A Horse With No Name

Characters Alexa, Yaromil
Synopsis Alexa and Yaromil discuss the necessity of names and reach an agreement (of sorts).
Out-of-Character Date January 18, 2020

Igen Weyr - Concealed Caves
By far larger then it appears from the outside, this cave system begins with a small bubble like cavern that splits off into two directions. The walls are rough hewn with odd notches that might just allow a athletically inclined person to use them as hand and foot holds.

The northern tunnel leads into a more oblong cave where strong hands have turned the rock into sturdy natural shelving. The floor is thick with turns of sand and more, anything on the shelves is bound to be covered by a layer or more as well. A smaller, almost hidden tunnel leads into an expansive bubble cavern. Here larger nooks litter the walls like weyrs litter the walls over the bowl.

The Southern tunnel leads back several meters before spanning outward into snake like cave that really should be considered several caves with the archways that make dividers between one section and the next. Here there are again stone shelves though whatever might be found upon them is relatively clean of debris since this caves opening is more protected then the others.

Where there's smoke, there's a pretty good chance there's some fire. In this case, there's definitely fire although where exactly Yaromil managed to get enough firewood to set up even this meager camp fire is a very good question, but the lad's resourceful. Seeing as the winter afternoon is rapidly coming to a close and the temperatures are getting ready for their nightly wintery plunge, this probably could also be classified as a Very Good Idea. He at least has some practice at it as the fire's going strong enough for him to turn his back and busy digging through the saddle packs by the runner until he comes up with a kettle and a very satisfied grunt with this find.

At least there's not too much in the desert that can burn? Igen probably doesn't employ a 'fire watch' wing, but that doesn't mean dragons aren't flying overhead. In this case it's Raaneth, whose golden hide is catching the last of the light while her rider is catching sight of the smoke. Whatever debate might wage between them, in the end the dragon is banking into a steady, spiraling descent down to investigate. She's courteous enough to land some distance away, keeping the kickup of sand (and hopefully the panicking of the runner) to a minimum, even if it means Alexa must now trek alone toward the camp. But, while foreign-bred, she's at least adopted the appropriate garb; desert robes keeping her skin safe from sand and sun. It's the sight of Yaromil that brings her pause, amusement warring with surprise (just who did she think she was gonna find out here? Who knows) as a rather unprofessional, "Oh, it's you," comes out of her mouth.

Both distance and shelter keeps the runner from full on panicking at Raaneth's descent, although there are clearly some nervous whinnies from the beast that are answered with some calm, low reassurances from Yaromil. His attention isn't fully on the runner though, as he keeps a wary eye on the entrance to his temporary hideaway. The arrival of a somewhat familiar face gets a nod of acknowledgement and her oh-so-polite greeting is returned likewise with a grunt. "Yup. Would you rather it wasn't?" Regardless of the answer now that he's convinced the runner isn't going to do something silly like bolt and break his leg, he returns to his business with the kettle, carefully filling it from a waterskin that was also kept with the saddle bags and placing over the fire.

"I suppose you're not the worst I could find in the desert," agrees Alexa with a grin. Which just gives her a moment to consider what the 'worst' might have been, and maybe rethink her decision on investigating unknown campfires. But while she might have invaded his cave without invite, walking all the way over to sit by the fire is apparently one step too far on the 'unpolite' road. A heartbeat. Two, and she asks, "May I join you?" with a tone that actually suggests she'd heed a 'no' and turn right around and leave. The runner gets a glance, the waterskin another, but whatever thought flits through her head gets to stay there, a silly little smirk just pulling at the edges of her lips.

"Could be a renegade?" Yaromil will helpfully fill in some of those blanks on what could also be lurking in strange desert caves. And while he might not have provided much details about himself yet, he also hasn't provided any evidence that he isn't a perfectly law abiding citizen of the wider Igen territory. The question gets a quick glance between kettle and goldrider, indecision marked by the widening of his eyes. "Yeah? But I only have one cup…" Which could be a problem if she was actually expecting decent hospitality at this camp fire.

