Lemme 'Splain


Bowen.jpg and NPC Felahk

Date: 1/23/11
Location: EW: Tanner Workarea
Synopsis: Felahk comes to Bowen with a report on their surveillance of Enker down at Landing.
Rating: PG
Logger: Bowen

How on Pern these weyrlings got their leathers so out of sorts, Bowen had no idea. It was about as confounding as women. Well, most women. He paused in his work at his workbench to take a sip from his waterskin and get another look at the position of the summer sun beating down on the little carved-out corner of the bowl that was reserved for the tanners and their smelly vats and workbenches. Another couple hours of this and he could cut out for the day and go find Cheusia, that one woman who Bowen would make every effort to understand for the rest of his days now, happily so. The rest can go Between as far as he was concerned. Thinking about his wife made working in such conditions all the more bearable. Fortunately, being born and raised on the southern continent, Bowen was used to this harsh sun, and his hat had a nice, wide brim. That didn’t make it any less hot, but at least it kept the worst of the burn away from his face during the summer. Baldor, the poor northern lad who’d been assigned to him by Indira as an assistant and to learn to be a tanner, well, he wasn’t quite as at ease in dealing with the southern climate and preferred to be the one running delivery errands around the Weyr in the hottest part of the day.

So, now left alone at his designated workbench and bending over his work, Bowen resumed repairing the terrible stitch-job on the leathers for the poor weyrling who got them as a hand-me-down from some other rider and had tried to make adjustments to them herself. He was just getting back into the rhythm of the work when a shadow fell across the leathers in front of him. Looking up, he recognized the man immediately and grinned, “It’s ‘bout shardin’ time, Fel. I wuz beginnin’ ta think we needed ta send out a search party fer ya,” said in good-natured ribbing as Bowen moved the riding leathers down to the other end of his workbench, clearing the area where he stood before he joined Fel at the side of his packbeast and help heft down the stacks of fresh hides he had brought with him. “Caliph with ya?” Bowen asked, glancing around briefly and realizing that the other hunter who often worked with Felahk was absent.

“Naw,” Felahk said, “That’s why I only have half the usual this time. Caliph stayed behind at Landin’.” The dark-eyed bearded man glanced around, too, though more for making sure the other tanners at their workbenches or the vats were well beyond hearing range. Then he lowered his voice, “That feller ya wanted us ta tail? Well, Cal went an’ blew it.” He paused here after setting the stack on the workbench to untie his own waterskin from his belt and take a long draught while Bo just looked at him a long, slow moment. After Felahk swallowed and recorked the skin, Bo lets out a breath and crossed his arms over his chest, “Aw-right. Talk ta me. Whut happened?”

“I wasn’t there fer it,” Fel continued, leaning up against the workbench, “But Cal wanted me ta tell ya all ‘bout it, and find out whatchya wanted ta do next. So, I’m guessin’ it’s all straight.” Holding his waterskin in one hand and gesturing vaguely as he continued, he said, “Enker confronted him at the stables down there and Cal played it cool, or tried to, but he thinks Enker still knows something’s up. After introductions, Cal said he had heard of Enker, from you by name,” Fel frowned a little, but continued, “and was told Enker might have a list of names that would interest a bounty hunter, making himself out out to be that very bounty hunter, but Enker denied it and said that you musta been playing a practical joke on him or something. Cal shrugged it off, but attempted to get Enker to join him for a drink sometime, or riding lessons, I think. I’m a little fuzzy on that last part, actually. Apparently, this Enker has a thing for runners, wanting one for his own, and Cal suggested that the list might be worth a runner and he knew you might be interested in buying it in trade for a runner. But Enker still denied having it and left. The only reason Cal is still down there is he’s hoping Enker might come find him again, having changed his mind about the list and the trade.”

Taking his hat off, Bowen rubbed the sleeve of his arm along his forehead and then pushed his hair back with one hand when Fel was finished explaining things. He couldn’t be too mad really. What he had thought was going to be just a couple days surveillance ended up going a couple weeks, and that was bound to make any man suspicious if he kept seeing the same two fellows at different times of his schedule and routine. “Awww-right,” Bowen drawled finally, replacing his hat back on his head, “lemme get dis straight. Enker caught Cal followin’ ‘im, but Cal tried ta play innocent until he caught Enker’s name, an’ den he said I gave ‘im th’ name an’ said Enker had a list of names that might be useful fer a bounty hunter, but Enker denied it. Cal tried ta bribe ‘im with a runner, but Enker still denied it and left, but might be lookin’ Cal up later if he changes his mind. Is that it?”

Fel nodded, “Ayup. That’s about it, Bo.” He pauses, then adds softly, earnestly, “Sorry.”

Shaking his head, Bo said, “F’rget it. It’s not like ya boys do dis sorta thing fer a livin’. Shells, I’d’ve done worse, I reckon.” Then he clasped the other man’s shoulder, “Go get yer runners settled in th’ Beast Caverns and I’ll meetchya later fer a drink.” After he’s explained it all to Max and Lo and they figured out what they wanted to do and told Bowen, that is.

Shells, but working for two bosses, four if you counted Indira and Cheusia, gave him a splitting headache. Getting the fresh hides sorted for drying and stretching as Felahk led his runners off toward the Beast Cavern, Bowen found the work pleasantly mind-numbing. Maybe day he can settle into a normal, simple and uncomplicated life. Then he thought about Harson and Paerin here at the Weyr and all the fighting that brought with it, and Bo sighed. Then again, maybe not.

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