Writing Bridges

Participants:

Jaya.jpg L'ron.jpg Shijan.jpg

Date: Oct. 11, 2010
Location: The Bar, EW
Synopsis: L'ron comes by to write that letter to his family that they talked about a long while back. In exchange, now Jaya has to write one of her own for her estranged family back in Bitra.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya


Bar's been closed for an hour already, with the floors sweeped and its barmaids on the outs. Shijan's still about, settling at the counter now that there's no patrons to watch after, while Jaya herself is behind the counter and busy putting sheets of hides together. She sets this stack right in front of her along with a couple of writing styluses and other various things to do with writing. She looks to be setting up a writing station, the way she sets up the sheets neatly next to the styluses - all the while with a glass of red Benden in one hand. She also looks to be waiting for someone, the way her eyes go towards the entrance every so often, before going back to her little set-up at the counter.

L'ron is not one of those weyrlings that usually takes to wandering about the Weyr once Balkrith has settled down for the night. However, this evening is an exception and finds the blue weyrling entering the bar with almost reluctant steps. His nod and friendly smile of greeting goes first to Shijan and then settles on Jaya, his nose wrinkling a little, "I've been thinking…" rocking back on his heels slightly, "maybe now isn't a good time to send a letter home. Maybe…maybe we keep that for when we graduate and…I'll take Balkrith home to meet them. Tonight we can play cards or something." Yup, someone's trying to wangle his way out of this one.

Shijan, while sending the weyrling a nod once he arrives - and looking as if he knew he was coming - "Evening," Jaya chooses to greet first, her little station done so that she could look up from it to meet L'ron's reluctant gaze. "And we can play cards afterwards." Tapping a finger lightly on the stacks of blank hides, "Indulge me, shuga," she drawls low, hoping to entice the blue weyrling with honeyed words, the scarred barkeep leaning forward against the counter. "I'm not asking you to steal from a Lord Holder. I'm asking you to write home." She regards him steadily, even should he looks away from her, and she sets her glass aside long enough to pick up one of the writing styluses and slide it slowly towards him.

Brown eyes regard Jaya in dubious silence as L'ron takes another reluctant step over and then slumps onto a bar stool. Elbow to counter, chin to hand, an impish smile peels out, "I'm pretty sure the deal was that you first have to walk about barefoot in mud." Here he makes a show of turning and giving the area behind him a good going over, "Don't see any mud around," glancing over to Shijan now, "do you? Or maybe…" his gaze falls to the door of the back room, "it's in there?" The stylus being sent his way is eyed for a moment and then he picks it up and sticks it behind his ear before going back to that chin to hand thing he'd been doing earlier.

"Write first and then you can see my feet in mud all you want!" Jaya offers only too brightly, suggesting it to be an act. She'll even match L'ron's movement - her chin going to a propped hand infront of him, setting her elbow ontop of the stack of hides. Studying him in silence after a look goes to a watching Shijan, "Why so against writing home, anyway?" she notes, blinking a few times as she tries to keep the smirk in check. "Do you want your folks to worry about you? Or did they really kick you out and you don't want to tell me?" She watches the path that writing stylus goes then, lips pressing together before she sends L'ron a look. "Do you know how to write?" the sudden thought occurs to her, and so she asks it without any further hesitation as she tries to figure his reluctance out.

"How do I know you'll do it? I mean…once I got the writing done, you could just back down on the deal," a grin turns over to Shijan, including the silent guard in his system of defense, "or is that where you come in, huh? You're going to make her do it?" Because that, he'd really like to see. Dropping his hand away from his chin, L'ron shrugs, "They probably think I'm dead anyway," seeming both unconcerned and concerned all at the same time. "No," a rarely seen frown appears, "They didn't kick me out. I told you. I left. Wanted to see the world." Plucking the stylus out from behind his ear the blue weyrling studies it for a moment before replying, "I can write," just not so well and with spelling errors on the same level as a third grader, "Just never seen the point to writing what you can just come out and tell a person face to face." That's his excuse and he's sticking to it.

"Ahhh," and now, Jaya and Shijan exchange a glance, and the bodyguard actually breaks his mask somewhat to send a twitchy grin her way. "You're going to have to trust me," Jaya says, placing both hands on the stack of hides before slowly sliding them across the counter towards L'ron. The smile crooked, "I trusted you with my secret," she reminds him, letting some seriousness into her tone. "Now, you'll have to trust me." - "I'll enforce it," Shijan actually now breaks his usual silence, answering L'ron's question smoothly. It was enough to have the barkeep shoot him a brief and dark glance though, then she turns back to the blue weyrling and raises a brow in his direction. "If they think you're dead, shuga, then that's more reason to write. Your family's not like mine. I'm sure they actually care where you've gotten to, adventuring or not." Her face softens, an odd occurrence considering the fact that it's her as she adds, "And I agree about speaking face to face," she agrees on that with quiet earnest, eyes steady on his. "But. You can't get there anytime soon. Can't take Balkrith out. By the time he can fly? It will be too late."

