====November 22. 2013
====Mama Steen, Maryam, Taryn, Sadaiya, Ravene, Tizoc, Ixtli, Jovie, Meztli, Sara, Tallarn, N'cal, Tanmorand, Mayte
====Mama Steen brings a proposal to the Bazaar meeting.

Who Mama Steen, Maryam, Taryn, Sadaiya, Ravene, Tizoc, Ixtli, Jovie, Meztli, Sara, Tallarn, N'cal, Tanmorand, Mayte
What Mama Steen brings a proposal to the Bazaar meeting.
When There are 0 turns, 7 months and 27 days until the 12th pass.
Where The Pit, Igen Weyr

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The Pit
One does not enter The Pit so much as descend into it. Why else the name? The Steen ancestors paid for their square footage with sweat, excavating the area and building curved walls up around it. Wide, smooth steps descend into a large entry area that overlooks the pit and galleries. Floors, ceilings and walls have been whitewashed with limestone paste, increasing the amount of light reflected back from the numerous glow baskets hung on the walls. A rounded doorway to the north leads one into the business' office. Continuing on through the lobby brings one to another set of six stairs that descend into the galleries surrounding the sand-filled pits. A low wall separates audience from combatants, but even at its highest point, those in the galleries are never more than twenty feet away from the action. The sand is raked daily, with fresh sand added whenever the blood to soil ratio becomes too great.

-- On Pern --
It is sunset
It is 5:31 PM where you are.
There are 0 turns, 7 months and 27 days until the 12th pass.
It is the sixty-third day of Spring and 76 degrees. It is bright and sunny. The only evidence of the overnight storm is in the lingering mud puddles.

As the sun sets on the Bazaar, the Pit is crowded not with gamblers and warriors but with Bazaar folk of all stations. For this, Mama Steen did not stint- the stone galleries that are typically left bare have been scattered with cushions for her guests, there are girls from Rosie's Daughters circulating with trays held aloft offering cold drinks and small nibbly sorts of food and she's even outfitted a host of grandchildren (and great-grandchildren, the Steens being a prolific lot) with palm fronds at convenient points around the arena to keep the air circulating and prevent the atmosphere from becoming stifling. It's all very comfortable, very relaxed.

On the dais where the matriarch usually sits by herself, she's arranged a row of chairs for the heads of Bazaar families and the Bazaar's headman. She takes the central seat, being the hostess, of course. To her immediate right on a kneeling cushion is Maryam with a scribe's desk in her lap, quill poised over a sheet of parchment to catch the minutes of the meeting- and when the right minute comes, that meeting is called to order. Mama Steen bangs the butt end of her cane against the wood beneath her seat and bellows, "Come to order! You're here for propositions and profit, so settle down if you want to hear it!"

Sara is alone, tucked close enough to hear and far enough to be out of the line of sight if for some reason the meeting goes South.
Meztli is a quiet and unobtrusive presence for the moment, content to sweep her gaze over those gathered and hear what the meeting is all about. A cold drink is held in hand, though she doesn't accept anything to eat.

Bright teal headscarf wrapped neatly and layered over a simpler brown dress, Taryn has found herself a cushioned seat near the dais. She holds a cool drink in one hand, her gaze tracking thanks to one of Rosie's girls as she plucks a little nibble delicately into the pinch of thumb and forefinger. Her brows are high as she bites minutely along the morsel's edge, blue eyes fixing attentively towards the rap of Mama's cane.

With a wide berth around her of side-eyeing bazaar occupants, Sadaiya sits, by herself. In her lap, a series of hides, and a writing utensil stands at the ready in her grip. Though occasionally she returns the strange looks with an arched brow, for the most part she attempts to remain attentive to the Steen's announcement, crossing her legs daintily.
Ravene has tucked herself in an out of the way space. Not sure what to expect, she's positioned herself in a place where she can hear what's going on but an easy exit can also be made. The woman glances towards the exit from time to time, this is the first time she's ask her foster daughter to mind the shop.

Tanmorand is almost late, but the large Smith managed to make it and apparently make it on time. Hastening in, he ducks his head and looks around for a moment, nodding greetings to those he knows at least in passing before he takes a spot beside his Weyrmate, offering her no more than a smile of greeting. He has always walked a careful line between bazaar and weyr, taking no official sides and not hiding the fact that he often shares the goldrider's bed.

N'cal takes a seat at the very back of the room, deliberately knotless and dressed in an Igenite's typical draping garb. Quite at ease, he takes up a drink from a passing girl with a wink and quiet thanks, looking for all the world like he belongs there. And from his appearances around the Bazaar without giving away who he actually (to most) in his short time there, he does, more or less. His attention is presently given forward to the Steen matriarch in silence, alongside all those around him.

