Twisted and Knotted


Ahnika.jpg Indira.jpg

Date: 7/21/10
Location: Headwoman's Office
Synopsis: After E'ro offers Candidacy and Ahnika accepts, she is sent to the Headwoman's office, her mentor, to get her Candidate knot and all the specifics settled. They end up catching up on other odds and ends, including Ahnika's recent interactions with E'ro and Max
Rating: PG-13 - Language
Logger: Ahnika

Eastern Weyr: Headwoman's Office
With a woven rug beneath it, the huge desk situated slap bang in the middle of this room is pretty hard to ignore. Although aged, the deep mahogany wood has been well cared for and polished to a high shine. The high backed chair placed behind it has been upholstered to match the deep jewel tones that grace the Headwoman's domain. On the opposite side of the desk, and of lesser design, is a chair that offers not nearly the same kind of comfort as that of the 'throne'. This possibly chosen with deliberate intent in mind.
To the right of the doorway stand several crates, upended on their sides and neatly stacked one upon the other, serving as makeshift shelving. To the left, a door that leads into the Headwoman's private quarters which remains firmly locked.

Being that E'ro invited Ahnika to Candidacy during the usual dinner meal, it is a bit after dinner hours that Ahnika winds her way to the Headwoman's apparently recently dug and finished office. She moves down the glowlit corridor that leads to Indira's office and finds it harder and harder to walk, really, considering the news she has to give her mentor. She begins to have second thoughts, slowing her pace some, but eventually the normally intrepid redhead comes to a little short of the entrance and knocks on the door to the office, "Headwoman?" Ahnika calls politely.

Word gets around fast. Or perhaps it's just that Indira has already managed to put together a rather well oiled network of information gathering. With the door standing slightly ajar, Ahnika's arrival therefore draws no surprise from the Headwoman as she leans back in her chair, setting the stylus neatly to one side of the document she'd been working on and steeples her fingers together setting a long look onto the girl. Finally through the flicker of a smile, "Come in, Ahnika." Hands come apart and the chair on the opposite side of the desk is indicated, "Take a seat."

Which “word” seems to be the question of the day, however. Still, Ahnika had been sent here for a specific reason and she will start with that. She relaxes a little at the pleasant welcome, but as Ahnika doesn’t realize that the word has already gotten around, she still feels somewhat awkward at what this is about, ultimately. She smiles as she takes the offered seat, exhaling a long-held breath before just spitting it out, “They want me to Stand, ma’am.” She looks away at that, as if she is examining the office, “The crafters did a fine job,” Ahni muses.

Arms drop and fold before her on the desk, Indira sending a vaguely amused look the way of the young redhead. "So I heard," she comments in return, "congratulations Ahnika, it is quite the honor to be asked to do so." Attention turns briefly toward the remark made about the new surroundings, "They did well enough. Still needs a bit of work here and there," eyes straying in pointed manner toward the make-shift shelving. Back to the topic at hand, the Headwoman leans slightly to one side, opening a drawer in the desk and extracting a white knot, "I had really been hoping to give you a knot of another description, but it would seem that a certain well meaning bronzerider, has beaten me to it." And if there's annoyance about E'ro having scooped her young protege out from underneath her nose, she's at least kind enough to keep it from her tone.

Blinking a little at the realization that Indira already heard, Ahnika takes a few moments to absorb all of that before naturally sliding into the inward panic over what else the Headwoman may have already heard. Her consideration shifts to quiet alertness as Indira brings out the white knot and comments about another knot that had been potentially on the table. Ahnika heaves another breath, exhaling softly and looking at the front of the desk a moment as she says suddenly, “I … don’t know who I am.” She looks up then, swallowing before continuing, putting her ultimate trust in her mentor, “I never knew my parents. I’m … a nobody.” She unconsciously sinks a little more in the chair, remembering how Max kicked her out of the stables the night before, and her shoulders slump. “So, the likelihood of any dragon thinking me significant enough to Impress is slim.” She straightens a little in the chair, smoothing down the tunic in her lap, finding some kitten fur and picking it away before looking at Indira once more, “But the opportunity to get E’ro to leave me alone forever was too good to pass up,” she says, trying to lighten the moment, “So, as soon as this is all over with … if you would still have me work for you … “ in whatever capacity that means, she leaves open, “then I’d like to stay on, ma’am.”

