E'ro.jpg Ahnika.jpg Rocio.jpg

Date: July 19, 2010
Location: Living Cavern - Eastern Weyr
Synopsis: E'ro stages a story before bedtime for the littles, but there's a lesson to be learned here for more than just the weyrbrats.
Rating: PG
Logger: E'ro

The main Living Cavern at Eastern Weyr is a near replica of the "Lower Bowl" in shape. It is circular, with ceilings sloping up into a gentle cone shape. There are a few stalactites hanging from the ceiling, from which the Weyr's few firelizards may perch. Between these, there are a few inverted "hills", showing exactly how quickly the workmen finished this job. It lends an eerie quietness to the place, as the features cut the sound more effectively. The glowbaskets on the walls highlight the tables of all shapes and sizes around the room. The Head Table appears to be more traditional in place and kind, but the rest of the tables are variable. The east side of the room boasts larger rectangle tables suitable for whole groups of riders, while the middle holds smaller circular tables more appropriate for a family with children. The west side of the room has small square tables which often double as gaming tables on lazy days and most evenings.
Near the Head table, off to the East side, the double doors of the kitchen swing open. Near those doors, two long rectanglular tables are set up for food and drink service. On the eastern and western sides of the room, the stairs lead up to parallel hallways which connect to the rest of the Weyr. A third, smaller set of stairs at the southernmost end of the cavern leads to the Weyr Entrance.

The Evening meal & Cleaning. Vanielle's off and up, working on collecting and setting out the food, plates, cups and plates, rolls, meatrolls and fruit, the starch ect. The drudge,Vanielle is setting up a few tables cleaning them off, clearing them.

Likely well past the actual dinner *rush* crowd in the Living Caverns, but not so late in the evening as to find the place completely empty, there are still a few people lingering over late meals or just socializing and playing cards at tables here as opposed to the Lower Caverns. Ahnika emerges from the kitchens where she had been attending to some errand for the Headwoman, very likely. She walks with purpose in herself, but a pensive expression on her face. She almost runs into Vanielle, dodging the drudge as she collects from the tables and giving her a patient smile as she moves along, picking her way around the cavern and appearing to head for the stairs and exit. In her hands are two baskets, one covered and one not, but the opened one contains a folded blanket and the lidded one does not seem to be weighing the red-headed teen down too much.

Don't play with your dinner and don't put your elbows on the top of the table. There are many rules when you're young and your parents have a say of what you get to do. But luckily for the youngsters at Eastern - what few of them there are - they get to participate in after-dinner storytime. Weyr harpers usually have dibs on the tales the weyrbrats get to hear, but today they get a treat. One ex-harper and a bronzerider are facilitating, which brings much joy to the little ones. He's dramatic, gesturing wildly with his hands and speaking in various voices for the different characters. Blue eyes dancing, he covers his eyes with a hand, "Aye! I can't find ya!" From there the story unfolds and causes many giggles from the kids. His voice keeps steady, but his eyes briefly touch the cavern, falling on Ahnika. Insanity sparks and he raises his voice, "And then they came across a beautiful redheaded.." Adjectives extol the woman in his tale, and finally he says, "Her name was.. Ahnika!" he hails, waving innocently from his stooped spot on the floor. Seven sets of eyes turn in her direction, a few 'ohh's and a few squeals accompanying.

Well, so much for a discreet exit. Ahnika manages to tune out just about everyone and the din of conversation here as she winds her way toward the stairs, but her pensive expression evaporates suddenly as she hears someone call her name. Or so that is what she thinks it is. When she regains focus on the here and now, and finds E'ro in the center of all those young faces who are now staring at her, it is all Ahnika can do not to suddenly make an about-face and head back to the kitchens. She slows to a stop, pursing her lips and narrowing her eyes at E'ro from the distance between them, but she holds her tongue for the sake of the children at least. Instead, she gives the kids a warm smile and a little wave, and then she turns to continue her trek toward the stairs, giving the storytelling group a much wider berth than she was previously about to, the baskets still carried, one in each hand.

