The Fantastic Water Pump


Alara.jpg Ciara.jpg L'han.jpg Neythan.jpg

Date: 4th July 2010
Location: Eastern Weyr: Living Cavern
Synopsis: Neythan has a delivery for Eastern Weyr. All attention is on his marvellous machine…and the tunnelsnake problem the Weyr's experiencing.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Ciara

Eastern Weyr: Living Cavern
The main Living Cavern at Eastern Weyr is a near replica of the "Lower Bowl" in shape. It is circular, with ceilings sloping up into a gentle cone shape. There are a few stalactites hanging from the ceiling, from which the Weyr's few firelizards may perch. Between these, there are a few inverted "hills", showing exactly how quickly the workmen finished this job. It lends an eerie quietness to the place, as the features cut the sound more effectively. The glowbaskets on the walls highlight the tables of all shapes and sizes around the room. The Head Table appears to be more traditional in place and kind, but the rest of the tables are variable. The east side of the room boasts larger rectangle tables suitable for whole groups of riders, while the middle holds smaller circular tables more appropriate for a family with children. The west side of the room has small square tables which often double as gaming tables on lazy days and most evenings.
Near the Head table, off to the East side, the double doors of the kitchen swing open. Near those doors, two long rectanglular tables are set up for food and drink service. On the eastern and western sides of the room, the stairs lead up to parallel hallways which connect to the rest of the Weyr. A third, smaller set of stairs at the southernmost end of the cavern leads to the Weyr Entrance.

Alara sits down with a plate full of food at one of the smaller tables. Eventually, she'll take her place at the big huge 'authority' table, but for now, she's content to sit here. She nods to another person offering their congratulations, or complaining about losing marks. "I told you…" She whispers to L'han. "Nothing I can do about it, though." She snorts softly, and then begins eating.

L'han follows Alara with his own plate of food, looking tired and every bit the part, ruffled clothes and baggy eyes tell the tale of someone that needs sleep soon. He sits alongside her as people come in to talk to her however some notice him and with scowls drop some marks next to his plate. He gives a cheery smile to them before he looks back to Alara, and to head off any potential arguement about the marks, he simply says, "They get it back as I'll spend it buying stuff from them." He simply pockets the marks without any further muss or fuss over them and sets about his meal and eating it.

Somebody's knot is out of place here: a simple Neratian resident's knot shows all too obviously on Ciara's shoulder, but it's the girl's bug-eyed look of awe at the room she's in that really gives her away as a visitor. She's trying to blend in with the kitchen workers milling about with food, and isn't really managing it thanks to the staring she's doing at the long tables; the huge size of the cavern; the stalactites and inverted "hills" dotted about the ceiling. Her drifting takes her to the serving tables, where she helps herself to a glass of fruit juice. With that, she slips into a seat near Alara and L'han, drawn by the sight of the green rider and gold rider chatting.

Lusty singing can be heard echoing up the hallway from the tunnel out of the Weyr, a bawdy tune about a pair of lovely ladies what happened and when they found a Telgar Smith-lad passed out drunk after a Gather up north. The singer was obviously male, in high spirits, his voice a lovely baritone, and surprisingly on-key, footsteps tromping up the hall until the singer himself becomes visible, a rather large wooden casket in his hands, smithcraft knot on his shoulder. Neythan schleps the casket onto the nearest free table and asks cheerfully, "Okay, where do you want this?" with all the air of a man who is expected.

Alara gazes over at L'han. "You bet on Rauzath?" Her eyebrows are quirked up, and she shakes her head. "I could never understand it, except as an exercise in maths." She grins, and turns toward Ciara. "Hello. It is rather grand, isn't it? The Smiths and all did a good job with it. A lot of character. Rauzath was worried she'd make the ceiling fall down on me, but when she tromped through the bowl and I didn't even hear it, I wasn't too worried." It set Rau at ease as well. She begins eating again, and then stops as the singing reaches her ears. "Want what, Smith?" She gazes up, and blinks at his appearance.

