Who Needs Morals?

Clock Tower - Ledge
The walls of the tower are the same dark gray stones that make up the outside of the tower. The central portion of the structure is open, so that one may stand in the center of the structure and see the top. Well…almost the top. A ceiling cuts off the view to whatever it is that's at the very top of the tower. Very little light comes in, just tiny beams of light from the arrow-slits in the walls. The floor is of dark hardwood slats, thin enough to have been worked easily but thick enough to provide protection from insects and wildlife that might be trying to get in.
A wooden staircase is built along wall, one that spirals up and up around the inner wall of the structure. It leads a workshop, where along every wall there are…clocks, of course! Clocks of just about every configuration one could think of, and quite a few that are outlandish enough to escape one's consideration at first. While most of these clocks are working, there are more than a few of them that aren't. The gentle ticking sounds fill the space, the clocks almost always perfectly in sync with each other — and with the ticking from the movement of the big clock above — and the sounds mingling together to form an ordered cacophony of sounds.
Clock parts are strewn across a table in one corner. There are a couple of cabinets with parts in them like the ones downstairs — parts that are significantly smaller than those on the first floor. These are obviously for the smaller clocks that are built here. There are no less than two large grandfather clocks in this workshop, both working.
A thick support threads through a large hole in the center of the floor, extending from below to above. A chain hangs beside it too, anchored high above, and the spiral staircase continues up, past a door on the outside and on to more storage space, dedicated to piles of crates with springs and "little" parts for the clocktower's main movement. Of course, the word "little" may not be the best way to describe it; some of these springs and levers are longer than a man's arm. And some of the gears in these crates a man could actually put his arm through the middle of easily.

Summer winds its way through the halls of Xanadu, bringing with it longer days and semi-bearable heat. It's been some time since V'ayn and Nessalyn have staged non-hostile takeover of the clock tower, but it seems that today is the day to make it happen! The baker has made his way to the outdoor ledge and set up Ultrafeast. A few bottles of alcohol, some glasses, and an array of sweets have been set up on a picnic blanket. Small domed cakes with purple mirror glaze, sandwich cookies with cream filling, and mini pies with ridiculously intricate lattices are just a few of the offerings. V'ayn himself is sitting with his feet dangling in the air over the side. As he waits, the man writes in one of his many recipe notebooks.

It shouldn't come as any great surprise that Nessalyn is late, and so it's a few minutes before the goldrider is scrambling through the door with a scowl on her face and a satchel in hand. "I'm here!" she announces, in what approximates an apology for her. She's looking a bit worse for wear, with her hair tied up in a messy bun and her tools jabbed through it haphazardly. A few strands fly free, and she roughly shoves them away from her face as the summer breeze blows them about. "What've you got there?" It seems as good a greeting as any. There's a clinking sound from her satchel as she sets it on the ground and pulls out even more alcohol. There's no such thing as too much, right?

V'ayn glances up when Nessalyn arrives, a slight smirk appearing on his features when he spots the goldrider. "Took you long enough," though there's really no malice in his words, he's used to it! The notebook is put aside for now as he takes in her somewhat frazzled appearance and raises an eyebrow, "Did you have to break out of a prison cell filled with paperwork?" Blue-green eyes light up at the sight of more alcohol and he leans over to examine the offerings, all while explaining the desserts. "Lavender and vanilla cakes with a caramel nougat layer, Applefruit sandwich cookies, and mystery pies." That last part can't /possibly/ bode well.

Nessalyn pulls a distinctly juvenile face at V'ayn's words, her features twisted up and her tongue stuck out. "I was busy," is all she says at first, before she taps lightly on the top of the rum bottle at her side. "I was stealing this." Which probably isn't the entirety of the reason for her slightly wild appearance, but it at least deserves some credit. With entirely misplaced pride, the adds, "No one makes me do paperwork." Her smirk shifts slowly to a more genuine smile as he explains his various surprises. A brow arches at "mystery pies," but despite the faint suspicion with which she regards him, she's still thrilled by everything else. "Which one should I try first?"

