==== September 30, 2013
==== Cullen, Maryam, Sienna
==== Can they break them?

Who Cullen, Maryam, Sienna
What Cullen and Corbin engage in cheesemaking, Sienna busies herself with cleaning and Maryam copes with compliments.
When There is 1 turn 1 month and 6 days until the 12th pass.
Where Kitchens, Igen Weyr

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Kitchens
Chaos and anomie reign in this hub of food production. It's not so much the smell, which varies from 'faintly edible' to 'coal', as the film of grease that adds a sheen to every surface and glues canine hair to the wall. The area is well set up, of course — it's a large kitchen with more than adequate counter space. There's plenty of room to get around, too, even with the centralized canine spit run dominating the center of the floor. The place is just, well, not 'up to code'. Several large stoves belch smoke that chars the blocked chimney's outer brick. Unidentifiable bits of food have been baked to the floors and ground in by the uncaring trod of drudge shoes. Even the sink is crusty, with it's constant tower of filthy dishes and lack of cleansing sand to be seen anywhere. Add in the bloodied smears on cutting boards and what you have is a monument to cross contamination.


-- On Pern --
It is evening
It is 6:25 PM where you are.
There is 1 turn 1 month and 6 days until the 12th pass.
It is Autumn and 56 degrees. The sun shines down heavily and the wind refuses to blow.


Bustling and rushing sounds, two men occupy the kitchen, moving rapidly to and frow. "Shallots?" This is a merry-bright baritone, "y'know there's a song about shallots- OUF." A second voice, also a baritone but so low it's a flat snarl, "Sing. Do it. And I will choke the life from you. Get ON with it." One of these men is Cullen; he stalks the kitchen area with his hair tied back under a bandana - while wearing an apron. He's like the world's ugliest FISHWIFE, currently lifting his knee to THUMP a second man in the tail bone, nearly sending him face-first into a large shallow basin of some sort of dirty-looking water. A water that looks like scummy rainwater and smells of - kind of a dirty ocean, really. Sulfuric, salty with a hint of ale. The currently ABUSED other man shares a large amount of Cullen's features - similar straight nose, similar dusty-brownish hair, similar little teeth. But his features are considerably more open and spritely, bringing a ladle around like a saber. Cullen counters it, DEADPAN, with a raised wooden spoon. The spoon is the only movement he makes. Frowning.

Rare are the days when a Steen comes begging to the kitchen. Once before Maryam arrived to put in an order to the cooks (though she left without remembering to take the food away with her). Now again here she is, stepping inside from the garden that connects to the bowl. Her outer robe is dusty but the dun-colored fabric hides those streaks of dirt well. Both her kirtle and her veils are a soft blue, and both sway gently as she comes to an abrupt halt upon seeing Cullen in his apron. Cullen. In an apron. Never at ease outside of the boundaries of the Bazaar, the usually cultured young woman can only stand and stare at the twins who are not twins, crossing weapons that are not weapons. And wearing aprons.

Sienna enters from the living cavern, carrying an empty tray. "We're out of-" she begins, before she stops and blinks at the scene before her. With a low exhale, the greenrider, moves towards the sink to rinse the tray, only to see the dishes…and roll up her sleeves with a slight darting look towards the dueling men. To one, she offers a warm smile. To the other, a long stare and then a slight nod.

"AAAAh AAAH!" Cullen is, at this very moment, BEATING the other man mercilessly with the wooden spoon, his teeth gritted as though in a genuine fury as he wails and protects his head - except instantly, as soon as there are women present, he's ducking down under Cullen's arm and grinning (while rapidly fixing his shirt), "Aaa—hello, miss. And greenrider." His accent is a strange ruraltwang of pure Nerat with slight nasal Bitran notes. —Behind him, Cullen hangs back like he's not sure he wants to be part of all this, slowly lumbering towards the tub of grimy water. He dips a fingertip in it and joylessly licks it, "Watch thyself, Corey. 's Maryam, the daughter Steen. And…" Hard smile, not returning the nod. Just watching the greenrider. "Sienna." Just. Sienna. Apparently.

