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In Need of a Bit of Healing (Ambrelli/Z'go)


TrueTricia
 

Ambrelli scanned the list of names on the hide.  She was doing the rounds today, going weyr to weyr to check on injured dragons.  Those on this list were minor injuries, not requiring much in the way of supplies, and thus she could carry what she needed in a satchel.  She'd already tended to a variety of ailments, from a weyrling with a minor issue, to a larger dragon that was having trouble passing feces.  She was tired, irritable, and she had one name left on the list. Z'go and Gamyth.  The names didn't strike a bell with her, but she looked up their weyr numbering, and set off to go find them.  As luck would have it, they were across the Bowl from the previous patient, and what little of her own patience remained had melted away by the time she reached their weyr.

"Brownrider Z'go?  Are you in there?" she called out, knocking and waiting at the entrance.  She pushed a strand of her long dark chocolate hair behind her ears.  Her blue eyes flecked with gold looked about at the list irritably, checking for the dragon's injury as she waited.  On her shoulder, a creamy brown flit perched, eager for the day to be done.

>>home?<< Merck sent her a very clear picture of him sleeping on a hearth with a belly full of food.  "Not yet, little one," she said softly, reaching up to scratch him. 

"Rider!" she said with more impatience.  "Are you there or not?"  


Rogue Kakashi
 

Z'go was not used to people banging on the door to his weyr.  Firstly, most sane members of the weyr dared not ascend the half dozen flight of stairs that it took to reach it, and secondly most who visited him either had their own dragons or were brought up personally by the brownrider.  He'd been flying Thread all morning, too, and Gamyth had been lightly scored on his right haunch, which had only put the rider into a fouler mood.  After he was told that a dragonhealer would visit his weyr later, the brownrider had slathered some numbweed on the brown and had spend the rest of the afternoon "waiting" with a bottle of wine until he inevitably fell asleep.

The knocking brought him back to conscious world with a groan.  He pulled himself from his bed wearing nothing but the pants he'd fallen asleep with and headed over to the door.  He undid the bolts and locks and after a few brief moments the blonde man opened the door just enough to glare sleepily at the woman who'd woken him up.  "What do you want?" he asked, his voice scratchy from having just woken up.

Gamyth was watching, being his usual quiet self, with slight amusement at his rider's annoyance.  {{ She is the dragonhealer, }} the brown told him.  Z'go would've preferred that information before, because now he had to begrudgingly wait for her to answer for herself.

- Z'go and Gamyth


TrueTricia
 

Ambrelli pursed her lips.  She could smell the wine on his breath, and by the state of him, he'd just woken up.  And apparently lost his shirt.  Well, she hadn't grown up in Weyrs by being a prude, but still.  She glanced at him in irritation.  She'd been ready to go before this, and he was only going to make her more ready to be done.  And perhaps follow his example with that wine.

"What I want, Brownrider Z'go, is to go home to my own bed with my own bottle of wine.  But instead I'm here to take care of your dragon.  I hope he's in a better state that you are."  She pushed the door open the remainder of the way, not asking for his permission, and proceeded inside.

"Dragon Gamyth.  I'm Jm Ambrelli.  I will speak directly to you as I run the diagnostics.  You may speak directly to me or use your rider as an intermediary.  Regardless, I thank you for your services, and I'm here to help you."  If her tone had been annoyed with his rider, there was a distinct change as she dealt with the dragon, and her tone was respectful and professional.  Dragons were, after all, the real saviors of Pern.  People with some flamethrowers could never replicate what the dragons did, or what they allowed to grow.  Ambrelli's father and mother had impressed that upon her from birth.  Spending time with her father and his bronze, the older dragon letting her play on him like a dotting uncle, but then bravely fighting Thread and suffering the scores.  Dragons were why the Weyrs existed...the humans were just there to guide them in her opinion.  

"Do I have your permission, Gamyth, to proceed?"  


Rogue Kakashi
 

Z'go was not impressed by the woman's attitude, even if he could understand it to a certain degree.  He let out quick grunt in response and rolled his eyes as he closed the door after her.  Although the rider wasn't in the best state, one could not say the same for his weyr; it was impeccable and well decorated, taking advantage of the space he had as well as he could.  Gamyth was laying on his stone couch near the ledge from where the two-tones brown could watch the going ons of the weyrbowl.  The brownrider let her go after the dragon as he headed over to his bed and pulled on a fresh tunic.

By the time he returned to the dragonhealer and Gamyth she was just about finishing her introduction.  The brown had turned his massive head towards her, clearly understanding that he was being spoken to.  His voice filled Z'go's head, "He says that you have his permission."  Z'go leaned in the wall, crossing his arms to watch.  "The score is right there on the back leg.  I put some numbweed on it earlier."

The singe on the brown's leg wasn't too severe, at least at first glance.  A follicle of thread had swiped past him just as they went between, causing a superficial burn over  Gamyth's hide.  It was very itchy and whole area felt tight.

- Z'go and Gamyth


TrueTricia
 

Ambrelli's gaze was fully engaged on the dragon in front of her, she considered it rude not to give them her full attention, until Z'go spoke again.  She spared a glance back in his direction.  Her blue eyes looked him up and down, then for a moment, flickered to the interior of the room, taking in the contrast between the disheveled rider and the impeccable weyr.  Interesting.  Hers was nearly the opposite.  To look at Ambrelli, everything about her was purposeful, from her hair, to the tunic she wore, to her jewelry.  Everything was exactly in place.  It was her costume, her armor, and it had to be perfect.  Like a guard whittling his blade, Ambrelli crafted her appearance every morning.  But her weyr... her weyr was her sanctuary, and if this Z'go could have seen it, he'd have been as shocked as she was at the appearance of his.  

"Glad to see you did that before the wine."  It came out harsh, and she closed her eyes briefly.  Faranth, her patience today was running thin, but it wasn't his fault she reminded herself.  "You've treated Threadscore before?" she asked him directly.  Before he could answer, she turned her attention back to the dragon, her satchel being set on the floor.  She placed her hands on Gamyth and began running them over the dragon's hide carefully.  She closed her eyes as she did this.  It helped to not be fooled by your eyes, to let the hide and muscle tell its own story.  She'd learned this long ago, and even with her eyes closed, she knew she was close to the Threadscoring long before her fingers got close.  She took a piece of chalk from a pouch at her waist and marked the spot on Gamyth.  It was quite a bit off from the Scoring itself.

