Duel or Do Over?

Continued from Rescue by Wher

But before reading you might want to start with this: Masquerade


Xanadu Weyr – Infirmary

The infirmary here is intended for human care. It is spotless and smells of disinfectant, cots are lined up against one wall, a curtain can be pulled to give some privacy to the occupants of the cots if they so desire. A cabinet stands off against another wall, instruments and medications stored against when they will be needed. A couple of curtained off beds are used for examinations of patients and the treatment of minor injuries which won't require long term care. A desk with chair is just off of the doorway for the healer to sit and catch up on record keeping after a long days work.

As the rescue came, they found the bronzerider from Ierne still unconscious. Shortly after they had him in the infirm, the healers were doing their best to treat the injury. That included putting smelling salts underneath his nose to get him awake. They needed to make sure he would wake up incase there were long lasting side effects. It worked in time and as expected they had to help keep him in the bed. Memory loss came with his sustained injuries and the first reaction to not knowing where he was, was flight. Reassuring the man wasn't easy, since he was starting to speak in a tongue that most people in the room didn't understand.

Having been in that pit for a sevenday and despite their reassurances that they hadn't been hurt by the falling debris from the cave-in, the Weyrleaders also have been cajoled to the Infirmary for a thorough checking over. From inside her own screened enclosure where she's being examined, the Weyrwoman can hear the healers struggling with A'dmar, bespeaks Seryth to soothe Yarovith as best she can in the hopes that it would help the disoriented rider. The hot springs will have to wait, so she makes use of a basin and sponge that she's asked the healers to provide - a hasty wash that leaves the water in the basin muddied. As the struggle out there goes on, she supports Seryth, donning the fresh clothes D'had has had someone fetch for her, giving the Weyrsecond a quick hug and a reassurance that she's fine, promises to see him soon and slips from behind the screens to move with quick steps towards the bed where A'dmar speaks the indiscernible words. She can't add to what the Healers are saying, but speaks soothingly in her own mountain tongue.

Yarovith has been doing what he can to ease his rider, but there is still the confusion that run rancid through the man's thoughts. The bronze himself isn't actually causing a problem. In fact, Yarovith is sitting neatly outside of the infirmary, with wings folded, head on his forepaws, waiting until his rider with a loyalty that all dragons have but this one displays eagerly. A'dmar frowns at the healers trying to hold his arms at his side, looking from one to the other, demanding in tones that they can't understand to let him go. He's agitated enough the he likely doesn't realize the slip back into his old tongue. Only the mountain tongue, while not of the same dialect, he does stop his thrashing long enough to glare at Thea. A few of the healers make space for the Weyrwoman, considering that with her presence there, he's at least refraining from trying to leave. *Betweening* in his condition would be a death sentence. He likely didn't even know what day it was or what the conditions were outside enough to judge a jump *between*.

There's a chuckle under-breath from Thea as she traverses the room - likely at something Seryth has told her and the set of her shoulders relax. The queen is likewise out in the clearing a little ways off from where the Iernean bronze is. She's reclining languidly, tailtip flipping now and then, simply there if she's needed. The Weyrwoman has reaffixed her knot, still damp from the sponging she gave it to get any dirt off, so there's no playing at being anonymous today. Two fingers flick in a restraining gesture to the healer holding a sedation syringe at the ready. She'll use it if things go south and Thea well knows that, so her request to the healers is, "Try letting go of him and maybe he'll relax?" Her attention shifts back to the man on the cot and she returns a faint smile for that glare. "Are you hungry?"

Amazingly, as the healers let go and he tugs his arms free from them, shuffling back on the bed to sit up against the headboard, he remains on the bed. Albeit, he tucks his arms into his chest and has this frustrated twist of his lips that suggests he's not happy about being tussled about. The one holding the sedation syringe gets a wary and suspicious glance from the bronzerider, darting his gaze back to Thea as she takes hold of the situation. The faint smile doesn't melt the cold stare that affixes to her. His answer, "Yes. I am." Inhaling deeply he frowns at the infirmary, "I would take a meal here but I have to return to Ierne. I… am told I am in Xanadu. Your presence seems to confirm that. Yarovith also seems to believe we've been here for sometime now."

