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And on Pern ...
The time is 17:46.
It is evening of the eighty-fourth day of winter.
It is the twenty-third Turn of the Tenth Interval.
It is a winter evening.
This area of the bowl is the highest point of the bowl floor; from here, it slopes down and to the northwest, spilling out to the plateau below the wide gap in the Weyr rim to the west. Various tunnels here lead into the Weyr's inner caverns; the living caverns, hatching grounds, and main Weyr tunnel all branch off from here. To the west lie the stables where the Weyr's runners are housed. There is also a stone stairway that leads up to the Weyrleader's weyrs.
It is a winter evening.
Gold Jivayath is here.
Siraji is here.
Ground Weyrs Hatching Cavern Central Bowl Stables Weyr Tunnel Living Caverns
Even though Rukbat has long settled over the weyr's high walls, the sky continues to be dyed a plethora of warm colors, and it is in this sky that T'ab has found a pleasant distraction. The bronzerider made it just out of the hatching cavern before he stopped, shoved his hands in his pockets and looked straight up into the dusk sky. He hums quietly to himself, a rather slow, low-tone song that sounds vaguely like something that would be played at a funeral.
An appropriate musical accompaniment, then. Siraji emerges from the caverns, expression determined-set -- what expression she can make, at least, with left eye purpled shut to a bare sliver of green. The rest of her looks set and sqinty and determined, though. She is boot-less, in seasonally inappropriate sandals that don't require two hands to get on -- her right is splinted, swollen-fingered. She catches sight of T'ab, and relief washes the mobile portion of her features upon discovering him /not/ on the Sands. Thus, accompanied by his dirge, she approaches the Weyrleader.
Siraji is going to go unnoticed for a few long moments as the tone-deaf Weyrleader finishes up his little song and the sky finally begins to darken into crimson and violet. Settled for the moment, T'ab lowers his eyes down to Siraji and the man's solemn face turns into a sad frown, "Oh... Miss Siraji, I..." His reddened-blue eyes scan over the girl's eye, then hand, and his frown deepens into his face, "What happened? Did... did someone hurt you? If someone hurt you, I'll take care of it, don't'cha worry Miss Siraji. I promise I'll take care of it."
Siraji's determination peters out, frustration rises to the forefront -- then gets choked, choked, choked back. It takes an effort. It /looks/ like it takes an effort, too, punctuated by the sharp shake of Siraji's head. "No," she says, clipped, works her jaw briefly before forging ahead. "Ain't no-one hurt me, Weyrleader." Does it stick a little? Maybe a little. "Did th' hurtin'. S'why I'm here." She pulls her shoulders straight, tips her chin up, squintily meets T'ab's eyes, or tries to.
"You... did? Oh Miss Siraji." T'ab's face continues to stay in his 'I'm sad for you' expression toward the girl, "It is okay, you've been dealin' with a lot, Miss Siraji. Hopefully whoever you hurt ain't too bad. Don't you worry 'bout me kickin' you out or nothin'." A supportive smile rises on the bronzerider's face, "Y'know, your ma kicked me outta Candidacy cause I got m'ass kicked by a woman. Got a second chance afterwards, and ye /definitely/ deserve a second chance." T'ab frowns again at the memory, realizing he may have made Siraji more sad, and he steps toward the girl with open arms, "Come'ere Siraji, it'll be okay." Yes, he's gonna try hugging.
Siraji's face keeps right on saying 'this is not going the way it's supposed to be going' with a side order of 'what the fucking fuck.' "Pretty sure I din't break his nose," she allows, "an' I din't feel ribs crack, which is d'stinctive, y'knooo--" w. She sort of edges back as he steps forward, bum hand braced between them. You don't want to hurt her /hand/, do you, T'ab? "She got kicked outta candidacy, too," she says, her voice gone all hoarse-rough, "turned inta a hardass 'bout it, th' fightin'. An' I ain't askin' f'no second /chance/. S'what I'm tryin' t'/tell/ y'shardin' stupid fa-- you. S'what I'm tryin' t'tell you, Weyrleader."
T'ab stops his approach, because he knows when a lady doesn't want to be touched and he'll respect the bum hand. Arms awkwardly settle to his side and his hands shove into his pockets, "Ah, ain't dead, that's good." The weyrleader shakes his head toward the girl, "Well then, I ain't goin' to give you a second chance, but ya don't need a second chance if'n I don't try to kick you out in the first place. So you ain't kicked out at all. You were under a great stress 'n we all react badly sometimes. No reason to kick out a potentially great rider."
Siraji looks pained, she looks at T'ab like he's a particularly adorably annoying labradoodle who just. doesn't. get. it. (Or the way most people would. Saji'd probably gtfo if there were a persistent puppy around.) "That's shardin' -- kind. S'kind of you, 'leader, but y'not /listenin'/ t'me." She is trying so, so hard to be diplomatic. D'baji would be proud. "I ain't askin' t'not get kicked out. I'm tellin' you I'm leavin'."
"You're... /leavin'/? Oh." T'ab tilts his head as he looks over Siraji's expression, her mannerisms, anything that can give him a hint of what she's /really/ feeling. He wants to talk about FEELINGS here. "Okay. Well, I can't exactly /keep/ ya in Candidacy if'n you don't want to. But... but I don't want you goin' and bein' by yourself right now, I think you'd be better off in Candidacy, with yer friends, m'lady." He'll take another step closer to Siraji, just in case she wants to start hugging it out. "You sure about this, leavin' that is? I'll make sure if'n you change your mind between now'n the Hatchin' that you can re-join any time. You got somethin' special, Siraji, you'd make a good dragonrider."
