The Fishing Trip


Ahnika.jpg Ciara.jpg

Date: 21st July 2010
Location: Eastern Weyr: Lower Caverns; Black River Bridge
Synopsis: Ciara takes Ahnika (and her kittens) on the promised fishing lesson. Then it gets a bit exciting.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Ciara

Set up for use as both a massive storage area and an everyday workspace, the Lower Caverns is a single, high-ceiling room that has been blocked off into several smaller 'rooms' for different work that needs to be done. Over on the northernmost end is a larger section almost completely blocked off from the rest of the cavern where cots are set up for the non-rider folk to sleep until proper dormitories can be carved out of the rock.

The wide Black River roils under the stone and wooden bridge crossing its span. The water of course isn't black, but more of a lazy dirty blue. The river valley is hilly, only flattening out close to the riverbanks, a stony expanse with the water swirling between the banks in a deep swift channel. The bridge itself is newly-built, mostly stone piles and framework, with the super-hard wood from skybroom trees making up the planks keeping people from getting their feet wet while crossing the river.

[ Eastern Weyr: Lower Caverns ]

Morning brings with it some very hungry kittens in a basket kept next to Ahnika's bed. So, she did some bargaining and managed to get one of the young male drudges to get fetch her some goat's milk from Max, which is preferrable to her getting it personally. And if that didn't work, she made arrangements with someone else for the temporary period at least, so that by the time most everyone has moved off to the Living Caverns for the breakfast meal, Ahnika is seated on the edge of her bed, feeding the kittens some milk from a modified waterskin, complete with something that resembles a nipple on the end. She holds the little fluff of fur cradled in her arm as she nurses it, her eyes look tired and a little bloodshot from having to do this ever few hours over the night, and there is a tightness to the corners of her mouth and eyes that suggest that she likely wouldn't have gotten much sleep at all the night before anyway, for whatever is on her mind.

What initially sounds like a stampede of small children coming up the eastern hallway resolves into the thuds of just two feet. Two feet attached to Ciara, who bursts in and hastens over to the larger section, pushing aside the privacy curtain. "Ahni! There you - ohhhh." She realises she's interrupting a quiet moment, and clutches a hand to her mouth as if it's the only way she can silence herself. Having stopped in the entrance, she can now step cautiously towards the girl and her kittens. She peels her hand away so she can speak, in hushed tones. "I was looking for you all over the living cavern. I forgot about them." The kittens are given a good eyeballing, before Ci takes in Ahnika's tired, tight face. "You okay?"

Ahnika is easily stirred from her fatigued reverie at the sound of a stampede in the Lower Caverns, but with the kitten, she doesn't actually stand up to look around. When Ciara arrives, the tension in her shoulders eases considerably and she smiles a little to her friend. She regards the nursing kitten a moment before looking back up at Ci, "No, it's okay. Almost done here." She ponders the question a moment before saying, with a little shake to her head, "I'll live. Just … disappointed." She chuckles, trying to make light of the hurt from the night before, "Boys, you know, I wonder if there is something in the water here what makes them so awful, really." She looks back to Ciara and asks, "What were you looking for me for? Everything okay? Something's amiss?"

Ciara gives Ahnika a long, hard look. Even with her nature tending towards excessive bounciness and being easily distracted, she knows when something's up. "Weellll, I was thinking I might take you fishing? It can be quite distracting from your problems…unless you wanna talk about them over a spot of fish-catching?" She dangles the offer, smiling a little. There are lines of worry on her forehead, for Ahnika's quietness and mention of boys.

Ahnika brightens noticeably, the only hint of anything not resembling the usual Ahni is the physical fatigue that only a good night's sleep will take care of. "Fishing! Oh that sounds fabulous," she grins, looking back at the kitten and murmurs to it in a cooing sound, "Hurry up and finish little one." And then back at Ciara, "Do we have all the equipment we'll need?" That's Ahnika, always thinking ahead and trying to anticipate problems. A shame she didn't see any boy problems coming.

"Certainly do!" Ci says loudly, then puts that hand over her mouth again, looking at the feeding kitten guiltily. "Oops." And now, in a quiet voice, she continues. "I've only got the one rod, but we shouldn't need more than one. I was going to get a second one commissioned but, uhh, I don't know if I am now." As she speaks she gets down on the floor beside her cot, rummaging underneath and bringing out a long, thin item wrapped carefully in fabric. A small wooden box with a handle is also produced, and she sets both on the cot without seeming to care that they get some dirt on the sheets. That part done, she sits on the cot in order to face Ahnika, smiling happily at the prospect of what's to come.