It would have been an amusing sight to some of the patients in here if he had tried to leave as the healers have removed his muddy clothing and cleaned him up a bit while they were checking him over for injuries. He's covered with a sheet, that's about it, although soft cotton pants and shirt await folded on the stand beside his cot. Thea doesn't really seem to care one way or the other about melting the man's cold stare. She remains unruffled but faintly dismayed by some of his comments. One dark brow lifts slightly as she agrees smoothly, "You are in Xanadu. Do you remember why?" For the moment, she doesn't argue with him about leaving. Instead, she reaches for the chair at the next cot, pulls it her way and sits. Several healers move away, leaving only the one holding the syringe, who steps back a few paces but remains watchful.

Clothing certainly wasn't a forethought in the intent to get out of Xanadu and back to his business. It was the chill of sitting up that made him realize that he wasn't wearing anything, since his eyes travel down to his chest and he contemplates the whole being in the buff thing. He keeps the sheets tucked over him, smoothing them out with a hand as he narrows his eyes on the threat of the healer still lingering with the sedation syringe. "Do you mind passing me something to wear?" A hard tone, crisp sounding, as if he had been offended by strangers derobing him. Thea's askance has him shake his head, "No. The last thing I remember was getting Yarovith ready to go somewhere. I had a letter in my hand." He squints, "The name started with an 'X' …" A shrug as he rubs his forehead. It is normal for some victims to have short term amnesia, blocking out the accident or events leading up to it. He regards her for a time, "I do remember wondering why you lied to me. Somehow it all seems irrelevant…"

Thea leans back in her chair, crosses her arms and waits while comprehension dawns for the man. When he speaks, she tilts her head considering his request, "Since your words were politely phrased, I'll be happy to hand them to you. And I shall step outside the screens so you may have your privacy while you dress." She pauses for a beat, adding, "In just a moment. And that letter would have been from Xe'ter, our Weyrleader. We had a business proposal for you." She draws a slow breath, "Do you remember your name and what you do in Ierne?" By now it's clear that the blow to the head has been hard enough to cause the healers some concern and she notes, "If you want them to clear you for *Betweening and release you…" her eyes wander towards that healer with the syringe in a wordless 'catch my drift' sort of way and back to him. "Can you-" His last words catch her unaware, a look of irritation flickers across her face. "I did not lie to you," she says tartly. "I merely did not tell you my name and current residence. And I had a very good reason for that."

A'dmar considers her with an incredulous jaunt of his head, brow tweaked high just enough to solidify the expression. It was as if he couldn't believe his ears as -she- gave -him- attitude. His tone mirrored his thoughts, "I appreciate it." Falling silent to listen to the reason that he would be in Xanadu, a pensive look crosses his eyes, his lips tightening as if he was fighting for a glimpse of a memory behind his presence in Xanadu. "I remember my name," he retorts briskly, "A'dmar… Yarovith is waiting for me and I run a delivery business in Ierne. Yes. I remember. What I don't remember is what sort of business proposal it was that had me here." His eyes too take in the threat of being sedated, a threat that makes him look as if he would bite someone - lips curled up and nose wrinkled. The irritation of her denial that she lied to him, has him snapping his eyes back to her, making a noise between his teeth, "Right. All women have a good reason to lie. It seems I'm forgetting a lot of things." A half rumbled chuckle for his own perceived wit, "You told me your name," he clarifies. He looks away from her then, "Like I said irrelevant. My first priority is to return to Ierne."

Thea's chin lifts, her level stare is from eyes gone icy. The words of appreciation are heard, but his tone totally contradicts them and draws an 'oh really?' lift to her brow once again and she makes no move to hand over those clothes. "I didn't lie to you," she reasserts evenly. "You made assumptions, I declined to correct you when you said it didn't matter. Why you're even surprised to find them otherwise is beyond me. I do not care what you think about women, nor desire your good opinion so much that I'll beg you to listen to my reasons. However, if you continue to insist I lied, I will claim insult - my right as a blooded holder - and we'll settle it when one of us is dead." All said without heat and audible only as far as he goes. "You can forget the contract, though it would have been a lucrative one for you. We'll find someone else." And she's shifting to get up and leave him to the healers.