"This is how far away the Scoring is affecting your muscles, pulling at your hide.  Many times, people just want to treat the burns.  But the damage goes beyond what the eye can see.  I'll be treating you for all of this," she motioned to the the brown's leg.  Otherwise, there's a risk for longer damage, however slight, long after the Scoring itself heals."  She turned back to Z'go. 

"Any questions before I proceed?"


Rogue Kakashi
 

"Aye, I've treated threadscore before, this wasn't my first Fall," he replied watching as she worked.  It was strange to find such... an angry yet beautiful woman.  In his experience that usually meant that there was an undercurrent beneath the surface.  The dragonpoker player in him noticed the way she dressed herself, even when on duty, with such precision, said a lot about her.  He recognized his own kind; and those impenetrable walls were really made out of glass, barely containing the raging wildfire within.  

"No questions," he answered and let her get to work.  Returning to his bed, he salvaged the wineskin and returned, fairly sure he was going to need it survive this woman.  

"I'm pretty sure that you would bite my head off if I did have any questions, though," he challenged, pouring some of the dark red liquid into a cleaned out klah mug.  "You definitely need a drink."

- Z'go


TrueTricia
 

"You'd be amazed at how many Riders, even this far into a Pass, still don't know how to do so adequately."  She was inspecting the wound now.  "Gamyth, tell me if any of this hurts, even with the numbweed your rider applied."  She was gentle, but she needed to touch the flesh to decide what needed to be done next.  While she did this, Merck had disentangled himself from her shoulder, and flew to land on the ledge outside, but near the dragon's head.

}{::Friends?:}{ the little brown sent to the dragon in a series of pictures and emotions, accompanied by a vocal chirp.  He knew better than to get close to a dragon's head without permission.  

She looked up as Z'go returned, holding the wineskin and a cup, which he held out to her.  "Depends on your questions, Brownrider."  The tone was not the same respectful one she'd used with his dragon.  "I take healing dragons seriously.  Their riders, less so."  She shook her head at the wine.  "I don't drink while i'm working.  You don't want clouded senses while healing."  

{{::Friends!::}} Merck sent to her, the image of Z'go in the flit's eyes glowing and offering her flowers instead of wine.  She took his point, or at least the point she decided he was trying to make.  She ignored the other implication of the brown.  The rider was trying to be courteous.  She could be the same. 

"Gamyth is my last patient.  After though..." she didn't finish the sentence, letting it trail off.   "Thank you."  The last was said slightly grudgingly.  She stood then and brushed past him to where she'd set her satchel down.  She dug out her own jar of numbweed, a more potent one that the healers had for working.  She grabbed the satchel, and moved back to the brown.  

"I'm going to spread fresh numbweed over the wound.  Then I'll cut away the dead or infected flesh.  It shouldn't hurt, but if you feel anything Gamyth, please let me know.  Then I'll spread the healing salves on it.  Afterwards, I'll start working on your hide and muscles to the point I marked."


Rogue Kakashi
 

Gamyth had always been a calm dragon and really didn't mind firelizards.  They were good for scratching him when he itched and had proved helpful when it came to bathing him.  He'd been wishing that Z'go would get one for turns now but the blonde brownrider seemed completely uninterested in the idea; something about flits being snitches.  Gamyth had no idea about that.  {{ Hello, little brother, }} he said to the brown flit, uncharacteristically speaking.

"Suite yourself," he replied and took a long drink from the mug before setting it down.  From what she was explaining to Gamyth it seemed like standard procedure; at the end of the Z'go was left wondering why he couldn't just have reported in tomorrow instead of having such a friendly young woman invade his personal space.    Thinking about it irritated Z'go a bit, but for Gamyth he was willing to deal with it.  "So when you're not dragonhealing what do you do?  Hide in the Lower Caverns and scare weyrbrats?" he asked, his tone a bit more playful.  She had said thank you after all, and if she planned to stay for a drink after he'd at least get some interesting banter going.  

- Z'go and Gamyth


TrueTricia
 

Merck chirped happily at the response from the dragon.  He liked dragons, and well, he liked other browns like him especially.  During more complicated procedures, Merck had been trained to act as an assistant.  He'd usually hover near Ambrelli and hold and hand her things.  In rare cases, he tried to keep the dragons calm or distracted, although, he was no gold, so this was usually dependent on the dragon's own normal penchant for flits.  Still, it was good to have big brothers.

Merck sent Gamyth two images.  The first was the two of them on the beach, the two playing in the waves.  The second, was the same he'd sent to Ambrelli, of the brown's rider handing his mistress flowers.  }{*Friends!*}{

Ambrelli got to work, touching Gamyth, and when she was satisfied, began slowly slicing away the small bits of damaged flesh.  She looked up from her work at Z'go.  "I like long romantic walks on the beach, talking about my feelings with strangers, and finding my lifemate over dinner and wine."  Her voice was tinged with sarcasm, but also with amusement.  And she chuckled at his weyrbrat joke, at the sad truth hidden in it.  "Haven't you heard?  I'm definitely the one they tell scary stories about.  Just none of them get the stories quite right."  It was a flaw of hers, always assuming the worst in others.  At Fort, information had been deadly, and she'd kept a close guard on everything.  It was a hard way of living, but it was also a hard way of life to give up.  Coming here, her alliances had been no secret, even if the extent of her involvement still was.  She'd avoided death or worse things at Fort by always assuming that if someone knew part of the information, they knew it all.  Because better to plan for the worst case scenario than be surprised by it.  

Still, she'd never ever hurt a dragon.  She'd proven that to her Craft, which is why she was here now, why she'd been allowed to continue.  

"And you?  Do you make wine as well, or just drink it?"


Rogue Kakashi
 

Gamyth couldn't help but snort at the second image; he couldn't recall if Z'go had ever even picked flowers in his entire life.  Either way, he let the flit enjoy the image, as fantastical as it was.  The numbweed did the trick and he could barely feel that she was working on his score and was more than entertained with the brown, allowing Z'go to distract the woman all he wanted.

