She Smelled of the Sea

July 29, 2017
==== Risali, Tanit
====
Half Moon Bay Weyr - Tiki Lounge
As one walks onto the wood panelled flooring of the patio, they are greeted with the scent of burning oil, the likely source the various torches burning along the perimeter of the flooring. The flooring is littered with tables shaded with umbrellas, matching chairs tucked beneath when not in use.
The inside of the Tiki Lounge seems far bigger inside than outside, even when full of relaxing weyrfolk and travelers. Towards the front, in the western corner, is a small stage, generally occupied by harpers. Several tables with chairs decorate the floor and a small area is open for dancing. The bar is rather long and well stocked, glasses of different shapes and sizes hanging suspended from a rack above the bar. Behind the bar is another open window that gives one a view of the forest behind the tavern. Turning around, one is greeted by a lovely view of the lagoon. A decent breeze helps to cool the room. Up above, rafters provide a perch for fire lizards and local avians. The thatch roof, made of straw, rarely lets in any rain.


Despite the ongoing preparations for the winter storm which is currently bearing down on Half Moon Bay's coastline, there are still people who are taking full advantage of their free time out of doors and many are taking advantage of the lounge while they still can. Perched at the bar with hair a little shorter than chin length sticking up in all different directions, but perhaps attractively so, is a lanky teen, barefoot and in dive a short legged, short sleeved dive suit. Before her sits a small feast, freshly shucked oysters on the half shell, a mostly full tumbler of what might be spiced rum from the sweet earthy scent of the stuff, and a juicy thick steak that looks big enough to make into three portions.

And there is player:Risali, here in Half Moon Bay instead of Xanadu Weyr for reasons that don't matter except that it's why she's here and here is not there (there being Xanadu). The only tell-tale sign of a dragon in the woman's life is those riding leathers that cling to her legs, but there's a loose tunic hanging over her top in lieu of a riding jacket - long sleeved, hooded, flowing to just below the apex of her body in the front, longer at the sides, just below her knees and uneven, cut to just above her knees in the back. All that long, loose-curling hair has been pulled up and settled into a messy bun at the back of her head (sans the few strands that've broken free and cling to her neck, of course), she's got her hands tucked away in a pouch cut into the front of her tunic, and there's no knot on her shoulder to denote weyr, or rank, or even confirm if there is a dragon lurking somewhere behind those grey eyes. But despite the fact that Risali is a tiny specimen of human, the woman walks with confidence, chin up, grey eyes sweeping, stride confident, back straight, face… set in a scowl, but that's normal for her. And it does ease when she weaves her way through those advantage-taking patrons to the bar, settling onto a stool beside Tanit with a glance for her feast and - oh. She blinks her attention to that drink, closes her eyes, exhales, "Faranth, that smells good," and then ORDERS ONE. From NOT R'HYN which is probably for the best because he'd probably POUR THE DRINK OUT ON HER, or she'd POUR IT OUT ON HIM which is all IMPORTANT, but not at all relevant. Still, a beat, and Risali's furrowing brows as she turns her attention back to Tanit for just a moment and does the polite thing: "Hello." Her smile is quiet, muted, fleeting, and then Risali is looking away.

Sea-green eyes shift over at the approach of the shorter woman, flicking once from head to toe and back at the hello. After her mouth is no longer full she grins. "I've had some that are better, but this place comes pretty close. Do you like oysters?" She will even nudge one of those shells over in the woman's direction with a smile. Tanit? Share food? It must be the end of days, or perhaps the fact that the diver's already gone through two orders, judging by the mound of empty shells. "You picked a hell of a time to visit if you are here for the sights and pleasures of Half Moon, if you are here on business, well. My condolences." She will hold out a hand in greeting. "Tanit, Dolphincraft, nice to meet you."