"I thought you were interesting and I believed that in the social world a person wouldn't allow someone to assume wrong of them, unless you had underhanded reasons for it. I would not have cared if you said you were a milk maiden or a Weyrwoman. I still would have done the job you tasked of me." He's taking a lecturing tone with her, "You'd think, as a representative for your Weyr, that you would have been honest about who you are. Instead, you made me look like a fool to the rest of your staff. It's a decidedly unwise way to make alliances outside of your Weyr, Weyrwoman." He notes that she is not making any move for the clothes, so he doesn't make a move from his cot. There is a moment that he stares at her, when she brings up that she's a blooded holder, correcting her quickly, "The moment you impressed, all claims to your holder status died with the transition into Weyr life. You, more than anyone, should know this. And yet, here you are, trying to claim rights of a tradition no longer yours to claim." He mutters, "If you wish, you should at least claim it your right as a dragonrider, as Weyrwoman, to settle it." He notes how easily he is nettling at her, but does not stop, "At least give me some time to heal. You'd have an unfair advantage, attacking me when I'm in the infirmary." The gossips will love this. As for the last, he laughs, "I believe I have already forgotten the contract, you must recall, since you are here trying to get me to remember it." His tone of voice is level and flat, completely at ease and not showing emotion what so ever. "Besides, I do believe you said the letter was sent to me from Xe'ter, so it is he that holds the lease on the contract and has the authority to conclude them or not." A beat, "Considering it appears you have a personal qualm with me, I would prefer to speak to him first."

Interesting? News to her. "You came across quite the opposite, not that it mattered to me, really. And had you not told me not to tell you, I might have." Thea's chin lifts a touch more at his lecturing and she's matching his tone exactly. "I told you my name, not my fault you can't be bothered to keep current with the names of Pern's leadership. And you can't know why I-" Her lips shut firmly and she shakes her head. Nevermind, he's not asking. He's assuming, accusing. Oh he's pushing her buttons right and left, even if she's remaining fairly calm on the outside. "I don't know what world you live in, but holder blood remains true. My children could inherit and hold in my father's place. I certainly may claim insult. We'll finish this when you're up to it then. I'd hardly attack you in the Infirmary." Her tone deliberately implies he's afraid, laced with a subtle scorn as she says it. "And I said we. Xe'ter sent it at my request," she corrects him, then adds with breezy unconcern, "Besides, I outrank him. We'll look for another familiar with Igen's deserts." Her fingers flick the contract into oblivion. "You may leave when the healers clear you for *Between*." She stands, hands gripping the back of the chair to move it back where it was.

"Huh. I would've thought a person who asks questions about another person is -showing- interest. I seem to recall you were trying to dig into where I came from and what origins my language came from." He's frowning at her, noting the haughty chin lift and presence of mind to take on a lecturing tone with him. "Leadership changes often as one would change a hat from their head. Xanadu is -not- the only important area in the world. While I stay on top of it as much as possible, outside of trying to strike contracts, I tend to do the best as a man can. Also, considering my clientele is Holder and Crafter based, I know their leadership before I know that of the Weyrs." There's a long pause as he merely lets her get what she needs to say out of the way, lifting his brow at her insult that he doesn't live in the world that she does. He holds his tongue. He lets her continue. "How gracious of you to let your guest heal up before you mean to settle your differences in a violent manner." His tone is condescending, tipped with dry humor as his eyes hold a glint of mirth to them. The outranking bit makes his eyebrows jump slightly, his lips twitching, as he pulls himself up to swing his legs over the edge, "Familiar is one thing, able to survive it is another. It depends on what your intent with the desert is and if you could actually find someone else competent enough not to get themselves killed. There is a reason why dragonriders don't make homes in the sand and stick to their protective rock dwellings." He tosses his sheet aside, completely indifferent to if she sees him, reaching for the soft clothing set aside for him, saying absently in a tongue-in-cheek tone, "You're a pleasant woman to deal with."

"I meant your lack of interest in me didn't matter," clarifies the Weyrwoman. She remains there by A'dmar's cot, hands still curled about the top of that chair while the rider goes on and when he becomes sarcastic, labels her as gracious for letting him recover before dueling to the death, she gives it right back with an irony that cannot be mistaken. One hand lifts to her chest and she dips him a little bow with a tiny mocking smile, "It's the least I could do." Straightening once again, she drops the act with an irritable shrug of shoulders but remains while he continues and she doesn't contradict him the whole while. At his self-defense, her lips begin to twitch in a secretive curve; a hint of a smile. Gotcha! She can push buttons too, whether he'll admit it or not. She turns away with that chair in hand when he begins talking about the desert, apparently not too worried about finding someone else for the job. His final words have her setting the chair down hard, pivoting on a heel, eyes narrowed to an icy squint, "Oh now that's the pot calling the kettle black don't you think? The way you treat people-" She faces him to find him sheetless, but it's nothing she hasn't seen before and thus there's no shock, simply an eyeroll before she waves the syringe-bearing healer back and yanks the curtain around his cot. There are a few young children in the ward, after all. "You know nothing about me at all, Mr. Judge and Jury. I am the woman you met in Ierne." And she'll let that cryptic statement serve to sum up the mystery he doesn't appear to want solved.

