====September 22, 2013
====A'lory, Mayte, N'thu, Sadaiya
====Formations, drink tasting, and Sadaiya has a plan.

Who A'lory, Mayte, N'thu, Sadaiya
What Formations, drink tasting, and Sadaiya has a plan.
When There is 1 turn 2 months and 0 days until the 12th pass.
Where Dustbowl Cantina, Igen Weyr



Dustbowl Cantina
To enter the Dustbowl Cantina is to descend: the heart of the ancient tavern lies half underground, at the foot of ancient steps, insulated from summer heat and winter cold by the volcanic rock surrounding it. A windowless place well-lit by glows, it is homey, even cozy, with a certain bijou charm - but for the deep gouges worn in wooden table and solid stone, some clearly lingering evidence of boisterous brawling. The wall behind the well-polished bar, though, remains free from scars or graffiti, as does the door into the small kitchen, and the stairwell up into the owner's quarters: the barkeep and his staff reign, and they guard their territory well. After all, only a fool angers the source of the booze.

The Dustbowl is not actually N'thu's office; Parhelion, presumably, has one. An office. It is likely the most organized office in the entire world, considering the wingsecond. The Dustbowl is, however, loud; it's the just-before-dinner-hour and people are being racuous but not yet drunk, taking up tables and the bar alike in groups. N'thu has paperwork out, though, or at least it's a single hide with wing formations on it, and he keeps drawing over it as if he could come up with a better plan by doing that. It is instead becoming utterly illegible. Most of the only empty seats are near him at the bar: the tables seem to be just about full. He's also got a couple of full, untouched drinks in front of him — it's a shocker nobody's tried to steal them yet, especially as they are not as dark as his normal fare that most other people want to choke at.

Who's tha-at walking in-to the Dust-bowl? What's that you say, it's Sa-dieeee. Deep cut there. Sorry. Nevertheless, in she walks, sashays, what-have-yous, until the press of a crowd forces her to draw her arms towards her body to make herself as small as possible. Salutes are volleyed at her, per usual, but Sadaiya has little room to do more than a small little finger wiggle and mouth 'sorry!' until, finally, she's birthed out by the crowd at the bar. With a slight stagger, she turns, planting her hands on N'thu's table and setting the extra drinks a-bobble. Fortunately, she has enough presence of mind to reach forward to stop their dancing. "Oops! Sorry, Wingleader. Sorry. Jeez, you manage to get one place better rations and suddenly people rappel in from the ceiling," she grouses, loudly, tipping her head towards the bronzerider's ear a bit.

"These people are actually usually here," N'thu replies in a kind of flat voice; if he were a cat, his ears would be pinned back, too. But it's not because of Sadaiya; she gets a salute and a little smile. He likes her. He likes Tuli, too, and 2/3 isn't bad. "I mean, it's always kind of mobbed at this hour. I come here to think, but there's the soothing, familiar loud and then there's — this level of loud." And there's definitely STILL people complaining about recent raids. And getting drunk to try to forget. Which is great when you've had your business ransacked, right? Spending more money? "Did you want a drink? Because I have some extras, apparently."

Sadaiya casts a critical eye at the drinks, shrugs, parks it in a chair and takes a sip. Of the cup, I mean. Chairs are for sitting! "Mmm. Doesn't taste entirely like firestone this time." Improvement! "Guess they're mad about the, um… about having the uh…" Curling her torso slightly to hide her hand, Sadaiya rings her fingers and makes a crude-ish gesture. "And drinking away their pain. Believe me, I could use a drink or ten lately and I don't even fancy, um," gesture again. "I don't suppose you've seen the Weyrwoman." Her dark eyes are carefully neutral, her body shifting as she crosses her legs neatly beneath the table's surface. Only an arched brow reveals the smirk she holds back.

What is it with women and insulting N'thu's drinks? Sadie and Teya both. Even when he gives them free ones! But considering that one's passable he doesn't do anything but laugh for a split second at that assessment. "Not recently," he admits, though he sounds pleased about it. Corelle's probably not a fan of his considering his background and, well — his father. "She doesn't so much have any reason to talk to me anyway. I'm not sure if she doesn't like me because of where I come from or because I deliberately avoided her flight," which everyone probably noticed, "but I try not to read into it too much." He and Sadaiya are sitting at the bar, surrounded by a couple of empty seats. There are three identical drinks in front of them; Sadie's drinking one. The rest of the bar? Crowded; it's around dinnertime and most tables are filled with those seeking cheap bar-fare as their dinners.

