Truce?

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.


Warning: Some mature themes within.

It may be cold outside with winter still well into swing in the Fort Region, but it's plenty warm enough in the Gemstone Tavern. Nightfall sees the heaviest amount of patrons and most of the tables are full and with various types of folks from foresters and hunters, to Crafters and visiting holders to a few wingriders who look for a change of scenery from the usual lounge. And then there's Jajen! Not that the goldrider is making a spectacle of herself… She's actually been keeping quite low since her return to Fort Weyr. Regardless, she sort of sticks out despite having secured herself a little niche of a spot nearest the back of the tavern and closest to the stairs. She's not alone in company either but again, she is being 'modest' in her sense of entertainment. She is in her own seat, speaking softly with what appears to be a young greenrider. So very unassuming… unless you know Jajen well.

Being away from civilization hasn't done much for Ha'ze's sense of propriety or desire to be polite. Shaking off snow his eyes scan across the tavern and even when those who know the dark rider well stare, Ha'ze doesn't take step off of his course when he sees Jajen. Approaching he hooks a thumb towards the doorway for the greenrider, "Get." A single word, with lots of meaning, and an unvoiced 'or else' attached.

The greenrider doesn't stick around long to argue with Ha'ze, lingering just long enough to politely excuse himself before vacating his seat to the bronzerider… and maybe with just a wee little glaring side-look as he goes slinking past. Damn bossy bronzeriders! Jajen purses her lips, eyeing Ha'ze as though not wholly surprised to see him — or the attitude which he brings with him. "Evening to you too." Ass. Her hand gestures to the empty seat at her side and angled in a way that he can still see her… if that's even his aim.

Ha'ze's gaze follows the greenrider till he's out of sight and then delivers silent glares to the rest of the nearby patons. Scat. Go. Be gone. After a bit of uncomfortable shifting they decide to be somewhere else and Jajen and Ha'ze are left in relative privacy. That chair next to Jajen isn't going to be left there either, Ha'ze pulls it out and spins it so that he's facing the woman across the table. "What is your game?" Keep it simple, okay?

Jajen's brows lift as Ha'ze clears off a few of the neighbouring tables too and gives him a look for that. Seriously? Does he have to make a scene? Not that any scene happens and everyone obliges with only a few grumbling curses and mutterings. Soon enough the tavern is back to the same buzz and flow from before and the gold and bronzerider are left to have their "pleasant" little chat. "You implying I'm playing at one?" Jajen drawls in a dry tone as she leans back in her chair, bending one leg over her knee. The smirk that follows is close to amused. "Because I'm not." There. Simple.

Meet Ha'ze's laughter here, disbelief written in the corse sound. "Right. I've lived with you in close proxmiity for a while now. You always have a game." Oh, the greenrider left his drink. It's a little fruity, but that's okay. Ha'ze has lacked variety in his drinking for a while now. His liver would probably be happy with some change ups. "Might as well share. It's not like I'll do anything about it."

Jajen rolls her eyes and promptly glares at Ha'ze afterwards but for once she realizes the bronzerider DOES have a point. She's also come to learn a little about him — or at least grown bored enough of their constant bickering that she doesn't quite go out of her way to needle him into a raging temper. Not right away, anyways. She won't even stop him from taking that drink though her mouth does quirk up into a teeny little smile. Maybe it wasn't so wise to take it? Could be drugged. Or she's just amused to see him drink a frilly drink. In the end though, she sighs and idly rolls one of her hands as if to make the whole affair seem like nothing. "I'm just trying to get a feel for the 'atmosphere' here. Th'ero not being Weyrleader is one upset, but Mr'az's is doing a fine job at royally screwing things up and not just with the Holds. You want to figure out how things really are? You go and lure yourself a few riders in for a little heart to heart chat." And apparently she's fishing among the chromatics, not the metallics.

"Even a tarnished gold shines like money." Ha'ze makes up an old Pern proverb right up on the spot, draining the last of that drink. Sitting back he puts hia hand behind his back and eyes the woman carefully. "From what I can figure, Mr'az is insane. The dragons are telling Kainaesyth stories, and the farmers mutter when he's around like they've forgotten he can hear them and carry their words back." See, Ha'ze doesn't need to be sociable to be able to get his own lay of the news. "Nyalle doesn't seem to be able to control him."

