The Proposition


W'red.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 2010-10-12
Location: High Reaches Weyr
Synopsis: W'red meets a youngster that has a laughable proposition for him
Rating: PG-13
Logger: W'red

There is nothing quite like the icy blast of the wintry Reachian winds to snap a person right awake, despite having gotten little to no sleep the night before. Thus it is, despite the late start that an apparent 'foreigner' to the Weyr can be making his way through the light and already muddied layer of snow on the ground. Hunched into a thick overcoat, beanie pulled over his ears and mittened hands shoved deep into his pockets, Max comes to a halt, unpockets a hand, removes its mitten and pulls out a sheet of paper from his coat pocket, a frown forming as his gaze tracks over the few riders out and about.

W'red awoke to the cold of another wintery morning, grumbling and unimpressed as usual, Tavaith had dropped him off in the bowl and disappeared to find himself a herdbeast or two to devour while his rider got rid of his morning blues. W'red has just finished a hearty brunch and is in a slightly better mood now that his stomach is full and the klah in the living cavern had warmed him up somewhat. He is contemplating what he should do with his day off, rare as they are, he strolls out of the living cavern into the bowl, squinting his eyes against the glare coming off the snow.

Max scanned the sheet again: Big chap, brownrider to Tavaith. A rough snort spilled out. Dragons didn't usually go about wearing name plates around their necks. Dark eyes dropped to the next details given: blue eyes, close cropped brown hair answers to the name of W'red and written in brackets (when he can remember his name) A brow tipped upward and he glanced back and upward to where D'ral's weyr was, muttering something along the lines of, 'Aye, real funny, Chuckles', believing that bracketed snippet to be his blue riding mate's idea of a joke. With a sigh of breath that clouds out before him, Eastern Weyr's beast manager turns his path toward the living caverns in the hopes of finding the man in there, he stops short when W'red emerges, checks the list, checks the big brownrider coming his way and a crooked grin slides out. Bingo! Hopefully. "Brownrider," the older man hailed with far more cheer to his tone than his currently hung over state allows for.

Squinted eyes peer quickly around the immediate area scanning for the big brown lump, a grunt is all the can be audibly heard, although his inner voice can be heard by a certain big brown, who answers in his own melodic voice < I'm still eating, a short walk will help your herdbeast go down, I will be with you soon > another grunt and W'red takes a few steps forward hesitantly, perhaps it would be better to wait in the living cavern where it is at least warmer. A call has him briefly throw a glance in the general direction of the voice, he looks, shrugs and turns to go back into the living cavern, no one he knows and certainly no one calls him "Brownrider" especially when he isn't even near a dragon let alone a brown one.
An incoming green bugling her arrival to the watchdragon up on the Star Stones has Max cringing against the dull pounding in his head. Hands set to hips and eyes narrow onto the big man as he simply turns away and heads back toward the living caverns. With toes starting to numb despite the thick socks and heavy winter boots, the Easterner sets off determinedly after the man, not quite up to jogging just yet. Calling out as he nears, not quite so cheerful this time round, "You got a moment?" That causes a pretty little blonde nearby to stop and send a coquettish batting of eyelashes his way drawing a smirk followed by, "Not you darlin'. Him!" And he'll continue doggedly on after W'red if he hasn't yet heard him or stopped.

The bugling green isn’t even registered by the brownrider, his own thoughts going to another warm mug of klah. Taking another few steps before he hears the voice again, his head turns slightly just enough to catch the man trudging along in the snow, obviously not a local, although it is cold, none of the Reachians wrap themselves up that much, restricts movement and is just uncomfortable. At the “Not you darlin'. Him!” statement W’red actually stops, half turns and waits for the younger man to get a little closer, before he replies, “You talking to me?” forehead slightly furrowed.

Reachian born and bred Max may be, but three turns away, the last turn spent in the near idyllic climes of the Southern continent, will thin a body's blood. With W'red finally stopping, the 'foreigner' makes a show of looking behind and to the sides of him before setting a faint smirk up to the much taller man, "Sure as shit ain't talking to him," dark eyes landing on a somewhat effeminate male greenrider prancing by giving them both the once over. His accent likely placing him as a local despite the lack of a knot (of any kind) demonstrating as much. "Your name W'red by any chance?"

