Tanning Hides Of All Kinds


Bowen.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 9/7/10
Location: EW: Beast Caverns
Synopsis: Bowen arrives at Eastern Weyr really early in the morning, meeting the Beast Manager and getting settled in the hopes of becoming a resident here.
Rating: PG
Logger: Bowen

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.

Early enough in the morning that not even the stablehands have started to crawl in for duties yet, but just passed dawn enough that one would hope the beast manager is at least awake and on his feet. Runners are still stabled, as are porcine and ovine in their relevant pens, with the Weyrwoman's hunting hounds starting to stretch and yawn, yipping their eagerness to be let out for a run. All in all, a veritable picture of domestic bliss if not for the sudden curse flung out onto the quiet air from down the way of Max's makeshift office and sleeping quarters.

Having read and tracked the charts for Threadfall, and made his slow and easy pace toward Eastern Weyr in a fashion to avoid it, sleeping at odd hours, and riding at others, Bowen finally sees the new weyr in the distance as false dawn begins to lighten the sky. He continues on, steady and unhurried, and finally the clop-clop of the hooves of his runner, Strider, a rust-colored gelding with a dusting of white and grey across the rump, Appaloosa-style, and those of his pack-mule, echo up the Beast Tunnel to herald his dawn arrival, whether they are ready for him or not. As he dismounts with the ease and grace of a man used to riding, even over such a long distance, the curse catches his ears enough to send a blue-eyed glance in that direction. “Ho there,” comes the man’s low, husky voice cast just barely loud enough to carry in the beast cavern toward general origin of the curse, “Sorry ‘bout th’ early hour.” Though he gives no reason for it, either expecting anyone in the stables to know the reason already or just not caring enough to volunteer it.

On any given day, the arrival of a newcomer would have been met with a little more decorum, however this day is not such an occasion as Max comes shooting out of his stall, then stops and swatting furiously at the little scrap of fur that has its claws firmly lodged in the fabric of the butt end of his trousers. "Sharding little, good for nothing" the language colorful and highly descriptive as eventually with a grunt of discomfort he's able to twist far enough around to grab the kitten by the scruff of its neck and pull it off of him. Its then that he claps eyes on the other man just arrived and he blinks a couple of times looking quite unsure of how to handle such a situation. With an air of decision he strides on forward an easygoing grin in place in an attempt to hide his obvious embarrassment and offers out a hand (the one holding the kitten) of welcome, "Welcome to Eastern." An assessing look going over newcomer, mount and pack-mule in turn, seemingly unaware that the proffered hand is anything but empty of a squirming bundle of fluff.

Now that is quite a welcome indeed, as Bo watches, intrigued to say the least. He leans against his easy-going runner with one arm up to sort of hang off the cantle of the saddle at the elbow, while the other hand braces the saddle-bags against his shoulder that he had just taken off his mount. All that’s missing is a sprig of wheat between his teeth, really. As Max does his little dance and finally retrieves the kitten from off his butt, Bo continues to lean and watch silently, though there is the slight smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth and the squint to his blue eyes to suggest some measure of mirth over the matter at least. He doesn’t know Max well enough yet, though, to all out laugh at him, and how he might react to it, so he keeps that contained for now. When Max approaches and offers his hand up, with kitten, to Bo, the slightly road-weary man responds with a drawl that would mark him quickly for a Southern man, “No thanks. ‘lready et.” He does straighten from the runner though, that smirk transforming into a sly smile as he looks from the kitten to Max and says, “Need ta see th’ man in charge, though, if it t’aint too much trouble.” Because Bo is a little old school and has never met a female stablemaster. He looks toward the stall door Max came out of, and then his blue eyes slide back to Max’s face, offering, “Th’ name’s Bowen.”

Already ate…that takes a few seconds to sink in as Max narrows a careful look onto the new arrival perhaps pondering on the sanity of the man. And then the kitten gives an angry little mewl of protest and it suddenly sinks home, restrained laughter in his expression as he holds up a forestalling finger and disappears back into his stall to return a few moments later empty-handed. "Sorry 'bout that, little bugger seems to think it fun to play tag with my butt," offering a grin forward and then nodding to the name provided a few moments earlier, "Well met, Bowen. Max," this time offering a truly empty hand forward in proper greeting, "the man in charge as it were." Although it might not have seemed that way at all earlier. Dark eyes cast over the other once again noting the edges of weariness, "Long ride?"