Jajen tilts her head for that proverb and it's not certain if the meaning ever sunk in. She'll watch him settle too and again, a small smile curves her lips and almost devious in nature. That, or she's impressed with Ha'ze's answer — for once they can agree. "That's because they're a proper little traditional Weyrleader couple," she drawls though it sounds like she almost gags on the whole idea. "Nyalle won't meddle because it's not her place too. I'm sure she protests but if Mr'az puts his foot down, well…" Her hands spread in another dismissive gesture. Too bad, so sad? "You know you owe it to Mr'az though for being back here." Jajen points out quietly but her expression darkens, almost saddens. "And so do I." Why does she make it seem like it's more of a curse then a blessing?

Somewhere in the middle of Jajen talking Ha'ze flags down a waitress and gets a real drink out of the exchange. He lifts it upwards in a salute, "To Mr'az, may he not burn it down around us before we can enjoy it." A shake of his head for Nyalle's passivity, he'd always figured her as a more or less okay weyrwoman, but CLEARLY he was wrong. "Missing your little fuck toy already?" They almost got along for a little while.

Jajen might try to flag down that waitress too and order something for herself. Given how their exchanges often go, she's going to need a drink by the end of it. She won't have her glass in time for Ha'ze's toast but she'll nod her head. "Or an uprising take him down and turf us all." She amends. His next statement has her blinking, cheeks flushing with color and eyes snapping. Generally a sign that she's angered and yeah, that stung! "You know damn well he's been gone for awhile!" By 'awhile', she means one too many months gone. Long enough that she doubts he's to return. How many times have they argued this? Her arms fold across her chest and she glowers at him from her chair. "Figured you'd piss off now that you're free and go be a pain in the ass to some other. Or do you get off on this?" She points to herself first and then between them, to indicate their 'conversation'.

Ha'ze is a terrible person and laughs at that comment of Jajen's, about her beau. "If you ever get lonely enough feel free to come have a sit on my ledge. Kainaesyth misses his gold buddy already." Because Jajen is ever going to sleep with Ha'ze again, especially as there are already rumors over the number of women Ha'ze has gotten reaquainted with since coming back. "You're stuck with me Jajen." A half grin there, with overtones of recklessness. "Just imagine - if you could knock Nyalle at the right time, you could be on top. Kainaesyth knows her so well he might even win."

Jajen certainly isn't laughing and it could be those rumours about Ha'ze's bedmates (true or not) have reached her ears too. She doesn't seem at all her usual self either and even his recklessness has her eyeing him as though he's as insane as Mr'az. "I don't want to be Weyrwoman." she states flatly (a lie) and he knows full well that her last attempt at a coup is what got her exiled in the first place. Her eyes narrow again, "And you know Iaverulth can barely breath in this Weyr without having the other golds on her back. I keep her away." Where or where does she stash a gold dragon, even one as small as Iaverulth? "Her coddling to Kainaesyth is just going to… No." Her head shakes as she leaves the rest unsaid and when she looks at Ha'ze again there is bitterness in her eyes. "And if you had any sense in that thick head of yours, you'd distance yourself from me. They'll talk. You might just have your reputation tarnished." Any worse than it already is.

There might be people giving off scared looks in their direction as Ha'ze lets loose with a full body laugh. He actually has to put down his drink as that laughter rolls forth with hints of mocking all over it. "Jajen, we're tied together in everyone's mind. There's not a thing I can do to ex that out." The humor fades, and gets replaced with seriousness and Ha'ze leans forward, his voice quiet again. "Kainaesyth is allowed to chase Iaverulth as much as he wants. You're not the same bitch that got exiled, and I'm not attached. If we're going to be thrown together anyway…?" A shrug of his shoulders. Yes, Ha'ze is absolutely propositioning Jaze. e

Even Jajen is startled at first by Ha'ze's laughter but she'll promptly glare at him again for all the good it's doing. She sniffs, knowing full well too that he's right. Again. Then he's leaning forwards and going all serious on her and she looks away, posture stiff and jaw tense. She doesn't even answer him on Kainaesyth chasing as he should be aware that the goldrider heavily doubts Iaverulth will rise. "… just so you can regret it again?" Comes the cold reply and heavy sarcasm. He's propositioning HER? When he's a Weyr of willing, all too happy females to give him what he wants? So they come around again to playing THIS game. Jajen shifts in her seat, facing him once more with as impassive a look on her face as she can muster — which means very little. She always was terrible at masks. Yeah, she is lonely. Coming back to Fort wasn't at all pleasant for her and she hates it, every minute of it, despite putting on her little act like everything is just peachy.

That serious doesn't break, and Ha'ze's words have overtones of pure honesty. He's going to be an open book for her, even while she's trying to hide from him. "I know you better than anyone else here, and I'm not attached any more." A hand lifts up and he reaches out to try to see if she'll let him take her hand in his calloused grip. Prelude to trying to kiss her here. "You don't have to be lonely all the time."