L'ron's brown eyed gaze twinkles with merriment when Shijan agrees to enforce the bar owner's walk through mud with bare feet. He even goes so far as to hold out a hand the guard's way to shake on it, "Deal!" And then back to Jaya with some of the humor quieting, "I guess so." Though to what he's agreeing, he doesn't stipulate. It must be that the dark haired woman's words either make sense, hit or home or are a combination of the two for with a heavy, almost put upon sigh he draaags the stack of hides closer, "Fiiine. I'll do it." Licking the scribing end of the stylus, brows pull into a heavy line of concentration and he begins to laboriously put down:

Deeya mutha and faatha

The misspelled words looking somewhat as if a drunken spinner and had tottered about on the sheet of hide.

Shijan's snorting (or is that a snicker?) when L'ron holds out his hand towards him, merely staring him down before he returns Jaya's look. "Don't need a fuckin' enforcer…" Jaya's muttering, sending the tall man a hard look before turning towards L'ron and studiously ignoring his stares. She looks pleased at the other's acquiesce, relinquishing her hold on the stack of hides with an open smile. "Glad you're seeing it my way—" she begins, until she looks down when he begins to write and sees the mistakes and misspellings as clear as day. Leaning forward and deliberately being nosy, the scarred woman points a finger right onto the first word written and looks up at L'ron with some confusion evident on her face. "What the shards does that mean?" she asks, either teasing him or is really clueless to L'ron's handwriting.

L'ron…is completely unfazed by the stare down he gets from Shijan, or the muttered comment sent from Jaya, his grin simply widening. His hand starting to form the beginnings of the next word, tongue poking out from the corner of his mouth in concentration, it halts a half formed 'S' as the weyrling glances first to the word pointed out and then up at the bar owner's face. Lips press into an unhappy line and very slowly, but deliberately he sets the stylus down and slides off the stool, embarrassment and no small amount of hurt coloring his eyes and open features. "That's it. Not doing it," and summarily turns to leave.

"Oh shit—!" Jaya and her lack of tact. She's around the counter and reaching for what she could grab of L'ron in an instant. She never could stand that look of hurt on his face, no matter how much she wonders why it would affect her. "Hey! I meant nothing by it, L'ron!" she calls out, trying to stop the blue weyrling from leaving her bar. "I just…hold on, okay? Don't just leave or anything!" She's talking double-time, eyes darting behind her towards the letter that got started and emits a heavy sigh before she looks sweeps a look passed Shijan back to him. Calming herself, "Let me write it," she offers, hoping that would stop him from leaving. "You tell me what to write, shuga, and I'll write it for you. How's that, huh?" It was her say of apologizing, the frown and concern evident in her voice despite the aggression of her demeanor.

He’s almost across the room when Jaya’s hand catches to his elbow and L’ron stops, eyes set dead ahead. Still for a moment before slowly turning to face her, expression revealing the beginnings of very rarely seen anger that tightens his jaw. And still that silence prevails as he puts the bar owner under a weighty stare. When his words come they’re spoken with quiet chastisement, “Words Jaya, have the power to give or take away,” stepping away and free from her grasp, “And those spoken in haste or without thought, are like Thread falling upon an unprotected field of wheat.” Deadly. There are those that would have left after such a telling humiliation, and while the weyrling is no brawler, he’s neither a coward and so it is that purposeful steps carry him back toward the bar where he once again, takes up seating on the stool and quietly waits for the bar owner to re-take her position behind the counter.

It’s highly probable, with her not having a proper family or set of friends in her life, that Jaya has never heard these words before. They are words that hit across her face, where the visual reminder of words having power is slashed down the side of her face. It’s why her face flushes, when L’ron steps away, the woman not able to look him in the face when he points upon her impulses and her temper. Well, she couldn’t look at him with him looking at her like that, anyway. Not right away. When she does look him in the eyes again, duly chastised (if it were any other person that had done so, anyway), she’s dead silent as she watches the weyrling step back towards the counter and wait for her to returns. It takes her a little longer to return back behind the counter, her dark eyes set on L’ron now steadily. Hands falling flat on the counter as she takes a breath, “Think I’d learn that by now, considering,” she chooses to say this, giving L’ron a three-second tentative smile that actually makes her look more shy than the brash woman she is. And if the cryptic statement confused him, a hand lifts briefly from the table to gesture at the scar on her face. “I’m sorry, L’ron,” she gives quietly, sincerely, biting her lip as she studious ignores Shijan for being present at this moment. “I’m trying, shuga.” Trying to be different, to not be like the Dicoris that she’s been for too long.

Fingers lacing his hands together before him on the bar counter, L’ron is careful to avoid any looks he might be getting from Shijan, probably self-conscious about the guard having borne witness to his deficiency too. Solemn brown eyes catch to Jaya, holding to the woman as she makes her way back around the counter and takes up her earlier position, stroking along the scar on her face as she draws attention to it. Only once the last of her words have drifted away on to the air does the weyrling unclasp his hands and reach one out toward the dark haired woman, meaning to set it over one of hers if she doesn’t jerk away. A small smile forming, seeking to give that hand of hers a gentle squeeze as his head shakes in brief motion, “Its okay, Jaya. We all got something we’re hiding,” his being the ineptitude of letter writing, “and sometimes that makes us act before thinking.” Putting that back on himself for having nearly ‘stormed’ off the way he had. Well, stormed off in as much as the easy going young man is capable of. “So come on then, let’s get writing,” accepting her earlier offer as a smile more fitting of his usual demeanor falls into place, “Because I know you just can’t wait to go squishing through mud.” Grin. And just like that, not being one to bear a grudge, the matter is put to rest as an expectant look flits over to Jaya.

