|RL Date: 8 June, 2016|
|Who: Catling, J'stain, N'rov|
|Involves: Fort Weyr|
|What: The weather sucks, but weyrlings have to shadow Onyx anyway.|
|Where: Hangout, Fort Weyr|
|When: Day 16, Month 13, Turn 40 (Interval 10)|
It's not like anything's new about the weather, this snow seeming to last interminably, barring the sheer fury of the blizzard that broke earlier in the day. Most of the Weyr's dragons lurk in the hatching grounds, those who hadn't cleared out before it hit; Vhaeryth is one of them, nowhere near the sands but high on one of the topmost ledges. His rider mock-squints his way out of the nondescript door into the nondescript corridor, a gleam in his gaze and beer on his breath; eyeing the pair of weyrlings with interest, "What? Did you think you would escape shadowing us today?" Them. Onyx.
"I wasn't sure what to think, sir," answers Catling. She's wearing what she normally wears to fly in, minus the outer gear. "Still am not, to be honest. She takes a step back at the scent of beer on the man's breath. "So... ermm..."
N'rov swings the door wide, the wave of his arm grand as well as hurry-it-up: there's room. The room itself isn't grand, not at all; comfortable, yes, with its couches and a low table that might as well have been born to bear boots, and not so brightly lit. There are men, mostly, not all of Onyx but much of it; a bluerider with a hooked nose smiles impartially at girl and considerably taller boy before she whistles. There's also a dartboard. "Do you play?" is N'rov's question, prepared to shut the door on their haunches.
"I... ermm... play what?" asks Catling, tilting her head from one side to another. "I don't see any instruments...." She looks puzzled, and she scoots forwards a few paces. She smiles shyly at the bluerider, then clasps her hands behind her back. "I'm sorry.... I'm confused..."
"Darts?" inquires one. "Dice?" another. They aren't laughing with anything except their eyes. "Cards," grumbles a third. N'rov: "Mercy." Then there's laughing. "We do that," says the bronzerider, affably. He doesn't lock the door, but he does pull the tapestry across as a second shield. Then they're split, the boy herded away to talk with a few riders, Catling left with this side of the room's crew. The bluerider pats the seat of the couch, beside her.
"Ermm...." Catling moves over to the couch, self-conscious and shy, her cheeks reddening with embarrassment. "No, no, and the only cards I've ever used are for wool...." The flush deepens, and though she sits down, she also ducks her head. "I really.... I don't...."
"Wool," says one man, knowingly. "Wool?" another rider, oblivious. "Tell us about this wool," N'rov invites, dropping into an easy sprawl in the singleton seat across the way. "We'll do all the flaming and dashing about another day. Tomorrow, if the weather breaks."
"Wool. You know. It comes on ovines. You wash the ovines. You shear the ovines. You wash the fleece. You card it, you spin it, you weave it...." Catling shrugs her shoulders. "Mostly I did the washing the ovines, the washing the fleece, the carding." She bites her lips. The ovines were rather stupid, and not as gentle as some people think. But they obeyed me...."
"Convenient," remarks N'rov not quite beneath his breath, all affable humor. "But what's the carding part?" presses brownrider J'stain; he sounds serious. Earnest, even. "Are you good at it? What are you good at?" "Good for," teases the bluerider of earlier. She's been in Onyx for a couple months, now, longer than some of those who go to and fro.
"Am I.... I.... erm...." Catling blinks, flinching a little at the 'good for'. "I'm good at.... ah... I don't know. I don't know what to measure my ability with, anyway. I...." She sighs. "My dragon likes me...."
They see that flinch, at once, though J'stain's now frowning as he tries to meet their gazes: they could be nicer. "It's called, 'being realistic,'" N'rov murmurs to J'stain out loud rather than through their dragons. Still, the brownrider's not entirely reconciled, even when the bluerider says warmly, "Of course he does, dear." (Possibly, because she says it.) "No, really," J'stain asks now, "What's carding?" He bites back any further questions, one thing at a time.
"They're like brushes. Have you ever seen a brush for a canine? Sort of like that, but they're wider with longer handles. There are thin bristles, a little hooked, and they catch the wool. You take a big hank of it and you brush it out and you make the fibers into a mat and then they can be made into thread or felt of things...." Catling shrugs again. "It's easier to show than explain, really," she admits. And then she looks over at N'rov, her brows quirking. "Sir?"
