Blast From the Past

Ierne Weyrhold - Marketplace

A wide square full of shops and stores and sidewalk vendors of all types. Mostly Traders who specialise in certain items or Crafters who wanted a place in which to market their wares. Due to the WeyrHold being a major trade center, its an ideal place for something like this, open all turn round rather then just people selling during gathers.


Continued from: The Shizz Hits the Fin

While it was midday in the Eastern half of the southern continent when a healer's dragon popped into Between from the Dophincraft Hall, the day found Ierne Weyrhold just waking when it popped out. Rukbat had shimmered low over the sea, sending rays of golden light up the streets and into the square as shops were just opening and the scent of fresh breads and pastries wafted forth. It's nearly noon now and despite the fall season, the rays warm the courtyard walls and flagstone as one pair exits a shop. They carry with them those fancy sort of bags with loop-rope handles, boxes, parcels and packages. Darsce's obtained clothes - fashionable ones - that will accommodate (aka totally hide) a growing waistline and her cheeks are faintly flushed with her success, yet she's beginning to droop, her steps slowing. Energy, she lacks it suddenly. Or not so suddenly. She's just been distracted from it until now. "I… need to sit down," she announces on an out-breath as she wobbles beside Jethaniel.

Jethaniel has accompanied Darsce from one shop to the next, observing the garments therein and how they appear in combination with Darsce. Those found suitable (by her, though he's certainly offered his own opinions in that regard) are now in those assorted parcels, carried along toward the next destination. Jethaniel turns his head to Darsce as she begins to speak. This may indicate her discovery of another suitable shop, but the rest of her words - particularly in combination with her present appearance - draw a concerned frown as he nods. "Of course," Jethaniel says, reaching for her with his arm at the same time as he looks for a seat not presently occupied - or at least easily cleared. His arm around her may at least provide a form of early warning system as he attempts to guide her to… one of the tables at that cafe, perhaps? While he has not perused the menu, the seat-related offerings appear acceptable and the culinary ones are not, as such, required.

Darsce has, despite the sort of half-panicked desperation in finding clothing that hides how 'fat' she's getting, has sought Jethaniel's input, be it a glance to read his reaction to her modeling or listening to his comments. Those things he likes? Definitely added to the purchases, regardless of her personal opinion (though she's fairly safe - she's only selected tasteful things, not the pink-flowered frilly fluff that resembles cake decoration and are apt to get her called 'cute'). She hasn't as many of the bags looped over her forearms - something she's grateful for suddenly - and leans into Jethaniel slightly as they make for those cafe tables - or well - one of the vacant ones. While it's been awhile - longer than the usual, thanks to the time shift - since breakfast back at Xanadu, all Darsce seems to be thinking of is sinking down into a seat with a sigh of relief and promptly uses the pink-lacquered nails of her toes to pry first one sandal, then the other, from her feet. "Better," she says while using the back of one hand to blot at her brow and upper lip. Only then does she manage a pale smile up at him and a semi-dreamy, "I love you."

Jethaniel's preferences in confections do not extend to seeing Darsce adorned as one. His preferences in attire are the more relevant ones, and as such he tends to favor those things of relatively simple cuts and colors over those more elaborate. He lacks expertise in fashion and the complexities thereof, and as such… he prefers the couteurial construction of a frame that permits his focus to dwell on Darsce. That focus is assuredly on her as they approach the cafe, aware of her lean against him and proceeding with caution, tinged with concern. His relief as she sinks to that chair is a partial one, as is his nod for the stated improvement… which may itself be incomplete. Jethaniel sets down parcels, both his own and the ones he eases from Darsce's arms, and his eyes frequently return to her face. "I love you too," he answers her, lowering his head to brush lips softly to her forehead. "Shall we get a drink?" Singular, given that the drink Jethaniel is more concerned with is one intended for Darsce and the hydration thereof.

