The following is a log of roleplay on Threadfall MUSH, logged by Zarvind.
All references to the world and characters of Pern™ based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyrightę 1967 by Anne McCaffrey, all rights reserved. The Dragonriders of Pern« is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey and used here with permission.


You head out through the narrow tunnel to emerge in the bowl.

Southern Bowl - Ista Weyr(#69RJ$)
    Spread out along the larger end of the caldera, this end of the bowl is significantly larger than that which lies just beyond the small inlet of two feet of craggy mountains that creep down to form an incomplete partition. The walls of the ancient volcano, long-since slumbering inactive, spread upward with sheer cliffaces that reach into the sky, their outlines reminiscent of four pointed fingers and a thumb. Activity bustles in this area at nearly all hours of the day with dragons or people coming and going throughout the bowl on various errands.
    Tucked into the southernmost wall are the living caverns, the gaping tunnel that leads within illuminated by the glowbaskets set within; just beside this is a larger entrance that leads to the dragon infirmary. The Hatching grounds are found in this area, with a tunnel a ground level just large enough to allow passage for an egg-heavy Queen and a larger, gaping entrance in the side of the mountain for draconic spectators to enter. Numerous weyrs dot the mountainside and the ground in this area, some darkened and some illuminated from within.
Contents:
Iskandith
Llilian
Kassandra
Serriena
J'sen
Goran
Kheri
Margareete
Valin
Goldean
Tithe Train
Trader's Wagon
Vesta
Setarra
Menina
Cymber
Mamonth
Obvious exits:
Infirmary  Caverns Tunnel   Ground Weyrs   Hatching Grounds   Northern Bowl

[ Wagon Descriptions ]

It's come it has, the meager group of wagons and beasts that mark the dedication and honour of the various holds under the protection of Ista Weyr. Fourteen wagons stand aligned in the tithe train, one behind the other, some closer and some further than others. Thirteen of them bear the crests of Igen, Ista and Nerat Holds, their numbers uneven. These are at the forefront, and laden with bulging piles of tarp-protected goods. The wain that brings up the vanguard is different. Wrought in more intricate style, and painted with patches of fading and brighter colours, it seems a definite, eye-catching addition to the normal caravan.

Behind them all is a mass of herdbeasts of various sorts. Runner stock is in the minority, though there seem to be doubled and trebled numbers of ovines and bovines mingled in with them. Of course, various drivers and herders move along with the group, most of them offering friendly smiles or bits of sweet-dried fruits or candy to curious littles or pretty young women.

<<If you like to view the specifics of the tithes offered, type -
'Ista', 'Igen', 'Nerat', or 'herd'.>>

--Ista--
By far the largest chunk of the entire train, six wagons bear the stamp of Ista Hold along their lengths, bright orange and pristine white alternated to either side of the blazon. Perhaps spurred by their geographical imminence to the weyr, their tithe appears to be the largest of the trio.

Wagon One contains: Casks of dried and salted fishes, spiderclaws and mollusks indigenous to the island.

Wagon Two contains: A plethora of native herbs including dried crates of glovecap, hyssop, tussilago and spearleek amongst others.

Wagon Three contains: Stacks of new-woven hammocks and coil after coil of well-braid rope. Both are wrought of various tough-fibered plantstuffs. The same materials, in raw form, top off the load.

Wagon Four contains: Massive amounts of rope-bound sweetcane, the favored sweetener of the tropical south.

Wagon Five contains: An almost immense amount of dried peppers in all their variant forms. The hot ones are packaged alone and bound with a red cord of warning. Other vegetables are piled here as well, fingerroots and tubers prevalent amongst them.

Wagon Six contains: Smaller boxes, intricate items indicative of Ista's skill at handiwork, and several well-wrapped packages of precious gems which nestle between numerous kegs and crates filled with yellow, orange and green citrus fruit.

--Igen--
Wagon One contains: Massive kegs of river grains in a variety of shades ranging from darkest brown to a creamy near-white.

Wagon Two contains: Various piles and boxes of fresh and dried fruits, including melons and redfruit, and the treasured Pernese descendents of pineapples and kiwis.

Wagon Three contains: Neat stacks of carefully bound hides in various grades. Each is stamped with the mark of the Tannerhall. The rest of the wagon is laden with hardwood planks and the as-yet-unfinished boles of slender trees that have been left for finishing according to the weyr's preferences.

--Nerat--
Four wagons are here, at the center of the train, that bear the vivid orange and yellow diagonally slashed banner of Nerat. It seems they put some effort into filling the things, perhaps hoping that would make up for the limited number of their carts.

Wagon One contains: An incredible diversity of vegetables in fresh or dried fashion. Piles of roots and baskets of more tender crops have been neatly packed into the bed by those of the Farmcrafthall.

Wagon Two contains: Stacks of Nerat's bamboo-substitute. The useful stuff can be worked into many items from supports to furniture. They must value it, because they sent alot.

Wagon Three contains: A rich abundance of the different grains which thrive in the flats of the hold and the crafthall.

Wagon Four contains: The most precious cargo of all. Straw-packed cases of the fruited liquors which are so dear to their distillers' hearts. There are berried brandies and bottles of rich wine drawn from Nerat's grapes. Preserves are also present and baskets of nuts. Wrapped in leaves and stored in boxes are the smoked remains of free-range chickens. Their eggs, a special treat, travel beside in cartons laced with ice and straw to make them keep.

Behind the wagons, driven by skilled herders and beastcrafters, are those animals which have been dedicated as tithe for the weyr by all three dependant holds. The animals, for the most part, are not in the best of conditions.. lean, ragged-looking beasts that are nearly on their last legs or those derived from unsuitable bloodlines and stock.

        From Ista: 15 runners and 35 bovines.

        From Igen: 100 ovines, 20 runners and 100 bovines.

        From Nerat: 50 bovines.

--** Local Weather Conditions **--
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Misty pinpricks of moisture far too small to be termed as rain, drift endlessly downward, drenching the earth in their chilled embrace. Clouds have descended from the heavens, and banks of sparkling fog drape over the land beneath the flat plane of a slate-grey sky. Shot through with paler spirals of lighter vein, it keeps a drab and unforgiving watch over the island. There isn't a breeze to move the eery mists away, and they lazily lift up ghostly tendrils in every which direction. Vision is obscured to the point that one side of the spreading bowl cannot be glimpsed from the other.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
It is currently late evening on day 9 of the 12th month of Turn 198. 10th Interval.

As for Valin, well, others have noted the idea of diving beneath, so there's little space left beneath /there/. Hrum. Okay, let's climb. He simply hops atop the wagon, gripping its wooden side tightly. His eyes are narrowed until Iskandith does his thing, and then he smiles rather grimly.

That handsome driver has only time to nod terself to Kassandra, his broad hand keeping the girl down even though they both seem to be safe. "Looks like it's stoppin'," is his brilliant comment on the obvious once the brown has bugled the herd into terrified stillness.

Not much of anywhere to go, really, and so Llilian settles for pressing back against an outcropping of rock, back turned to face the group, her charges body hidden against the rock face, head turns to look across her shoulder at the goings on. She's not going out there and trying to play hero, no way.

Igen's tithe is marked by their hold's colours, rich yellow and striking red side by side on their wagons. There are only three of them, though they've donated prominently to the following-after herds.

Margareete wrinkles her nose, moving her hands from her head to her ears as the dragons make a few announcements to the bowl. "Aie." After the vast majority of the stampede has passed her, she crawls out from beneath her little sandy haven and just peers about.

It's the leader of this caravan that rides out first, heading cautiously toward the herd and silently urging the others to close a noose on the beasts that were loose. He is very wary of Iskandith, paling several layers beneath his tan as he rides by and issues the first call to the horrified stock, an attempt to set them of toward the pens where they belong.

Breathing hard but with an ear-splitting grin on her face, Serriena returns to Menina's side and smiles up at the blue dragon Mamonth. "That was great!" she tells him her eyes sparkling with the thrill of being chased by the stampede. This seems particularly stupid but since she likes to run the risk of getting hurt was well worth it. That and she did not have anything to hide under.

Setarra peers out from under the wagon. "It's over?" she asks aloud. "Wow. I thought dragons had the opposite effect," she comments, carefully climbing out from under the wagon - on the opposite side from the runners, of course. She wrinkles her nose at the damage to her clothing caused by the crushed bag of fruit.