“No, it’s not,” Jaya interjects quietly, watching his hand go over hers and squeeze without moving away. Taking the time to piece together what she wants to say, or, perhaps it’s something that she wants to actually confide in, “This is…new to me,” she explains, briefly sweeping her eyes over the place to indicate the Weyr, and him as well. Eyes falling on the unfinished letter, “Been around unsavory folks my whole life, so, never felt the need to curb anything. Would’ve been dead if I did. It’s in me.” Eyes finally lift and shoot a short look to a watching Shijan, “And then they’re—“ she stops, blinking a few times before shooting a glance back to L’ron and shaking her head. “Nevermind that,” she shifts topics, straightening up as she returns their focus back to the letter. She slides the unfinished one to the side, showing a blank new sheet as she takes up the writing stylus now. Sending L’ron a bland grin, “Plenty of time to talk later,” she says this with a firm nod of finality. “Let’s get this letter written, shuga. How about…” and, stylus to hide, she starts on the new sheet with:

Dear mother and father,

Clearly she wasn’t around all unsavory folks if she could write and do poetry, at that. She looks up expectantly at him then, along with Shijan doing the same, the writing stylus now hanging in the air above the sheet of hide as she asks, “What do you want to tell them first?” Because it was clear to her at least, that the weyrling probably had more things that needed to be said other than the fact that he had Impressed to Balkrith, but she wasn’t about to dictate to him unless he asked.

Having delivered that squeeze to her hand, L’ron’s withdraws and folds back around the other before him on the counter, his head tipped slightly to one side, watchful brown eyes fastening to Jaya as she confides what is obviously an awkward truth for her. “You’re doing just fine, Jaya,” he gives encouragingly with a warm smile attaching itself, “And then they’re?” glancing over to Shijan as if might have the rest of the sentence that she leaves off. Not one to press unduly, he lets the matter be for the time being and nods slowly, letting a puff of air escape passed his lips, hands to the sides of his face and chin resting against their heels, watching closely as Jaya puts down the opening line. Silent, long passed the asking of what he’d like to say next as he gathers his thoughts, staring down at the sheet of hide, and then eventually:

I’m not dead. The Grand Adventure has been everything I had hoped it would be. I’ve seen some really interesting places, met some lovely folk and have a new home now. You can go ahead and tell Royan that he can have my old room and Leona can have the big dragon stuffy I won at that Gather a few turns back…

There he pauses, giving his ‘scribe’ chance to get that put down.

Jaya merely sends L’ron an encouraging crooked smile for him to go on rather than her train of thought, studying her friend closely while he contemplates. It’s only when he starts to speak again that the barkeep comes back to life and starts scribbling down his words without asking him to repeat anything – as if she has had experience in this type of thing before. It would make sense that she did, considering the fact that most of the renegades she ran with didn’t even know which end of the writing stylus to write with. She ignores the slight smile that comes to Shijan’s face as he watches them at the counter, his posture not so stiff since it was evident that the blue weyrling wasn’t nearly a threat to the Bitran woman. Once she writes out the last word, she looks up expectantly, the smile returning to dark features. “They must miss you,” she comments, clarifying quickly with, “Your siblings.” She looks back down at their names, her own wayward siblings coming to mind as she realizes she herself hasn’t even written Nacor and Beddie a note in turns. It caused the slight guilty expression to appear on her face while she re-read the letter, but when she looks up she says nothing more and waits for L’ron to continue.

L’ron’s interest holds as Jaya writes, likely impressed with the speed and efficiency that she does so. His mouth pulls into a fond smile as she writes his siblings’ names down. Obviously whatever his problem is, it doesn’t translate in not being able to read as evidenced by his having had no problem reading the poem that had been left attached to the inside of his candidate robe. The smile slips a little and brown eyes meet those of a darker hue as he slowly nods on missing his siblings, actually his family as a whole, “Yeah.” Teeth catch to his lower lip and he frowns a little, slumping down so that his arms are now folded and his chin resting upon them. “Would be nice to see them again,” lifting his gaze up to the dark haired woman and catching that slightly guilty look that fleets across her scarred features and states quietly, “you should write yours after you’re done writing mine.” Because to his mind, it’s just as simple a thing to do. With a sigh one hand unfolds and scratches at his head when she prompts for more going silent as he tries to figure out how to tell his family, who likely think him dead, about the major changes in his life. Not being one to toot his own horn or brag of his achievements, because really, a dragon is less achievement and more a stroke of good luck, or so he seems to view it given the played down version he finally ends up giving Jaya to write down:

Even now the adventure continues and has taken a new turn with the appearance of Balkrith in my life. You’d love him Mother, he keeps trying to make me eat turnips and insists that they’re a better form of trade than marks. You’d like him too Father. He’s not as quick as to learn as the others are but he tries really hard and already has several clutchmates working on his theory that turnips are the answer to ending Thread. Of course, that means I have to keep begging turnips from the kitchens to reward him with and keep him happy and I think at some point someone is going to suggest that I plant my own garden of them rather than draw on the Weyr’s supplies.

And there once again, he pauses and for some reason or another, puts a smile over to Shijan. Then again, it might be that he’d seen the teak skinned man moving in and out of the band of Indira’s holdless when they’d been out on the road still. “I’m glad she’s got you,” simply stated and obviously connecting the dots between the guard’s presence and what little the bar owner had told him of her troubles.