Indira goes very, very quiet with a stillness to frame that matches, as Ahnika speaks. Once the girl is done saying what she needs to say, the Headwoman slowly stands and moves around her desk. Halting in front of the girl, she leans her butt against the desk; arms folded and continues to fix the redhead with a look long. Long enough to have even the sturdiest of souls, squirming. Eventually she reaches forward to tip a finger under the candidate's chin to lift her head up, "Ahnika, hear what I say now and never forget it. You are -not- a nobody. From the day you joined up with us out there on the road to Nerat, you became a part of my family, my responsibility. You have family. I am your family. And whether or not a dragon chooses you, you are enough as you are." That having been said, the hand retreats and tucks back into the fold of arms, dark eyes narrowing, tone turning to what might be considered a dangerous level of quiet, "What," that and each following word carefully and exactly enunciated, "did E'ro do to you?" The topic of the teen returning to work for undisputed but set aside for the very real likelihood that there may well be a bronzerider about to get his hide handed to him on a plate.

As Indira comes around the desk, Ahnika is not intimidated as someone else might be, but this is largely because she has built that level of trust in her relationship with Indira enough at this point. At least from Ahni’s point of view. Her mentor’s touch on her chin earns a very attentive listener for the Headwoman, however. She absorbs it, and her spirits lift with not just the words, but the seeming sincerity behind them. Ahni smiles, and the smile touches her grey eyes as Indira pulls her hand back, and she nods once, looking at her hands in her lap briefly and murmuring, “That means a lot to me.” Which is really an understatement, but Ahnika is not a Lady Holder or Harper and able to put a lot of eloquence to the genuine sentiment, so she leaves it at that. To Indira’s last question, however, Ahni looks up and the smile fades to a mildly indifferent look as she considers how best to answer. What did E’ro do to her? Not nearly as much as what a certain beast manager did to her, Ahnika thinks, her cheeks flushing a little with the memory - which probably isn’t very timely for E’ro’s sake. She inhales a little, shaking the memory away with a little shake of her head, “I’d been meaning to tell you about it, really, ma’am. But other duties and your meetings just kept getting in the way, and then I thought perhaps the laundress Darja might have said something anyway … “ she shrugs a little before continuing, “I caught him in the laundry area one day when I was bringing them a bucket of fresh water to drink, and he lied to me about who he was and he didn’t have his knot on and he started making up stories about Darja to make her look bad, and when I realized that he was the one instigating the mess, I gave him … a bit of a tongue-lashing … “ She looks at her lap again, “He deserved it. Any drudge, as he was playing out to be, with that much time on his hands to be causing pranks and such, well, he would have deserved a tongue-lashing in my mind, except he was a bronzerider and I didn’t know it until … all was done.” She sighs a bit, then continues, “And then he kept pestering me when he would see me, wanting to apologize, wanting my forgiveness, little holdless me,” she wrinkles her nose, “like maybe he was trying to get something else from me, I dunno, I’m beginning to think I don’t get men, honestly,” and she’s beginning to ramble now, too, “and he wouldn’t leave me alone.” Another breath, “So, he bet me that I would Impress, and he said that if I didn’t Impress, he would never speak to me again,” which is not actually accurate, but that is how the teenager heard it.