W’red’s stance doesn’t change standing at an angle to the younger man, only his head turned to face him, the smirk is noted and registered, the statement is noted too, and replied to with a mock raise of eyebrows, “Why do you say that, he may be just your type, warm you up on these cold Reaches nights, furs alone can never keep you warm enough in this place.” A grin spreading slowly across his face, “W’red it is, although I’ve been called a lot of other things as well.” A brief pause before he adds, “You sound like you are from around here, but dress like you come from much warmer climes.” The question is made in the form of a statement more than a question at all. “Listen it’s cold out here, I’m heading into the cavern for some warm klah if you want to see me then it’s best you come along as I’m not standing here any longer.” With that W’red turns and heads for the living cavern not waiting for an answer, if the man wants to talk to him he will have to follow or find someone else to bother.

That comment draws a rough snort from Max, "Over my dead body. Think I'll leave those fun and games to you dragonrider types." Smirk. The grin given by W'red along with confirmation that he has indeed found his 'target', pulls a crooked one of his own into place. "Aye, reckon my Ma would be happier I be referred to as Max rather than 'son of a watchwher'," his own name given in sardonic response to what it is both have likely been called at one time or another. The brownrider's next has the Easterner casting a shadowed glance about the familiar tunnels as he slips into silence, letting his falling into step with the older man be his answer to the offer of klah and further conversation. "Reachian weyrborn and bred," he gives on his roots, "Been in Eastern for the past turn or so." Leaving out the bit about his sojourn in Tillek.

The young man falling into step with him makes W’red’s grin a little broader, he still has the knack of making people do what he wants without actually giving them a choice. “I think I’ve had the unfortunate duty a few times already, can’t really remember so it doesn’t bother me much,” is all he says on the subject of green male riders. As the young man introduces himself in a roundabout way W’red offers a hand while still walking, “Max……Reachian weyrborn…….Mmmm, not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, weyrbrats are plentiful around here, must be the dragons, brings out the best in some folk and the worst in others, but breeds weyrbrats all the time, so from one weyr to another, does it make a difference?” W’red enters the cavern, then steps a little to one side to allow the younger man through, with a wave of his arm points out the klah pots, “Warm klah will thaw out the cold a little….So what brings you from Eastern to High Reaches? If I was stationed in such a warm area I’d be hard pressed to visit such a cold place….I spent a while in Southern, it was great, but had to return to Reaches as this is where I’m duty bound.”

Oh the returns Max could give on that little gem of information from the brownrider. However, seeing as he's here on a mission for his Weyr, he wisely keeps his trap shut for a change, sending simply an amused sidelong glance over to the older man. Meeting that hand offered him with a firm grip, the Easterner lets out a chuckle, "Reckon there's still a few round these parts happy to have seen the last of me." And probably none too pleased to note his return as evidenced by the old aunty currently scowling in their direction. Which the younger man is doing a very good job of ignoring. With a short nod of thanks, he busies himself with pouring a mug of steaming black klah. No sweetener and no milk. Fishing in his pocket and withdrawing a hip flask as he steps aside to allow W'red the opportunity of doing the same, his response is stayed as he uses his teeth to unscrew the flask's cap. Having added a dram of extra 'warmth' to his brew the flask is offered to the brownrider, a smile that holds sly edges to it, pulls into place as the other speaks of having enjoyed his time down Southern way. "Weyrwomen," plural, "sent me up here." An openly assessing look is sent over W'red as he blows steam off his mug, "You any good with young 'uns?" and then likely realizing it sounds like he's talking about dealing with littlies adds for clarity, "Weyrlings."
W’red waits for Max to pour his brew and as he steps aside, W’red steps into his place and repeats the steps, but adds a little sweetener to his klah, as the offer is made of something a little stronger to add to the brew W’red holds out his mug for Max to pour however much he wishes into the mug. “So you say you left a turn or so ago,” W’red motions toward a nearby table as he takes a step towards it, kicks out a chair and proceeds to seat himself, again not waiting for the other to accept or not. “So tell me Max you a rider?” the lack of a knot on the young man not really a bother to W’red as he has on occasion taken his off when he hasn’t wanted to be recognized as a rider, circumstances sometimes called for it, other times he just simply forgot to put it on when he changed shirts, or wore another of his jackets, Tavaith normally reminded him, the melodic < W’red aren’t you missing something > would drift through his head and have him checking that he at least had trousers on. < W’red you are knot forgetting again are you? > with such an emphasis on the knot that he simply had to laugh at the big brown’s way of reminding him. The big rider takes a long careful sip of the brew before answering the question posed to him, “Weyrwoman sent you here, must be popular down there in Eastern.” The rider chuckles lightly, “Young un’s……hate them, always cryin…..oh, not crawlers, I thought for a moment you were looking for a nanny, I know a few girls who would go off with a fine young man as yourself.” The chuckle becomes a light laugh, “Weyrlings? Now why would you ask me such a question? Generally try and avoid them like the plague, always asking questions, ‘Sir, how do you do this, Sir how do you do that?’ Tavaith, my big brown lump, loves the little dragonets though, always trying to show them how to be better dragons……Bah, just irritating.” W’red leans back a little in the chair, “I don’t mind showing them things just get annoyed with the whiny ones, which is most of them.”