Not even dressed with the strategic placement of frosting? But Darsce needs no clothing boutique for such confectionary-wearing, nor would the middle of the marketplace square be the desired place to model it. Some of her purchases are indeed in those bags, the rest, promised delivery after tailoring is finished. She gratefully allows Jethaniel to slip those bags from her wrists, for today she's practiced that 'shop until you drop' mentality, though barely managed to avoid actually doing so. Her forehead is cool under his lips, perhaps a touch clammy in that blood-sugar dropped too-low sort of way. "Yes please, anything wet-" she stops herself with a slow grin up at him and finishes, "and cold and fruity since we're in public." Feeling wan, perhaps but not too washed out to flirt.

Jethaniel's preferences in Darsce may extend to seeing her adorned with a confection. He is, however, inclined to find the substrate just as sweet, and there are circumstances under which he considers it to have no need for any form of covering. Today, however, they are in the marketplace to shop for clothing. His lips curve upward in answer to her smile, though there's still concern in his eyes. "I am inclined to be selective." Jethaniel bends down and brushes those lips to Darsce's cheek, then straightens in order to make his way between the tables and order drinks - plural, though he does not actually make two decisions. He merely selects one that seems appropriate - something involving iced blueberries and mint - and orders it twice, returning to offer one to Darsce and set the other on the table where he will, presumably, sit.

Darsce's giving Jethaniel a Mona Lisa smile now, the purred, "Are you," definitely approving as his lips brush her cheek. She's seated, she's not going to keel over, or if she does she won't fall far. "Thank you," she says offering both reassurance and gratitude as she meets the concern in his grey eyes more genuinely, though the moment he turns, she leans forward, elbow on the tabletop, chin propped in the heel of her hand to watch him thread his way between tables. Her lashes lower, eyes following his movement, her smile appreciative of… "Mm-mm! Nice backside, that one. Yours?" It's a female voice that speaks, startling Darsce from her reverie. She's not alone, the girl with the dark hair and eyes. There are several in the pack of well-dressed guys and girls that have glided behind her between tables to casually pull up chairs and invite themselves to join the Xanadians. One negligently leans against the courtyard wall, his sharp-eyed gaze restlessly on the move while the girl that spoke hasn't taken hers off of Jethaniel. Darsce's answer is firm, sharp and brief, "Yeah." Several exchange glances, then all look to the black-eyed girl. Darsce has dropped her hand and while she maintains a casual poise, she's lost her smile. In the same way someone might keep an eye on a viper, she resists the urge to look away to see if Jethaniel is returning, instead asks her, "What're you up to these days, Mart?" Keep breathing slowly…

Jethaniel inclines… his head to Darsce in a nod. "I am." He smiles; she may fill in the details of precisely what he is as she deems appropriate. The way his eyes linger for a moment before he departs is only partially to ascertain her state of consciousness. He sees no reason to expect it might alter significantly in his absence, and as such, he is willing to depart. Having done so, unforeseen circumstances come into effect in the vicinity of Darsce, though the alteration of her state appears to be one inclined toward increased vigilance rather than excessive (or any) relaxation. This may imply that she considers her new circumstances to be those in which any relaxation would, in fact, be excessive. Jethaniel is not immediately aware of this change; he is occupied in perusing the available drinks in an attempt to fulfill Darsce's criteria for beverage selection, then in waiting for the preparation of those beverages. There is a certain amount of process to be accomplished in their preparation, and Jethaniel - though he glances back - notes no particular reason to abandon his task in order to return more promptly; it is, in fact, difficult to ascertain from this distance at which table people are located. Once the beverages are ready - which may be somewhat longer than Darsce might, under the revised circumstances, consider ideal - he returns with them. It is at this juncture that he observes that Darsce has, in the interim, obtained company not his own. He observes the varied examples of Iernian couteure in turn, passing from her coterie to Mart, then to Darsce. His lips are a neutral line, but his eyebrows arch slightly as he extends to her the drink which he has obtained for that purpose.

