Stand Tall


Max.jpg Fiala.jpg

Date: 2011.01.17
Location: EW - Beast Caverns
Synopsis: After the morning distribution of duties, Max tries to encourage Fiala to come out of her shell and stand up for herself.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Max

Early morning, just as Rukbat’s rays are lightning the skies outside, finds the beast manager, Waine at his side, in the centre of the wide aisle, clipboard in hand and his other set to his hip as he impatiently awaits for all the ‘hands to gather about and receive their duties for the day. A few younger lads at the back are snickering and jostling each other about while the old geezer responsible for taking care of the junior weyrwoman’s hunting hounds hawks and drops a glob of spittle to one side.

Fiala has been here for a while, but her view, and appearance, are blocked by a rather bulky man. She retreats to the rear, where she is netted up in the jostling. Caught off guard, she gets showed sideways and tumbles to the floor. Rolling to the side and out of the way, she leaps to her feet. Red-faced and tousled now, she brushes off her skirts, looking up, embarrassed, at the beast manager.

A dark brow arches up as Fiala leaps to her feet and then the beast manager is eyeing her skirts. Nothing gets said just yet for either what he deems inappropriate attire for working in the beast caverns, or for her tumble, just a brief look. And then it’s onto business, “Dorsha, seeing as how you seem to have clearly lost your brains,” when the gangly youth had left a stall door open that allowed porcine to gap it and run squealing about the Weyr, “you get to clean up the feeding pens today and see if you can find yourself a new one.” From amongst those of dragon shredded herdbeast carcasses. Dorsha turns a delightful shade of green. In short order, duties are handed out and Waine, for whatever reason, is put in charge of overseeing them for the morning. Giving the order to ‘Get to it’, Max sets a look onto Fiala. “You stay. I want to talk to you.”

Fiala waits patiently for her assignment, and when Max finally tells her to stay, her face goes pale. Her shoulders hunch and her head bows, as if she is trying to shrink into herself. She bites at her lip, watching the others disperse, trying to ignore those who are staring at her. She swallows hard, then takes a deep breath. She tugs at one braid, then the other, and then steps forwards, shaking like a leaf. She stops in front of Max, silent a moment. Then she clasps her trembling hands behind her back and looks up. "Y-yes sir?"

Any that stare are likely doing so more for the reaction Fiala has to being asked to stay behind than because they think the beast manager is about to rip her a new one. As to Max? The whole nervous, braid tugging, hand trembling bit coming from her has his lips thinning a little in annoyance. “How long you been workin’ here now?”

Fiala blinks, and she tilts her head, her lips moving as she counts on her fingers. "Couple of months, I think," she says softly, then nods. "Just about that, anyway." A moment of silence, and then she clears her throat. "Why, sir?"

"Couple o' months," Max repeats, "and you still haven't learned that the beast caverns ain't the place to be wearin' skirts, hmm?" His tone making it hard to ascertain whether he's chastising her or mildly amused by the matter, even his expression gives nothing away. Suddenly he lifts the clipboard and scribbles down a note saying as he does, "A runner'll push you over quicker'n a couple of lads." Touching on her tumble earlier and then looking up from his writing to fit a quizzical look onto the girl, "This ain't no playground, darlin'. The hours are long, the work is hard and the lads are rough. You sure you're up to this?"

Fiala frowns and shifts her skirts so he can see that they are split. Which helps for riding, but not so much for the rest. Still, she lifts up her head, biting at her lip. "I had to work harder at my father's cothold, sir," she says softly. "Without a restday nor never much rest even if I was sick. Only for classes, and that wasn't too long. I've worked with runners since I've been able to carry the weight of a feed bucket. These are the skirts I've always worn. Well, not these very ones, but this kind. And…" SHe rubs at the bridge of her nose. "What's a playground?"

Cunning the light that enters dark eyes as Fiala walks right into what looks to have been a carefully laid trap. “Just as the Headwoman informed me.” The clipboard now getting tucked under his arm he sets a long look down onto the young teen, glossing over the fact that she doesn’t know what a playground is, “Then it’s time you straightened your back and started lookin’ the lads in the eye. Stop lettin’ ‘em push you about and gettin’ all nervous and twitchy. I ain’t gonna bite you but they sure as shells are gonna play on that. Show ‘em what you’re made of.”

"Erm…." The girl straightens, looking puzzled, and then droops again. "Oh Shells, have I shamed her too? And you? I don't mean too, honest I don't. I work hard, as hard as ever I can, and I don't complain… and I try to dress neat and in clothes that ain't patched so much and I don't fight with no one 'cept maybe Assistand Steward Warin, because he's always on about my clothes even if I've been here feeding that one runner colt all night whose ma's milk ain't so good, or…"

Fiala’s question has Max putting a deep frown onto her, “What on Pern are you talkin’ about, girl? Where in what I just said did I say you’d shamed either myself or the Headwoman, or that your clothing was untidy, hmm?” The sigh that spills out perhaps pointing to patience beginning to slip, “Workin’ the beast caverns requires old and patched clothin’. Breeches more specifically. To wear anythin’ else is daft and if assistant steward Warin got a problem with that, you be sendin’ him my way.” And he’ll quickly set the prissy steward straight. His free hand unhooks from the belt loop to where it had dropped and palms over his face, “Look, its real simple darlin’. All I’m tryin’ to do is get you to stand on your own two and don’t let no one shove you about, aye?” And in all honesty, he’d likely be more impressed than pissed off if she decked one of the other stablehands if they gave her unwarranted uphill.

"I…" Fiala nods slowly. "I'll try sir. I… I don't always know when I'm being pushed around, I guess," she adds. "Because it's what I grew up with. I'm used to things being this way, and doing what I'm told. I'll… I'll try to remember, though. If that's good enough, sir…"

There’s really not much else Max can do other than to give Fiala’s words a short nod and a light shrug, “Only you can change your lot in life, Fiala.” Oh, so he does know her name. “Ain’t no one else gonna do it for you.” About to turn away and head to his office he turns a look over his shoulder to the girl, “You took the first step by comin’ here with them runners, don’t let that have been a waste of your time and effort to do so. Fight for what you want and fight hard.” With those final words the beast manager continues on his office bound path, a thin ferrety looking man who’d been keeping to the sidelines falling into step with him and striking up lowheld and urgent conversation with him.

"Yes sir. Thank you sir. I…" Fiala stops. "Sir!" she calls. "Wait! What am I to do today?" But she refrains from running after him when she sees that he is already busy talking. "I guess what I normally do," she murmurs, and truns away. She bites at her lip, looks back, and then just stands there, thinking on everything he has said.

“…Bitra t’ain’t what you pay me for…” ferrety man was saying as Fiala goes running up. Both men stop dead in their tracks, ferrety man picking at his yellowed teeth and Max narrowing a look onto the girl, “See if you can get that new batch of porcine we’re trying to wean to eat some mash.” And then he turns away growling low at ferrety man something along the lines of ‘shape up or ship out’, leaving the girl to her thoughts and task as given.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License