Tying Up Loose Ends



Date: 2011.05.03
Location: High Reaches Weyr & Sweep Area
Synopsis: Max finally gets down to tying up loose ends.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Max

Word gets around, especially when you’re the Headwoman’s son. Ahnika had her own weyr. The knowledge felt like lead in his stomach. Such an innocuous thing really, if not for what it signified in terms of the plans and preparations he’d been making for just that day that were now, laid to waste.

For the past four months, each muted footstep or sound heard late at night when the beast caverns slept, and he hadn’t, had brought with it the tiniest spark of hope. Perhaps it was her, come to seek him out. But each was merely yet another cold and empty mockery of misplaced wishful thinking.

As much as he tried to avoid the feeding pens, his job demanded that this was not always possible. Each green that came to feed brought a sweep of dark eyes in its trail, watching…waiting.

And now…the weyrling green pair had their own weyr.

That, coupled with gossip fed back to him that she’d made it publicly known that she wanted nothing more to do with him, found Max standing in the silent weyr, high above the Reachian bowl, the wind howling and whining outside like a mad canine trying to get in.

Two glowbaskets cast a faint light over the items packed to one side, carefully stored in oilskins and weatherproof crates. Each one of them chosen with painstaking care over the past turn to create the picture he’d had in his mind. Each intended as a gift of furnishing for her own weyr afterward and as symbol of their new life together. He’d wanted it to be perfect when he asked her to….

But none of it mattered now and so with his jaw set into an expression of grim determination, Max stepped forward and slowly but surely worked his way through checking that everything was ready for transport, by the big brown waiting outside on the ledge.

With the last of the items strapped to Darkonth’s side, B’rut turned and shot a look over to the silent man, his best friend before life had set them on different paths. “That the lot of it?” a toss of head sent a shaggy fall of dark blonde hair from his eyes.

Another last glance toward the interior of the weyr that sat dark and silent in the cold and Max gave a nod of head, “Aye. Next stop the traders.” And without another word he mounted the mocha brown and settled in behind B’rut.

“She musta been some kinda gal,” B’rut commented, not knowing the full story and simply guessing by the southerner’s demeanour that she must have died.

“She was somethin’ alright,” Max’s tone held a faintly bitter edge to it and then he dropped silent as Darkonth spread his great wings and took to the Reachian skies, blinking Between a few moments later.

Having already spoken with the wagonmaster beforehand, the trader was expecting the southerner’s arrival, and was waiting with a small runner-drawn cart out in a clearing away from the main camp. A downward pressure and a rush of freezing cold air stirred the drifts of snow causing the runner to whinny nervously when the dragon backwinged and landed.

Soft bed furs in muted shades of grey leading to darker patches of near black; pillows, sheets and blankets finely woven in a soft sage green with a burgundy sisal trim; two matching floor rugs; even a comfortable overstuffed couch upholstered in burgundy with a throw of green to go with it, among other things were offloaded from the brown, opened and carefully inspected by the wagonmaster.

The last item, a long wooden box that held two glowbaskets crafted out of an amber coloured smoked glass, was opened. The trader’s lips pressed together and he let out a low whistle of appreciation for the craftsmanship, “This must have cost someone a full turn’s salary.” Even B’rut, who had been joking about and exchanging banter with the trader up until that point, fell silent and he sent a browlifted look the way of the dark-haired southerner standing off to one side.

Max ignoring the comment and B’rut’s querying look stepped forward, closed the box lid and removed the item from the rest of the pile, “Changed my mind ‘bout these. They ain’t for sale.”

“As you please,” the trader replied though he couldn’t hide the look of disappointment for the glass glowbaskets would have fetched him a fair mark at the next Hold Gather. Quickly he did a mental tally and then gave a price, lower than the goods were worth but expecting the young man to haggle as is the ‘polite’ way of conducting such business.

Max gave a grunt of agreement and took the bag of marks being held out to him.

The trader couldn’t believe his luck and almost crowed with delight but he was good at what he did and so he simply smiled and gave an incline of head, “A pleasure doing business with you, sir.” And before the southerner could have his mind changed for him by the brownrider standing gaping in shock at his side, the wily old man climbed up into the cart and set the runner off at a fast trot back to the camp, ready to celebrate his good fortune.

“Are you outta your gourd!?” B’rut blustered, “That stuff was worth three times what he paid you!”

“It was worth a lot more than that,” Max replied in such a way as to suggest he wasn’t speaking about the mark value of the items just sold. “Close ya mouth before you swallow a vtol.”

The box with the glass glowbaskets was returned to his carrysack and then, taking out a stylus and scrap of hide Max quickly jotted something down. Folding the note he slipped it into a message pouch and held it and the heavy bag of marks out to his friend.

B’rut eyed them, “What’s this then?”

“Got another favour to ask of you. Remember that cothold I had you look for up Fort way?”

“Aye,” B’rut’s tone was openly wary.

“I want you to give those to a woman by the name of Seren, she’s a midwife there. If she ain’t around look for her husband, he’s a master weaver by the name of Xavier. You are not,” Max set the brownrider with a hard look, “to give my name, you understand me?”

B’rut’s forehead creased into a frown and he sent his friend a long look. The man had changed in the past few turns to someone he almost didn’t recognise anymore. Where before he’d been the first to start mischief and cause chaos always laughing in the face of danger or consequences, now he was withdrawn and brooding, saying only what he needed to, when he needed to. And it worried him.

“Uh…sure, we can drop passed on the way back,” he finally agreed to the errand and pocketed the message pouch and marks.

“No,” Max said with a shake of head, “I ain’t comin’ with you. Got some other business what needs tendin’ to first.” Quiet a moment and then extending his hand, “Thanks for your help with this. I owe you one.” Sincere.

Where before B’rut might have ignored the hand and pulled the southerner into a hug, he didn’t know this man that stood before him now and so his hand met the one offered him in a firm shake. “Anytime Max,” pausing and then adding, “you ever want to talk, you know where to find me.”

For the first time a wry though hollow smile tipped one side of Max’s mouth as he nodded, “Aye, facedown in a beer barrel with a tavern wench snorin’ in your lap.”

Just then a blue dragon swept across the grey skies as snow started to fall lightly once again, and landed a short distance away.

“That’s my ride,” Max said with a nod toward the waiting blue pair and he took a step backwards. “Remember what I said. You keep my name out of it.” And with that he turned and left trusting B’rut to do as asked.

Jaya’s words about the young lad that she and Shijan had managed to take off the lands and settle into the Seacraft Hall and their ensuing conversation about other holdless children had given him the idea of how best to tie up loose ends and close the book on a story left unwritten.

Seren and Xavier were chosen as the recipients for the marks due to their having opened their home to fosterlings such as Ahnika, as well as for the help given in retrieving his own daughter. He could only hope that the amount would be enough to take at least some of strain off of the kind-hearted couple’s shoulders. The note he’d sent unsigned, simply read:

For all that you have done for others, and continue to do.

It would be a day or two later, that the box containing the two glass glowbaskets would find its way to the weyr of a certain red-haired weyrling as weyr warming gift along with a note that simply reads:

From out of the darkness, a light shone.

No name was signed though the handwriting would probably be familiar to her.

Alter Bridge - Watch Over You

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