"Not getting knocked up?" Mart, a supercilious curl to her upper lip, asides to that query, her attention remaining fully on Jethaniel as he approaches, black eyes coldly calculating as she observes the interaction between he and Darsce. There remains one vacant chair beside Darsce, whose smile for her husband is mixed with many things as she accepts her drink: appreciation, relief and a nervous tremor to the curve of her lower lip as she makes introductions, "My husband Jethaniel. Jethaniel, this is Mart, Pike (the lounging fellow by the wall), Zip…" she names a few more then finishes with, "I'm not familiar with the rest, sorry. Mart, your group's changed since I was around." She drinks because she needs to and while she does, Mart crosses one leg, casually swinging an elegantly-clad foot while she eyes Jethaniel up-down and smiiiiiiiiles. "I made her," she says coolly, but she's moving right in with a hand not offered to shake, but placed boldly on his thigh. "Modeling. I could, do it for you too." Pike, looking amused, strolls over to situate himself behind Mart, "Dude… she gets like this." He reaches past her shoulder with a packet of something, which Mart opens, takes a pinch and places it between her cheek and gums. This is passed to Jethaniel with a subtly challenging twitch of brows. It looks harmless - just some dried herbs.

Jethaniel was likely too distant to have heard Mart's jibe to Darsce, and as such his apparent reaction is limited to mild surprise at the company obtained during his absence. He sets his own glass on the table, gaze once more passing over the group which has, during his absence, descended. He is silent as he follows the introductions made for him, then settles slowly into the chair which has remained provided for his use as his gaze returns to Darsce. He is perhaps more interested in observing her emotional state than her consumption of the beverage he has brought her. That emotional state is a complex one, and as such, sufficient to take his attention until Mart… reaches for it. Jethaniel's attention, she reaches for with her words; his leg, she reaches for with her hand. Jethaniel's eyebrows rise as his head turns toward Mart. "I find my professional life sufficiently fulfilling." His gaze lifts to Pike, and the corners of Jethaniel's mouth lower slightly as he regards the no-longer-lounging man. "So behavioral observations would indicate." His own observations almost certainly include that packet offered toward him, but Jethaniel does not reach to actually accept it. Instead, he turns his head to look at Darsce, and his lips edge - barely - into a smile. "Evidently your associates have missed you." He's yet to acknowledge Mart's hand on his leg, but his own hand he sets palm up against the table near Darsce.

Darsce sips her drink, watching Mart warily over the rim otherwise her only reaction to the cutting remark is an overly pitying, "Aw, how sad for you." In fact she doesn't so much as shift her eyes even when Jethaniel seats himself and comments, though she does move her own hand to place in his palm up one. "And what might that be?" Mart wants to know of Jethaniel, her fingers caressing the material beneath where her hand is, a hand that moves slowly up the inseam of his trous, rather than down in her assessment of his clothing. "You could moonlight. We'd have a great time." She's visibly mellowing as the seconds tick by. Her lids half-lower though the dangerous glitter in her eyes don't wane in the slightest. That packet isn't offered Darsce's way, but the wife of Jethaniel doesn't reach for it either. For a second a flicker of iceblue meets grey and in that brief exchange the expression in them, while unreadable for the most part, is definitely one of unease. Her answer is for Jethaniel, but Darsce's tone is for the rest of them as she again stares fixedly at Mart and with a twist of lips drawls sweetly sarcastic, "Yeah, they've been crying in their pillows since I left." Her tone modulates, innocently conversational, causally curious when she asks, "So who's Arn's rising star these days, Mart?" Unspoken implication: Not you.

Jethaniel's fingers curl around Darsce's, holding them lightly. He considers Mart's question, despite the distraction which she appears intent on providing and the fact that he is presumably familiar with his own profession. "I work with technology." His other hand reaches down, taking Mart's to remove it before she can assess just how far his inseam extends. One would think someone who spends the time she evidently does on her wardrobe would be aware how trousers work, but if that remains unclear, Jethaniel does not intend to clarify it, merely continue to explain his profession. "…not biology." He smiles faintly, a wry amusement distinct from actual pleasure. "I am selective in that regard. I do not… moonlight." His eyes meet Darsce's briefly, and Jethaniel inclines his head for her answer - verbal and otherwise. His thumb traces gently along the side of Darsce's hand as his other hand reaches for his as-yet-untouched glass to take a sip while she inquires of others unknown to him.