No doubt a conversational topic usually prefaced with 'Oh! Have -you- seen…', the woman with the cloth around her face and a vanbrace on one arm steps in from one of the lesser-used small side entrances into the cavern. The cloth that she wears across her features is lightweight, almost filmy and likely cost some serious funds at some point, though it shows stain and wear now, if one were to examine it closely. And if the purpose of the cloth is to obscure the woman's features, below her eyes, it is effective. Carrying two empty plates, and a cup, the woman saunters over to a tray where dirty dishes sit, and joins hers with those.

Little curious faces, some pink and fair some dark and golden, look up to the girl named Ahnika. She's part of the story now, whatever she does is folding into that fantasy world. Whenever she refuses to acknowledge them however, E'ro starts up the chant, giving her a great big, "boo!" with both of his thumbs pointed down. It's hard not to copy, and sure enough, all of the children start mimicking him. "Boooooooo"s fill the living cavern, echoing off the walls, causing heads to turn and look for the reason of such disturbance. Evidently, he's not a good influence on little kids. "Come on, Ahnika, you're the star of the story. Couldn't you at least grace us with your presence?" he calls out, grinning like a jackal.

As Ahnika winds her way toward the stairs leading up and out of the living caverns, she slips past the dirty dish area, and around the cloth-masked woman, pausing momentarily to murmur, "What an excellent idea. I wish I had thought of it myself a few minutes ago." The last is said with a little roll of the eyes and a slight jerk of the head toward E'ro and his merry little boys and girls. When the booing starts, Ahnika startles a little, seeming surprised by it, and then angry. Her brow furrowing and her expression darkening with indignation. She glances back at the masked woman with an expression that should read, ~Can you believe this?~ Then she schools her expression calm and unreadable, glancing toward her much desired exit still several yards away, before affecting a very slow and dignified gait toward the storytelling group. Once arrived, however, she remains standing where she is, perfectly aware of the center of attention she appears to be getting. However, if she is uncomfortable, she doesn't show it. Instead, her grey gaze is shooting daggers at the bronzerider. She doesn't dare try to speak over the booing. She just waits it out with a patient but deadly look for E'ro. Either she doesn't care if it unsettles any of the children, or she doesn't realize it.

"Pardon?" Crom's accent, though blue-blood, casts the words out, almost startled as Rocio straightens in the vicinity of Ahnika's energy. She takes a long look at the younger woman, before sending her regard toward the rider and horde of children. But alas, her words are soft, perhaps too soft, or Ahnika's thoughts too loud. Rocio's regard tracks the young woman's turn and her pace back toward the rider. Her own head tilts just slightly, as she pads closer, nearer the fruit table, and pockets a few pieces of fresh whole fruit, recently set out.

Perfect, their damsel has arrived! E'ro motions with his hands for the noise to cease. "Ahnika was the fairest woman on the southern side of Pern," he begins, his mouth twitching with laughter. "She travelled to the coast, where she met a funny kind of man." Here he refocuses his attention on the littles and starts weaving magic. "He told her he was a fisherman, but he was just a simple drudge. He lied right to her face, and what happens when we lie?" There's a cacophony of answers, each child giving his or her rendition of the facts. "Right. She found him out and she was most unhappy." His eyes fly up to Ahnika, his smile spreading wider until his bronzed face is stretched. "She gave him a proper dress down and from then on, snubbed him." His face, as he looks back to the children, takes on a frown and a faux sadness. "What can he do to make her forgive him?" One kid shouts, "Buy her flowers!" Another says, "No, give her a kiss!" To which there's some 'ew's and some giggles.

