Of Hunts and Parties


Ahnika.jpg Ciara.jpg Indira.jpg Randi.jpg

Date: 7/13/2010
Location: Lower Caverns
Synopsis: At the end of a long day, Ahnika checks in with Headwoman Indira for duty roster for the next day, Weyrwoman Randi comes over to inquire about Max, and Ciara joins them to greet and be introduced to the Headwoman
Rating: PG
Logger: Ahnika

Eastern Weyr: Lower Caverns
Set up for use as both a massive storage area and an everyday workspace, the Lower Caverns is a single, high-ceiling room that has been blocked off into several smaller 'rooms' for different work that needs to be done. Over on the northernmost end is a larger section almost completely blocked off from the rest of the cavern where cots are set up for the non-rider folk to sleep until proper dormitories can be carved out of the rock.

Late night finds the lower caverns all but deserted, save for a few 'riders playing a round of dragonpoker over at one of the work tables. At a table set apart from the others that serves as the Headwoman's desk while she awaits completion of an office space, is Indira. Trouser clad legs crossed at the ankles and heeled boots resting on the table top, the tousle haired blonde looks to be anything but in work mode. Long fingers cradle a tumbler in her lap, lifting it to her mouth at intervals to sip (and sigh appreciatively) at the amber liquid it contains. A round of raucous laughter from the card players draws an idle flick of eyes their way and then back to the creased sheet of paper her other hand holds.

Coming from the direction of the kitchen stairs, the willowy red-head "Girl Friday" of the Weyr walks with a purpose to her step as she makes her way toward the temporary "office" of the Headwoman. Her face is covered in a light sheen of perspiration, likely from the Kitchens as hot as they can be, which makes her appear a little glossier in a way than she usually is. Being that this is late at the end of a long day of varied tasks requiring Ahnika to be in various locations of the weyr throughout the day, her pinned up hair is starting to fray from it's original nicely tucked and braided look. Fortunately, the smudges of dirt were thoroughly washed off before her final task of helping in the Kitchens tonight, otherwise she'd be sporting them now, too. Once she gets within visual range and line of sight of the Headwoman, Ahnika presents a face with an amicable, if slightly tired, smile on it. Her eyes do seem a little brighter though, on approach, and once in hearing range, she greets deferentially with a bob of her head and shoulders, "Evenin' Headwoman Indira."

Attention initially not leaving the sheet of paper, Indira's acknowledgement of the young redhead's presence comes out with a whisky laced husk to it, "Ahnika." Resignation on her features the Headwoman takes another sip from her tumbler then leans forward and places it on the desk next to the half empty bottle. Re-folding the paper and shifting in her seating in order to stow it in a hip pocket, fingers then come to lace together in her lap. Turning a look up to Ahnika, dark eyes drift over the teen's appearance and a corner of her mouth curls upward, "Were you helping out in there or taking a steam bath? I hear those are really good for the pores."

Ahnika grins ruefully and a bit of the tension eases out of her shoulders. She puts a hand to her head and sifts her fingers through it as much as possible without completely undoing the braided bun. A bit of flour puffs out, but not much. "All the better to do both at the same time, Headwoman. Much more efficient that way, no?" She puts her hand down and dusts off her shoulders a little, adding, "I was heading to my cot to get my bathing supplies, actually, to clean up before bed, but I wanted to check in with you and see where I might be of help tomorrow first." Then added a little belatedly with a glance to the paper in her hands, "If it's convenient, that is."

Pushing back from her seat among the 'unwashed masses' of male riders circled around the 'poker table, Randi laughs heartily, ruffles the hair of a nearby brownrider and ambles on over towards the Headwoman. In her right hand is a skein of some kind, one from which she drinks every so often. On reaching the woman's temporary 'office', she grins. "Indira," she greets with a smile. "Your son made it across with my runners, yet?" There's a smile and a subtle wink for the older woman as she takes another swig. She'd be willing to bet both of them know exactly who those runners really belong to. As for Ahnika… "Who might you be, lass?" The weyr must be growing indeed, for it's been ages since she saw a face she didn't recognize.