"Contraband rum? Bet it'll taste even better now!" V'ayn lets out a laugh, smirk still remaining on his features as he reaches out to pour some. Maybe he should ask, but he doesn't! "Cookies first, pie second, cake last." Mostly because the cake is strong enough to nicely overpower whatever filling is encased in those golden crusts. "I'd like to see them try and make you do paperwork, I bet it's entertaining."

Nessalyn looks more devious than she has any right to be; she's just a step away from manical cackling. "And it was good rum to begin with, so imagine how fantastic it'll be now." The best rum ever!! Her eyes narrow again as he tries to get her to eat that damn pie, even if it's second in line. She does trust him, really — mostly. "Cookies first," she agrees in a tone that suggests the rest is up for negotiation. "It usually involves someone giving me paperwork and then me leaving the room mysteriously." She reaches over to pluck a sandwich cookie as she speaks, but it's only once she has a glass of rum in hand that she gives it a try.

"Done with the imagining, ready to experience the miracle of this rum!" V'ayn throws back his head, letting out a laugh before he's raising the glass of alcohol to his lips. One sip later the man gives an approving nod, not even bothering to hide that smirk when she goes for the cookies. "I worked pretty tirelessly on those pies, you know. I might unleash them on the caverns later though." Probably only a few people will get food poisoning? Maybe they can take comfort in how pretty the pies look. "So what have you been up to? Aside from mysterious disappearances?"

Her laugh echoes his, as Nessalyn lifts her glass in a silent toast before quickly downingthe contents without pause. She gives a little shake of her head as she lowers the glass, her tastebuds momentarily overwhelmed by the liquor. "You know I always appreciate how hard you work." It's half sincere, half mocking. "But I think your mysteries are better served to the general populace, or else I'll never trust what you make again." And wouldn't that be a travesty? She nibbles at the cookie — a far cry from her usual habit of stuffing things into her mouth — giving him an approve smile when she's halfway through the thing. "I've been trying to build a few things, but…"A shrug. "I'm mostly bored. You?"

"You'll just have to live vicariously through the weyrfolk then." V'ayn smirks again, not at all offended when she declines the mystery pies. Perhaps keeping her trust is why he warned her about them! There's a /sliiiightly/ raised eyebrow when she doesn't just down the cookie, but he won't comment on it just yet. "Some ups, some downs, some stuff involving /feelings/. But thankfully I'm back to my everyday boring now. And I like it way." He's ok with boring, even if Varequoth isn't. Boring means he can drink in peace!

Another glass is quickly poured after the first, though Nessalyn makes a point to actually drink this one rather than simply pouring it down her throat. "This is the only instance where I absolutely enjoy living vicariously through them." Their pain is her joy, after all. She polishes off the first cookie and reaches for another, adding, "You should definitely let them sit out for a while, though. I think that'll enrich the flavor." Do you see that halo? No? That's because she's looking positively evil at the prospect of further poisoning people. That devious smirk turns slightly darker as he talks about feelings, her expression changing to one of disgust. "Why would you ever get involved with feelings?" It's less of a question and more of a demand.

"How long? Two days?" V'ayn shoots a snicker in Nessalyn's direction, before motioning to the pies wiht his hand, "Buttered scallions, sweetner, and chopped octopus." His eyes shine with a hint of devious delight as he explains what his latest experiment is. The expression only disappears from his face as he makes quick work of his glass of rum, wincing just the slightest at the strength. Still, it's /good/. "Hey, it's worth it sometimes, in /very/ specific cases."

"At least. You have to leave them out to ripen." That's… definitely how pies work. She gives a little shrug, dismissing the nonsense of her suggestion in favor of gagging exaggeratedly at his description. "You're so lucky I refused to eat that, I might've had to throw you off the tower. And then I'd be entirely friendless." Which is a depressing prospect, even for her. She eyes both the cookie in her hand and the glass of rum, contemplating for a moment before dunking the former into the latter. Applefruit rum cookies! Mmm. Her delight in that almost makes up for her disappointment in him. "I don't know about that," she argues, "aside from anger, maybe. That's worth cultivating."