“You definitely should, when you can,” Jaya offers on his family, the smile turning minutely softer before she finishes writing out what’s been added. She’s pausing over the last statement said when L’ron mentions she should write to hers as well, her eyes going to somewhere else on the letter before a grimace shows up on her face. Her face hardening up as she continues on writing firmly, “They don’t want to hear from me,” she says on that account, alluding to bad blood currently rife in her family. Dark eyes briefly seeking his out, “Nacor narked on me, anyway. What do I have to say to them?” She shakes her head, writing the last of what’s said thoughtfully before she catches L’ron’s words to Shijan. She looks up in time to catch the tall bodyguard inclining his head towards the weyrling, her frown more pronounced as she looks between the two of them. “How do you—?” she starts to ask, clearly not connecting the dots herself – or perhaps not realizing that L’ron had came to the Weyr with Indira’s band of holdless. Her look to L’ron is more askance than at Shijan, for she’s certain the man wouldn’t answer her question so much as he would. But then, it’s after a long pause when she looks back down at the letter, “How is Balkrith, anyway?” she asks, darting a glance towards L’ron. “I got some turnips for him, if he’s collecting. Suli’s been insisting I pass them your way.” How Suli would know about Balkrith’s obssession is probably anyone’s guess, though there is little that the barkeep keeps from the barmaid in as far as such things are concerned.

L’ron nods enthusiastically, “When Balkrith is flying,” brightening at the thought and then going quiet before adding in a musing tone, more to himself than anyone else, “Maybe they’ll even want to come live here. They could…grow vegetables or something.” Not too sure how his parents might earn their keep at the Weyr considering they’re little more than simple subsistence farmers. A light frown forms in response to Jaya’s expression hardening over her own siblings. “You won’t know until you try, Jaya,” he gives with a small smile, “If you don’t extend your hand, how do they know its there for them to take?” Glancing over at Shijan when she begins to query how he might know the guard, he settles a grin onto the man, “He taught me how to juggle.” He doesn’t however look set to say more, respecting the man’s right to privacy, or perhaps understanding his need to keep his cards close to his chest. Back to Jaya with a fond expression in place for his squirley blue, “Bal’s doing good. I think he’s finally figured out the differences between his two stomachs now, thanks to Jhath’s help.” A wide grin greets words of Suli having passed turnips onto her boss for his dragon, “She did? I like her. She’s nice.” The grin fades under the sober expression now forming on his face, “Did you go to Max like I said to do about that…problem?” not too sure how much her ‘shadow’ might know of the women’s troubles.

Jaya watches the joy blossoming on L’ron’s face at the talk of his family, her own lopsided smile being a tentative and fond one for him. His own words on her family have her looking back down towards the letter, the barkeep absently tapping the writing stylus against it before speaking. “Beddie’s getting a necklace,” she admits, meeting his eyes with firm resolve. “We’ll see how she responds to that, though, I reckon she’s not the problem. Still trying to figure out how I’m going to get a necklace out to her without compromising where she is from…you know.” Beat. Shijan meets her eyes, then L’ron’s when the conversation turns to him, the tall man staring at the latter for his answer to Jaya. “Right,” he tacks on right behind him, one corner of his mouth lifting for a bare second. “Right,” Jaya repeats that, not sounding too convinced either, but for now, she’s willing to drop it. “I’m glad to hear it,” she talks about the little blue now, sending L’ron a firm nod. “So he’s been well with the weyrling training? Yourself?” Beat. “Nice?” At this pronouncement about the Telgari barmaid, Jaya’s giving him a look. “Since when? Every time I see her around you, she looks to be trying to give you a good swat across the head. She could be joking though, the smile still lingering on her lips as she says it before he brings up Max. As always, only hearing his name seems to wipe most of her smile from her face. Shooting a look in Shijan’s direction briefly since the man obviously knows most of it by now, “He, ah, came to me, actually,” she answers, her tapping of the stylus ceasing. Regarding L’ron now, “He found some men trying to steal one of his runners,” she explains quickly, her tone even. “Managed to catch one of them and apparently, they work for the very same one that’s after me.” Pausing significantly, “I was on my way out of here when I heard,” she admits to him, eyes returning to the letter. “They’re here, L’ron. Other than running again…” Despite her already choosing to stay, the itch to flee was still there at the back of her mind.

“Are you going to send a note with the necklace?” he asks, a pleased smile in place at that revelation. “Ask a rider,” L’ron states simply, “They can get in and out quickly before anyone even knows they were there. If Bal were flying and Betweening, we could have taken it for you.” Seeming a little disappointed that he’s not able to offer this favor to his friend. The look Shijan gives him has the weyrling turning a beatific grin onto the man before he turns back to the topic of his blue with a slightly awkward shift of shoulders and then supplies through a smile, “He does his best at everything he tries.” And really, what more could a person ask for. Nodding firmly on Suli, “Nice,” and then with a grin widening out, “Nah, she won’t hit me. She likes me too much.” When Jaya speaks on his former employer, his lips form into a silent whistle, “Someone tried to steal one of his runners and…they’re still alive?” Knowing how the beast manager was about his runners. What she says next has L’ron blinking and glancing about the place as if half expecting those after her to jump out from under a table and then he casts a worried look between the two, “Here?” Suddenly his eyes unfocus and he’s unexpectedly snickering before clearing his throat and returning to the subject at hand, “So they’re here. What you guys going to do about it?”