The rider raised a brow at her response, considering he was probably considered the boogeyman by half the creche ever since the time he'd kidnapped Kellin.  Did this woman really think like that of herself or was she attempting to be funny?  It was hard to tell with these types; sarcasm was both a toy and a blade, depending on who was wielding it.  Well, at least he knew for sure that the first part was an attempt at humor.  "Is that so now?  So it must be you who is nicking the bags of hard candy, and not some inventive brat, eh?  The dreaded 'caverns witch'."  He took another drink from his cup and drained it, adventuring a few steps closer to the dragonhealer.  "Oh, I only drink it.  I am a master of my craft, and I know when not to interfere with masters of other crafts, be it wine making or dragonhealing."

- Z'go and Gamyth


TrueTricia
 

Merck took the dragon's snort for encouragement.  He proceeded to send Gamyth a series of amusing images of dragon and flit antics to distract him.  

She was finished with the blade now, cleaning it off on a towel she pulled from her satchel.  She pulled out a couple of salves, dipping her fingers in them, and slowly starting to spread them across the wound.  "Gamyth these are to help keep your score from getting infected."  

She looked over at the rider, watched him finish the cup.  Shards, was he going to be even remotely sober by the time she was done here?  But she sniggered at this 'caverns witch' joke.  No, the truth was that they warned their weyrbrats against Rebels like her when they're older.  "Something like that...." was all she replied though.  She went back to spreading the salves, looking up a bit warily as he moved closer, but she said nothing.  He was handsome, in a scruffy sort of way, but she'd learned that good looks, not unlike her own, could hide nasty things beneath the surface.  What would she beneath his surface, and he beneath hers.  

"Is that a compliment hidden in there?" she finished applying the first salve and started on the second, wiping her hands between.  "I'll have you know i'm a master of one of those crafts, and I have knots for the other..."


Rogue Kakashi
 

Z'go hadn't been sober when she entered, but she didn't have to worry; he was a bitran and proudly able to hold his own, at least were wine was concerned.  He filled the cup up again, except that this time he left it on one of the tables, for when she was finished.  He let a snort when he heard her answer; "Really now?  I never see you drinking at the Dining Cavern," he mentioned, which is where most dragonriders who partook ended up after a few cups.  There was no other drink at making the antisocial social again, Z'go had found.  "Oh, right, it's because you're the cavern's witch.  You must drink alone in the dark, from the skulls of weyr children who misbehave and don't go bed on time.  Well I don't have any skulls we can share but this mug will have to do... as a thank you for helping Gamyth."

- Z'go and Gamyth


TrueTricia
 

The second salve went on quickly.  She wiped her hands on the towel, capping her salves and placing them back in the satchel.  She then pulled out a thin strip of fabric, and cut them to the size of the wound.  

"That's because that's not where I go to drink..."  she gave him a wicked smile.  "There aren't any weyrbrats there to tempt away with sweets." 

She gave a sigh at the last.  Thank yous for helping dragons.  For doing her Craft, for saving those that saved her.  "You don't owe me anything.  I help the dragons because I want to, not for any other reason."  Her tone was prickly.  She'd used those thanks far too often at Fort to curry one favor or another for the Resistance.  And look where that had gotten her.  Trading favors, unquestioned rides for deliveries, or in some cases, allowing herself to be bedded by the grateful rider to steal something the Resistance needed while he slept later.  She'd never not healed a dragon.  But she'd also always said yes to the thank yous.  And that life was behind her.  

She looked at his wine though.  "Maybe if you had a skull though..."  It was an attempt at humor to made up for the prickliness.  She closed her eyes briefly before turning back to Gamyth.  

"Now it's time for us to move onto treating the rest of your leg, the muscles and the hide that is stretched and strained as a result."  She reached down into her bag, pulling a strange looking wooden implement out.  She turned to Z'go.  "You should learn to do this.  I have more of these in my shop.  You'll need to do this twice a day until that wound is completely healed.  And you'll need oil.  I assume you have some.  For the dragon."


Rogue Kakashi
 

Z'go snorted at her response, amused and noticing that little by little her walls were coming down, "Very well, if you don't want to be thanked for helping Gamyth, how about for eating weyrbrats and giving the grown ups less little wheryfecks to deal with?  Aye, I'd raise a glass to that."  He offered her a roguish smile; he was teasing, inviting her to play a little bit more.  

He was of course attentive to everything she was doing to Gamyth, memorizing the procedure to the best of his abilities in case, Farath forbid, he had to do it himself in the future.  "Don't worry, I'm watching," he told her, though when she turned his green eyes weren't on the dragon but lingering on the woman attending Gamyth.  His eyes drifted up her figure until they encountered the dragonhealer's own. 

The brownrider leaned in closer to Ambrelli, practically looking over her shoulder.  He was close enough that when he turned his head his deep voice spoke dangerously closer to her ear, "Go on, continue."  He turned his head, attention returning to the wound, "And the response is yes, I have plenty of oils."

-mZ'go and Gamyth


TrueTricia
 

Truth be told, it was nice to have someone flirting with her, interacting with her in a way that few here at the Weyr did.  She felt as if people avoided her; oh they were polite enough, but she didn't believe for a moment that they trusted her.  There were always rumors about her.  Perhaps not as humorous as those Z'go had made up, and she liked his version better.  And for this reason alone, her instincts screamed at her.  

At Fort, she'd learned to act deliberately in all things.  She did anything less, and she could die.  That had saved her life, but it had cost her dearly in other ways.  It had been Turns since the Resistance fell.  Turns since what had been a noble cause had turned into a horror show.  And still, she felt the habits of her old life impress upon her that flirting for flirting's sake meant nothing except he wanted something from her.  Her response should be based not on how it made her feel, but on what she could gain from it.  It was hard to turn these instincts off.  She'd lived with them for so long.  And no matter what, she didn't know Z'go or his dragon.  At least that was a logical place to start.

So when he leaned in close and spoke in her ear, she didn't know if the chills she felt were attraction or a warning.  It wasn't like Arolos had ever been safe; her parents' murders attested to that, and the WW herself wore a knife at her belt at all times.  Being wary wasn't crazy here, especially not given her past.  But it wasn't Fort either.  If it had been, she'd be playing the meek girl, submitting to him as was expected of her.  She'd never been meek though, and at least here at Arolos, she never had to play that role again.  A hundred others, but not that.  But she was working still.  She couldn't change the past, but she could ensure that her Craft, the dragons, came first.  

