The Price of Hunting Lessons


Ahnika.jpg Merendezen.jpg

Date: 7/15/2010
Location: Eastern Weyr: West Hallway North and Baths
Synopsis: Merendezen is in need of a towel just when Ahnika comes down the hallway with freshly laundered baskets full of them. They refill the basket of towels in the Baths and haggle a bit over lessons.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Ahnika

Eastern Weyr: West Hallway North

The northern half of the western hallway is just as rough and unfinished as the rest of the weyr. Glows line the walls at economic intervals. There's technically enough light, but spaces of shadow are frequent as well. On the western side, several doorways open to - from south to north - a stairwell leading up to the Upper Bowl and the entrance to the Baths. On the eastern side, a set of stairs leads down into the Lower Caverns.

Trying to step carefully through the roughly hewn cave tunnel as she heads in the direction of the bathing chamber, Ahnika carries a large basket on each arm, both of them full of folded towels fresh from the launderesses. She smiles and bobs her head a little to those she passes along the way who she knows, but otherwise her grey eyes seem preoccupied of thought. It has been a nice afternoon, and no major disasters have occurred, so whatever could be occupying her mind must not be on a mass-weyr level.

Merendezen is peeking out the doorway from the baths, blonde hair still damp and he's leaning carefully behind the doorway so all that can be seen is his shoulders and part of his abs, muscles visible with no clothes to hide behind. "Pretty miss with the towels! All the towels are missing and I /desperately/ need to dry if your lovely self would take pity on me and hand me a clean one."

The “Pretty miss” address distracts Ahnika from her thoughts, but not to the point that she stops walking. She looks around, half wondering who is being addressed and who is doing the addressing, and only after peering through the dim glow-lit tunnel ahead does she see someone peeking around it. “Oh my,” Ahnika says with a slight drawl, a smirk appearing on her features. She finishes her approach and holds out one of the baskets for him. “We must have had a run on the Baths this afternoon, I suppose. Here you go. Sorry about that. I’ll wait out here before putting the rest up, then, since… you’re a shy one.”

Merendezen takes the towel with a grin flashed to Ahnika. "Thank you. It's not your fault that so many people have stampeded to the baths. Mostly women, I noticed…" There's a chuckle, "not shy at all. It's simply warmer in here than it is out there… Cold is no good after coming straight from the baths." He steps away from the door then, lifting the towel to dry his hair first, contracting himself. "I think it was more about the smell than the dirt."

Ahnika carefully keeps her gaze respectfully at eye-level as he dries his hair. Her eyebrows arch a little as she listens, holding the baskets at the crook of each elbow. “I can imagine it is cold,” she says with a nod. Then a slightly questioning look, “Smell? Something bring in a bad smell to the weyr? Or just the usual sweat from hard work?” Her grey eyes shift a little past his shoulder, seeing if there are any others still taking baths before looking back up into his face, specifically his eyes.

Merendezen dries his hair and the towel moves quickly to make work with the rest of his body. "Very. Sadly, part of me does not agree with the cold without clothes being on." He nods as the towel comes to wrap around his waist, "smell from hard work. That, and there may have been whispers of massages passing around between many of the women." A grin is flashed, charming before both hands go out in offering to take the baskets. "There are still a few lingering." Green eyes focus on the woman for a moment before looking to the baskets she carries.

"Well that would seem to make sense, really. I don’t think I’ve met a person who likes running around in the cold without any clothes on,” Ahnika says neutrally, still looking up, her grey eyes locking with his green ones, even as he puts the towel around his waist. “There are women passing around massages?” she asks genuinely, handing him one basket as he holds his hand out, but keeping the other for herself, “How many marks are they charging? I usually have to rub my own shoulders and arms at the end of the day.” She steps to the side and tries to move past him and into the bathing chamber with her basket, saying, “I might just splurge one day and buy me one if they’re selling them. Are they Healers?” With her now free hand, she tucks a wisp of her red hair that has come loose from her bun back behind her ear.