“Was hoping the necklace would speak enough for me,” Jaya admits wryly, one shoulder hitching up a bit as if to shrug. “I might ask S’las to take it. He has family near that way, too.” She smiles more when L’ron mentions he would deliver it if he could, the barkeep nodding to that appreciatively before she rolls her eyes at his response on Suli. On the subject of the beast manager, she leans against the counter more and responds with, “You should see the man before you say that. He’s letting a healer in to treat him, but, other than that…” And there’s a shrug, the scarred woman shaking her head. “I have him, for starters,” she briskly answers his last, her head gesturing towards Shijan. “Still thinking up a good plan that will keep my ass intact.” Yep, after her main plan of action seemed to give Rio a scare when she told her. “Max has got something up his sleeve, but I’m not going to let him get hurt on my account.” Eyes briefly on the letter, “Rio’s offered me to stay the nights in the weyrling barracks,” she adds, her grin turning crooked, “but I can’t let harm come to you all, either. I’ll figure something out, shuga. Priority right now is to find out who here is working for Vaputero. That thief mentioned that they knew I was coming here before I even did. That tells me that they were planted long before I arrived. Once we smoke them out, then we can focus on Bitra.” It was the first time she mentions the Bitran’s name in L’ron’s presence, her tone serious and business-like as she lays it out.

“You should write her too,” L’ron seems determined on that point. For some reason or another he seems unfazed by Jaya’s alluding to the runner thief being in anything but one piece. Perhaps it’s that he’s seen the beast manager’s handiwork before and so is unsurprised? A glance toward Shijan when she points out the reason for being there in the first place, surprise mirrored in his expression on the matter of safe places to lay her head down for the night, “You don’t sleep with her?” Not intending it to sound the way it likely comes out. A soft snort greets the idea that she might be able to stop Max carrying out whatever he has in mind to do, “Only one that can stop him is Indira. Or maybe Ahnika,” shrugging because really, he’s not too sure himself who, if anyone, has the power or hold to sway a decision made by the man. As to any harm coming to weyrlings for her spending the night in the barracks, amusement flirts about his expression, “When last did you take a look at the dragonets? Shards, even I wouldn’t try sneaking in there at night,” well he has, but with heads up warning via Balkrith, “and I live with them.” He doesn’t seem to show much reaction to the name dropped but one can be guaranteed it’s been squirreled away for later reference. All he does is nod, “We don’t really have much to do with anyone outside of the weyring barracks but if we hear or see anything you’ll be the first to know.” Solemnly given.

Jaya sets the writing stylus down firmly and faces the determination in L’ron’s voice. “Why?” she asks him, her stubbornness on the rise despite the fact that she herself has spent months trying to get him to write home. “They weren’t there for me. She wasn’t there for me. They let him kick me out!” She steps back abruptly from the counter, trying to calm that Dicori temper that always threatens to rise to the fore. Eyes shut and a hand lifts to rub at her temple in the pause before she exhales and looks at him again. Her dark eyes searches his and his only, toying with the idea of telling him more. So far he has been trusted, and he hasn’t betrayed her confidences, so it’s with a low voice that she explains herself when slow steps take her back up to the counter. “I was using the caravan wagon to smuggle some things for Vaputero on our travels,” she says carefully, elbows coming up on the counter on both sides of the letter. “Little things, at first. Last time was something major, and Nacor found the crate. It was the final straw for my father, I suppose.” She looks down at the letter, “She stood there and did nothing…” She wanted to say more, but the memories choked her up and with a twitch of her head, she chooses instead to blink at and react at L’ron’s words for Shijan. It’s almost a flush that rises to her cheeks at his unintentional question, and she’s quick to answer when Shijan’s mouth opens. “I still prefer my privacy,” and a look goes to Shijan, her face composed. “And, still. I would appreciate if you and Balkrith let me know you do. Way this man talked, they could be anyone. Weyrlings, dragonriders, crafters…Anyone.” She picks up the writing stylus again, eyes looking to the weyrling expectantly.

L’ron, arms folded before him on the counter, listens to everything she says in silence, expression showing open regret for the manner of events that resulted in the fallout with her family. He remains this way even passed Jaya picking up the stylus once again and meets that expectant look with a steady one of his own. Finally in low tone he gently notes, “You did wrong by them first, Jaya. Putting them at risk with this Vaputero person by using your family caravan to move his stuff around.” No rebuke in either his demeanor or tone, simply pointing out the facts as she’d told them to him. A quick smile as he continues, “How are they to know you’re not that same person anymore if you don’t start trying to mend bridges, hmm?” Pulling a sheet of hide out from under the one she’s currently taking down his own letter home on, he slides it to one side, the side where Shijan is sitting, as if putting the responsibility of seeing the task fulfilled into the man’s hands. With a glance first to the guard and then to his troubled friend, “This one’s for you. To say sorry on. To let them know you think about them and still carry them in your heart,” a small smile before adding, “You wouldn’t still be hurting, if you didn’t still love them or care for them.” Anything else to do with potential spies between the ranks of weyrlings, dragonriders, crafters and residents within the Weyr, is set aside for the time being, as is continuing on any further with dictation of the letter.