Still not bothering to drop her boots from her desk, Indira leans forward and reclaims the tumbler of whiskey. A wry smile goes Ahnika's way as she reminds, "All work and no play Ahni." Rich words considering this is probably the first time the young redhead has seen the Headwoman not bent over a stack of paperwork or haunting the passageways of the Weyr with clipboard in hand. As to the paper that has been pocketed, she simply rolls a shoulder in easy dismissal of it, "Old history," is all she will say on the matter. The matter of what the next day may hold is what finally has the woman dropping her feet back to the floor with a faint clunk, "I've put feelers out and am hoping to be meeting up with one of the local spice merchants, so I'll likely be in meetings most of the day." Reaching for her clipboard a sheet of paper is detached and handed over to Ahnika. She's about to go into it when Randi arrives. Dark eyes settle onto the goldrider and then flicker off in the direction of the beast caverns, "He arrived about a seven or so. Haven't seen hide or hair of him since. You can probably find him bunking down in one of the stables if you want him?" The barest hint of sly edging into the husky tone.

"My foster father always said that the trick is to make all work something like play, so it never feels like work," Ahnika says, reaching to take the paper Indira handed out to her. "I'm still workin' on riddlin' that theory out in practice, though, I'm afraid." She starts to look over the material when Randi arrives. Stepping politely a little to the side as the weyrwoman arrives to speak to Indira, too, Ahnika takes a moment to review Randi's appearance and her knot and dips into a more deferential bow to her. She hasn't gotten all the looks of the knots memorized yet, so it took her a moment to realize who Randi was for certain. She smiles at her as she straightens and nods once, "I'm Ahnika, ma'am," showing a little nervousness in that smile now, but bravely keeping it up. It's not often one gets to introduce yourself to a weyrwoman, after all.

Ciara makes an entrance from the west hallway, rubbing her arm absently. She's on a direct route to the self service tables, but the sight of Randi - ever her favourite Weyrwoman - as well as Ahnika and a woman she doesn't know stood together causes her to divert. "Heya Ahnika, Weyrwoman Randi," she greets them with a grin, though her gaze quickly roams to Indira's knot. "And Headwoman…have I met you before?" Her brow crumples a little as she tries to place the woman's face. Never mind that she's just walked over and barged in on a conversation - or several, as the case may be. She looks suitably tired for the time of night, though it's apparent by her wet hair that she's recently bathed.

Snorting once in half-laughter, Randi takes another drink from her skein. "So long as they made it safe, I don't need nothing from 'em." She may be a flirt, but she's not that kind of flirt. "How're the rest of your people settling in?" Her expression is still light, but earnest. She wants these people here for the long haul, and that means making sure they settle well. "Hey, Ci!" she greets warmly. "How'd your time with AIVAS go?" Her attention focuses on the former Neratian first - those who will be feeding bellies take a bit of precedence, here. "Learn enough to start teaching, yet?" And then there's Ahnika catching her attention. "Ahnika, eh? Don't remember seeing you before…" There's a quick glance to Indira. "She one of yours?"

Indira puts a dubious look over to Ahnika which then morphs into a short chuckle, "So long as play," making the word sound entirely two-edged, "is never considered to be work," she retorts with a wink, lapsing into silence and taking to leaning a hip against her desk as the girl introduces herself. Adding in her own two cents worth at the end for Randi's clarification, "Came over from Nerat with my lot," putting an approving look onto the redhead, "hard worker too." Praise not often falling from this woman's lips, is given with genuine intent when it does. Ciara's arrival turns a quick flash of dark eyes onto her before amusement plays out upon the older woman's features, "Not officially. Seen you about though. Indira," a nod of greeting going the new arrival's way. The Headwoman takes Randi's response to the safe arrival of beast manager and his charges with a quick twitch of lips in amusement before turning to the query put to her, "Finding their feet," she nods, "a few are trying their luck thinking I'm too busy to keep an eye on them but are slowly but surely finding out otherwise." Like young Leron who finally earned himself the threatened latrine duties over the past few days.