Indira's expression warms with the smile sent to Ahnika in response to the words of fealty given and then she settles in and listens, and watches as the teen tells her story. Every nuance of tone, every shift in body language is captured by the Headwoman. As such, she doesn't miss the blush that hovered for a moment as the girl started out, eyes narrowing in response but not saying anything just yet. Finally, when all is said, the Headwoman appears to be oddly amused by the whole saga, "Aside from telling stories about Darja to make her look bad. Was there anything else he did? Put redwort in the laundry tubs, itching powder in the ironing piles, or maybe sneak numbweed into something?" listing a variety of possible no good the bronzerider could have gotten up to. Unfolding her arms and setting her hands to either side of her, the older blonder puts a wry smile down to the candidate, "It's hard for dragonriders sometimes. If you impress you'll find out why. That knot that they wear. It's a statement to all and sundry, that leaves little to no room for just being themselves or for making mistakes. Everyone's always watching them, all of the time. Some just waiting for them to trip up. So not wearing a knot, or pretending not to be a rider, is not all that uncommon, Ahknika." As to the last, eyes narrow once again as brows lift, "He said he'd never speak to you again? Considering you don't seem to like him much anyway, why is that a problem?"

As Indira reacts to Ahnika’s explanation of events, the redhead frowns a little shifting in her seat, “No,” she admits reluctantly, not liking the idea that maybe she over-reacted just a wee bit, “Not that I saw or caught him doing.” She looks back up to Indira, “But ma’am, he’s unpredictable, and out of control and that makes him dangerous. He /lies/.” The last said with a lot of emphasis, suggesting that lying was the equivalent to murder, and perhaps to Ahnika it is. “And he lies on purpose,” as if it could ever be done on accident, “just to get people in trouble and cause havoc. And he can get away with it just because of his rank. It’s not right.” She shakes her head, sinking a little more to sulk in the chair, “not right. Not fair.” She lapses quiet a moment, and then at the follow-up query explains, “Right. He said that he’d leave me alone, for good, if I would Stand and not Impress.” She chews her bottom lip a little, “So, it’s a win-win situation for me. If I Impress, it’s good,” she looks up at Indira, “Right? And if I don’t Impress, everything goes back to normal except I never have to talk to him again and he leaves me alone.”

There's a moment there where Indira actually has to look away for a moment or two, a strange expression crossing her face for the bronzerider under discussion being 'out of control'. Clearing her throat around an apparent catch in it, her attention goes back to Ahnika, attentive listener once again. At the end of it all, a hand lifts and tips a finger toward the candidate, "That right there is what I'm talking about. And while lying is never a good thing and certainly not when it's deliberately designed to get someone else in trouble, it is a sign of being human and therefore not infallible to all the shortcomings we humans are prone to. Judge not the man or woman by the size or color of the knot on their shoulders, Ahni. I know, it's all a little confusing and often doesn't seem right or fair," echoing the teen's own words, "but life isn't a clear cut black and white. It's also a whole blend of all the colours in between." Inhaling and then exhaling slowly, the Headwoman's mouth tips into a gently chastising smile, "Give him a chance Ahni, you'll find he's really not that bad once you get to know him a little better." Speaking as if she indeed has personal experience of this herself.

Woah. Ahnika blinks a lot through Indira’s wisdom with a mixture of disbelief and uncertainty. Lucky for E’ro, Indira’s opinion holds A LOT of influence on Ahnika. Finally, she screws her lips in consideration of the headwoman’s words, looking at the front of the desk again as she soaks them in, and after a little pause at the very end, Ahnika sighs a little, “Ohh-kaay,” and nods once, “I’ll … try.” The redhead looks up then, at Indira, and her eyes seem to add, ‘for you’ though it remains unspoken. Then she glances toward the white knot on Indira’s desk, and manages, “So, he said I would have to move to the weyrling barracks?”

Nodding her satisfaction at Ahnika's acquiescence (E'ro's probably going to be made to pay for that), Indira twists and reaches for the knot lying behind her. Taking it up she turns back toward the young redhead and holds it out to her, "It'll be fun," she assures of the upcoming move to the weyrling barracks, "you'll get to meet all kinds of interesting people from all over the place. And who knows? Those very people could end up becoming your clutch mates. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in the weyrling barracks." Giving away small hint at her past.