Darsce's fingers are tense, unaware that she's exerting likely too much pressure to Jethaniel's hand. She isn't speaking for Jethaniel, but it's likely she remains silent for other reasons as well. Mart knows fine material, stitching - and anatomy - when she feels it. Though there's a flash of cruel mirth at having had her hand removed before she…does actually. She feigns amusement as she drawls, "Technology, riiiight." She doesn't buy it. Not if moonlighting isn't a draw. Marks are great, more is better. The cynical pull to her lips as she appraises the pair speaks of calculation in the background while in the foreground she turns Darsce's needling back on her with, "You've married well enough. You won't need Arn." As she rises; the rest follow suit. Mart doesn't depart immediately, however. Instead she leans, the move intended to bring her eye to eye with Jethaniel. The friendly act is dropped as she hisses, "I say who Arn takes and who he doesn't. You need cash, you ask for me, not Arn." Coolly then, "Darsce." The ex-Iernian is given a flicked gesture of goodbye and then she's gone, the entourage melting away after her. Pike is the last to slink away, the packet on the table disappearing along with him most likely, though it's been done unseen. "…and like that," he says of Mart facetiously before he too disappears. Into the silence left in their wake, Darsce's voice is low, strained, "You don't want to model for Arn. You'll owe her forever."

Mart has assuredly felt Jethaniel's clothing, even if the anatomy beneath remains more ambiguous than the preference her actions would seem to indicate. He has indicated his preference for technology, and inclines his head - quite seriously - to her disbelief. The way Darsce's fingers dig into his is something Jethaniel assuredly feels; he is aware of it, but he does not acknowledge it, his own touch remaining gentle, fingers curved to meet hers instead of clutching them or pulling away. Mart's commentary concerning Darsce's marital choices - which is to say, Jethaniel - makes his eyebrows rise, though they settle again as Mart leans in close. He does not shift away from her gaze, his expression a study in neutrality as grey eyes meet her dark ones. His head tilts slightly, an acknowledgment that does not constitute any form of agreement with either her precepts or her conclusions, and then Jethaniel watches as she departs. His eyes flick to Pike, and he acknowledges that statement with another nod, perhaps slightly deeper than the one he gave Mart herself. Darsce's words recall his attention to her - though given her hold on his hand, it has likely not been entirely absent; not unless the fingers have gone numb, which… may yet be a possibility. Jethaniel turns back to her, the neutrality of his expression softening toward concern. "I have no particular desire to model." He lifts her hand - evidently he retains motor control, though the presence of sensation is inconclusive. "If I do, it will be for you."

Darsce's eyes swing to Jethaniel and she, silent for a beat, then nods. "Mart is bad; Arn is…" She shrugs, but manages a weak smile for his assurance and a wry, "Yeah, I don't want you modeling for him either." A cramp in her hand draws her attention to how tightly her fingers have been curled into Jethaniel's. They're immediately loosened with a quiet cry. Her other hand joins it so her fingers may massage the marks hers have left in his hand while she caps that episode with a toneless, "So. Those are some of the people I used to work with. Before." She flickers a look up at him, then away, her mouth pulling to one side. "I'm sorry. Ierne can be…" Well. He's seen. That drink, she still needs it, and so she again lifts her glass to her lips. When she lowers it, she finishes with a grimace, "…nothing like Cove Hold or what your mother…" Not prestigious, dignified or welcoming. His mother, if she ever visits here, will surely find reason to be horrified anew at her son's choice of bride. And speaking of mothers, not that she's done more than think of them, "We should go before mine shows up."

Jethaniel nods. "…but you did." His words are soft, grey eyes gentle. There's no accusation, merely the statement of a conclusion made concerning the facts as they have been presented. As her fingers release his, he winces slightly; the pain of continued pressure, being a constant, was easier to adjust to and conceal than the alteration in that state. The marks left by that pressure are not further concealed by him, and he lets Darsce massage them to encourage their easing. "I am glad you do not miss it." Her former work, that is. Jethaniel's fingers curl up to retain one of Darsce's hands as she uses the other to hold her drink. "They are… likely well-suited to their chosen environment." That is to say, Ierne, which can indeed be nothing like Jethaniel's place of birth or his mother's expectations. "I would not stay at Cove Hold either." Jethaniel trails his fingertips against the back of Darsce's hand. "We may depart when you are ready." Though doing so prior to an encounter with Asher would likely be considered advantageous!