As Ciara greets her, Ahnika turns a bit and grins and waves, "Hi there, Ciara. Have a good day?" She eyes the other girl's wet hair and adds, "Any more bath salts and sweetsand experiment results I need to note down?" Her tone is playful, but the sparkle in her eyes suggest she's actually a little serious about this apparent quasi-market study on popular sweetsand and salts. The better to be prepared when making recommendations on supply purchases, no doubt. She lapses quiet as the weyrwoman speaks up, of course, giving the goldrider her attention and respect as is due. When Randi addresses Ahnika once again, Ahnika simply nods and smiles again, but her smile this time might seem a little bit more confident and less nervous. But it is Indira's praise that practically has the red-headed teen beaming and it takes some obvious effort for her not to explode into bits and pieces of warm and fuzzies right there in front of everyone. She does manage a modest murmur of, "Thank you, Headwoman," to Indira. It is only while the conversation between the various parties continues on without requiring her immediate input that Ahnika is able to calm herself down well enough to actually speak more than two words for the first time, adding, "With more coming in everyday, it seems like, needing to find their feet, too. I'd say the recruitment effort is very successful."

"Good, thank you!" Ci rocks onto the balls of her feet, tiredness almost forgotten in the pleasure of conversation. "I think a sevenday, maybe? I'll ask the Masters at Landing," she adds, with a certain nod of her head. "Indira," she repeats back then to the headwoman in question, and gives the woman a polite little curtsey too. "I'm Ciara," she says, though a moment later Ahnika is using her name anyway, so the introduction seems a little useless. The other resident gets a grin, Ci's eyes bright at the playful nature of the question. "Trying to keep up with my demands still?" She's playing along, though the hand that goes to her hair to pat it hints that maybe she is taking Ahnika seriously, on some level. Ci does look thoughtful…. But then she's nodding in agreement with Ahni's words to Randi. "New faces every day, it's exciting," she adds to that, looking at Indira and Randi in turn.

"Good." Randi's nod is sharp and firm. "I'll start drawing up a list of youngsters you can teach and people who can help you." Which reminds her. Turning to Indira, she takes another drink. "Any of your people good hands at hunting or fishing?" She pauses and thinks for a moment. "Or for farming, come to think of it." The weyrwoman seems satisfied with Indira's assessment of Ahnika and so lets it pass with a nod and a grin. "Brilliant! We need all the hard workers we can scrounge."

Having left Ahnika to her conversation with Ciara, it's her words of thanks that draw the Headwoman's attention back her way. Though her expression shows no sign of having done so, dark eyes glint with faint amusement at the girl's reaction to her praise. "Got to still teach her how to have fun though," this in a teasing aside to Randi. The whiskey glass lifted and raised to her lips once again, Indira almost chokes on the amber liquid when Ciara curtsies. Eyes watering she waves off the respectful gesture, "Jays, I'm no lady holder, darling. A simple howdy'll do fine," the semblance of a grin coming on the heels of that. Back to Randi again, a slow but full grin forms in response to the question put to her, "There's two or three that know how to handle a bow and are pretty handy with knives. Max can handle himself as can I," she gives with easy admission. Dark eyes gleaming with keen interest, "You looking to put a hunting party together?"