Jajen doesn't recoil from him as she would have once upon a time but there is a reluctance there. Just for a short bit, at first, and then her hand joins his, supple and relaxed in his grip. She makes no other move, save to lean just-so in her chair as her body shifts a little more to the edge. A dry chuckle and she looks up at him, a smirk curving her lips that is half amused, half serious to match her not-quite snarky tone. "Some would say it's what I deserve Ha'ze… to be lonely. I've believed that for a long, long time." And fed into their image of her as a promiscuous, out of control, vapid fool. If that's how they wanted her, that's how she would be. It took being exiled to mature her… at least in some ways. It's a work in progress and some of her habits are too ingrained to ever change.

"They're full of shit assholes who don't know anything." It's not quite an avowal of love or anything, but Ha'ze is sincere enough in his offer. He doesn't quite follow through on his move to kiss her, not without another sign. He squeezes gently at her hand, and his own shift makes some of that space disappear. They still have a table between them though. "Walk away now Jajen, the offer doesn't go away. Whenever ou want it."

Definitely not an avowal of love but it does have Jajen laughing quietly. His sign may be nothing more than a gentle return squeeze of his hand with her own or that she's practically twisted now in her chair to face him. There is the case of that table between them but if things are going as they seem to be, they'll be standing soon enough and table be damned. "I…" she begins when he lays out the terms again and for a moment she is her old self. The old Jajen who would throw it all back in his face and stalk off, cursing his name and everyone else. She stops though, rethinks and with a lick of her lips, takes the bait. "Wouldn't mind going to your ledge." She smirks and some of her dry humour slips in. "Bet it's more comfortable than my quarters." They all know she's been crammed into the ground level guest weyr. A "temporary" thing… yeah, right.

Nope, Ha'ze isn't going to let Jajen change her mind. The second she gives that yes Ha'ze rises smoothly to his feet and reaches outwards to draw Jajen towards him. There is likely to be gossip about the two ex-exiled riders shaking up. But there is a gentleness in his movement. Not pity, but pure understanding and empathy for Jajen. They won't leave right away, Ha'ze is just going to kiss her right here for a while. Screw the audience.

Jajen follows suit and does not balk. Once she makes her mind she seems set on it. Screw the audience and that jilted greenrider who probably hoped to be in Ha'ze's place (damn cockblocking bronzeriders). She'll kiss him back, stepping in close and rumours be damned. What has she got to lose? Nothing.

The bar is going to get a bit of a show before Ha'ze finally sweeps the gorldrider up into his arms and they exit through a doorway into the winter chill. That might put a cooling on things for a bit, but only until Kainaesyth can collect the pair and lead them up to Ha'ze's weyr. It's cold - but that's okay, right? They'll just make their own heat. There's a difference this time, from their rough tumble before. For one, it's not done in the upstairs room of a bar?

Jajen doesn't care how much of a show the tavern ends up seeing or how many tongues wag about the brazenness of it. Isn't she just playing into the role they've already painted her in? It'll probably be boring gossip. Oh there she goes again, bedding any man who'll have her! Cold, what cold? There's enough heat and plently of distraction to keep her focused on more important things. This is not some mere tumble, no. Secondly, Ha'ze was the one who put out the offer. Not Jajen toying with him.

There's just all sorts of contrast getting drawn here. When it's over and they untangle, Ha'ze doing his best to make it as good for her as for him, he doesn't stand and leave off like he would normally with any other lay. Instead he pulls her close against the thick muscle of his chest and plant one more light kiss against her forehead. "We could have done this any time." Is that a hint of regret in his tone?

Jajen may have been expecting Ha'ze to stand and leave or at least made it clear that her presence was no longer needed (this IS his ledge, after all!). Contrast is right and even in the moment of afterglow she tenses when he first draws her close. She'll relax at the kiss and then burrows a little closer if he allows it, curling against his body. Maybe she hears that hint or she's in a placated enough mood to humour him. "It's not like you didn't try?" Surely he's made offers before. Kind of? She always threw everything he tried to give right back at him before.

He's all cuddly and loving now at least? Now that she's vunerable enough to let him? One hand gently brushes through her hair, brushing it out over his pillow. "You're welcome to stay. Just let Kainaesyth go cuddle up with Iaverulth." Or however that dragon's name is spelled.