There is one final fleeting glance at Rocio for her response as Ahnika arrives at the group, but mainly, her focus remains on E'ro. Her grey eyes turn very chilly in their expression upon him. Her posture is one that is drawn up, allowing her full 5'10" height as she stands just on the fringe of the group of children. She tries to put on her firm governess-nanny face along with it, but if it is for the benefit of the children or for the benefit of E'ro, who in Ahnika's mind could use a strict governess, it is no telling. The only thing lacking is her fists on her hips, but with the baskets in her hands, that's not possible at the moment. Finally, her harsh gaze for the bronzerider slides away, softening a little as she regards the children shouting responses to his question, perhaps a little too curious for her own good. But she remains stoically silent nonetheless.

At this time of day, whatever Rocio usually does, does not seem pressing enough to exactly leave. Nor does she invite herself in, but she will pad over to the fringe of the group, sidelong to both young adults, so that she might see both their expression. Absently, her hand slides out to ruffle the hair of one of the kids.

"What about throwing her in the ocean?" is the bronzerider's suggestion, but the children aren't convinced. "No way!"replies a blonde girl, while the boy to her left shouts, "That'd get him punched in the nose!" An outburst of laughter sounds as the little ones give into that latest answer. "Aye, she could punch him in the nose, because he'd deserve it. Or he could apologize and give her a gift, huh?" One little girl is especially pleased, clapping her hands together and piping up with a merry, "He could give her some jewelry!" Her remark gets a snide, "Blimey, that's all women think about." Now, mind you, the lad is only about eight years old. E'ro tries not to grin, swiping a hand across his mouth instead as if he's thinking about something. That's when his eyes clap on Rocio. "Oh? You there? What do you think he ought to do to win the lady's esteem?" Ahnika, stoic silence and all, isn't getting away that easily it seems. She's still the subject of the story, giving replies or no!

The evening continues to lengthen, and a few more people-those who are not interested in the storytelling unfolding-continue to wander out a little at a time. The rest apparently are rather enthralled, but then, Ahnika realizes with a small sigh of regret, this is the rider of the bronze who caught the junior weyrwoman's dragon. Of all the rotten luck. The memory of what he did resurfaces with that thought, bringing another angry flush to her cheeks and her hard gaze returns to E'ro as the rest of the children continue to give their suggestions. When he asks Rocio for advice, Ahnika glances fleetingly toward her and then back at E'ro, remaining still as a statue and just as silent.

There's a quick expression of squinted eyes that, had those near-black eyes not been visually isolated from the rest of the woman's face, might indicate a quick grin, "Grovel." Warm alto speaks the word, infused with humor. "Perhaps," her regard flicks over to the irate and tall young woman, "He should act as her drudge for a day. Or, at the very least, cook a meal for her." Slow cadence of words, each drawled with the same speculative air. "Or apologize. But that's not as much fun." Rocio continues to think, regard now straying to the rapt children as her fingers explore the memorized texture of the cloth that hangs down over her shoulder, "Simple gestures of respect are usually the most endearing. But," her eyes flicker back to both the primary players, the young adults, and squint slightly again, "Not as memorable as a favor owed, to be called upon when needed."

"Do you think that would work?" It's E'ro's turn to flick his gaze to Ahnika, questioning Rocio's words. "Groveling? A favor owed? A cooked meal at her leisure?" He looks back to the children, spreading his hands wide in a supplanting gesture. "I mean, Ahnika is a lovely lady and she doesn't /have/ to forgive the lying drudge, does she?" To this, the children start arguing. "But she has to!" "Punch him in the nose!" "They should fall happily in love!" "Love is for babies.." Holding up a hand to stop their protests, E'ro laughs, the edges of his eyes crinkling with mirth, "Ok, ok, I think we get the point. What if we say the drudge, who knows a guy who knows a guy.." He's got a plain, narrative look on his face, "who could play her a song? Do we think a serenade would work?" Of course the little boys shake their heads and groan, the little girls delighted beyond belief. "It should be about her beautiful hair!" "About how kind she is.." "There's no other like her!" But there's the two older women who have yet to give opinions, so E'ro looks at each in turn. "Well?"

