Roundup!

Participants:

Indira.jpg Randi.jpg Max.jpg

Date: Jul 06 2010
Location: Outside Nerat Hold
Synopsis: Almost having reached their destination, Randi comes upon the small group of Holdless under Indira's leadership and offers them not only a new beginning, but a few jobs too.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Indira

Just outside of Nerat Hold.


Late afternoon, finds a small band of people starting to set up camp just on the outskirts of Nerat Hold using an abandoned cave as shelter. Three runnerbeasts are tethered to a stake just outside the mouth of the cave with a dark haired young man and an older tousle haired blonde in a low toned argument while tending to them. “They need to be rested!” Max argues, his jaw setting into an obstinate line as he runs a hand down the leg of a chestnut. With a growl of irritation, Indi shoots her son a dark look, “It’s but a few more dragonlengths and then we make the Hold proper,” the thin wail of a young child catching her attention. Waving a hand back to the cave, “You don’t think –they’re- tired too!? We’re all exhausted.”

In the midst of that argument, a rather enormous shadow appears from nowhere to block the afternoon sun. A dragon's screeching, whooshing bugle announces her arrival, though with the light glinting off of her sun-white golden hide, it's not like she needs a whole lot of introduction. It takes a few moments of gliding in circles before the gold can land, but when she does, it's only the work of a moment for her rider - clad in bright red leathers - to leap from her back, slide down the shoulder and jog towards the group of people, runners and beasts.

That group of people having melted away into the cave and surrounding bush at first sign of a dragon overhead leaves just the blonde and younger man to bear testimony that anyone had ever been there in the first place. With the gold's smell invading their nostrils, the runnerbeasts are showing the whites of their eyes and jigging about nervously with Indira and Max hanging onto halters for dear life. Side stepping a kick, "Oh for the love of Faranth's arse!" the expletives begin spilling out of the blonde's mouth. Max on the other hand, is not quite so lucky and gets one square in the chest that sends him bowling over backwards. Trying to suck air back into his lungs he's on his feet and staggering back to the runnerbeasts, the only attention being afforded the goldrider, a dark scowl.

Seeing the problem - even before she reaches the pair - Randi glances over her shoulder and slows long enough to watch her gold move downwind where her scent, at least, should no longer be a problem. The pace is picked up again and she raises one hand in greeting before reaching out to grab the halter of one of Max's former beasts and using that hold and her body to force the runner to circle. And circle. And circle. It's an old trick, but it hasn't failed her yet. "Whew!" She grins at Indira over the runner's withers. "I'd forgotten how much harder it was when you couldn't just tell them there's nothing to be frightened of."

Max, with a fistful of mane in one hand, his other running over the runner, talks in low soothing tones to the animal, his dark eyes pinning onto Randi as she takes control of the chestnut that had gotten loose. Indira for her part flashes a wary look over to the goldrider, the stallion under her control for the time being, still flaring nostrils and snorting as he dances in place. With a jerk of head over in the dark haired young man’s direction, “You might want to try telling that to him.” The horse whisperer. A dark blonde brow arches upward, “You got a reason for being here weyrwoman or are you just bored?” and thus entertaining herself by scaring the living daylights out of runnerbeasts. Excuse the snip and wary, but Holdless plus sudden appearance of dragon, a gold no less, will set a person on edge.

Randi grins, letting the chestnut stop long enough for him to blow in her face and for her to do the same. There, introductions made. "Aye, but it takes a special talent to whisper the runner's language. Any old idiot with half an open mind can speak with their dragon." One hand reaches up to stroke gentle fingers over the hollow above one of the chestnut's eyes, but she's careful not to look him in the eye. She's no predator and she has no need to enforce dominance just yet. "And I suppose that depends." She shifts her hold on the runner so that she can unlatch the chin strap from her flight helmet and pull it off to reveal a fair long blonde braid. "If you be the band of Holdless that move through Nerat, then yes; business here I have."