His breath in her ear, she turned so that she faced him.  She brought the wooden tool up between them, poking him in his chest with it and pushing him away slightly.  "Then go get them..." she said simply.  


TrueTricia
 

Z'go snorted at her response but still did as he was told, heading over to one of his perfectly placed cabinets and opening it.  A series of jars were organized largest to smallest and he picked two of them up, "I have this oil here, got it from the dragonhealers, but I also have this one... infused with numbweed.  Bought it at a gather a few turns ago, I use it on scores like that one when I'm bathing him. Smells good, too. Gamyth seems to like it."


He returned to her with both jars, allowing her to pick which one she preferred to apply.  They weren't the largest jars in the world, it was just what he kept on hand in his weyr. He had a larger pot of the standard stuff that he kept put away except when it was time to bathe the big brute of a brown.


She was familiar with the infused oil he'd bought.  It was common enough for healers to make it and sell at Gathers for extra marks.  But it had cost him, and for her needs, Gamyth's needs, the other would suffice. He'd use a lot over the sevenday, so it didn't make sense to use something that had cost him.


She took the plain oil from his hand.  "This will do just fine." She didn't bother to explain herself.  Had this been just any old visit, she would have. But he made her want to withhold just to do so.  She turned away and went back to Gamyth. "So Gamyth, this tool will help ease some of the tension in your muscles and hides. It is based on the same tools you see the cooks rolling out bread.  The scoring draws the tissue up and the inflammation makes it worse. The salves I've put on will help with tissue swelling, but this will help keep the muscle supple in the meantime." Here she turned back to Z'go.  "It's easy enough. Spread a good amount of oil on, and then pressing hard on the tissue, roll away from the wound towards the joint. Obviously adjust your pressure if you're near a bone. Like this...." she proceeded to demonstrate the task for a few motions.  "You want to go deep enough that you're actually getting to the muscle, and on a dragon, it'll seem like hard work. Always go with the muscle, never across it. That just irritates it more."


He watched with interest and knelt down again, just to get a good look at what she was doing.  It seemed simple enough and he recalled hearing something similar in his basic dragonhealing class during weyrlinghood, where they'd been trained to, at minimum, be able to follow a dragonhealer's orders effectively, without getting lost. 


He pointed to where the score crossed down over the dragon's haunch and had nicked the heel, "What about this area right here?  It's all bony."


She nodded, following where he pointed.  "That you massage by hand. It's harder, but near the bone are usually the attachment sites for the muscles.  They don't need to be treated as deeply." She handed him the tool, the wooden surface notched across it to create small triangles with their points out to help dig into tissue.  "You try now."


Z'go accepted the instrument and the boil from the woman and applied a little bit of the latter on Gamyth.  He slathered it for a moment before applying the tool, firmly rolling it over the dragon's muscle and doing his best to not apply directly onto where he'd been hurt.  Numbweed or no numbweed, he could feel Gamyth's apprehension at feeling too much pressure on that area. "How does that feel, Gamyth?"


The brown snorted slightly and did a shrugging motion, not completely sure whether he liked it or not.  Like any living being he wasn't too keen on feeling pressure on his wound, especially not the rolly bumpy kind, but it did feel good on the muscle that had been too tight after the scoring.  He moaned his approval and let them work, putting his head down and letting one set of eyelids half close over his multifaceted eyes.


"He says not bad," Z'go translated to the Dragonhealer.  "Well this seems easy enough. When do I walk the tables and get my Journeyman knots?"  He winked at Ambrelli, to let the overly serious woman know he was joking again.


She watched him closely, keeping an eye on Gamyth, to see how he reacted, and once, she leaned over, her hands over his to correct him.  She removed them just as quickly, watching as the rider worked.


She rolled her eyes at his joke.  "Typical dragonrider. You teach them one thing about the entire Craft and they think they know everything.  Trying doing your own a little better maybe, so I'm not necessary in the first place." Hers was tinged with sarcasm, somewhere between a joke and serious.  The number of Riders that tried to tell her how to do her job. She nodded at the tool. "You'll do this for a sevenday twice a day. Gamyth should be fine after that.  I don't want you to fly Fall for two days, maybe three while the wound is still open. I'll relay that to your wingleader. When you're done, return the tool to me. I have more, but they're my own personal tools that I hand carve, so I'll need it back eventually.  Any questions?" she asked, her tone serious and professional again.


"Fall shouldn't be much of a problem," he replied.  "It's a few days off still, this should be healed by the next one."  If it wasn't, he'd tell his Wingleader, but he was half trying to avoid calling out on another threadfall after he'd had to do so for a bruised tailbone a couple of weeks ago.  Either way, he knew it was stupid to argue with healers so he just made sure he said what she needed to hear. Gamyth was a fighter, this score would be healed by the next battle.


"Aye, one question... how about that glass of wine now?  Or are there children who have to devour at this hour?" he asked, a roguish grin on his lips.  The blonde man stood up and returned the oil pots back to their place, placing them with perfected precision where they belonged.  As for the rolling pin, he wrapped it quickly in a cloth and set it on top of the cabinet so the leftover oil didn’t ruin his furniture.  "If duty calls then duty calls... if it doesn't... there is worse company than mine, I can imagine."


"As you wish," she said in reference to flying Fall.  "It's not severe enough I'm going to argue with you on that one.  If you change your mind, let me know. If not," she shrugged. She pulled out her towel from the satchel, wiping her hands down carefully and meticulously, removing her rings, drying them, and then putting them back on.


She looked up at his question.  "I have one thing left before I'm off duty.  And I'll devour the children later. There are always more children in a Weyr.  I'm sure I'll catch one out of bed no matter the time," she said, returning his teasing.  She gave him a long look, pretending to appraise him. "You'll do, I guess." Truth be told, there was no other company.


She took the hide list for weyr rounds out of her satchel, marking off his name as the last of them along with her basic notes.  She signed it, then whistled, Merck coming quickly, roused from where he was near Gamyth's head. "Take this to the office. Here " she pictured the spot on the desk where the next healer would see it if needed.  She held the hide up for him, and he took it from her delicately before popping off.


"And now I'm done..."


Z'go laughed as he returned to the table he'd left the empty mug and retrieved it along with another and the wineskin.  Aye, she had a wicked sense of humor and he enjoyed that, and when he noticed her mock appraisal he imitated her, "Like what you see?  I can take the shirt off if you prefer," he said as his eyes met hers once more. 