Without looking up, "I did." Despite her current sentiments, the small, bitter smile that forms is smug. "My darling daddy went unhinged when he found out." Her fingers pause and she looks up with more of a cynical smirk from Jethaniel's hand, "Besides, it got me out of babysitting Rehsa and Evee." And Asher needed so much of that, you see! The problem with being a problem to problem parents is that… things backfire. And cause problems. Her fingers lace with Jethaniel's as she continues to meet his eyes, listening to his comment. The hardness - directed at her past, not him - leaks out of her expression, leaving dismayed surprise in its wake. He's glad? The uncertainly that flits across her face reflects her thoughts: Now, after meeting the crowd she ran with or before? Did he surmise that she…? And if he did then… others… might assume…and maybe that's why…ah well. Finally her chin takes on a defiant angle, "Your opinion is the only one that matters to me. So I'll tell you: If you knew what Mart and Arn wanted us all to do-" She leaves it unspoken; he can guess. She shakes her head, then adds in a rush, "I didn't. I wanted to freak D'had out, but not that much." She shrugs, turns her head to view the courtyard sightlessly and continues quietly, "You don't say no to these people… the pay was tempting and everyone else was doing it…" The 'cool' people, the ambitious people were, anyway. "So I got 'too busy' with jewelry design, but was probably close to caving when D'had offered me the chance to come to Xanadu. I jumped on that." She can't quite meet his gaze. "I guess you could say I am a product of this environment." Her mouth is pulled to an unhappy line, not so much because she is, but because surely this doesn't please him. She's curious though, and so her lashes lift and troubled eyes lift to his, "You mean after you reached journeyman?" And she wants to know, but can't help the furtive sweep of the courtyard to look for her mother. "Why not?"

Jethaniel inclines his head regarding the reaction of Darsce's father to her prior actions, his eyes remaining on her as she further explains the impetus for her initial choice. He does frown slightly, but it follows her dismay rather than preceding it, and as she continues, he listens. He already knows - Darsce has previously told him - that she did not do nude modeling despite that being where the money was. He also knows - Mart made quite certain - that she is capable of arranging for a modeling situation involving large amounts of money. The combination of these factors implies rather strongly at least some of what it is that Mart and Arn do and expect. Jethaniel listens, and in the end, his fingers squeeze Darsce's gently and he speaks. "I am glad you do not miss it because if you did, you might wish to return to it." She might find it suitable. There exists a distinction between derivation and suitability, and while some may be suited to Ierne, "I do not trust them." His head tilts, indicating the direction of Mart's departure, then lowers as his gaze sinks to their hands. "I would worry." His thumb moves, tracing a slow caress along the back of her hand. "I would still love you," he says, tone quiet and earnest. "If you had." If she'd caved to that social pressure. "If you did." Another gentle caress, his gaze remaining to observe it before lifting. "Your experiences certainly shaped you. They made you into the person you are." Jethaniel's fingers curve a bit more firmly around Darsce's hand, and his lips curve into a smile as he states, "I love you." His gaze remains steady, the words spoken with certainty. Her derivation is, while not wholly irrelevant, intrinsically neither reason nor impediment to that affection. The location may influence the person, but there are other elements, and Jethaniel inclines his head regarding Cove Hold, though his lips tug to the side slightly. "Not for any significant period." He's been there, the regular visits to his family. The occasional overnight or brief stay, particularly when he was not posted at a Weyr and visits were only possible via prolonged travel. "I find it excessively quiet, and I have… no particular interest in the roles available to me there."