"You can bet on it," Ahnika says in return to Ciara with another grin that fades to a simple pleased smile as Ciara adds her own two marks on the increase in new faces in the weyr. She is quiet as Randi speaks again, nodding a little in either agreement or understanding of the drive to find people to teach others about fishing and agriculture, but grins brightly again, this time at the weyrwoman, as she responds to Indira's praise approvingly. "I just try to do my best, ma'am," Ahnika responds somewhat lamely at an attempt at humility under the attention. Then a look at Indira with her own grin still in place, "I look forward to those lessons, too, Headwoman," she says, though somewhat uncertainly. She falls silent as there is talk of a hunting party, considering it, herself, "Would anyone be able to participate in that, too? To learn it, that is." This girl seems to soak up knowledge and skills like a sponge, or tries to anyway.

Ciara allllmost bobs again after Indira's gentle chiding, but stops herself. Just. "I'll remember that, headwoman." In this first meeting at least, she's all sincere, if somewhat over the top, politeness. The serving tables have her attention again now anyway, and a flicker of tiredness interrupts the smile on her face. "If you'll all excuse me, my bedtime drink's calling." And she's off, yawning as she walks away to go help herself to a hot drink.

"Not for this one, I'm afraid." Randi shakes her head gravely and takes the final gulps from her skein. "If you want to learn, I'd suggest you find Ci after a sevenday. Join the class she'll be teaching on fishing." Turning to Indira then, Randi nods slowly, her grin widening into something more feral than friendly. "Sweeps have seen a mated pair of wildcats teaching their two young'uns to hunt just outside the area we'd like to cultivate for farming." She glances at her nails then. "And I could use a new rug."

Enigmatically sly the expression that gets turned out for Ahnika's uncertainty over learning how to have fun her words however, going Randi's way, "Heard some rumours while back north on some of the parties these southerners are known to have. Mayhaps we can garner the kind favors of one or two to show us the southern way of doing such things? Might be the way to bring everyone together." Indira sends her young protege an apologetic look and nods her agreement with the weyrwoman, "Weathered blades only I'm afraid, Ahni. You'll have enough to do getting chow packs together for those going along and making sure there's somewhere set aside for skinning and tanning." She's trying for a gentle let down but who knows how successful her attempt is. That having been said, her expression mirrors that of the goldrider's, the predator at her base coming to the fore with propriety falling away, "Screw the rug, I need me furs to replace the one's I had to leave behind."

Smiling and waving in farewell to Ciara as the other teen heads off to get her drink and go to bed, Ahnika almost misses the fact that Randi is answering her and turns back abruptly, unable to hide her disappointment. She frowns a little, but nods quietly, and pretty soon she is chewing on her bottom lip trying to riddle out the best solution to work around this obstacle. Ahnika doesn't appear to be a sulker who dwells on disappointments for long. She's pulled out of her thoughts with Indira's words, and says, "Oh absolutely! A fine idea, Headwoman," Ahnika says, "We didn't have many parties at the cothold. I'd love to see how one is thrown in a weyr," a pause and she adds, "A southern one at that." She seeks some inner understanding from the nearest stalactite, musing aloud, "I'd need to make a list of what we'd need… perhaps talk to the harpers…" her voice trails off briefly before she looks back at Indira - catching the apologetic look - and Randi again, smiling brightly once more, "Love the idea!" She nods then, "Chow packs. Skinning and tanning location. Right. I'm on it, ma'am." Making a mental list, "Just let me know when the party will be heading out and I'll see to everything," with not a little bit of over-confidence, practically cocky about it, really.

Shooting Indira a thankful look at her skillful handling of Ahnika's disappointment, Randi nods. "Alara won't want to go, but her queen just might. Which is just as well, since I doubt Kaseth will be interested. If I can get a couple of bronzes to go with us, we'd have adequate backup." This isn't the first time Randi's been hunting felines; she knows better than to underestimate them. "I'd like not to have to use them - they don't tend to leave the hides nice - but even I'm not fool enough to go after four of those critters without some insurance. How many you got aside from you an' Max, Indira?" Then some mention of a party catches her attention. "Party? Sure. We can serve feline on a spit." She grins. "Though I've never heard the southerners say they do it differently. What sort of party you mean us to throw, Indi?"

