Rods And Runners


Ciara.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 29th July 2010
Location: Eastern Weyr: Beast Cavern
Synopsis: Ciara goes to collect her fixed fishing rod from Max, and ends up getting more than what she bargained for.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Ciara

Sweeping upwards from the tunnel's entrance at the easternmost end, this cavern arches well over the heads of its inhabitants; both two- and four-legged. Wooden stalls and pens have been built in rows. Two rows are built into the north and south walls and two are back-to-back down the center, leaving two aisles up and down. Each animal enclosure is spacious, well-built and solid; the whole place smells of new timber and sawdust, with the subtle undertones of leather, animal and hay. The western end opens out into the feeding pens and from there into the upper bowl. The opening is large enough to allow a decent amount of sunlight to enter the cavern, but not quite big enough to allow the adult dragons inside.

Early morning, just after breakfast, finds Ciara entering the beast caverns rather hesitantly. The fact that she's not the biggest fan of big animals becomes evident as she steps as quietly as possible down the cavern, trying to keep as far from the stalls as possible while also looking about for something. Or someone most likely, as this is Max's domain.

The thread of annoyance is clear to hear in the low held conversation currently being conducted between Max and a grizzled looking man. "I don't care how things were done before. You either find decent feed for the beasts, or take your business elsewhere," he states, arms folding across his chest in unforgiving pose. Grumbling a little, the older man finally relents with reluctant agreement and leaves. With a snort sent quietly after the man for having tried to dupe him, the beast manager turns to find Ciara warily making her way down the aisle. A grin appears as he moves toward the candidate, "Welcome to the den of iniquity," mouth quirking around the deliberate tease.

Ciara's head turns towards the sound of voices, and she gets closer, so that she just catches the end of the conversation. She moves out of the leaving man's way, watching him go before turning her attention to the other man - Max! Ah-hah! Now that she's found him, she hastens down the remainder of the aisle to come to a stop before him. "Iniquity?" Now there's a word Ciara hasn't heard before. She tries to cover up her embarrassment by lifting an eyebrow and looking at Max, as if it's his fault for using complicated words. The humour, of course, is lost on her.

A chuckle breaks free for the lifted eyebrow with Max simply beckoning for the candidate to follow as he turns and heads toward his office, "Come about your rod, eh? Waine did a pretty good job it if I do say so myself. Though you'd be the expert so I'll leave it up to you to decide." Making conversation as he walks while sending glances side to side, checking on those currently mucking out stables, "Leron, put your back into it," this for the younger teen currently leaning idly on a rake doing little but daydreaming. Back to Ciara, "Will you be able to pick up again with fishing now that your rod is fixed? Or will you have to continue on with the usual candidate chores?"

Ciara follows Max, shrugging behind his back when he doesn't expand on 'iniquity'. She tries not to look about too much as she follows, but when it's a choice between that and staring at his back, the better one is a little easier to select. Leron gets a long look for his idleness, before she answers Max. "Sounds like it'll be fine. The main damage was the reel being almost detached, which isn't too difficult to sort." She shrugs when he asks about picking up the fishing again. "Randi said she wanted me to teach the other candidates to fish. I'll go and ask her when she's not d-" she stops there, and continues the sentence as if there was no stop. "So busy. And I have my rod back." Well, that didn't sound awkward at all. She pretends nothing happens. "I'd like to, if I can. The chores've been…interesting, but I miss fishing." Ci sounds - and looks - much more upbeat now that the fixed rod is so close.

Only one more stall to pass where an ovine newly delivered of young is snuffling and snorting about and then Max is crossing the threshold and entering his office type affair. Moving over to the opposite side of the room where his mattress and personal items are situated, he takes up the rod leaning there and brings it over to Ciara with a triumphant grin. "There you go. Good as new," as far as he can tell anyway. Hands pocket and an eyebrow lifts for the almost comment on the goldrider, "When she's not so?" prompt given before an understanding look is sent the candidates way, "I guess it would be something like my not having a runner to ride." Her not having had her rod for a while. "Is there not a simpler way to teach someone to fish without putting your rod in the hands of the inexperienced? Use a stick and line or something until they get the hang of it."