Charger, the bay runnerbeast that Max had been ‘talking’ to, relaxes completely and chances a friendly nudge of broad head against Randi. His handler on the other hand, has yet to say anything to the weyrwoman. Just the faintest smirk tracing across his mouth any indication that he’d even heard her. Determined to take possession of the chestnut, he reaches for the halter rope, the words that come are few, but there in their low spoken approval, “You know runners.” With Starflight about done with his dancing, Indira re-positions the halter rope back over the picket line and turns toward the goldrider with arms folded across her chest. Her husky tone, dubious, “Perhaps if I were to hear of your business with these Holdless,” not copping to the title just yet, “I might be able to help you.”

Releasing her charge to his owner with one final pat, Randi offers Max a bright smile. "I like most all animals," she concedes. "Except firelizards," the weyrwoman continues, "they're most all of them smarter than people." Not that she's got any particular bone with people, they just never seem to get their heads screwed on right. Turning to Indira, Randi nods once, clipping her helmet strap to her belt before answering. "I heard word from one of my weyrfolk - a former Holdless herself - that there were good people up north looking for a fresh start no one would give 'em." Arms fold across her chest then, more for something to do than for any conversational reason. "I need people who can farm, who can fish; people who can hunt and cook and sew and mind the children." She glances at Max, then, blushing just slightly and grinning a little flirtatiously. "People who know beasts." She jumps then as if something had given her a jolt. She doesn't seem surprised and continues on as before. "I came to see if any of the Nerat band wanted to start over. It's fair work and me and my girl here - " she jerks her chin in Kaseth's direction. "Can make sure they're fed and protected, so long as they pull their weight."

Randi’s opinion of animals earns her a half smile of genuine purpose from Max, dark eyes running over the goldrider in unashamed appraisal. With the runners calmed, he hooks thumbs into belt loops, in a lazy drawl, “Every animal has its soft spot.” Managing to make that sound entirely like a come on. Which earns him the faintest narrowing of eyes and tip of brow from Indira. The older blonde goes quiet, head bowing as she studies the ground, lips pressed into a thin line of contemplation as she mulls over the weyrwoman’s words. Nodding to herself as if having reached a decision she lifts her head and calls out loud enough for all to hear, “Y’all can come out now.” First one and then another head appears from brush and cave, a total of twenty men, women and children making their way hesitantly over to Indira and falling in behind her. Setting an intent look onto the goldrider, “There’s here are –my- people,” taking possession of the small group, “You swear on your dragon’s life, your people will see right by us?” The wary expectancy of twenty two pairs of eyes all focussing on Randi.

With the easy grace of a natural flirt, Randi tosses a saucy smile Max's way. "You'd know all about their soft spots, wouldn't you?" Half-teasing, half-flirting, this kind of banter seems to put Randi more at ease. When she turns to watch the others appear and listen to their leader's demand, Randi's grin slips away to leave a solemnly determined expression. "I can't promise they'll all be nice. Some of 'em have the old prejudices and some - like our new Weyrleader - are just rude by nature." Oh J'cobi, you crossed the wrong woman, mate. "But I can promise that they'll know you're there under my orders and my protection. If they pick a fight with you, they'll answer to me." And that slightly wicked upward twitch gives her lips an almost predatory lilt. After a moment it breaks into a friendlier, more open smile. "If you start a fight with them, however, I can't do a thing to help you." She winks at Max. "Except bet marks on you winning."

The predatory flash of dark eyes telling of what goes through Max’ mind in response to that saucy smile. Rather than give to voice to it here, in front of the group, he tosses out a wink Randi’s way and takes to leaning his back against the rock face of the cave, keeping watch on the goldrider from under the brim of his hat. Indira takes in all that the weyrwoman says, a corner of her mouth lifting in the what might otherwise be determined as a hard countenance, “And this protection that you so graciously hand us. Is that the protection of the senior weyrwoman or a junior?” Laughter husky and low turns out, “Darling, I ain’t met a man whose ass I’ve been scared to kick.” Arms unfold and a hand is extended toward Randi in proper greeting, “Indira,” with a tip of head Max’s way, “Max, my son.” The dark haired young man tips two fingers to the brim of his hat, “Pleased to make your acquaintance, mi’lady.” As to the weyrwoman’s comments over fighting a wolfish grin appears along with a teasing waggle of brows.