"Sirs." Just that, from Maryam. After her initial startlement, she draws on a more impartial look as she glances between the brothers. Corey is subjected to a more intent scrutiny before she dips her head to him. "No need to watch yourself. I am but a visitor here," she says, with what could have been a trace of amusement if it weren't obscured by formality and the veil hiding her expression, both. "This is the Weyrlingmaster, all due respect to her, please." Just a gentle request. Think nothing of it, truly. She drifts nearer the tub. "What is that you cook? Broth?"

Sienna watches the interaction without much response, sending an apprentice to fetch her clean water from off the hearth fire, and then refill that kettle too, so she can start cleaning the dishes someone's left in the sink. Cullen's hard smile is met, and then she looks away. What's to say? Happy I lived? Sorry I birthed two kids when you only got one of your twins alive? Even basic small talk fails her as she sets to scrubbing. Dark eyes flick to Maryam, and then she smiles faintly, glancing at the men once more.

"None you'd want to eat," Cullen looks down into the basin, absently swishing a hand in the substance, "S' a cheesebrine. Saltwater 'n bacteria, mostly. Some ale." Sniff. No, he's not radiating any exuberant brine, but possibly there's some hard… satisfaction. Or at least serenity that isn't there when he flicks eyes to the other man, "You meet now, my asshole brother. Corbin, if it do ya." Cullen doesn't tend to make apologies, so rather than seem to want to apologize for the existence of his sibling, he seems more to be considering his chances of drowning the other man in the brine basin. Like a sad PUPPY.

For lack of proper hat, Corbin reflexively snatches off the scarf tied to his head; it comes off kind of badly, requires two yanks and leaves the remainder a mess, which he doesn't help much for the tousling he gives it, "Ah, miss. I can due respects to more'n one, yeah?" He driiifts a look towards Sienna more slowly. Without seeming to notice, he's bundling up the bandana against his chest, lowering his head, "Wellmet, goody-W'rin isn't it? Um." He's kind of awkward-moving towards the greenrider, "Should you be - up and doin that so quick after. Uh. I mean, you're a shardin' Weyrlingmaster, yeah? I'm a shardin' drudge, y'should probably let me…" He's kind of really passively STANDING at Sienna's side? Like. H-hover?

Maryam's head tilts minutely to the side. Cheesebrine. Safe to say she's tucked that little tidbit of information away, though Faranth only knows when it might become useful. "You should have a kitchen dedicated to such things," she observes, but it's distant advice at best. Not for her, the running of the Weyr's affairs. Instead she shifts her focus to Corbin and finds more fertile ground for fascination. The differences between the brothers is noted and provides a wealth of interest. When he shuffles nearer to Sienna, she remarks, "He speaks the truth, ma'am. You take a drudge's task in hand."

Sienna glances at the brine for a long moment, thoughtful, and then back to the dishes. Though her attention is once more pulled to Corbin, studying him for a moment and then smiling, dipping her head in return. "Yes, W'rin," she confirms. "And the twins are twenty days old now, I'm fine to be moving around. Well met, Corbin. Yes, I'm Igen's Weyrlingmaster." THE Weyrlingmaster. "I'm fine with this, thank you, but you could be sweeping," she says, nodding to the floor. Looking over to Maryam, Sienna considers for a moment before she shrugs. "I enjoy doing the dishes." So, as a person of rank, should she be allowed to do whatever she pleases? Or only those tasks deemed appropriate? Food for thought.

"I'll be doing it one better, some day, daughter." Cullen seems like he wants to be grinning about it, but it's a ragged, gritted, eyes blank. "I've staked ground, out." He jerks his head, towards the door, the Weyr beyond, the desert beyond that "In the canyon beyond - found a place I'm suited to, to begin building a proper cheese cave. Far enough away to discourage curious eyes. Took some seeking; the land is dry. Brutal for aging, dust in the air. - Oy, Corey. If the Weyrlingmaster wants to play Weyrdrudge for an eve, let her. You work for me." He FLICKS mucky brine at Corbin.