And into this cacaphony walks the poster for why kids shouldn't enter bars: Mayte will probably drink them. She's got a heavy wineskin in each hand and is searching for … oh, anyone who looks unoccupied enough to try some of it. And oh look, there's a somewhat familiar face, though her tastebuds are busy - perhaps the person she's sitting with isn't? Approaching the bar, Mayte slides in to the seat next to Sadaiya and N'thu, "Good evening, madame, sir. Would you care to try my latest vintage?" The two extra drinks in front of N'thu get a quick look, "Or, may I enquire what I would be interrupting with my own tasty choices?" Smooth, Mayte. Smooth like peanut butter. The crunchy stuff.

Sadie's lips form a perfect :3 over the edge of her cup. "Oh shucks," she deadpans, though in voice only since the rest of her is a full-body TITTER. Our diplomat, ladies and gents. "She avoids me somewhat, too, I think because W'rin — darling that he is — warned her that I tend to Open My Mouth and I have Things To Say about her policies." The tittering done, her brows knit momentarily in irritation. "I really don't like being so impotent about everything." Mayte's approach, however, blooms a smile back on her face. "Oh, goodness yes WE want some." To wit, she tips her head back and guzzles the remnants of her free fare, coughing slightly on the last sip. "Oof. This won't aerate strangely in this glass, will it? I'm not certain if they even have flutes here."

"I hope you didn't come in here to look for her," N'thu says in a slightly confused tone. On the other hand: "Or you did because you were trying to make an obvious best effort to find her, and all, and were trying the strange places." Without trying the logical ones like her office, but giving lip service to the task, in which case: go Sadaiya. Mayte gets an inviting smile, as well; tinged with flirtatious-charming, but that's his default. "Oh, always. It's just beer. The lighter beer. I keep it around because weyrwomen and wingseconds keep stealing it from me." Okay, in this case, he offered. "I know the names of the darker ones, but this is — beer. Not bad beer. I'm sure they have flutes. OY," he leans over the bar and attracts the attention of one of his cousins with a fingersnap or two, "Wine flutes." Whether or not that works, our intrepid cast is about to find out.

Mayte is popular in her own mind! And in her own wine store, of course. Both wineskins, ostensibly labeled 'red' and 'white' are laid on the counter, and Mayte takes a seat, admiring how effectively N'thu orders for wineglasses. She waits a moment and then offers, "Um… Well, you never know who might visit this fine establishment," for whoever they're searching for. "Well, unless that person doesn't drink," and Mayte's non-commital shrug and expression shows her opinion of that, which is, suspicion. The beers before N'thu are hmmed at, "Not bad beer, but not… great beer?" she asks and then gives Sadaiya a grin, "Perhaps we should wait for the wine flutes - I wouldn't want to insult your tastebuds by mixing different alcohols!" The horror!

"It's harder for her to flee my 4'10" of what's apparently pure steel in public," Sadaiya says, poking experimentally at one of her soft arms. With a shrug and a gamely grin, she scoots to make room for the payload of wine and the slender vintner. "Besides, come to Dust-bowl, beat the heat~ A nice cold drink goes down a treat~. Seriously they paid a Harper to WRITE that. I've heard it between performances around here lately. People with knots, no less, not just apprentices. Catchy, though." She repeats her sing-song once more, only with tuneful hums, then chuckles to herself. "He's right, though. The beer's not so bad, though it's not normally my thing. Your wine, however…" And lo! Thus appears flutes. Three different sizes and colors, but they exist. Jharlodar provides.

"You are incredibly physically threatening, of course," N'thu agrees, as far as Sadaiya's pure steel goes. The theme song makes him laugh; how can it not? and Mayte gets her explanation: "That's — about it, right. It is not phenomenal beer. It is not amazing beer. It is beer I'm willing to drink." He also orders a water, so as to clear the taste of beer out of his mouth before consuming wine — not that he can remember the last time he drank any of it. The formation chart he was drawing on? Temporarily abandoned. At this point it is so covered in different marks it doesn't even matter if someone spills wine on it.

And what does Jharlodar provide? A clarion call to the thirsty, that's what. As surely as honey draws bees, A'lory is drawn to the Dustbowl, strolling lazily through its doirs as though he has not a care in the world. 'Sup, peeps? And then he spots them, conveniently grouped together: N'thu, Sadaiya, and Mayte. Surely they would like his scraggly company? Of course they would! He strolls right over, smiling amiably. "Room for one more, kids?"

