No Scoundrel Involved

Xanadu Weyr - Forest
The trees grow thickly here, avians nesting in their branches and flitting about after insects. Flowers sprout up and speckle the ground between, the green of small plants and their blooms of bright saffron and cheeky rose that creep all the way up to the bases of the trees and adorn the fallen leaves and mulch of the forest floor. Those trees rise upward in their aged magnificence, gargantuan limbs casting often welcome shade, the general atmosphere and scent of the path is one of freshness and wild abandon.
A path winds its leisurely way through the trees, wide enough for wagons to pass. As it goes through into the forest, a number of other trails branch away, both more and less traveled. Many of them lead to private weyrs, but there's a few more trodden paths - notable among them a road to the feeding grounds, set against the western slopes.
The forest grows wilder the further north one goes, deep growth and ancient places, and the road does not extend far in that direction, instead turning toward the meadow. Just before it emerges, a trail veers off to the Firelizard Theatre.

Continuation from: Tastes Like Igen

Out into the darkness Ashwin bravely wanders along with Kiena. For the most part it is well lit until they leave the perimeter of the Weyr itself. There is always the comforting lights in the distance to guide them back if they need it. Although he staggers a little here and there he moves along well enough as the air seems to sober him up slightly. It's quite a ways from the Weyr before he even begins speaking. "So. Wha'd you do to that arm and why is it a secret?"

Kiena is familiar enough with the forest pathways by now to know, roughly, where she's going. The weyr she calls home is somewhere in there after all and she'd be might disappointed in her ability to navigate there in the dark — and possibly tipsy drunk. Chugging two ales will eventually hit her. For now though, she is clinging well to sobriety and keeps a close eye on Ashwin to be certain he doesn't end up face first into the ground or a tree. "Dislocated shoulder. Ujinath wanted to fly so I took him out to the coasts. We both got a little over our heads with some tough maneuvers and I got snapped hard." She shrugs her good shoulder. "Nothing big. It's a secret because my weyrmate isn't going to take it well. He's been grounded for months now, ever since his brown broke his wing. Kind of… shoving it in his face I guess." Or her worries are unfounded. Kiena smirks, "Your turn to tell. How'd you mangle your hand again?"

Ashwin nods ever so slightly. "Weyrmate?" He queries while filing that information for future use. He shows absolutely no signs of falling despite his occasional stagger. The worst he does is bump up against a tree. But this is in the way a perfect moment for he reaches into his back pocket and unscrews a flask and then hands it over to Kiena. "Well those things happen. I broke my leg when I was a Weyrling. Set me back so far in classes we ended up having to repeat most of a turn. I did it rock climbing, though." Thinking of something,he frowns. "Not that I've ever had one but wouldn't you want to be open and honest with someone you are mated to? And if you live that close, wouldn't they figure it out?" Nope! He hasn't mentioned the fingers yet. Nope.

"Mur'dah," Kiena supplies the name to Ashwin's query as she nods her head and then snickers dryly when the brownrider goes bumping into a tree. The offer of a flask makes her hesitate but a moment before taking it, tipping it slightly in silent thanks before helping herself to a little bit. It'll be handed back quickly enough. "By the sounds of it, you make it seem like it was worth it? The rock climbing, at least. Don't know if I'd be thrilled repeating Weyrlinghood." That frown is mimicked and Kiena looks a touch uncomfortable — mainly because she realizes he has a point. Damn it! "Eh, he'll probably know right away somethings wrong. Open and honest… yeah," she exhales heavily. "Just hate putting more worry on folks who're already weighed down by so much. Suppose not telling would just backfire." Her intentions were sort of good?

The reply that comes back out of the growing darkness as Ashwin takes his flask is almost apologetic in his tone. "I have my vices. I told you, I'm a scoundrel. I'm that way because I've never been able to figure out when to stop. If something excites me? If something can give me that little shot of adrenaline or interest I rarely know when to quit. So I've broken this and that a few times." He eyes the flask in the moonlight. Whatever is in it is a blend of rum that is rather smooth tasting with a warmth that suits outdoor walking. But it is tucked into his belt without much aplomb. "If he's your weyrmate and any kind of guy, he should recognize right away that something is wrong with someone he cares about. Hiding things from someone like that never works." He turns away to keep walking. "It's one of the reasons I don't do monogamy, I like to have my secrets."