L'han nods to Alara with a grin, "Quite often in a Weyr, the Senior Gold, that being the elder, will usually fly first. At least in my experience." He smiles to Ciara and when Alara remarks about how well the construction was done he nods, "So long as we don't have the ceiling coming down on us, the Smiths did their work well." He glances to the casket and then the singing Smith… in that order. And a raised eyebrow is all the Smith gets as the green rider lets Alara take care of that detail. "Well, at least we've got good folks doing this all… Construction was never one of my strengths as a child."

Ciara nods, eagerly, in response to Alara's comment to her. "Oh yes, it is, ma'am. I've never seen anything like it." This of course coming from the girl who's left Nerat as many times as she can count on one hand. Another question seems to be on the tip of her tongue as she leans subtly closer to the two riders, but this is interrupted by Neythan's arrival. The smith and his large casket get a long, curious look. "What's that for?" She asks the Smith, not afraid to ask questions now that people are talking to her.

Neythan seems mildly surprised when it appears that no one seems to be expecting him, but he shrugs and takes it mildly. "This, my dear lady," he says, inclining his head to Ciara graciously, "is quite simply the best water pump the Smithcraft can manufacture." He opens the casket and lets the lid fall to either side on their hinges, hoisting the device into the air for all to see, all brass and knobs and a hand-pump and a nozzle at the end of a six foot hose. His gaze goes to the one referred to as 'ma'am', and his eyes squint, seeking whatever knot graces her personage, smiling pleasantly toward L'han, flicking his eyes up to the ceiling for a moment, but refraining comment on the quality of the work upstairs. "We were commissioned to make one and bring it here, so /someone/ wanted it. Or else I can just haul this back to Landing and let the apprentices have water fights with it," he adds with a casual shrug of his shoulders and ingenuous grin.

"Ooooh. I bet that's intended for …" Alara's eyes light up. "I think I know where that's supposed to go. Thank you, Journeyman." She chuckles. "If you'll put it through there in the Lower Caverns, I'll tell our local Smith contingent it's there." She lowers her head, and looks down at her plate. After a few bites of food, she looks back up to the Smith. "If you'd like you can have a bite to eat before you get back to work. There's plenty. I think the kitchen ladies like to cook as though we've got a full Weyr." She chuckles softly. "Not that most mind."

L'han remarks to Alara's words with a cheerful, "Hear hear! A Weyr marches on it's belly and thats one big belly. Especially when you figure in what the dragons eat." He chuckles before asking, "Who or what was that intended for, Alara? Or is it a suprise?" The green rider is very curious. A quality water pump might make for bathing a dragon very much easier. He glances to Neythan, "Just how much did that cost and how much water can it pump with ease?"

Ciara blushes when Neythan calls her 'dear lady' - and then her mouth drops open a little when he pens the casket to reveal the machinery within. "It's beautiful," the young woman says, fingers twitching as if she wants to touch the thing. She glances at Alara when the woman works out what it's for, and some wrinkles of curiosity appear on her brow - but she doesn't pursue the matter. Not her business. She does smile at L'han's remark, before listening intently for the answers to the rider's questions, looking greedily at the water pump again.

Neythan catches Ciara's finger-twitching, and with a charming smile, proffers the device to her for gentle caressing. "A repast would be most welcome, dear madam," he says to Alara with a courteous half-bow, his eyes twinkling at L'han's comments. "The cost… ah, I was not apprised of the details, as it was haggled for by one of the masters. I am merely the beast of burden in charge of its safe delivery… after I finished making it, of course. Its output is suitable for hosing down a rather large dragon in five minutes or less, provided there's an uninterrupted supply of water, although I understand the Vintners want a few of their own for some reason they didn't choose to elaborate upon," he adds, innocence personified, although his eyes give him away with their twinkling. "Oh, my apologies. Neythan, journeyman smith. Our duties to your ever so lovely queens and so on and so forth." His hand gracefully tumbles in the gesture with his words.

