What She Doesn't Know

Gemstone Tavern
The dim lighting by the flicker of candles lining the walls is enough to offer a view of a room decorated in such a way as to be tastefully appealing. Each piece of furniture and decoration is chosen to accent another piece, and so on and so forth, matching and tying the whole room together in a theme that's separate, and yet at the same time unified. Tables line one wall, dimly lit by candles hanging in sconces all along. The bar along the far right wall is made of richly toned mahogany, tooled by a master and polished to shine with the soft glow of wood at its finest.
Candles strategically placed add to the atmosphere, accenting, punctuating. Towards the back is an open fireplace, constantly burning with a bright light, warming the tavern on cold nights and serving as a gathering place for patrons' story-tellings. Across the room, lush pillows and soft-covered floors promote relaxation at ease. Just before the pillows is a long stage, so full of its own vigor and memory - nicks here, marks there, scuffs from footware and other things - that it's possible to imagine the shows put on for the patrons without necessarily seeing the performances.


The afternoon sun hangs high in the sky, dipping slowly down towards the skyline. The days have begun to elongate once again as more warmth seeks though and the snowdrifts begin to become smaller and dirtier. A chilly breeze blows without, but it lacks the severe bite of high winter. Within, a warm fire dances on the hearth and the customers are few enough. It's too early for the evening crowd, but the afternoon rush is gone. One of those, wearing the knot of a Thunderbird bronzerider, sits on a stool at the bar, nursing a drink as he stares off into space.

Today is starting to really drag on for one tiny woman as a mission from this morning remains as yet unfulfilled. With a swish of red skirt and multi-hued shawl she pushes into the Tavern to try her luck within. Thankfully the place is as yet unfilled with rabble rousers and she is able to weave her way to the bar without being accosted. "Afternoon," she greets the barkeep as she literally climbs into the vacant stool next to the bronzerider. The Rider gets very little attention from Gabby as her eyes are locked upon the man behind the bar. "I have a question for ya. I've been looking for someone all day long and nobody seems to have heard of him. So do you know anyone by the name of Hazelon?" From her expression if a negative answer is given she's fixing to give it up as a ghost chase.

The bar man is quick to sweep up into service, stepping up to the bar to give the woman a smile. He's already pouring her a mug of Klah, it's cold outside after all, and it's a clear base for another liquid if she should so choose to take it. At her request though, an eyebrow moves upwards, "Not a name I'm particularly familiar with." The man says this with a half-hitch of a shrug. "Only been here about two years now." Meaning… he doesn't know everyone? For much of their interaction the rider to the side of the woman has remained silent, not giving any indication that he has heard a single word. Or that there is even a woman there. But the name brings a shifting of attention back, and once the barman leaves off, Ha'ze does say something. His eyes remain fixed before him. "Hazelon use to live around here. Might still. Depends on who is looking."

Well that cuts it! Gabriela's face falls to despair when the barkeep professes not to recognize the name either. Naturally she would assume he of all people would recognize it if the man lived within any distance of the Weyr. She wiggles a finger for just the klah then pulls the steaming mug toward her with a sigh. Watching the man move on down the bar to the next patron with sorrowful eyes. Obviously she's been duped! Or has she? The man next to her speaks words she has been longing to hear all day. "What do you mean he used to?" A distrustful glint flashes in her eyes as she turns to peer at the Rider beside her. "How can a person live her and /not/ live here at the same time?" It's impossible! "And I'm looking," she states the obvious with a frustrated quirk of her lips. "Got a message to deliver and I aim to deliver it."

Ha'ze finally turns, an arm reaching out to rest upon the bar itself. He's well built, and carries the obvious marks of a rider. (Other then the knot and patch on his jacket.) Well honed muscles move under his skin, giving the movement grace that would be difficult to obtain otherwise. "It's a question isn't it? It would make a good story." Ha'ze's lips quirk upwards at his phrase, as if there is a joke in his otherwise deadpan words. "What's the message and maybe I can tell you where to find him."