Grinning quietly, Mayte pushes forward one skin over the other - the one reading 'white', "If I remember, you preferred the sweeter white, madame? This one is a little dryer, but not by much." N'thu's assessment of Sadaiya's steel is nodded at emphatically, and a grin, "Soooo… My store would have better stock then?" But likely more expensive. The chart N'thu pushes away gets a curious glance, and then oh look, it's A'lory! She edges to make a space, "Hello, Weyrsecond," and a nod to the wineskins, "Woul dyou like to try?|

Bat bat bat go Sadie's eyelashes to N'thu. "Of course. Probably it'd be seen as harassment if I sent firelizards after her laden with notes. Especially if it's my littlest bronze. Flies like a one-winged vtol. It's amazing." Mayte's memory blossoms a larger smile on Sadaiya's face, and she scoots her newer glass closer. "I do! Thank you very much. You should cut a deal with this place, given… well, given everything going on." Quickly, she bites her lip, trying to push words back in somewhat. Then: interruption! Blessed interruption! "Careful, A'l. You might have to sit on someone's lap and bruise their leg with your pointy tailbone. I think I can scoot in some, though." And scoot she does, bringing her face closer to N'thu's notes. "Ooh, what's this formation do? I've not had a chance to study the gold wing records, whichever ones I can find that is."

"Plenty," N'thu tells A'lory with a salute, though the salute and the nod is all he does: if he'd tried to kick the spare stool out it would probably fall and hit someone. He's nodding along to Mayte and Sadaiya's conversation too, up until the chart gets attention again and he frowns a little. "Well." Beat. "To be honest now I've made a total mess of it and it's absolutely nothing but it's meant to be an approach to the leading edge. It just wasn't a very good one, so I was trying to fix it." And ruined it completely in the process. Someone get him a drink. Oh wait.

A'lory folds nicely, despite his length, and proves it with a smirk at his adoptive sister. "You been looking at my ass? That's disgusting." Cause we all know home slice doesn't have much to look at back there. Mayte is given her usual grunkle greeting of a cheek-twitch and a drawled, "Youngin'." The formation is given the eye, and some sage advice: "You want to disappear that, man, and quick." Preferably by burning — less chance of it being found and used against him. "Could use some whiskey." Squint. Wine just ain't gonna cut it today, not by a long shot.

Suspicious Mayte is suspicious. The adults are talking here, about something that concerns her, or something she'll find concerning, so she just says, "I'll speak with my Journeywoman about it, of course." That sounds nice and non-committal but promising all in one. Sadaiya's analysis of A'lory's butt gets a faintly grossed-out snicker, and then she's zoning out of the wing talk, too busy batting off the cheek-pinch. "Arrrrrgh," FINE, here's wine for Sadaiya, and a second glass of white is filled in case N'thu feels like it, and then Mayte caps it and goes to fill the last glass with red for herself. "To our health," Mayte says, lifting her glass a little. A'lory gets a curious stare: here, have a curious stare, "Whiskey?" she asks more quietly. Is there something wrong, in the neighbourhood?

Squinting against the sparse lighting of the Cantina, Sadaiya frowns in concentration at the squiggles and arrows in front of N'thu. Every so often she takes a sip, or raises a hand flat to swoosh slightly over the bar top. "Hhhhhuh. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places. Maybe … hm, later. I'll have to ask around." Cryptic again, though mostly because she's talking to herself. With a head shake, she dispels her brief reverie to smile lopsidedly at N'thu. "Let me know when you have a spare hour or two sometime, because we DO need to shore up the queen's wing, despite The Weyyyyrwoman's distraction. And A'l, to LOOK at your butt, you would have to HAVE one. I've had you land on me before. Good way to get punctured… aww c'mon now, you've adopted the poor Vintner? How's that fair to her?"

Sadaiya also raises for a toast, winking at Mayte. Ha! Caught it.

"I'd be happy to help if you like, I'm usually very good at it—" N'thu starts to agree with Sadie, but all the while he is nodding in total agreement with the Weyrsecond. Yep, it's a mess. "I think it just needs to be started over — it was a mess before I inherited it and remains a mess. Scrap bin with that formation." He's not actually going to set it on fire, though, not surrounded by alcohol; N'thu is now tentatively tasting Mayte's offered white. And smiling. For all he likes his beers strong like ox, it seems as if the white wine has impressed him. "This is very good."