"What's happening," whispers Cymber to Vesta, that eerily loud in the confined space that they share beneath the trader's wagon. It's quiet now, and she hazards a look herself, peeping out from between two wheels.

Kassandra's eyes are just beyond the protective wood of the wagon, still peering at the formerly stampeding livestock somewhat fearfully. "Thank you," she says to the driver who rescued her as she watches the roundup scene beyond Iskandith's bulk. "I would've gotten crushed by those herdbeasts if you hadn't thought quickly." She shudders delicately at the thought, the end of her long amber plait twitching spasmodically.

Valin smacks the side of the wagon he's perched atop. "/Shard/ it," he grumbles, hopping back down to the ground, the puff of dust that rises negligible compared to the clouds stirred up by panicked beasts. "Pens're over THERE, for future reference!" It's not clear who he denounces... dragons for scaring the things, herders for driving them beyond the pens, or the headwomen who insist on taking inventory /here/.

Iskandith warbles happily and rustles his wings, settling down to eye the heard like a dragon contemplating a meal. But he's not all that hungry, so he swivels his head about to look for J'sen, who's in the process of making his way over. "Nice job, old man," he grins, patting velvety brown hide.

Kheri is completely unaffected by the stampeding or the dragons gaining control over the situation. Delusional, yes. Instead, that smile seems to be plastered on her face for this even, although it does turn rather bashful at Goran's little compliment. She opens her mouth to say something, but nothing will come out. At least he /did/ ask her another question. Lifesaver that is, or something. Legs are swung back out again as she nods, "Aye, 'tis right comfortable up here."

It's over. Just about. The poor beasts that were not so fine to begin with, are all but dead as their drivers push them into a tighter mass and head them off, slowly.. cautiously.. and quietly, pointedly keeping their leaders away from any view of the remaining dragons. The tramp of hooves fills the air, and the lifting of dust, but few of the creatures can surpass their terror enough to so much as low on their way out of this part of the bowl. In their wake, is some amount of ruin. Not -all- of the tithe is destroyed, not even -most- of it, but enough lays smashed about to give the reappearing Velores a frown after an initial snarl.

Vesta chuckles, "Iskandith seems to be the best stampede stopper of them all. I hope none of the herd dropped dead of fright." She crawls out from under the wagon and begins brushing herself off. She holds a hand down to help Cymber up, too.

Zarvind comes up, looks about, and opts to stick where he is, in the quiet and shadowed curve of the bowl. He's not planning on coming on until the round-up truly ends, and his duties for the day are well inside the cavern so there are no worries there.

"Why would they have the oposite affect?" Menina asks Setarra, still a little shaken by this whole incident. "Runnerbeasts think they're out to eat them." She manages to give the girl a candid smile, even though her face is still beet-red and her eyes are still watery from embarassment. "Although, they're too stringy for Mamonth." Meni gives one deep, relieved sigh and shouts a little loudly, "Sorry about that, folks. Mam didn't know that would happen."

Goran frowns at the sorry excuses for 'beasts, shaking his head and muttering, perhaps to Kheri, perhaps to himself "Poor things. They ain't going to be worth eating, if any survive. Don't know who thought to send such pathetic beasts, but they weren't thinkin." He turns to Kheri and gives her a wink; seems he's lost all his former shyness in her presence...for now. And off he is again to heft more of those fat sacks of grain; those, at least, seem to be worthy of being tithed to the Weyr, unlike the livestock.

Cymber takes that hand and shakily crawls up from the ground, brushing herself off only after the main force of the herds have moved off. "What a mess.. do you think we'll have to clean this up, too, now?" Her eyes have found the remnants of a melon carton, ruined and smashed next to the trader's wagons.

The driver of wagon nine takes a breath or two and only then finds his charming smile. "My pleasure." A tip of his head and he crawls out of the wagon, and offers his hand to Kassandra as if nothing's happened at all to dismay him.

Setarra nods to Menina. "So you'd think Iskandith's bellow would have made them run even more, not stopped them." Then she grins, and reaches out to give the rider's arm a pat, if she's let. "It's ok. I don't think anyone was hurt, so..no harm, no foul. Right?"

Vesta grimaces and hmms, "Some of it is beyond help..." She too looks at the smashed melons, "But I imagine we'll get to help clean up and resort everything."

Velora stamps out of the caverns and surveys the mess, anger pressed into the assistant headwoman's features. "Look at this, will you." That's for nobody in particular as she angrily shakes her head. "Well?" Her grey eyes stab the nearest candidate," What are you waiting for? Keep unloading and clean this up. Rianna? Where's that hide? What did we lose?"

Kassandra smiles rather shakily, taking that proffered hand and managing to leave the wagon and end up back on solid, no-longer-rumbling ground with some semblance of grace. "I really can't thank you enough, sir," she says, patting down her hair nervously.

"No time like the present," Serriena says overhearing Cymber's question regarding cleanup. She picks up a wooden crate that was smashed by a runnerbeats hooves and starts to clean.

Margareete moves quietly back over to the work line of people carrying things from wagons to the headwomen, her words grown silent and skin slightly pale. She just absently nods to those talking about her, then finds a moment to conquere that she's thirsty. "I think I need a drink of water. I'll be back in a moment," she states, dissapearing for a moment before coming back out into the bowl with a basket of glasses and a pitcher of water. "Anyone else want some?"

Llilian's breath, one she wasn't aware she was holding, releases, as she sets down the child, who calmly returns to munching on his bit of cane, as she starts on ehr way over to the Serriena, aparetly intent on helping her to clean up the mess. let the others deal with the undamaged tithe.

Valin draws a gloved hand across his brow, and, noting the idle (nervous) chatter of others. "I'm thinkin' they're jus' done scared stiff 'cause he's so /close/. One thing t'be nervous and runnin' 'way from a predator high in the sky who's stoopin'. Another t'be suddenly confronted with it in your face, y'know?" Anyway, Valin looks out to the fields, noting the odd beast or two that might've injured itself in the ruckus. "Well, there's tomorrow's lunch if'n I guess aright."

A few smashed kegs and some lost tribute seem to be the only aftermath of the wild plunge of beasts across the bowl. At least at first. Half-way down the wagon train, after the dust has cleared, the angry voice of a young man can be heard, lifted in anger. "What now? Look at him! I'm not going to put him down." He's arguing with a fellow member of the beastcraft, pointing to the downed form of a finely-made runner. "It's their fault!" His finger jabs generally in the dragonriders' direction. His companion reaches out to calm him down.

Kheri sniffs mournfully as her eyes sweep over the herdbeasts, nodding in slight agreement with Goran. "Those poor, poor things..." Now watch her start crying. Okay, so maybe it ins't going to come just yet, afterall, why sob when she watch that male candidate? She is only making sure he keeps on working. Honest.

Menina mops her face with an old handkerchief, shaking herself slightly and stepping over to Goran. Okay, he can answer her now. Please? She'd have liked to hear what he was going to say. She gives her sister an almost (almost is the key word, there) pitying glance and plops down on the ground close to her feet. She'll watch for a while, then get back to work.

Cymber's rueful smile fades quicky in the light of so much work. She shares a look with Vesta and then starts to pile up broken bits of carton and wood. There are many salvagable boxes, though, and she turns to them eventually, taking her fair load before joining the others resuming their original jobs.

Valin, still recovering from the shock -- and hey, a dragon took his advice, wow! -- peers over to the beastcrafters, and then he snorts. "Aye, blame dragonmen for havin' dragons. In a /Weyr/. Where'd you /like/ for 'em to go? Be grateful it ain't your leg -- or your shardin' /head/ -- that was crushed, Apprentice."

Goran overhears Valin's words, and sends a look of disgust towards the lamed beasts "shards...I hope it ain't lunch. Look tough, t'me." He smiles at Menina, though, dropping another sack of grain. "And there's no need to apologize. I won't call y'ma'am either" he murmurs, before looking to Valora "I think these sacks got trampled. They look in good shape t'me!" Just so she knows for the record.

Vesta watches as some of the resident firelizards help clean up the edible mess and she moves to help clean up a spilled carton of crockery. Remarkably, most of it is unbroken. She glances up and over at Valin and the herder apprentice, a frown on her face.

Velora snorts her disgust at the whole affair, levelling a dangerous look at Goran before she goes back to sorting through whole goods and damages. A keg of half-spilled river grains is diverted immediately into the kitchens as the work gets back into the semblence of something normal.

With a look of gratitude at Llilian, Serriena pitches in to help clean up. "So what have you been doing?" Serriena asks, "I've not seen you since we all went to collect the numbweed I don't think."