"Things shrink in the cold, dear." Zen offers thoughtfully, quietly searching her face after her eyes find his. The smile grows before he shakes his head. "No, no women are passing around massages. They are, however, free for the time being despite being in such a high demand. Let's put these towels where they need to be and I'll set you up for one." He turns, allowing her to pass and lingering a step behind her. "Not a Healer, either, I'm afraid."

As she moves past and Zen talks of shrinking, Ahnika looks over her shoulder at him with a quizzical expression. Then she turns to look forward again, moving in to the section of wall with the oversized basket where the clean towels for general population are used and kept. “Free?” She asks, depositing the first two towels that she is able to get her hand around while holding the basket with the other. “Nothing is ever truly free,” she muses, glancing once to him again, and then back to the towels. “You’ll set me up for one,” she repeats, a statement not a question, but her brows are slightly furrowed as she chews on it a moment. “You schedule the appointments? And if the person doing them is not a Healer, how does she know how to do them?”

Merendezen gives a vague gesture at the look she gives him, smiling sweetly before following after her, helpfully just standing behind her with the basket she handed him. "Free." He offers before chuckling. "No, nothing is. But there are benefits for being the one doing the massage, I suppose." He says nothing as she seems to mull over it. A laugh follows, "my dear heart… One does not need to be a healer to learn such talents. /He/ happens to know quite a few things from many crafts and trades."

Ahnika glances up at his chuckle, depositing another couple of towels from her basket to the larger one. She smirks a bit at his chuckle, not seeming put off by his mirth, though not seeming to catch on to exactly what is so funny either. “I suppose there must be,” Ahnika agrees with a nod after a moment, depositing another two towels, “or no one would do it.” The final comment with the ‘dear heart’ address and laughter has her actually pausing a moment to regard him, “Oh, I’m Ahnika, by the by. Apologies for not introducing myself sooner.” She looks back down into her basket, taking out the last two towels and packing them into the larger basket. She hands him the empty basket and holds her hand out for the full one. “He,” she repeats thoughtfully, then stops, looking into his face again and asks, “You mean you?” There is no incredulousness in her tone, just seeking facts.

"One must also prove that they are worth the fees before charging" Zen muses thoughtfully, "some people find pleasure in making others feel good. Relaxed and generally, /pleased/ in some manner. It is nice, from my experience." His grin curls wider, and he inclines his head. "Well met, lovely Ahnika. I am Merendezen, call me Zen, though. It's simpler." The basket are exchanged, now holding the empty one and moving to hold it over his left shoulder. "No worries, my dear. Better late than never, yes?" His right shoulder rolls before he nods at her realization. "Yes, me. I know quite a few things and I can do them /well/. I'd be happy to give you a demonstration on many of my talents."

The red-head nods agreeably again to the first comment, eyes dropping to their hands as they exchange baskets, "Well, that makes perfect, rational sense, really. The better to market one’s talents and skills.” As the exchange takes place, Ahnika returns her attention to the basket and the work of putting the folded clean towels in the stationary one, pausing only once to look back up at him again and smile, dipping her head politely, “Well met, Zen.” And it is back to replacing clean towels. A moment later, however, she stops again and straightens, turning to look at him, one hand on her hip. Her expression seems scrutinizing, but considering it, “A demonstration?” Then her eyebrows arch and her hand slides off her hip, “Wait, can you hunt?”

"Yes, of course. You seem to have a good understanding of how these things work. Experience talking or are you just well-rounded as well?" He watches her work in silence, seeing as there's not much else to look at either. The smile is returned easily and he settles into a lazy stance, slouching. "Of the massaging, a demonstration of that. I can wait until you're done with the towels, though. And yes, my darling, I can hunt. Why?"