Why are the cute ones always the first ones on Gabriela's nerves? Unashamedly she checks out the Rider as he moves. Though her expression never wavers a flicker of appreciation gleams in her dark eyes. "A story I'd sure like to hear," she retorts and sips her klah. Who is this mystery man who exists and yet doesn't? "Must be a Trader sort. Only kind I know than can manage it." And she happens to know several of that sort. He dares to ask what the message is and fully tweaks her ire, earning him a furious glare. "Do I look like a nib nose to you?" She waves a hand at him, "Don't answer that. I don't know what the message is. It's rolled up tight and has a signet seal on it. I'm not about to break it." She takes another sip of her drink. "I like my nose in the center of my face where it belongs."

It's that flicker in her eye that Ha'ze catches first, and that smile grows into a smirk. His weight sifts to lean more firmly upon the bar, his pose relaxed, calm. Her ire doesn't bother him one bit, nor does his expression flicker as she makes guesses. "How long have you been carrying it?"

Gabriela eyes the smirk a moment before shaking her head and chuckling ruefully. Obviously she is getting nowhere talking in circles like this. But she sees no other way around it. Straightening on the stool she slides her shawl down her arms and pulls it around to pool in her lap. Carefully folding one corner in particular. "An older man bid me to deliver it just this morning. But how long he'd had it I have no idea to be honest." She leans her elbows against the top of the bar knowing it does nice things to her profile. "I assumed given his limp he wasn't able to run all over and back. He told me to search down by the feeding pens but nobody was tending a darn thing down there. So I have been walking circles all day trying to track this jerk down." He has become a jerk for being unfindable of course. "If you could tell me where he is.. I'd be in your debt. My little legs are just about wore out."

Reaching out a hand without looking Ha'ze takes up his cup and brings it to his lips. A sip, two, before he's lowering it again and swirling it in his hand slowly. "An old man sent you seeing Hazelon?" No doubt lingers in his voice, just speculation, and a few moments of calculation. There's something cold and hard in the bronzerider's eyes, the darkness lacking mercy. "Well. He's not due back for a while. How about you give over the message and I'll see about hunting him down for you?"

Angling her arm against the bar top Gabriela tugs at a curl and starts winding it about her finger distractedly. A nod is given at the query of the old man. "Kiferak or some such. I'm horrible with names." Oh that is a lie! But her expression is all genuine. "Taller than me but who isn't? Real short grey hair and a limp." She actually chuckles when Ha'ze attempts to weedle the message from her. "I made a promise and took payment to see this delivered." Her hand drops from her hair as she shakes her head 'no'. "How about you just let Hazelon know I have a message for him and he can seek me out when he's good and ready. I imagine I'll be a lot easier to find." After all how many adorable short chicks named Gabby could there be?! "Send him looking for Gabby. I'll be waiting for him." She sips her klah as though preparing to leave.

Ha'ze pierces the woman with a look, swirling his drink one mroe time before he sets it down. "Payment aye?" His hand disappears down into the pocket in his jacket and comes up with a small mark in hand. "Perhaps I could tempt you?" He's not at all above bribery as a smile splits his face, almost seeming genuine in the moment. "Or maybe I could buy a pretty thing like yourself a drink."

Setting her mug down upon the bar, Gabriela half turns on her stool toward Ha'ze and lets her hands fall to her lap atop the shawl. "Mmm it was a nice payment too. He just happened to have the fret I needed for my gitar." Now she can fix it herself. Her smile turns beguiling and she tilts her head, "Now why would you be angling to tempt me?" Her eyes sparkle with mischief, "Not that you don't already. But what would be in it for you?" At mention of a drink she inclines her head in acceptance.

Facing one another Ha'ze is relaxed again, that hint of darkness pushed back, settled behind mischief. "I need a reason to tempt a pretty lady like yourself?" The mark plays though his fingers as he eyes her calmly. "Hazelon and I have some history." Understatement anyone? "I wouldn't mind tracking the bastard down."

