Time for a party! Viarth crowed, leaping into the sky after Hailreth. K’tar’s whoop was still echoing as the three disappeared between only to emerge over Ice Stone. Once again, it occurred to K’tar to wonder which was colder, here or between. He’d mentioned it to Viarth, but the dragon had yet to come up with a way for them to test it.
The dragons landed to deposit their riders, and then Viarth and Hailreth brought Korith along to greet the rest of the dragons.
“Drinks away!” K’tar called out. Leaping up, he punched the air, then started off towards the entrance. It was definitely cold out, and Holt was right about how good a warm drink sounded.
“Have you ever had halk?” K’tar asked B’ow, as they made their way in. He almost hoped his friend hadn’t, since that meant the other young man would be in for a surprise. K’tar loved surprises.
Munota thought for a moment. She’d been to any number of places, though she quickly decided not to count the ones visited when she was just a baby. Those didn’t really count. The name “Riverway” though, did not sound familiar. “What’s it like there?” she asked. “Is it very far from the Weyr?”
As if seeing finish his food acted like a cue, Munota realized that she still had some food left. It didn’t last long. Fast-growing six Turn olds could eat a lot more than most people realized.
B’ow walked quietly beside the other two riders, who were all about getting something to drink. K’tar asked a question and as usual, the rider had a serious answer for him.
“I have not, but I am familiar with the components of common recipes for it.” He may have taken a look at the general attributes of Ice Stone Weyr. He might duck down to the Library, if he had time. He reasoned that it might be possible to get records from Ice Stone about Azures, since they were such legends. He had decided against (until he got desperate) because of the age of the records. He was not an expert on older vocabulary, and as he understood it, to make use of the ancient documents, that was all but required. He was sure he could learn, but he didn’t want to give himself more work then was required, especially when more work meant spending turns and turns on education. Maybe later.
He looked around before spotting someone with Moonlight knots waving at their general direction. B’ow observed him as he got out of his chair to come on over.
“Guys, nice to see you here! How’s it at RMW?” D’ziel had been hoping to see some of his friends, or family, and this was certainly right up his alley.
Dalonia watched as T'kar jogged off in the direction of the Harper stage, his words bouncing around in her head. The former Weyrleader of Rainbow Mists thought she looked nice. Her palms were damp as she smoothed her rough hand over the wine colored material. It was softer than anything she had ever bothered wearing. Certainly more colorful than anything she owned.
Except for that one shirt. The red one.
Shaking her head slightly, she turned away from the Harper stage--and the thought of who that shirt had belonged to--and found herself staring at a broad chest. Startled that someone had gotten so close and she'd been too distracted to notice Thief's warning, Dalonia followed the broad chest up and the color drained from her face. "Barrek." It came out as barely more than a whisper and the man in front of her grinned. To anyone else it would seem like a friendly greeting, but Dalonia knew better. She knew the monster that lurked beneath the rough yet somewhat charming facade. With a thought, she silenced Thief and with another she sent the brown away.
"Hello, little Dally. So good to see you again. But it's B'rek now. Unavoidable but surprisingly quiet advantageous." B'rek delighted in the way that Dalonia's face went completely blank but for that brief flare of fear in her eyes. Slipping an arm around her waist, he looked for all the world that he was simply leading a dance partner or prospective bed partner off to the side of the room. Dalonia's mind was whirling frantically. The last thing she wanted was for Barrek to get her alone but if she caused a scene, T'kar would come over and she couldn't let that happen. If he didn't know already, Barrek would know the second T'kar came to her aide.
Once the weyrsmith--and now dragonrider apparently--found a nice, quiet alcove against the wall, he backed Dalonia into it and crowded her. He could see the fluttering of her heartbeat at her throat as it raced. Leaning in, he caged her with an arm to either side of her and thrilled at the way her eyes darted around, scrambling for an escape plan. "Your brothers tell me that you are doing well in the South. That you've carved out a place for yourself and that disgusting beast of yours. A little birdy told me, in fact, that you've become the former Weyrleader's favorite mongrel. His little bitch" B'rek had leaned in and to anyone looking in, it would seem as though he was simply trying to charm his way into the bed of the woman before him by whispering in her ear. Not many gave it a second glance or noticed how tense and inexpressive the woman was.
"What do you want, Barrek?" Dalonia hissed, her eyes flickering to T'kar to make sure he was well away. As Barrek pulled back to look down at her, she brought her gaze back to him, but not before he noticed the direction she was looking and grinned.
"Should we go and say hello, then? I'm sure he would love to hear about why you went to Rainbow Mists. Would he look at you the same I wonder? Would he still call you lovely? Come, introduce us, Dally." B'rek was bluffing of course. Such things would reveal him as the imposter he was to his own weyr. But the way her eyes flicked back and forth, the way her breathing hitched. It was too delicious to pass up. Deciding to push a bit more, he laced his fingers with hers, his grip tightening almost painfully. "You shouldn't have come back, pet. I know you too well; you think you can save him. Somehow we never managed to beat that last it of nobility out of you. But he took what was mine; that can't go unpunished." With a lazy smirk on his face, he trailed a fingertip over the rise of her chest and then dipped into the crevice to flick the blade there. "This won't save either of you, pet."