"At the risk of sounding bold, I’d rather like to think a little of both,” the teenager replies to his first question. Then Ahnika licks her lips, casts a quick glance about, and steps a little closer to allow her voice to drop to a little above a whisper, “You think you can teach me, Zen?” She asks, her gaze lifting and her grey eyes seeking his green ones once more. Then she ruins the look by chewing on her lower lip as she waits for his answer.

"Bold is good, dear, respectable. I appreciate a woman who can speak her mind." Zen watches the young woman, perhaps too intently as eyes are, indeed focused on the minor twitches and movements she may make. And when she steps closer he leans in, "to hunt? Why would you want to hunt, dear heart?" He leans back, considering and green eyes drift from grey, thoughtful. Then, after a short moment he returns full attention to her, "what will you give me, my bold young woman? Teaching is not one of the easier tasks, I'm afraid."

Ahnika smiles warmly as he speaks of appreciation, and her shoulders relax a little. Her eyes remain on his face as he leans in to hear her better, and then when he questions her motives she visibly scowls, turning away. “Never you mind why,” she says as she thrusts her hand into the basket roughly, scraping it a little on one edge. She sucks in her breath and pulls her hand out, shaking it a little. No broken skin, so she reaches back in more carefully and grabs another set of towels from it, most of her sudden anger abated, and stuffs them on top of the others in the repository basket then smoothes them down with the same hand. She shrugs a little, seeming somewhat cool and aloof, “I have a few marks set aside, but not much I admit. But perhaps I can teach you something in return.”

Merendezen chuckles at the scowl, "I wouldn't be a very good teacher if I did not understand the motives of what one wanted to be taught for. I am also needing to know how much to teach you. Do you want easy prey? Or do you want to venture to the hunting of felines? And, you can't hunt felines alone, darling woman, they are smart. And cunning, foolish men die trying to face them alone." He is quite unaffected by her sudden anger, simply shrugging and perhaps meaning to retreat from the look he casts to the doorway. "What could you teach me, fiesty woman? We could make an agreement, I'm sure, that may not require anything to pass from one hand to another. But, such ideas do elude me at the moment."

"I want to know everything, and just in case I may need to know it one day,” Ahnika says, putting in another set of towels. There’s some hesitation and then she says, “And… they are planning a hunting party soon.” She remains working at her task, not looking back at him, so any look toward the exit is missed by the girl. “Well, what sort of things would you like to learn?” She asks a little more amicably.

Merendezen turns green eyes to consider her words, looking over her before he nods. "Commendable," his tone is approving, "I can understand your reasoning." The mention of the hunt also has him nodding once more. "Randi invited me on it… Though, I do have an idea. Instead of teaching me something, any pelts you receive from the hunt would be perfect payment. If you accept this I'll teach you in the morning, tomorrow. If you do not have your own knife, I will provide you with my old one."

Taking a moment to chew that over and consider it, Ahnika finishes loading up the large basket of towels and turns to face him again, her eyes cast down and her free hand outstretched to try and take the empty basket from him. Then she lifts her gaze up to his face and says, “Thank you… But what if… something happens… and I can’t go…? How will I pay you for the lesson without any pelts?” She slides her gaze away from his face a moment. She’d do lousy under interrogation, really.

Merendezen swings the basket from his shoulder, stopping before he can maul the poor woman with it and offers it out. "You're welcome. If you are not allowed to go, I will happily take a kiss just the same. Even if you are unable to produce the pelts in general." He grins, gesturing to his cheek. "That is more than enough thanks for any man." Who is cheap, at least.

Taking the empty basket from him with her free hand, Ahnika’s gaze lingers on his face as he talks. She relaxes a little as he offers to take a kiss in exchange and at first she grins a bit ruefully. Then the red-head’s grin fades a little as she considers it. She straightens, looking like she’s like to put her hands on her hips, but they are full of basket handles right now. “That seems too sweet a deal… just a kiss?” She looks skeptical now, but her love of knowledge and learning drives her hard, so she’s not entirely dismissing it altogether.