Grey eyes jump back to sea-green when Tanit speaks again, attention momentarily stolen by the nudging movement made in order to highlight proffer oysters and - Risali actually smiles, though she waits out the rest of Tanit's words before she accepts or declines. One small hand finds Tanit's in a mutual shake, but there is nothing dainty about the dragonrider gives diver; Risali's grip is firm despite the briefness of contact, speaking to strength and fight and confidence even if all of her is just so tiny. "Not so much the sights and the pleasures - or business, really. My family is here." A beat, and a wince. "Which is maybe still a very good reason for condolences, shards. And oysters." And there's a breathy huff of laughter as Risali picks up that shell, tips it back, and makes a soft sound in her throat that speaks to savory pleasure and - right. Introductions are not over, which is why Risali is peeking one eye back open, nodding her head to acknowledge words, and then breathing out, "Well met, Tanit. I'm Risali." But it's all the more information that she offers up - no dragons, no ranks, nothing more than a name and another smile as her spiced rum is delivered. "So… dolphincraft. Are you getting ready for the storm then?" she inquires, eyes flickering towards the world outside before they settle back on Tanit.

Tanit is not one for displays of power through the force and flex of the hand. Though, her hand does impart something of a story through that brief contact. The warmth of sunkissed skin, gentle and soft save for the fine pale scars which intersect, layered over long fingers. It's movement too, speaks to a certain grace, a fluidity of nature that moves and shapes to its surroundings adapting or cutting a new path to find its ultimate trajectory, and perhaps a level of patience that might erode mountains if applied. Lips twitch at the corners, and Tanit tips her chin laughing. "Family does have a way of testing even the most patient and impulsive of people." The freed hand rakes through tousled hair. "I suppose so, though I just thought I was eating dinner." The diver grins cheekily, shifting the oyster plate between them to share. "Well met Risali." She will eye the woman again eyes narrowing and lips pursing slightly off center, and this close one might still smell the salt and sea on her, though not overpoweringly so. "You have excellent taste at least." The diver teases her expression relaxing, "Visiting means non-native, but you don't scream frozen northerner to me. Not Igen, hm. Maybe Ista or Monaco, perhaps Ierne or Xanadu?"

So much to be discovered in the simple application of hands and handshakes - all of which Risali may or may not note, but certainly doesn't react to outside of a smile that's just friendly enough. As for the remark about eating dinner? Risali dips her own chin towards her chest as more laughter escapes her, and there's a whispered, "Shut up, Tanit," that follows without malice; it's certainly a term one might expect to hear amongst people who're more familiar with each other and not strangers in a bar, but this is Risali. Risali who is not very good at conversation, but manages to apply humor to three unkind words in order to curb their usual definition of scathing. The oyster plate is shifted between them, and Risali's brows furrow together as if the once-harper is confused by Tanit's kindness even if she appreciates the show of camaraderie. One, two, three, and her attention is back on Tanit, smile back in place - muted, soft, not unkind - and she's dropping her gaze back to the oysters as she picks one up and studies it in lieu answering - for now. But finally Risali speaks. "Ah… I was born in Half Moon Bay Weyr, actually," comes the admittance, seconds before she eats the oyster and sets down the shell with another soft noise of approval. So good. "But I live in Xanadu Weyr now." A beat, and Risali tilts her head as she allows grey eyes back to green and - "Thank you." For telling her she has excellent taste of course, and she returns the compliment in her own way: "You smell like the sea." The words are spoken softly, as if there's much more weight in those five words than there has any right being. "I like it," she says, and then she's picking up her rum to take a drink. Because people, and awkward, and Risa's got that in spades.

Tanit laughs, a rich throaty sound full of mirth. It's likely she's been told to do shut up by many people and equally likely that she will hear it again. If Risali's expressions are being watched or studied there's no sign of it outwardly. Chewing her steak, and listening, her full attention given the petit woman. Tension spreads through the diver's shoulders and back, her jaw stopping for a moment when the way that she smells is noted, waiting for the other foot to fall as it were. It is the addendum that has dark brows lifting slightly and the faintest creep of red seep into her ears, even if the tension melts away almost as quickly as it came. "Oh, uh, er, well, thank you." The steak gets chewed more vigorously for a few bites. "One of those things I can't really help, all the soap in the world doesn't cure it." So very awkward suddenly. "Never been to Xanadu myself," The diver recovers still flushed. "Do you like it there well enough, or is it one of those, you would go home if you could but are unable to type things?"