Bo’s wry look turns to one of greater amusement as he watches the other man get the joke, forgiving him any slowness for the early hour of the morning and, well, Bo knows he can be pretty subtle and reaching in his sense of humor anyway. He waits with an easy, patient expression as Max disappears back into the stall and returns, sans kitten, to introduce himself. “Max,” he greets in return, stepping forward and reaching with his right hand to meet Max’s own grip. His is solid, firm without being overbearing. Nothing to prove. With the question, the stocky man’s blue eyes drift back to his mount, Strider, who only seems to be complaining about the ride with a little chewing at the bit and some twitching of the legs. Good, steady ride, his Strider. The pack-mule just sags a little. He turns back to Max and shrugs a little, “Long ‘nough. Came from Southern.” With this, he withdraws a bottle of whiskey from one of his saddlebags over his shoulder, and offers it to the man in charge, knowing where palms greased upon a new entry into a community, things get a little easier for a man. “It’s not th’ fancy stuff, but still gets a man where he wants to go.” When that avenue is getting drunk, that is, “It’s all yours if ya like.” He gestures to the pack-mule, “Will be sellin’ her, but I need ta stable Strider here,” this with a nod to the runner, “if there’s room. Hope ta be settlin’ in here if there’s a place for me. Tanner by trade.”

Hands meet, exchanging similar grips, with Max's eyes holding briefly to Bowen's in carefully assessing regard before releasing his grip and taking in the man's mount once again with a nod of appreciation, "Fine looking runner." The whiskey bottle withdrawn and handed over to him is met with an amused though appreciative twitch of lips by the beast manager. Glancing upward, "Southern, eh? Long ride," he agrees turning the bottle over in his hands and then gripping it by its neck lifts it slightly in the other man's direction, "Prefer me a traveling partner, if you're of a mind later on." Easy invitation given while making subtle note of his not being one to be bribed. Not in this instance, at least. Just doing his job. The pack-mule is given a quick round of interest and the younger of the two nods to the other's words on selling it, "Can put ears out for you. Might be the Weyr decides to keep her on. Always got use for extra muscle. Especially on a hunt." Taking a step backward and to his right, Max turns toward an empty stall, "You're in luck, this one came free yesterday. Nothing fancy but should suit his purposes." The trade given swings a decidedly interested look back over onto Bo, "Tanner, eh? You looking to settle here or just passing through?"

Bo’s head tips a little toward Max in a subtle nod of gratitude for the compliment on Strider, and then the tanner glances toward the steady runner, “Yep. Been good ta me these last few turns.” He punctuates the statement with a gentle pat on Strider’s neck. Any man who knows runners would see that the affection runs deeper than Bo’s simple words as made visible in the care that Bo obviously takes for Strider, no signs of whipping or scars of unnecessary stirrup use, and no shying away from Bo’s pat, just the usual sweat and lather from a long-distance ride. “Yep, Southern,” Bo says next to Max’s following comment, then grins a bit knowingly to Max at the offer, accepting the invitation, “Thank ye kindly. Think I might can do.” Then the grin fades a little to the talk of business, but his expression is smooth and easy-going enough. Attentive. “Much obliged,” he returns to Max’s saying he will keep an ear out or see if the weyr would buy it off him. Then comes another tip of the head toward Max and Bo’s blue eyes swing to the stall Max indicated. While he takes up the reins in preparation for walking Strider into the stall in question, Bo responds to Max, “Thinkin’ of settlin’ if things feel right. If there’s work ‘nough for a simple man to get on.” He looks back up and over to Max then with that, knowing that beast men and tanner men run in similar circles, crafter or not, and Max would likely know if there’s work enough for a tanner here.

The compliment given on Strider was probably of double intent, both for the runner itself and in appreciation of the care given it by its owner. As such it's a quick corner of a smile that appears and then tucks away again as Max steps backward, allowing the pair easy access to the empty stall as rubs lightly at scratches starting to itch and heal on his one forearm. Leaning his shoulder up against the siding, watching as Bowen gets his runner situated, he lays out a figure usually charged for stabling and feeding of visiting runners and then follows it up with the edge of a small smirk, "Weyr residents and crafters are charged only for any special feeds needed over and above what is commonly provided," as if perhaps to help sway Bowen's decision to stay on longer, "And if your work is half as good as that idiot Walron, I'll throw in the stabling for free," in a you scratch my back, I scratch yours type of deal being laid out.

