," he hedges back, chuckling a bit to himself as if such a path was a long time ago in his short life. "Jhath can sniff at it," he answers then, nodding to the green. "So long's she doesn't digest any of it. I'm not sure how any of this affects a dragon yet," and the curious part of him would be highly interested in finding out, but the last thing he needed right now was a dead weyrling dragon on his hands caused by his plants.

“Oh,” Ahni says, her gaze moving to her waterskin and then she shuffles off her rock bench to move the few paces to him and offers it with her right hand, which makes the scar more visible, though if Ahni thinks anything of it, she doesn’t show it. “Sorry. My manners are slipping,” she smiles genuinely though with her apology and then jerks her head back to her dinner basket and says, “I have one more meatroll left in the basket if you want it, too?” Then with her other hand she pops the last of that meatroll she had been holding back into her mouth and chews quietly while he speaks to her green, who as stepped twice to be closer, her stride much bigger than her rider’s, and her neck longer. Though she is respectful of her distance, not wanting to actually intrude in the man’s personal space, knowing that dragons make some people uneasy. With his compliment, the green practically preens, but she does it in a more dignified way as she resettles to her natural stately seat a little closer, her tail wrapped around her taloned-feet. Ahnika blinks a moment, swallowing her bite as he asks her about regret, and she takes an extra second to process, which could mean she was uncertain of who or what he meant or uncertain of how to answer. “Regret Jhath? Never in a million turns,” it’s stated emphatically without actually raising her voice or seeming over-the-top about it. Jhath snorts, indicating how absurd the notion is, though it’s softly done and might be taken for just blowing air. “Even those who had trouble adjusting to it in the beginning, I’d bet they’d never regret it either,” Ahnika continues, seeming to be a little more at ease with the discussion, waxing philosophical, “It’s just … one of those things. Once you have experienced it? Picturing your life without it is just … unfathomable, you know?” She looks skyward then, seeing some dragons passing overhead and sighs a little, “I’ll be glad when we can fly and when we graduate from weyrlinghood, but no, no regrets about Jhath. None at all.” Jhath rumbles with a deep alto in affectionate approval, louder than is really necessary considering their close proximity, but still just a rumble and not something as vocal as say a bugle. Ahni is well used to her being louder than she means to, however, and doesn’t react other than to smile and reach up with her now free hand to rub the underside of Jhath’s neck. Her attention, as does Jhath’s, move back to the plants next and Ahni stares at them, repeating, “Experiments? Farming?” and looking somewhat intrigued, but uncertain at the same time. Jhath on the other hand stares more intently at the plants, eyes swirling with sharper interest, and she unwinds her tail from around her feet and it begins to sway out behind her in mild excitement for some reason. “Yes, yes, Nobleheart,” Ahni says to Jhath, more for Lo’s benefit than her own of course, “I’ll ask. You sniff.” Beat pause. “Carefully.” With permission given, the green leans her head in closer, nose not quite touching the plants, and she doesn’t actually do a full sniff as the power of that (considering her lungs when physically speaking) might just unsoil one of the plants and suck it up into a nostril. But it’s clear by the way the foliage moves that she is getting the scent of them. Meanwhile, Ahni watches like a hawk, but is speaking to Lo, “You know anything about turnips?” There’s something else she wants to ask with the way her grey eyes dart to him a heartbeat later, something curious and yet afraid betrayed there in her gaze, but then she moves that look back onto Jhath as the green continues to inspect the plants a moment longer before pulling her head away, giving a little bow of her head to Lo in gratitude for letting her inspect his plants.