Kheri shakes her head, nose wrinkling in disgust. Call Menina by her name? Nah, that shouldn't happen. "She really shouldn't be addressed by Menina.. or ma'am." But what would that leave? Kheri has no clue, and the thought slips out of her mind as her sister plops right by her feet. "Hey there." For once, she is smiling at the bluerider.

Zarvind sidles out towards Margareete and the pitcher, stopping along the way to duck the raised voices of the beastcrafters. He might be looking for a drink, but the lad who's creeping along beside him is more over-wrought than not. "They send such a tithe and expect to blame the weyr? Even I know those aren't fit for--" the too-knowing one is promptly gagged by Zarvind as he huddles into the stream of unloading people, forcing the other to do the same.

Setarra brushes off the front of her skirt, though no matter what she does, the big sticky wet mark is still there. With a deep sigh, she gets back to work.

That beastcraft apprentice doesn't look too thrilled to be confronted by a member of the weyr. He jerks away from the hands of his friend and marches hastily over to stare at Valin. "What do you know about it? I was told to come here, couldn't they keep those monsters still until we'd finished?!" He's angry, and struck by the grief of a young man whose about to lose something treasured. Behind him, on the ground, two of his comrades are examining his runner's broken leg, and they're shaking their heads.

Goldean has disconnected.

Llilian fals into an easy rhythm with Serriena, sometimes holding the remains for collection, other times accepting them to be placed into baskets brought out to collect the unsalvagable trash, "Work mostly, really. I know i've sort of been ignoring the other candidates, but it's really not anything against you, Serr, so please don't think that."

And.. Kassandra is most definitely not forgotten. The craggily-handsome driver of the beseiged ninth wagon bows neatly as his waist, still looking at the candidate. "It's the least I c'n I do, save such a pretty lady." He does, however, reach over to find a box.. a small box, and offer it to said lady with mirth in his gaze.

"Shards no!" Serriena picks up a piece of fruit that lays tumbled on the ground. It doesn't seemed damaged like some of its cohorts so she places it in an empty crate to be kept. "I have been busy too," Serriena tells Llilian, "Today I had storeroom duty. Had to get the tunnelsnakes out. Ask
Kassandra," Serriena shudders, "She'll tell you what it's like!"

Vesta sighs and shakes her head, "Monsters? What do we know of runners, hmmm? What does he know of dragons?" She says that as if she's the authority on the matter of both, even evidently, she isn't. She huffs about at her task, occassionally flashing unhappy glances at the apprentice.

Cymber is dutiful now, she doesn't even go back to flirt with the wagon driver that's just saved Kassandra. She waits in the line, and shows off her load of greenfruits to Velora before slogging over to pass them off to the next in the line of drudges.

Valin drags another crate off the wagon to hand off to a drudge, then adjusts his gloves as he gets back to addressing the Apprentice, a little more calmly. "Whaddo /I/ know about it? I know it takes a runner jus' a few Turns t'mature, an' /you're/ not gonna be put down. I had this sorta thing happen in Southern at m'cothold. Them riders got little respect, an' they stampeeded my herds more'n once. Lost good stock an' expensive fences. Coulda been worse, boy." He nods firmly, then turns to get back to work. Show's over.

Margareete, waiting for people to say yay or nay on the water, takes the remainder and forgoes a glass, guzzling directly from the pitcher. Her cheeks tinged red, she moves back into the line of people moving back and forth, offering to Menina once she's gathered herself, "That was the most excitement I've had all day."

Setarra happened to be close enough to hear that. "Monsters?" she squeaks. "What does he know, anyway? Dragons aren't monsters. They're...dragons."

Llilian frowns, eyes flicking to Serriena, "You shouldn't told me you did. I'd have sent Nutmeg to you. He needs the practice, and it'ds be safer for you than trying to kill them yourself. Let me know next time, and I'll send him to spend the day with you." For his part, Nutmeg only warbles in the affirmative, rather rudely, well, so it wold seem, foregoing his human to wind around Serriena's neck. Here's to hoping she doesn't bat im off.

Oh, give the poor Apprentice some slack. He's distraught to a great degree and his face has reddened underneath Valin's address. "You don't know nuthin. I birthed Dawn with my own hands here and now he's going to end up in some monster's belly??" He's just too angry, and far too young, with no other outlet for his upset, he lunges up and makes a grab for Valin, now that his back's turned.

Margareete has disconnected.

"Monsters?" Menina shouts angrilly and rises from her spot on the ground. "Who here called dragons monsters?" She waggles a finger at the impudent apprentice. "You've got a lot of nerve, boy. I'm not even going to begin explaining why such a simple sentence is making my blood boil. Haven't you heard the teaching ballads? /Don't you pay bloody attention to them/?" The bluerider is in a fine state of rage now, restraining herself from thwaping the boy one.

Vesta shouts at Valin, "Look out!" She dashes in that direction, a bit concerned about what's taking place, "This is ridiculous." She pulls up next to Menina.

"Not /his/ fault," the outspoken boy beside Zarvind suddenly mumbles. "I had a runner once I lost and.." his face crumples, punctuated by hearty slaps on his back by the candidate. "Never mind," he hisses, embarrassed, and tosses a large crate into the lad's outstretched hands. "Take that --" And even though he spots the added activity down Valin's alley, all Zar does is look around for any sign of authority. Besides the angry Menina, that is.

Kassandra accepts the box, whose contents clink gently as she settles it in her arms. "Minecraft?" she says curiously, seeing the stamp on the wood. With a glance for permission at the driver, she flicks open the lid--and her eyes widen at the glittering treasures within. "Ohhhhhhh...." she breathes, as the gemstones catch the sun and glisten brightly.

Margareete has connected.

It's not Velora's job to referee fighting. The assistant headwoman is too busy with those that don't notice the commotion to interven in any fashion. Falling into a comfortable rhythm, she just totes and counts her way through various bags, kegs and boxes.

Goran grins over at Kheri "well, y'think of a name to call her, and that's what I'll call her." He notes with simplistic reasoning. After all, she took all the other options away. And he watches Menina go, then gets another armful, this time a heavy box smelling of spices that make him sneeze..luckily after he's put it down already.

A giggle escapes her lips and Serriena reaches up to stroke the brown winding around her neck. "Hello Nutmeg," she greets the little fire lizard. "He's very handsome," she says to Llilian. "Aren't you?" she croons at the little brown. Her eyes sparkle with adoration at the fire lizard.

Setarra stomps over to Menina and Vesta. "Dragons are anything but," she adds. Helpful, huh?

THUD. Hardly expecting an attack from behind, Valin smacks forward onto the wagon's tailgate, as it were, with the added weight thrown against him. That was a rather unpleasant, dull sound. The Candidate's hat goes flying, and with the wind knocked out of him, there's little enough he can do for that split second. (Un)Fortunately, he has a winged ally, albeit it a very small one. A small one with sharp little claws. A tiny little bronze firelizard attempts to mimic Iskandith's earlier noise with limited success. What was supposed to be a harsh screech comes out as a tinny warble as the 'lizard stoops. Not. Good.

The only driver's that been mentioned frequently thus far, steps up behind Kassandra and tucks down the lid of her box with a quick smile. "Them's for the weyr, pretty lady. Have some more if you hurry with those." He has green eyes, and he looks pointedly toward the place where Velora's sitting before going back to unload the rest of his wagon.

Kassandra glances up at the driver, and flashes him an uncharacteristically bright smile as she trots over toward Velora, the contents of her box clicking faintly together with each step. Reaching the woman, she holds out her burden to be checked.

A soft chirrup, as Nutmeg seems to decide that Serriena's hair makes the perfect playtoy, foreclaws curling and releasing as he tugs at the strands he can catch. Yes, he's very handsome says the soft croon of contentment that a good rub can elicit, "Thank you. He's a hopeless flirt though, and if you feed him, well, you'll have a hard time keeping him away. Anyways," she picks up a full container of refuse, turning and balacning it on her hip for carrying, "You rest a bit, I'll be back with another empty basket."

Kheri can't help but beam at Goran. Someone who actually want (or just does) listen to her. Heehee. And it even includes naming Menina in it too. How nice. The candidate coordinator grins over at the candidate, laughing quietly, "I don't think half of the names I would come up with would be proper for you today." There must be something they can call Meni. " 'Hey you' always worked nicely when she was little. Blondie, too." Certainly would describe her sister.