Darsce did tell him, but she may assume, in light of what he's told her of what transpired with Ishata and Basker at Landing, that he's made the full connection to everything Arn and Mart do. She nods somberly about not trusting them. Evidently she thinks this perceptive. "I don't miss modeling." It's a reiteration of what she's already told him, but she adds, "Even if I did, I wouldn't return to it knowing it would worry or cause you distress." Of that she is quite certain. Her fingers squeeze his back and she lifts her glass to her lips once more, sipping the juice and it's doing her wonders. She really needs to watch her nutritional requirements more closely during these next several months. Her eyes drop from him to follow the course of his thumb across the back of her hand, loses herself in motion, sensation and his assurance. An avowal that chokes her and her eyes consequently lift, lips part in silent protest as he underscores what he's just said "Jeth…aniel." She stops, draws a breath and while she does that he acknowledgs her confession about what she's become. Oh, but her confession is not complete: "They also run an escort service. That's where the real pressure was- is -applied." And she just told him she almost caved. "I thought finally that maybe I could keep it from going too far." A swift, wary glance round their area and she whispers, "Their clients scared me. And so I ran to Xanadu." Her chin drops. Now he knows her most shameful secret. In light of that…how can he possibly, being of such a good family, love her? "Quiet," she murmurs with a faint smile, even while nodding about his preferences for profession. "I can help the rackety dragons provide you with the noise you crave?" Making light and yet, her head remains bowed while she wonders aloud, "Will you wish to remain Steward now that…Thea is no longer Weyrwoman?"

Jethaniel nods to Darsce's reiteration. If she did miss it, he might further seek further clarifications, look for a form of modeling where he would not be concerned for her. It is likely possible… but if it is not desired by Darsce, he has no inclination to pursue such investigations on her behalf. If she wishes eyes upon her… she may have his. They remain on her now, somber as she explains further. The statement of Mart and Arn's business makes his lips part, a slow exhalation. It's followed by a nod concerning that pressure; the exertion of it (given the premises involved) is logical, as that is where the greatest profit might be expected. The next expression is a frown, and it comes near the her statement regarding the extent of things and her inclinations to prevent their excess. His fingers curve more firmly against hers, and his frown remains so for her fear - perhaps deepening for a moment, but as she looks down, he exhales once more, eyes closing briefly. "If you had," he states, and his eyes open again. "I would still love you." Jethaniel's gaze is troubled, grey eyes darkened with concern, but they still look for Darsce's. "I did not think it merely photographic." Jethaniel may - given past associations - have presumed it to be less a matter of the taste of those clients and more that of Arn himself, but the distinction is somewhat academic. "But…" Jethaniel's lips twist uncomfortably. The sour taste is merely a conceptual one, given that he has barely touched his own drink. "…I am glad you did not.. let them." He lowers his eyes, returning them to Darsce's hand, and his voice is quiet and troubled. "They would… likely have hurt you." Quiet; he is so as Darsce states that, though he does note, "It is mostly conceptual." He has no particular desire to be woken in the middle of the night by auditory means, though Darsce could likely arrange a desirable form for nocturnal rousings. He's quiet for a moment to consider his professional desires, then nods. "I am not aware of a suitable replacement."

Darsce definitely wants Jethaniel's eyes on her - and will be pleased with whatever reactions she derives from that. Her motivation for modeling was more complex than wanting attention, but those particular motivations no longer exist. Despite his hand curling securely around hers, and his assurance, she keeps her head bowed, silent. There's a nod finally about the danger she'd avoided. His clarification to her teasing prompts the emergence of a half-smile, faint, suggestive and brief. No cacophonies in the night then. And yet, 'mostly conceptual' gives her some wriggle room to make some noises, employing creativity and timing in so doing. He loves her though. "I don't…know why you should but…" She lifts her head and as she searches his face, hers is a curious mixture of bafflement, tenderness and humility. He's the only one for which she'll allow her mask of casual indifference to slip and reveal vulnerability like this. "I'm glad you do." She sets aside her glass, now empty, considers his answer regarding Steward. That… is not an answer of where his wishes lie, is it? Or isn't it? She asks him gently, "You don't want to abandon Xanadu. Do you?"

Certain noises… and the reactions accompanying them… may suit Jethaniel's preferences quite well. As, for that matter, does Darsce, though she may lack in comprehension as to the causation thereof. His expression is an earnest one, affection tangled with concern for her. He is certainly not untroubled by this encounter and the further information she has provided, but… "I do." His eyes lift, and the grey ones are soft, tender. He does, and she is glad for it; he inclines his head to that, eyes remaining on hers. His own glass remains mostly full, but his consideration is for Darsce as well what she tells and asks him. Her conclusion draws a frown from him, but also a nod. "I would not object to being replaced." It would provide him more time to work on the technology he currently pursues primarily in terms of its integration with the Weyr's affairs. "However… I do not wish to see the job done badly." His mouth tugs to the side, and his eyes lower. "Therefore… I wish to continue doing it until such a time as my replacement will be advantageous to Xanadu. I am and will remain Steward." Unless, of course, the new Weyrwoman decides otherwise.. but if so, she has yet to say anything that would give him that impression. Jethaniel's gaze lifts to Darsce once more, and his voice is quiet. "…I did not consider it advantageous for them to be aware of that fact."