RISALI KNOWS SOMEBODY ELSE WHO GETS TOLD TO SHUT UP. A LOT. By her, mostly. And he doesn't. He just keeps talking. They should make a club, D'lei and Tanit. If Risali notices Tanit's tension, she doesn't comment on it; instead she listens with her gaze not on Tanit, drinks her rum, and then shakes her head as if to say she didn't mean to make Tanit feel self-conscious about the scent of sea clinging to her. "It's good. It reminds me of…" Risali closes her eyes, smiles, exhales around a breath of, "diving from the cliffs into the water. That moment of freefall, where your hair is everywhere, and your stomach is three seconds behind the rest of you, and you're wild, and free, and -" Risali blinks her eyes open, surprise showing on her face seconds before color floods her cheeks, and the tips of her ears, and the smile falters as she forces her lips together. Grey eyes shift back onto another oyster, and Risali dips her head as she picks it up but doesn't eat it - yet. "You're welcome," she says softly, softer, perhaps hitting the syllables in each word with a little more force than might be considered polite without being rude. IT'S JUST EMBARRASSMENT. DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. Risali's just going to go right on ahead and eat that oyster while she listens to Tanit speak and… a pause, as if Risali is actually considering the question presented to her. Brows furrow, grey eyes focus on her own fingers as she traces the edge of empty oyster shell still within them, and then she sets it down. "I like it. There's actual seasons, and…" A breath as grey eyes catch green, and then stray towards the outside world while she tries to find the right words to say, and failing, settles instead for, "A lot of… things I would never change have happened to me there. Are you from Half Moon Bay, or did you come here for your craft?" Talking about other people is much easier than talking about herself, apparently.

Tanit grins with the explanation, laughter bubbling up and out. Her ears are still a little pink, "Sounds like that is something important you, being able to embrace your freedom." One corner of her mouth tilts upward, "I think my favorite part of that kind of dive is when you hit the point where the water will let you sink no further, and everything above you is waves and light. The only way back up is natural buoyancy and your own muscle, and that moment just before you are out of breath, and break the surface. " Her steak is almost gone now, and the empty plate is set aside in favor of an oyster. "Black moon, actually. Little volcanic island with black and white sand beaches surrounded by reefs. Most folk that know of us are usually in the pearl trade." She grins at Risali, "I think I can relate to that, I actually came for the hatching but wound up joining the dolphincraft because I wanted to stay here. Funny, sometimes I think it is the people around you that make a place feel like home. I have a lot of good friends here." She looks to Risa again propping chin in hand. "Did you impress there then? Or are the things that you wouldn't want to change of a different nature?"

Tanit's words have Risali smiling again, emitting her own short-lived, breathy laughter as she nods her head in assent. "Yeah," she agrees, because freedom is an important and integral part of what makes Risali Risali. But the goldrider doesn't elaborate; Risali listens instead, closing her eyes, head tilting to the side with the ghost of a smile as if she's envisioning that drop, that moment of weighted weightlessness and inertia that drags, and pulls, and threatens to drown while instinct takes over and muscles work. They do not go gentle into that good night; they rage, rage against the dying light - and perhaps that's it, that kinetic energy of a body in motion, that fight that enhances everything because adrenaline, or simply drowns out the rest of the world because you don't have to think. An exhale, and Risali leans sideways, shoulder-bumping Tanit gently as she opens her eyes and smiles again. "I like being in motion." Pulling a bow, running, fighting, dancing; Risali does it all - not that Tannit has ANY WAY OF KNOWING THAT. So she's back to listening, nodding her head in polite intervals, making soft noises in her throat that show she's keeping up, and then they're right back on Risali again. Risali's brows furrow once more, grey eyes straying down to her leathers where her expression loses some kind of unspoken question, and then the goldrider rolls her eyes up towards the ceiling as her lips move without forming words. It takes a moment, maybe too long, and then she's shifting forward to curl fingers around the rim of her mug while her gaze follows the movement. "I impressed in Xanadu Weyr, actually." A beat, and then softer still: "A gold. Her name is Leirith." And clearly that was an invitation because there is suddenly the pulsating beat of bass and drums as the queen unashamed and undaunted pops in with a cheerful, « My minion is being bashful! But she is a badass. Hello, Tanit! » And yeah, she's laughing. It's fine. Risali's wince says she's sorry, but really, IT'S FINE. …Right? She will just try to change the topic. "It's definitely the people who make a place home, though sometimes it's hard to know where home is." Whatever that means. "Were you a candidate, or did you just watch the hatching from the stands?"