Jovie has been lurking about the periphery, an oddly-dressed waif with thickly kohled eyes and tangled hair. She's happy to help herself to some refreshments — though from the look of her one might expect half of what she takes is being squirreled about her person for some later hunger pangs. She doesn't look up when Mama Steen bangs her chair and calls for attention, but she does smirk rather derisively to herself, whatever that means.

If there's something positive to be said of Mama's brusque manner, it's that she keeps things moving at a decent clip. No sooner has the demanded hush fallen over the crowd then she proceeds with the business at hand. "Right then. We've two problems ahead of us, the matter of these rootless folk filling the place up and not enough work to keep them from dipping into our pockets, and Thread coming soon," she says, folding both hands over her cane and casting her gaze out over the assembled crowd. "I've a solution I think will benefit both Weyr and Bazaar, while keeping hand-outs to a minimum. Igen lives and dies by its trade but the shelters set up along the routes won't keep a stiff wind out, much less Thread. I say we take it upon ourselves to finance and organize their refurbishment, and put these folk to work for the food they're eating, and the roofs over their heads. Thoughts?"

The presence of Tizoc is one that could be, if nothing else, assumed; he is in his normal Head-of-Family seat, watching Mama Steen with a look of what she knows to be approval in his eyes. His entourage — that is to say, his own grown children and family — might assume the same, though others could not so much interpret any emotion from that stony expression. His teenage son Ahuizotl actually grins at the suggestion, and Ixtli at her father's feet does not speak up. The Tlatoani leader takes a moment, seeming to assess the crowd, the situation, and then at last puts voice to thought: "A wise idea," curtly, emotionless, as always. "They would be in our debt." Which he clearly approves of (he does love anyone being in his debt or the debt of his friends, and both is even better) but does not expand upon.

There had been an upswing in thefts recently, and several small pieces had gone missing. Sara, unable to keep the crowds out alone has particularly been hard pressed to protect her wares from grubby hands. "The Harper would be willing to help finance such work, though it would only be a temporary solution." A Harper trick there, without seeming to shout her voice carries across the space.

Taryn has little to offer but her attention. She dusts the crumbs from her fingers and folds her hand into her lap beneath the sweating base of her glass. It's mostly the dais which holds her wide-eyed, inquisitive interest — though there is an easy twist of her posture which sets brief focus upon the voices that come from behind her.
A small nod is given by Ravene as she listens to Mama Steen. This is only sensible, after all there is only so much work the baker can provide. Truth be told, she's reached the end of what she can ask of those homeless that are starting to filter in to the bazaar.

Briefly, Sadaiya opens her mouth, then closes it with a snap, instead opting to give her weyrmate a look. Wincing as her neck protests, she turns and gives Tizoc a disapproving Look at the concept of indebting anyone. "At the same time," she says, loudly, frowning visibly, "it's the weyr's duty to care for folks affected by thread. Is it not the Hold's duty to house them? And who gets to say how much work gains what?"

Tanmorand holds his silence. He's not a man to speak up in meetings. He's a man to listen, to take it all in and to form his own opinions later, and then act upon them.

Which is why he's the best weyrmate ever.

Mama Steen might not be talking about her, and the gypsy girl might be strolling along the edge of the assembled crowd without seeming to pay any attention to what has brought everyone together, but at the mention of rootless folk Jovie passes a thoughtful tongue over her lips. There's a turn of her shadowy glance over her shoulder to scan the room and the reaction that the proposal receives.

Maybe Mayte has been there all along, or maybe Mayte snuck in, but she's suddenly uncovered as the person before her moves away. Still, Mayte's giving it her best shot to be as still as possible. Nothing to see here, please leave a message after the beep…

N'cal gives a small, slow nod of his head before sipping at his drink. The tall, unobtrusive bluerider had been wondering just what the Bazaar would do with this influx. Setting them to work is quite a reasonable solution to his mind. At the same time, the weyrwoman makes her point, and he rubs his chin, waiting to hear what the thought will be on that. Knowing the business side as well as the weyr side of all this - such an interesting position to be in. For the moment - and possibly for the entirety of the meeting - he maintains his peace.