"I would have stopped you before you actually tried it…probably." V'ayn carries a /slightly/ evil glint in his eyes for a moment, but that disappears not long after. "I'm counting on the lattice work to hook people." They do /look/ great, and and certainly much better than they taste. "Things seem to go worse for me when I get angry - not that I do that very often." There's a quiet chuckle from the baker, but it doesn't seem like he's going to try and convince her of how much worth feelings might have! A few sevendays ago he would have probably agreed with her!

"Uh huh," Nessalyn retorts with heavy, heavy skepticism. True, she'd never forgive him if he fed her something gross, but she also absolutely understand why he would. It's hilarious! "They are beautiful, it'll definitely work. Especially if they don't know who made them." She gives him a significant look at that. His reputation precedes him! "I'm always angry," she admits, taking another sip of her rum. "But I was talking more about making other people angry." That rum bottle is lifted up as a case in point. She's never falling into the feelings trap (again)!

"I'll be sure to leave them in the caverns anonymously." V'ayn chuckles quietly before finishing off more of the rum. There's a sideways glance shot at Nessalyn then, an eyebrow rising in her direction. "Isn't that tiring?" Though when it comes to making other people angry, the baker smirks lightly, "I don't know about that, but mild annoyance is always entertaining." Why else would he enjoy subjecting random people to his creations?

"Maybe even pin them on someone else," Nessalyn suggests. She eyes the pies for a moment before asking, "Anyone particularly upset you lately? It's the perfect revenge plot." It's probably not, since the real culprit will be all too obvious, but she's invested in this plan now. One shoulder lifts in a shrug as she dunks the other half of her cookie. She's still chewing when she admits, "I don't really remember anything else." If it's tiring, she's always tired, so she can't tell the difference. "If I can push someone to near-murder, I consider my day complete. And most people are so easy to aggravate."

"Fortunately not, though I'll keep this in my back pocket in case anyone does in the future." V'ayn raises an eyebrow at the cookie dunking, but hey - if it tastes good like that, it tastes good! He won't follow suit, but he will snag one of the cookies to nibble on himself. "I don't get it," is his eventual reply to the talk of angering people. "What's so fun about making someone nearly kill someone else? Tossing things of the tower, that I get." And even encourage!

Nessalyn cants her head, for a moment considering whether to offer someone of her own choosing as a potential victim, but no one comes to mind. The worst she can claim is that an apprentice got in her way once or twice, or she had to actually do her job, neither of which seem revenge-worthy. "Well, it's mostly about making them want to murder me," she clarifies, as though that somehow makes it more understandable. "It's just… a rush. I don't know. There's something gratifying about making someone snap." Boredom isn't good for adrenaline junkies. "Tine hates it, though, so I have to do it while she's sleeping or distracted."

Let's be honest, this is /probably/ as close to feelings talk as the two have gotten, so is it really strange for V'ayn to look perplexed? It's kind of the first he's hearing about it! Unless he forgot - which is a possibility. "Man Ness, tell me that's not the /only/ thing that makes you happy nowadays?" He takes a sip of his rum, shaking his head, "Isn't there something you can do that gives you a longer lasting high?" Not that he's going to suggest she actually do something about it. The baker's just curious!

Given Nessalyn's… fondness for sharing, it's not surprising that she hasn't shared this before. Of course, that may also be because certain self-destructive tendencies have been flaring up lately as she grows tired of staying in one place. "Tineangrath makes me happy," she mutters, almost begrudging in this admittance. The gold may be her world, but that doesn't mean others need to know that. She polishes off the last of her second glass, feeling that warm, tipsy feeling beginning to settle into her bones. "I don't know, it's a fun game. Like right now, I know that sooner or later the owner of this bottle," she lays a hand on the rum, "will notice that it's missing, and I made sure they'll know who took it. But I have no idea how long that'll take." If she realizes it's unhealthy, there's nothing about her proud smirk that gives it away.