"Or it might be used to pump the water from that river over there to Lake Hopeless." Alara grins. "I think that's what they wanted to use it for, anyway. Then, they may put it elsewhere." She's not going to elaborate on that, but she has her ideas. "Well met, Neythan." She gestures to a seat beside Ciara. "There is plenty of room." She shakes her head at L'han's comments. "We do, don't we? I need to talk to some of the …" She starts to make a mental list again, but stops before she gets to far reciting it. "So much to do to get us ready and keep us there."

L'han nods in agreement with Alara. "At best, this place won't settle out till Kaseth goes up. But after that, there'll be some time between the Clutching and Hatching that will give time to get things in order for the Weyrlings." He glances to the device as it's handed over to Ciara and he nods. "Pity, I might have wondered what other types there were availble to make, but if we're going to bring water here, it will probably work well enough by itself." He moves some of the food around on his plate before eating it again, looking around the cavern for anyone he might recognize.

Ciara takes the device lovingly, letting her fingers caress the fine wood, moving to the brass parts and lingering on the cool metal. "It's…lovely," she says, barely able to take her eyes off it. "I wish I could see the insides." The words come out without any thought behind what they could imply. She looks about at the others to see if any are reaching for the item, and places it carefully on the table. After a moment she thoughtfully moves her glass of juice away from it, nearer to her. "Kaseth goes up?" Ci asks L'han, looking puzzled. "Is that Weyrwoman Randi's gold?"

Neythan tilts his head in a nod to Alara, his gaze shifting to L'han. "A queen rising soon?" he queries in a mild tone of voice, but most of his attention is on Ciara and her handling of the pump. However, he has no cause to squawk on the matter, and in fact is quite happy to pop the seals on it, deftly reaching up and nabbing a spring that goes flying with the ease of long practice, stuffing it back into the pumping mechanism with a seemingly careless gesture, locking it back into place. "Good luck to her and her rider, then."

"I shall convey it, thank you." Alara doesn't mention her own flight. It's done, and settled. "Kaseth does look to Randi, yes." She clarifies that for Ciara. "What brings you all the way from Nerat?" She doesn't sound anything but curious. "I hope it's enough time, L'han. If not, we may just have a very interesting class of weyrlings. They can be so demanding." She gives a fond grin. "But they do understand if things can't be exactly so. Or they learn to." The water pump is eyed closely. "You made this?" She quirks an eyebrow at Neythan. She's more impressed after seeing the small glimpse inside. "It's quite a piece of machinery. Very well done."

L'han nods to Alara and says, "Indeed they can. This at Fort Weyr we know all too well." He glances at the water pump when it's opened, raising his eyebrows at the insides of the contraption. "Very interesting to say the least… something new then?" He glances to Ciara, merely confirming Alara's words, "Indeed."

Ciara smiles broadly when Neythan pops open the machine, with a burst of laughter when the spring comes popping out, and the smith easily grabs it. "It's amazing." She leans back in her chair. "I was on my rest day and there was a message going here so…I asked the watchrider if I could go with him. I'm not intruding, am I, ma'am?" She adds suddenly, giving Alara a wide-eyed, almost scared look, and clutching her glass tight to her chest. "I've met Weyrwoman Randi before. Twice. And her Kaseth once," she adds, now that she's got confirmation on the dragon's name.

Neythan tilts his head into a modest acknowledgement of his handiwork. "Ahh, you're from Fort?" he queries with interest of L'han. "Fine Weyr," he adds politely. "They don't hire as much from us as we'd like," he continues, affecting a mild mournful tone. "Of course, being first, plenty of their amenities are better than latter day Weyrs. Until we get our hands properly on this place, of course." His smile is cheerful as he nods once again to Alara as the reigning dignitary of this gathering. "In my not exactly humble opinion, mere function is one thing, but what makes a place or a thing /live/ is when you make that function beautiful. And hopefully not keep names like 'Lake Hopeless'," he concludes with a wrinkled nose at the very thought. "Sounds like a place a tragic heroine in a harper tale would drown herself when she couldn't have the strapping Lord's son of her dreams."

