Who Would Cross The Bridge Of Death


Bowen.jpg Ciara.jpg Nenienne.jpg Suosith

Date: 1/4/2011
Location: EW: Outside the Weyrling Barracks
Synopsis: Who would cross the bridge of death must answer me these questions three: what… is your favorite color? … what is Cheusia's favorite color? … can you make me a new marks-pouch?
Rating: G
Logger: Bowen

Eastern Weyr: Upper Bowl East

The eastern section of the upper bowl is flat. Compared to the rest of this bowl, it's almost polished. The smell of grass seed and dragon oil permeates the air here, occasionally joined by the sweet scent of timothy hay. On the far eastern wall is the entrance to the beast caverns, surrounded by the strong wooden fencing that sections off the Feeding Pens. Further north, the weyrling barracks are nestled into the northeast corner; the whole area is a constant haze of activity. Most of the cross-bowl traffic is further west of here, kept centered by the uneven lay of that ground. Because of that, this area is a popular spot for those who want to spend free time lounging in the sun or taking a meal outdoors. To the south is a large lake.

It's mid-evening on warm, clear day. Several Weyrlings are outside the barracks, apparently on their own time instead of drilling or running or otherwise occupied with Weyrling duties. Neni arrives and begins chatting with a few of them after ascertaining that they are, indeed, not otherwise spoken for.

Ciara and Suosith are one pair of said weyrlings, winding down after a hard day's work. The dragon half of their pair is lying a little way from the barracks' entrance, while her human counterpart sits in the gap between her left elbow and side, facing the rest of the bowl. Spying Nenienne, Ci waves to the smith, though doesn't rise from her position. She does look pretty tired.

With a set of wide leather straps in pristine and freshly worked and oiled condition draped heavily over the stocky tanner’s shoulder, Bowen makes his way from parts unknown, presumably the discreetly tucked away and smelly tanner area, and dips his head deferentially to the first rider (weyrling or otherwise) that he comes across outside the Weyrling Barracks. The two engage in a brief conversation wherein Bowen presumably asks if whoever is due those straps is around. There’s a pause that seems familiar among the riders where the rider is checking through the mindlink to locate whomever it is, and more quiet, amiable words exchanged, and then the rider leaves, heading off to wherever he should be. Bowen, on the other hand, remains where he is, patiently waiting or just too dumb to move. It’s anyone’s guess. Looking around now to the weyrlings and the smith who are present nearby, he nods politely to them each in turn, shifting and adjusting the strap a little on his shoulder.

Nenienne brightens, though doesn't smile, when she sees Ciara, calling over, "Hello, how are you and Suosith?" even as she crosss over toward the human half of the pair. Something causes her to turn around and she spots Bowen as well. After nodding politely back, she asks, "Pardon, but I don't think we were ever formerly introduced. I think I heard someone say your name was Bowen, though?"

"Ready for a well-deserved rest!" Ciara calls back, but then Nenienne's turned to talk to Bowen. Ci watches curiously, a slight curve of a smile on her lips. Suosith, too, turns her head so she can better watch the smith and the tanner, as curious as her rider, if not more so.

Slow to respond, but Bowen does finally nod once to Nenienne and her question, “Ayup.” With his one completely free hand he tips his hat, “That’d be me. Bowen, ma’am.” Despite the brief exchange, there is no mistaking that his accent is definitely that of a Southern Holder. His blue eyes stay on Nenienne’s face pretty much with the only exception of the glance he gives for any knot that would place her station, appearing to not recall her from that time in the Living Caverns, and then his gaze slides off and away to Ciara since, well, she and her big gold dragonet is looking at him. If he is nervous though, the man must hide it well. He gives another tip of his hat to Ciara then, too, “Ma’am.”

Nenienne nods sympathetically toward Ciara. "I've seen how much they work you lot. Makes candidacy look like a string of restdays in comparison. I guess that's why digging the lake wasn't considered too harsh." Then she turns to Bowen and says, "Congratulations on your marriage. I had a quick question for you, if you have the time."

Suosith shuffles her wings at Bowen's acknowledgement to Ciara, showing off as ever. A gentle croon comes from the gold too, and she gets a nudge from Ci's elbow for her ego. "Hey." Bowen gets a smile, which is then turned onto Nenienne. "Trust me…." She seems particularly curious about Neni's question, and isn't very subtle about watching, either.