Naturally, Mama was expecting agreement; she is nodding along to those who speak as much. But when disagreement finally does come? She does not seem surprised that it comes of the lone goldrider in their midst. Her head turns- many heads do, all looking at you, Sadie!- and gimlet eyes study Sadaiya in silence for a time. Then, with a rather frightening array of age lines and deepening wrinkles, the old woman grins. "We are neither Hold nor Weyr, esteemed lady, but has not the Bazaar always done what we could to support both? This would solve so many problems. Idle hands make for criminal hands, already we see the guards becoming stretched thin with this influx of the idle poor and it's Bazaar and Weyr that will suffer for it, not the Hold. We put them to work, an honest day's labor for their upkeep. And it would be us who shouldered the initial expense of materials, a not inconsiderable expense at that. It costs the Weyr nothing and gains you much, yes? Without the caravans coming in, if they divert to those territories with shelters kept up…"

Sara lapses back into her silence, eyes now shifted to the small gold rider. In this at least, Madame Sheen was right, and Sadie wrong. Get finger twists her ring, holding her thoughts within.

Oh, goldriders. Most people do know Tizoc's opinion of goldriders; their dragons have some use, but he has always treated the social class of 'goldrider' with some disdain until they show some use. The Oldtimer goldriders have earned some of his respect based on reports from his eldest son, but Nethuel's opinion does not go all that far with him. And therefore the patriarch keeps his mouth shut and his expression just as tight as he briefly returns Sadaiya's glance with all of the same amounts of respect and approval that she bestowed upon him (read: none). Ixtli gives the weyrwoman a brief apologetic glance, though, and Ahuizotl … is not paying attention, because he is distracted by something that is probably Taryn's pretty face.

A slight move of her hand indicates Sadaiya's acquiescence with a small gesture. "Nevertheless — and sorry, I don't mean to be all 'rar administration raaaar' here — it's something to consider to make sure these theoretical refugees aren't abused beyond humane just for the luxury of not getting eaten by thread. I'm certainly not talking down about how much the caravans do, or yourselves, or insinuating anything. Just…well, we're in this for the long haul, and it's best to put down a good foundation, starting with a meeting like this."
Tanmorand clears his throat softly, glancing over at his weyrmate. "I don't think they're implying slave labor," he murmurs very softly to Sadaiya.

And now seems like a good time to be as small as she can make herself. Ravene has no desire to get between Sadaiya and the Steen Matriarch. There have been relatively few thefts from her own shop, but that could very well be a direct result of her chores for food policy. Maybe not, still she has nothing useful to contribute so remaining silent seems the most prudent course of action.

Oh, hiii, Ahuizotl. Taryn is quite absorbed in the fascinating spectacle of Mama's grin. There is even the possibility she is attending close to the exchange between matriarch and goldrider, despite what that stray strand of blonde and kohl-rimmed blue eyes might suggest. But as her gaze runs across that of the son up on that dias of important people while switching from one woman to the other - yes, perhaps there is a bit of extra arc put into the small of her back and a small flutter of lashes as she lifts her glass to painted lips for a dainty sip.

Jovie isn't all that far away from Sadaiya as the goldrider continues, and the cut of the gypsy's eye might be narrowed, but there's little other than consideration written on her features. Is this a smoking environment? Jovie doesn't care. She pulls out a cigarette and lights up, a cloud of smoke perfuming her immediate area with a waft of spicy clove. And her eye slips toward Tanmorand — is that a wink she gives him? Surely not. But certainly looks like it. And right in front of his weyrmate, too.

It is hard to not be offended when ones oldest friends would suddenly say that perhaps they would abuse the refugees. The frown on Sara's face deepens. "None of us are monsters goldrider." Formality for a formal time there.

From the expression on Mayte's face, she's thinking HARD about something that's not alcohol content calculation while watchingthe various flickers of expression over everyone's face, though there's a faint flicker of a grin at Sadaiya's 'rar'ing. A couple of times, Mayte starts to open her mouth, even drawing a breath to say something, but she stops herself once before wondering in a slight rush, "What if they can't work?" As if the words were ready to leap out of her throat whether Mayte liked it or not. An embarrassed look is followed with, "Or did I miss that part?"

Sadaiya cuts in, giving Tanmorand a Look before shifting in her chair Sara with a wistful smile. "Sara… we're not going to be alive forever, much less necessarily through this pass. It's something to consider, the darker side of human nature."

"Of course, of course. Why, abuse would just bring the behavior we're looking to avoid down on us tenfold, wouldn't it?" Mama Steen is nodding at Sadaiya, evincing- albeit briefly- both understanding and approval for the point. It's likely the most diplomatic she's been in Turns. "But," and here the old woman turns back to the crowd at large. Back to her people. "We can't have them sitting idle around our shops either, can we? No. Now, onto the logistics."