Gabriela allows herself a smooth giggle as though enthralled with the man before her. "Doesn't a handsome Rider like yourself have women falling at his feet daily?" Her brow quirks curiously, "Why would you care to dabble with a newly arrived stranger?" That's how you find yourself in hot water. Though perhaps he likes it hot. Her glance flicks to the mark and away as though it is of no matter to her. "If you have a history with him then how am I to know you won't simply burn the message to spite him eh?" She winks conspiratorially at him, "It wouldn't do for him to come seeking me later were I not to have his rightful property now would it?"

"Riders aren't as in demand as you would think lass." The mark twists once more, but as it doesn't seem to be claiming her attention Ha'ze lets it disappear back into his closed hand. "Well. How much do you trust riders?" An eyebrow is arched upwards, his head tilting sideways. "Doubt he's searching for you. Hazelon is the mousey sort. PRobably doesn't even know a message is coming."

Gabriela favors him with a sultry look and smile, "Not all Riders are as handsome as you though. Now are they?" Full Trader charm has been poured out into the moment as Gabby genuinely enjoys the back and forth. The most fun she's had in quite some time to be honest. "Who said anything about me trusting anyone?" With a shrug she slips off the stool and lands in the space scant breaths from Ha'ze. "Where I come from trust earns you scars." Wrapping her shawl about her waist, she loops it over her arms low and leaves her revealing top uncovered. "Given that I've been paid handsomely to deliver this message," she murmurs thoughtfully, "and you seem willing to pay me as well I'm willing to bet he knows of this message."

Oh, see, forward Ha'ze can do. When she leans into his space Ha'ze shifts forward to, an arm reaching outwards to brush a finger across her cheek. Gentle, oh so gentle. "How about a deal, you show me your scars, and I'll be showin' you mine?" His voice has dropped a halfnote, deepening as his dark eyes fix upon hers. "Show you how trustworthy I am."

Gabriela lifts her cheek as her eyes slit in pleasure at his gentle touch. "I would be happy to trade scar stories with you dear." Her hand grazes his knee lightly, nails raking the cloth. "Though I'm not sure how it would prove you trustworthy.. I would be fascinated to find out." She smiles her come get it smile. "How about meeting me in my room?" Where she can safely lock her message away from prying eyes.

Ha'ze doesn't blink, but there is a second of thought, a moment of hesitation as those fingernails flick against his knee. He's weighing the moment carefully, then pulls back to slide off of his chair. He's still taller, standing, than the woman in the chair and he brushes a lock of hair behind her ear. "I've a better idea. Gemstone has rooms," he jerks a head backwards. "I'll let your survey the evidence before deciding if I can be trusted."

If there is one thing a Trader girl knows how to do it's keep track of her goods while seemingly distracted. Gabriela tilts her head back to gaze up ward at this tall dark stranger. Too long since she has been this brazen or bold. She finds she likes the feeling. "I like that idea." She smiles a challenge at him, "This way if you can't keep up you can always slink away with me none the wiser of your name." He sure hasn't offered it so she has some doubt that the memories will be sweet. Ahh well she likes feeling like a bad girl once in a blue moon. "Lead the way Rider." She flicks her hand and prepares to follow.

Ha'ze hooks his arm around Gabriela's waist, and flicks a glance at the barman. "We'll take the room at the end." Because it's early enough that Ha'ze knows the rooms haven't filled yet. Leaving his glass on the bar he leads the woman upwards.

As the door closes behind the pair Ha'ze turns a broad smile licks its way onto his lips. "So. I think we were going to compare scars." Reaching downwards Ha'ze pulls off his tunic in one swift motion. His chest is lined with scars, the marks of abuse. If Gabby looks behind, he'll see even more scars, each deeper than the next. Old knife wounds and marks of battle dot his otherwise young skin.