That Apprentice may not be big, but he's fueled by a loss that comes while he's busily engaged in lashing out at Valin. Far from the center of the action, the boy's runner, which -had- been a very fine beast, is put out of its misery. He pummels wildly at the candidate, though his efforts don't much succeed in doing anything but angering Cid. Scratchmarks appear on the back of his neck, and he finally rolls off shouting, not yet having had to face the angry Menina.

Margareete manages to weave her way over to Zarvind, having one extra glass of water which she slips him. "Didn't I see you looking at my pitcher? Here ya go." She then neatly tucks her hands into her pockets and strolls over towards the side of one of the other wagons. "We almost done yet?" Her head dissapears inside the folds of one of the covered wagons. Rilque startles her with a tap on the shoulder, causing her to back up. "No more water eh? I'm thirsty."

Setarra squeaks at the fight, and hides behind Menina. "Do they have to be so...violent?"

Vesta just watches, knowing she shouldn't stick her nose into the mess. When it seems that Valin isn't in any danger, she sighs, and trudges back to help tote pottery to Velora. One box devested, she trudges back for another, and keeps watching the apprentice and Valin with expression flickering across her face running the gambit from anger to pity...for who, it isn't sure.

Mamonth feels this is the time to intervene. He just can't have His Mejestic Food Caretaker being attacked. Eyes whirling a fiery orange, the blue swats at the errant apprentice with his claws, trying to knock the boy off of Valin. Menina is standing at her dragon's side, screaming in a very un-lady-like manner and rooting Mamonth on. She doesn't even notice Kheri. Wow.

Valin of course has no wish to hurt the kid and is further distracted by /attempting/ to control his young firelizard. Belatedly, he gets out, "Cid, /don't/!" And what he gets is a crack in the jaw for his efforts. Well, alright. The exex Herder-stablehand-Candidate ducks his head and curls as best he can, weathering the flailing, barely-aimed strikes. That one to the jaw was just lucky. How fortunate for Valin, eh?

Velora notes Kassandra's box with a curious wrinkle of her nose. "Those.. can go over here," her piercing gaze lifts upward to take in the candidate's featurs as she points to a small pile right next to her chair.

Zarvind swivels back to eye yet another rampage of the day, and freezes for a moment. "Not another stampede," he growls under his breath, and takes a few steps forward towards the fallen apprentice. And back again, as he's given a glass. Lifting it to lips already parched after his meagre activity, he resolutely turns his head from the trio--it takes little effort in his case. To the boxes.

Goran eyes the commotion between candidate and apprentice briefly, then decides to stay out of it, departing and returning with another large object for Valora's growing pile, grinning at Kheri again. They are holding a disjointed conversation, perhaps, but a conversation nonetheless. "Well....it has t'be at least decent" he agrees "I can't be calling her something impolite at'all." He drops the load gently, then stretches his shoulders in his almost too tight shirt. "Shells, there's a lot of stuff. And I'm still starvin." So saying, he belly emits its protests over beind devoid of sustenance, causing one of those quick flashes of red to appear beneath tanned skin.

Serriena peers at Nutmeg from the corner of her eye. He peers back with equal interest still playing with her hair. "Well if you had hair to play with, I'd be playing in yours too," Serriena tells the brown. "As it is, I"ll settle for tugging your tail." She tugs gently on his tail as he pulls her hair. She grins at him. There is a piece of dried jerky in the trash pile and she snags it, breaking a tiny piece and offering it to Llilian's firelizard.

Margareete just /blinks/ at Mamonth. She then proceeds to cover her eyes and looks over towards Kheri and the other riders. She then looks towards the living cavern. "Perhaps it's time to go take a breather from unpacking things from the wagons?" she suggests.

Kassandra deposits her burden in the indicated place, then turns and trots back over toward the very nice driver. The scuffle earns a quick look and a pair of raised eyebrows, but she doesn't allow it to distract her, as it doesn't really concern her all that much. "Anything else for me to carry?" she asks that friendly--and good-looking--driver as she reaches the wagon.

It's hard to ignore Menina's screaming, much less the big blue swatting the child aside, her voice lifting with more anger than likely -anyone- has ever heard from the Candidate's lips, "Have we not had enough -rumours- of dragons attacking humans, that we must turn it into fact because a rider has too little sense to ignore ther words of an angry and hurt child?"

Of course, from this point on, the whole situation could just degerenate, and so it might, except for one thing. It's right about now that a calm figure steps into the small circle of disquiet. Treslin, the trader that had simply taken refuge in his wagon inserts himself between apprentice, rider and dragon, managing that because, perhaps, he is so big? His hands lift as the boy shrieks out his fear from the background, and it's Menina's wrath he chooses to face. "I don't think the apprentice meant to make such a fuss, he's attached to that there beast, and has just lost hold of himself."

Several beastcrafters, staring with -wide- eyes at Mamonth, sneak in discreetly in an attempt to gather up their scratched, dragon-fussed, and crying comrade. The rider's last tirade leaves even the trader wary.

Hard as well, for Nutmeg to ignore his human's suddenly livid emotion, and he actually, yes, ignores the jerky Serriena offers him, claws tightening in Serriena's hair as he trembles, pressing himself close against the girl's face, hissing towards anyone or anything that gets too close to him and his current 'human'.

Setarra just watches, fascinated.

Vesta blinks as a dragon joins in the fray. That seems a bit unfair, really, but she doesn't think Mamonth is going to actually hurt the boy...much. She agrees with the other candidate, though, beginning to see that the boy is just taking out his grief on the first available victim. She frowns and hmms, but she continues walking, albeit sideways so she can watch the scene unfolding, with her box of rattling crockery.

The raven-haired Cymber had stopped to watch, who hadn't? But a quick glance to the riders standing about and she thinks better of too much dawdling. This time, she reaches out to pick up the opposite side of a heavy crate of melons, giving a tired little smile to the candidate that helps at the other end.

Zarvind was part of that ragged line that has taken shape, curving between wagons and people, that ignores the new-formed group of rider, Candidate and apprentice. Wonder of wonders, /some/ weyrfolk actually like their work. No more though; he slips away from the packing yet again and shuffles closer to the wagon where they are, a small crate still in his arms. The holders will not be happy.

J'sen goes home.

Margareete clears her throat and wanders over towards the young herder and, the dragon. Swallowing hard, she kindly interviens, stepping between the two. Then a sheepish and strange giggle washes over her as she points. "Well, want a bath? Dragons always like baths right? I'm up for scrubbing some hide tonight." Leave it to the giant to play the fool.

Valin rolls to his knees, then pushes himself to his feet, gingerly probing at his already purpling jaw with a wince. He gives a sharp look to the livid Cid who is still flapping around agitatedly, waiting patiently until the bronze should realize that, duh, his pet's alright. When Cid finally alights upon Val's shoulder, the Candidate turns his gaze upon Mamonth. Well, now that /that's/ done, he turns back to the simple work he came out here to do, shaking his head. Where did that crate go? Oh yeah, dropped and shoved to the side of the wagon during the scuffle. Let's retrieve it, shall we?

Hearing what was going on, but trying to ignore it, Serriena feels a bit of sympathy for the poor apprentice. She approaches him slowly and cautiously. "Might I have your name?" she inquires hopefully surprising him into answering.

Kheri hasn't unfortunately noticed the little tossle of the other candidate and the apprentice. Not like she would be able to do much now that its done with. The damage, that is. And whatever it is about, she doesn't know nor care to. Afterall, her own conversation with Goran is much more appealing than anything else seems at this point. "Ay, but it is she is so cute when she is all upset.." What is she thinking? Menina looks horrible when she's yelling at something.. and all flushed. It goes really bad with her blonde hair, or so Kheri thinks of her sister. Leastways, she hardly even notices Goran's blush, but she does wrinkle her nose agreeably. "If you're getting tired, dear, from all of that stuff, why don't we go get ourselves something to eat?" Maybe that was bad logic, but still.

Iskandith goes home.

Ariane heads over from the far end of the bowl.

Llilian humphs, swallowing anything else unfortunate she might wish to say, as she turns back to her task, Nutmeg, slowly settling, seeming to prefer Serriena's calmer shoulder to Llilian's still angry one, and he settles happily as he's carried along through the crowd.