For a brief moment, a startled look appears across Ahnika's freckled features as Rocio suggests he be her personal drudge for a day, but it is quickly followed by a sheer terrified look at the thought of E'ro cooking a meal for her, but if that is because of his reputation, or Indira sharing what she found him doing in the kitchens, or simply Ahnika uncomfortable with the notion of a bronzerider, any bronzerider, cooking for her, it's unclear. By the end of the list of the shrouded woman's suggestions, Ahnika is shaking her head, her face clouded with mild exasperation, and her body language hints at a tension and frustration and overall displeasure. She remains quiet as E'ro retakes control of the storytelling and leads the group of children along to more commentary. When, at the end, he looks at her with a question expecting an answer, Ahnika says softly, "It's moot. All moot and pointless." She sighs a little and the exhale allows her to relax a measure so as to not appear quite so intimidating to the children with her frostiness, should any of them had been. She regards them, not E'ro now, and says smoothly, "Why should he care if she forgives him or not? Surely, he is simply wasting his time when there are prettier and kinder and more looser-err … more liberated … women who probably don't care if he lies himself blue in the face, dances in his underbritches from the top of the highest ledge and calls himself Suzie. Why trouble himself? Especially when there's no way to regain her trust in the first place?" She continues to take in all the children with a sweeping glance, "So remember children, always be honest and noblehearted and mind your manners and you won't have to deal with the consequences this cowardly brigand brought on himself. Understood?"

Ahnika's answer makes obsolete Rocio's considerations, but she does not dismiss them. "While honor is, agreed, a cherished and fragile thing, Ahnika, it might be argued that… Forgiveness is its equal." Turning to the bronzer, Rocio murmurs, "And as this is surely only hypothetical, I'd say that your suggested plan won't work. That is pawning the drudge's obligation off on another fellow, to do the playing and the singing." Rocio is warming to this conversation, animating enough to raise a thin-boned hand and lift one finger at the rider, "You see, sir, is it the /drudge/ that must do the paying back. The singing or playing. Or scribing the poem. Not a friend of a friend." Her head shakes, even, as glittering gaze taps the tall woman, before slanting back to E'ro, slightly hooded, voice dropping, "Perhaps a self-authored poem, publically spoken, outlining the gracious beauty and stunning abilities of said woman. Hypothetical, of course." her other hand gestures to Ahnika. "An appeal to her forgiving nature might be construed as being manipulative, on the part of the drudge. Or his cronies." With a quick glance at the girls in the crowd, Rocio adds, "A flower, presented, might be nice, too." Her tones have turned soft, though, so not to overshadow the lesson for the children.

Like minds as they are, E'ro and the children switch their attentions between Ahnika and Rocio. One pudgy boy with red curls points a finger at a smaller girl with black hair. "Haha! Auntie Sam will never forgive you now, Fashi!" His laughter is obnoxious, if resounded by a few other boys, but his words make the girl start to tear up. "Shush, shush, love, there's no truth in those words. Lies can be forgiven, as can mismatched actions, just as they say." He plops back and beckons Fashi forward, so he can cradle her in his lap and then look disapprovingly over her hair at Ahnika. "Aye, forgiveness is a virtue, haven't you heard? Liars and cheats can be converted. Sometimes we make mistakes, just like sometimes moms and dads can yell at their kids and not mean it," as he looks back to the kidlets. "Shall we agree that whatever he did, he gained the lady's trust again. It's not important how many other beautiful ladies there are, but that he wanted to make everything aright. And so," here goes the story, as he grins from the littles to Rocio, "they made amends. As the story goes, they became fast friends, attending gathers and the like together. Some say they married, living happily ever after with many children, but I like the latter tale. About how the beautiful lady, Ahnika, went on to become Weyrwoman and treated all drudges with kindness, as she had such a place in her heart for them." Many eyes, enraptured, are focused on the bronzerider's face, as are many little mouths hanging open in fascination. "I do believe storytime is up. Off with you lot, now." Groans, murmurs, and giggles fill the space as some get up and leave, others try to stay, and the little girl in his lap simple cuddles closer, not wanting to give up her comfy spot.