Jajen's always been vulnerable! That's part of her problem. She's definitely NOT protesting his attentions now and she will likewise return a few sweet gestures. A touch here, a caress there. "Can Kainaesyth fly? I wasn't joking, earlier. I keep Iaverulth away." As in not in the Weyr. Isn't it sweet too, how she remembers that it's winter and of the bronze's particular state because of said season? "… or I could call her?"

Jaze is going to be seriously confused if she sees her parents like this. She's only ever known them as two people that argue. (That poor kid. :( ) It's good that it takes time to recharge, because those caresses could lead to so much more. Moving around he'll trace his lips against her neck, and steal a deep kiss. "Either. He's been more active than normal this winter, with so much to see. That's…," and Ha'ze lets true appricaition break into his words, "kind of you to remember."

Poor Jaze. At least she's still young enough that maybe the damage isn't entirely permanent? Ha'ze might be pleasantly surprised to find out later that if he's wanting a second go, Jajen won't stop him. She'll probably initiate it and selfishly at that. It doesn't help either that he's not exactly being hands (and mouth) off at the moment! Once that deep kiss is returned, she'll settle back against him and now she laughs quietly again as she nuzzles at his neck. "I'm not as stupid as I look. I did pay some attention." So did Iaverulth. Which Jajen does end up calling and the pale, wintry gold will settle on the ledge.

Maybe, for once, Ha'ze won't wander as badly as he always has before? (It's possible? But maybe not. Twenty two, Ha'ze is still young.) For right now though, Jajen's the only woman on his mind. "Why do you do that then?" He pulls away from the goldrider, pushing himself upwards till the blanket falls away from his bare chest so that he can look downwards at him. "I know you're not stupid." And his heart is going to go out to her for the kindness that is allowing her gold to join his gray-tinged bronze on the ledge. Kainaesyth is as welcoming as ever, and curls himself around her. This is familiar - and comfortable.

Jajen doesn't have a lick of hope in her that any of this means anything and wholly expects him to wander. Likewise she may do the same in time. But just like him, her mind is elsewhere and focused on him. She'll let him pull away, shifting to prop herself up on one arm as she peers up at him. "Because it's all I've ever been allowed to be. I got tired to trying to prove otherwise." she says honestly, before looking away and towards the entrance of his weyr. "They only remember me for what I did and I know I did terrible things. But I was fourteen when I Impressed and to the responsibility of gold and into a Weyr whose Leaders knew what I was even before that. Never really got to be a kid, you know? Just rules and boundaries and a lot of stupid 'can't do this' and 'goldriders don't do that' sort of bullshit. So yeah, I rebelled. And they didn't like it. I tried to change when I learned better — and it still wasn't enough. So… I just gave up." In a rather spectacular way. Jajen shakes her head sadly, "It's easier, to give them what they want." So much easier to just be angry and bitter. Out on the ledge, Iaverulth is quick to curl herself around Kainaesyth in return. Familiar and comfortable, but the gold is taking more from it too. She'll be affectionate with him, if he's tolerant of it and mostly because it eases her discomfort to distract herself in comforting another. Poor thing is stressed.

Could two broken souls may one, mabe? At some point? Or at least fill that empty piece they're both finding out are a whole lot bigger than either of them expected. Comfort for now. Ha'ze wraps his arm into the curve of her back, and puss her against him agin, to kiss her lightly. "Don't pretend here. There's enough bullshit out there for both os us." Ha'ze gets it, the trying to be someone else. Ha'ze will just make this ledge of his a safe place for them. Bullshit, stay out there. Kainaesyth's the right choice for distraction. He's learned some new stories and after spreading a possessive wing over the wintery gold he's more than willing to share them. His calm presence is more than comforting, it's grounding.

Maybe, though Jajen and Ha'ze seem to do so much better at clashing. Or is that part of the whole? She'll go willingly into his embrace and the kiss as well. There's another chuckle but lighter this time. Something closer to genuine. "Don't remind me," she murmurs and slowly, bit by bit, she'll let herself be content here on his ledge. Safe is a strange word. She felt safe in Drake's Lake. Maybe with time and if he doesn't screw it up, this will be 'safe' too. Jajen's not about to wholly trust him on one night of honest conversation and sex (oh, there will no doubt be more if he's up for it). She's been hurt enough, thank you! Eventually she'll drift into a light sleep and stay there until the dawn and leave then and on good terms for once! Iaverulth will appreciate Kainaesyth's stories, allowing them to lull her into a restful sleep where she's not constantly on edge, wondering if NOW is when the balance tips again and she'll be chased away. She'll be reluctant to leave but she will have to go, with nothing of a vague promise of when she'll return.


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