Flashing a wicked grin first to Randi and then back to Ahnika, Indira gives a singular but telling word on the subject of Weyr parties, "Wild." As to list making for such matters, the Headwoman turns toward the goldrider with an expectant lift of brow, when an affirmative reply comes a cocky grin breaks free, "Why the triumphant return of the hunters and their kills, of course! We can start to put a list together tomorrow evening after dinner." The last sent to Ahnika as she drains her tumbler and sets it down on the desk, "Speak to Max, he'll tell you what I expect in terms of a post hunting work area." And then her attention's back to the goldrider and hunting arrangements, "If it pleases you, I'll take Starflight rather than go a-dragon-back. He's sure footed and knows how to follow the hunt." As arms come to fold in loose embrace over her chest, the older woman's expression turns thoughtful, "There's Boxtal, Andren, Phyllica and Westyn. Six in all."

The grin that surfaces on Ahnika's face when she refers to the parties as "wild" turns rather impish, an infrequent look for her. She listens as Randi starts to talk of the hunt, seeming hopeful to pick up anything interesting or important - one never knows - that could be learned from just listening in to planning a hunting party. She looks back at Indira as Randi throws the question of the type of party back at her, and then Ahnika grins at Indira's response. "This is turning out to be something really, really exciting," murmurs the red-head, still grinning. She nods then to the comment about talking to Max for tanning and skinning needs, and says, "I'll go look for him at the stables tomorrow then, when I'm in the area," she gestures with the paper that Indira gave her earlier in reference, then lapses quiet again to listen to more of the hunting party planning, who will go and how, and so forth.

"Aye, if you think he can keep his head with the scent of felines about, you're more than welcome to bring him." Randi leans her rear against the edge of a nearby table and crosses one ankle over the other. "I'll be on foot with the canines. We'll keep the dragons downwind, so the felines don't make a run for their den." She shudders then, glancing towards Ahnika. "Never fight a cat on their own turf, lass." Since she's so keen on learning things. "You lot and myself makes seven, then. I'll see if J'cobi and E'ro will come on foot with us, since they're two of the only riders who I can vouch have sense, if not manners."

Indira nods, "Max'll scent him and Charger up a seven before we go." Referring to some or other trick the beast manager must have up his sleeve when it comes to runnerbeasts and hunting. Turning a chuckle out for Ahnika's excitement over the upcoming party, "Best way to learn to have fun," adding on finding her son in the stables, "You can tell him we need him for the hunt and that I say he's to scent the two stallions up." Putting faith in the girl to deliver her instructions. The Headwoman's eyes narrow in thought as Randi lays out the plans, her mouth quirking at one corner, "It's always been my opinion that the rougher men have the best chances of catching the feline." She is still talking about the hunt in planning, right?

Blinking a bit at Randi, her expression sobering, Ahnika says, "Sure. Not on own turf. Got it, ma'am." She considers that a moment longer before returning her attention to Indira and nodding once more, this one with a small smile, "Looking forward to the lesson then, and I'll give Max your instructions while I'm there. I'll also tell him about the party. Maybe he can give me some more ideas for it, too, and what he considers fun and party-worthy. After all, he'll be one of those returning from the hunt, so he'll be among you hunters being honored." She pauses, thinking about that again, and asks, "Right?"

When Ahnika repeats Randi's advice, the rider can't help but grin. "Exactly." And it's advice that works not just on felines, but on pretty much any fight. Indira's mention of scenting makes her grin. "I used to know an old stablehand who swore by that trick. It's a good one." That makes her pause, however, and her eyes flick back and forth as her mind works. "What about the mare you had with you? Is she steady enough that I could ride her up with the hounds?" After all, Randi may be a good runner, but going through the jungle at hounds' speed would take more senses than she's got. A good runner, however… "Hah! I know quite a few who'd say it was the man who can sweet talk the feline what got her into his den."