When L’ron points out the obvious – that she was in the wrong there – Jaya’s looking away in her stubborn silence. That was indeed the problem, wasn’t it? The hand holding the writing stylus drops back down. As the silence lingers, looking as if she was simply going to say nothing at all, “You seem so certain that I’ve changed, shuga,” she says low, almost inaudibly as her dark gaze stares at something across the room rather than at the two men with her. “Changing’s actively fighting the urge not to do the things I’ve done,” she openly admits, darting a glance L’ron’s way as she voices the thoughts that torment her. “Changing’s resisting the urge to drink myself out every night. It’s being able to look Vaputero in the face and not see myself reflected in his eyes. Maybe that’s why I really ran.” She suddenly stops her vehement words, clearly not liking the path it was going – the path leading to that place so heavily guarded for so many turns. She looks back at the letter in the silence again, then, “My father’s done with me, and I with him,” she now states this with a cold voice, her guards building back up with her frown. When she next looks at the weyrling, her face is composed as if the words stated before hadn’t been uttered. She watches him slide that new sheet next to his own, her jaw tightening stubbornly at his words on apologies. She had apologized to them – well, in her way, she did – but in those days it did little good. She shoots a look towards Shijan as if he would help get her out of this, but the man’s expression was as guarded as her own. So, the barkeep grudgingly settles on a compromise. Tapping the new sheet with the stylus, “I’ll write Beddie,” she states with a look going to L’ron, this pronouncement of writing to her twin sister taking much out of her as it was. “But you’ve got to finish yours and send it, alright? No more hesitation from you, friend.” It’s in a no non-sense tone, her dark gaze pointed on him.

His smile is small at first, though genuine in its warm delivery, “The person that you were then wouldn’t care to insist that someone like me write home,” in his opinion anyway. What she says next has him dropping into silence, brown eyes searching her face with regret for the place she finds herself in, written all across his face. “Yes,” the weyrling states slowly in response, “but you’re fighting for it, and that’s a beginning, Jaya.” L’ron gives contemplation to the statement concerning the way of things between Jaya and her father and then slowly he nods in acceptance of her agreement to write her sister. “Okay, but first you got to do the squishy mud thing.” Yes, he’s still pretty stuck on that idea. “And then write her afterward and tell her how good it was,” a grin showing itself at the end there. The bar owner is set with a slightly dubious look but he’s soon setting a thoughtful look to the unfinished letter and then after some deliberation, provides her with his last closing lines:

I’ve made some good friends here, like the one that’s helping me with this letter. She’s learning to smile again and has a good heart even if she doesn’t believe it yet. Some of those new friends are weyrlings with me. One is a greenrider who is always the first to stand up for someone, even if it gets her into trouble. I like that. And then there’s…

Here L’ron stops, a faint flush of color touching to the tips of his ears before he clears his throat, “Scratch that last bit out and rather say this…”

We’ll come and visit you as soon as we’re flying and Betweening, and will be bringing someone along with us that I want you to meet. I think you’ll like her. She’s a good turnip.

After which he speaks his closing words in farewell to his family and then goes quiet, brown eyes flitting off into the distance, a small smile playing about his mouth.

That first statement lands home, causing Jaya to shoot a glance up at L’ron that lingers longer than appropriate. After that moment passes, she’ll drop a look back down to the letter, only to send him a more sardonic look when he mentions the feet squishing in mud promise. She remains silent once he starts talking for the letter, her stylus flying over the letter until she trips on the part regarding her. “I smile plenty,” she remarks wryly, showing him one of her bland smirks before she finishes off the sentence. When L’ron stops though, she looks up in time to see him blush and immediately scratches the words written when asked. It was only when he speaks again and she writes the last of the letter that she asks, “Good turnip? Who’s the girl?” Setting the stylus down now that letter was finished, “You don’t take a girl home unless she’s special,” she adds, regarding the weyrling anew now though for the most part, her expression remains unreadable. Carefully, she folds up the letter after reading over it once more and looks up to regard that small smile. “This was a nice letter to your folks. I find a way to deliver it, or you?” she asks, holding the folded letter up. “And I’m not telling Beddie anything about me putting my feet through mud. She’s going to think I’ve lost my mind enough as it is by me writing her.” She says it with a bare crooked grin, too.

L’ron meets that lingering look coming from Jaya with steady ease and then he’s smiling that easygoing smile of his as he lifts a finger and points to his face. “There’s smiling here,” with your face, “and then there’s smiling here,” his hand pressing to his chest over his heart. And he leaves that notation there for her to realize for herself what he’d been referring to with regards to her learning to smile again. His chin resting atop his folded arms again, watching as his friend writes, the weyrling goes still, eyes flickering up toward her and then away again. He knows the rules. No relationships in weyrlinghood. But what’s a guy supposed to do? And so it is with some wariness that he states quietly, “Ciara.” Though he’s hard pressed to suppress the smile that makes its appearance. And then at the bar owner’s comment about the implications surrounding taking a girl home to meet one’s parents, he goes very quiet, the smile now firmly put away and probably kicking himself mentally for having said anything to begin with. As such he skips that piece of the conversation and settles on the manner of having his letter delivered, a short and shy smile blooming for the words given on his dictated letter, “I’ll see if I can get it delivered.” Suddenly he pushes up with his hands flat against the counter and leans forward right into her personal space and will attempt to put a kiss to her cheek if she doesn’t back away, “Thanks Jaya, for writing it all down for me. You’re a really good friend.” His smile warm and his words heartfelt. And then he’s grinning as he settles back down again, “You tell her about squishing through mud and she’ll see just how much you are changing. I bet she’ll even have a laugh and be happy for you.” Judging her twin by his own standards of interpreting things.