"Heh, I'd be worried if she didn't make you feel happy. Not that I don't ever get into it with Varequoth." Mostly their interactions are positive though, and even when they aren't it's not as if V'ayn doesn't love the bronze! The baker slides one arm backwards, using his elbow to prop himself up as he half-lays on the ledge now. "Ok, so say he finds out? Comes up here to find you and then…you just watch him hop and seethe and yell since he can't actually /do/ anything to you?" Look, it's not as if V'ayn is above her morally or anything. He enjoys forcing his weird food experiments on people because he finds /that/ entertaining! "Or maybe it's the fun of ruining their day?" Says the one /also/ drinking stolen rum.

"Tineangrath is more inclined to drown me in her silent disappointment than fight me." There's a pained grimace to accompany these words, because although Nessalyn may be stone in all other aspects of her life, the gold's disappointment is always crushing. And yet, somehow, it doesn't fully stop her from being awful, either. The tilts her head, eyeing V'ayn's position for a moment before she moves to mimic him, although her propped elbow looks as though it may simply give up at any moment. "Seeing if he snaps is one thing," she agrees as she reaches for another cookie. "And that frustration at not being able to do anything to me is fun, too. I guess I'm just looking for a fight." Her grin grows at the thought of ruining someone's day. "Yeah, that doesn't hurt. Don't you get a kick out of that?"

"I guess they've each got their own special ways of punishing us, huh?" V'ayn smirks lightly, snagging another cookies to accompany the one he's now polished off. "Ok, now what if one of them /does/ decide to try and punch you? Or try and scare you into thinking they'll punch you? Is that a good thing in your books or a bad thing? I figure it's either stupid but impressive, or just completely audacious." But only she can decide what she would think of it! "Maybe not their whole day, but yeah…that little bit when they bite into something delicious and their expression when it isn't even a bit delicious? That…that is entertainment." Faranth, these two!

"It's pretty fitting, too. I mean, I probably wouldn't care if she just argued with me. That'd be easy to ignore." As evidenced by this very conversation. "I guess that's part of why they pick the way they do." This theory is accompanied with a one shouldered shrug, her other too busy keeping her propped up. "Punching me doesn't scare me," she declares, holding up her hand which still bears a few burn scars from her early days at Xanadu. "If I can stand lighting myself on fire, I think my jaw can take a hit or two. Besides, it gives me a chance to punch them back and no one will blame me." She wiggles her eyebrows in an exaggerated way, rejoicing in the prospect of an excuse. "Exactly!" This word is crowed loudly, because this is why they're friends. "That reaction is worth all the trouble."

"So what I'm hearing is that we basically need to make a trip hopping around Pern, drinking, and getting into bar fights? And then we label that as a hobby for you?" V'ayn slides teal eyes over to Nessalyn, shooting her a wink along with his words. It's not entirely clear whether he's joking or serious, he could honestly go either way on the matter depending on his mood! There's a round of laughter when she agrees with his words of entertainment and he'll even raise a glass to that. "To reactions, then."

Nessalyn's eyes probably shouldn't light up at the prospect of this hypothetical trip, but they absolutely do. "As long as we do some sightseeing along the way, I think I could get Tineangrath on board." The gold is all for fun and adventure, even if she'd prefer less punching. Ness seems unconcerned with whether or not V'ayn intended the words to be serious — he put them out there, and it's too late to take them back now. "Let's do it." She pours herself another finger of rum, raising that glass in a toast to echo his. "To reactions! May we get the best and worst of them."

"Alright then, deal!" V'ayn tips his head backwards, downing the entire contents of his glass before putting it down next to him with a satisfied clink. The baker will likely linger at the clock tower a bit longer, perhaps vaguely discussing where they might go. But what's the fun in too much planning? All they really need to know is where the crowds and alcohol are! Eventually though, the baker will make it back to his weyr…hopefully before he gets too tipsy.

Happy to be involved in all half-assed planning ventures, Nessalyn sticks around until her blood alcohol content is beginning to make it dangerous for her to stay on the ledge. She'll stumble her way back home eventually, with a smile on her face and the remaining rum tight in her grasp like the trophy it is.

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