Taking the offered knot gently, Ahnika smiles a little, considering it, “Well, that’ll be good. You know me and my love of new experiences.” That gets a momentary panicked look on her face, which she tries to clear quickly, “Well, and at least I know enough about the weyr already and chores and where things are kept that I won’t have to learn all that again.” She brightens a little, “And I can help those who are new, too.” Feeling the warmth of being needed already, even before she gets there.

Indira immediately catches that panicked look and pauses in her course back to her own seating behind the desk, "Ahnika? Was there something else you wanted to discuss with me?" Giving the candidate pause to decide on whether or not to share whatever that was about, the Headwoman continues on her course and settles back into her chair, pulling a sheet of paper toward her and staring down at it, "If I can see my way clear, not all of your chores will be situated here at the Weyr. Some of you might get to go and work on a spice and herb farm, learning all that goes into what most of us take for granted when visiting the healers or sweetening our tea," making it all sound so very exciting.

At the question, Ahnika frowns thoughtfully, her fingers moving over the knot in her hand, gingerly, and she nods somewhat distractedly, “That all sounds very exciting. Lots to learn, I’m sure.” She sits up a little more, clearing her throat, “I would just as soon forget it, really, ma’am. He made his … feelings on the matter clear last night. But since the weyrwoman caught … well, everything … it’d probably be better if I’m the one to explain than wait for you to hear it from her, instead.” She blushes, looking away, and says, “I sort of … kissed Max … last night.” Actually not the exact truth either, but it’s what she sees of it as a forward, awkward teenager.

Still listening but making a few notes on the sheet of paper she's taken up, Indira almost misses that last most defining part of what Ahnika says. Aaand there it is. In the manner in which fingers curl tightly toward making a fist and crumple the paper, in the way Indira's head slowly but surely lifts and pins an intent look onto the candidate and finally, in the very thinly compressed lips and tight set to features. A dark blonde brow arches up high, "He did -what-?" setting all blame firmly at her son's door. Just those three words as silence settles heavily about the woman that looks set to kill as she awaits an answer.

First Randi, and now Indira. And really, she could probably include E’ro and Max in, too. Ahnika screws her lips into a bitter expression briefly. Why can’t anyone believe she’s capable of being naughty on her own? Her mind drifts a little to Zen and his offer, and her reaction. Well, that is probably partly why. And then the redhead’s expression transitions into one of concern as the silence dominates the office though, and she blinks a little, looking at Indira. “Oh. Oh, please don’t be cross with him, ma’am. It … I … He … We … “ She gets all flustered, “It was just a kiss, and nothing else, and it obviously must have been horrible as he doesn’t want anything to do with me and the weyrwoman said he’s a bit of a rake anyway, and he didn’t deny it, so … “ she slumps, wishing she could forget him entirely, but her expression says anything but. It says she wants to give him another chance, that maybe it was a misunderstanding. The girl is twitterpated.

Indira is nothing if not sensitive to the feelings and angst of a teenaged girl. However, it does take her a moment or two to rein in mounting anger for the reckless actions of her son. Who should have known better in the first place. Veeery carefully she lays that sheet of paper down, fingers smoothing out the creases and then sets it atop the stack of others, gathers them all up and taps them together on the sides into a neat, perfectly square pile. Small actions and rituals turns in the making from having faced all manner of tense situations. The last to come is the exact perpendicular placing of the stylus alongside them. That done, the Headwoman leans her arms on the desk and laces her fingers together as she sets a perfectly neutral expression onto Ahnika. Why can't anyone believe she's capable of being naughty on her own? Because she's sweet, dependable, diligent, Ahni. That's why. "First of all, weyrwoman Randi is right, he's a bastard when it comes to women," twisting the words the girl had used, "as to it having been just a kiss," not doubting the girl's word, "he can count himself lucky for that or else I'd have personally seen to his newfound status of eunuch." What seems to anger the woman the most, is the way the young redhead has been left feeling about the whole affair, "He … threw you out afterward?" dark eyes narrowing into dangerous slits. Catching the twitterpated state of the girl, she adds last but not least, "Stay away from him, Ahni. He's trouble."