Kiena's slightly puzzled by his near apologetic tone but masks it by snorting under her breath. "Sounds a little like me. Dunno if I'd say you're a scoundrel or more just a man who knows how to live life to it's fullest. Your way, of course." Just a hint of amusement there and the bluerider is likely feeling some alcoholic buzz now after indulging in a bit of rum. "He's a good man. He'll know. You'd think I'd know better but… I don't. I'm kind of terrible at the relationship thing. Not used to it even after all these Turns. Ujinath being an exception." Dragons do not count. Following Ashwin, she'll kick at a small rock and send it tumbling down the path in front of them. "Is that why you won't tell me about your hand?"

Rock! Look at it go. Bounce, bounce, bounce ~blumf~ into the undergrowth. It makes Ashwin stop to see where it is coming from and in the pause he looks at Keina's face in confusion. "Wait, why I won't tell you about my hand? Because I don't do monogamy? I didn't hurt my hand in any sort of injury related to that! I assure you." Confused for a little while longer he walks on as the alchohol churns itself over in his brain. "I'm sure he is. You wouldn't want to settle down if he wasn't. I just…" He finds a rock to kick it, only to have it bounce back off a tree and into his path. Stupid rock. "I don't know? I can't do relationships. Doesn't work for me. There's always things that… it's not that I don't ~want~ to tell some things they just don't occur to me that anyone would want to know so I come off as hiding something? The rest of the time? I am hiding something." An almost shy grin.

Wait, what? Kiena looks confused as well and her frown says it all. Something got mixed up there and with a low chuckle she shakes her head — which is probably not a good thing to do. "Uh… no that's what I meant. You said you like to keep secrets. Which is why I mentioned your hand. You never answered my asking about it." Twice, even! Is a third time a charm? Walking alongside Ashwin, she'll grin at his failed attempt to kick the rock and promptly step in to give it the boot, all while listening to him. "Mhm. I made a mistake once in a relationship. Swore I'd never do it again. So far, so good. Though right now, you sound a lot like I was. Not saying you'll become like me — Faranth, I'd not wish that on anyone — but who cares if you don't do monogamy? Isn't for everyone. Everyone's got secrets though. Not gonna fault you for it." She'll faintly smile back.

Mm-hmm. "Isn't just secrets either, I suppose. I am a scoundrel." Grin has evolved to actually being quite an honest one. "I like meeting new people." Meeting, eh? That has to be an euphamism, Sir Ashwin. "Oh, my hand?" He wonders. "Yeah, I hurt that. Kinda smarts even now." Mm-hmm and then the subject redirects right back to her! "So, not going to make a mistake again and you're gonna go home after we're done and curl up with your weyrmate and tell him your shoulder hurts because you went a little too far and if he's half the guy that he should be he'll rub it with numbweed or one of those new high-technology.." (See him sniff disapprovingly) "..ointments and take you out of your misery and you'll have a good night of drunken sleep." They walk along in silence a minute or two. "What was your first big mistake?"

Kiena will catch on to that euphemism or perhaps her sense of humour is rearing it's head. "Meeting new people, huh? Social scoundrel, are you?" she drawls, teasing him and then promptly pouts! Almost, anyways. It's more of a mock scowl than anything. "So what'd you do? Stick it in machinery again? If it's hurting… shouldn't you go see a Healer?" Hands are important things, after all. Brows lift as Ashwin rambles and then she gruffly laughs. "Guess so. It'll be numbweed, by the way. I don't trust new-tech." Yet she lives in a Weyr filled with it. Go figure? "Don't do sleep too well half the time either. ANd before I do crawl home, I've half a mind to be sure you end up in one of the guest weyrs so you don't freeze your ass off out here." Smirk. Silence is fine, Kiena is comfortable with it but when he starts to pry a bit her frown returns. "A lot of that is… to take from our previous chatter… secret." Maybe he'll get the whole story someday. Maybe not. "In a nutshell? I was too young, to stupid to realize a bad thing until it was too late. Things went bad, people were hurt and I burned a few dozen bridges…" Handwave.

