Logs:Three Seats Saved
|RL Date: 23 August, 2016|
|Who: Catling, N'rov|
|Involves: Fort Weyr|
|What: Catling gets an extra-curricular assignment.|
|Where: Living Cavern, Fort Weyr|
|When: Day 20, Month 8, Turn 41 (Interval 10)|
Carnelian's just getting comfortable at its table... when a certain bronzerider who leads Onyx and the Weyr saunters along its length; it's nothing new for him to pause for brief, convivial talk with riders here and there, not even just its wingsecond and wingleader, but it is new for him to be so easily overheard saying to the latter something about 'borrowing' and 'Catling.' It has both men looking over towards her before Carnelian chuckles assent, Onyx silent with a not-quite-grin.
Catling is sitting halfway down the table, a plate with bread and cheese on it in front of her. And some fruit, there is fruit as well, but there isn't really a lot of it. She seems to have been nibbling, but she freezes with her hand halfway to her mouth. She sets down the roll of bread and clears her throat. "Sirs?"
"Just for..." N'rov's pause is considering before he flashes a smile, "No, even an hour seems unlikely." Her wingleader explains in his usual reassuring tone that the weyrleader's just checking with the riders of the last clutch, one by one, which lets said weyrleader be flamboyant with his grin. "After me," he directs the youngest brownrider, and diverts briskly to a four-seat table deeper into the cavern, just ahead of an approaching trio.
Catling nods, and she rises swiftly, just avoiding catching her foot on her chair. She smiles slightly, something queasily nervous in the expression, and she clasps her hands behind her back. She mutters something semi-audibly, but from her expression it is likely to be to her dragon. She scampers to keep up, her short legs not able to match the Weyrleader's stride. Her eyes flash irritation briefly, and then she sighs and makes it to the table, almost knocked off her feet by the same trio.
"Saved you a seat," says the Weyrleader, and gestures grandly towards the table's array. Beat. "Technically, three." He's taken one of the two against the wall, his chair angled to look out onto not just the table but the cavern; which will she pick?
"One for my rear, and one for each foot. Now that's convenient..." murmurs Catling, though her voice squeaks a little at the end. She doesn't seem to exactly fear the Weyrleader, but she's apropriately.... nervous. She takes the other chair against the wall, angling it so she can see the cavern and *him*, and she sits on it in a manner to let the shadows fall on her.
At which point N'rov reaches out and promptly adjusts the glowbasket, moving one of the small bottles of hot sauce in the process, so he can see. He studies her expression, wordless, the single amused brow that had lifted at her murmur now drawn in with its mate. Studying her, he says nothing.
Catling blinks, and she shrinks a little, briefly, old instinct warring with the new. And then the new, barely, wins out, and she lifts her head to meet N'rov's gaze, her own brows rising. She pushes back a tendril of untamable hair that has escaped her braids, and she clears her throat. "Sir?"
He waits a breath after her word to speak, but his nod's weighted with approval. "How are you doing, Catling?" N'rov asks, as easy and open as that.
"Me?" The question comes in a half-squeak, and then Catling chuckles softly. "Not bad. It's different. The other dragons.... find Riyoth a bit.... weird. Different. Too full of advice, maybe. Too much wanting to know the whys. Too serious." She shrugs. "And sometimes frustrated that we don't seem to do ... well.... dragons save Pern." Her voice suddenly takes on Riyoth's cadence and tone. "Why aren't we saving Pern?" She sighs. "As for me.... half the time I seem at war with myself."
N'rov has his own chuckle, one that stays in gray eyes as he starts in on his own meal while she talks; that doesn't mean there's not a certain sympathy there for the different, for the saving. Still, "At war?" is another easy question, accompanied by a gesture with his cheese-layered roll.
"For years. Years. I put my head down and did what I was told. I didn't question, argue, or think more than I had to." Catling shakes her head. "It was the... best. Safest. So.... it became part of me. So much a part of me I didn't really remember being something else. Something more than a drudge. But.... coming here... was like waking up again. But people can't change overnight. But then.... Riyoth sees into what I used to be... and what I *could* be. And so.... I'm at war with myself. Part of me just wants to shut up, do my duty, be a good girl, useful, sturdy, hard-working. Part of me...." She flushes and shakes her head.