After she sent the brown off on his mission Z'go offered her one of the mugs, refilled with wine.  "To a job well done, Journeywoman. In keeping our Lower Caverns clear I mean, obviously not for helping Gamyth.  Obviously not."


He grinned again and started walking backward a little, making his way over to the couch against the wall.  He paused suddenly, "Ah, just one rule." He pointed down towards her feet. "No boots on the rug. You can leave them over there, by the entrance."  He shrugged, as if there wasn't anything he could do about it (as if he wasn't the one making the rules!) before sitting himself onto the couch to await his companion.


Ambrelli raised an eyebrow at him.  "It was earlier. I've already seen it, thank you," she turned back to the brown flitt, finishing with him so she could turn her attention to .... the wine.  Or so she told herself.


She took the wine from him, smelling it first to get the aroma.  She held it up as he toasted her, feeling slightly uncomfortable at the dedication.  "You're welcome." It was a simple response, and she knew he wasn't trying to make her uncomfortable.  She looked at him like he was crazy though when she was told to take her boots off. She looked at him suspiciously, but it did match with his meticulous quarters.  She bent down, unlacing her boots and slipping them and her socks off. She walked over, dropping them by the door, before walking towards him on the couch. She waited for an invitation.


"Make yourself at home," Z'go said, mostly trying to be polite as he saw he stand there looking like a wherry at a hatching.  Now that there was no dragonhealing to be done she was no longer in her element, Z'go judged and reveled in it, finally feeling like he had the upper hand for once.  He took a drink of his wine, "I'm not trying to drug you, if that's what you're worried about," he mentioned, noticing that she hadn't taken even a sip.


"You have the local accent down pat but you don't seem like the usual southerner from what I can tell," he decided to mention.  "I imagine you spent a lot of time far away from here."


"I'm letting it breathe.  You're supposed to let them breathe a bit," she said, as she sat next to him on the couch.  She hadn't been this physically close to someone since she'd left Igen. She missed her life there, which was sad to her because she'd left due to her own unhappiness.  She just kept telling herself it would take awhile to settle back in, for Arolos to feel like home again. She took a sip of the wine, enjoying the vintage, her legs crossed casually in front of her.  She toyed with one of the rings on her finger absently.


"I'm from here actually.  Born in a weyr across the Bowl.  My father was a bronzer, my mother his mate.  It was a good place to grow up." She smiled genuinely at the memories.   "But I haven't been back here in a decade now I think. It doesn't..." she struggled to find the right words.  "Much has changed since I left," she ended with.


"So you know your wines," he said, his voice clearly indicating that was a plus.  Z'go watched as she took a sip and crossed her legs. By the time she started speaking about her youth, that nostalgic smile on her face, Z'go knew that she had started feeling, the very least, a little more comfortable.  He repositioned himself, feigning like he was making himself comfortable but in reality he just scooted a little closer, touching his thigh to one of her knees, "Sorry, not the largest couch."


He drained his mug and left it on the small table in front of the couch, "Born here?  That explains the accent," he replied. "I don't know much about how it was back then; I only arrived here a few turns ago, and even in that time it's changed a lot.  Pern keeps on turning, like the merciless mother that she is. I transfered a lot before I ended up here. This place is a Lord's Palace compared to some of the shit holes I've had to be at."


She gave a small chuckle.  "Aye, I know my wines, and I know the bottom of them too.  But this is a better vintage than I normally get. Being a rider has perks the rest of us don't always enjoy."  Her only acknowledgement of his physical proximity was a momentary hesitation in the fiddling of her ring, like a breath being held in anticipation, before she went back to the absent motion.  But she didn't move away.


She quirked her head at him a bit as he drained his mug so quickly.  She hesitated a moment, then did the same. How did she explain to him that it wasn't so much the Weyr that had changed but her?  Oh there were changes to be sure, but those weren't what kept her up at night or haunted her dreams. "Where were you before then?" she asked in return.


Was she able to handle her cups?  Z'go asked himself, noticing that she had drained her as well.  With a shrug he filled both cups up again, "Here you go. Perks or not, I imagine that if you really wanted something a pretty girl like you would be able to get it."  He noticed her ring and was about to ask about it when she fired a question off first.


"Me?  Oh, I come from Telgar, but I impressed at Igen.  Spent some time at that mountain of wherry shit they call Fort," he almost spit the name out and took a long drink of his wine.  His time at Fort had been hellish; brownriders with sharp tongues like Z'go's and a disdain for authority tended to end up on every bronzerider's shit list sooner or later, especially at a place like that.


He had no idea... When she'd first arrived at Fort, she'd hid herself in drudges clothing, until a kind ww made her realize that being a higher target meant attracting better hunters, so to speak.  Better to have a powerful man desire you and fend the others off then a whole lot of them all think they could have you. She'd learned to use her beauty as a weapon, and use it well. She took a long sip of the wine before answering.  "When I see something worth troubling myself over..."


She froze instantly the moment he mentioned Fort, although outwardly, he'd have seen nothing.  The instinct to hide her emotions was too strong, especially when triggered by fear. He'd been at Fort.  Had they been there at the same time? Did he recognize her? Was this a trap? She covered this moment of internal panic with a sip of her wine.  No, she'd remember him if she'd seen him. She'd never seen him or Gamyth before today, of that she was certain. She'd recognize the dragon if not the man.  She relaxed slightly. She'd resolved never to deny her time at Fort, but she didn't want to be blindsided by someone from there either.


"I've just come from Igen.  I spent a few Turns there. Sandy..." she said in the understatement of the century.


"Aye, sandy, like Arolos is... beachy," he raised a brow.  Something had seemed to change in her, if only at a minor level.  A dragonpoker player as apt as Z'go was could notice these minute things, though he had no idea what had caused that reaction, nor why she would play it off.  She was a naturally tense person, he assumed, and maybe she had heard the horror stories at Fort and assumed he could be dangerous.


"Do you mind?" he asked, touching her hand softly.  There was great strength in his hands but he touched her with surprising delicacy, lifting it so as to examine a little better her ring.  "It's beautiful, how did you get this ring?" The ring was beautiful, but it was also a reason to touch her, which he found himself very much wanting to do.


"It had its beauty..." She'd rather liked Igen's geography, the natural stark beauty having been a good place for solicitude and healing.  Not that it had done her much good she thought.