Once Ahnika offers him the waterskin, Lorayit nods his thanks before bringing the skin up to his lips for a long drink. Once he's had his fill, "You seem to have more manners than most I've met in my travels," he notes, sending the waterskin back over to her. "I'd appreciate the meatroll, thanks." In such gestures, he's learning the nature that is Ahnika, which interests him immensely. "Almost holdbred-like," he continues to voice his observations, regarding him with mild interest now. "Something tells me the Weyr is not your origins." It's a probing statement at best, purposefully leaving off the lifting intonation at the end that would have made it a question. He wants to pry into the core of her without seeming like he's doing so - which is part of his expertise, after all. Then his gaze transfers to Jhath when she comes closer, the gardener not showing any outward signs of nervousness around being in the presence of a dragon. He leans a little in fact to close the distance, eyes running over her scales and examining her much like smithcrafter appraises a flawless gem. He still continues to study the green when Ahnika answers his question on regrets, his lips pulling upwards before he responds with, "There are those that have trouble adjusting to such a lifestyle." Blue eyes finding her own, "Perhaps they don't regret their lifemates," and he nods respectfully towards Jhath, "but this life…the Weyr…" Probing, again, and picking her brain. Perhaps he was trying to discover what drew the beast manager to her - and to ultimately discover why she would offer to free one of his men from captive. She would go behind Max's back—? The rumble from Jhath breaks his thoughts, a smile falling in place at it in his not wanting to rankle the green. Since Jhath looks with interest at the plants, he leans back to give the dragon room to do so with a spread of welcome arms. Hopefully the dragon doesn't see that as an invitation for a hug. "The experiments are my personal hobby," he continues on that topic, his gaze falling on the redhead again. "Just something I've been fiddling with since I've moved here. I like to keep my hands busy." Then Jhath gets his attention again as she begins to sniff through the various plants, his amusement with watching her do so evident on his face. "Can she fly yet?" the sudden thought seems to occur to him, mentally trying to place either her age or how close to doing so they may be. Then he's asked about turnips, the gardener looking curiously at the weyrling. "Turnips? Perhaps," he ventures to say, eyes narrowing slightly when he detects her hesitation. "How may I be able to help?" He goes for being the polite gentleman, nodding to Jhath when she finally moves away from the plants but he keeps his gaze pinned on Ahnika.

Taking the waterskin back, Ahnika waits until Jhath is done sniffing before moving back to get that basket, and so in the meantime, she watches and waits with a patient expression, and continues the conversation, “Oh I’m holdbred,” she nods, and not seeming to take any offense by it or concerned. “This is my first time in a weyr at all, in fact,” she adds, though considering the fact that she’s still in her late teens and is holdbred, that’s probably not too surprising. Then she grins, patting Jhath affectionately next, “It’s our home now, though, isn’t it, Nobleheart?” Another rumble, though this one shorter, in answer. There appears to be no concern that she and Jhath will ever be transferred, though one can bet it would cause her some amount of distress as comfortable as she seems to feel here. More than likely it just never crossed her mind. Slowing the affectionate stroke of her hand as she prepares a reply to Lo for the comment about regretting the lifestyle, Ahni says, “Well … maybe,” her statement without much conviction or commitment, but neither does she seem inclined to deny him the fact that there are some who don’t do well suddenly finding their duty bound to flaming Threadfall. It is a response that is just shy of what a musically-inclined harper might say when told that some people don’t enjoy Gathers. Such people need mindhealers! There’s obviously something wrong with them. Right? Ahni seems lost on this train of thought for a time and when Jhath finally pulls her head away from the plants, Ahni turns and retrieves the basket in a few steps. Bringing it back to Lo and offering it out to him, she finally speaks again, but it is with a little bit of distraction now, apparently foregoing any response to his conducting experiments, and instead shakes her head to Jhath flying, “Not yet, but soon.” She looks up at her green, smiling fondly yet again, obviously attached and not caring if anyone sees it, “We’re working on wing exercises now and they’ll start gliding on their own shortly, when they have the wing-strength for it.” Her attention returns to Lo with the last bit and she looks uncertain again, “Ah. Well, Jhath has some questions.” She nods, “About turnips. She’s been asking me,” and most any dragon who will listen, “but it’d be good for her to talk to someone who, well, knows a lot more about vegetables.” Ahnika then glances under Jhath’s neck and past, toward the barracks, wondering where a certain blue weyrling might be, and then, perhaps oddly, she darts a quick look in the direction of the beast caverns, “A friend … suggested I talk to someone named Passan, another farmer, I think? You know him?” Without waiting on his response, she clears her throat and looks back at Lo, explaining, “Have you ever seen Thread hit … a turnip field before? What does Thread do to a turnip?” Inquiring minds want to know.

