Sorting the men from the boys


Indira.jpg Dubose.jpg

Date: 2010.07.18
Location: Beast Caverns
Synopsis: In search of Max who was supposed to have a mount ready for a very rare hour or so of leisure that Indira had organized for herself, she instead finds…Dubose, one of those elusive spice merchants she'd been in search of.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Indira

Eastern Weyr: Beast Cavern

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.

It's early morning and as usual the pens are busy with herders feeding and watering the animals. Lounging on a bail of hay is Dubose, nibbling at a long shaft of wheat while he watches people fussing at one of the pens. He's not making any move to help though, and really it seems that everyone has things well in hand. Maybe the big man feels he would just be in the way. Maybe he's just downright lazy.

Bootheels clip a path along the rock floor, announcing the arrival of a certain Headwoman. As she passes by several murmur greeting, most are ignored as dark eyes flick from side to side; irritation mounting as the tousle haired blonde consistently comes up empty handed. A young stablehand isn’t quite quick enough and is caught by the collar, “Where’s Max?” the woman demands, tone and expression brooking no argument. Startled stuttering ensues with the lad pleading ignorance as to the beast manager’s whereabouts. With a snort, the lad is released and she stalks directly toward where Dubose lounges on his bail of hay. Hands plant to hips as dark blonde brows hike up high, “Faranth but they breed them big down here,” simply assuming the man-mountain’s origins, “Don’t suppose you’ve seen the beast manager today have you?”

Dubose's attention is drawn towards the clip of heels and interest held as the woman snatches up a lad. He doesn't quite smile but there's a register of amusement around the man's eyes as he watches the exchange. There's no change of posture when she approaches him, still sprawled out on the hay and watching her until she speaks of his size. The reed is worked to the corner of his mouth and then plucked out, "Momma fed me well as a baby they say." About to fall silent and simply ignore her next question but something about her manner makes him re-think it and after a lengthy pause, "What does he look like?"

A snicker erupts from somewhere behind her for Dubose’s comeback and has the Headwoman whipping her head round to pin a narrowed look onto the offending party. Just like that, the entire area empties out with everyone suddenly finding work elsewhere that needs taking care of. Back to the big man lounging about, Indira’s thumbs hook into the low riding waistband of her breeches as she flows a long and measuring look over him, “Momma did a good job,” she returns with a quick twitch of lips. The question put back to her in return has another light flash of irritation crossing over her features as she starts to describe Max, “Tall, young, dark hair, has a leather thong he wears around his…” and then breaks off to send another sweep of eyes around the area, “he’s not here,” she finally determines through a frown. The blonde’s attention lands squarely on Mr Lazybones, “And who would you be then?” Clearly not one of her son’s recently hired hands.

Dubose isn't impressed. Not by the curt manner, nor by the hint of a smile or the compliment that it follows. A slow look is given to the lads as they high tail it out of the area and his head tips as he returns his focus on the woman before him, taking her in in small portions. Head first, then body and down the legs and slowly back up to focus last on her face. His eyes narrow slightly and he flicks the wheat away from him. "I'm Dubose." Simple as that. Even in his rags he doesn't seem to be the sort to be hired out. "You in charge around here right? I need to rent out a few stalls here and see about speaking with your smithcrafter."

While some woman might shift awkwardly in position while under such close inspection, Indira is not one of them. Instead a brow lifts with amusement and she affords Dubose the same minute study lips curving upward in open appreciation for the specimen before her. Steps close the distance, “Dubose,” she repeats slowly as if savoring the syllables on her tongue, a hand unhooking from her waistband and extending toward him in proper greeting, “Indira. Headwoman,” she confirms on being somewhat in charge. As to his needs there comes a brief return of that earlier irritation, “You’d need to speak to Max about the stalls.” Wherever he might have gotten to. “Our smithcrafter?” the husky voice tipping upward with interest.

There's a pause at the appreciation in her tone, or at least at her growing smile and his own expression turns skeptical. He brushes his hand off on his hip and straightens up to make a more proper introduction. "Headwoman Indira. Good to meet you." He's guarded as he takes her hand and allows only a quick exchange, as though her warmth might be some trap for him to tumble into. "So, Max is in charge of the stalls. Alright then. I thought going to the top would be better but" his words trail as he waves a hand, dismissing his plans in the motion. "Nevermind then. I will find him. Or, when you find him, let him know I need a moment of his time. As for the smithcrafteryes. I have a wagon on the road with an axle hangupsharding mud."

Cool and strong the slim hand that clasps that of Dubose’s, that smile still flickering in and out as Indira remarks, “Oh, starting from the top down never hurts, darling.” Letting innuendo bleed easily into her tone as she sets hand to pockets and rocks back on her heels, “Given the right incentive, I can make all kinds of things happen.” Laughter low and husky spills out and then she’s diverting conversation back toward the more identifiable topic of the beast manager, “I’ll tell him you’re in need of stabling if you tell him I have a boot that his name written on it if you see him first.” Poor Max. “What is it you’re transporting?” because this might determine just how much help he’s likely to get from the Headwoman.