Max might have an issue with sharing bubbly pies, whiskey however he's freehanded with and so pours a healthy measure into the brownrider's mug before tucking it away again. Here's to hoping the big man doesn't have sweeps in the next few. Turning a chair around and then straddling it, one arm dangling over its back while the other brings his mug to his lips, "Three turns ago." He gives on when he'd left, though he doesn't offer anything forward about the missing two turns. Next his mouth quirks around a crooked line on the question of his being a dragonrider before snorting softly and replying, "Beast manager." A cocky grin appears to the comment of his being construed as popular at Eastern Weyr and why it is he that has been sent up to the Reaches, "Naw, I just drew the short straw." Definitely has nothing to do with his unofficial capacity of safety and security for the newly formed Weyr with his mother, the Headwoman. Or for that matter that he has a vested interest in the wellbeing of the current batch of Weyrlings. There is only the barest narrowing of eyes when W'red denigrates littlies, however the Easterner keeps his own counsel and glosses over the topic, turning toward what the older man gives on both his and his dragon's view on the topic of Weyrlings. "Ah," that sound disappearing behind his upturned mug, "Pity 'bout that. Mighta had a proposition for you." Putting on a good show of disappointment for what it is the brownrider might be missing out on. The remark about most Weyrlings being whiney pins yet another lightly narrowed look onto the dragonrider. But again, he says nothing, leaving his last words out on the air as bait for the man to take up.

W’red lifts a hand and counts off three with his fingers, “three turns, that is about as long as I have been back,” a thoughtful frown creases the riders forehead, “perhaps longer,” shaking his head a little he waves a hand in dismissal of the time frame. Shifting in his chair again as though he were uncomfortable but actually just needed some sort of distraction from what he believes everyone can see, although most probably don’t even know. “Beast manager? Why would the Weyrwoman send a beast manager on a mission unless it is to collect beasts, but surely that can be arranged closer to the weyr?” The riders blue eyes now clearly focused on Max, a peak of interest shows as the rider straightens up a little. “Some underhanded trade taking place perhaps?” A knowing glint in his eyes, “A proposition? Does this proposition come with marks? If it’s legal or semi legal and comes with marks you can count me in, I’m sure I can scrape up some other riders too if you need them.”

He obviously misses whatever it is that has the brownrider shifting about uncomfortably for his reply comes without hesitation. "Musta just missed each other," Max gives before taking another slow swallow of his laced klah. "You mighta known my Ma, Indira. She was one of the assistant Headwoman here. Only left round a turn and a half back." More like got thrown out by the Weyrleader. His expression shifting into a bland line, the Easterner echoes back in confirmation, "Beast manager by day." Suggesting he has other duties by night but not naming them. Slowly but surely a crooked grin falls into place as W'red takes the bait laid out for him and the younger man tilts his mug toward the older, "Aye, if you reckon the pay of an assistant weyrlingmaster's worth your troubles?" Talk of underhanded trades and his being able to scrap riders together for such purposes, has the beast manager narrowing a long and steady look onto the other before stating quietly so as to be certain to keep this part of the conversation free of any eavesdroppers, "You decide to take the position, might be we got some talking of our own to do." One knowing look returned with another and then he's drawing his voice back to normal conversational levels, "So what you reckon? Gonna come take a look at the set up we got down there?"