Merendezen chuckles at the change of expressions, amused and unintimidated by them. He simply inclines his head for a brief moment before returning full attention to her. "If you'd like to give more than a kiss, I am sure that we can arrange it. I am a fickle, lonely man, in a new weyr and starving for attention."

Ahnika latches on the word ‘starving’ and brightens suddenly. “I fear losing your respect if I didn’t offer you something else in exchange. Howzabout I teach you how to cook? We could do it late in the night when we wouldn’t get in the Bakers way so much.” There is a pause and then an incline of her head, “And that kiss. But then I get to keep any pelts I get, should I get any. My cot can get a little chilly sometimes.”

"It is hard to lose my respect. Unless you suddenly punch me in the face, then we may have some issues, dear Ahni." Zen chuckles at her offer, "I can cook, sadly, my dear. Why else would I hunt if not for meat to cook with?" A shake of his head, "I'm afraid the pelts mean far too much to me at the moment. But, how many would you believe you need for your cot?"

The teen girl stills a bit when he uses the familiar nickname. That one got her. “I guess it would depend on the size of the pelt,” Ahnika murmurs, her grey eyes dropping to his lips a moment and then back up to his eyes. There is heat in her cheeks now. But a heartbeat later, her smile returns, and she clears her throat, “I wouldn’t want you to think that was all I was good for, a little kiss,” Ahnika counters, “It so happens I know a lot, too. Just not hunting.” And fishing. And a handful of other things she means to learn. She lifts her chin a bit, squaring back her shoulders and pushing out her chest… which is probably not the greatest effect for what she intends. “I practically ran my old cothold by myself,” she boasts. “I can cook, clean, organize, mind the youngins, make sure everything that needs seeing to gets seen to.” She pauses, chewing her lip, and adds, with another jut of her jaw, “I bet you don’t know how to make sweetcakes.”

Merendezen watches her, noting the stilling but turning his eyes to search her face as she murmurs and turns that shade of color. When the smile returns, he follows the action. "No woman is ever just good for a single kiss, dear." Though he's curious at her counter, a brow lifting. "Amazing feat, I imagine this was when you were much younger, even." And the final offer is met with a laugh, "no, I don't know how to make sweetcakes. I don't believe I will find myself spending that much time in a kitchen. And what's a sweetcake without a woman to enjoy it with, my sweetcake?"

Chuckling softly, Ahnika finds herself blushing a little again, looking down and away, her feet fidgeting. Ahnika nods a bit, nervously clearing her throat and inwardly wondering what in the world was wrong with her and why she felt like melting right now. She takes in a deep breath and exhales, trying to find her spine in the middle of all that softness, and looks up at him again. "Younger, yes, though I wasn’t as good as it as when I left the cothold to come here and join the weyr,” she says, then shakes her head, “Probably bore you to death, anyway.” She steps back so she can turn without clubbing him with a basket and says, “I will have to just try and find something you want in trade, I guess, Zen, if kitchenwork won’t suffice. But at least I know I can come to you for hunting lessons once I have something legitimate to give you.” She takes a step, meaning to head for the door again, and stops, looking up at him, and smiles gently, “Thank you. I do appreciate it.” Spoken with genuine warmth that is reflected in her eyes.

The blush draws another grin oozing with charm, or just pure amusement, it lingers somewhere between the two. He waits patiently for her eyes to find him once more, "I had thought so. You did not seem like you had /just/ started with your duties before you left, thus, knowing as much as you do." He steps aside, to allow for her to go about her way if she so means to. "I am free whenever you find something you believe is legitimate, Ahni." Zen inclines his head, "you're quite welcome, until we meet again, my sweetcake."

That only serves to make Ahnika blush all the more. She dips her head toward him in muted farewell and then tries to quickly but safely shuffle out of the room with her empty baskets and him in his towel.

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