Once the apprentice is carted off, and likely drunk into a stupor, relative calm returns to the scene as a whole. It's obvious that Mamonth had only been trying to separate the two, and it's the portly trader that's the first to snort. "Dragons know their business. Boy deserved it even if he was only frightened." He eyes up Menina and closes some distance. "I don't know who's around to apologize, Rider, but I offer my own. Can't be sorry enough for all that's gone on. Most exciting tithe I've been to in awhile." His grin is sheepish to her.

Margareete draws in a breath, and smiles, before finding her way to the cavern.

Margareete heads into the long tunnel to disappear into the lower caverns.

Vesta is pointed towards the living caverns with her crate of bowls and such and she marches off.

Vesta heads into the long tunnel to disappear into the lower caverns.

Menina gives a weary sigh and heads back to her weyr for some sleep.
Menina steps up to Mamonth's bent foreleg as the River-Dipped Blue crouches low with a gently whirling eyes. Menina swings up easily and settles between two neckridges.

Mamonth leaps aloft, finding a thermal to help gain his altitude.

Ariane has disconnected.

From the sky over the bowl, Mamonth wings his way over to the northern sky.

Goran looks at the stuff still left to carry, then back at Kheri, then at Valora, though his words are directed towards the greenrider "Y'think I've done enough, then? I have to confess to some weariness after a day of scrubbin clothes and then this on top of no food since breakfast." He's almost apologetic at his failure to work himself to death, but there is hope in his eyes that food will be in his /very/ near future.

And, with his peace offering apparently accepted, the Trader looks around at the rest of the crews, who've done and admirable job of both unloading and picking up the mess in the interim. "Looks like a good night to eat what won't survive after the herd's attack." His grin's infectious, and he's big enough to show as he moves over and grins at Velora. "I can't wait to sample the feast." Before the woman can answer, he hums to himself and steps inside the living cavern.

Valin stoops to reclaim the few citrus fruits that has been jostled out of the crate when it dropped, replacing them with their acidic, spherical brethren. With a grunt he hefts the crate, and then he is silent on the trip inwards to the caverns, neither commenting nor noticing commentary on the brief brawl. What's done is done. Hey, people get angry. Just go with it. The Apprentice was justified.

The driver (the only driver mentioned thus far) has been watching the scuffle, but Kassandra's question immediately distracts him. With one of those charming smiles he's been dispensing liberally to the female complement of those helping unload the train, he deposits another lightweight box in her arms. That box, though, is followed by another one, very small. "Here," he says roguishly. "Big one's for the Weyr. Little one's for you." With a wink, he turns his attention to someone else struggling to lift a box.

Zarvind does the simplest thing he can think of: pile his crate on top of the others and then put both in the hands of a friend who's heading to the storage area. "Be careful, that's fragile." But relatively light, actually. And yes, he's calm, as he's always been if the question was ever put to Zar. How much left -- he surveys the goods.

There is remarkable little left to move. After all the excitement passes, those drivers and wagoneers that hadn't been involved in the immediate trouble just help with the unpacking, then take care of their own beasts. There are more than enough drudges fresh on the scene to take care of the last of things, and its's the grey-eyed Velora herself who eventually stands up to inspect the remaining things. "What?" She asks of Cymber, who's offered up one last package for inspection. "Got that girl, now all's done, you might as well head back into the caverns. These strong backs can finish the rest." She repeats that for everyone else before tending the last of her own business.

Kheri has had her eyes on Goran this whole time and, so, she already knows exactly what she was going to say next, "You've done plenty of work there, Goran. 'Tisn't right to make you work yourself nearly to death on nothing in that stomach." With an ever soft smile, she waves him closer to him. "Help me up then?"

Kassandra ohs, and smiles at the driver before trotting off with her burden--Weavercraft sealed and marked. The small box is slipped into a pocket of her trousers for safekeeping, and after a moment's weaving through the amalgamation of debris, goods, and people, she presents her parcel to Velora for inspection. The slight sound of thunking bolts against the wood most likely means it contains an amount of fine cloth.

Setarra finishes her last bit, and slips inside.

Setarra heads into the long tunnel to disappear into the lower caverns.

Llilian manages to make it to the caverns proper, setting the basket downfor disposal, before she slips away.

Llilian heads into the long tunnel to disappear into the lower caverns.

Serriena chirps at Nutmeg and then says, "Now go on to your mistress you sly sweetie you," she tells him urging him on. Nutmeg hops off her shoulder and follows into the Living Caverns after Llilian.

Welcome news to Zarvind and those who have been saddled with his share of picking and moving this tithe day. He beams towards the assistant headwoman, then slaps his hands perfunctorily on his trous leg. "Get them in and get your food later," he tells one wagoneer, winks, and takes off.

You head through the narrow tunnel and into the bustling living caverns.

Living Caverns - Ista Weyr(#94RJa$)
    Vibrant environs enclosed by smooth stone walls, these caverns are the very heart of bustling Weyr life. The largest is massive and designed to house almost the entire population of the Weyr at once, with tables and benches arranged in perfectly neat rows that run almost the entire length of the half-circle cave. Tapestries are flung from the ceiling, draping down in bright hues of Istan black and orange as well as colorful scenes of past heroics detailing all the fiery glory of Pernese history. Hearths line the walls, at least one of which constantly burning with a pot of stew and a pitcher of klah set there to keep warm.
    Tunnels branch off from these central caverns, leading deeper into various parts of the Weyr. To the east lie the infirmaries, both human and draconic, beyond a small wooden door to minimize the noise that will filter through. West are the kitchens and the storerooms from which emanate delectable smells at nearly all hours of the day or night, drudges bustling to and from with dishes and platters. Stairs lead down into the lower caverns while a man-sized tunnel cuts through the stone and back out to the bowl. Smaller tunnels diverge here and there as well.
Contents:
Setarra
Margareete
Auntie Iza
Dragonpoker Table
Obvious exits:
Lower Caverns Stairs      Kitchens       Infirmary      Bowl

Serriena comes in through the narrow tunnel from the bowl.
Serriena heads down the stairs, deeper into the Weyr.

Margareete is sitting over by the hearth, sipping quietly on some klah.

(Margareete)
        A refined young woman stands proudly before you. Her hair is the perfect contrast to her otherwise natural looking features. Wild mahogany tresses curl wickedly around her shoulders, soft cinnamon highlights weaving their way through the auburn mass. A waterfalled-illusion of tiny braids with permanent minuscule wooden beads clinging to the tie-off points twist about here and there, adding a decorative nature to her style. Her skin is smooth and finely tanned, but her right arm bares the small tattered mark of being wherry scorn turns ago. Well healed, it only appears now as a lighter ivory scar in the rough shape of a star. Riddled indigo irises peer out from a well-rounded bunch of lush russet lashes. Her nose is average, narrow with a slight inward curve making the end stick up a tad. Exquisite full lips curve angelically beneath it, her only striking feature beyond her hair. She is by far nowhere near petite. But, she isn't overweight either. Her body's curves are ample enough to give her a healthy if not slightly muscular appearance. Long limbs carry her body stedfast and true. Extremely tall for a woman, she stands at around 6'2". The term, 'built like am Amazon' comes to mind. Age can be guessed anywhere between twenty to twenty three turns.
        A simple beaded twine choker encompasses her throat, neatly hugging the delectable curve of her neck. Sapphire to sky-blue, all shades of that melancholy color swirl in random patterns through her tight-fitting shirt. With a low neck-line it reveals just enough cleavage to be intriguing. The sleeves are long and uncuffed. Brown cotton pants cover her bottom half, the waist a little too loose that the accompanying black leather belt keeps them from sliding down. Simple twine sandals with treated hide soles adorn her feet.
        Upon her shoulder is neatly pinned a resident's knot of Ista Weyr, displaying proudly the bold orange and black colors.

Setarra wanders over, finding a damp rag to bolt at her clothes with. "Wild ride, huh?" she comments, flopping down next to Margareete.

(Setarra)
Before you stands a young woman who appears to be about 15 turns or so. Thick mahogany hair cascades down this her back, falling forward to frame her oval face in soft waves. Dark, serene brown eyes dominate her tanned face, spaced nicely above her small, dainty nose and a wide mouth, with lips that are maybe a bit on the thin side.
She's of mid-range height, somewhere around 5'6" or 5'7". She wears a long, scarlet skirt, belted at the waist with a tan wherhide belt; a loose-fitting beige blouse, and tan sandals. The knot of a baker apprentice posted to Ista Weyr is on her shoulder.

Margareete bobs her head, eyes lingering on the flickering flames. "Yeah, no doubt. I seemed to be invisible out there too. No one even heard me talk. You'd think with being so tall people couldn't help but notice you. It's the exact opposite for me most of the time."