To anyone who happens to have walked in on the conversation at that point, it could very well look like Bowen is a mute simpleton because the poor man just simply stares awhile at Nenienne. It’s not even one with any real expression to speak of, not incredulous, not irritation, not happy-as-pie, just a sort of vacant, deer-in-headlights(glowlight?) look. Just when it gets to the point where most people would start to feel uncomfortable and awkward for his continued vacant expression and lack of response, Bowen finally says, “Thank ya kindly, ma’am,” for the congratulations, presumably, “I’m waitin’ onna feller ta come an’ git ‘is straps,” Bowen taps the leather over his shoulder with two fingers, “So, I reckon I got th’ time.” Isn’t that lovely and polite? Well, Bowen’s reputation, if he has one, is probably not for his charm. Unfortunately, that includes avoiding any more looks to the goldrider weyrling for the moment, at least until he’s done answering whatever it is the Journeywoman wants to know.

Nenienne's attention is caught by the dragonet's action, and she watches it admiringly. "She's growing into a lovely dragon, Ciara," she notes, before turning back to Bowen and asking, "What is your favorite color?"

Suosith answers Nenienne's compliment better than Ciara ever could, with a happy trill that seems almost too high to come from a bigger dragon's throat. Ci grins, and, unlike her dragon, looks bashful about the whole thing. She shifts to sit cross-legged now, an eyebrow lifting at Neni's rather simple question. Her attention is on Bowen as she, too, listens for his answer.

Such a simple question indeed, and one that clearly throws Bowen for a loop nevertheless. Ask him how to repair boots, or whether the stew they had in the Living Caverns was good that day, or if he thinks they might get rain, but favorite color? What’s the point in that? Bowen obviously doesn’t know. Not being one to ever think about such things, he takes his time pondering his answer. This time, however, he doesn’t quite look so vacant about it, looking skyward as if the answer might come from a passing cloud. “Grey,” he finally answers, lifting his free hand to scratch at the beginning of day-old growth under his chin. Grey like Cheusia’s eyes. Or the sort of auburn-brown of her hair, but the poor man doesn’t really know how to describe that color, so he sticks with, “Grey,” and this time punctuating it with a nod. Then he looks back at Nenienne and then Ciara and then Nenienne again, a slightly suspicious cast to his look this time, like he suspects the young women are up to something and probably nothing he’d like. “Why?” The monosyllabic word is drawn out with a twang that would probably make most Harpers cringe.

Nenienne says succinctly, "Wedding gift. Now I just need to track down Cheusia, unless you know what her favorite color is? It would be nice if it was a surprise for at least one of you, though I imagine she'll get more use out of it."

Ciara isn't in on whatever Nenienne's doing, but she's more than happy to act like she is. When Bowen looks her way, the girl responds with the biggest, most innocent smile you've ever seen. Suosith, now that the attention is off of her, seems a little huffy. Her head goes down, chin resting on her forearms. Her large, blue eyes continue to watch the two humans, but she's less interested now.

Bowen stops scratching the growth on his chin and looks blankly at Nenienne again. There’s an inaudible grunt in acknowledgment which slightly moves his shoulders, a common enough mannerism for the man to make folks wonder if he only got Che to marry him by hitting her over the head with a club and dragging her off by her hair or something. After a few heartbeats pause, shorter than his previous pauses, Bowen answers, “Yella… Like dem flow’rs they gots in th’ garden.” Because if it wasn’t for that crazy coincidence, who knows how long he would have taken to finding out her favorite color? “Much obliged,” he adds more sincerely, “I’m sure Che will like it.” He glances back over to Ciara and Suosith again, blinking a couple times before he looks back at Nenienne and then back in the direction he came from, shifting from one foot to one foot.

Nenienne nods without smiling, and looks over at Suosith when Bowen does, just in case she's doing something interesting, and notes Ciara's expression with something akin to amusement. As Bowen shifts she focuses back on him, especially his shoulder knot, and asks, "I know they probably have you very busy with the Weyrlings, but would you have time to take a commission?"

Ciara gives Nenienne a very big, very obvious wink when she too looks over. Suosith, sensing more attention her way, croons a soft note. As the two seem to get back to business, Ci rubs her gold's leg idly, turning the motion into a scratching one that has the dragon's eyes lidding over with pleasure. The sigh of happiness stirs dust from the ground, and Ci smiles softly, even as she watches Neni and Bowen.