Indira has to openly bite her lip in order to not give voice to what blazes through her mind when Ahnika comments on what her son may constitute as fun or a good means of celebrating the end of a successful hunt. Studiously avoiding Randi's eyes, she coughs into her hand as she chokes back her mirth and then puts on a bland mask, answering simply, "To every path, there's a fork in the road, dear girl." Amusement still lighting her eyes she turns the goldrider's question, her nose wrinkling slightly, "She's not been scented before, far as I know. Max would be the best one to ask about that." Sending not one, but two lambs to the slaughter. Laughter low and rich greets the weyrwoman's last, "True, but it's the ones with the staying power that'll live to survive the night." Griiin.

Ahnika nods a bit to Randi and then to Indira's fork comment - though appears interestedly pensive on that one - and remains quiet as she listens to the two older and more experienced women before finally asking during a pause, "If I may ask, what does 'scenting' mean, exactly?" One wonders if Ahnika is under the AIVAS dictionary for 'sponge'. She also looks confused on the conversation on men and felines and their dens and staying power and so forth. Poor country-bumpkin that Ahnika is, but by her expression she does sense - from the laughter if nothing else - that it is likely a metaphor for something, or an inside joke, both of which she apparently doesn't feel good about asking for an explanation… at least not at this juncture, since, in fact, she doesn't ask for an explanation. There is little doubt, however, that this, along with the fork in the road comment, may very well keep her up all night tonight. She waits for another appropriate pause and says, "Headwoman, is there anything you need to elaborate on about this list?" she asks, referring to the piece of paper in her hands, "Or anything more on the hunting party and festivities after? I'll let you two… finish… and head to the baths then before turning in if there's nothing else… for now."

Pushing herself up, Randi tosses her empty skein to a passing drudge doing cleanup from the late-evening snackers. "Right. I'd like to ride her first anyway. See how she feels under saddle and learn her stride before we go chasing wildcats." To Ahnika then, she nods. "I've a Weyrleader to go and brawl with still tonight, so if you'd be so kind as to mention when you see Max that I'll be around for a ride early next seven, I'd much appreciate it." Offering a lazy salute to both women, she nods to the Headwoman. "You let that pup of yours know that this feline's got claws, won't you?" She grins. "I'd hate for him to come into things with the wrong idea." And with that, she turns to go.

"Scenting is when one attaches a piece of hide from the type of animal one expects to encounter, to the head halter of a runnerbeast to get them used to the foreign smell so that they don't spook when they come across the smell out on the hunt," Indira explains to her young 'sponge'. The older of the woman looks anything but apologetic for the turn the conversation takes or the innuendo's set in place. Chances are she views this as simply another in a long line of lessons she has in store for Ahnika. Poor girl. Details however, are set aside in favor of giving the redhead a small shake of head, "No, that's all for now, Ahni. You run along and get scrubbed down. Oh, those blankets the nannies were asking after for the little ones, should be coming tomorrow." The last a reference to something on the list and sent after Ahni as she departs. When Randi starts to make her own preparations to depart, the Headwoman grins, "Careful now, you don't want to strip all the grit and snarl away do you? Where would be the fun in that?" A short nod goes to words on the weyrwoman riding the mare as she lifts a hand in idle farewell, "I'll be sure he kows."

Smiling at Randi, Ahnika nods once, "Certainly, ma'am," bowing her head and shoulders as the weyrwoman departs, with the last comment from Randi seeming to help make the other metaphors fall into place. When given a point of reference, Ahnika is smart enough to riddling things out, eventually. She straightens and listens to Indira explain 'scenting' and brightens a little more by the end of it, another piece of some great worldy puzzle falling into place for her. She dips her head politely in farewell to Indira and starts to go, pausing only as the headwoman adds the comment about the blankets, "Oh good. I'll be on the lookout for them and get them distributed as soon as they get here, then. Good evening, Headwoman." She smiles and, paper in hand, heads off again in the direction of her cot to get her bathing supplies before going to the baths.

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