Fort Weyr - Fort's Forests ~~ Blueberry Barrens
There are some places that seem to defy all conventional understanding: the blueberry barrens might be one such place. It's a vast field of blueberry bushes that pushes the forest back as far as the eye can see, broken only by the improbable existence of a hill in the middle of it all that bears a single, strange tree. The rest is a sea of lush green foliage and branches, of blue fruits and a narrow warren of paths that changes every couple of turns or so. The air is alive with the sights, sounds and smells of nature at its finest, from the bejeweled trundlebugs making their rounds and the sing-song calls of unseen avians to the sweet aroma of berries.
Mid-spring heralds the onset of harvesting season and, with it, the arrival of avians, wherries, and other wildlife. In fall, after the last of the berries has been harvested, the barrens are rife with wildfire-bright foliage, the blueberry bushes taking on a lurid red-yellow-orange coloration that lingers until the onset of winter. It is, in all, a place of restoration and renewal, where one might seek a snack and a place to relax; indeed, the gentle whispering of a creek can be heard from time to time, although finding it might be an adventure in and of itself.


Spring has finally sprung in Fort and as the day waxes to evening the path along the Trader Stalls is populated by a variety of folks. Gaggles of women haggling over purchases, small groups of teens being a general nuisance, the occasional mother and child, as well as Riders moving through the throngs. What better place for an ex-Trader to be than down here amongst people she understands? Gabriela is standing in an opening between a stall selling shiny buckles and one bartering jewelry of a sort that she is fond of. She has finished her haggling for the day and is languishing between the stalls, people watching.

Strong arms pump and muddy boots churn as Ha'ze makes his run back to the weyr after leaving his dragon back with the farmers again. A strange blight had hit one of the fields, and Kainaesyth has willingly volunteered to help root it out so that the field can be flamed. (Don't let that stuff spread!) His gaze doesn't move left to right, and no one shouts out at the running man.

A stack of baskets is propped against one stall, all innocent in their presence. Until Gabriela spies a too familiar jogger. "YOU," she grunts and hefts a basket. Watching Ha'ze jog toward her, Gabby takes aim and glares at the lying cheater. Hating the way he looks all relaxed and crap after the bull he'd put her and his own /woman/ through. How embarrassing that day had been! Rage wells up and she lets the basket fly.

It's a sixth sense that has Ha'ze ducking the second that angry word is said. Not that he particularly expects someone to do anything to him, but words of anger get his attention and reaction. The basket sails over his head and when he comes up all of that relaxation is gone. Expression tight and wary Ha'ze sweeps the area for potential threats and settles on the woman who looks like she just threw a basket. "Sharding idiotic woman."

"I ought to string you up and relieve you of your man parts!" Gabriela doesn't have the sense to cower before that glare Ha'ze is giving her. "How /dare/ you!" Striding toward him she ignores the curious looks being given. Drawing up in front of Ha'ze to stomp her teeny tiny boot. "You knew! You left me a frightened mess AND you're a lying cheater! Worst of the worst!" She points at him and yells loudly, "This man is a coward and a liar!"

Maybe she should cower, because Ha'ze advances slowly and very deliberately. "I told you to go talk to the weyrleader. I gave you my dragon's name. If you were too stupid to go figure things out straight away that is your problem." He'll keep advancing in hopes she'll back up, and maybe they can take this to the semi-privacy between the wagons.

Gabriela doesn't budge an inch as Ha'ze stalks her, her head just tilting back to glare up at him. "Oh I found the Weyrleader alright. And your damn woman with him! How /could/ you?!" Her crossed arms loosen and fall to her sides. The more limber she remains the better able to duck a punch should one come. "I had no idea Riders had relationships like that. And it isn't like I had ANY idea who she even was." Or she wouldn't have said a darn word at all. "I'm lucky she didn't stab me right there. But one she told me.." Gabby shakes her head and her expression morphs from angry to sullenly sad.