"That's cause I tripped over all the short people underfoot." A'lory retorts, staring hard at Sadaiya. "I keep telling you to walk a foot ahead where us normal-sized people can see you." And perhaps pat her on the head as often as they can, as A'lory is prone to doing. And also randomly cadging jewelry from her person when she's distracted. Like now, for instance. "Mind you don't lose this." A bangle of some sort is slid across the table before he settles back, grinning in satisfaction. To N'thu, he nods approval. "Good place for it." Of course he's adoped Mayte! "She's of the bloodline, sweet Sadie. Didn't have to adopt her."

Mayte shakes her head sadly; the idea that her wine is not met with bonfires of sacrificial thanks is just sad. Or maybe Mate just wants fire to happen. Sadaiya gets a big grin of appreciation, "Yeah, how is that fair to me?" she asks with the cheekiness of an apprentice who makes the Good Stuff, and then A'lory lets the feline out of the bag and the Vintner pouts slightly before recovering to nod her thanks to N'thu, "Oh wonderful! It's not actually new, but I thought it would have matured enough to come out, so I guess it's new for the market…" Speaking of new and unusual, Grunkle gets a little grunt, as she watches his little trick: "Can I do that?" In other words, will A'lory teach her?

"Thank you, N'thu. I appreciate it. Oh! I should write to HANNAH! She'll help, too!" Sadaiya, satisfied with her plan, takes another sip of the lovely white wine, kicking her short legs in happiness. Which, of course, pain in the ass he is, A'lory comments on. "Wingleader, can you tell the Weyrsecond that he needs to back up or I'm going to start taking off my earrings?" To balm, she sticks her tongue out at said Weyrsecond, then grins at N'thu. "Ohhh, I haven't relaxed this much in SEVERAL sevenday. Thanks, guys. Thanks, Mayte. I'm glad you're all here. Just, y'know. Eeeeeverything. I don't even KNOW what to do with the guards." Her eyes shift to the door, then slit to scan the faces of the increasingly rollicking crowd. "I keep worrying, all the time."

"I think you just told him," observes said Wingleader thoughtfully, with a relaxed smile. It doesn't seem to be a particularly rank-happy bunch, does it? "And — I concur. It's been — tense." His allegiances are the kind of torn where they should be ripped right in half, except for how W'rin hasn't been siding with Corelle. And so so long as W'rin and the Tlatoani are getting along, N'thu is fine. That doesn't make it not tense. "Hannah," he adds, "is very smart, yes." He's still bitter about that whole 'completely bypassing his authority' thing, and so is Teya, but in a very faded way, and other than that he'd always liked her.

A'lory will just hold her at arms' length and watch her windmill futilely at nothing. His long arms are good for something. "Oh, dear. Protect me, Mayte, she's scaring me." But not really: he's got whiskey now so all is well. Wait, Mayte wants to learn a Thing from the Grunkle? He is mighty pleased, mighty pleased. Naturally, he'll agree. "If you're a good girl." Uh huh. Like THAT'S gonna happen — she's kin. The crowd is eyed briefly, brow furrowing. "The first guard to raid here tonight is going to be the first to get his ass beaten to a pulp by a man half his size." Considering their lack of training, that might not be too tough.

Guards? Guards? Levity drains from Mayte's face for a moment and her eyes flicker to the door. But no one is bursting in, so she relaxes enough to mutter something about disbanding the lot of them. Sadaiya is subject to a long, friendly but curious look; and then a welcoming nod. Heart-sister in bugging A'lory. Hahah, you're on your own with this one, A'lory, unless he teaches her this thing, according to how her eyes gleam: a very good girl indeed. It's enough distraction from the tenser subject, and Mayte catches herself before correcting A'lory, though her hand is half raised in permission; she'll beat them with their own wits, shouldn't be too hard. A totally innocent sip of red wine and Mayte is so kind as to mention, "So, this new clutch… are they finding a lot of boys for it?" Nope, not bitter in the least.

"Yes, but if I have you tell him, it accentuates what a butt he is," Sadaiya notes loftily, tossing her wealth of curls back with a sniff. "Like I said, it's… nice to do this once in awhile, though W'rin would probably get upset that I'm not playing the part of a proper goldrider entirely. He thinks it'll be easier." Flibbering her lips slightly, she idly runs a finger around the rim of her now empty wineglass, and notes as an aside: "Oh, A'l, you have to not right now, please. What with being weyrsecond and Corelle and her ideas with the boys…" Something stops her finger's idle circumnavigation, and she starts, turning so fast to face Mayte that her back cracks in protest. She doesn't notice though. "Mayte, my darling, you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT." About what? Who knows. "And I could just KISS you. But later. I need to think about a few things. Not the kissing, but…" Holding a finger up, she thinks, a positively EVIL smile blooming on her face. She gestures quickly to her fellows, leaning in, dropping her voice after looking around. "Given a proper haircut, some bands on the chest and a lot of dirty jobs, how different do you suppose most early teenagers ARE from each other?"