"You've seem to taken well with it here, Pheenie," Lo notes on her first time being in the Weyr, lips curling upwards slightly as he turns to idly watch Jhath again. The matter of regret he drops easily, though one can be sure that he is watching Ahnika's expressions closely for later use. Once the basket is offered his way, he takes the meatroll from within and nods his thanks to them both before taking a healthy bite. "Must be something worth looking forward to," he notes as he chews around the bit of meatroll he has in his mouth, smiling her way with an incline of his head. "I mean, that would be something I would look forward to. I can't imagine staying in one place for too long." Yeah, except when there's a big renegade crimelord up your ass and forcing you to stay down south for longer than he could ever imagine, but he wasn't going to drop that bit. At her uncertainty, and in admitting that her dragon has questions, that brings a lift of interest in Lo's eyes. But just as quickly, Ahnika's darting a look towards the stables and that has his eyes narrowing just a fraction before she drops the name of one of his men. He keeps his expression neutral, choosing that moment to take a bite into the meatroll and chew it through as if to give the impression that he was truly thinking about what she was saying. Then, after enough of a pause has been by, "I haven't, actually," he answers the question on the turnip first, since that one was much easier to discuss in his mind. "I would imagine it would eat through a turnip as much as it would eat through any field. Knew a few men that liked to leave out a basket of badly-harvested goods out for Thread to consume - only for observation, of course," he's quick to add, the smirk light. "They got in trouble with the Weyr up north, of course." As such, he shrugs lightly before adding, "Turnips should be consumed as badly as the other vegetables. Only thing I've heard Thread hasn't eaten through yet is down at Landing." He pauses, regarding Ahnika then for the other question put to him as he decides on his answer. "Dunno any farmer named Passan," he finally answers blithely, one shoulder lifting up in a shrug as he pops the last of the meatroll into his mouth. Well, technically that was the truth. What he wanted to know though? "Who's your friend, and if you don't my prying-" well, he was going to pry anyway "-why is he suggesting Passan, you said?" He acts as if he's trying to recall the name, then adds, "Are you looking to plant a field of turnips for Thread to eat up or something?" He'll deliberately connect both sets of questions, his eyes going briefly to Jhath as he wipes his hands on his pants.

There’s some tension that rises in her shoulders at the ‘Pheenie’ address, mostly because it’s not a name she’s terribly used to hearing, and it doesn’t bring back the fondest of memories. But she does answer easily enough, “I’m from a rural cothold on the pokey end of Fort’s sweep.” She pauses, then adds, “Really rural. Really pokey. Was raised by foster parents there, crafters, who both had spent some time in weyrs, so they taught us our Ps and Qs, but they also weren’t the sort to give over to some of the stuffy and unreasonable holder notions. We had a lake,” she glances to the lake here, a soft smile of remembrance surfacing with it, “naturally formed, and we’d all use it for bathing, so when I got here, it wasn’t too embarrassing,” she obviously thinks he must mean the shared bathing chamber. “The hot water was a nice change, actually. The lake was always cold, which in the summer was fine. Course, if it was really cold in the winter we had a tub and boiled pots and pots of water for it, but there were so many of us that it took forever, so it was saved for only the coldest of days and when we really needed the tub. Otherwise, we did sponge-baths in the winter.” Ahni’s tone suggests she much prefers a regular bath, though her expression doesn’t change much. She offers the waterskin again once he’s finished eating so that he can wash the last bite down if he wants to, but her attention moves to the dimming sky again and she says, “Yes, it will be nice when we can get away from it all,” and then she flushes a little and chuckles, looking at Lo, “Well, whenever the queens allow, of course.” This is followed with a little shrug, “I don’t mind being in one place, so long as I’m needed, and am useful,” beat pause, and then she candidly adds, “I do miss making love though.” Jhath snorts, this time a bit more loudly than the last snort. Ahni frowns and says aloud, “Well, it’s the truth, Jhath.” So, apparently Jhath is old enough to have it brought up around her, even if not old enough to have it done around her. Of course, if Ahnika really misses it, one might wonder what sort of dreams she has at night. If they are of an erotic persuasion, they apparently aren’t having a bad effect on her stately green here. Moving on, Ahni nods to the statement on turnips and what Thread does to them, “I figured as much,” and Jhath whoofles a little in some manner of discontent, shaking her head and neck, though whether it is with Lo directly or just his answer, it goes unexplained. “We’ll find another way, Nobleheart,” Ahnika says soothingly to Jhath, “Don’t worry.” She hesitates before saying anything more, affectionately stroking Jhath’s neck, and then after a long moment, “Net is his name, the friend. It’s … nothing.” Clearly not. “Probably stupid I even brought it up, really.”