Her clarification creates a noise of acknowledgement and perhaps enlightenment. Yet he doesn't seem to make it more of an arguement than it has already become. There didn't seem a point. Until she gives him that facetious bow, at which point he lifts a finger, "Before you go, let me clarify something…" He pauses with a thoughtful and smug look on his face, "You said that you didn't care what I think, or about my opinions, yet you are so eager to prove it to yourself and to me, that you aren't a liar. Isn't that contradicting yourself, Weyrwoman?" His arms go up as he pulls down the shirt, ruffling his fingers through his hair as he considers her reaction, "Don't take it as if I'm afraid to settle the score with you, granted I would prefer not to since you are a woman." He shrugs as he takes a seat on the edge of the cot once his clothes are on, "I'll let you do what you think you need to." He resigns at the end. "The way I treat people is fair, until they give me a reason to otherwise not treat them with respect." Like lying - his tone implies. Her last bit has him agree, "That's right. What I did know of you was a misrepresentation." He nods, "You are. Yes. I'm afraid, with your holder blood driving you to defend your honor, that it is a tad late for me to change that and get to know you."

He's wanting to clarify and thus Thea remains within the pulled curtain while he dresses, not that she's watching him. She's half-turned to go and pauses there, the fabric a few inches from her nose getting holes bored through it while her grip to part the curtain so she can leave remains, turning white-knuckled as she hears him out. With her back still to him and into the pause that comes while he pulls on that shirt, she bites out, "I. Did. Not. Lie. To. You." When the cot creaks as he reseats himself, she turns back to him, "Everything I told you was true: You asked me to tell you about my hold. And I did. I told you my father is Holder there. And he is. I told you I am nothing more than his daughter. And in his eyes, I am…" She splutters to a stop. "Or I- I was…" Her eyes go from hard to unfathomable, almost unseeing as she looks through him for several long moments. Her clouded expression clears and her next words are slowly dropped one at a time into a pool of humble admission, "I didn't tell you everything about me. So if you feel that was a misrepresentation, then fine. I am still that person you met. There are times when… all people see is that knot and they look no further. So brand me a liar. I'll die denying it." Her expression is a curios mix of vulnerability and pride as she straightens her spine and lifts her chin, expecting withering scorn, smug victory, cold rejection closing her out or all of them.

Her devout proclamation that she didn't lie does seem to strike a chord in the man, since his expression shows some dissatisfaction, muttering something about 'excuses' and 'women' in a mix of his tongue and the common language. His shoulders hunch forward as a hand rests on his knee, leaning into it as his eyes drift downward toward the floor proper. It's at her humble admission that his gaze climbs once again, no emotion showing in his eyes or features, simply absorbing what she has to say. As she claims she would die denying it, he shakes his head, "No. You won't." His jaw rocks back and forth, his face twists to the side then back, looking up from underneath his eyebrows, "You won't die because I will not kill you. If you insist on this ludicrous idea that you have to protect your pride, you'll be doing the killing." He folds his arms over his knees, surprisingly not showing any signs of smug victory or scorn.

Thea remains stoic throughout the muttering, neither flinching nor frowning when she catches those few words. "You have no idea at all," she says quietly. There's a drained quality about her. Not defeated by any means and her chin is still tilted as if awaiting some hard remark to be forthcoming from him. A long silence follows his statement about killing. "You could retract your judgment about my character," she offers finally. "And we could start over?" The fingers behind her unclench reluctantly from the curtain and slowly reach palm up towards him. "A'dmar." She waits until he looks her in the eye and when he does, she drops her chin to meet his gaze more fully, "I'm sorry I didn't also tell you I am Xanadu's Weyrwoman. You were so… poised to mistrust and I just didn't want to spoil the moment or scare you away. This knot does that to people a lot. I just wanted you to be you. And for me to be… me. For a little while. Can you forgive a woman's whimsy?"

His head is on a downward tilt, his eyes peering at his bare foot though more likely seeing more of the unseen with thoughts distancing himself from the moment, while his body remains somewhat slouched over his knees. Slowly his gaze lifts as he is asked to retract his judgement, considering her advice to start over with a clean slate. He stretches up some as he peers behind the curtain toward the healers waiting for word that he was to be sedated, turning his dark gaze upon Thea when she calls for his attention to her. "My mistrust does not stem from people who wear knots…" he says quietly, climbing to his feet as he considers the offer on the table, "I do wish to keep my life, if only because it is not only my life at risk, but that of my dragon. Consider this to be a fresh start then."