W’red can remember enough of the last few turns to recall most of the happenings, he takes another long look at the youngster, “How old are you now?” A question asked not really expecting a response, as he clearly does not remember Max, although the mention of the assistant Headwoman thrown out brings a short burst of laughter from the rider, “Indira, a legend here, really peeved the Weyrleader, whatever it was she did, although it is not spoken about, you know, if you don’t speak about it, it never happened.” Still smiling the riders brows lift, he takes a long drink of the klah, eyes never leaving Max, lowering the mug before commenting, “Assistant Weyrlingmaster? you are asking me if I’d be interested in being an assistant Weyrlingmaster?” W’red now laughs out loud a huge bellow of a laugh, “You having me on.” He glances around the living cavern looking for his wing mates hiding in the shadows, about to jump out and laugh with or at him……Nothing, his gaze goes back to Max, he is still chuckling a little, “Okay, who set this up, which one of those useless, no good wingmates of mine sent you?” Deciding to play along and see how far this goes W’red grins, and in as serious a voice as he can muster, “Take a look at the setup, which setup would this be, at the Eastern Weyr I suppose?” His eyes go a little blank as he consults with Tavaith, “Tav, feel like a trip to Eastern Weyr apparently there are dragonets to visit with,” he says aloud so that Max can hear. < Dragonets, soon they will be dragons to fight thread, I can teach them to be dragons. > “Yes Tav, you can teach them while we are there, could just be a joke but a trip to a warmer climate will be good.” Focusing his eyes once again on Max, “Okay, if this is not a joke then it will be a trip worth our while if it is a joke we will drink all your whiskey and return home.” W’red smiles, “Just need to clear it with my Wingleader, when do you want to head down there? You gonna ride a runner or come with me on Tav, either way if it is a joke you could find yourself stranded somewhere which would be my part of the joke.”
Max fixes the brownrider with a level look of silence not replying on the matter of his age as just the one corner of his mouth quirks upward for the comments made over his mother a rueful chuckle finally coming, "Aye, the very same. She ain't changed much except now she's Headwoman down Eastern way." Which could be taken as either a good thing, or a bad thing. The younger beast manager endures W'red's disbelieving laughter, remaining silent throughout, although a crooked grin appears at the man's mirth and then slides off as swallowing a mouthful of the klah, he sets the mug down on the table and leans forward on the arms dangling over the chair back. "D'ral," one of his old brat pack and now a bluerider in the very same wing as the brownrider himself, "said to speak to you. Reckons you're a man of honor," a steady look put over to the dragonrider, "Look, I ain't gonna lie to you. The Weyr's new and we're still getting everything up and running. Had us some troubles too. The weyrlings…" a small patch of silence as a brief frown flickers in and out before continuing on, "they need someone they can look to. A chain of command they can trust and that others will respect." Spoken with the understandings and convictions of a dragonrider rather than what he supposedly is, a simple beast manager. That having been said a wry chuckle is followed by a short nod, "Can't say I blame you," for the other's dubious take on matters, "I'll wager a bottle of Jaya's best whiskey, you'll end up staying and taking the knot," a knowing smirk sent at the end. Because honestly, what's not to love in Eastern Weyr? Aside of course from dragonets slaughtered before they'd shelled, an as yet unidentified dead body and two prisoners currently being held for different crimes? And then setting a hand to an inner pocket of his overcoat he withdraws a sealed envelope and slides it over toward W'red, "Looking for someone down Tillek Hold way. There's marks in it for the rider that knows to keep his mouth shut," a pointed look going to W'red for the unasked query being put to the older man, trusting by his earlier comments that he's likely to know of just such a person that could be put to the task. And then adding, "Private matter." He'll leave the envelope lying there as he moves to the matter of his getting back to the Southern continent, a short smile appearing, "If yourselves," the brownrider and his dragon, "would be so kind, I'll take that lift. Don't want to be away for too long."