Gabriela has no excuse of too much drink and firelight to fall back on this time. She carefully keeps her inner shawl pocket between the two of them as they make their way to the room. The thin fabric would have to be ripped before anyone would likely figure out how to open the braids, but she prefers to keep the garment in a single piece. Leaning back against the closed door she watches him remove his shirt with a murmur of delight. "I believe we were." Folding her shawl she sidles past him and sets it on the stand at the head of the bed. "You have a decent collection there. Very nice." A shimmy of her waist drops her skirt first and reveals stripes of scar tissue traveling from knee upward along her thighs.

"Trust me yet?" Ha'ze's eyes flick at the skirt, but only for a second. For all his talk of seeing scars, he's not spending a single second looking anywhere but at her face. Shirtless, and showing off a perfectly chiseled bod (well, other then all of those SCARS) he reaches upwards to capture the curvature of her face in his hands. That depth in his voice has returned, as does the intensity in his gaze.

Inwardly Gabriela is mildly nervous about her own scars. As she never shows them to anyone. Though it helps that he is covered himself. "Not quite yet," she tells him with a grin. Looking up at him as his hands bracket her face. "I thought we were comparing.." Softly her hands trace the scars on his chest, blindly counting each one. "I think you may have one or two more than I have. I am impressed Rider."

It's hard to be more covered then Ha'ze is. The pay of her hands against his chest is more than facinating, and he presses forwards. If she doesn't push back he'll push her against the wall as rather then speak, he bends down to kiss her. Bends down far, man she's short.

One thing learned in the earning of her scars, Gabriela knows when not to push. Backing up against the wall with a soft gasp for the chill of the stone against her upper bare back and again on her legs. She really is a very tiny tiny woman! Even rising up on her tiptoes to meet his kiss as she does. One hand curling around his shoulder to keep her steady. This one is less for discussion and more for action. And so that is just what he receives from her. Touch for touch, kiss for kiss, until they dance to flames. Still a part of her mind keeps track of where he is in relation to that all important shawl. Because well business is business even in pleasure.

Business, pleasure… they're the same thing to Ha'ze. His moral compass often swings exactly the wrong direction and well, Kainaesyth's asleep right now. And even if he wasn't, the bronze highly encourages Ha'ze to sleep around. More babies = good. They'll end up in the bed eventually. Though Ha'ze has the body of one who has lived through violence and trauma, his love making is gentle. A give and take until both are left exhausted upon the bed, his arm snaked around the tiny woman protectively.

Gabriela has no thought for any children or this encounter would hold a whole lot less fun. She has deep seated fears of childbearing. As it is the thought is far from her mind as she lies curled against Ha'ze's side with an arm thrown across his waist. The thump of her heart is surely felt against his skin for it is loud in her ears as she lay there attempting to regulate her intake of life giving air. Air is good! More air! "Well I can certainly trust you for a good time," she admits still a tad breathless.

Ha'ze laughs, deep and free as his hand flattens against her, and he brushes his lips against her neck once. Pulling away he begins to disengage himself, sitting up braced on one arm and looking downwards. That smirk, the one that people usually want to punch off of him, lingers on his lips. He KNOWS it was good. "Good enough time for you to be trustin' me with that note?"

There is no annoyance felt by Gabriela for the smile he turns down on her. She can hardly be angry with that self-satisfied expression when she is still glowing. Tomorrow perhaps she will feel a twinge of regret. But not in this moment. "I believe we both have secrets to keep," she says with a shrug of one lightly golden shoulder. Pushing herself into an upright position she turns to swing her legs over the bed opposite him. "Though I do thank you for that. I haven't had a tumble I enjoyed since I was a teenager." Tugging she gets her shirt back into place to hide the multitude of scars that embrace her waist.

"Maybe we'll trade storeis some day." Gabriela will find soon enough that Ha'ze has this thing for stories, though the chances of him telling his? zero. "Scar for scar." AS she is pulling herself up he swings off the bed, fishing around for his pants to pull them on. Her back turned means that shawl is left unprotected, and reaching out he snags it up, pulling it towards him. Maybe. Possibly.