The redhead seems only too eager for the distraction, and Ahnika is doing her favorite past time at the same time: learning something new. She shifts a little in the bed, giving Ciara room and watches the other girl as she pulls stuff out and seems to get ready. When Ciara returns her attention back to Ahnika, the younger girl eyes the kitten in her arms and tests the fullness of both the milk-skin and the kitten itself, not wanting to overstuff it. "Almost done," she says again, and then looks back at Ci, "So, prepare me. What do I need to know before we go out there? How is this going to be done? From a boat?"

"All hands on," Ciara says, her smile broadening. She looks at the kitten briefly, as Ahnika promises that she's almost done, slightly curious at the attention being paid to the tiny thing. "I figure the best way to teach you is to just get you to do it, yeah? I guess you can be my practice student before I have to teach kids," she adds, with a hint of bashfulness in her smile now. After a pause, during which she looks thoughtful, Ci asks: "you're not squeamish, are you?"

Stroking the kitten with a thumb as she feeds it, Ahnika grins at Ciara and nods, "Then that's how we're going to do it. I'll be happy to help you practice the lessons. Anytime." With a little hiccup, the kitten finishes, and Ahnika puts it back with its brothers and sisters and tucks the remaining milk inside the basket with them, just between the blanket and the wall of the basket. "No, not squeamish," not that she realizes anyway. She pats her bun a little, making sure it is still set right, and then stands up, "Should I take the kittens with me? They'll need another feeding in two hours. Will we be back by then?"

Ciara beams. "Great!" She chuckles at the kitten's hiccup. "They won't get in the way will they? I don't see any harm in taking them…long as they don't get cold I suppose." She scratches behind her ear absently, before standing and gathering up her supplies. "We'll be by the river. Plenty of fish there and it's easier fishing than the sea."

"No, no," Ahnika says with another smile, standing and lifting the basket by the handle to take with her. "Now that they all have full tummies, they will want to sleep. And even if they do wake up, they won't go anywhere. They are only about a seven old, Max said," and she looks back down into the basket once more, momentarily somber with the memory before shaking herself out of it and clearing her throat. She puts on another smile, brighter than the last, and says, "Ready whenever you are."

"Good!" Ciara's smile fades a little when Ahnika looks down and seems sombre. Whatever she opens her mouth to say however, she never gets to make the noise, for Ahnika speaks. "Right then. Down to the river!" She turns to lead the way to the east corridor.


[ Black River Bridge ]

The younger teen looks impressed as they get to the bridge, "Oh! This looks like a good spot. Are we fishing here?" Ahnika continues to carry the basket with her, and anything else of the trappings that Ciara may have needed her help with. She eyes the water from the bridge and wonders aloud, "What kind of fish live in these parts anyway?"

"Yup!" Ci sets down the wooden box on the bridge. Looking down into the water herself, she answers, "fingerlings. redbellies, probably some eels. Most of them are edible, though there're some southern species that aren't too good for eating." She starts to unwrap the fishing rod with care. "There're more types in the sea of course, but we mostly use big nets out there, from ships."

Ahnika sets the kitten basket down at her feet, continuing to peer at the water over the bridge, and then looks at Ciara, watching her preparations with intense and genuine interest. "Nets," she repeats thoughtfully, "That sounds like it'd be heavy. How do they haul them in?" Logistics is a passion for some people. Some people who desperately need a hobby, perhaps.

"Lotsa muscle power," Ciara grins, as she folds the fabric one-handed, rod clutched in the other. "You have to have at least, oh, ten people, for the medium nets. More for larger ones. Depends what fish you're catching, too." Here's a subject she can chat about with ease. "Right then…let's get you started with the rod. Hold it like this," and she demonstrates the correct grip, before offering the item to Ahnika. "Just get a feel for it first."

Nodding and listening, all evidence of her melancholy wiped away, but the tired eyes from a virtually sleepless night, Ahnika examines Ciara's grip of the rod, and then as it is offered to her, Ahni takes the rod in her own hands, getting used to the feeling of holding it, its weight and girth, and the length of the grip, her thumbs and fingers flexing and sliding over it a little as she gets accustomed to the feel of it in her hands, and then once she thinks she's used to it, she tightens her grasp, nearly choking it. No, not transferring her frustration at all. "Like this?" she asks Ciara.