Randi laughs. "As of a se - few days ago, a Junior. Still," she adds. "I love Alara like she was my older sister, but I'd wager good marks that just about anyone would pick a fight with her before they picked one with me. She's the nicest person you'll ever meet." Randi's gaze flicks to Max's; just as predatory, but for different reasons. "I'm not." The younger woman, too, extends her hand to clasp Indira's firmly. "Randi, servant to Her Ladyship Kaseth and Eastern Weyr's one remaining Junior." She jerks her thumb over her shoulder towards the gold, who ignores her completely. "Now. Let's sort this out here so I can tell who goes where." She looks to Max first. "You're easy." Yet another double entendre. "I need a good pair of hands to run my beast caverns. If you're half as good with herdbeasts, ovines and porcines as you are with runners, you'll be thrice as good as what I've got now." Indira, however, earns a tilt of her head. "How familiar are you with a Headwoman's job, Indira?"

Randi staking claim on not being as nice as her senior, and calling him easy, earns her little more than a smirk from Max. That however slides off and dark eyes pin onto the woman, an inscrutable expression in place, “Managing the beast caverns,” he echoes, a hand moving to rub fingers across his stubbled chin as he considers the offer, “Thrown in private quarters and I’m yours.” Which can be taken any way the goldrider wishes to take it. During the exchange, a low murmur has started amongst those at Indira’s back. The older blonde’s lips twitch in might be construed as amusement for the query put to her, “Got me some idea how that goes,” the position of Headwoman, “Edda here,” a petite little redhead behind her, “Is a seamstress. Riyan, a laundress. Boxtal, a handyman…” Each and every adult of the little group brought the goldrider’s attention with their particular talents listed, “I take your job, they come with me.” Max utters a soft cough, “The runnerbeasts too.”

"No one has private quarters yet," Randi answers. "Much of the weyr is still being carved out of the rock by Smiths and miners. Unless you can sprout wings or want to sleep in a stall, you'll have to cot out with the rest of the lower caverns folk until the digging's done on quarters." It's not a particularly happy situation for anyone, but them's the breaks for now. She watches with a keen eye as the others are presented, along with their skills. "Indira, I wouldn't dream of leaving without them." Her smile widens. "Anyone who wants is welcome - including the runners." Although they present a tactical problem. "I can give you a few days to organize and send riders to collect you folk and your belongings, but …" She turns to Max. "I'm afraid you'll have to take those runners south by ship." And what ship will take a Holdless? "Unless I met you at the port and sailed down with 'em like they were my beasts…" Thinking half aloud and half to herself, Randi puzzles this through. "We could probably even get by saying you were my hostler. Enough marks grease their palm and those sailors won't care /who/ I 'employ'."

“Stall will do me fine,” Max states decisivly. Someone is clearly not that much of a people person as to be willing to share sleeping quarters with other human beings. Indira wears a look of pride for the ragtag bunch, as each comes forward, shyly presenting themselves to the weyrwoman. Taking a good hard look at Randi’s shoulder knot, committing it to memory, the trouser-clad woman turns to the youngest of the adults, the one named as a nanny, and ushers her forward, “Can you take Meira and the little ones with you now? The rest of us will wait for your riders.” Sending a hard and unbending look over the way of her son, “Max needs the time to sell the runners.” Taking the decision away from him. Anger flares in the young man’s features, “You have no right…” he starts to grit out between clenched teeth. Indira steps right up into his personal space, hands to hips, “That’s where you’re wrong. Charger, belongs to Boxtal, Starflight is mine, and as to Superstition,” a dark smile appears, “she was on loan,” right, on loan, “I want them sold before Rukbat sets tomorrow. Give Boxtal his cut,” her tone softens just a fraction, “Keep my cut and put it with yours to buy another runner when we get settled.”