Working class fellow that he is, Bowen just nods once to Nenienne and says, “Always got room fer a commission, ma’am,” because he can’t afford not to make room for one. Without the woven knot to indicate he is a Crafter from the Hall, and therefore able to charge more for his services, he makes a modest living comparatively. “Whutchya needin’?” He shifts under the sturdy, thick straps supported by his shoulder again, but isn’t voicing any complaints. All his complaining genes got passed down to his younger brother and sister since they seem to complain and whine enough, in Bowen’s mind, for more than one person. Just then one of the brownrider weyrlings comes trotting up to the barracks, out of breath, and looking apologetically at Bowen, but bright with excitement for the straps he holds. Nodding politely to the young man, who’s probably not much younger than Bowen himself, Bo passes over the weighty items to the weyrling, who immediately salutes Ciara and others in the area and then heads off to wherever his brown dragonet is waiting on him to try on his new straps. Watching the excited weyrling head off a moment, Bowen is slow to return his attention back to Nenienne, but he does eventually, his blue eyes expressing calm patience.

Nenienne shows him her rather worn mark pouch, and says, "Something about this size, in in undyed but tanned leather, please. With a wherhide drawstring." The pouch is the type with a drawstring, rounded in shape. "And please let me know the price before you start working on it, to make sure I can afford it." She glances apologetically at Ciara. "I'm sorry I've not talked to you more, but running into him was such an opportunity." And her glance at Suosith is downright mischievous. "And I'm sorry I'm not giving you your due," she says in a mildly ironic tone. Still no smile from the Smith, though.

Ciara gives her classmate a nod and warm smile, watching him head off with his new straps. She rearranges herself against Suosith's side better, but she's starting to look faintly uncomfortable. The stiffness in her body as she moves seems to be evidence of the toll that the day's work has taken on her. She does wave off Neni's apology, though the movement lacks some energy. "Don't worry about it. We're happy to sit and watch, huh Suosith?" Somehow that doesn't seem like the attention-seeking gold's style, and her little huff says as much. She does give Nenienne a particular look though, the whirls of colours in her faceted eyes picking up speed. The smith appears to be being considered.

Wiping some of the remnants of the oil on the straps from his hands onto his pants, Bowen crosses what distance there is between him and Nenienne as she shows the marks pouch to get a better look at it. All business now, the tanner examines it without touching it, blue eyes taking in the workmanship and where it looks more worn than otherwise. He considers a moment longer and then asks, “Won’t be much or long, ‘less ya need it ta be reinforced. Just usin’ it fer marks? Think yer gonna be gettin’ it wet?” Because an extra layer will mean a little more in price. His attention strays to Ciara and Suosith momentarily as they speak, but he doesn’t seem to have anything to add to them for the time being. He looks back at Nenienne.

After another glance toward the Weyrling pair, concern showing for Ciara's apparent discomfort, Neni turns her attention to Bowen, also businesslike in mien. "Just marks, though I might at some point commission something for materials. I don't plan on getting it wet any more than ordinary rainfall — I won't go swimming with it."

Ciara's discomfort is getting the better of her, and now the weyrling rises, leaning on her dragon to aid her movements. Once she's up, Suosith gets to her feet, opening her wings in what's more about showing off their wingspan than actually stretching, no doubt. Ci barely notices the display, too used to it by now to give it much attention. "I'll leave you two to your craft chatter." She smiles, in keeping with her good-natured tone. "And drop by again yeah, Neni?" And so they depart with a final croon from Suosith, the gold swaying her tail back and forth as they head into the barracks. Now the weyrling rider's stiffness can really be seen, as she walks carefully across the rocky ground.

“Simple ‘nough den. There’s always somebody needin’ a marks-purse,” Bowen drawls after a long moment, “I might have whut ya need already in m’stores, an’ if not, I can have it done quickly ‘nough, ‘less one of th’ oth’r tanners got in m’hides. If ya like, I can show ya whut I got already done t’morrah an’ if it ain’t whut ya want then we can talk price.” His attention briefly goes to Ciara and Suosith as they get up and head back into the barracks. The tanner straightens a little and tips his hat to the goldrider and her queen, and then returns his attention back to Nenienne.

Nenienne nods somberly. "That would be wonderful, if there are some in stock. Oh, and please don't tell Cheusia that I'm planning on giving her a wedding present — I want it to be a surprise. Hopefully a pleasant one."

Bowen actually shows one of his rare smiles, slight though it is, and nods, “I won’t tell’er.” Not that he knows who she is, really, “Thank ya fer it.” He tips his hat to the Journeywoman next, “I’ll come find ya t’morrah then, ma’am.” Without much further ado, he turns and makes his slow pace away from the Weyrling Barracks.

Nenienne chats some more with the other Weyrlings, then heads back toward the lower caverns.

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