“You demand much for a mere letter,” and Jaya taps the writing stylus against the blank sheet of hide that was meant to be her own as she speaks. She would add more, but then he’s supplying a name of the girl that has captured his heart and she straightens up a bit considerably. There’s silence, not heavily so but silence nonetheless as she just stares at the weyrling to the point of the other perhaps being uncomfortable. “She must be,” she drawls that slow now, breaking the silence as she slides his letter across the counter towards him. Special, she means. Ciara. “Good for you, L’ron. You deserve that.” It’s given quietly, honestly, the bar owner not knowing who the gold weyrling was to even make a comment on her specifically. When L’ron mentions he’ll get the letter delivered, she opens her mouth to pass some statement about him doing so for real or she would find out about it before he’s kissing her cheek and stilling all those unvoiced words. She nods once, sending a lopsided grin his way that is quiet and reserved for her, “Felt you needed to. No need to thank me on that, unless you want to pay me.” Well, she’s not completely changed, apparently, though the smile brightens more at her own words to suggest that it was a tease. As to her twin, that smile loses some of its brightness and she pins a look onto him that’s pointed. “She’ll know something’s up,” she states, slowly reaching out the blank sheet of hide meant for her own letter. “Me and her, we have this…bond. Hard to explain. Wouldn’t be surprised if she came running if I tell her I’m here, which,” and she’s quick to interject, “I won’t. Not going to have her out and about with Vaput looking for me.” Pause. “She’d know if I was changing more than anyone,” she does admit, regarding L’ron without really seeing him. “She’d want me to put my feet in the mud. She’s strange like that.”

All that Jaya gets in return for her first is an enigmatic smile and then L’ron is shifting uncomfortably under that long stare coming from her, even frowning a little as he looks away and down onto the folded letter being slide across to him. Picking it up, he sets a small smile onto the dark haired woman and finally gives a nod and a simply stated, “Yup,” in response. Though that’s likely to the gold weyrling named being special more than it is for him deserving her. Her lopsided grin is met with one of a similar angle to it from the weyrling, “Same way you need it,” a pointed look being sent down to the blank sheet of hide reserved for her own letter and then a chuckle breaks out, an impish cast to brown eyes carried along with it, “Payment, is mud squishing.” And then he’s falling into contemplative silence once again as she speaks of her twin, stating quietly at the end of it, “Even more reason to write her, Jaya. But you know…if you wanted to see her, I’m sure there’s more than one dragonrider willing to bring her a visit. Maybe even that S’las fellow you said you’d get to deliver the letter?” Once again his grin pulls into place, “Really? She’d also want you to do it? I think I like her already.”

“Meant you to pay me,” Jaya emphasizes with fingers pointing to first him, then herself. “I don’t see how my feet going into the mud is my payment.” Since L’ron isn’t forthcoming – well, beyond the single word agreement to her own comments on the matter of his girl meeting his folks – she remains contemplative and drops the matter. As for her sister, she glances down at the blank sheet briefly before allowing herself to shrug. Setting the writing stylus down, “I go to Bitra and it’s going to cause enough ruckus,” she notes somewhat wryly. “Plus, don’t think I’m willing to run into my father. He’ll be around, I wager. But…” and here her smile widen at his last, “I figured you would. Like her, that is. Who doesn’t like Beddie? Well,” and she’s sliding the blank sheets together carefully as if preparing to put them away. “Guess that’s all, L’ron. You got your letter and I’m satisfied. I’ll get on writing Beddie soon.” With the words coming together briskly, is she honestly thinking she could get away from this? She’s keeping a straight face at least, though it’s not completely devoid of emotion. There’s slight fondness for her friend, and with the hides stacked together she slide them aside blithely.

L’ron gives a wide grin, “You’ll see.” How squishing barefoot through mud could possibly be viewed as payment. Noting her silence that follows his single worded reply on his girl, that grin winds down to smile that carries hints of shyness to it. In explanation of seeming reluctant to talk about her, “It’s a little complicated. We’re not supposed to, you know, get involved,” shoulders lifting and falling in a shrug at the end there. Brows then furrow together at talk of Jaya going to Bitra, “You shouldn’t go up there.” Of that he seems rather certain. “Have that S’las fellow bring her to you. Down here,” his finger tapping to the counter top in emphasis. Brown eyes catch her collecting the blank sheets up together again and he lays his hand palm flat on the one set aside to write to her twin on. A determined look is set onto her, “Nope, that’s not all. Now you have to write Beddie. I’ll keep you company,” firmly spoken as he then turns to Shijan, looking well set to stay and strike up conversation with the guard while she does that, “Did you ever get to finish that map you were working on?”