“Indira is the Headwoman at Eastern? Must be a fun place then.” The riders day having been brightened somewhat by the good laugh whether a joke or not it had certainly amused W’red. “D’ral suggested you talk to me? Did he tell you…..” a short breath is taken, W’red doesn’t enlighten Max any further though, if he did not know it may make it a easier to move to a new Weyr. “Well honour I don’t know so much, but I am dedicated to my Weyr, and would do anything to protect it and the folk here, and that dedication would certainly go with me wherever I may find myself and if it is Eastern it would certainly be where my first loyalty fell.” W’red’s eyebrows rise as Max tells of the goings on at the Weyr, “Sounds like your Weyrleader and Weyrwoman certainly have their hands full. As to the Weyrling lets wait and see shall we, if they are as unguided as you say, then the Weyrlingmaster certainly needs a hand, but are there no riders at the Weyr capable of taking up the slack?” A question W’red would have asked sooner or later, “Certainly don’t want to go and get in the middle of some squabble, although it may be fun stepping on some toes.” A cheesy grin spread across his face and a mischievous glint twinkles in the blue eyes. The envelope is left just where Max pushed it too, “I’ll point you in the right direction, you do your own dirty work,” his voice lowers as Max’s had done moments earlier, “Bronzerider, name of T’bin, you can’t miss him bush of blonde hair, looks more like a fisherman than a rider, you can always find him at the lake, he lives there, even though he has a perfectly good weyr, just tell him I sent you, he will sort out whatever it is you want and won’t say a word to anyone.” Raising his voice back to its deep baritone W’red, nods, “It will be our pleasure to take you back, as I said earlier just need to clear it with my Wingleader, while I’m doing that you can take care of your other business. We can leave first light tomorrow if I get permission or late evening tomorrow if I don’t.” W’red grins, “I do as I please when it isn’t detrimental to the Weyr, and one or two days in Eastern won’t hurt anyone.”

At W'red's first, a wide grin cracks free, the hair of the dog starting to take hold and banish his hangover headache, "Aye, that she is. Rules the lower caverns like a queen over a clutch." Max gives the brownrider's next a quizzical look not quite realizing that D'ral had obviously not been joking with the bracketed information written next to the man's name but he leaves off the matter when the other does. An expression of deep approval filters into place as he takes possession of the mug once again and drains the last of its contents, "Sounds like honor to me." That having obviously been the type of answer he was looking for from the older man. Setting the empty mug back down again and reaching for the envelope a snort is uttered, "Don't have no Weyrlingmaster yet. Randi's taking care of that one," his job obviously being that of finding a suitable candidate for the position of assistant. To having gone the route of having other riders in the Weyr take up the slack with the weyrlings, there comes a brief roll of dark eyes, "I'd not be here if that had worked, now would I? No, there needs to be a shoulder wearing a knot of rank so that everyone knows their place and duty within the chain." The last firmly stated. Tucking the envelope back into his overcoat a low chuckle is given for doing his own dirty work. "T'bin," a nod given for the name supplied, "Much obliged." Amusement registers clearly across his face for W'red's determination to head down Southern way, with or without the relevant permissions in place beforehand, "I like the way you think, brownrider."

W’red nods at the information offered regarding the Headwoman, his grin never quite fading but not as pronounced as before, “Honour is viewed differently in different parts of Pern, so it depends entirely on interpretation I suppose.” Eyebrows lift again at Max’s next, “There is –no- Weyrlingmaster? Who is training the whin……Weyrlings then? Or are they just wandering around gleaning information where they can….that is a dangerous situation, the dragonets could get seriously hurt if they try to do things they are firstly not ready for, secondly not trained for and worst of all shouldn’t be doing at all. Seems that we should get down there sooner rather than later, before some silly Weyrling does some irreparable damage.” W’red nods, “T’bin, if you can’t find him come back and I’ll help if I’m back from my visit to the Wingleader.” W’red gets up from the chair and moves to put his mug on the table to be collected for washing.