Ashwin nods like he understands, he really does. "If you're going to burn one bridge, why stop at that? Once you have a good temper going, it's usually not satisfied by ~one mere~ bridge, and then everything is in flames and it's time to move on." He sounds so very, very much like he understands that. A log catches his eye and he moves to seat himself there, stretching out his legs and working his shoulders as though something were amking him physically uncomfortable. "Just caught it in a latch mechanism is all." He wiggles his fingers, carefully. "I'll be all right, I've had worse." Then the circle of conversation winds away from him anew. "Sort of?" He says, answering honestly again. "The social scoundrel? There is more to it in that, but that's a talk for another time." A smile. It's even a real one! "So, I'm glad that you are going to go get that shoulder dealt with. Sure beats walking around hurting, doesn't it?"

Kiena blinks and then laughs quietly, "Sage advice. Why stop once you've started, huh? Oh, I moved on. My past had a way of coming to find me though but I weathered that and… moved on. Done is done," She makes a sweeping motion with her good hand and arm with her left staying held close to her side with her hand stuffed in her pocket. There may be no sling holding her arm in place but she's making do without it. While Ashwin chooses to sit, Kiena will stop beside him but remain standing — for now. "You and tech don't seem to mix." she teases and then seems to show some genuine concern. "Fair enough. If you're certain you'll live…" She won't force him. She snorts, "Heh. Shoulder is already dealt with. Kera popped it right back into place and as a 'sorry to ruin your day' we decided on drinks. I was just warned not to move it." And she's learned not to ignore Healer advice.

"If it's bothering you, I'll rub it for you if you want. I promise I won't enjoy it, even a tiny tad. No scroundrel involved." How he keeps a straight face with a statement like that is beyond all knowing. "Done is done, yep." And just to prove he noticed he opens his jacket and takes it off. "No arguing with me on what I'm about to do. Not one. No peeps." Comically, he holds up his forefinger. "Not a one. No peeping." Then despite the cold he hangs his jacket on a tree and peels his shirt off. Well, one of them. Kiena may see he actually wears a couple layers of clothing under a very boring brown button up shirt. A t-shirt style black something, and something under that too. But all is covered with the jacket again as he buttons it up without even a complaint about the cold. Then a knife is produced and very able hands cut and tie and soon a sling is fashioned. Won't even need adjusting. "You can use this while we're out here until you decide if you want to be open about it with everyone around you. I'm sure it's murder on the joint being in an awkward position like that. G'wan, here." A light underhand toss will have the shirt-come-sling land on her head if she doesn't catch it or move. "I hate tech." He then complains, letting the conversation come back to hiself after the sling making is all done. "Should have been born in another age. Should have been flying thread, not wandering around Pern trying to find some way to chase any bit of excitement I can find."

"Uh huh. Now where have I heard that promise before," Kiena drawls with a crooked grin but her trust, for what it is, in Ashwin seems enough that the bluerider will at least sit beside him though she doesn't take him up on the offer. Instead she ALMOST argues, mouth opening to protest only to silently clamp shut as she snatches the shirt-made-sling before she's wearing it on her head. With a sigh and a bit of a mock glare at the brownrider, she'll slip the makeshift sling in place. "Y'know… could've just stumbled over to the Infirmary and raided their stock?" It's kind of a protest? "… thank you." Rare words from the bluerider. Tilting her head a bit, Kiena looks… understanding. "Somedays I wonder the same. If it's excitement you're after… have you considered trying a Weyr's S&R Wing? Or is Independence more your thing? Though neither really replace Threadfall. It's a wonder we riders even exist now without it."

"Absolutely." Ashwin agrees. "Sure you could have." His smile now? Very, very wide. "But you wouldn't have. So wear it." His tone is laced with dry amusement but there is a little seriousness there. He's met her twice so far but boy, he can smell stubborn when he smells it. "Anyway, think nothing of it. You'd have done the same for me." Then, as not to dwell on it and embarass her more he shifts focus away from the injured arm. "Beats me? Has someone tried that one on you before?" A smirk chases his smile. "But not what I was going for, really." Oh, oh. Now she's done it because the smile turns to a frown. "I wanted to do S&R for awhile but I don't have the medical training, nor really the attention span for it. I like the independence but…" Jaw clams shut and the subject ever-so-slightly mutates. "I'm good at finding my own roles, when I'm not destroying my hands. I don't think I've ever really truly fit in anywhere I've tried? It's like the monogamy thing. I don't think I could make it work, I'm too …. Ashwin for it at this point."