Jaya was merely giving L’ron an unreadable look at his first, and look even lingers when his shyness is revealed and he elaborates on his relationship with the gold weyrling. Noting his open reluctance, “Says who?” is put forth on them not suppose to get involved, though to be fair, the bar owner may not know much about weyrling rules or the unspoken rules regarding dragonrider hook-ups. That being, goldriders usually being with bronzeriders and not blueriders. It’s possible she’s heard bits and pieces of dragonrider talk in her bar, but, the woman is a bit on the self-involved side when it comes to things not fully concerning her since arriving. In either case, the question seems rhetorical at best, and she’ll pause only long enough for him to choose to answer it as a question or not at all. On the matter involving her sister coming to the Weyr, she makes a little odd face and sends L’ron a brief look. “I, uh, not sure about that,” she openly admits on Bhedri coming to the Weyr, her turn in seeming reluctant to explain why. She’ll look back down to the stacks of hides and continue to move them all to the side until she finds the weyrling’s flat palm stopping her. Spying that determined look, “Not part of the bargain,” she’s quick to say on her having to write, right then and there. “Besides, can’t think of anything to say. Something should come to me tomorrow.” Riiiiight. Something should come to her next sevenday, even. But L’ron’s looking to be not going anywhere, her plan failing. She darts a glance towards Shijan, who’s been content to stay quiet up to this point until the weyrling pointedly addresses him. He doesn’t skip a beat or appear taken aback. “Always a work in progress,” comes his response, his face carefully composed as he stares back at L’ron and only him.

To her question on whom, L’ron answers succinctly, “The weyrlingmasters.” He not being one bit perturbed about the disparity between his and Ciara’s ranks. Broadening shoulders shrug in response to her twin visiting the Weyr, “You never know, she might like it and want to stay,” not considering for one moment that this may well be the issue for her, “Could be good for you to have family around.” It’s around when Shijan answers his question that the weyrling’s eyes go blank for a moment and then he’s straightening from his slump and standing from the stool. To the guard with a grin, “I remembered where that cave was if you’re still wanting to include it,” and now to Jaya, “Bal’s woken up and can’t seem to find his turnip, so I best get back before he tries waking everyone up to look for it.” Warmth infuses his expression as he lifts the folded letter and tucks it into his top pocket, “Thanks for this, Jaya.” Taking a step back from the bar counter, he puts his next to Shijan once again, “You let me know when she’s got a free moment for that mud paddle,” sending a wink over to the dark haired woman in clear signal that he expects she’ll continue trying to duck and dive the experience.

“Ah.” Jaya’s head lifts with that answer, appearing to understand for the moment at least in regards to the weyrlingmasters. “Well, if you ever want to talk,” is all she puts to that, her expression twisting on the account of Bhedri then. She doesn’t seem to want the twin to encroach on her home, and her expression shows a bit of territorialism there, but she’s willing to nod anyway and put a grin to the weyrling. “It’ll be faster for you to bring yours here than mine, shuga,” she notes wryly on that, and then when he mentions Balkrith awaking, her smile turns warmer and she nods once. “Anytime, L’ron,” she gives on his thanks, leaning more against the counter as he steps away. Tapping her finger against the sheets, “I will write home,” she promises him with a firm tone. “Bitran’s honor. I’ll send Balkrith a basket of turnips if he can’t seem to find the one lost. You have yourself a good night.” As for Shijan, he’s taking a step back from the counter as well and regarding L’ron somewhat amusedly. “Send it on over,” he’s easy to say about the cave, his nod mechanical. “And I’ll be sure to let you know when she does.” At the look of protest rolling off of the barkeep right then, the bodyguard merely winks her way before he sends L’ron a nod in farewell.

L’ron sends a warm smile of appreciation for the offer to talk, that morphing into a chuckle for Jaya having used the phrase ‘Bitrans’ honor’. “I think I’m going to need you to actually show me that letter,” yup, he’s starting to learn pretty fast that life is a whole lot of smoke and mirrors. Especially around these parts. Laughter suddenly filters out, a message passed on from his blue for talk of an entire basket of turnips and so he translates, “Balkrith says that you shall then be one of the first to wear the Protection Of The Turnip.” Hands lift in a warding gesture as to exactly what that’s supposed to mean as he quickly adds, “Hey, don’t ask me. He’s been going on about wearing the Protection Of The Turnip for a few days now and I still haven’t figured out what he’s meaning.” Uh oh? With a nod sent to Shijan, “I’ll get a sketch to you within the next day or two,” his mouth stretching into a grin as the man agrees on the matter of mud paddling. With a lift of hand in farewell, “Soon Jaya, very, very soon!” this to either the planned activity or simply seeing her again. And then long loping strides are carrying the weyrling out of her bar and back to the barracks to soothe his fretting blue.

Looking rather put out, though it’s clearly an act, “What, don’t trust a Bitran’s honor?” Jaya asks when L’ron notes that she will have to show him the letter. “I’ll have you know that there’s nothing higher than a Bitran’s honor, but…very well,” she gives in with a flick of fingers expressively. “I’ll show you the letter. Just don’t expect it to be grand or emotional or anything like that.” Apparently she doesn’t seem to have any qualms in him reading the letter, the woman shrugging before her expression changes to one of perplexity once he translates something from his blue. Passing a glance towards Shijan, as if he would know, “Protection of the turnip?” she echoes, but since L’ron couldn’t answer it as well, she just snorts at it and adds wryly, “Uh-huh. Sure.” Sounds like crazy dragon-talk to her. Shijan’s actually grinning a bit the weyrling’s way for his words for him, and then both bodyguard and barkeep watch L’ron leave the bar with the latter chuckling to herself before she’s looking back at that blank sheet of hide and picking up her writing stylus as if she were to write.



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