Any humor that may have been exhibited by Max now drains away, his expression edging toward grim for the situation the weyrlings find themselves. "Aye, I know. They've had a few riders, including one of the Weyrwomen standing in here and there to cover the basics so far but…" lips press into a thin line and despite the currently rather rocky lay of the territory with regards to a certain green weyrling and himself, he's reluctant to name any particular circumstances or names that had led to the point of his now sitting at a table in High Reaches Weyr, propositioning a virtual stranger to go back with him to the Southern continent. There is however a slightly defensive note to his next words, "They're doing the best they can with what they got, brownrider. The weyrlings…they seem like a pretty bright bunch." Biased much? Eventually after a moment's silence, he sets a rueful edge of a smile over to W'red, "See why we need you down there now?" simply nodding his agreement to their heading back to what is now his home Weyr sooner rather than later. "Aye," standing as the brownrider does and turning his chair back the right way round, "I'll go find this T'bin person and meet you back here in say…three hours?"

Taking note of the seriousness Max exhibits in his expression, the brownrider nods and smiles, “Was a weyrling again not so long ago, so understand the seriousness of the situation, weyrlings under the guidance of a Weyrlingmaster make some real bad mistakes, so a bunch of them with no guidance could cause some real bad harm to each other and their dragonets. Bright or not, training a dragon –and- it’s rider is the basis of all fighting wings, semi or badly trained riders and dragons are a danger to themselves and any other riders brave enough to fly with them.” Although it is said in a light enough tone, the brownrider is quite serious, “Well lets see if I can at least get permission to go and see the layout and we’ll take it from there.” W’red nods, “Three hours, or so, if I’m not here wait for me I’ll turn up.” The statement made as he is already heading for the exit, “Remember one thing Max, if this is a joke you better have a good sense of humour yourself as I will most certainly be the one having the last laugh,” W’red smiles briefly at the young man before moving through the entrance, he is already getting Tavaith to talk to Ortuth to find the location of D’lon, his present wingleader.

A brow goes up at W'red's admission, "A weyrling…again?" not quite understanding how that might be. The brownrider's next words have the younger man sighing and nodding, a hand brushing through his hair in concerned gesture. "Aye, I know," gravely spoken, "They…I…" stopping and starting as one of his personal fears for the weyrlings' safety tries to snatch at the words almost leaving him in danger of giving himself away. With a clearing of throat he adds as follows along beside the older man for a portion of the way, "My Pa woulda had a heart attack on the spot were he alive to see it all." As they reach the entrance and the Reachian peels away toward where he needs to go, Max puts a crooked grin after him, "Tell you what, it turns out I'm full of shit," which in all truth, he can be, "I'll volunteer to do physical training with the weyrlings every day for a seven." Yeeeah, because that would be just such an awful punishment, now wouldn't it? And then he's on his way down to where he's been told he can find a certain bushy haired blonde fellow that camps out at the lake to see about organizing his own private mission.

W’red leaves the weyrling re-training story for another day, “You act like a rider mostly Max, must have rubbed off on you more than you realize, seems you have some personal interest in these weyrlings, other than just concern for their and your weyrs protection. Most any rider worth his salt would find the lack of training unacceptable, but if all you say is true I’m sure some arrangement can be made with your weyrleaders.” He laughs at the young man’s next, “ if you are full of shit, I can assure you without the help of a dragon in your head, you wouldn’t keep up with the training regimen that the rider’s need to go through.” Parting ways with the young man W’red nods, “See you in a few hours then we can make plans to leave at first light.”

Through a faint smile, "My Pa was Weyrsecond here," at the Reaches, "up until five turns ago," Max gives in response to W'red's comment on his being seen to carry himself as a rider, not about to go into the kind of grooming he'd been put through for the first fifteen turns of his life by a father determined to see his son excel and take his place amongst the ranks of dragonriders. A crooked grin greets the brownrider's laughter, ego undamaged by the notation made of extra help needed to carry out such physical exertions as weyrlings are put through. "Later, W'red," and then he's hunching down into his overcoat and pulling the beanie down over his ears as he steps out into the wintry cold of the bowl.

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