Lo could detect most changes in a person around him, so when he says the name she gave him back in the infirmary the stiffness of her shoulders definitely causes a brow to rise just a bit. The expression drops to something neutral once she starts to speak about her origins, some of that mask he keeps on him drops away a little at the mention of her home. A lot of it reminded him of his own. "Place I'm from is similar," he admits, settling back more comfortably on the bench as his gaze linger on both weyrling and dragon. "Simple folk. Very traditional. Figured out, later on, that it just wasn't for me." He takes up the offered waterskin and washes down the last of the meatroll from his throat, continuing to listen to her speak with such soft, country-boy patience - up until she makes that comment on her missing making love. That, for some reason, has him nearly coughing up the water in his shock - clearly not expecting such a statement from her with everything she's said to him so far. He shoots a long look her way, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand before he finally hands the skin back over to her. Wry, "Which suggests to me that you can't until… ?" he ventures to ask, eyes regarding her with his obviously personal question. It seems he's not up in knowledge with the weyrling rules - or, perhaps it's his way of finding out if Max really is the man she's with. Ahnika's response to his own on the turnips, along with Jhath's, gets a small frown as he looks between the two curiously. Turnips? Watching her stroke the green, "What are you trying to do?" he couldn't help to ask, blue eyes falling on Jhath again. He would ask more until she drops Net's name - Jinnet, rather - and his chin lifts slightly in acknowledgement to it. "Jog my memory for me," he suddenly requests of her with a motion of his fingers, leaning forward. "This…Net. Does he work for the illustrious beast manager? I don't seem to recall any of the stablehands under his care being named by that name." Like he would know, but he wasn't going to blurt out that he knew all about the captive Max was keeping in the tackroom. His captive, even. Then, to cover for why someone like a gardener would be asking over such people, "I frequent the bar and I run into many of the stablehands there," he explains off-handedly, throwing her a quick smile. "I figured maybe this Net doesn't work for the stables, but to be there…" And even then, "Dunno a Net, but I know of a Jinnet," he reveals after a pause, leaning back as he studies her. "Up north, however. Nasty gambler. Owed a lot of folks a whole lot of marks. I do wonder what had happened to him, though," and he even has the grace to look regretful, the blond man shaking his head with furrowed brows. "Last I did hear of him, he did come down south this way. Makes me wonder if it's he you mean."