Ha'ze doesn't punch. His temper is slow and patient. Very, very, very patient. And it would take more than loose lips to get it to come to the fore. "Abigail wouldn't have stabbed you. And we have an arrangement. She understands. If you'd just taken my payment when I offered it…" Eyebrow hike up, she could have avoided all of htis.

A little puff of dirt rises when Gabriela stomps her boot in frustration once more. "She didn't look too understanding. Hazelon!" She spits the name out to the side as though it gives her a bad taste. "Why couldn't," her eyes return to Ha'ze, "you just own up to who you are?!" He could have just admitted the whole thing. "You're an attractive man and you flirted with me. Attached men are NOT supposed to hit on single women." How was she supposed to know she was tumbling a taken man?! Gabriela is angrier about that than she is about the lies. Though not by a lot.

Aaron wanders on into the fields just in time to hear 'stabbed' and 'payment' from the young man, and then, oh dear, he might just get to witness a murder, yay! He's just out for a stroll folks, exploring his new posting and looking at all the nifty new places. He doesn't wander too close, but hey, he /is/ wandering around.

That is what gets a response from Ha'ze finally, and this time, no arguing with the woman. He steps forward in one smooth motion, covers her mouth with a hand, and with the other yanks her behind the wagon. There he'll pin her, with that hand on her mouth, and will fight with her if she fights him. His grip is firm, but not painful. A guard-touch. "If I wanted you to yell my name I would have sharding told you it in the first place. It's Ha'ze, and has been for a long time."

Gabriela's surprised yelp is muffled by the large hand that clamps over her lips. Next she knows there is rough wagon wood digging into her back and she is wriggling against an immovable frame. Eyes dark and heated, shooting curses only the really imaginative would devise she stomps his boots, kicks his shins, and tries to make a general ruckus. Muffled statements that MIGHT be construed as 'let me go jerk' are grunted against the hand. Until finally she opens her mouth intent on biting him.

Now, when Ha'ze moves Gabby back behind that wagon, hand clamped over her mouth, that kinda catches Aaron's attention. Really, how couldn't it? And being the nice, friendly sort that he is, he walks over to the wagon, approaching from the far side of it so that he can 'appear' fairly close to the two young folks. "Now, son, is that really any way to treat a lady?" he asks, Istan accent still fairly thick despite having been away for all these years.

"She's not hurt, and it's none of your business." Ha'ze's tone is cool, almost professional, as he dismisses the large man who has suddenly come a-calling. The biting of his hand is taking more of his attention, and he yanks it way, then returns it as soon as those lips are closed again. "You play a dangerous game if you throw that name around and link it to mine. My life. You leave off and we have no issue."

Eyes roll toward the large man talking over Ha'ze's shoulder and Gabby isn't real sure what to think. Suspicious by nature she has to wonder what Aaron wants from his hero attempt. "Stop that!" She manages to holler but a second later the hand is back. Leaving her glaring and grunting once more. Stilling slightly when he accuses her of playing some game. Dangerous or no. Her eyes cloud and become questioning. Has this dude lost his top entirely? Eye flick BACK to the big guy and a blink grunt. Someone get this nut off her.

"Y'see, bronzerider, it is somewhat my business. I'm posted here now, and that means this is my home. I'm rather loathe to see my fellow residents be assaulted, regardless the cause. I'd much appreciate it if you'd let the lady go, and let her speak for her own self." He's still leaning against the wagon, arms casually crossed, but close enough to get involved if he really has too…

"So long as you keep quiet, there isn't a problem trader." Because Ha'ze still hasn't gotten her name. That big man over there should probably not get ignored, but Ha'ze is doing just that. Ustrr was just as big, and Ha'ze hunted him down and burned him alive. It's left him less fearful. Of course, Th'ero would probably get ticked off if Ha'ze stabbed an innocent person. "Do we have a problem?" To Gabriela.

Gabriela huffs unhappily and stares up at Ha'ze in a state of confusion. What link could there be between a name and this riled up Bronzer? No doubt she will dig until she finds out. For now her eyes just frown up at him and flick curiously at Aaron. Just leaning on the wagon like he's chatting with friends. This place is more insane than the one she'd run from! Shaking her head against the hand over her mouth she indicates she has no further problem. Which from the light in her eyes is far from the truth but she wants Ha'ze off her right now. One problem at a time it seems.