Ciara's gaze goes a-roving around Max's personal stall-come-office. In particular, the mattress and personal items are eyed, before she's looking at the rod Max is bringing over to her, reaching out almost greedily for the precious item. "Oh my." She caresses the polished wood first, then runs her fingers over the metal reel, this now affixed firmly to the body of the device, a few tugs testing the firmness of the connection. "It is, very much so. Better, I'd say. Has he never considered a craft?" She looks up at Max with a broad grin, which falters a little when he queries the Randi thing. "Busy, y'know." She's sticking to what she 'meant'. "I haven't seen her for a while." Then she's answering him about the teaching thing, looking pensive. "Well…I thought it'd be better if they learned the mechanism right away. You can't really do that with a stick and line, cos of the weight of the rod and everything, too. Maybe I'm not cut out to teach people." She looks faintly annoyed about that.

The girl's interest in his personal area draws a vaguely narrowed eyed look from Max as he notes casually in unnecessary explanation as to why he sleeps in his office, "Space is at a premium down the lower caverns and I like my…privacy," mouth curling roguishly and then continuing on, "Besides, sometimes when a beast is birthing or we have visiting runners stabled, it's best to be on hand just in case something goes wrong." Once the rod is in her possession the beast manager leans a shoulder up against the walling and chuckles at her open delight for its return, "Waine?" snorting, "Likes the bottle and gambling too much to be paying enough attention to a craft." That having been said the candidate is afforded an encouraging smile, "Come on now, darlin', you can't be that bad. Teaching is something that needs practicing much like learning does, aye?"

"Oh!" Ciara has the grace to look apologetic when Max explains about his sleeping arrangements. "Sorry…never been in here before." She looks a little alarmed at the idea of helping a beast struggling in labour, hands tightening on the fishing rod, happy to move the conversation away from that particular topic. "Ah…that's a shame. But. To each their own, I guess?" Sh doesn't seem too sure what to say, settling on that before she shrugs at Max's next. "Well Ah- the person I was trying to teach when my rod broke was the first so…well. I can't really go to Landing for any lessons at the moment." She lifts her shoulders again. "What about you? Teach anyone here?"

Ciara's comeback draws laughter, "Think I might have remembered if you had been, darlin'," a wink following that. With some amusement over her obvious discomfiture surrounding some of what his job entails, Max leaves that behind in order to follow the topic of teaching things. Broad shoulders rolling in an easy shrug, "Well there you go then, you can't expect to be right up there with harpers on your first attempt, aye?" Oh the ways in which he could answer that question. However, aside from an ill contained chuckle, the beast manager stays within the boundaries of 'safe', "Taught a few to ride, aye. All you really need is a runner with patience and a little time for those learning to find their seat. After that, aside from tensing up their hands and pulling the shards out of the runner's head, it all really comes quite naturally." Tipping a curious look her way, "Why? You interested in learning?"

Ciara looks faintly startled at the wink, but tries to save face by pretending not to have seen it. Her cheeks may have that pink flush to them though, much the same as when she first met Max. "Yeah…maybe I could ask Uveline. She's a harper. Or was." She shrugs the matter off, before staring at Max in disbelief. "Learn to ride a runner." She looks like he just kicked her favourite pet. "I, uh," and now she's desperately trying not to look rude. "I don't think it's for me. We didn't have any runners at home. I've never ridden. It's only a miracle I can tell which end's the head and which end's the arse," she finishes, feebly attempting a joke.

And there comes the grin for the pinking of cheeks, it must be his mission in life to get women to blush. Moving on, both brows lift at Ciara's reply, "Well I sure as shards ain't going to throw a saddle on my back and crawl around on all fours. Of course a runner." That suspension of disbelief remains when she's trying to say it's not for her. Closing the distance swiftly, Max takes her by the wrist and starts to drag her off out of the office and down the aisle toward where a gentle old mare is stabled, "Time we fixed that then." Hopefully she won't scream the caverns down for help in the process.

Ciara rolls her eyes at that particular image, though embarrassment at her comment being misconstrued is what's making her cheeks hotter, now. "I-" but before she can continue with that, Max has grabbed her by the wrist and started dragging her off. She doesn't fight him, but her arm's tense in his hand, tendons standing out of the wrist. "Where are you taking me?" She demands forcefully, rather than going for the more girly option of screaming. "Oh- no! Fix what?!" But realisation is dawning, and now she does begin to fight a bit, but she's more than outmatched and she knows it.