"Probably not this close to the Weyr," muses Alexa on renegades, though she won't outright dismiss the notion. As for Yaromil's undisclosed alignment, she purses her lips and studies him with true consideration before seeming to decide she's safe enough. If nothing else, there's a rather large dragon lurking not too far away, ready to shove into the cave and rescue her. Apparently, she'll take her chances. "I'm fine without a drink," she assures, waving away that potential problem with a literal flap of her hand. "Just want to sit down a bit before I go back." And with the request granted, she'll close the space and plop herself on the stone, close enough to feel the warmth but definitely far enough back that catching fire won't be a concern. "I thought you were with the traders? And did you always have a runner?" Nosy? Why yes, yes she is.

Yaromil tilts his head slightly, a subtle questioning of the accuracy of Alexa's words regarding renegade proximity but he's at least comfortable enough with safety to be settling down for the night right here, so that's got to count for something and maybe that is agreement. His shoulders relax from the tension-hunch that had crept up in that brief moment of drink crisis when the woman flaps away the problem, although his eyebrow raises in surprise at her reasoning for joining his fire. "But can't you just…" He makes a popping sound which probably isn't actually how Betweening sounds like, but how is he to know otherwise? There's a nod for her first question. "Yup. And they went that a way and I have business this way." So they parted company. As for the runner, he glances back over his shoulder and shrugs. "Didn't when I was a kid."

At least Alexa really *hopes* the renegades aren't bold enough to camp this close to the Weyr! But then again, she undoubtedly has a rather different idea of what a renegade would look like, than what a renegade actually looks like, and might be shocked to know the truth. "Yeah," she agrees with a sigh, though the 'pop' of Between gets a dry, little grin. "But sometimes, it's not the journey, but the destination." Which might be cryptic, but will be followed up with, "I'm just not ready to be back yet, and there's only so much flying around I can do." So she'll make herself at home by Yaromil's campfire and pepper him with questions. Like a highly inappropriate, "What business?" that she doesn't actually expect to be answered. The runner gets a roll of her eyes because, "Obviously you didn't. I just meant, did you ride him into the Weyr? Or did you get him from the Weyr? Does he have a name? Wait… is it a he?" She's not gonna check.

Yaromil seems to exude cryptic from his very pores (either that or he's just VERY, VERY literal with his question answering), so shouldn't be too surprising that he gives just a nod for Alexa's not caring about her journey. The stick the kettles on gets nudged a little bit to put it more directly over the heat and hopefully speed up the whole boiling process before he turns to his saddlebags and rummages up both the single cup and a packet of leaves that he dumps into said cup. "Trade," is all Yaro has to say about what his business is, although the slight grin on his face might be because he knows that wasn't what she was asking for, before continuing with the rest of the answers. "Partly. Walked some. He's my uncle's. And why would he need a name?"

To be fair, Alexa was not expecting an answer at all so even if it's one that gets an eyeroll, she's pretty pleased. "What kind of trade?" she coaxes. "Wait no, let me guess… Salt!" Why this is amusing is anyone's guess, but it gets a grin from the girl either way. She twists to the side, stretching her legs out one at a time, flexing her toes forward and back, before returning to a coiled-up, arms-around-legs position that gives her a chinrest in the form of her knees. "Why would he not have a name?" she questions right back. "You gotta call him something. I mean, otherwise how would anyone know you were talking about him when talking about runners?" Because there are just so many of them around.

"Some of it," Yaromil is dead serious at the mention of salt. "Mostly trading salt for things." What things? All sorts of things! As soon as the kettle begins to whistle, he pours the water into his cup and swishes it around. And now for more waiting which might be why he's being so relatively talkative this afternoon. There's a snort for the idea about runners needing names. "If they can't figure out who it is when I say my runner, they probably have no business with him?"

All sorts of things that Alexa will imagine but not name — or ask about. Because the discussion on runner names is totally more important than being nosy about what sort of things Yaromil is trading salt for. (She imagines they are boring things, like food or something, and is content with letting the mystery be a mystery). "I thought he wasn't your runner?" she challenges with a good-natured grin. "You said he was your uncles runner, so if someone said your runner, how would you know they are referring to him and not another runner you might have borrowed?" She is, of course, making assumptions about his habit of borrowing runners. "Plus, he's a thinking, feeling creature. Of course he needs a name! How would you feel if you didn't have a name, and I just called you 'that salt guy', hm?"

What? Yaromil doesn't even strike up the possibility of trading for thinks like lacy hankies or other baubles? That's fine and probably exactly the image he wants to project, even if he is currently brewing a cup of tea. The challenge is met with another stoic shrug. "He's my runner now. When my business is done and I'm back at the cothold, he'll be my uncle's." In Yaro's world, apparently possession can be very fluid like that. "How many runners do you think we got anyways?" Runners are expensive after all! "'That salt guy' is accurate, though?" So he'd definitely answer to it and not see the problem.