Kiena rolls her eyes, "Was I that obvious?" she grumbles but doesn't press the matter any further. Her arm is in a sling now and there's no hiding it! Not that anyone else is out THIS late and in the wintry cold on the forest paths. Ashwin's senses are good! She IS stubborn… to a fault. She snorts and then there's a hint of a grin. "Yeah. Guess I would've." Okay, so he has her there. Laughter returns, "Too often. Some of them are clever and make me puzzle it out what they're truly after. Others are just so… painfully obvious. So forgive me if I DO take a innocent offer of yours," Okay, she can't keep a straight face on THAT. She'll assume that Ashwin and "innocent" don't go together. "Anything but lightly." Oh ho… damn! She almost had him and Kiena smirks but holds up her good hand. Fair enough! She won't ask. "I get it. I… tried the Indepent thing too. I liked it, could've stuck with it but… fate brought me back here. I make it work."

"S'not that you're obvious or not. It's just what I would have done. I'd have said yep, sure I'll get a sling and look after it and everything like that and then as soon as someone turned their back shoved my hand back in my pocket beacuse I hate looking injured in public. I hate sympathy. Figured you were near enough to me in points of view so far that I just might be onto something with that assumption." And the smith is right on in her humor, because Ashwin smirks. "Oh, excellent. Perhaps someone will see it and will start some of that delicious gossip. Can you imagine the local rag? 'Stone faced smith seen with arm in sling with unknown brownrider with a knot nobody has ever seen before, walking around late at night' They really could go anywhere with that from theft to violence to depravity. It'd be a winner!" This humor has him continuing to smile. "I happen to think a little bit of mystery is a good thing, at all times. Not to appear as someone you aern't, but an open book is a read book and maybe a boring one unless it's just so damn good you have to read it again." He shrugs, though. "Who am I to tell you how to live your life? If you're here, and you're here, there's a reason. I figure if you ask yourself when you wake up in the morning 'am I happy' and you get at least a fifty percent success rate over time, you are where you belong."

"That… is exactly what I'd do for those reasons," Kiena admits with another low and gruff laugh and a faint grin. As for the gossip, that has her snickering for the way Ashwin puts it and maybe her increasing humour has to do with all that alcohol finally going to her head. She certainly does look relaxed sitting on that log, healing shoulder or not. Eventually her humour will subside to quiet chuckling. "Eh, let 'em think what they want. It's not like there isn't already enough gossip about me here. Don't exactly HAVE the best track record though it'd be a NEW thing for sure. Winner, like you said." She nods her head, "Being an open book gets you hurt too. Folks have too much on you… and use it." Someone's a bit on the darker side of things? "I am happy or I wouldn't be here." Kiena says with a smirk. "You're just full of advice, aren't you?" That said both teasingly and seriously.

"Sure am." Ashwin lazily agrees, producing the flask and enjoying a drink from it again. He hands it over, watching his feet on the ground. "I freely give away my life experience and advice to everyone around me and choose to ignore it myself and do the complete opposite myself. I'm like one of those stupid new videos on how to do everything wrong. You know? They show what happens when you wire something backwards to scare you into doing the right thing? That'd be me. Story of my life." Now, despite his curiosity he doesn't ask about Kiena's track record. See, then she'd ask about his and where would they be.

Kiena waves away the offer of the flask. She knows her tolerance and right now her head is quite buzzed. Anymore and she'll be the one stumbling through the dark. "I'd almost tease you about being a good Harper only I don't know if that'd be an insult…" To who? Him or the Harpers? She laughs, "Wouldn't know these 'videos'. I tend to… avoid tech. When I said I don't like it, I actually mean I hate it. Most of it." Distrustful is a better word but Kiena's mind isn't really BIG on fancy talk right now (or ever). Oh yes, where would they be! Likely in another circle of you ask, I answer. Around and around they go! "So that ring… I'll still have it done on time." In case he was wondering.

