====June 17, 2013
====Siraji, N'thu
====The Weyrleader is hungover. The Caravan Leader is helpful. The dog is stupid.

Who Siraji, N'thu
What The Weyrleader is hungover. The Caravan Leader is helpful. The dog is stupid.
When The morning after Jivayath and Kohleth clutch.
Where Wherz camp, Caravan Grounds, Igen Weyr



Caravan Grounds
Deep grooves in the hard packed earth criss-cross a large patch of denuded ground, bearing mute testament to the caravans that frequent this area. Despite the midden holes set back a ways from the main center of traffic, the air is sweet, redolent with the sagebrush that forms a loose perimeter around the flattened expanse. In what is as close to its center as the vague boundaries suggest, a stone ringed fire pit has been dug and surrounded with the odd log or two, ash overflowing from its darkly blackened core.

Last night - continuing through the night, even - eggs were laid on the Sands. There was celebrating - there is always celebrating - but the Weyr's revelries were subdued ones. Out in Wherz's section of the caravan grounds, there were a significant number of toasts to the virility of certain bronzes, but just as many babies and puppies and backpats of sympathy passes around as there were bottles. Now, however, the camp is quiet: the crack of noon, but even the early-rising traders are slow to stir.

N'thu feels dead. Not because of the grieving of his dragon, anymore; Itzquintlith is napping next to Kohleth on the sands, occasionally checking and rolling over the eggs in place of his weak mate. N'thu feels dead because he drank a lot, and fell asleep with a bunch of children and a dog on top of him. When he stirs, finally, there might still be a dog on top of him — eventually, though, he manages to sneak out of the space he's crashed in to hunt out signs of life besides Dipshit. (His hair looks terrible, but at least he doesn't smell bad.)

There is life, though its intelligence might be questioned: while not the first one up or the only one moving, Siraji is the one who has commandeered both a fire and an industrial-grade kettle to supplement her usual smaller one. Besides the smell of fire (and camp) there is - klah, already brewing. (There's also tea, but it's waiting to be steeped on an as-wanted basis.) When N'thu stirs, Dipshit follows, piddling under a set of stairs first before warble-yodel-yipping his greeting to the morning. Saji throws a tea strainer at him; he fetches it, and prances up to her to present it proudly. She sighs. She salu- she waves N'thu over and covers a yawn.

The hungover Weyrleader, despite the hangover, laughs at Dipshit and his tea strainer. And then winces, because his own laugh was too loud for his terrible headache. N'thu drags himself over to Siraji, pushing a bit of stray hair out of his face, and says first, "Thanks," and then, "I don't want to know how much I drank," and lastly, "Got a hangover cure on that fire?"

"Ugh," Saji tells Dipshit, wrestling the strainer away from him and swinging the kettle off the fire so she can pour scalding water over it (away from bare feet) to clean it. "Idiot dog," is fond, at least, and broken by another yawn. "Ain't plannin' on tellin' you," is to the hungover Weyrleader, "but sit your butt down before you fall over. I got tea," which will help, "and if you don't drink tea there's klah, but don't blame me if it makes you feel like worse shit." Not a fan, apparently. "There'll be breakfast in a bit, too, for anyone whose stomach can handle it."

Bare feet; at least N'thu managed to find his sandals. Because he wears sandals in winter, the same way Siraji doesn't bother with shoes. He sort of falls over and sits at the same time, and manages to get out, "No, I like tea. Tea's good. Tea's " yawn, " fine. So's breakfast, and. Water. Water'll clear my head." Not that there's anything IN his head, except perhaps pain, but he's definitely dehydrated. "Quint says thanks t'you all for taking good care of me. If you can call what you did taking good care of me." It was last night, anyway. Now they're taking good care of him.

Water, Saji can do with no waiting: there's a skin of it by her on the other side, which she reaches for and passes over without comment. It's cold, even, or as close to it as one gets without ice in the vicinity. "You tell him welcome right back," she says finally, then flashes a sharp-edged, genuine (sleepy) smile the Weyrleader's way. "An' you don't mention it again. Woulda done it anyway - that complicated knot of yours or not, you're a friend. Fact it helped out that Weyrsecond of yours," aka her drip cousin who's moderately tolerable as a competent adult, "that's just bonus. How they doin'?" The 'they' is clarified by a jerk of her thumb toward the weyr.