"Forgiveness?" Ahnika looks incredulously at Rocio, as if the other woman used a word entirely foreign to Ahnika's vocabulary. She seems ready to say more, but is forestalled as the discussion continues, and lapses silent. Visibly growing more uncomfortable as it does, Ahnika looks from face to face as each person speaks, her grey eyes practically bugging out of her head at the suggestion of marriage or the story ending with her as weyrwoman. When the storytelling group breaks up, Ahnika just shakes her head, her ire stoked once again, but not even bothering to rail against E'ro's fortress of children to make any point she might have desired to make otherwise. When some of the children start to wander away, Ahnika only happily does so herself, taking a few steps toward the exit she was making for earlier, with her two baskets still in hand.
GAME: Save complete.

There is an undeniable attraction in a man who is kind to children and animals. Rocio watches the interaction between E'ro and Fashi with certain stillness, attention to detail, before she'll draw in a long breath and release it. Children scamper around her, seeming to rouse the veiled woman to an awakefullness again, and she'll dip her head and draw in a long breath, before turning to head toward the small entrance she'd arrived from. If she might happen to pass by Ahnika's, it's probably not coincidence, "Forgiveness." Low-toned murmur, "It's better than losing… Someone who clearly wants you as a friend." Just that, before Rocio twists to dodge an oncoming drudge with a heavy load who is on a straight-lined path.

The Living Caverns and for once Vanielle's actually not working. She's sitting in a corner reading, well as much reading as can be in her sort of work. She looks up at the assembled gathering of people.

As the last of the children scamper away, E'ro lifts his burden up into his arms and stands to his full height, content to indulge the thumb-sucking youth a little longer. "Did you like that story?" Fashi nods her head happily. "Do you think the lady should have forgiven him?" Another emphatic nod. Not that is appears to matter, as the subject of the story is loathe to accept anything short of.. perhaps persistence? He has to go that way with his new acquaintance anyway. "Hey, wait up," he calls after Ahnika and Rocio, who are strides ahead. "I didn't catch your name," to Rocio. Fashi looks just as enthralled with that detail, bobbing her head up and down like some sort of mindless E'ro clone.

Furrowing her brow as Rocio comments to her, Ahnika remarks in an icily, sarcastic tone that is not at all pitched at a murmur, "And we all know what a pleasure it is to befriend someone who will lie to you, cause others to get hurt or in trouble, bring out-of-control danger into the situation, try to get you in trouble, make a fool of you, mock and laugh at you, and then hide behind children, don't we?" The redhead's smile is bitter, and without any warmth at all, "No, thank you. With friends like that, who needs enemies?" As E'ro calls for them to wait up, Ahnika looks back at him, with yet another child in his arms no less. Her jaw set, she dips her head politely to Rocio, "He's all yours if you like him so much. Good luck to you." The last is actually said with more genuine softness, as if she truly believes she is leaving Rocio to her doom. She shakes her head a little and moves on.

As it happens, Rocio's intended exit happens to be near where Vanielle thought she might get a little peace and quiet. Automatically, Rocio notes the presence of A Person, and checks the glow, in that corner, before she'll turn to attend Ahnika's unexpected vitriol. Rocio starts, physically, and stares, actually /stares/ at Ahnika for a long moment, letting the younger woman spin off her fury in words. Again, soft alto intones, "It's all relative, ma'am, these sins." No explanation follows, but the look Rocio shoots back toward the oncoming E'ro is not, absolutely, hardened by anything Ahnika said. Again, her attention betrays a softness for the picture - man and child - as she spies Fashi's nodding to echo E'ro's. Maybe the swallow is evident, the clearing of Rocio's throat, before she'll answer, "Rocio, sir." She straightens her veil again, so that the higher lip of it rests on the bridge of her nose, and the cloth loops down in bowed layers.