—Who apparently sees it coming, as he ducks down behind a raised forearm, "Aye, Cully!" And then Corbin is off, shuffling towards a series of low wooden baskets stored on a high shelf. They have a cloth draped over the top of each and tied down by a twine around the outside of the box. He lets out his stride (something in his stride, rapid with hips slightly swinging, marks him more as Cullen's kin than even his features) to bring it back to the table where his brother waits.

Cullen doesn't lift his eyes from his stirring. But speaks, suddenly. To — seemingly no one. "Told you, did I not. It'd be twins."

Were they not standing in the Weyr's own kitchen, Maryam might well try to explain how improper this act is to Sienna. None would see a male weyrlingmaster up to his elbows in suds like a common skivvy. Likely there would be phrases like "the dignity of the post" and "the well keeping of the knot". But being both diplomat and on foreign ground, she opts instead for silence. Whatever purpose brought her here is set aside for the moment as she trails in Corbin's step to reach the table and observe with interest- only subtly glancing towards Sienna, when Cullen makes this statement.

Sienna nods as she works, tilting her head towards Cullen. "Good find," she remarks. Her cave is beneath the weyr, in the network of tunnels, and it took some finding but at least she didn't have to go to the canyons. Though…a part of her would be just as happy if not more so to have her /own/ cave out somewhere. Perhaps someday…but no. Thread. Baking and cheesemaking are secondary, despite talent and love for them. She makes enough for her man and for the shops that carry it from time to time, and she's happy with that. "Yes you did, and you were right," Sienna replies to No One, finishing one sink full and drying off her hands to stand aside and let a drudge pick up the task. But she fidgets at being idle.

"I'll be a good find in a few turns," gruff-growl-grunt at Sienna. Apparently the cave in question isn't taking compliments yet. Cullen is, perhaps strangely, seeming to wash his hands in the brine, splashing up milky water to his wrists, explaining downwards as Maryam draws near, "Salt's the biggest expense for the cave, outside the upkeep of milkbeasts. Preserves; kills the bacteria that'd putrefy. Fair washed-rind 'll be bathed much as thrice a seven'dee. Smell like toefunk and ballsweat, but the inside grows richer'n butter." With the box opened and the cloth pulled back, a number of small white cakes of fresh cheese sit inside, atop a loose-woven grass mat. "These, I've trebbled the cream. You skim it, as it's setting - but later, you can churn it back in. Corey."

Corbin, still with a slightly roguish grin that at least has the fair grace to be tipped downwards, moves about his work handing one cake to Cullen after 'washing' his own (considerably more narrow and long-fingered) hands. A second, he's using a small flatbread nearby to swipe up a smear of fresh, rich cheese and handing it to Maryam. Up close, it has the tangy-sharp smell of caprine milk.

Is their domestic exchanged completed? Maryam observes both through lowered lashes, and only when it seems to have been done does she focus once more on the art of cheese. "I knew salt works well in the preservation of meat. Not of cheese. Interesting. I would not have thought a bath was needed, nor washing. Is the smell the evil humors working its way free of the final product?" An honest question given that she asks from a position of knowing nothing whatsoever. When Corbin presents her with the taste, she accepts the flatbread with a smile for the man-it would seem she's decided she likes his easier manner-and then raises the product up for a sniff. "It smells of urine kept for bleaching," she comments, with a glance towards Sienna for confirmation.

Sienna chuckles softly, glancing between the two. Then her head tilts and her eyes unfocus. "If you'll excuse me," she murmurs to the trio, before she's slipping out the courtyard exit.

"Ah!" Corbin raises up his brows high, "You know. I can tell when you smile, lass." He instantly covers his mouth and looks at Cullen (who offers him NOTHING helpful beyond a sideways stare beneath his brows), and then kind of bares his teeth in a vague 'yikes' face - it's not all that much more apologetic than Cullen gets, but it's trying, "Guess that's not a right thing to say anymore, is it? Our whens are awry. A few hun'erd Turns back and I'd say a lot more-"

"Which he'll not do." Cullen says down to the cheese that he's sprinkling salt water over, like a delicate baptism. His eyes are following Sienna closely as she departs, though he speaks on, steady as an old road, "The smell is the flesh of the cheese - the rind, do ya ken. Builds up with each wash. Can reek of cat piss, aye - it's the moist. There's ways of aging, that'll send it harder with time. The rind's what'll keep it set."