Deeper blushes simply bring with them more amusement and a low chuckle as Max quickly catches on to how she might have taken his comment. Where is he taking her? "To a dark stall to do bad things to you," he quips with a lightly amused snort, "come on, you'll see." A few more paces and he stops in front of the mare's stall. The bay colored creature, with her head hanging lazily over the half door turns her head and blows a snort of warm air toward her guests, big warm eyes settling onto them. "This," the beast manager says, still not letting go of her wrist just yet, "is Spring Breeze." Turning his attention to the runner, his tone turns low and gentle, "Say hello to Ciara, old girl," and then turning the candidate's wrist over so that her hand is palm up, presents it to the mare to nuzzle a whiskery touch to, warning as he does, "Don't curl your fingers shut."

"WHAT?" Now Ciara's really trying to wrench her wrist out of Max's grip. She does realise he's joking after a moment though and stops, but her arm's still tenser than the fishing pole grasped in her other hand. "Oh - no, really?" And now she's trying to keep as much distance between herself and the poor old mare as possible, even with Max forcing her right near the runnerbeast. "Uhhh." You can see her trying to curl her fingers up, and at the same time trying not to, per Max's warning. The hand remains mostly flat, though trembling. "Why are you doing this?" Her eyes squeezed mostly shut, Ci's trying not to look at the runnerbeast, instead glaring at Max.

He's a good deal stronger than she is, however Max does have to put some effort into holding onto the struggling candidate, "Quit it," he says of the struggling. Spring Breeze for her part extends her neck to snort and sniff curiously at Ciara, all whiskery muzzled and warm air. Eyeing those fingers that almost curl shut, "Do that and you run the chance she thinks they're finger roots," excuse the pun, "being offered as treats. Keep it flat and she knows you're trying to make friends." Having moved closer so that he can run a hand down the mare's neck, the beast manager catches that glare, his mouth twitching at the corners as he directs his reply to the runner instead, "You just want her to know you're a friend, don't you old girl. Ahhh, don't take on so," still talking the animal, "she's just not seen your kind before. Be patient with her and she'll face her fears and realize you're a lovable old thing." The runner turns her attention briefly from Ciara to bump her head against his chest and then back to the girl to try tugging gently at the girl's sleeve with her teeth in playful gesture.

Ciara gives Max a dirty look when he tells her to quit it…and again at the finger roots thing. Her lips thin but she forces her hand as flat as possible, finally managing to actually look at Spring Breeze up this close. She does look over at Max when he starts talking to the mare like she's a person, frowning. Then Spring Breeze is nibbling at her sleeve and the girl's eyes go real wide. "See, this is…she's going to eat my top!" Is Ci starting to get hysterical?! "Don't you feed her!"

Only once Spring Breeze has set to thoroughly exploring and investigating Ciara, does Max let her wrist go. The choice now being entirely hers to continue with the contact made, or shy away from it. Leaned up against the side of the stall, arms now folded across the chest, he watches the interaction and can't help the chuckle that spills, "She's trying to play with you," he states of the top tugging. An arm unfolds and he digs in a pocket to present a cube of compressed sweetener, "Here, give her this. Lay it your hand and keep your palm flat and she'll come get it." This to whether or not he feeds his runners.

Ciara very nearly jerks her hand away when Max releases her wrist, but sheer force of will caused by the determination not to look like a total baby in front of Max keeps it there. "How do you play with a runnerbeast?" She doesn't particularly look like she's enjoying herself with her tense frame, and shoots Max an indignant look, before her gaze drops to the sweetener cube. "Okay. Right." She takes the cube daintily, with a sweet smile to the man; this turns into a look of ill-disguised disgust as she turns her head back to face Spring Breeze. The sweetener goes hesitantly onto her flattened palm.

An approving smile is sent Ciara's way as she takes the decision to remain with the runner rather than skitter away. Jutting his chin toward where Spring Breeze is now about to start investigating the girl's hair, "Like that. They're very curious. Some are even able to open their stall doors once they figure out how to lift the latch." The offer of that treat the candidate holds out, quickly draws the mare's attention and soon soft whiskery lips have swept across her palm and taken the cube up. Max's turns out a lopsided grin, "You see? They don't really eat people for breakfast."

Ciara can't help but try to dodge away when the mare starts investigating her head. Is the animal going to headbutt her? Her eyes are wary, watching the runnerbeast as she waits for it to do whatever it's going to do with the sweetner cube. Eat it, presumably. And then the soft lips are touching her hand to sweep up the cube and she's biting her lip to stop any kind of noise of fright escape. "Right." For all that her voice is tense though, her body's starting to relax now that the 'introduction' seems to be going okay. Ci tears her eyes off Spring Breeze and looks at Max. "Are they all like this?"