A small breath comes out, a grumble that sounds part growl and part purr as one side of his mouth twitches at her innuendo. The hold on her hand lasts a moment longer and then he lets go, meeting her gaze steadily. He doesn't say anything, just puzzles over her and the flirting as though it's an activity he's not familiar with and doesn't know the right moves for that game. The expression ends up just looking puzzled and a 'you're barking up the wrong tree' sort of apology on his features. "I'll remember that. If I should need anything." Punctuating that with a small smile. "Sounds like Max got on your bad side hhmm?" Checking her out again for the bad side as he answers her, "I'm hauling spices. Not very exciting."

Dark eyes catch and hold onto each small nuance of Dubose’s expression, a low chuckle spilling out for some or other reason for the puzzled look he ends up with. A smirk winding around her next words, “Big guy like you? I’m sure you’ll think of something,” that he might need. As to the topic of the beast manager, lips press together into a thin line of disgruntlement, “I was wanting a ride.” Let’s hope he doesn’t take that entirely the wrong way. However it clearly outlines the fact that this is one woman that doesn’t take kindly to being made to wait. For anything. Spices? Immediately her expression clears and the blonde’s turning a brilliant smile, “Then it seems, this chance meeting, has been most fortuitous. For the both of us.” Even so bold as to take another step forward, right into his personal space, “Have dinner with me,” more directive than request.

"I'm a man of few needs." Dubose counters her assurance that he'd think of something to need, the comment rolls off easily along with a shrug as he hunches forward, eyes still fixed on the Headwoman. "I'm sure there are plenty of other people who could help you get a ride, if you didn't scatter the rest of those boys to the winds." There's disgust for the timid lads. Her sudden interest in his spice-trade items takes him aback and he actually chuckles for her response. "Fortuitous eh? Hhmmm, you looking for some spice in your life?" Her ordering him to dinner is met with disbelief, "Why?"

With an approving grin, “Simple. I like that.” Indira’s head turns in the direction of where the ‘deserters’ had once been and then back to Dubose with a light roll of shoulders, dismissing them from her interest just that easily. That grin makes another appearance, dark eyes flashing up and down the big man’s form once again, “Could be,” she begins, head tipping to one side, “Depends on the quality of spice that’s on offer on what sort of arrangement we can come to.” As to her directive a completely angelic expression falls into place, “Why, to discuss business of course,” a hand lifts and waves to indicate their surrounds, “This is hardly the place to barter the whys and wherefores of back scratching.”

The big man flashes a quick smile back, "I'm not a fan ofcomplications these days." As the topic switches more to 'work' rather than the untested dance of half-flirting he gives her a curious look. There's no indication that he doesn't like her in that personal space as he doesn't make any move to keep his distance, but there's a coldness in that space as well. "I'm afraid I don't have much with me, just a few choice items. I can get my hands on just about anything you'd need though. Or, at least give it a good shot." A pause and he lets out a breath, "What sort of dinner are you thinking of?"

Indira goes quiet, dark eyes searching Dubose’s out in the wake of those few words that seem to hold a wealth more back. A wry smile finally filters out, “I think you and I are going to get on just fine.” Spoken in such a ways as to suggest she were undecided up until that point. It may be that it’s her age, or simply her way, that has the blonde neither scared off nor moved to try and re-arrange the coolth that permeates that position she’s taken up in his personal space. She is simply, there. “If you’ve got samples on that wagon of yours I can arrange for you to go back with a dragonrider and pick them up?” the choice being his. His last words over the nature of the dinner invitation draws a round of deep and delighted laughter from the woman, who, believe it or not, steps in even closer, her head tipping to on side as she asks, “Do I scare you, big boy?”

"Maybe we will." Get along obviously, ".but maybe not." Dubose does follow up with a smile though, meeting her gaze. "The wagon is full of supplies. I'd rather be able to get a smith to go with us and get the wagon moving. Otherwise the thread might eat it up or something. I can get out there myself. Don't need no dragonrider to waste his time." As she comes in closer he watches her, a faint interest there to see what she might do. "Oh, I am -terrified-." Standing up now he stretches his arms over his head and looks down at her in amusement. "You like to scare boys don't you?"