Aaron just stares at the idiot bronzerider for a while, weighing the possibility of a pissed off Weyrleader, and going back to his beloved Telgar…. Visibly making a decision, he shrugs and reaches out, the spread of his hand going towards the rider's chest. It's not a fast movement, but there's all of Aaron behind it, and if connects Ha'ze is /going/ to back up, and off of Gabby. Bruised egos are always better than bruised knuckles, right?

The moment Gabriela nods Ha'ze is already backing away from her, and thus it is that Aaron's shove is totally unnecessary. He's not looking for a fight, just the knowledge that the trader woman is going to keep her mouth shut. But can he just ignore that shove that sends him several steps back? Perhaps. Perhaps not. That darkness that Ha'ze usually manages to cover rises up in his eyes, and there is coolness when he turns it on the large smith. "Careful Smith. You're mixing in things you don't understand."

Gabriela sags against the wagon as Ha'ze turns her loose. Only to watch a large hand connect with the Rider's chest. "Alright I'm loose!" With a bravery that will either be admired or laughed at she steps forward and plants herself between the two angry bulls. "YOU," she turns on Ha'ze with a withering glare, "I will be getting to the bottom of your issues. I promise you that." Medaling is what women do. It's like bread and butter. Her eyes swings toward Aaron and her eyes soften. "Thank you for seeing to my safety. I'm Gabriela." Thanks for pushing my attacker, nice to meet you. "I think if you hurt him though we're like to bust this wagon getting out the way of whatever excuse he calls a dragon."

Aaron arches an eyebrow at the rider's words and expression, a hint of a smile crossing his face. "I seem to be rather good at that. I thought you riders were an honorable lot, not the type to go around threatening traders half your size." Well, maybe not /half/, but Gabby's pretty sharding tiny. He looks down as the girl puts herself between them, nodding at her. "Well met, Gabriela. I'm Aaron." And then his eyes go back to Ha'ze, just watching the younger man.

Ha'ze looks the woman up and down, before he shakes his head. No. Not worth it. The damage is done. And Ha'ze is too careful to allow this to escalate any further. "Mayhap you ought to have stayed afraid then. What follows me doesn't care that you're a woman. Ask for my story." Because Ha'ze isn't going to tell it to people he barely knows, that's what friends are for, right? Still shaking his head Ha'ze turns, and walks away from the situation.

"I'm not a trader anymore," Gabriela feels it pertinent to point out to the good of nothing. "I work in the Stores." Granted her clothing, accent, etc still mark her and yell Trader girl. "Perhaps you should have thought of that before lying to me and doing what you did," she retorts with an indignant snort. The crap follows him that's so dark anyway. Save for his own twisted mind? "Who do I ask that eh? Your woman who hates me, or the Weyrleader who's disgusted by you?" Well okay the Weyrleader probably isn't disgusted by him actually. As she watches Ha'ze storm off she stops her foot and crosses her arms. Darn Ha'ze for being an enigma she wants to figure out!

Aaron just watches the rider walk away, and shrugs a little. Once Gabby's gotten her last word in, he turn towards her and gives her a slight smile. "Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to keep your distance from him, never the less," he says. "Pleasure meeting you, Gabriela. I'm sure I'll see you around, if you work in the Stores. Have a nice day." And with that, the Smith goes back to his explorations, trying to match the various footpaths around the Weyr with the map in his pocket, leaving Gabby all alone with the blueberries.

Gabriela is still breathing so the last word is yet to be spoken. She's a rather mouthy sort. "I'll leave him be for now." Though not forever. Her dark eyes are contemplative when she turns to smile up at Aaron. "Thank you again Aaron. Sorry to have disrupted your evening." She uncrosses an arm to wave the tall man off as he too takes his leave. Leaving her to fend off the curious stares from folk peering between the stalls. After a time she sets off determinedly toward the largest of the wagons in a clearing and no doubt about to stir up trouble.


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