Randi nods once at Max before starting to walk around the present runners as if inspecting them at auction. Her thoughtful expression is marred only by a quick nod to Indira. "So long as they don't mind a quick stop at Landing, they can come with me now." That settled, she continues her circle before finally stopping in front of Max. "I could use some good runners and these are fine stock. I'll offer you six full marks for the lot."

On hearing Randi’s agreement, Indira nods and turns to the young brunette, “Get the little ones and their belongings together. Quick as you can now.” Meira scurries off, another young woman in tow to help her. Chances are there’ll be a few tearful little ones when it comes time to leave. Hands having balled into fists at his sides at response to his mother’s directive, Max’s eyes flicker sidelong, touch on the weyrwoman and then pin back onto the older woman, a deep smirk forming on his mouth. Turning away from Indira, he offers a work roughened hand the goldrider’s way, “Offer accepted.” If the leader of the little group is in anyway annoyed by having her authority usurped, she’s keeping it to herself.

With a mischievous grin towards Max, Randi clasps hands firmly with the man and drops a pouch into his other palm. "And another full mark for attending them on their voyage down to Eastern." She winks. "We'll see you in a seven or so, Max." Turning back to Indira, then, she glances from the leader to the others getting ready. "I've base straps enough for all of us." She nods to her set of flight straps on the queen's neck. "But if you've got any spare leather reins from horses or herdbeast, I'll need to use them to secure passengers to them."

Closing his fingers around the pouch, Max awards Randi with a wide tooth flashing grin, the first to have been seen from him in a long while. Affording the woman the respect she’s now earned in his eyes, “In a seven, weyrwoman,” he agrees, fingers touching to the brim of his hat before turning away. Immediately he hands over Boxtal’s cut and pockets the rest cutting a smug look his mother’s way. All that earns him is a quick roll of eyes from Indira who is straight on to business sending a scruffy looking youngster off after the spare reins. By this time, Meira has re-appeared with the little ones in tow, big eyes going the goldrider’s way. Once everything is in order, passengers lined up, spare reins in hand, Indira steps forward, “They’re ready. Need a hand getting these extras set up?” The calm glance over to the gold nearby indication that the woman has at some time, been around dragons.

"That would be best, yes." Rather than summon her gold closer - where the runners may lose control again - Randi jogs towards Kaseth's resting place and settles her gold in a position with one arm out to assist in climbing. Once she's up and astride, she clips her own straps into place and reaches down. "I can take the smallest one in front of me. Three littles between each adult coming along."

With Meira herding the little ones behind her, Indira strides alongside Randi. Once the goldrider is settled, she summons the appointed nanny closer, “Up you go. I’ll hand the little ones up to you once you’re settled and you can help the weyrwoman, get them strapped in.” Having temporarily handed care of the runnerbeasts over to Boxtal, Max ambles over, hands in pockets, to observe the proceedings. Grunting with the effort of lifting a particularly tubby child who has begun snivelling, Indira growls over to the dark haired young man, “Don’t just stand there looking pretty, help me!” As casually as you please, Max strolls over, sets his hands under the tubby child’s arms and hoists him up toward Randi, setting a cocky grin up to her as he does so, “Any time you want a ride of a different kind over the next seven,” leaving the double entendre wide open to the goldrider’s interpretation, “you know where to find me.” Somewhere between here and there.

Randi laughs, but makes no reply to Max's oh-so-generous offer. Her focus is on her passengers, mostly making sure that they're secured. Finally, she takes the youngest to her, attaching the child to her own safety gear and holding onto it with both arms. "We'll be back for you soon, Indira. How long do you need to gather everything?"

A few tearful parents have joined Max and Indira, all of whom now step back to avoid the downward rush of air that is inevitable when a dragon leaps to the sky. “Just a day or so for the rest of us,” Indira calls up, shading her eyes with a hand against the afternoon sun, “Max will leave tonight.” Her son putting in a simple nod of agreement before turning back toward his charges to ready them for the journey ahead. “Clear skies,” the rest of the group call out, looking relieved to be having a definite place of safety to call their own soon.



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