She didn't pull away from him when he touched her hand, pulling it towards him.  Internally, her battle raged as it did every time she'd been with a man since leaving Fort.  Which made no sense to her. Back then, she'd have used sex as easily as any other weapon in her arsenal.  Why then since leaving did she feel so guilty for desiring someone just because she did. "You didn't exactly leave me much choice if I had," she said, a bit of her earlier acidity in the tones, but she didn't pull away.


Well, now, look at him trying to be charming.  She nearly laughed out loud at the change from the gruff man who'd answered the door to the one here before her that she half expected at any moment to kiss her hands.  "It was my mother's. And the other my father's rings."


It was the old thief in him that was most interested in the rings, and though he had no urge to steal them, he found their craftsmanship extraordinary.  He grinned and flipped her hand over and began to caress the palm of her hand with his thumb.


Sure, Z'go was gruff and quick to anger, but for the longest time he'd had had to survive as a conman and a dragonpoker player, so he knew how to turn the charm on... and who wouldn't want to with Ambrelli?  She was undeniably beautiful and her cold seriousness and intelligence was a challenge. He wanted to break down her walls and feel the fire that brewed within her, the enclosed passion of such a guarded woman.  "Sorry, I'm used to just taking what I want. What did you call it? Perks of a dragonrider?" he smirked, playfully and leaned a little closer to her as his second thumb joined the first, massaging her hand, knowing very well that healers worked hard with their hands, and it was among their most important assets.  "Do you want me to stop?"


Ambrelli watched him curiously as he turned her palm over caressing it.  If she wanted to stop him, now was the time she should do so. Everything in her told her that she didn't have to, which was silly because she knew she didn't have to.  She'd stayed because she wanted to. After Turns away, she thought she'd have gotten over this issue. She pushed down the emotions, and focused on the here and now. Being touched, being wanted and desired rather than looked at out of the shadows.  Oh she wanted this. It would be a nice distraction from the rest of her life, even if it was just for the night and fueled by wine. 


When he leaned in closer and gave her those sly lines, she smiled.  She took her other hand, the one he wasn't caressing and brought it up to press against his lips.  "Oh I'm a perk now...." she said, her tone implying his answer better be the right one. "And that depends on your answer..."


As soon as he felt her finger on his lips he kissed it and without breaking eye contact he opened his mouth and took half of it in, biting softly.  Could he have simply answered her question? Yes, but he didn't want to. Of course she wasn't "a perk;" that word was too small to describe what she was.  She was more of a blessing or something along those lines. Z'go now had both of Ambrelli's hands under his control and he exercised this by taking the wrist of the hand that he was biting and bringing it to him, placing it on his own chest where she would feel the musculature of his well formed dragonrider's body under the thin white tunic and leaned into her.


His lips met hers with surprising confidence; Z'go wasn't the kind of man who fear anything, and if she rejected him at least he wouldn't lament not taking his chance.  Lips half open upon contact, he sucked superficially on her bottom lip for an instant as he kissed her. Tilting his head to the other side, he kissed her again, massaging her lips, trying to coax them open with the tip of his tongue, seeking and attempting to summon the passionate soul he knew was in her.


She'd been around dragonriders all her life, and his actions didn't shock her.  If anything, he'd done pretty much exactly as she'd expected. Not that she'd predicted the details, so much that unless she'd pulled away, he'd have continued.  She was pleased that she was right and that he'd continued, and now was just a matter of how to continue... Her skin was afire beneath his touch, and she leaned into it, trying to shut down the part of her mind that was trained to analyze and anticipate, and instead just feel.


When  he placed her hand on his chest, she pressed it into him, not to push him away but feeling against him.  His lips against her, sucking on her lip, felt so good, so good to be wanted by someone again. She gave into him slowly, her lips parting, her hunger and need for this contact, for him surging up.


Her nails suddenly dug into his chest slightly, and she pulled away abruptly.  Her face still close to his, but far enough away that she could breathe. "I've changed my mind.  Take it off," she said, her breath heavy, referencing his offer to take off his shirt earlier.


Through her lips he felt her walls begin to crumble; she gave in to him slowly, parting her lips for him, and he welcomed it gladly, kissing her eagerly until he felt her push him away.  Had she regretted her decision? No, he realized when he heard her speak. A roguish, knowing smirk grew on his lips and he rose from the couch and passed one leg over her body so that he loomed over her.  The brownrider took her by the jaw momentarily and leaned into her lips, stealing a kiss from Ambrelli before letting go, "You're mine tonight."


Z'go crossed his arms over his chest and pulled his tunic up, making a little show of it.  He was a well shaped man, with defined muscle from a hard life and dragonriding. Scars decorated his body; the results of Threadfall and tempting fate with a knife too many times.  His chest was dark with hair that descended between his abs, towards his navel and below. Z'go's green eyes watched Ambrelli, trying to deduce what her next move would be. Desire grew within the brownrider, and he had no intention of trying to control it too much.


"Look at me," he told her.  "I'm yours tonight, too. Now kiss me."


Her eyes never left him, following his movements, their blue and hazel forms following as he moved to stand over her.  She roguishly smiled back at him too, but her thoughts were different than his. Men were so damn predictable. It's what had made them so easy to be used back at Fort.  Even at Igen. He hadn't been wrong; she knew how to use her beauty and sexuality to get what she wanted. It had been a hard habit to break at Igen, but shards, it had gotten her a few nice things.


She held her tongue as he laid his claim to her.  A biting response had formed on the tip of her tongue, but she licked her lips instead and forced it back down.  Enjoy and stop thinking she commanded herself. She needed this probably as much as he wanted it. She watched with hungry eyes as he stripped off his shirt, taking in his body.  A hand came up to trace a scar, her fingertips lightly playing over it before increasing the pressure.


And she couldn't hold the retort back this time... "You were mine from the moment you opened your door, Brownrider," she said as she stood, kissing him hard.  She pressed against him, kissing him deeply.... And then quick as lightning, she hooked her leg around his, pulled and twisted, so that suddenly, he would be on the couch, and her standing over him.... And then she placed a hand on each knee, leaning down to kiss him again....