That's a look that'll melt Darsce every time. It's really amazing that she's not liquefied into a puddle of goo right here upon the tabletop and dripping all over the paver stones that form the market square. She's troubled Jethaniel she knows. Speaking of the past has her disquieted but… he loves her! And this is enough to help those shadows in her eyes retreat, a soft smile flickering wider as she watches him - and even his frown isn't enough to diminish it. Ah, her supposition was incorrect! Nevertheless, she slow-nods encouragement while her other hand reaches across the table for his hand, her fingers lacing with his as he speaks, offering support. "I thought you might have sentimental reasons rather than practical," she says when his eyes drop. Her fingers give his a gentle squeeze, her mouth opens to add something but his eyes lift and his comment forestalls that. She bites back the impulse to sputter and rave against anyone daring to replace him for any reason. Because he's perfect, you see! Not that her opinion on that has any bearing on her understanding of what, exactly, Stewardly qualities and duties are. "On all of Pern, there are likely others with the training and experience to be…advantageous if they need one. They'll find someone. You should do what you're most happy doing." Not that it's up to her, mind. Just: don't be Steward because she might want. There's only one thing Darsce wants and that's Jethaniel. Unless… "Would you like to get lunch or go home and…" Her brows dance teasingly.

"…I would not entirely say they are not," Jethaniel admits of his reasons. His fingers entwine with Darsce's, slow motions to encourage that proximity, and a slight smile curves his lips as he nods to her assessment regarding the presence of others with the appropriate training and experience. Indeed, there likely exist those with more training… though Jethaniel has obtained experience in the course of his duties. "I can be replaced." At least insofar as Xanadu's Stewardship is concerned; his position to Darsce is far less fungible. "It may, in fact, be an improvement." This depends both on the qualifications of the candidate found to substitute and the perspective from which that assessment is conducted; from Darsce's… it may be that no superior candidate exists. "I am, however… inclined to be selective." His fingers squeeze Darsce's gently, but in this case he is not only talking about his preference for her. "Possibly excessively so." In that, he is talking only about Steward; he considers his preference for Darsce to be of an appropriate degree of selectivity. "I do not wish to step aside for a merely… acceptable… replacement." Jethaniel's head lowers once more, a wry smile on his lips. "My happiness is a consideration." His prioritization of it may vary, but it does exist as a consideration. Jethaniel looks up to Darsce again, and his lips curve in a smile. "We could also have lunch at home."

Jethaniel's happiness is also a consideration of Darsce's. To this end, she attends to his response to that, though while she ahs and nods relieved, it's to his choice of lunch locale that pleases her and draws her to her feet. It's a trifle awkward, given she still has both hands entangled in his. "Well then. Let's blow this and go home. Because I'm hungry." She flutters a saucy wink at him tacking on, "I might need food later too." Smirksmirk. And so with renewed energy, she'll help collect parcels, bags and packages rather than linger in the courtyard square where they might encounter more of her former chums - or Faranth forbid - Asher. The girl is motivated, see. Either that or ravenous. Or… maybe both.

Jethaniel rises with Darsce, his hand still caught by hers. The other of his hands trails against her hip as he leans in to brush his lips gently to hers. "You should likely eat," he notes quietly, his tone one of concern as his arm slips a little further around her. He did hear that lecture the healer provided, including the nutritional information contained therein. Having so stated, Jethaniel kisses Darsce once again before he steps back from her enough that they may gather those parcels and go hire a dragonrider to conduct them away before they encounter any further aspects of the situations which previously shaped Darsce and contributed to the person she is today… who will be returning to Xanadu in the company of her husband. The events which influenced her do not provide the full story, and that tale is one which Jethaniel will further explore.


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