Gabriela pushes off the bed and waits a moment to find her balance. "More likely I'll listen to yours sweet thing. Nobody can handle mine." Her stories are all her own. And she hopes those shadows never think to look for her here. This far from all that she knew. A glance out of the corner of her eye spies the shawl moving. Turning to face him with her skirt in one hand and the other hand on her hip she arches a brow. "Seriously? You think I'm /that/ easy Rider boy? I will have no issues turning you in for thievery. No matter how good a lay you are." There is that. Somehow she doubts Riders turned pickpockets are highly viewed in the Weyrleaders eyes. And at least she bumped into the right table to know which face to hunt down. "How about you tell me straight what is going on here? This guy your brother, lover, or what?"

Her words do nothing to phase Ha'ze as he riffles around in Gabriela's shawl until he finds that sealed message. Plucking it out he rolls it between two of his fingers before he slides it out of sight into a pocket. "Head guard's name is," insert here because I don't remember. "Weyrleader is Th'ero. Tall guy, dark hair. Ugly face. I'm sure you'll find him. Tell him Kainaesyth's rider took it." Oh yes, they totally slept together without actually asking one another's names. Ha'ze is going straight to hell. "I'll make sure this gets to him. On my word as a rider."

"Kainaesyth's rider," Gabriela repeats with a shrug of her shoulder. "I'll be sure to do that." Not that she appears to be moving from directly in front of the door where her skirt had been. He'll be lucky to get out of the room with the note. Because if she can weedle a quick silver hand into a pocket she certainly will. "I suppose if I try to fight you for it I'll just end up with a few more scars to add to my growing collection." She has no intention of going there. "I can promise you a single thing." She holds up a stalling hand, "If I get hurt over your thievery not even your dragon will see your death coming. I'm done being worked over by thugs like you. Got it?"

Ha'ze is wise to all the vices of men, and in this case women. She'll not get close enough to quickfinger it away from him. Whatever that note is, the bronzerider intends to keep it. "I'll not scar you woman." Perhaps his mind is already on that note, as he fishes his tunic from the ground and pulls the tunic over his head. "You got paid to deliver it. Consider it delivered."

"Yeah until the man it was intended for finds out I'm supposed to have it and don't," Gabriela pouts as she pulls on her skirt and finds her boots. Her expression is annoyingly petulant if a person fails to see the abject fear glittering in her eyes. She hasn't been in Fort long and already it seems she is making new enemies to hide from. Great. "So much for a new life eh?" Her lips twist wryly before she gives up and walks to a little stool to tug on her footwear. "Just be gone with you. It isn't like you care. Your balls are empty. You have all you were aiming for."

"You'll have to trust me then." The self-satisfied smirk grows on Ha'ze's lips. He know something she doesn't know! There's no ire for her angry words- she'll learn the truth soon enough if she goes asking about him about the weyr. Someone will set her straight soon enough. He's just being a dick by not telling her the truth. "Think what you like lass." He steps backwards, putting a hand on the door, before looking at her again. "Just remember. Kainaesyth's rider."

Trust him?! He just stole from her! Gabriela glares at him in a true huff now as the lingering effects of what happened in that bed wear off. "Oh get out!" If she was the type to throw things here would be a good time to be doing it. As it is she just stomps across the room to retrieve her shawl and check it over for damage. "I remember your dragons cursed name already!" Notice she isn't asking him for his name? "I'll report the theft soon enough to clear my name. Not that folks won't look unkindly on the how of it all." So you see I slept with this mysterious man and he stole my message.. Oh that sounds just WONDERFUL! Dang it to Timor and back! "Would that I'd never see the like of you again!" Alas she lives here and so does he. So chances of that are less than nil.

It probably will not help Ha'ze that he chooses this moment to laugh. A real, stomach clenching, full throated LAUGH. He turns the handle on the doorway and pushes it open, strolling outwards. Abigail must really be a saint to still want him after his really sucky after-manner.


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