Setarra wrinkles her nose. "Well, no one paid much attention to me, either. I'm not short..Though I'm not as tall as you, I admit. People rarely listen to me, unless I make them."

After all the noise and furor, Zarvind appears rested and his own strutting self as he wanders into the caverns. "Hello, hello," he calls out to weyr and womenfolk alike, and heads for the reviving warmth of the main hearth. "Thanks for the drink, girl," he calls to Maggie, neglecting to hear what has been said and undoubtedly compounding his crime.

Zarvind
A mop of black caps an awkward seeming demeanour, dripping askew over one ear in unpractised roguishness. His face is highly angular, sly curve of cheek almost childish in the peak of youthful delicacy. Grey eyes and clipped chin straggle casually together with the rest of this youth's sturdy but slightly lanky form, long legs claiming a striding gait as an obscure slur marks alto voice.
A spare pair of sandals fits loosely over Zar's feet, chapped flesh evident on the exposed toes. Otherwise, his clothes are ordinary, Weyr issue, brown tunic clapped over mid-length middling umber trous reaching to calf level. Crinkled, his outfit at least appears clean, without frills, but his knot surpasses his clothes in its mundanity: a single white knot identifies him as an Istan Candidate.
He is 14 Turns, 3 months, 16 days old.

Kheri comes in through the narrow tunnel from the bowl.

Goran comes in through the narrow tunnel from the bowl.

Margareete smiles towards Setarra. "Well, we shouldn't dwell on it. No sense in that." To Zarvind, she nods. "No problem. And, call me Maggie please."

Goldean comes in through the narrow tunnel from the bowl.

Cymber comes in through the narrow tunnel from the bowl.

Setarra says " I guess not. Maggie? That's pretty. I'm Setarra, by the way."

Valin comes in through the narrow tunnel from the bowl.

Kassandra comes in through the narrow tunnel from the bowl.

Valin strolls through slowly, barely wavering in his course toward the stairs that lead to the lower caverns complex. One might suppose getting your teeth rattled by an offensive fist kills the appetite, or something.

Now that all the work and all the fuss are over, things have quieted down to normal in the living caverns. Wagoneers sit at their own tables, or mingle with weyrfolk, both glad to wipe away the sour taste left over from earlier troubles. Treslin's got himself a center table, and is enjoying himself with a half-empty bottle of wine. One could presume that it's already gone into his rather hefty belly, and that it's also the cause of his crooked smile.

"Maggie, Setarra. Pleasure to meet you. I'm Zarvind, if you don't know," Zarvind greets, and grins, and kneads his fingers by the rising heat. Ignorant of their earlier topic, he goes on casually. "I wonder what the next tithe will be like, this is my first." An interesting first. He moves aside to allow a wagoner to warm his hands too, at the fire.

Valin heads down the stairs, deeper into the Weyr.

Margareete offers a hand towards Setarra. "Well met. What exactly do you do here? I'm on the laundry staff, working to keep Ista's whites their whitest." And with that, she offers a nod and semi-salute. Her attention is focused on those presently near her. "Not sure. It wasn't like that at Igen. Ever. I think I'll stay inside next time and help the drudges."

Goldean seats himself quietly as he just sips a little bit of juice, yes juice, no klah today for some reason.

Setarra grins. "I'm an apprentice baker," she tells Margereete. Tha Zarvind, she adds, "Well met."

Margareete nods and chimes in her, "Well met," to Zarvind as well.

Kassandra slips in, smiling. She still has one hand in the pocket of her trous, and it remains there until she finds a spare seat in the corner of the cavern. Then the hand comes out, holding a small, elaborately carved wood box. She regards it curiously, then flicks it open. "Ohhh..." she breathes, as the light of the glows on the wall catches the object within and makes it gleam. "Cymber, come here and look at this!"

Goran strolls in with Kheri on his arm again; he seems not to mind at all being a support for her, and smiles down at her with something akin to nervous bemusement, wondering why she wants the support of a bumbling farmer turned gardener turned candidate. But he mentally shrugs and instead offers to fill her plate with food "And if y'don't mind keeping me company, I was going to go do that laundry of Menina's; you could eat while I worked, and I could just get bites in between...I feel bad about letting it sit around the barracks.." As in, it'll stink the place up. Ew. He sends the greenrider an enquiring look, his voice low so as not to be overheard, perhaps...or perhaps just because he's shy.

Drudges and bakers, people from the kitchen swing in and out of the room now and then, bearing trays of food that only barely escaped demise before being lugged in. Fresh melons have been sliced, and kiwis and berries smother them like fruity water about golden islands. Ice's been shaved, and with the help of a few of the tithe-bringers, a bowl of glistening sherbet also waits at a side table's center. There's the customary fare of wherry and meatrolls and everything else as well as parts of the tithe that had been too damaged to store.

Cymber weaves her way through the tables with a sinuous-sort of pace, smiling greetings and even waving to those familiar along the way. She passes close to Margareete's table and offers a weary, but warm, "Heyla," before moving just next to it and turning eyes that rapidly widen down to Kassandra's treasure. "Where did you get that?" is asked in a stage-whisper, very very slowly.

Zarvind is quite polite today, and it might be the influence of the incident outside. He utters an approximate echo to their 'well met' and intercepts a kitchener to fill a plate he's found with melon and meatrolls. First in and first out, he tries to be. His place by the hearth has been taken up by a paunchy wagonhand, so he settles beside instead, with something of a frown.

Margareete finds a single moment to unleash a lavish smile towards Cymber, thankful for something warm and fuzzy this evening. She turns her face back towards the fire in the hearths, letting herself daze in and out, content at the moment to be ignored. Then, her voice rises from her throat quietly at first. "Baker did you say? Have any bubblies, or would you care to make some? I have to learn how to make those."

Kheri looks somewhat boastful even as she smiles pleasantly at the candidate. Goran? Bumbling? The greenrider hardly seems to think so, in fact, she is rather pleased about him supporting her so. Shy he may be, and coy Kheri tends to be or so the hushed tone of her voice speaks, matching ounce for ounce with the one offering to get her food. That, of course, she doesn't decline at all. "I'd love to keep you company, Goran..." Eyes glance around the cavern - no one heard that, right? - and then go back down to the candidate.

Kassandra smiles, watching the light play off the little pendant. "That driver gave it to me. Said it was a present. Isn't it pretty?" She is as enthralled with the pendant as a child with a brand new toy. After a moment, she withdraws it from the box and puts it on, the little jade shipfish dangling from the slim gold chain.

Setarra hmms. "Bubblies? Now that's a fabulaous idea. With all these new supplies, I can't see anyone begrudging us the stuff to make 'em." She stands up, then glances around. "Anyone want to help us make some bubblies?" she calls.

Goran piles a large plate high with food, then, and adds a couple of mugs (klah for him, juice for Kheri), and puts it on a tray, offering his arm to the greenrider as he makes his way towards the laundry "I'll get you settled, then go back for the laundry, then wash it.." And his voice fades away as he departs, taking Kheri with him...

Goran heads down the stairs, deeper into the Weyr.

It is Margareete to whom Cymber looks, refreshing her smile as she slides into a seat at the edge of Kassandra's table. Close to both of them now, she takes the time to lean closer and really examine her fellow candidate's new gift. "That is really beautiful. I gave him my best smile and all I got a was box to hand off to.. whatever her name is." She grins at that, settling back and shaking her head.

Kheri heads down the stairs, deeper into the Weyr.

The trader's all alone, and he doesn't much seem to like that fact as he quenches the last of the bottle. It's set back down on the tabletop with a hollow sound while he looks around at all who've gathered. Then he promptly stands up, and he directs his footsteps to a table laden with weyrfolk. That just happens to be Margareete's table, upon which he lays down both hands. "It's quiet in here, I can think of a way to liven it up."

Zarvind gets his bite of melon before wending past the man-obstacle and joining the laundress and baker again. "Care to try some?" he extends the offering of his plate to both, laden with 'rolls and those fruits the weyrfolk brought in. "Bubblies," ponders he in the meantime, "are more suited for later, I think. Try some of these first," he urges of Setarra. Cooking would mean washing, and Work. A glance up for the trader, warily.

Margareete peers up at the baker, grinning. "Well she just offered to make bubblies, with our help. Care to join us?" Most likely not what the trader had in mind, but it's up for grabs right now. "I'm craving sweets right now."