Alara is a little nonplussed at the Smith's words, but takes it in stride. "I only call it that because someone hung a sign out there…" And being Harper raised herself, if there's a sign labeling it, and it seems to vaguely fit, she tends to go with it. "I imagine once it is useful, we'll just call it 'the lake.'" Or someting equally boring. Ciara gets a slow shake of her head. "No. Oh, no. I was just curious. It isn't often we see visitors. Welcome to Eastern." And in fact, it's one of the first visitors she's seen who's visiting the Weyr for its own sake, and not for fixing things, delivering things, and what have you. "Take a look around, though, I'll warn you to steer clear of the unlit places. We've a terrible time with Tunnelsnakes yet." That thought makes her purse her lips. "Journeyman…" she begins her thought slowly. "Do you have any ideas to help with the capture and destruction of nests of those critters? We thought fire, but weren't sure about gas pockets, and I haven't had a chance to consult the miners to be sure on that point. Any ideas — well, barring any involving huge explosions — would be welcome." She smiles widely, and eats a little more while she waits for the response.

L'han continues to eat his meal, letting the others talk mostly amongst themselves. However, the talk about tunnelsnakes and explosions draws him back in again as he remarks, "Still having troubles with those? Hopefully we can get rid of them without resorting to anything drastic."

"Thank you, ma'am." Ci'd probably curtsey if she could, but as she's sitting down she satisfies herself with a slow nod of her head. Her grip on her glass relaxes slightly. "Tunnelsnakes? I could help trap them, if you'd like. My brothers taught me how to make a snare that's quite effective." She looks about at the others, particularly L'han for his comment. "Have they been used here already?"

Neythan's lips quirk in a semi-pout when the use of explosions is prohibited, although it's obvious he doesn't mind blowing the odd thing up now and again. "You could bring in a wher or something to sniff down the tunnels and see if there's any good ones or ones that will blow up in your face," he suggests, considering the notion of fire all too seriously. "And that would truly be a crime if it were to happen to either of you ladies," he adds with sincerity lacing his tones, although his eyes are a bit far-sighted as he considers the problem professionally. "You could hardly just find their holes and put metal covers over them, pitoning them into place. Has anyone tried poisoning them?"

Alara is mentally nudged by her lazing dragon, and shakes her head to clear it. "Oh, my I've completely forgotten my manners." She grins as she looks up, eyeing both Neythan and Ciara in turn. "I'm Alara, rider to Rauzath, formerly from Telgar." Now current Weyrwoman, though there's not a knot yet. Their names are fairly well-known, considering almost everyone knew of the two queens sent down to start the new Weyr. "I know Journeyman Harper Kestian had some sort of contraption he was using to strangle them, but I don't think we've tried a snare… or poison for that matter. I'll have to talk to Iar — Randi about the methods she tried. She spent a little more time down in there than I." She shudders, because she can't stand the slithering things. "Very good ideas, thank you."

"Nice to meet you, Alara." The name falls into place for Ciara, and she adds, "ma'am," not forgetting her manners. "A wher would be interesting," she muses when Neythan brings it up, and finishes her juice, looking at the empty glass with admiration. "Lovely fruit juice here," is murmured, but the Weyrwoman and Smith are onto more important matters right now, and she won't interrupt them. "I should get back. I - thank you very much for the hospitality here." She gets up, curtseys to all three people, and then moves off to return the glass. She's not hurrying too much - there's plenty to look at around still, and she wants to take it all in.

Neythan nods politely to Alara. "I do indeed recall the names, but was given no sketch to know of whom was spoken," he says with a tilt of his chin. "Although of course, no mere sketch could do you justice," he adds with the hints of a harmless flirt. "It was good to meet you all," he continues blithely. "I'll just go get this settled and then avail myself of your gracious hospitality before heading back to Landing. My thanks indeed." And with another half-bow, this time including Ciara in it as well, Neythan collects the pump, stows it in its casket, and makes off with it, ostensibly to ensure it gets stored properly by the caverns staff.

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