"Damn," E'ro sighs as he stops in his tracks, watching the retreating back of Ahnika. "You could have said goobye!" he calls after her, giving way to half a smile. Grudge she may bear, but put off he's not. "I'll catch her another day." Optimistic and all, he shifts Fashi in his arms, turning towards the newly acquainted Rocio. "Do you have a lot of experience with forgiving? Or being forgiven? Your words are too wise not to be touched by understanding. I just wish everyone had such knowledge." His voice doesn't carry much farther than the veiled girl's ears, but it's solid and effective, carrying with it a fair dousing of dryness in relation to earlier events. "I'm E'ro, rider of bronze Yzuruth, and this is my friend Fashi. Her pop is J'vay, rider of brown Wosreth." She imparts a tiny wave, not moving her thumb from her mouth an inch. "Can't say I've seen you around before - new?"

This would be a very timely moment to "say goodbye" with a flipped bird, but as Ahnika does not know such a gesture, she continues walking, really more like stalking, and apparently unmoved by Rocio's response. Neither is she moved by E'ro who calls after her. She keeps her attention focused on that stairway exit as if it meant her survival, and finally manages to get to it unimpeded, disappearing up the stairs and her freedom.

First, and perhaps more importantly, the child. Rocio offers a hand, the right one with the cloth vanbrace, so she might tickle the child's leg lightly. "Fashi. Lucky you, to have such good friends." No rancor there; seems to be simply words, true to their own meaning. Rocio turns to the man, and addresses the easier question first, "A good few sevenday. I tend glows, and it's easier to be out at night to do this instead of during the day." As well, she's escaped the Weyr for both goldflights and their aftermath. The harder question, then, with another glance toward the retreating Ahnika, which lets her eyes stray from the rider's, "I have found… That forgiving is easier than… Living with… The crushing disappointment that life did not go the way it was supposed to. The way Harpers sing of it. And," her lips twitch, unseen, under the veil as black regard meets the tall man's, "I've found that despite the habits that drape over men, their true worth is in their actions, not their words. And where… You sit on the heirarchy of people around you… Is reflected not in the… Actions of a friend, but in an enemy. Some of the people who have treated me best, have been theives and murderers, and those who …" Each word is quietly enunciated, Crom's spice in its cadence, but strongly flavored with the influence of, no doubt, private Harper tutoring. But the last few words catch in Rocio's throat, unable to be spoken.

The little girl looks at E'ro first and back to Rocio, taking the offered hand in her much smaller one. She speaks no words, doesn't gesture anymore, just watching with that childlike stare. "Ahh, yes. I tend to be come out during the early mornings and during the day. Evening and night see me in my weyr, preparing for bedtime and a good night's rest." So that explains it, right? E'ro is diligently listening to her words, absorbing all of the wisdom in her phrases, with an open expression on and a welcoming light in his blue eyes. "Those who ?" is the obvious answer, leading to, hopefully, the finish of her statement. "I might not go as far as to openly befriend a murderer - as you can tell from Ahnika, I'm often misunderstood - but if you're looking for a lot of liars, cheaters, thieves, and those with unfortunate histories, you're right in choosing Eastern. It's full of those looking for a change as well as those looking to hide from something. Forgiveness does seem to come more easily to those who've had to be forgiven, however," he says musefully. "Welcome and well met, Rocio. I'd stay and chat longer, but I fear her papa is missing her already."

Rocio's hand drops from the child's, with a final squeeze, and she nods just slightly. "Ah well," she'll skip the prompt for more information as if it were lost in what E'ro said after that, "I haunt the evenings and night. Well met, sir, and congratulations to your dragon's success in his recent catch." Her regard flicks to the girl for a long moment, before Rocio nods, stepping back to allow E'ro the respect of personal space. All too cognizent of rank, she'll allow the bronzerider to turn away first.

E'ro beams his regards, giving the girl a nod, before starting to stride off. "We'll have to hurry before you pa comes looking for us. Wouldn't want him unduly worried, huh?" There's a soft exchange of words, a rumble of laughter, and the final, "Yeah, I'll tell you another story before bed." And then they disappear through the exit, making their way to towards the stairs.

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