Getting back down to the business of stabling, Bo leads Strider into the stall and sets about getting him unsaddled and unbridled and situated, leaving the pack-mule tied out in the aisle where he had left him. He nods to the price mentioned, mentally comparing it to what he knew of other stabling prices and either seems satisfied or not unhappy enough about it to warrant negotiation at this time, especially as Max continues on laying out the bargain. Straightening to lean against Strider in an easy fashion, one arm slung over the runner’s back casually, Bo smirks a bit, offering quietly, “With a deal like that, I guess I better get on ta findin’ the Headwoman, don’t I?” There’s no sarcasm. Seems he’d be more than happy to stay on as a weyr resident. And he’s all about scratching backs between men over such business matters, it seems, well used to that kind of mutual etiquette in such ways. “Y’know ‘er well?” The Headwoman, that is.

Whereas he might have otherwise helped out by starting to unpack and get the pack-mule situated, Max for some reason doesn't this time, perhaps out of respect for Bowen's privacy? Hard to know. Instead he pushes away from his lean and heads down to where several buckets of fresh water stand at the ready for such occasions. Bringing two back, one gets set down before the pack-mule and the other to the side of the stall where Strider is being settled in. Glancing over at the newcomer, a low chuckle spills out as he rubs a thumb across the edge of his mouth, "You could say so." That to knowing the Headwoman well but not letting on just yet to the exact nature of his relationship with the woman. "Tell Indira we've already worked something out over the stabling fees or else she won't think twice of charging you double." He could be teasing, but then again, given the nature of Indira, maybe not. It's all about the approach. Moving to lean his arms over the half door in relaxed pose the beast manager adds, "Afraid it's only open dormitories right now," which would be why he chooses to sleep in the converted stall that he does, "but it ain't for everyone." Adding hint that there might be a solution to having to share public sleeping arrangements.

As the pack-mule greedily sucks down some of that water, rolling grateful bulging eyes at Max, Strider waits with a patience born of what would be a saint, if saints existed here, while Bo finishes a preliminary rub down on the runner. When Bo gives the rust-colored gelding a pat on the neck, Strider steps forward and lowers his head to the bucket, content and quiet. Steady, and not entirely unlike his owner, which could say a whole lot about the man considering Strider is a gelding. “Indira, eh?” Bo repeats the name, committing it to memory, and then a nod of appreciation for the tip, “Thank ye.” He leans up against one of the stall walls nearest the stall door, able to still see Max over the half-door from his position, though sort of peripherally until he turns his head to look at him. “We had dorms at the Hall. Don’t think I’ll mind it much. Though I reckon the Hall dorms for ‘pprentices were a lot smaller than the main dorms here?” He shrugs a little, turning a thoughtful gaze to the ground, lapsing into quiet contemplation once more before stirring himself out of it and moving toward the door, and Max, in order to start unpacking his mule, “But good to know a man’s got options if he should have a care to.” He nods and smiles gently to Max in thanks to the hint.

The pack-mule is given a short span of attention, ensuring it doesn't bloat itself on taking in too much, water too quickly and then Max's attention goes back to the runner and his owner as he nods, a margin of amusement in place, "Indira." The name confirmed. Dark eyes settle on Strider with just a glance going Bowen's way at first and then a shrug precedes words spoken with after a short chuckle, "Couldn't rightly tell you what the dorms are like here. Never spent any time in them. Haven't heard too many complaints though." Pushing away from his lean, the beast manager straightens carefully and steps back as the tanner moves toward his pack-mule, latching the half stall door behind the man, "Always good to keep one's options open." Is noted quietly and then another assessing look settles onto the man, "You walked the tables?" Conversational interest there.