Alexa groans the way only a teenage girl who feels thoroughly exasperated can groan (we will just ignore that she is technically twenty). "You're ridiculous," she declares, rolling her eyes at him. Even if she is the one insisting on naming a creature that is not hers and will likely never see again. "It's accurate," she allows. "But it also describes like… every other guy in that group you came with? I mean, if I just walk in and ask 'have you seen That Salt Guy?' no one would have any idea who I was talking about!" When she would need to ask about him is beside the point. "He should have a name. Look at him! He's practically begging for a name! It's not hard, you know? It could be anything. Fluffy — although that one's usually for canines. Or even 'Sandy' since, you know… desert. Or even Rebel!"

Yaromil raises his eyebrows as if to say 'who me?' at that accusation before grumbling. "You're the one insisting an animal needs a name." So he'll just imply she's actually the ridiculous one. And that point that Alexa was going to wave off is exactly the one Yaro seizes on. "If you needed something from me, any in my group could help you just as well. So that Salt Guy still works?" As she lists several names, he gives a sigh and looks back at the runner before staring back at Alexa. "Fish."

"You are totally missing the point," groans Alexa, hands to her face and fingers to her forehead. But she's not gonna bother explaining, because why would she do that when she can just be a little dramatic about it? A groan and an eyeroll, but she'll forego the dramatic flop to the floor because… ouch. But when he eventually concedes to her side and names the darn thing, she can only stare at him like he might have grown a second head. "You can't name a runner Fish!" even if she just said it could be anything. "He's a runner! What's he swimming through, the SAND?!" Another groan of exasperation and she stares at Yaromil like he might be the most impossible creature on the face of Pern. At least there's some amusement beneath all that feigned frustration.

"That you're going to want to talk to me again?" With all that groaning, Yaromil is doubtful, but what does he know about women? And then it's his turn to roll his eyes at the outrage at the newly chosen name. "Exactly. He's a runner. If he's got his name it's probably something like…" He gives a flick of his head and a whinny that's a good enough impression to get a whicker of answer from the actual runner. "He's swimming through questions at the moment." And maybe an identity crisis.

"No! Well, maybe yes? I don't know anymore!" At least she can admit as much? Cause somewhere in the argument-that-should-not-be, she's lost sight of the point. But it's the whinny that surprises Alexa most. The sound brings a stare and then a half-laugh-half-choke-like sound that is both shocked and amused. "Did you just… Wow. Alright salt guy, just for that I'll let you name him Fish." Poor runner. Another aborted snort of a laugh, and she shoots the creature a commiserating look, as though she can't decide whether to feel sorry or tickled (and tickled is definitely winning).

Yaromil stares as he tries to figure out what exactly Alexa is admitting, but shaking his head and continuing. "Well, you have my name." So no real reason to be having hypothetical arguments now, is there? As for her deigning to allow the name fish, he snorts again. "Call him whatever you want. I'm calling him Fish. If I have to." One arm stubbornly crosses his chest while the other he uses to raise the cup to sip on his tea as if argument is solved.

"And that's all that matters." That he's gonna call him Fish. Apparently, Alexa believes she's won this argument, given how smug she looks on the other side of the fire. "And you do 'have to'," call him Fish. "Because it's his name now, and it's only right that things be called by their names." Even Alexa has no idea what she's talking about anymore, but she'll totally pretend she does. "And Fish is welcome in the Weyr anything," she continues, as if that was somehow a stake in the matter? Unreasonably pleased for no reason at all, she unwinds her arms and stretches before rolling to her feet. "You've been a great host," she declares. "But I have to get going."

Definitely a situation where everybody's declaring themselves the winners here as Yaromil conceded to what he viewed a ridiculous demand with an equally ridiculous name. And Fish is fed so he wins too. Yaro will nod and continue to sip his victory tea, until she mentions that the runner is allowed in the Weyr anytime. That gets him cocking his head and staring back at the animal. "I don't think he'll come calling without me…" But there's a first time for anything. Maybe Fish does have a busy social calendar and some mares he'd like to visit back at the Weyr. At the last, he gives another nod. "Safe travels."

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