Setarra eyes the trader, and scoots away slightly. "Yeah. We're gonna bake. You're, er, welcome. Yeah."

But the trader's really a nice old fellow, somewhere in his forties and going grey. He widens his grin, almost reading the thoughts of those at the table, then leans back and tumbles into a merry chuckle. "I meant," his bushy brows lift, "I thought you might like some part in a game we keep busy with on the trains. I'm willing to wager anything in my wagon as a prize to the person can name the best of five riddles I give." He -is- a peacemaker this one, and harmless, despite his girth. His gaze is questioning on Zarvind, Margareete, and Setarra.. and even comprises Kassandra and Cymber and anyone else nearby as well.

Setarra distracts herself momentarily with Zarvinds offering. "Ohhh...fruit! Fruit makes great bubblies." Blinkblink. "Riddles?"

"-Anything- in your wagon?" Cymber picks up on that one fast, having caught an up-close glimpse of just what that might mean, since she hid beneath the garish green and purple thing during the herd's wild run. The girl looks sidelong to Kassandra, smoothes her expression and then aims a disarming smile toward Treslin, propping her chin up on her right hand.

Anything -- "Anything?" Zarvind the suspicious ekes out a question in
between chewing on a berry. His jaw crunches over that particular thought. "I'm game," he announces to Treslin, grey-blue eyes darting towards Cymber and Kassandra briefly. He thought he'd caught a glimpse of-- no matter. "No harm in playing, right?" Especially since he's been banned from gambling after the sad fate of candidacy.

"Yes. Yes." Treslin is laughing way down deep in his throat as he answers both Setarra and Cymber one after the other. "Riddles, haven't you ever puzzled them out before?" His gaze is brown and warm and friendly, and it ends up on the first of those two women until Zarvind cuts in and he senses a close to his offer. "No harm t'all, just trying to show the weyr how high we keep you in our regard." The portly man manages to execute a rather deft bow, not openly noting that such tactics might just be good for his business in the process. "So, shall we begin?" He sits then, selecting a spot just across from everyone.

Setarra nods. "He did say it was a game...Some games have prizes, right?" she says to Zarvind. "I'm game."

Kassandra glances at Cymber inquisitively, one hand idly toying with the pendant around her neck. "A game?" she asks, curiously.

Goldean quietly watches, he's wide awake cause this juice has way too much sugar in it, but anyway and chuckle is sent as his eyes just wander to watch the people play.

(Goldean)
Goldean stands tall with a set of wide shoulders and broad chest. His head sits on his shoulders balanced on a wide neck. He has a set of cyan eyes, light and clear, which sparkle with the even nearest glint of light. He has golden hair that shine in healthieness. A few streaks of a blondish white streak through bleached from the sun. His hair is straight and parts into the middle of it. Goldean's skin is a deep tan, which has soaked in many years of Ista's warm sun. He is strong and has power in his arms and legs. His weight evens out as his height reaches just a bit above the average height. Goldean is 16 Turns, 8 months, 22 days old.

Cymber leans over to murmur into her friends ear, in a whisper that can probably be overheaad by just about everyone. "Did you -see- what was in his wagon? He's got nicer things than even your present." Her eyes turn to the coiled dolphin before she leans forward again and nods to both Zarvind and Setarra. "I'd like to play, as well."

Several of the wagoneers overhear, their smiles are dusty and worn, but they lean closer, only nodding to the familiar trader.

"All right, then," Treslin ponders his empty bottle unhappily before reaching out to take one from the table next door. That's where the drivers are sitting, and they've got several, plus their familiar with the overweight trader. They just laugh at him, make a few joking remarks, and then ready themselves as he ponders. "I've got my first riddle here. It's an easy one to warm you up. First one to answer gets the point." A heavy hand comes up to rub at his chin before he goes on, "

            What breathes, but not air?
            What seems awake when he's sleeping?
            Hurries quicker without feet,
            Never thirsts, but's always drinking?

The trader clears his throat after a cough and repeats himself.

Zarvind settles into a seat where he can better hear the trader. He's taking few chances on this. "He did mention that wagon of his--" he drops his voice in answer to Setarra. "--fair game, in my opinion." He rubs his chin thoughtfully, leaning towards the direction of the incoming riddle, and mulls over it, for a while too long.

Goldean smiles as he leans back, in his chair and chuckles to the easy riddle, "Oh come'on guys, it's obviously a fish." Obviously right? Sip of juice and he's sighing to look around, right?

Setarra frown in though for a moment. "Is it..." she starts finally, but GOldean beats her. "What he said?"

Falina comes up the flight of stairs from the inner caverns.

Kassandra ponders that one, toying with her necklace in an idle gesture of thought. "Breathes but not air..." she murmurs to herself, before Goldean's assured answer catches her attention. "Is that it?" she asks, partially to the trader, and partially to her friends.

The juice must have helped. Zar chuckles at Goldean. "Of course, obviously it is." He saw that. Really.

"Well, first point to the boy," Treslin grins a wide grin at Goldean before pouring a mug full of wine. "It's a fish. But that was only the start of my questions, and the easiest." The portly man is just friendly-looking, an image enhanced by an impish wink. "Now let's see.. a second one."

Cymber doesn't even get so much as a guess, and she not happy, with herself. She wrinkles up her nose and only stares harder at the trader, intent on getting the next one.

Setarra leans close, propping her chin on her hands.

"Here it is," rumbles Treslin, taking his good old time before tossing out the next in the contest.
            "Though neither head nor hands possesses this object,
            From its full belly is brought the strength of Pern's defense.
            Its golden heart is given to succor the life of another,
            Before that same causes the very object's death.
            It is buried in the sands of its own home
            In multi-coloured jags that no one mourns."

Goldean sighs and he chuckles to himself another question is sent up to Treslin with a smile "A Dragon Egg" is said as he just listens quietly.

Margareete goes home.

Setarra says "Queen egg."

Treslin looks to Goldean with a sidewards glance, eyes narrowing speculatively on the candidate's face before his thick lips slide into a smile. "That be two for you, boy. Wonder if anyone else'll get a chance to answer." He's quicker this time, a new ploy, "Try this one..

            It cannot be seen, cannot be felt.
            Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
            It lies behind stars and under hills,
            And empty holes it fills.
            It comes first and follows after,
            Ends life and kills laughter.

Treslin has a habit of repeating himself.

Goldean smiles and nods, "Nothing." He chuckles to himself, fun fun!

Kassandra listens closely, and once again, Goldean beats her to the punch. She sighs, though, quite content to listen and toy with her necklace. "Hunh."

"Not.. quite, this time, boy." Treslin strokes at his beard with the fingers of one hand, finishing off the mug of wine and pouring another. "Got another guess, anyone?"

Setarra hrms, "Between?"
Setarra says "Air?"

Goldean smiles, "Space?"

Kassandra smiles, and offers a suggestion. "Silence?"

Goldean smiles as Kassandra beats him to it.

Zarvind reiterates on that. "Silence, quiet, emptiness." A shiver, breeze-brought; shoulders humped.

Treslin shakes his head, grinning at Setarra and Goldean and everyone else that offers a guess. "Close.. very close girl. It ain't silence, and it fills Between." A clue perhaps? From behind him comes a call, "Shadow?" He almost winces. "That's the closest of all, Duren."

Setarra says "Darkness!"

Goldean shrugs as he just nods to Setarra

"Theres' the right answer! One for you, lady," the trader nods his head to Setarra, mentally totaling up the score. "Got some competition now, boy." His friendly grin finds Goldean, but he ends up looking at Kassandra while he tosses out the next one.
            "This thing all things devours:
            Wherries, Beasts, trees, flowers.
            It gnaws iron and bites at steel.
            It grinds hard stone down right to meal.
            Slays Holders, ruins cots,
            And wears mountains down to naught."

Kassandra smiles, as Setarra voices her own second guess.

Goldean smiles, "Thread!"

Setarra shakes her head. "No, thread doesn't hurt metal or stone..Time?

Kassandra ponders that one. "Water, perhaps...oooh, Setarra. Good one."

Zarvind looks blank. But a smile leaps up as he turns a grin to the girl, bleakness fled. "Nice one there." The next one sees him looking to Kassandra as well, in case of a clue. "Time," he agrees.

"Again!" Treslin leans over a meaty hand and widens his eyes dramatically in approval at Setarra. "That ties up the score, this could be breaker, last one of all. Let me think of something hard." Again he reaches for his bearded chin, stroking and stroking in search of inspiration. "I have it." His eyes brighten as he lowers his voice.