Unable to keep from reacting any longer, Dalonia growled and brought both hands up to shove Barrek hard in the chest. A few people turned to stare. Under the eyes of an audience, Barrek raised his hands and laughed as he backed away. "Can't blame a guy for trying." A woman nearby rolled her eyes and a few men chuckled as the flamerider and weyrsmith slipped back into the crowd. Dalonia, her face pale and her eyes wild, watched him until she could no longer see him and then stepped back, pressing her back against the wall. The cool, hard surface was impenetrable and safe. A thought returned Thief to her and he latched onto the wall before climbing down to drop onto her shoulder again. She had to get them out of here. Sooner than later.
Boot chirped a greeting overhead. T’kar glanced over his shoulder as he helped set the last of the large drums into position. His eyes swept the air above his head, first locating Boot, then looking to see where the little Brick’s attention was directed, then widened as his gaze tracked onto the Brown flitt that was approaching. A quick sweep of his gaze over the creature confirmed that this was Dalonia’s “Thief”.
What the… T’kar finished with moving the drum. Alyga was settled in, so he turned and ran his gaze over the crowd, clearly looking for someone. When his gaze landed on Dalonia, though, he hesitated. She seemed to be talking to someone…
Some aspect, some stiffness to Dalonia’s posture was all the signal T’kar needed, and he was already on his way over, cursing the tightly packed crowd under his breath, when the man stepped back, raising his hands to convince the people watching that it was all some kind of joke.
Sure thing ‘buddy’, T’kar growled silently, watching the man walk away like nothing was wrong. T’kar’s cheeks flushed, heating in raw anger. Try it again if you have a death-wish.
Forcing his face to neutrality, he stepped so that he was in front of Dalonia, though he was careful to give her about an arm’s length in space, a necessity that had him nearly turn and run the man down, though even he wasn’t sure what, exactly, he’d do — he knew what he wanted to do, but the doing of it would be committing several crimes in and of itself.
Holt walked along while his friends discussed drinks. Something warm and familiar would be nice, they should have regular klah for all the southerners. He had dancing and chatting to do, something too spiced would disrupt those plans.
He let a wide grin spread on his face as D'ziel approached them. "D'ziel!" he exclaimed, giving the other Rider a clap on the back. "Good to see you. Here to let me beat you at cards again?"
K’tar grinned. “You really should try it,” he said, grinning at B’ow. He couldn’t wait to see the other guy’s face. “It’s really quite good.”
He heard a familiar voice then, and glanced over his shoulder to see D’ziel approaching. He started to offer a greeting, but Holt beat him too it, with something that even surprised him.
“You let Holt beat you at cards?” he exclaimed. “D’ziel, how could you let something like that happen when I wasn’t even here to watch?” He was fully in his element now, teasing friends so that they would laugh. “What were you guys betting?” he asked D’ziel and Holt. He hoped it’d been something interesting.
“Do you know where the halk is?” he inquired. “Poor B’ow here has never actually had any.” He accompanied the words with a wave to include B’ow. “Speaking of, please forgive my manners. B’ow, this is D’ziel of Moonlight Hocteth. D’ziel, B’ow of Neon Purple Hailreth.”
B’ow raised an eyebrow before saying evenly, “Perhaps I shall.” He was somewhat curious about the drink, but had found that he and K’tar disagreed on what things were tasty and what were not. For example, B’ow didn’t like sweets very much. That and the grin on the other Purple rider’s face told him of mischief. Still, he could play tricks too, if he felt inclined.
D’ziel laughed. “You act like we didn’t play more than one hand sir. What about the one after that, hmm?” He chuckled to Holt and turned to K’tar. “Well if you want to see more of that sort of thing, you’ll have to tear yourself away from sunshine and pop up here once in a while. Even if we were betting snacks.” Short notice, you bet with the snacks you were eating. Least until they got eaten.
“Nice to meet you, B’ow. You look familiar though.” D’ziel shook the smaller rider’s hand, trying to figure out where the other person was from in his memory. B’ow himself knew off hand.
“Creche. Or candidacy if you prefer. You and your brother left for a while, but you may have seen me around.” And not remembered. He was tiny and forgettable. D’ziel took him at his word, not quite remembering himself.
“That must be it. Good to see you again. Let’s get you some halk.” He smiled and lead the little party to the drinks, pointing to the choices. “And there is the halk, klah’s over there if you prefer.” He had a mug in his hands already, and moved to refill it with klah. Might as well, he was almost out. B’ow considered the options of beverage for a time, judging what he wanted to do.