Risali's laughter is infectious, and resonates with the Dolphineer's own, and there is a nod for being in motion. "I love the water, other kinds of adventures too but the water is home for me. Dancing is also fun, but I rarely get to do it very often." Why isn't something the diver expands on, choosing instead to focus on Risali's answer. Whatever she had been expecting, that hadn't been that answer, or - for that matter the voice now overwhelming her senses. For a moment Tanit thinks she's losing her mind, until she remembers that this is how dragons usually communicate with their riders. When she finally does manage to speak, it is very slowly. "That was - different. Um, do they all do that? I thought only their riders and other dragons could hear them." Just don't let it be that Tanit is losing her mind, and hearing voices that aren't real. "You know you are the first one I've met. " Tanit admits to Risali recovering. "Um, tell her I said hello?" Unsure of how to communicate the thought otherwise. A sudden frightened thought pops through her mind. "Wait. She can't - read my thoughts or anything right? Just make herself heard?" There are places in her mind that are best left unprobed. Maybe that was why goldriders were described as scary. Granted, most of Tanit's information comes from bronzeriders - so perhaps not always the best source. This is very, very new to Tanit. "And you do not seem very terrifying either." No really she doesn't mean to be insulting. "Maybe you are one of the ones that is actually not terrifying?" She must have gotten her information from a bronzerider right? "You actually seem awesome," Her teeth flash in a grin, "A kindred spirit of sorts." The last question is met with a headshake. "No I was visiting to see it. I have a sense of self preservation thank you very much."

"I love the water too; I love all of it, really." And Risali's eyes are far away, as if she's remembering a time, or a place, or a series of events that are not here and not now and - there she is, attention back on Tanit because Leirith is rude and her not-really-rude-but-pretty-rude behavior gives rise to questions that earn the dolphincrafter another wince from the goldrider. They are all good questions, anyway. "Faranth, no. That's just Leirith. When she was little, she didn't… stop. Everybody could hear her; she didn't bother narrowing down a path to who she was trying to bespeak." But at least the queen is exuberant, sun-bright, cheerful and friendly? It could be worse. As for being the first Tanit's met, there's a furrowing of brows and a kind of incredulousness that goes into her next question of, "First goldrider?" That is odd, but Risali is not in the business of prying; she simply spares a moment of confusion and then gives Tanit a muted smile again. "She can hear you. Through me, I mean. She says hello - again. A beat, and then an apologetic wince as one hand comes up as if to ward away potential upset, "She hasn't. You would know." Which means she can, probably, and just isn't because that's rude. Which brings them to the subject of being terrifying. Risali makes a face at that, and then schools her expression into indifference as she pulls her rum back towards her, drinks more of it, and then chokes when she starts laughing, which leads to coughing, which leads to more laughing as she pushes her drink away, and shakes her head, and tries to remember how to breathe. "It's not…" A gasp, another cough, another round of laughter. "It's not funny. I'm sorry - thank you for the compliment, really. I just…" A helpless gesture with her hands, fingers splayed as Risali drops her eyes to them and then lowers them back to her lap, and she's laughing again. "Think that my awesome and whether or not I am terrifying depends on who you're talking to." And on which day. Risali has no illusions of grandeur; she's aware that she's not the most pleasant person to exist on Pern ever. Still, she's rummaging in her clothing for just a moment to produce marks, laying them on the table as she slides to her feet from the stool and takes one last drink of boozy goodness. "Thank you for the food. And the talk. It really was nice to meet you Tanit, but I have to go." A motion towards the exit as she walks backwards towards it, "Maybe the next time we run into each other, we can take one of those dives." Which is Risali for you're awesome too before the tiny woman turns on her heels and gets outta there.


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