Ahnika smiles a little to talk of his own home, finding it relatable, except that it wasn’t for him. She nods but then shrugs to it, “It’s not for everyone. Me? I could live anywhere I’m needed, I think. Maybe.” This country girl has seen very little of the world, so how would she know? Grinning sheepishly, she takes the waterskin from his hand as he gets over his coughing and choking fit, murmuring, “Sorry,” and then shrugs a little in answer to his question, muttering softly under a sigh, “Not soon enough.” She looks at Jhath then, smiling a little at her and simply saying, “Yes, I know our Trial of Patience isn’t up yet, Nobleheart. We’ll manage.” She initially answers his question about the turnips with, “We need a cunning plan. One involving turnips. We’re trying to help one of the other weyrling pairs.” She seems ready and willing to explain further and then he leans forward and talks of jogging memories, so she goes quiet and leans forward, as well, seeming curious. Frowning a little thoughtfully, she shakes her head, “He doesn’t work for …” her voice trails off and she straightens a little more, lapsing quiet and as he resumes speaking, her attention is nothing short of riveted. That alertness only intensifies and the young woman goes tense as he drops the name Jinnet. Her mouth goes a little dry and she swallows. Jhath’s eyes begin swirling yellow and she looks definitely interested in the interaction between the two, but no one’s making any threatening gestures here, and point of fact, if Ahni was that suspicious or worried, wouldn’t she start running? Of course, this is Ahni we’re talking about. “Um,” is all she manages at first, her grip on the basket and waterskin going a little tighter as something slides into place. Passan isn’t around. Lo is a farmer. He knew Jinnet. Of course, the young woman also makes a couple leaps of assumption, but the young woman is not a trained operative, able to know what to dismiss as coincidence and what not. “You’re him, aren’t you?” her voice a little above a whisper, “The one Net told me to make contact with… . Is he? . . Is he okay?” And the question is put genuinely enough, suggesting she does care. “Will the redfruit be harvested when the sun rises?”

"I could just go anywhere," Lo counters on Ahnika living anywhere, "But you're right. Not for everyone." Pause. "Sorry to hear that," he notes on things not changing soon enough, the man looking deeply concerned while he watches her talk to her dragon with a flicker of interest. This was by far the most interaction between dragonrider and their dragon he has ever seen. When she speaks on a cunning plan, "Sounds like an odd plan," he remarks with no mockery, though there's some light amusement in his tone. "Using turnips. I doubt they would be of any help other than for cooking, but, what do I know? I'm just a gardener." He shrugs goodnaturedly to that, but it's the latter that has the most of his attention. He's silent while she speaks, not bothering to answer - at least not right away. When she asks whether or not he was the one, Lo takes a long time to answer before he merely answers her with, "No." He would have left it at that, too, but feeling the need to elaborate, "The Jinnet I know doesn't know anything about harvesting redfruit. However," he is quick to add before Ahnika could get another word in, his hand lifting up, "I do happen to know quite a few farmers around here, and so perhaps I could be of some assistance." Some of his easiness fading now, "I'll ask around and see if any of them would know of a Passan or a Net," he offers, the quick smile twitchy at best as he regards her. "I'm in and out of the Weyr these days, but I do make some stops by the fields out there. Perhaps I can see if your Net and my Jinnet, relate?" He was intrigued, indeed, but he could off the bat tell that she was a novice at this. Therefore, he wasn't going to out himself. Better to out someone else…and if Bowen had delivered his package safely into Ermina's hands, soon he will have the perfect person that he could pin on Ahnika. Eyes on a watching Jhath shows him thinking, planning. He still wasn't sure if she was Max's, but then, the way Jinnet spoke of her… "I am sorry I cannot be of any other help to you there," he speaks oh-so regretfully, a hand stealing over his chest for added dramatics that he has gotten used to using. "But, I can tell them you are looking for him. Perhaps there's a…message you would want me to convey, just in case they do find him for you?" The fact she had a dragon was making things tricky, and Lorayit's not stupid like his runner thieves were. He was content with establishing content for now, but he wasn't going to blow his cover when too much was at stake for him. Not with Daye and Calec coming to the Weyr soon, too. "Do you ever need any help with bathing her?" he suddenly asks, abruptly changing the subject as perhaps a means to disarm her.