Ciara watches Ahnika's hands on the rod, especially that particularly tight grip. "Erm…maybe a little looser." Her eyes flick up to the other teen's face, before she goes on. The basics take some five minutes to teach, with Ciara's occasional demonstrations. Finally she shows how to cast, the rod arching through the air smoothly and her finger coming off the release button to let the bob and bait fly easily into the churning river below. Reeling the line back in, she hands the rod back to Ahnika with a grin. "Your go! Don't worry if you don't get it perfect first time. As long as it goes in the water, it's all good."

Loosening the grip on the rod a bit, Ahnika's shoulders relax some at the same time, and she works with Ciara eagerly until she gets it just right. Then the redhead surrenders the rod back to Ciara to be shown how to cast. She watches, dodging the line unnecessarily as Ciara casts, newbie wariness, and then looks over the bridge and into the water at the line. She arches her eyebrows, looking really rather fascinated at the whole process. She grins back at Ciara and takes the offered rod once more, trying that grip once more, this time relaxing it, and then slightly turning before casting the line. Only she inadvertently casts the whole rod, and not just the line itself. She shrieks, trying to grab for it as it slips from her grasp.
It is the wet season, on a cool and overcast day.

Ciara sits back, confident that Ahnika's fine…that is, until the rod - her rod! - goes flying into the river. "Woah!" She darts forward to make a grab at the thing before it's over the edge of the bridge, but she isn't quite quick enough. Using the momentum from that lunge, the fisher jumps to the edge of the bridge and then dives down into the whirling water. She disappears for a long moment before she resurfaces, shaking wet hair out of her eyes and swimming powerfully downstream. The rod bobs along, hitting into the side of the river now and then, which slows it down.

Genuinely alarmed, Ahnika reaches out for Ciara as she lunges for it, and as realization dawns that the other teen means to dive in for it, Ahnika shouts, "No! Don't, Ci!" And then there goes her best friend, over the bridge and into the drink. Ahnika leans out over the railing, bracing herself there as she watches for Ciara to surface. Seeing the rod bobbing ahead of the other girl, Ahnika swears softly before hightailing it down the rest of the bridge and stumbling along the rocky banks to try and follow both her friend and the rod itself. It is slow going, as the water is moving faster and Ahnika keeps having to climb over or around rocks. Her expression is deeply creased with worry and panic.

Ciara gets close enough to the floating, spinning rod to grab for it, but she goes under as she does so. The rod flips vertical in the water, tip wriggling wildly above the surface as some sort of fight goes on beneath the water. After a minute, Ci bursts back up, gasping in a breath - but, more importantly, clutching the rod in one hand. Now somewhat hampered by the item, she manages to swim to the river bank on Ahnika's side, and drags herself out onto the rocky edge. There she lies for a moment on her back, face the picture of gratitude as she gets her breath back, the rod clutched to her chest.

As Ci goes under - seemingly for a very long time - Ahnika's heart jumps into her throat and all she can do is stand there and watch the tip of the rod above the surface of the water, her hands going to cover her mouth and nose in panic and terror. As Ci resurfaces, with the rod, Ahnika hurries over closer to the bank to try and help her out of the river, or at least try and support her so she doesn't fall back in. "Oh jeez, Ci! I'm so sorry! Are you okay?!" She reaches toward her friend's shoulders, her own hands trembling slightly.

Ciara looks up at Ahnika when the girl hurries over to her. The girl's wet, and she looks fairly cold, but she's smiling just a bit. "I'm fine, I'm fine. Just need a rest. Rivers are a lot tougher than oceans." She lifts a hand to push her hair back, before sitting upright and examining the rod. The reel is damaged, hanging off the rod itself. Then a thought occurs and Ci looks at Ahni again. "What're you sorry for? It wasn't your fault."

Rivers are tougher than oceans? Ahni files that one away to ask about later. Right now, she has to help get her friend dried off. "Come on. Let's get you in dry clothes," Ahni says, unable to hide the worry in her voice, and then she frowns, "Of course it was my fault! I was the clumsy maroon who cast it in the drink on accident!" She exhales a bit, her pulse finally starting to slow, "I'll pay for the repairs, I promise, or barter for them for you." The latter may actually be more cost effective. She wonders if Zen repairs fishing rods and … how much he charges for those services. She moves to try and help Ciara up, "You're going to catch a sniffle if we stay out here. Come on. We'll use the blanket up on the bridge until we can get back to the weyr." Then more rueful, "Don't you ever do that again, girl. You scared the wits out of me!"