N'thu probably would've responded to everything everyone else said if he hadn't gotten completely thought-derailed by the time the conversation gets to where Sadaiya asks that question. It is the kind of question that, if this were a comic, would result in an actual lightbulb above the bronzerider's head. And a question mark. At the same time. His neutral expression slowly unfolds into a wry, thin, coyote-esque conspiracy smile. "Provided they're between, say, twelve and fourteen — most would be pretty indiscernible from one another." Yes, he IS picking up what you're putting down. He's also so going to get fired.

A'lory snorts softly. "Sadie? Practiced felon here?" He reminds with a laugh. "I got this." He gives Mayte a reassuring little wink — she'll get those lessons, one way or another. Meanwhile, he's gonna pretend he heard nothing about sneaking girls onto the Sands. In fact, isn't that Sara calling him? Why yes, yes it is. "So I'm gonna go see what my lovely weyrmate needs." He unfolds from the table and strolls away. "Mind you bunch get 'em all pretty young. They're easier to bring 'round that way." And out he goes, having heard nary a word of their planning session.

Mayte is, in the end, more than just a pretty face, but it still takes her a few minutes to catch on to what Sadaiya is saying, and then… um. Girl kissing? Oooookie-dokie. But back to how to get Mayte's butt onto the Sands, her expression dawning from confusion to sly hope, "And they can talk like boys too." You know who can talk like boys? Vintner apprentices. Well, the senior ones. A'lory gets a little wave, and Mayte blinks a bit… and oh! It is the night for winey discoveries, and Mayte is quite happy to sit and sip (and make the occasional suggestion), but oh no, Sadie's glass is empty. Has she had enough? "More wine, weyrwoman?" Oh, and bee-tee-doubleyew, she hasn't heard a thing about boys. On the Sands. Doing Candidatey things. Nope. Definitely just boys. "

"Oh, good. Just, y'know, professional curiosity being what it is." Sadaiya gives A'lory a brilliant smile, her cheeks flush and round with a smile. "Perhaps, though, the interest should stay between us." A'l's mum about it as he leaves, and Sadie nods. N'thu, as well, gets a nod. Mayte third. "I would just LOVE some more wine, thank you. And, later on, I may want to give you a tour of some of the stores around here, dear Mayte." Reaching out, she touches the girl's hair, twirling it thoughtfully for a moment. "Though some things would be an awful shame. Anyway…" Dropping her hand, she frowns again, chewing her lip slightly in consternation. "N'thu? Can you think of anyone who is particularly observant who'd have to be watched for?"

N'thu, still nursing his wine slowly, offers a wave-salute to A'lory as he departs. And is aiming to not look suspicious or sound suspicious as he folds up the disastrous formation into a tiny ball of nothing. He'll scrap bin it later. Or set it on fire in an actual fireplace. "W'rin is. M'yck. Zeyta." The second two are most certainly not a concern. "Most of the current weyrlingmaster team is pretty quick on the uptake, but I don't think that's a concern …"

Nodding, Mayte gives Sadaiya a very not conspiratorial grin, "The Stores, where I could expand the wines to, or something," in case any more legitimacy than goldrider's word is needed. Even the hair touching is okay. Sacrifices for greater goods and all that. The idea that M'yck, of all people, would realize this makes Mayte's teeth clench a little, but she tries to avoid wincing, and it turns into trying to avoid yawning. Ahem. Leaving the red wineskin as well, in fact pushing it towards the riders, Mayte stands from her seat, "Um, if I may, madame, sir, please do keep the wine skin. I fear I must be getting back to the shop, to my Journeywoman." Oh it's so nice to call Eollyn by her properly gendered rank, and Mayte relishes the sound for a moment. Standing, she bows as best she can (sadly, it's only mediocre), "And please let me know if you'd like to try more, any time." It's a calling card, and Mayte, as politely as possible, backs away from the bar and the conversation, looking regretfully over her shoulder as she moves out the door.

"Eeeeexactly." To whom Sadaiya says this is a mystery. Perhaps all. "Thank you, Mayte, and I will talk to you as soon as I possibly can." With that, she turns, putting her head close to N'thu's and pouring more wine for both, continuing to discuss and be thick as thieves for some time longer.

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