There’s no doting, over-attentiveness, and no neglect either. Bo simply appears at ease around the stables, the beasts, and Max, apparently having already determined that Max knew his business to trust him around his effects, including his runner and pack-mule. So there isn’t any acknowledgment as Max has the presence of mind to close and latch the stall door to the stall, just like there wasn’t any when Max brought the buckets of water. It is just simply a fact of being. Respected for that alone. “I’ll be sure t’let ya know when I come by later to go follow that whiskey trail with ya.” That being on what the dorms are like here. “Assumin’ I make it out of the Headwoman’s office alive,” not said with any disrespect. Quite the opposite, really; let’s call it fearful respect, considering his previous history with women. He begins to unload the pack-mule, who lip-nibbles at his elbow a little, no longer drinking. Bo then shakes his head, but keeps to working on unloading the mule as he speaks, “No,” a grunted pause as he heaves one of the bundles off the back, “Never got that far. Got hitched instead.” Not that he particularly wants to talk about it and it probably shows in the way he keeps his gaze on the packs and not on Max, but he knows better than to leave that open. Not a good idea when looking to be hired to make comments that suggest you don’t know your business, or failed out of apprenticeship on account you weren’t good enough.

Something said by Bowen draws a low rumble of laughter from Max and then he clarifies his amusement with his next words, "Oh you'll make it out alive. Can't say what state your hide might be in though. Just smile and nod a lot. Always works for me." With little else to do but observe as the tanner gets to divesting the mule of its burdens, his reply draws a short lift of brow. However, it's his unspoken response that draws the most attention. As such there's a short stretch of silence that goes unfilled with the beast manager having obvious questions but respecting the man's right to privacy, he simply nods and utters a quiet, "I see." And then he's adding after a lengthy pause, "Never apprenticed myself," and here he is running the beast caverns, "it's about the job not the walk," he finally gives out his opinion in closing on the matter. One by one, men and lads of various ages start filtering into the caverns. Some still yawning and stretching as if they'd just rolled out of bed, and others looking like they've been up for hours already.

There’s a mild grin for the laughter and the commentary on the state of Bo’s hide, and the quiet man from Southern seems to have the good sense of avoiding any commentary about kittens and backsides and headwomen and backsides for now. Perhaps if and when he gets to know Max better. He does, however, adds with another grin, “Guess it’s a good thing I’m a tanner by trade then. I can work my own hide when it’s all said and done.” Once the pack-mule has been relieved of its pack burdens, he sets to clearing it of the tack necessary to carry those burdens, all except the harness and tether, of course, and begins to rub the mule down a little. He seems unbothered by the lengthy stretches of silence as Max absorbs that bit of information for himself. Once Max starts talking shop again, though, Bo turns his blue eyes back onto the beast manager and nods, smiling slightly, “Got that right. All in the hands, the will to work hard, and up here,” he points to his head, then straightens a little and lowers his hand as he spots the other stablehands starting to gather for the morning workload, “Which reminds me, I reckon you’ll be the one to talk to about brains, if I get knotted here for tanner work.” He goes back to working with the mule, “Bovine brains, you know, for braining the hides. The dragons leave any of them intact after feeding?” Not having worked in a weyr before.

Max's grin stretches and a chuckle greets Bowen's comment to tanning his own hide, "A handy skill to have indeed." With the mule unpacked and lightly rubbed down, he nods toward one of the younger 'hands just arrived, "You can hand it over to Brolan, he'll get it situated in one of the top paddocks. And you can leave those in my office until you've been to see the Headwoman and know where you'll be bunking down," this to the man's recently unpacked possessions. Agreement comes in the form of a sharp nod, "Aye, though if you figure out a way to instill that will to work in those that seem to lack it, I'll be forever in your debt," here young Rayor is given a narrow eyed look which has the lad stepping back and gulping a little for talk of bovine brains and earns him a smirk in return from his manager. "Depends on whether they're blooding or hunting," the beast manager gives on the matter of retrieving the required brain matter; "If they're blooding they leave the whole carcass behind. Hunting, the bigger ones tend to eat the entire beast down but depending on the quantity you're in need of we should be able to sort something out." And then, with his men all assembled to receive their assignment and starting to grow restless an apologetic look is sent Bowen's way, "No rest for the wicked," and with that he sets about handing out tasks and reminding the more tardy ones of the latest, and probably most vile of punishments likely to be theirs - brain collecting!

Closing Credit Theme Music: John Denver - "Country Roads"

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