"Right now? Asleep. Itzquintlith keeps getting up and nosing the eggs a little as if he actually knows what to do with them; I don't know if Kohleth's actually instructing him or not." N'thu doesn't know if Kohleth's really up to moving around, but he knows that Jivayath and Kanyith told Itzquintlith to stay with her — and so odds are except for taking N'thu up and down from his own weyr, the bronze is going to be on the sands. All. The. Time. Water is taken, with a nod of thanks; water is downed.

"Asleep seems to be the order of the day," Saji says without irony, nodding approvingly as N'thu downs his water. From one of the wagons (the one that still looks dilapidated DESPITE its fresh coat of paint) a tall, lanky young man with atrocious bedhead emerges; he disappears behind the wagon for a few moments, then re-emerges and … disappears back into it immediately, with only a jaw-cracking yawn for his trouble. Siraji watches the whole thing, but her only commentary is a snort of a laugh. "Yeah, definitely seems t'be. That's good, though. They deserve th' break."

N'thu agrees; he nods, and drinks some more — though not at the same time, because in his present state he would totally choke on it. "I don't know that I did; I mean, I probably deserved a break but I should probably also get back to work. Though at the moment I would rather just have breakfast. Quint's keeping in touch with Ryglinath." So if there's anything really urgent he'll know about it, and otherwise — morning off for everyone. Including Teya, wherever she is, if she'd even take it, but not including candidates. "Your husband?" he asks, of Sleepyhead #2.

"You can get back to work once trying t'read reports won't make you hurl all over your sandals," Saji informs N'thu decisively. "If I know my cousin, she's th' only one in the weyr not takin' the day, so you're allowed to." What was that about a ranking knot? Apparently she's ignoring his. She's also, finally, making some tea. "One of 'em," is fond, a little wry. "Th' singer. He'll prob'ly emerge f'good in a coupla hours, but f'now it'd be like tryin' to raise the dead." Somehow, she doesn't seem like she minds. "Might get a few of our usually early risers sooner, though. Might not." Restday for everyone.

And so the order is made, from caravan leader to Weyrleader. After all, N'thu isn't the only one with a ranking knot, and they became friends when he was just a wingrider. A foreign one, at that. "The day after a clutching, and thus a clutching party — the day everyone sleeps off the hangover and nothing gets done. I was actually in the middle of something important when she — they — started —" He looks off to the side, upward at the sky, and shrugs a little. "But I now haven't the foggiest clue what it was."

"See if this helps," The tea isn't quite done steeping, but the mug it's in is heavy earthenware, so it's enough to warm the hands but not scald them. "Give it a bit to finish and then you should be good," Saji directs as she hands it over. "Hopefully it'll come back t'you. Was it a personal kind of important, or a," her gesture is vague, but broad: it encompasses the grounds and goes on to imply the Weyr beyond.

Wrapping his hands around the mug and simply inhaling as it steeps, N'thu manages to not shrug and look like an idiot. (Actually, he does look like an idiot, but it's because of the mussy hair.) "Had to do with wing formations," making it pretty much totally impersonal, "but I don't remember what else. I'm sure I left myself notes. I'm not too terrible at this gig, so far. At least people are used to a young Weyrleader; Ri'enn's not a full turn older."

"Definitely not personal, then. I'd check the notes." A laugh follows, rough around the edges and a little self-directed. "I say that. I mean that. Couldn't take the same advice without havin' to dig through a pile of inventories, half-writ songs, and scribbled birds with dicks," blame Tuss for the birds, Saji for the dicks. "I'm shit at keeping notes separate from whatever else I'm workin' on, at th' time. An' you seem t'be doin' fine," she waves off any potential concern of his. "I've seen worse. I'm sure your Weyr has, too."

Without a doubt, but N'thu doesn't say that. He wouldn't want to confirm that Igen's got more issues than he can count on both hands and feet all combined, and he wouldn't want to insult any predecessors. "Getting used to it. I just thought for sure W'rin would want it, so I wasn't all that worried," he admits. "Older, wiser, more experienced, like, I've never even been a Wingsecond, though we were working on getting there. Quint wanted to do the ranks in order; oh well, that's what he gets, it's on him for trying to save her." Slooooow sip of piping hot tea. "Birds with dicks."