All other matters of sex and turnips and Thread are put aside for the time being. “Don’t,” Ahnika says abruptly to him offering to make inquiries on her behalf or sending messages, drawing herself up even more, though she’s not mad, just … alarmed. Even a little scared. Definitely guarded now. “I shouldn’t have brought Net—Jinnet—up.” So apparently she knows Net was a nickname. “You’ll end up getting hurt if you get more involved, and I don’t want anyone else getting hurt over this sharding mess,” which may be why she let Jinnet go in the first place. With a skeptical gaze, she doesn’t appear to completely buy his story, but for now she is thinking he may only be a fringe player. Maybe. She turns to step away from him now, but his final question draws her up short and she turns to look at him over her shoulder. For a brief second, she wonders if this is more code questions and phrases, but even if it was, she doesn’t know the code response and so what would be the point? Ahni then takes her eyes off Lo, either trusting him or trusting Jhath more, and looks up at her tall girl, “No.” Pause, “Not really. It’d go faster, but,” she shrugs, “We all always just bathe or oil our own dragons. I’ve only ever seen the weyrwomen get more than one to help and even then it’s not often… . Why?”

When Ahnika abruptly interjects, Lo's interest is on the rise. He's never heard of any informant backing away in the thick of it, so it has his own guards up as well - though his genial demeanor hasn't changed one bit on the outside. Affecting concern, "Are…you in trouble?" he asks, his eyes dropping suddenly to where her injury is only briefly before meeting her gaze again. On the bit about getting hurt, "Nothing hardly ever moves me," he returns quite boldly, shaking his head. "I don't mean to intrude, but, I'd hate seeing a young woman in distress so." He wouldn't offer again, however, but one can be assured that he was filing this away in his memory for later. He was going to have to go slowly with this one - or rather, the one he has in mind. Moving to her answer on her dragon, an innocent-looking smile appears at it, the gardener waving a hand of reassurance to her return question along with a brief, "Don't worry about it." Easy, yet abrupt. Then with a sigh as he slaps his hands on his thighs and gets himself to his feet, "Well, unless you find someone else that could help you," he drawls, reaching with both hands to pick up the pot of experimental plants from the bench, "come by the gardens sometime. Might even have a beautiful flower to give to the one you adore?" Worded carefully, he figured most women had someone they adored, so he hopefully alluded to her beau. The smile that accompanies that is full of charm, the man nodding towards them both as he says, "I've enjoyed the talk, Pheenie," he adds, the words genuine. "Didn't mean to upset you, sweetheart." He really didn't, but in his estimation, the talk was a success.

“No,” Ahnika answers on whether or not she was in trouble, “Not anymore. Jinnet and his friends are, though. I helped him once. Just … wanted to …” see if he was okay? See if her help was a waste? “Nevermind,” she says a moment later, “It was stupid.” She shakes her head, then, but lapses silent, only shaking her head again when he says his last, giving no indication if she intends to do anything like visit him in the gardens. Finally, she just collects the basket and waterskin and nods to him in farewell, polite but definitely preoccupied, worried, closed-off, and Jhath’s eyes remain a swirl of yellow, though her attention is more diverted now, shifting between Ahni and Lo, and finally on their path ahead as they start to make their departure and head off toward the barracks, unless he stops them.

Jinnet and his friends. There's a long silence to that, Lorayit holding up the pot as he watches the consternation on Ahnika's face. Even when she's done speaking, and she nods her farewell to him, it's when she turns from him that he speaks. "If I were you, sweetheart?" the gardener relays in such a calm voice, his blue eyes having a sort of glint to them despite it being during the day as he speaks. "I wouldn't be worrying too much about Jinnet," he continues to say, his tone light. "Men like him…well, it's been my experience that such like him never reach their destination." Leaning forward briefly in her direction, his gaze unwavering, "If he's the one I'm thinking of up north, then you should consider yourself lucky that he's missing." Ominous words from a gardener? Perhaps. Perhaps not. There's a touch of regret to that, but never remorse, and it's likely that Ahnika will find it misplaced. Leaving her with those final words, along with the heavy silence, Lo merely nods his polite farewell to both her and Jhath before he turns and continues along his way.

Closing Credit Theme Music: Orbital - "The Saint Theme Music"

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