Thea waits and when he declines to take her hand, she gives him a funny little quirked brow look, baffled. "You are too proud by half A'dmar, bronzerider of Ierne. Perhaps that cloak of self-protection you wear will keep you safe, but it will also keep you lonely." She drops her hand with a small headshake. "I can't kill you in a duel anyway. My father severed my claim to his blood ties. Someday, if you're interested, I'll tell you my story." It's said lightly, only the set of her shoulders tells of the sorrow over that, for her expression is hid as she turns to go, pulling the curtain aside. As the healers approach, she remains faced away but tells him, "They'll test your ability to visualize Ierne's sky, have Yarovith share it with one of their dragons. If it is a good quality, they'll allow you to go home. If not, you won't risk Yarovith today, but there's no need to stay in this place. You may have a guest room, use the hot springs and avail yourself of the kitchen's hospitality until you are better." She makes it sound like an invitation, but Seryth will enforce it if she can. Or the healers will use that fellis. It'll be his choice. "Oh and if you are still interested in that contract, let us know." When she flickers a look at him over her shoulder, her eyes are full of dare, devilment and perplexity. Contradictory much? Not her! She'll die denying it!

A'dmar looks away from her at the mention of being too proud and the remark about his self-protection cloak that he keeps himself smothered in. "Lonely is better than the alternative-" saying that he'd rather be lonely than hurt. Though he immediately lifts a finger and points at her accusingly, "I guess I -do- live in this world after all." Hey, he can tease too, though in a dry humor fashion that comes off arrogant. His eyes flash over toward the healers, whom have good intentions he suspects, but whom he is wary off due to his rude awakening earlier. As for the matter of the test, he would likely provide them with a fair quality visualization, but one in which would keep him for another day or two at Xanadu, until all details could be recalled and clarified. So there is a reason to his worry line that creases across his brow. The invitation to make himself comfortable in the mean time is granted a nod of acknowledgement. As for the contract, her words leave him sputtering, "If you would -tell- me what the contract is all about… You forget already that I can't remember it?" A hand on his hip, his brow jutting up, a chiding look fixed for her devilish one.

"Mmm, I'd agree with you, A'dmar, but see, I've been there, done that. I found the alternative no worse than loneliness. They were both pretty awful. Though friendship can do a lot to lessen it." She gets his humor, really she does, about living in this world and awards him a slow smile and a wry, "Touche!" with a two-fingered mock salute to follow. Ding-ding! He wins this round. As for that contract, the Weyrwoman is a terrible tease. Oh the things she could say he agreed to! But though the want-to glimmers in her sea green eyes, she doesn't bait him or make up outlandish things. Instead, she acknowledges this with an inclination of her head, "I'll have a copy sent down to you so you can look over the details. It's for rock to replace the fractured stonework in the ruins. There's quite a bit crumbled but it's of a different quality than we have around here. It's denser, harder, finer-grained. Igenite rock I'm told, but nothing within Igen Weyr's coverage area."

A'dmar speaks no further about loneliness vs being hurt and betrayed. Instead he allows the Weyrwoman to get the last word in on the subject, more keen to smirk back at her when she gets his remark about being in this world. He settles back down on the edge of the bed, folding his hands in his lap as a few healers come in to check on his heart rate and general temperature and such. As for the contract he exhales, "Good. I'll need something to read if I'm not allowed to return home right away." As for the details of the contract, there is an arched brow for the material needing to be shipped across the world, "I know of a good rock material that could be used for the purposes you speak of…" But then that was for another day, since the healers are looking at Thea with 'shoo' type expression, as they attempt to question their patient about his eye sight and his balance and his reactions… All the fun things they do to test how well his body has recovered.

Thea's smile remains easy about that schism between her and her father. Yeah, perhaps he'll never know how much it costs her to do that. "I'll send you down a second proposal for a quantity of flat sedimentary Igenite rock as well. It's for a small hold in our coverage area." Isn't she thoughtful? Giving him things to do while he convalesces. She'll leave the healers to do their work with a genuine, "Be well" to the Iernian. The envelopes arrive within ten minutes via an office gopher along with a note to see Ocelara for a key to his guest cottage, which he ought to find stocked with soft linens, lush towels, his clothes and jacket cleaned and pressed already awaiting him. And perhaps the Headwoman will even forgo needling him when he finds her. Don't count on it though.

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