Was…was Sadaiya just dismissed? It would appear so! One of Mama Steen's gnarled hands gestures and a number of her youngest descendants leap forward, circulating with stacks of rolled hides in their arms for the taking. Maryam quietly sets aside her quill and retrieves a nicer version- of vellum- to present on raised hands to Tizoc. "I went ahead and had maps drawn up showing both the routes and the current shelters. They're not all a match, some of the former sprang up during the Interval without any of the latter…poor planning, I say. The wealthier among us will need to sponsor those stretches to build from the ground up but…what, can't work? Anyone can work! Put the children to carrying water, the cripples to handing out tools…if they have hands, eh? Eh?" Oh dear, she just made herself laugh, and it has a wheezy sound to it.

Tanmorand is oblivious to Jovie's wink, the large Smith leaning forward as he hunches - as he usually does - to try and mask his height. He glances over at Sadaiya but looks unapologetic for his remark, quiet though it was. "I think it's a good solution," he says quietly.

Sara stands and shifts as the rolls begin to be passed out, making her way clowly towards the gold rider. "We will have to teach our children better then." Well, someone else's children. Not Sara's.

Ravene accepts one of the rolled hides. This is unrolled and scanned, then rolled back up to be tucked into one of the pockets in her apron. A better look at this can be taken later when she isn't also trying to pay attention to the meeting.

N'cal folds his arms, long legs stretching out and casting aside the thin folds of his robe as he crosses his ankles to match. Blue-green eyes darken in thought; Sadaiya's words will, unfortunately, ring true for some among this crowd…and some among those who have come to seek refuge. A roll comes his way, and he gives it a mostly cursory glance, taking note of a few points of interest before rolling it back up and setting it nearby for the taking; he is not officially among the number in need of it, after all. And the listening continues.

Being dismissed doesn't seem to bother the weyrwoman, who isn't looking up as her stylus skritches idly on her own hide. She does look up, briefly, to give a nonplussed wide-eyed gawp at the 'those with hands' comment, the, shaking the shock out of her head, Sadaiya begins reaching for her own copy of Hostess Rolled Scroll (yom!) and shifts the contents of her lap to unfurl it slowly in place.

"You are quite skilled, as always," Tizoc rests his praise on Maryam; the words are not so faint as the praise he often doles upon his own children, though his countenance continues to be rather lacking in any form of emotion. He looks over what she shows him with careful consideration, nodding as he reads; meanwhile, Ixtli is actually smacking the side of Ahuizotl's head when she thinks no one is looking. He's meant to be there note taking, not ogling healers, and yet Taryn still has more of his focus than what Maryam has to say.

Mayte falls back into a meditative quiet for a few minutes, nodding a little as she watches Mama Steen's minio…grandchildren spread out, but even by the validation of receiving an answer, she's ready to ask more, "What if someone's doing harder work? Do they get more food?" Is that an eager note in her voice? Opportunist, perhaps. Still, after that, Mayte quiets down to listen for a response. Or did she miss that part of the meeting too? She does manage to snag a copy of the roll, muttering something about her journeywoman wanting a copy too.

There's still a bit of exaggerated perfection to her posture that might be aware of continued staring, but Taryn has set aside her glass to accept one of the rolled maps with an extra-bright smile for the perhaps-familiar moppet who is in charge of passing the things out. Her gaze remains confined to the stands this time as she casts little glances outward between consulting the map.

"Thank you, sir." Maryam's quiet response to Tizoc has none of the grating quality so often found in her mother's voice; the young woman lowers her head and takes up her quill again to resume recording the meeting. The smile she'd worn wreathed around her eyes for receiving a compliment fades when she glances towards Mayte- and makes a note.

Mama Steen's amusement is equally short-lived as the crafter- a crafter- raises questions no one has dared to. "That's between them and those that hired them for their shelter crew," she rumbles at Mayte. "If folk want to dangle a bonus, it's no skin off my nose." Guess which crews won't be having bonuses? That's right! But that said… "The Pit's willing to lay out initial expenses for transport of materials, no matter the route, to ease the weight on the smaller businesses in the Bazaar. After that, each'll have to foot their own bill but I'm thinking we'd save ourselves a host of future troubles for upkeep and repair costs if we started charging a toll on those making use of them, eh? Say…a token payment from out-of-Igen caravans. To put towards maintenance. Some of those shelters see hard wear through the Pass and beyond it as well."

Jovie continues to mill idly, and it's Mayte she ends up standing behind. Far more notable now with the cloud of clovey smoke around her, she attempts to peer past the dark-haired woman's shoulder to try to catch a glimpse of what's on these scrolls. There's even a little furrow at her brow to suggest she might be vaguely interested as opposed to just here for the snacks. The notion of a toll, however, brings her attention, finally, to Mama Steen, and then to Maryam, just in time to catch her jotting down notes.