It is the Weyrlingmaster's exit that Maryam observes, her cheese-laden hand lowered slowly as she watches the woman exit the immense chamber. Only after Sienna is well and truly gone does she attend to the brothers' talk again. Cullen's instruction earns another nod, thoughtful in its tenor. But it's Corbin who's seized her attention. She continues to not taste the cheese- after all, eating in front of a newly introduced man with a veil on? It would be a messy business. What he's said, however, is of interest. She cocks her head again. "He may speak plainly. I have been frequently asked to instruct Oldtimers on what life is here. Better that I know what life was then, so I understand, yes? Please, sir. What would you say were it four hundred Turns ago?"

"I'd tell ya nice veils," Corbin gathers up his fingers to his mouth and blossoms them open with a 'mwah!' ("Faranth breathing," Cullen mutters, SHAKING out his hands and reaching for a towel.) "I'm serious," Corbin is just doubling up over the table, putting himself at a much lower elevation than the standing Maryam, bracing his elbows on the countertop and cupping his cheeks like a little boy gazing up at the woman, "You got — wossit. Class, y'ken? Like a song, three part harmony for every ripple of cloth you sweep behind you. I'd write songs of you." Cullen tosses his towel over Corbin's head with a disgusted sound. Corbin serenely curls his fingers around the towel to either side and pulls the ends down around his cheeks like a bonnet, shifting his narrow man-hips. His ass is kind of just STICKING OUT in back if anyone were to try getting past.

It's fortunate, then, that Maryam doesn't appear inclined to attempt escape. It helps that she is doing her utmost to view this as a matter of sociological curiosity. A study of culture, rather than actual compliments being levied at her person. Even so, it's no easy thing to stand still and strong before them- she hadn't expected that Corbin would fold in kissing gestures along with words, nor simper at her so prettily beneath his makeshift bonnet. After a querying look at the more severe sibling, she tenders a slow reply. "In this age, I am not an admirable woman," she explains, as if this might put him off of his mooning. "But were you to say those things to someone more worthy, and her male relatives were to hear you, it could cost you your tongue, your hands, or worse." …hopefully he wasn't expecting a blush and a

Cullen doesn't have a lot of 'look' to offer back to Maryam - she encouraged the bastard. Corbin actually looks pained, letting his sweet little bonnet fall away from his head to kind of limply swat it down against the table as he stands upright again, "Fah. Not admirable. Take my tongue for saying it, then. I'll hold it out for you." Which he DOES; it's more juvenile than lascivious, towel from here swung up and over the side of a shoulder like a waiter, his body turning partway away from Maryam. It makes his poke of tongue thrown at her over a shoulder. "There's worse ways to lose one's parts than telling a woman she's fair. Ey, Cully?" He holds up his PERFECTLY intact pinky to wiggle it at his older brother.

Cullen gazes evenly back at him, "I can show you some."

Breathe in, breathe out. The veil presses to Maryam's lips and then releases. Back and forth between the two goes her gaze. Back and forth. Breathe in. Breathe out. And then, so very carefully, her eyes narrow in a way that again suggests a smile. "So men were free with their compliments in the dead Turns. Now, they are not. In this, sir, it would be wise to heed your brother's counsel. He has need of you still, and no time to pursue blood feud." In the event of Corbin being maimed or killed, wot wot? She looks down at the flatbread and cheese she still holds, hesitates, and then adds, "But if the intent, four hundred Turns ago, was to express kindness then four hundred Turns ago I would have thanked you for your kind words."

"Agh. They're misers here, Cully." Corbin throws the towel at Cullen theatrically. Cullen catches it, sets it aside. Hands Corbin his ladle off the table. It all looks like a single movement, because he only uses a single hand; the rest of him doesn't move. Corbin takes the ladle even, propping it against a shoulder like a bayonet. But not before pointing it at his brother, "And you. You're no better."

"Never tried to be." Cullen says it dismissively, turning back to Maryam. And his demonstration.

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