Somewhere in this all, Saji has poured herself a mug as well, but it's only now that she lifts it, blows across its surface, and dares to sip. Definitely still hot; she doesn't take a second, but inhales contentedly. "Doin' shit in order's for suckers," she declares firmly, with a sharp-edged grin that doesn't entirely soften it, but definitely takes some of the sting out. "He's got good instincts. You don't suck," high praise! "Could be that this W'rin of yours is really good at th' job he's got now, an' all that older an' wiser an' more experienced is tellin' him t' stick with what he can excel at, 'stead of grabbin' for th' shiny knot an' fallin' hard on his ass, maybe."

"Oh, he is. He's been Wingleader for — I don't know how long he's been Wingleader for," N'thu realizes, and gives in to admitting with a soft laugh and a shrug. "But long enough he definitely knows his wing, his people, his — everything. Itzquintlith says thank you, as well. Sleepily. He's also starting to complain about hunger but I don't see him going anywhere anytime soon. Also it could be me being hungry. Bum dragon doesn't even know." That earns him quite the monologue in his head, of course, about all the myriad ways his dragon is not a bum.

"Sounds like a man secure in his position, an' determined t' do the most good where he knows how t'do it," Saji says as she stands. Weyrleader or no, foreign bronzerider or no, at least once in her recent sphere N'thu was a sad boy in need of some friends, and that is why she scrubs her hand through his hair as she passes him. It's rough, her affection, but genuine; at least there were no knuckles involved, this time. "I'll get breakfast on, an' we'll find out which of you that's comin' from." Should start to get the rest of the camp moving, too.

"Both is my guess." As far as the hunger, anyway. As far as W'rin, well, N'thu seems to still think Siraji has her head on straight about that one. He's not protesting, and he knows the other potential Weyrleader was always very happy in his role. As long as he'd seen, anyway, and that was a pretty long time. Hair-scrubbing actually gets him leaning his head up against her hand, silent thanks as he takes another sip of tea. "I'll allow myself to be mobbed by kids again."

Siraji allows the lean, then shoves off just as roughly, stalking off to gather up what will, one presumes, get turned into breakfast. "Then you're on serving duty," she tells him, finally laughing again. "Guaranteed kid-mob for certain - the dog helps, too." Attracting the kids, she means. "Let me know if you're ever in the market for dumb, cute, floppy-eared mongrel puppies, by the way. We're sure to have 'em pretty soon."

N'thu actually grins at that, believe it or not. It's lopsided and possibly still a little drunk; it's also probably not the response to being on serving duty. "To tell you the truth, I think I'd like a mongrel puppy. I know Quint would, he actually loves dogs but we've never had one. Something about, you know. Being up in a weyr. I'm not quite sure how to handle the logistics of that one besides 'dog rides dragon' and — will they do that comfortably?"

"They can," Saji answers while she - well, it's hard to say that she bustles, but were it anyone but Saji that's the best way to describe it - about, collecting this and that and, y'know, generally getting her breakfast prep on. "My brother - he's a," there's a half-moment's hitch as she corrects to, "was a brownrider," a little too easily, "always had these MASSIVE dogs, from the time we were kids. His had crates. Could attach 'em to straps, or have the dragon pick 'em up." They used something similar with some of the livestock moving forward, too. "Dip's little and dumb, though. Usually just the lead, harness, and a firm grip if he gets wiggy is enough."

Was a brownrider. N'thu doesn't, actually, ask; he wants to, but it seems terribly rude, and now's not the time. Maybe later. Or maybe he'll ask someone else entirely — the assumption is one thing, but it might be another and he'd hate to muck it up. "That actually sounds kind of hilarious," he says, "but also doable the way Quint is. He wouldn't mind getting his chance to 'help.' At least it wouldn't be a huge dog." His tea is almost gone; he might snag another cup and do his serving duty one-handed.

There's more than enough tea, loose in its tin, for N'thu to have several more cups, if he's so inclined. "Nah, these'll likely be small," possibly larger than a bread box, but likely only just. "He's more enthusiastic than he is appealing, so they might be kind of dumb, too. But probably cute." Much like her sons, if you ask her. Speaking of which: a wagon door opens (not hers, this afternoon, but their aunt's) and the toddlers start tumbling out and that, apparently, is the signal that the camp was waiting for: as Saji makes the breakfast the camp rouses; eventually food actually happens and, as promised, N'thu is mobbed by children and canines and musicians alike before everyone disbands to go about their (slow-moving) day.

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