Pushing away from his lean, hands pocketing Max chuckles and shakes his head, "No, not all of them. Starlight's a right bastard and needs a hard hand at times. But like any animal, patience and a firm hand sees him right." A hand unpockets and gestures toward the mare, "Spring Breeze here, now she's an old sweetheart. Perfect for those who've never ridden before." The look he sends Ciara perhaps suggesting she give it a try some time in the future.

Ciara nods, looking back at Spring Breeze thoughtfully. "I assumed they were all pretty much the same. Not too smart and everything." She probably doesn't mean to be insulting, that's just…how she thinks. But her mind seems to be being changed now, perhaps, especially when her next words are aimed at Max again, a question. "So…would she be easy to learn to ride on?" She catches that look of his and returns it with a challenging one, shoulders squaring even as her hand remains up for Spring Breeze's inspection.

A short laugh greets that as he shakes his head, "And that's where people come unstuck with them, they're far smarter than most think they are." Just then a young stablehand walks up to Max and hands him a sheet of paper. Going silent as he scans the contents, he nods, signs it and hands it back, "Tell Hayle I'll be there in a moment. I don't want those postholes dug until I've checked his layout." Back to Ciara, he shrugs, "Anything in life takes a little practice and is difficult at first, but she's gentle enough for a beginner. Just like teaching someone to fish. All that's required is patience." The challenging look met with a crooked smile of approval before he takes a step back. Either needing to oversee the work just mentioned, or to allow the candidate further 'alone' time with the mare.

"Well then. Maybe I'll have to learn to ride. Might be useful for going further afield for fishing." Ci's getting a bit ahead of herself now, what with only just getting up close to a runnerbeast for the first time. She hazards a very gentle, hesitant pat on Spring Breeze's nose before stepping back, glancing over at Max. "If you've stuff to do, I can go?" She offer, when he steps away.

"Being able to ride opens up a whole new world to folk that don't have dragons," Max agrees, watching as the candidate's courage blossoms and she chances a pet to the mare that in return blows out a soft puff of air. Glancing down toward the entrance of the tunnel, the man seems torn between politeness and seeing to his work. Just then a rather strapping lad, built like a rock outhouse makes an appearance and runs an openly appreciative look over Ciara, "Hello, love." Cue the broad grin, "Like the way I fixed up your pole for you?" This, must be Waine.

Ciara actually smiles at the puff of air from Spring Breeze. She might get there with runners, eventually. "Maybe I'll be back for…lessons? If I could?" She hazards with Max, moving away from the stable with the mare some more, noting his glance down the tunnel. Then a young man is approaching them, and speaking to her. "Oh…you must be Waine? Thank you ever so much for fixing it." Now Ciara looks like she's ready to go, unsure how to deal with the man's look.

"Anytime," Max states, "though if I'm not around, ask for Jekson. Old guy, missing tooth, but as good as the day is long. He'll see right by you." Waine's leering look over the candidate earns him a cuff upside the back of his head from the beast manager, "You've already got three women shedding enough tears to the fill lake. Now get back to work." Shooting a dark look his employer's way, the strapping lad mumbles, "Nice to have met you," and takes his leave. The beast manager sets an apologetic look over to Ciara, "Understand why its better you didn't send him that pretty smile of yours as thank?" eyes now following the lumbering giant as he goes.

"Got it." Though Ci's replying to Max, her gaze is still on Waine, wary, before the beast master sets him straight. "Um." Is all the girl manages when Waine mumbles his goodbye. To Max: "I see…." She can't come up with much better than that, a little shaken, despite the way she draws herself more upright, fishing pole clutched safely in one hand. "Well. It's been…thanks, Max. For this," the pole is waved enough to indicate it, "and introducing me to Spring Breeze." The mare gets a quick look. "Hopefully I'll…see you soon?"

Turning toward a peg where his hat had been set before she'd come in, Max sets it to his head and tips to fingers to its brim, "Always a pleasure, darlin'," that roguish grin coming forth again. Gesturing toward her fishing rod, "Good luck with the lessons and…" he almost seems loathe to say it, "the sands." As to whether or not she'll see him any time soon? A chuckle spills out and he winks, "You never know." With that he turns, long strides carrying him down the aisle and out the tunnel, shouting out several names as he goes that draws several lads taking up similar hats and trotting off behind him.

IC Date: Day: 04, Month: 08, Turn: 1

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