Nothing but a lift of dark blonde brow greets his first, Indira’s expression closing in, shielding anything he might think to read in her gaze as she turns rather to the business at hand. “I’ve got the smith working on repairing some metal bed frames right now,” so she does know where he is, “I’ll be sure to have him down here within the hour,” she must really want those spices. As to the form of transport being offered there’s light roll of eyes, “Don’t be such a hard head, there’s more than one ‘rider that owes me a favor. Take the lift. That way you and the smith have a better chance of beating Thread to your cargo,” and she gets to inspect his wares faster too. Aaand then Dubose is standing and adding extra length to his height by stretching the way he does. Man mountain looming over her, will finally have the Headwoman stepping back out of his space. Although she does so with a smile quirking out, “I like to sort the boys from the men,” she admits.

A small shake of his head follows Indira's remark about the beds, "Shards, you that rough on the beds around here? Don't you have another smith?" Voice peaking slightly for concern over his goods left out in the elements. "Shards I hate traveling over land." The reminder drawing his lips into a flat line. Then she's offering to beg a favor for a rider and he rolls his eyes, "Alright, fine. I would rather not owe a dragonrider anything, but as I might be here for a bit of time, best to make nice-nice with the natives." When she steps back he can't help but smirk down at her, "Oh, I imagine you have to do a lot of sorting to find a man who can keep up with you." And this after only knowing her a few moments.

Hand to heart, Indira summons another expression of innocence, “Well, not me personally.” Noooo, never. Relenting from the tease she explains, “Weyr’s still in the beginnings of being put together and we pretty much take anything we can get right now. Even if that means secondhand goods in need of repair.” Much as she’s trying to leave off of teasing the big man, he does leave himself wide open for the next, which comes more in the form of sly notation, “No, you’d be owing me a favor. The dragonrider owes me, I pass that favor on to you, and now you owe me. See how that works?” Such a clean and simple way of keeping things flowing. Something said catches up with her and the blonde tips a curious look up to Dubose, “What’s wrong with traveling by land?” That smirking comeback from him was one she had clearly not expected and the spice trader is looked at through new and amused eyes, “Oh really?” weight shifting to one hip, “And how do you come by that, hmm?”

Her assurance that it's not her breaking beds is met with skepticism but biting his tongue keeps Dubose from saying something more than what his expression lets on. "Of course. Second-hand-beds. Guess you need to squeeze the tithe a bit tighter." He puts his own hands to his hips, thumbs hooking into his belt as he fixes her with a long, measuring gaze, "So, I can either ride myself back to the wagon for free, or owe you something. Then there's the matter of dinner." Making a show over weighing out these choices for a moment he lets his gaze drift and only returns his attention on her at the question. "Traveling by land is slow. Sea-trade is much easier.but, trying something new." Deftly he just skips over her other question, hopefully the easy smile will say it all.

“That would be a matter for the Weyrleader. My job is to make the best of what we’ve got,” Indira gives on the matter of tithes and secondhand goods. In the face of the stance Dubose takes up, the blonde’s arms come to fold across her chest in gesture of standing her ground, though for some reason her expression once again closes, her tone taking on a less easygoing nuance to it, “Forget the dinner,” dismissing that offer with a toss of head, “Come by my desk when you get your wagon back and we’ll talk.” As to favors owed, she’s not giving any ground, “Walk or ride and take your chance at finding nothing left but metal spokes and rims, or take my offer. Travel a dragonback is quicker than any other option. The choice is yours.” Eyes that had darkened to an unreadable coal black now shimmer briefly to life with renewed interest, “You’re a sailor?” And yes, she’ll let him skip over answering the question. For now.

Dubose watches the curtains close down over the Headwoman's expression while his own interest sharpens a bit. "I don't mean any offence-about the meal. This is just business for me." To smooth out any insult that may have given her after the fact. He does manage a grumbling huff at her coldness and starts to turn away to see to the runner that the lads abandoned when she arrived and scattered them. "Spent some time on the sea trading goods. Awhile ago." Giving up the game of personal space now that her old cool tones match his. "I'll take you up on the offer of a dragonback ride then. If you can see to it. Since I can't let my pride ruin everything out there."

A quick shake of head and well practiced smile is neatly executed as Indira deftly sets the matter aside, “None taken,” her tone becoming ever so slightly pointed, “You’re assuming I was offering more than business. I’m sorry to have implied as much.” Whether or not she had been, the formality her title affords provides easy cover under which to slip and bleach out any coldness to her tone. She steps aside then, setting a long closed look onto the newcomer as he turns and then does the same, moving to head back the way she’d come, “I’ll have the smith and your ride sent to you within the hour. Clear skies.” Shoulders setting straight and proud the Headwoman’s bootheels once again ring out against the rock, declaring her departure.

There's no verbal response back to her, just a look over one broad shoulder to watch her leave. That might be appreciation for her strong stride out of the stables, or perhaps that's amusement that he set her fleeing away. Once she's gone he turns back to the runner and pulls the halter off the beast so it can eat. Left alone, he leans against the stall wall, staring off into space and his own thoughts and plots and plans.

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