Ashwin is relatively sober for one who has drunk so much. How's that for a concept? No, but really. This is something he does fairly often. "Pfft." He reaches out to attempt to poke her in the side. What's important? He does it slowly and very carefully and gives her every single possible oppertunity to bat his finger away. "That would imply useful knowledge. And being able to sing or play an insturment. I can't carry a tune in a bucket." Then he laughs. Hard. "You're missing out with some of the entertainment stuff. It's banal, ridiculous and juvenile for the most part. But the educational stuff is pretty fun." He then waves his hand at her. "I don't really care. It gets done when it gets done. I've been enjoying the company. This is the most I've talked to anyone at one sitting for a long time."

Kiena will smack his hand away or at the least try to the moment she catches on to what he's trying to do and then there's a warning glance given. Playfully, of course but there's a hint of something genuine too. No touchy! Unless he wants to take a risk. "Not all Harpers sing and play, y'know. Some of them just do law and history stuff. Records." BORING. A brow quirks and she sniffs, "Dunno. Just… don't trust tech. I suppose some of the stuff has merits but call me old fashion if you want. How'd you get a hold of these 'videos' anyhow? You've been to Landing?" When he waves off her reassurance about the ring, she looks a little relieved. "Is that so? Heh. Go figure as it's about the same with me. Usually I don't get far into a conversation…"

Ashwin knew he was taking a risk when he started. That's the beauty of it. That is half the fun too! He'll display his 'has poked Kiena and lived' sticker for everyone to be seen for a long time. He actually responds to the warning glance with a warning glance of his own. It's actually an astoundingly good facsimile of her own, he really could be a harper. The non-boring kind. "Some techcrafter at Xanadu puts them on. Parts brought over from Landing, but yeah. I've been there. I used to sit on the Yokohama alot as well. It's a special place to go when you want to be alone and appreciate your lot in things. Looking downwards, everything that you've ever wanted, coveted, feared, hated and loved compressed into a ball that looks smaller than a Weyr. Sobering." He then scoffs, extravagantly to try and make the moment less serious. "Of course. I'm not surprised you find me easy to talk to. I'm amazing."

Kiena rolls her eyes and scoffs but all in good humour when he copies her warning glance and relax when she feels that Ashwin won't be attempting to poke her again or push his luck. "Figures it'd be here in Xanadu. You said these videos were… entertaining? Good for kids?" Probably not, right? Not that she's going to win any 'best mother' awards. She seems mildly surprised to discover he's visited the Yokohama. "It… sounds sobering." And terrifying. Shaking her head, she muses: "Never been myself. At least… not long enough to enjoy the view and reflect on it." Then it's back to more humour and Kiena snorts, "So you're an amazing social scoundrel now is it?"

"I dunno. Some are? You've got kids?" Then again, that's a stupid question. Seems like every dragonrider has them. Right? Right? Riiiiiiiiiiiight. "You're talking to me, aern't you? And I'm amazing, and I'm a scoundrel. You be the judge." Finally though there is just the slightest hint that thre is something else underlying beneath the humor. "Anyway. Want to come visit it? Now? Later?" He doesn't seem to be in a hurry to get to the guest weyr.

Seems so but for Kiena she hadn't planned for children and yet it happened anyways. Yay? It all factors in to the burning bridges fiasco she dodged earlier. "I've three. Twin girls and a boy. Fostered." She's a realistic woman. "But I spend time with them when time allows." Strangely, she doesn't ask Ashwin if he has children and probably assumes he doesn't (or doesn't know about them). Riders, right? "Fine then," she drawls but as for her judgement she says nothing save to grin. "Visit?" Excuse her as she looks just a wee bit puzzled. "Yokohama you mean?"

Ashwin tilts his head to the right by twenty degrees or so. It's the classic 'buh' gesture that just about every living thing does when it's confused. "You say fostered." He says, very softly. His voice barely makes it above the wind. "Like I'm going to judge you for that, and then add that you spend time with them when time allows like it needs to be said. Life is life." And then, he says no more about that. Just like Forrest Gump in another era and another place. "Yeah." He says. "I was thinking right now but I'd probably toss my cookies. Maybe in a few days when we sober up? Not that it'll take a few days. But this talking thing is fun. I should do it more."

"It's because I have been judged on it Ashwin and made to be unfit for what is and HAS been natural for riders to do for what… centuries now?" Kiena says dryly and there's a hint of something dark in her voice. Harsh and… hurt. Burned bridges, man. Burned bridges. She does seems to relax again though and nod her head. "Life is life." Moving on? "Heh. Talking with the right folks is fun. In a few days, perhaps we'll go. Don't think I'm fit enough to fly or Between right now. Liable to get us stuck somewhere else." Or dead but that's a wee bit too gloomy for their conversation.