"You don't have one hidden under your jacket to show us, do you," N'rov supposes, if more hopefully than rhetorically. J'stain looks relieved and even says, "Thanks. I've seen that. I think I have. When they're working on it and brush it and then bits of plant pop out?" (The bluerider: "You hope it's just plant.") "Would you learn how to weave if the weavers let you? Or do you like sweeps better?" N'rov's turn to not ask, an amused slant to his mouth.
"I know the basics of weaving," admits Catling. "But my stepmother was...." Her voice trails off. "I don't have anything from home, except for the shoes I was wearing, a set of clothes, and an old pack. I'm better with leather, actually. The tanner was disappointed I Impressed, I think." She sighs. "I like sweeps better. Weaving is too much of the old life."
A couple riders in their part of the room keep watching her, but their eyes get that look like they're not all there. "More than straps?" asks the brownrider; at least he's attentive. So's the bluerider, if only to hand the weyrling a beer handed over from someone else. N'rov's pulled out a slate and started to scrawl like he's actually taking notes... on something.
"I've made some hats, some bags, belts. The tanner said I learned that quickly. So I was learning carryalls, shoes.... but I haven't had much time to learn more. But straps, I like making those, lots. Riyoth's are very soft, supple, but sturdy. Also, for some of mine, I've sewn wool batting in for padding." She blinks, seeing the distance in some riders' eyes. "Is... is something wrong? Riyoth's dozed off..."
"It's fine," says the Weyrleader, and not in a way that invites discussion. Rather, "What are your thoughts on the ways we can help our holders? And the ways that we should help our holders, which aren't always the same thing."
"Ermmm... It's hard to say. Some live very well. Some live in terrible poverty. Some get the best education Pern can offer. Some hope they might see a harper now and again." Catling moves slightly closer to the bluerider without seeming to notice. "Lords Holder, their families, the great folk.... oh, they do have the best. But cotholders, little farmers, little holders.... it's almost as different a life as being a dragonrider is from being a holder. If you're born in a poor family... oh, unless you get taken by a crafthall or Impress.... well... you'll die in a poor family. Or get married off." She shrugs. "How do you help fix that?" The girl finally takes the beer, too, somewhat absently. She drinks a mouthful, then blinks and frowns, swallowing hard and doing her best not to make a face.
"Married into a non-poor family, one presumes." N'rov, certainly not loath to presume. "Though much is said about 'the golden-hearted ones who till the land,' there's your wheaten gold again, for all that they don't swan around in sisal and satin. Most would however, one imagines," he'll do that too, "want to. It is, most would say (if not necessarily defend to the death), each Lord's right and responsibility. To be respected." The bluerider doesn't seem troubled by the girl's reaction, but does seek to pat her on the shoulder reassuringly. "Should we step in, where the Lord has not seen fit to do so? Would you put your own shoulder to the plow?"
"I.... don't know. Maybe in another place," answers Catling. "I fled that life, was cast out. So...." She licks her lips, clears her throat, then licks her lips again. "We have the Records, along with the Harpers. Yet it always seems like the Lords Holder have most of the power. That just isn't right."
J'stain's gotten quiet; he doesn't interrupt when one of the other bronzeriders notes with a smirk, "They have Records too." Then, though, he meets his wingleader's gaze and gives a little nod before standing. "Let's play some darts, Catling. If you don't know how, we'll teach you." Says N'rov, "Catling, catch." Then, flipped on his thumb toward her, are three tokens in turn: good for a drink each but, properly bartered within the Weyr, exchangeable for other things. Provided, of course, one doesn't lose them all...
The girl catches the tokens with ease; she's been practicing catching things, and at least these won't knock her over. She looks at them, then gives a nod. "Thank you sir," she says quietly. She slips them in her pocket, then rises as well. "Darts. Yes. I would.... like to learn." She slips her hands in her pockets as well, looks with brief, almost frantic hope towards the door. Then she sighs and makes her way over to the others.
The door, behind its tapestry, stays cheerfully if unhelpfully closed. At least she'll have her fellow weyrling to learn with, there, while N'rov and a few of his riders (including some from the other side of the room) confer. The weather must be better tomorrow.