            Friend to a tree am I.
            When she's awake I am sleeping.
            Her flowers take the sting from my poisonous bite.
            Yet it is my sharp sting that people come seeking.
            Unpoisoned, it may only save their lives.

Setarra just beams. "Thank you."

Goldean is blank on this one, "Snow?"
Goldean says "Ice?"

Falina looks over at Treslin as she enters, then shrugs, and says softly, "needle thorns..." Maybe not...Anyhow, she goes on over to the klah pitchers.

Goldean says "Frozen snow, melted is water!"

"No, it's not time. Too bad you all don't have a healer here to answer this one." Treslin smugly sips at his wine, propping a dusty booted foot on the chair across from him. Then.. Falina's voice catches his ears and he perks right up. "That's it! Contest needs a breaker." His gaze holds approval for the guesser of that one.

Setarra frowns. "I have no clue about this one."

Treslin takes some time to consider this most important puzzle, mumbling to himself in quite the show. He pours another cup, and he drinks most of it away before he once more shows his smile. "I know. This is the one...
            On Pern there's a creature of curious origin.
            He's created, gleaming, by two dumb creatures
            for the benefit of men.
            Women often fetter him, strong as he is.
            If maidens and men care for him with due consideration
            and feed him frequently, he'll faithfully obey them
            and serve them well. Men succour him for the warmth
            he offers in return, but this creature will savage
            anyone who permits him to become too proud."

Falina freezes, and blinks. "Huh?" She honestly didn't think that she was right. She laughs and shrugs, "Imagine that..." she mutters as she finishes pouring her klah, and goes to sit down, where she can listen.

Goldean shrugs, "A Dragon?"
Goldean says "Firelizard?"

Treslin smiles at Goldean and angles a bushy brow. "Now, after tonight's little mishap, I don't want to even give half an impression that dragons would savage anyone. It's nothing like that, try another direction. It's something that everyone on Pern can use."

Setarra says "Runners?"

Falina looks thoughtful for a moment, then guesses, "A...a runnerbeast...?" But then Setarra beats her to it...

The fat trader just incredibly proud of himself now, leaning back in his chair and brushing at the leg of his trous. "No, not close are any of you." Timely, though, another voice lifts up behind him and he's forced to turn around. "Glows?" His expression tightens a little. "Not those.. not quite those."

Zarvind offers: "A fire?"

Goldean shrugs, "Hard hrm, fire?" Zarvind beat him

Kassandra ponders that one, twirling her pendant between two fingers. The jade carving catches the light and gleams softly. Zarvind's answer catches her attention, and she nods slightly. That makes sense.

"A fire. That's it." Treslin grins at Zarvind. "You're right, but now I need another question, don't I? To decide this thing. Hmmm." He makes quite a show of pondering that one, eyes turning to Kassandra for inspiration before he cries, "I have it.
            Voiceless it cries,
            Wingless flutters,
            Toothless bites,
            Mouthless mutters."

Setarra says "Wind?"

Goldean shakes, "Light?"

Kassandra raises her eyebrows. Inspiration? Her? Odd. "Wind?" she offers, before Setarra beats her to the punch. "Cold?" is her next guess.

A smile dawns broadly on Treslin's thick features and the first thing the hefty trader does is lift up his winecup in homage to Setarra. "Look at that, a pretty young think beat you all in this contest." He drinks to her then, and leans over to smile. "For that, you win the prize, anything you want."

Goldean claps for Setarra

Setarra beams. "I did? Well, uh...What do you have?"

Cymber dropped Trader's Wagon. (OOCly, of course)

Zarvind nudges Setarra with an elbow, and sends a wink. "A good deal," he declares to the trader. A man of his word indeed.

Kassandra applauds for Setarra, who evidently is far better at guesssing riddles than she is. No matter.

"Well," Treslin leans over and thinks ponderously upon the subject, tracing his thick fingers over lines in the grain of the table. "I got some pretty strands of shells, and I have some stuff made up that'll scent your hands and get them all soft." Those are the two least expensive items in his wagon, perhaps he's betting no one else saw the rest to inform the winner.

Cymber's seen the wagon's contents, though.. and she wastes no time in arching a brow at the hefty Treslin before leaning over to whisper to Setarra, in some intricate detail.

Setarra chews her lip as Cymber whispers to her, looking very very thoughtful. "Uh, well...That perfume sounds awfully nice." she says a few moments after Cymber is through.

"It was in the most lovely little bottle, all tinted crimson and delicate like this." Cymber nods her approval of Setarra's choice, indicating said shape with her hands before diverting a blande glance to the trader.

"You would be wanting that." Treslin sniffs a few times, and wrinkles his expression before standing at the table. "It's fine stuff, lady. I think," he smiles, shirking his I-got-the-worst-of-the-deal expression and giving a grin, "It'll be right for you. I'll be right back." With that he turns and leaves, re-entering after some moments with a fabric-wrapped package which he offers to Setarra with another of those bows of his.

Kassandra glances at Setarra and Cymber, and smiles. Leave it to the girls to find the fanciest thing in the caravan. The little jade shipfish at her throat gleams softly as she shifts positions slightly.

Setarra oohs, and reaches out to take the package. "Thank you, sir," she says, almost shyly. She unwraps the bottle, and unstoppers it carefully to take a whiff. "Oooh. Pretty."

Zarvind appears slightly off-key as he grunts to the girls. "That's what you asked for?" That fabric-ed package, that bottle; he fails to see its value. But maybe, maybe, "it looks special eno'."

"My pleasure, lady." Treslin wings a last smile before becoming fairly smug. He turns back to the room in generally and lifts a hand to lend weight to the boom of his voice. "For anyone else that's interested, I'll be here until the caravan leaves, and open for business." He nods then slides back down into his seat, taking up the wine bottle as if he'd never left it.

Setarra grins, and carefully holds the open bottle out towards Zarvind. "It is. Wanna sniff? It smells wonderful."

Cymber's smile is eloquent as she eases over to catch a hint of Setarra's winnings. "That's.. so beautiful." Her voice is dreamy, and she grins after a thought that shifts her expression. "Kass got her pendant, you've got perfume. Can't help but feel left out myself." A warm look brings home the fact that she's joking.

Kassandra leans in enough to see the bottle, and get just a faint whiff of the contents. "Oooh," she echoes, quite impressed. "That smells lovely."

J'sen comes in through the narrow tunnel from the bowl.
J'sen heads down the stairs, deeper into the Weyr.

Trader's Wagon has left.

Setarra grins. "Isn't it, though? Is that the necklace?" she asks Kassandra. "It's beautiful."

Zarvind sniffs the offered bottle. "Perhaps," he grudges her that, "although it would smell better on you, doubtless." The lad isn't a connoiseur, not of perfume. One hand takes up his forgotten melon for an experimental nibble.

Eyes of blue sway from side to side, from woman to woman. In the end, their possessor, who happens to be Cymber, just smiles to herself before she rises. "I think it was the perfect choice, Setarra. Congratulations." She pauses, straightening her tunic out, "It's been a -long- day, and tomorrow looks even harder." A wry glance to the bowl before she grins. "Well, maybe. I hope you all sleep well, I'm heading for bed." A small wave, and she departs, quietly.. utterly uninterruptive.

The wagoneers and the trader end up smiling and talking through several more drinks, but in the end (unless anyone wants to emit them) they eventually say goodnight to their new weyr acquaintances and head off to find their own rest.

Falina disappears through the narrow tunnel to the bowl.

Kassandra smiles in response to Setarra's question, although a slight wave is offered to Cymber. "Yes. Kind of a surprise," she says, idly twirling the thin gold chain between her fingers. "I wasn't expecting any presents." She grins, evidently quite happy with her prize.

Cymber heads down the stairs, deeper into the Weyr.

Setarra restoppers the bottle, and waves after Cymber. "Present? Who gave it to you?"

Setarra also grins at Zarvind, though she doesn't test his theory. "Gotta save it for a special occasion."

Kassandra grins, pleased. "That wagon driver did. I don't know quite why, really. He just gave it to me." She shrugs, still smiling.

Setarra winks at her. "Musta been love at first sight for him, or something. It looks kinda expensive to me."

"Excuse me, chores await." That's from Zarvind, who finds words enough to extract himself from the tableau. He scoots away from the table and to the cavern's darker corners, where a drink's looked for and perhaps found. He rolls off the scene eventually, but not /too/ soon.


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