Z'go gave her a defiant look as soon as he heard her, his roguish grin remaining.  He didn't protest when she changed positions on him and he was forced to look from below; he half expected this from her.  Her cold exterior had hid that fire that he'd felt; now it was time to see exactly how dangerous her fire was. No matter the heat or the intensity, he was confident that he could take it.. and enjoy it, and if she needed taming, he was willing as well.  He was still learning, enjoying his time with her.


He had enjoyed the previous kiss; the raw passion, the desire, the aggressiveness and he wanted more or that.  He leaned forward into her kiss and for a moment he allowed her to dictate the rhythm... for a moment. He suddenly bit her, capturing her lower lip with his teeth and squeezing, perhaps a little too hard but not hard enough to draw blood.  He pulled until the lip escaped and he leaned back onto the couch, licking his lips, clearly pleased with himself, "You aren't a shy little holder's daughter, are you?"


His hands were free and he wanted to touch her but resisted, instead he guided them towards his pants, undoing the knot and button that held them up, opening the flap.


She kissed him back as fiercely as he kissed her, happy to let go and just feel with him right now.  He didn't even seem surprised when she forced him onto the couch, the man didn't miss a beat. As he bit her lip, a slight whimper escaped her, but the tone would clue him in that she did not want him to stop.  As he pulled away from her she saw that smug look across his face. She was probably going to see that a few times tonight, wasn't she? She could of course decide not to give into him, but then she'd be going counter to her own goals.  Her own goals.  She never got tired of that.


She laughed freely at his question, knowing it wasn't exactly a question.  "I told you, Rider," she was stubbornly refusing to call him by name. "I'm a bronzer's daughter.  It's been a long time since I was shy when it didn't suit me to be..." She didn't stop him from undoing his pants, but she also refused to go along with him yet.  That wasn't quite the game they were playing. Instead, she undid the leather shoulder gauntlet on her left side that acted as a perch for Merck and held her knots, the buckle across her body being easily undone as it fell away.  Her tunic was slate blue and matched her eyes, the fabric simple quality for the work day, but tailored nicely for her body. She undid a button on its side, and slid it over her head. Her breasts were small and matched her lithe frame.  She wasn't a rider and didn't have the hardened body of one, but she was muscled from her Craft and perhaps slightly too skinny, her ribs and collarbones visible. She took one of his hands, but rather than put it on her exposed torso, she brought it to her face, kissing his palm, before then biting one of his fingers in retaliation.


Z'go growled when he felt the bite, taking him away from her nakedness.  He didn't mind her being skinny; he was sure that her body would be able to handle his eagerness when the time came, and was preocupied admiring her, therefore distracted when she bit him, "You're a vengeful little thing, aren't you?" he said between his teeth, though by his tone he seemed to approve, albeit the pain of the bite.


Tearing his hand away from her mouth, he redirected it and it's twin to the woman's backside, squeezing and drawing her closer to him.  Underneath her she would feel the hardening bulge in his pants, a clear indicator of what she was doing to him. He didnt care if it was manipulation; she was welcome to use him, just as he was keen on using her for his own pleasure.  "Do you think you can tame me?" he asked her, looking at the woman in the eyes.


His hands slid upwards until he could hook his fingers into her pants and start to pull down.  He wanted to admire it all.


She chuckled at his comment, at the bare truth of it.  Vengeance was exactly how she ended up in the life she led.    "MMhhmm....I'll make you pay tenfold for what you do to me..." she didn't hold on when he clearly wanted his hand to be elsewhere.  She didn't stop him, and instead pressed into him. She never broke eye contact. He clearly didn't want her to be meek, so there was no need for her to pretend to be.  She moved one of her hands to cup him instead, feeling him through his breeches. And she chuckled deep in her belly at his statement, moving forward to her lips were at his ear, licking it before speaking to take any sting out of her laugh.  "Are you a weyrling or a wild wher that needs to be tamed? Or do you just need to be... released?" she asked, taunting him.


A shiver ran down his spine when he heard her voice in his ear.  When she cupped him she could definitely feel his thickening hardness under his pants, yearning to be released from its cloth prison.  Z'go felt a similar yearning and couldn't help but bite his lip slightly without breaking her gaze... not at least until her own pants slipped over her hip and began to slide down her thighs, revealing more of the dragonhealer's body.


He bared his teeth, as if he were an animal, playing with her, "Why don't you test me and find out?"  He'd been pretty tame up until now, but blood flow wasn't flowing particularly well to his brain right now.  What was the saying? Men had two heads but only enough blood for one to work at a time. He knew that once he got to a certain point instinct would take over him.


He sat up, meeting her half way and biting her chin and neck and shoulders as both had ascended over her body, never abandoning her skin as they traced a bath up.


Ambrelli stepped out of her pants in one smooth motion, the breeches falling down her legs easily once undone.  She didn't ask him if liked what he saw, or any other statements that asked for his approval. Nor did she give him hers.  She didn't need his, and he wasn't the type to be seeking hers. She saw that in him, the way he saw her rage.


"Less talking, Brownrider..." she growled, and she pulled him towards her.  She made no move to touch his groin again. She wanted to make him wait for it.  Instead, she ran her fingers through his hair, pulling on it, tugging it, raking her fingers down his back as he explored her body.  Her head tilted back in pleasure, her mouth slightly agape. He was going with the right mixture of pain and pleasure, her nerves on fire, the sensations driving her wild.  "You have a bed, I assume..." she managed to get out between breaths.


"The bed?  So traditional..." he teased, biting her naked hip.  He stood with her and took her by the hand leading her from the couch to the bed, onto which he tossed her.  The brownrider climbed atop the dragonhealer and stole another passionate kiss from her lips. He couldn't help but lick his lips and bury his head in her neck, kissing and biting the warm flesh, "I want you," he growled into her ear.


She rolled her eyes at his traditional comment, but took his hand and let him lead her to the bed, laughing as he tossed her on it.  She kept her eyes on him, biting her lower lip coquettishly, her hands moving across his body. Her body trembled at his touch, having needed this for a while without any release.  And as he growled in her ear, she whispered back, "Good, because that's how I want you... Now take off your pants..."


….some time later…


it was the cool breeze rolling over his naked body that awoke the dragonrider.  Daylight had already started to peek over the horizon, beckoning the new day.


