Unexpected Guilt

Fort Weyr - 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 bar is a comfortable place for Ha'ze. It's not full of people right now as the storm blazes outside. Ha'ze sits at the bar sipping at an amber colored drink and examining the wood before him. A finger traces the woodgrain in front of him as the bronzerider is lost in thought. A pack sits on the ground at his foot, waiting for him when he is ready to go.

Even storms can't determine some people. Some people like Thys. The young goldrider pushes through the tavern's door, pausing inside the door to shed her protective clothing layers before heading towards the bar. That direction takes her towards Ha'ze, and when she notices her clutchmate she intentionally turns towards him. Coming up from behind, she doesn't speak until she's close enough for quiet words to be audible. "You're going, again?" She doesn't sound so impressed. In the time it takes the bronzerider to reply, she's silently ordered a drink from the bartender.

"Hello to you too Thys, how are you doin'?" There's faintly laced sarcasm that runs through Ha'ze's words as he turns towards the goldrider. His elbow settles on the bar as he turns his gaze fully onto Thys and looks her up and down. "Free of the sands huh?"

Thys stands at ease under Ha'ze's gaze, watching him levelly in return. "Free at last," she confirms quietly, tilting her newly-arrived drink towards Ha'ze in silent cheers. "And da's dragged Coal back home after Flint Impressed, so I'm brother-free, too. Hence being here, having the chance to bump into you. Are you going again?"

Ha'ze's glass raises upwards in response to her cheers, and then he gestures at the sea next to him. "Must be nice. Aye, I'm headin' out again. Just a few days. Goin' South for a space."

Thys leans in against the bar, propping her elbow on it while nursing her drink in her hand, up against her chest. She studies Ha'ze curiously for a long moment, before shrugging her shoulders in defeat - whatever it is she was trying to work out has clearly got the best of her. "I don't know how you do it, Ha'ze. I couldn't. Not like you do. Is Kainaesyth strong enough to go with you now, or are you going alone again?"

"Do it?" To Ha'ze, the need to be alone isn't something strange. He raises the glass to his lips again then sets it down. "Kainaesyth's not comin'. I couldn't be askin' him to head out in the middle of a storm."

The frown on Thys's forehead is of mixed emotion; she's never hidden her disapproval of Ha'ze's wandering antics, but now there's confusion in the way she looks at him, and a hint of other things, too. "When you… go, where do you go? Why? Is it just to get away from the Weyr and all of us, or… I don't know. Is there anything that would make you stay here more?"

"This time? South. Got some questions to ask. Last time…" Ha'ze's eyes go slightly distant, "I was chasin' a ghost. What do you know about where I come from Thys? What happened before Abigail asked me to be standin'?"

"I've never been one to go snooping, Ha'ze, so I only know whatever you've told me." Thys watches the bronzerider from over the rim of her glass, lips pouted to touch the cool rim before she raises it for a drink. "Would you like to explain? I'm all ears, if you do. I'm always all ears, if ever you want to talk."

"I was one of the kids they took out of a man named Laris' camp. Were a few of us. Jajen, she was one. More than a few others. My parents were them that took part in the Stonehaven killings. After, I came to the weyr and lost myself for a few turns. Rest you know," Ha'ze's player is going to assume the rest of the story about Ustrr is more common knowledge since the trials. "After the trial… I went to see if mayhap I could find where I lost myself. Kainaseyth was hurt. And now it's winter. I'm still lookin'."

"Aha." That's a lot to take in, and Thys mulls over it for a moment, no doubt storing it away. "And is there anything I can do to help you find what you're looking for? Searching records, something like that? Buying you another drink, even?" Because she's nearly finished hers, and she's about to refresh it.

It's lost a lot of the heat that use to follow the telling of the story. Maybe because it has been retold so many time by Kainaesyth. They lose their edge with retellings. "I ain't sure what I'm lookin' for yet. It bothers you, all of you, that Kainaesyth and I aren't tied at the hip don't it?" He turns his dark eyes onto the goldrider again.

Thys nods. She's comfortable enough with Ha'ze to speak plainly - or to reiterate what she's already said several times over. "It does. Partly because I can't understand how you can do it; I couldn't leave Rhenesath for that long, or go further away than this, really, without her. I need her near as much as she needs me near… and then there's caring for her. What if Kainaesyth wants to be oiled, or scrubbed, or if he just needs you to cheer him up? It is winter, after all."

Ha'ze reaches up and taps his head. "We're connected here," and his hand moves down to touch his heart- "and here. Kainaesyth knows my soul, and I him. No matter how far away I am, he's no more than a thought away. The rest of it… can always be made up when I get back. And in the winter, he's distant. Sleepin' lots."

"Ha'ze." Thys runs her tongue over her lip, tasting the last of the alcohol there before she swaps out her empty glass for the new one that's just arrived - and there's one for Ha'ze there, too. "Don't ask why, but… there's something about what you just said that makes me -" She bites down on her lip, pausing for a second. "- makes me feel fuzzy. Kinda like I want to…" She shakes her head gently, then runs her fingers through her hair. "Never mind. Are you weyrmated with Abbey?"

Ha'ze raises an eyebrow at all the unfinished sentences. "Fuzzy?" His voice is a bit skeptical. Of all the things he's been called, that's one of the more unique. Reaching out he lifts his new glass to his lips with a small nod of thanks. "No. Wouldn't be fair to her since I'm leavin' so often."

"Fuzzy," Thys reiterates, with a nod. "I don't know. Maybe it's Rhenesath; she's listening in. But hearing you talk about Kainaesyth like that…" Again she bites her lip, this time with a rosy blush creeping up her cheeks. "I was surprised when he didn't catch her, you know? I thought he would. I'd almost expected that we'd…" She lets that thought trail off, obvious in its ending.

"I was surprised too." Ha'ze reaches out to touch the back of Thys' hand. His touch is gentle, and without expectations. "He's in love with life, and would've loved to create it with Rhenesath."

Thys looks down at the touch, biting her lip - hard. "Next time." She looks up, around them to scan the crowd, then back at Ha'ze. "Perhaps next time she'll go up in summer." When Kainaesyth's less winter-tired. "Can we… can we give you a ride? Wherever it is you're going?" She moves her fingers, shifting them to be able to gently capture Ha'ze's own. "Rhenesath can fly in this. Or we can wait it out. Your choice."

"Maybe." Ha'ze's gaze shifts from where his hand lays in hers and then leans forward to capture her lips in his. The kiss will go as deep as she allows, and he'll pull away the moment she pushes away from it.

Frozen as she may be in the moments when it's very obvious what's about to happen, Thys does actually thaw a little when the kiss develops - she reaches out to cup her hand against Ha'ze's cheek, allows it to linger a little more than she probably should, then pulls away with her cheeks flushed furiously. "I've got a boyfriend with a temper, Ha'ze…" She bites down on her lip, looking incredibly guilty. "I can't. Not here. I mean - I mean not now."

Ha'ze is the master of no expectations. With her pulled away Ha'ze stands and reaches down to pick up his bag and cast it over his shoulder. "I wouldn't dream of comin' between you and him Thys. I got to be gettin' goin'. Got a ride already, and showin' up on a gold wouldn't be helpin' what I'm lookin' to be doin'. Be well Thys." With that Ha'ze makes his way towards the door and exits without a second glance backwards.

Still slightly shocked by what just happened, Thys can barely get her tongue around whatever it is she wants to say before Ha'ze is gone. She watcches him exit, then turns around to the bar. "A doub— no. Add an extra shot in." Either the booze will help her think through it, or it'll help her forget the guilt she's now filled with.


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