"Sounds good to me." Ci gets to her feet with Ahni's assistance, revealing a wet patch in the shape of her body. Her clothes are still dripping, and they're dirty to boot. BUT! The rod is safely held in her hand, while she tries to wring out her blouse with the other. Giving up on that, she waves off Ahni's continued apologies. "Honestly Ahni, don't worry about it. I need a new rod anyway, and this one's old and in need of looking at anyway." Her hands are shaking, the only outward sign of the cold, and Ahnika's blanket suggestion cheers her up. "Sure thing." Before she smiles, apologetically. "Sorry, Ahni. I didn't really think before I acted. Probably shouldn't do that, huh?"

Between the dripping and the shivering and the apology, Ahnika chokes out a laugh that is bordering on tearful as well and tries to throw her arms around her friend in a tight hug, both for warming her as they go back and for relief that Ci is alright. "I don't care. I feel responsible … I need to at least help you with the cost, if you won't let me pay or barter for all of it." Whether Ci allows her arms around her or not, Ahni tries to hurry and usher the other girl along the rocky bank toward the bridge and the kitten-warmed blanket in the basket.

Ciara laughs softly, using her free hand to pat Ahnika's back as her friend tries to hug her. "Oh, I could ask Randi if I can have it written off as a job-related cost?" The problem of the rod is pushed to the back of her mind for now, as she allows herself to be hurried towards the bridge by Ahni. "Least we're not too far from the Weyr, huh? And I haven't really got a boss to tell me off for jumping in the river like that." She's shivering more noticeably now, the adrenaline of the swim wearing off and being replaced by the cold. "Although…you won't tell Randi, will ya?"

Ahnika relaxes a bit more as Ci laughs and pats her back, and the younger of the teens realizes that Ci is likely going to be okay after all. "Oh, well, in that case," Ahni muses at the thought of expensing the repair cost, then she laughs and puts a hand to her forehead in mild disbelief, "I still can't believe I did that. I'm worse than clumsy! A complete oaf!" She continues to help Ciara along, toward the bridge. Shaking her head, she adds, "No, no, of course not, Ci. Never."

Ciara pfffts, a somewhat difficult thing when your lips are so cold they're trembling. "I'm gonna be teaching kids some day. I think much worse things're gonna happen than just losing a rod in the water!" She manages a grin at Ahnika's promise, before her eyes widen. "Your kittens! Are they going to be okay? They're all on their own!" They're now approaching the bridge, and Ci is starting to look urgently at the basket, as if she can see the babies from where they are.

"I'm not sure," Ahnika laughs, "I think losing a rod in the water is pretty far bad!" She continues helping Ci up the bank and onto the bridge now, "I'm sure they're fine. They aren't old enough to wander yet." She grins, looking to her friend, "And they have fur to keep them warm between here and the weyr anyhow. You don't." She works their way to the basket now.

"Some animals have all the luck," Ci says, joking despite her pretty darn cold position. Everyone's safe, the rod is broken but repairable, so all is well as far as she's concerned. "Let me grab my stuff." She moves away from Ahnika to wrap the rod up again, trembling, pale fingers folding the fabric tight around it. "We better get going. Hopefully nobody questions why I'm so wet," she adds, as an afterthought, giving Ahni a quick smile.

"I'll think of something if they do," Ahni vows softly, already mentally working out a solution to that problem ahead of time, just in case. She lets Ci go to pack up her stuff, and in the meantime goes about carefully withdrawing the kittens and pulling the blanket out to put them back in sans blanket. Then she stands up, and moves over to Ci to try and wrap the kitten-warmed blanket around her shoulders.

Ciara shivers as Ahni wraps the blanket around her, but she gives her friend a deeply grateful look. "Thanks." She picks up her box and the lovingly-wrapped fishing rod, and looks towards the not-too-distant Weyr. "I don't wanna cause your kittens to get sick - let's get going!" That and she's, you know, wet and cold. But that shouldn't mean the babies have to suffer.

Although the scene was played out OOCly on the 21st of July, it takes place ICly the morning before Ahnika's Searched.

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