Sadaiya's own quill is used to gesture excitedly at Mayte, though she stops, dismayed, as a droplet of ink falls to her dress. In her head is probably a slow motion 'nnnnnnnnnnooooooooooooooooooooooooo' as the liquid falls to dye her outfit. Sadfaces. Clearing her throat, though considerably less effusive, Sadaiya adds on: "See, though, that's where you have to watch out. Okay, Simon builds a wall, gets extra rations. Pretty soon, there's lots of volunteers, and the bonus fluctuates wildly, then drops. Or, instead, soon you HAVE to build a wall in order to eat, you get me? That's the sorta thing you might have to worry about further on down the line without guidelines in place." B-b-b-bureaucracy!

Yes. Listen to the teenager in the room. Sara stands near Sadie now, looking downards at the scroll passed around. "Will we appoint someone to oversee the work at large to make sure our money is going where it ought? Smaller shops can ill afford to keep track of where our marks go."

Mayte is asking questions, likely in contravention to A) common sense and B) her journyman's instructions, but she eyes the … well, not the Matriarch, that may not be a good idea, but the wall in the general vicinity with the suspicious look of a flit who's got a string of something tasty but doesn't want to pull too hard lest it come loose and ruin the treat. "Okay!" is all Mayte says, brightly, though she unrolls the vellum to look it over. That should keep her out of trouble for now, despite the scent of cloves over getting a slightly uncomfortable look over the shoulder at Jovie. Um, hi.

"My suggestion is those who find the expense prohibitive should partner with others in the same situation. If you're in need of an overseer or organizer specific to your chosen shelter worksite, my girl can arrange what's needed for a small fee. She's a fine bookkeeper." Here, Mama reaches out and actually pats Maryam's veiled head, an event that doesn't break the scribe's concentration. Maryam's quill continues on, regardless. Mama Steen continues on, oh so piously, "Remember this is for the good of us all. Some hardship is to be shouldered now, that we continue safely on into the Pass. Those interested in sponsoring a shelter or route should get word to me in the next seven, so I can begin organizing material transport."

Her months in the bazaar has taught Sara a few things. One, the guard is utterly not to be trusted. Two, crafters stand on their own outside the structure of the traditionalist. Three, thread will distroy all before she allows a single mark of her own to be taken care of by the Steens. Rather then speak up again Sara takes her steps towards another crafter shop, and begins a quiet conversation.

"I'm up for it, and if you have some no-otes, I'd be happy to present them to the Weyrleader and get them passed along to hol-ders, perhaps getting a meeting set up between you and other folks in po-wer." A few pauses as Sadaiya puts the finishing touches on her own scrawl, and she puts down her quill, raising her notes to blow the ink dry. Her pursed lips curve upwards, and a sparkle enters her eyes as she warningly nudges her knee to Tanmorand's. "The weyr would be HAPPY to handle the management of expenses for you."

If Tizoc almost actually looks a little bit surprised? It is because the goldrider said something useful.

Meeting attended, and notes taken (if only mentally), Ravene nods. She's been away from her own shop long enough. Mostly she's here to learn, and she has learned a lot. So quietly she slips out of The Pit. Ravene has a lot to conider.

Jovie could smile, it would probably make her hovering a little less uncomfortable. But instead, when she meets Mayte's glance, it's just with a stretch of her brows, a faint widening of her eyes that could mean anything. That and an unhurried puff at her clove cigarette, the exhale of which she kindly aims aside rather than at her new friend with the scroll. But if people are going to slip out, perhaps now is the last chance to load up on the offerings of the refreshment table before there's nothing left.

And that's why being a mere Apprentice representative is safety in something resembling anonymity: Mayte can't make decisions on behalf of her store, so she makes mildly agreeable noises and rolls up the vellum, with a quick waggle of it in the providers' direction. Can do, eh? Another look over her shoulder at Jovie; at least Mayte wasn't the recipient of a nice butt-end burn of cigarette, right? Jovie might even be fun to talk to, except her attention is directed elsewhere, so the Vintner starts to collect herself to head towards the exit.

Their Weyrwoman has said the magic words to earn another faint smile from Mama Steen. "I'll have my girl deliver the minutes as soon as they're fit for esteemed eyes," she rumbles. Then the old woman settles back in her chair and thumps the cane again. As many have noted, the meeting has come to an end and that's the cue for four of her larger sons to appear. Maryam is displaced as they step in to lift their mother's chair, carrying her off to a well earned rest and leaving the daughter to finish out the role of hostess. "The Pit remains open tonight, please feel free to mingle and enjoy the refreshments," Maryam calls out to those who remain- the loudest she's ever spoken in public, truly.

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