Bastards. Rakehells. Cads. The weyr seems to be full of them. But this observation of Max is met with the irrational consideration that every teenager gets with their first hardcore crush, “Maybe he just hasn’t met the right … girl.” In other words, maybe Ahni’s just the one to change him and his wicked ways. Oh, how the young idealists set themselves up for failure. She pauses a moment, remembering the effective kick to the curb and there is a fresh sting in her grey eyes, so she looks away from Indira, “Well, Weyrwoman Randi was right there … so, yeah, he … told me to get out.” Physically ushered her more like it, and her cheeks flush anew. “And then it sounded like he and the weyrwoman were starting to fight as I left.” She shrugs a little, still not meeting Indira’s eyes.

Oh to have that sheet of paper to turn her attention to rather than having to witness the idealistic agony Ahnika is going through. And while Indira's eyes flick for a bare moment down toward it, she can't touch it. It's against the rules. Her rules. As much as she's beyond angry with Lomaxin for his stupidity and heartless leading on of the girl (as she sees it), something said gives the Headwoman pause, "He kissed you in -front- of the weyrwoman?" that's a new one, even by her son's standards, "Well then," fingers steal toward the paperwork and then halt and slink back together again, "that might have been why they started to fight." Putting it down to simple jealousy on the goldrider's behalf. "Men, Ahnika, have been set amongst us to confound and test the limits of our patience," dropping into Pearls Of Wisdom A La Indira mode, "What -we- need to do, is learn how to beat them at their own game. Take what we want from them, and then just," hands part again and fingers of one of them make little walking actions along her desk, "move along." Jaded much?

“Well … “ Ahnika considers the memory of his lips a moment, and licks her own, and then ever helpful she says, “he kissed me, and she caught us, but yeah …” She sighs a bit, slumping, “I know. I know. He doesn’t like me.” The latter is said with just a smidgeon of doubt. She’s not entirely convinced it’s not all some big - confounding - misunderstanding. She nods, listening to Indira’s words of wisdom attentively, needing as much help to get through this as she can, and who better to impart advice than her favorite mentor? “I just want him to … think about me … the way I think about him … That’s what I want from him,” says the hormonal teen. Then she stands up, “But I guess that doesn’t matter now.” She feels the Candidate knot in her fingers once more before affixing it in place with a sad smile, looking back at Indira, “I’m sorry to take up so much of your time,” with a nod to her stack of paperwork. “And I need to go pack anyway. Since you said you’ve done all this before, any former-Candidate advice before I go?”

Indira's seen that look and heard those words from too many girls over the turns to know that anything further she could say at this point, will have little impact. A girl wants, what a girl wants. Who better to understand that, then the Headwoman herself? Finally, with relief, her fingers are allowed to stray back to the squared pile of paperwork, caressing and stroking absently over it, as if finding sustenance there and drawing strength from it. Glancing back up at Ahnika as she makes ready to leave, "Don't fuck him. That's how I ended up never seeing the sands and he ended up being here to kiss you and get your knickers in a frilly mess." Blunt but spoken through a dry smile that says that at some level, she understands.

And there, right there, that sad smile is wiped clear off Ahnika’s face. Indira’s words have that effect, stunning Ahnika a bit into silent submission and then a nod with a sober expression. “I understand,” or she thinks she does, “I’ll be okay. I won’t do anything.” Well, so she intends not to. She dips her head politely and deferentially, and turns toward the door, moving a couple steps, before turning and regarding Indira again, offering lamely but genuinely, “And I’m sorry, too.” Before turning back to the door and slipping out to see to this new chapter in her life, and what it includes.

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