"Well." Ashwin says with an equally dry tone. "I don't judge people. It's not my business and it's not how I live my life. I don't like being judged for what I do, and I try my level best not to do it to anyone else." Whilst he isn't smiling the expressive bits around his eyes are kind. "Sounds like a gnawing thing, like that shoulder. Not right now? And I'll never ask, but if you ever decide you want to tell someone about it? I'm a pretty good listener. Won't ask again though, if you ever feel like mentioning it though…" Back to the present? Dead wouldn't bother him so much. Stuck sure would though. "So. Guess I should walk you back to your Weyr, so you can get that shoulder finished looked after."

Kiena smirks but for a moment she looks almost impressed with Ashwin's reply. "Good on you to do so. Need more folks like you about." Maybe then she wouldn't be so withdrawn around folks or as temperamental… no, scratch that. She's still have her temper. "It'd be a long… long story." So that'd be a no but a polite one and with a hint of 'maybe' dashed in there. "We'd need drinks… or I'd need them anyways." Someday perhaps she'll tell her story but not on this night. "Mhm. Perhaps it's best we call it a night? Now you're going to add gentleman to your title, huh?" she drawls and goes right back to teasing him as she stretches out her legs and then slowly pushes to her feet.

Ashwin has actually sobered up a fair bit during their conversation. Such is the life of an experienced drinker. "I prefer fascinating to gentleman, but you can add that if you want." He waits for a moment to make sure that she is going to be properly steady and mobile before on he goes. "Wasn't asking, remember. Sometime if we're drinking and you feel like it, go ahead. But? I suspect this isn't the last time we'll be drinking. You okay to walk?" He's still a little tipsy. "Thing is too…" He hesitates, and pauses. "It's not that I'm being all moral saying I don't judge people because it's not right to judge. I'm a scoundrel, and often enough, an ass hole. Just don't think it's fair for me to look down my nose at anyone."

Kiena needs to practice her drinking if she's to ever have a similar tolerance. "Nah, fascinating has more allure." she remarks and she's perfectly stable on her feet. Buzzed though she is, she can still walk! If she had had more of that rum… it'd be different. "Heh. Drinks are good to have between friends. Best time! And yeah, I'm fine. You okay to walk?" Yes, more teasing! She snorts, "You keep saying you're a scoundrel…" Not that she really wants to see the bad side (who would of anyone?) and she'll start to take a few steps away.

Now, see, this is where some would try and list off their list of dubious accomplishments in effort to convince Kiena that he is, in fact, a scoundrel. Instead? Ahswin shrugs with a little bitter smile. "I am pretty good at reading my own faults. I don't reccomend trying to see much good in me. Someone fascinating, sure, mysterious? Maybe. Interesting? That too. Entertaining? Probably. But I'm not a good person. I can't look at myself in the mirror and say that I bring any benifet to the resources I consume. S'why I should have been born during the last pass. Should be flying thread, not living a meaningless existence." The words are so blunt, so honest that they can't be anything but true. "But I soldier on. Find things to do. People to meet, places to go." He's walking slowly to make sure she doesn't go too fast. "That path wasn't it? Where's your and your fellow's Weyr?"

Kiena can appreciate bluntness and honestly and while she certainly doesn't show sympathy to Ashwin, she does understand and so much of his words are given an appreciative nod. "It's difficult." she agrees. "But you do what you must. And no, that path wasn't it. That leads to the Firelizard Theatre — a place for the children to play. My path is that one," she'll point to one a little further up and to the left that leads deeper into the forests. "A little out of the way but I like it like that. Fewer neighbours." There's a grin for that as she begins to head in that direction. "You staying in the guest weyr then?"

Ashwin walks the last little bit of the journey in silence until they come to the fork in the paths. "Close enough to everything, far enough from everyone. I like it." See, he understands. A brief nod about the theatre as he comes to a halt right where the two directions divide. "Been a good talk, thanks." He hesitates for a moment, then smiles and places his hands in his pockets. "I'll see you another time, likely soon." And then he begins to step off. Funny, he always seems to ask questions without answering them.

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