N'rov listens, observant in a casual-seeming sort of way, though there's also that lean of his shoulder that has his elbow on the table as though it could ground him out of a too-early interruption. For now. "...Savors your free time?" might be recommendation rather than encompassing guess.
"Ha! You're funny, sir." Catling shakes her head. "In my free time.... I study. I make up for all the time I lost. And I improve my leatherowrking. And I study more things. Tactics, flamethrowing drills, wing patterns, changeover, flight drills, anything like that.... that I can get my hands on." She flushes, looking down.
Looking down can make it difficult to see the sudden gleam in N'rov's eye. "Useful," he agrees. "Have you found that your wingleader demands all this from you, or does it, ah. Come from within?"
"Oh, no. I mean, he demands hard work but not.... extra work. Unless you've been an absolute numbwit, or showed up for drills hung over, or... well. You know what I mean, I think. The rest.... it's just me. My stepmother and even my father... they said, you know, idle time is for children. And I'm not a child anymore. it's so wonderful to be able to work at things *I* want to. And for some reason my choice of subjects pleases Riyoth to no end. If he were bronze, he'd be insufferable."
"We have enough insufferable bronzes. This is much better," N'rov assures; whether he's insufferable is in the eye of the Catling. "Are you afraid," he says the word lightly, without lingering, "that if you loosened the other part of you's rein, she'd take over all the rest too?"
"The part of me that Riyoth wants to turn into a wingleader?" Catling laughs softly. "There, I've said it. Oh, she might try, that's certain, but, well.... she's.... I'm not. Not a leader not that clever or brave or creative or someone people would follow. But Riyoth, ah, Riyoth, you know, he thinks I am so much more than.... me. So that part would try... and fail... and I would just be...."
Raw rider that she is, N'rov certainly seems to be taking her seriously; "Wingleaders are both useful and hard-working," he notes even so. "Tell Riyoth it's a long-range game; we're hoping not to have another plague to kill off our current crop. Tell him that you also need to," he considers, "learn to relax, to have a good time with people, to be truly part of the group. Wingleaders don't spring full-bore from anyone's skull, even Estanei," though he spares his clutchmate a smirk. "If you don't let your hair down, you'll strangle yourself. Then you can get back to work."
"I... ermm... don't really know how to do that, sir," answers Catling. "How do I become part of a group? Truly a part of it? I.... I don't think that can be found in a scroll or anything. One on one it's.... not easy but... easier. But groups...." She shrugs and looks down. "And this is one place where Riyoth is as lost as I am. And besides, my hair's long enough to strangle myself with up or down. Sir."
"Throw yourself on the mercies of your wingsecond," N'rov recommends, after an amused, "So advised," regarding her hair. "Who knows, maybe he'll assign you a buddy to follow around and get ideas from. It's not like you drill daily, Catling; three days in a seven isn't much, and the Games are coming. Run off with the wing when it goes places, even gaming, so long as you don't get in over your head. More than you can afford, anyway," comes with the flick of a smile. "Listen to people, find yourself a small group within the big group. Ask people about themselves, they'll usually rattle on. Take a nap on a beach. Brush somebody else's hair. Social, Catling! You can do it. Tell Riyoth I said so," and despite the not-unfriendly humor in his tone, there's also a Weyrleader's gravitas.
Catling's look of queasy horror grows as N'rov speaks. It is a look normally associated with being asked to wrestle a trio of tunnelsnakes naked while suspended upside-down from straps attached to mating dragons. And likely Catling would prefer the latter, based on the growing unease in her eyes. Finally, though, she nods her head. "I... erm. Yes sit," she manages.
"'Sit,'" drawls out the sibilant with increased humor before clipping that 't' staccato. "Good. You'll do fine," or she won't, but N'rov's standing either way. He marks her with a crisp nod, and then leaves her to the tunnelsnakes and his plate, falling in stride with Carnelian's wingleader as that man's leaving. Whatever report he'd received before going on this miniature mission, no doubt he'll share his own commentary (at least some of it, and exaggerated in only the best ways) on the other side.