Z'go looked around himself confused.  He was naked, alone, and had no covers and he knew for a fact that he'd not fallen asleep like that.  He immediately shot up--why the feck would she steal his blanket? He thought, his mind jumping to the worst possible conclusion.  With a fit of rage he quickly threw his pants on and a tunic and grabbed his boots (failing to notice that Ambrelli's were right there next to his) and headed over to Gamyth.


"Gamyth, wake up, the bitch stole my... oh," Z'go stopped in his tracks, half dressed, half asleep, and blinking dumbfoundedly.  The brown was curled up on his stone couch and with him was the dragonhealer, wrapped in the supposedly stolen blankets. "Ah feck me."

She was sleeping soundly for the first time in ages.  There were no screams, no nightmares, no ghosts of her memories haunting her.  Just the sound of the breath behind her, the warmth of the dragon's hide. She hadn't slept more than a few hours in months, and she'd slept soundly the whole night after coming out here.  In fact, the only thing that woke her was the sound of someone talking and the sounds of steps.


"Ranth...." she said as she woke, then opening her eyes to the sight of Z'go in front of her, the rider coming slowly into focus.  She pulled her hair out of her face, sitting up slowly. "Oh..." the night before flooding back to her. Gamyth behind her and not Ranth.  "Disappointed to find me still here?" she asked slowly. A brown flit disentangling himself from the girl and dragon...


"Huh?  Actually I was about to hunt you down.  I thought you'd stolen my blanket," he corrected her, raising a brow and taking a moment to adjust his tunic.  Z'go ran his hand through his hair and tied it back into a knot, shaking his head. "Why'd you come out here? Do I snore that bad?"


She looked at the blanket curiously, yawning and putting her arm over her mouth to cover it up.  She stood up, Merck getting slightly dumped off as she moved it. "Who steals a blanket?" she said, handing it back to him.  Her long brown wavy hair being the only thing covering her. She reached back to lay a hand on Gamyth. "Thank you, darling."  She turned back to Z'go. "You snore?" she asked, shaking her head. "I just had the best sleep I've had in months. I might want to sleep with your dragon more often..." She wasn't about to tell him that she came out to remember what it was like to be curled up with her father's bronze.  They'd shared sex, not hearts.


"Hey, it's a nice blanket," he replied, defensively.  And it was, anyone with an eye for those things would understand the craftsmanship that had gone into it.  Either way he didn't press the issue, accepting the blanket and immediately starting to fold it.


Gamyth lifted his large, two-toned head and purred a soft grumbly 'you're welcome' back to the dragonhealer.  He hadn't minded her at all, but then again Gamyth was hard to phase and easy to please, much unlike his rider.


"Don't say that too loud in the Dining cavern," he'd joked, completely missing out on any of her personal reasons.  Z'go had slept on Gamyth plenty of times, and he understood it's appeal even if it wasn't the most comfortable place on the planet in his humble opinion.  Plus, she was a dragonhealer and there was something definitely strange about her. Maybe she had weird kinks like seducing dragonriders so she could sleep with his dragon --he didn't judge.  "I can hear the rumors now: Z'go is so bad in the sack that Ambrelli preferred to sleep with his dragon."


Ambrelli pulled a leather band off of her wrist, tying her hair back and up, relatively ignoring his defensive statement.  She stretched while he folded the blanket, her arms over her head. She yawned again, and then walked up to Z'go placing her hand on his chest.  "I'd be more worried about the scratches on your chest. And we were good together," she kissed his chest before walking off, leaving him staring at her backside.  "Where are my clothes...." she called back behind her


Z'go grinned, pleased at the compliment.  To be honest he'd forgotten all about the scratches on his chest.  He'd woken up in such a flurry that... Z'go watched her go, enjoying the view.  She really was a beautiful woman, and after last night... well, she had left her mark.  The blonde man pulled off his shirt to examine himself in a nearby mirror. "You're clothes?  He asked from there. "Check the couch. "


He turned to look at her again, "Though, you could do without them if you want to stay a little longer."  Shirtless, the brownrider made his way over to the woman and trapped her from behind, hugging her to his chest and biting her neck before speaking into her ear again, "We're good together."


"Found them...." she called back, picking up her items and smoothing them out.  She was still waking up, the drowsiness unusual for her. But it was hard to be drowsy when you woke up from nightmares.  Shards, she had slept so well. His arms snaked around her, entrapping her close to his body. She'd barely woken up and this man was biting her neck again.  She practically purred in his arms, closing her eyes against this feeling. And she noted that he changed the tense from past to present. She hadn't expected him to be the kind to want her to stick around.  He was full of surprises.


"I'll stay...But then you better take yours off..."


They lost track of time in each other's embrace and the day was approaching noon by the time they managed to put (and keep) their clothes on.  The brownrider was enjoying his time with her; she was aflame and he enjoyed the heat. He knew it was only a matter of time until her walls returned. 


 Z'go offered to bring her down on Gamyth.  "It's almost lunchtime," he mentioned, walking up behind her and placing a hand on her lower back.  "Thanks for helping with Gamyth's wound just now... but you still owe me a new jar of oil," he teased.


"I'm pretty sure you owe me after this morning..." she teased him back.  "And for taking care of your dragon...again. Of course, I'm happy to trade you jars of oil for a good night's rest curled up with your dragon.  Maybe sex. Depends on if you answer your door with or without a shirt on." She was re-tying her hair back. And she'd placed her leather gauntlet and knots back on, and there was an almost perceptible shift in her demeanor.


"I'm pretty much already late for rounds, so if you can fly me down, that would be great."  She checked her satchel, ensuring she had everything. "Don't think I can do that again..." she said, her bark being back.


"I'm sure we can come up with an agreement,"  he said laughing, noting that he would start having to answer the door shirtless more often.  He guided her towards the brown, who was already waiting for the two of them. Z'go helped her up and then went up himself.  About two minutes later the brown was landing near the entrance to the dragonhealer's offices. "This good? It was a pleasure meeting you, Journeywoman Ambrelli."


She slid off the dragon with practiced ease for a non-rider.  She gave him a pat and whispered her goodbye to Gamyth. To Z'go, she didn't even turn around as she walked away.  "Thank you for the lift, Brownrider..." again refusing to say his name as she called back over her shoulder. But a few candlemarks later, Merck popped into Z'go's weyr with a satchel full of two large jars of specialty numbweed oil, a giant scrolled "A" on the painted front of the jar.  There was also a small one that was obviously not meant for dragons. And a note... "An advance payment..."