Good luck getting Saji to talk about FEELINGS. It's pretty hard to get a read of anything but 'mad' or maybe 'determined,' though there's a faint undercurrent of 'tired' on top of 'pained' that could be physical or emotional or possibly just gas. "I'm sure," she says, and that /does/ sound sure. "An' I don't got friends. I got Ji'n, an' I'm joinin' th' guard soon's my hand," which she lifts again, re-brandishes, don't think of trying that hug omg, "is done bein' broke." She does do that chin-tip again, meets his eyes with something sincere in hers, "Ji'n said 'f there's a dragon dyin' on th' sands, he'll throw me on 'm himself. But I ain't--" she coughs to clear her throat, shakes her head. "I ain't good t' th' rest 'f th' candidates, an' I ain't good t'be on the Sands, now, an' I ain't shardin'--" she stops, shakes her head again, says, "I'm sure."
"You've got plenty o' friends there m'dear. Y'got me." BFF T'ab. "And y'got the whole Weyr, they love you plenty." Even if he is lying, the light smile on his face seems quite sincere as his eyes flicker over Siraji's face. "Since you /are/ sure, I guess I'll be taking your knot then... but I'll have it in my pocket at all times, just in case you change your mind." The bronzerider lowers his hand, opening it toward the girl, "You'll be a fantastic guard, 'though I think you should relax a bit while ya heal. If'n you want, I got a good surf-spot I'm willin' to share with you and I'm sure Tyr won't mind takin' us for a few hours."
Siraji snorts, hard, and it totally dislodges dried snot-blood. Which she swipes away with the back of her good hand, the wipes that against her pantleg. "I'm pretty sure some'f my fe- former-fellow candidates would just as soon see me rot," she tells him, "an' y' full of shi-- y'stupi-- y'barmy," she thieves from Tussart. "'M gonna be a shellin' fantastic guard," she says instead, shoulders drawing square, "an' I shouldn't between. With th' hand." She eyes him, good eye gone squinchy too. STOP BEING NICE OMG.
"I doubt that's true, Siraji." T'ab says idly as he steps back from the girl, "And we can fly straight, Tyroth is a big enough guy to be able to handle the trip. It'll be warm, get you some sunlight, relax... you need some of that, I'm sure m'lass. But if'n ye ain't interested I ain't gonna force ya." The bronzerider bobs his head with a nod, "You gotta place to stay the night, after ya pack yourself up? My weyr's empty 'n I'll be down here all night if'n you'd like to stay there."
"I ain't namin' names, but I'm shardin' sure it is," Saji corrects, with just a little too much vehemence -- it's a glimpse of a wound, a new one, and one she quickly shifts the subject away from. "I just wanna go home, 'leader," she says, quiet, like she's starting to lose some of the forward momentum that's keeping her going, keeping her upright, "even if it ain't th' same. 'ji says it'll get t'be right, an' I ain't gonna make it get there any faster, avoidin' it like it ain't there." She avoids the offer of his weyr, as well, instead reaching -- balls. Her knot's on her left shoulder, the braced, purpled, swollen (broken) hand, her right. "I'll give y' th' knot t'morrow, 'f that's aiight."
T'ab nods his head toward Siraji, "Oh, okay... I understand then, Miss Siraji. Want me to get Tyr to call your pa or I can get one of my riders to give you a ride up if'n you need?" To the knot, T'ab chuckles lightly to the problem, "Of course Miss Siraji, you can even pretend ta bein' a Candidate for a bit longer if'n you'd like. 'though hopefully the Hatching don't come tonight 'else I'll be draggin' you on with the rest of them."
"Just /stop/ calling me /miss/," Saji finally snaps, aggrieved, then looks mildly horrified at the prospect of the eggs hatching /tonight/, because oh, hell no. "An' I'll make it up there fine on m'own. Iq--" it's just the syllable, could just as well be 'ick' save for the quick-change to, "Dyz'll come get me, 'f I need 'm to. Or 'Ver. I already told m'dad, on account of because he's the Weyrlingmaster. I--" all of T'ab's offers of help finally coalesce into something he /can/ do, and Saji's eyes -- eye, squinchy slit -- light, just a little. "But y'can tell Lanti. That'm not a candidate no more, an' that-- th' rest 'f all that, too."
"Ah, sorry 'bout that Miss Siraji, just a habit, y'know. Raised right, callin' folks Miss 'n Mister." T'ab grins toward the girl and offers another nod at her question, "Oh, certainly, I'll let Miss Lanti know 'bout it, 'though if she goes and tries shovin' the knot back in your face, I won't be able to go stoppin' her." He winks at Siraji as he steps back, "T'is gettin' late, should probably get goin' eh?"
"Y' doin' it /again/," Siraji points out, this time with just the slightest edge of a flinch at the miss, again, the miss, repeated, reminded. "An' -- thank you." It's a little grudging, a little strained, like she's not entirely used to having to say it out loud, but knows she's supposed to, here. "Should get goin'," she repeats, she confirms with a nod, "an' you'll have my knot t'morrow." She looks at him, glances back at the caverns entrance, looks back at him.
"I'll be seein' ya tomorrow then, consider the surfin' trip... I could use one as well, try to get your pa as well." T'ab smiles a bit brighter before taking another step back and bowing toward the girl, "Well then, soon-to-be Guard Siraji, take care of yourself... or else I'll be comin' after ya with a bit piece o' cake and a bottle of wine to take care o' you myself. Got it?"
Soon-to-be-Guard seems to make up for the repeated Miss-ings, although the cake and the wine and the /taking care of/-- well. Saji just says, "Yes," and follows it up with, "right," and then, "g'night, 'leader," immediately after. She turns, pivots on one foot, then long-le-- short-legged stalks back into the caverns. Apparently, that was enough of /that/.