==== December 29. 2013
==== Cerise, Nora
==== Nora has some ways to keep Cerise occupied during recovery.

Who Cerise, Nora
What Nora has some ways to keep Cerise occupied during recovery.
When There are 0 turns, 4 months and 6 days until the 12th pass.
Where Dragon Infirmary, Southern Weyr

cerise16.jpg Nora4.jpg

Dragon Infirmary
An exceptionally large cavernous area is set aside for the dragons of the weyr to convalesce. Immediately adjacent to the ground weyrs, it provides some privacy for those pairs whose injuries require more silence and solitude for recovery. But there are also a number of dragon wallows here for triage and diagnosis; those with the worst injuries have the wallows nearest the open air exit reserved for them until they're well enough to be moved further in. Bins, shelves, and locked cabinets store all of the medicines and raw ingredients the dragonhealers will need for treatment, as well as things like blankets and 'medicinal whiskey' for the riders of the afflicted. A lettering system applied to the shelves above one lone desk hint at a filing system used by those who work here.

Life, such as it is, continues on its steady schedule in the infirmary. The attention needed by Jiamoth has grown less and less; the healers' checks have gone from hourly to every three and now twice a day suffices, though the little green remains under the strict eye of Caelth, lest she try to clamber free of her wallow before given clearance to do so. That she's capable of boredom now shows just how much she's improved, but is a mixed blessing- it means Cerise is hard-pressed to keep the dragon occupied as the hours drag on. Fortunately the ex-performer has no sense of shame and is not above stripping down to her skivvies (for mobility's sake!) to teach Jiamoth how a person goes about learning to walk on their hands. With the green reclining in her wallow, regal as a lady on a ruler's couch, her two-legged clown slaps palms against the ground around it, knees in the air and feet hanging loosely down. Her curly runner's tail bounces with the slapping impact of each "step". "…used to…do this for hours…when I was li'l," she huffs between breaths. "Good for…the shoulders, aye?"

The striding heals announce her arrival, though there's a pause to drop off a basket with the healers before those shoes clack their way across the infirmary toward the bobbing sway of legs in the air above a notably undressed body. "Oh, isn't this lovely," Nora greets the hanging feet, humor thick in her voice and wry in her smile as she comes to a stop with the swirl of black skirt about her calves. She lets her gaze slide over Cerise and then cocks the aside of a teasing brow at Jiamoth. "Should I ask how you're both doing or just use my powers of deduction?" There's another basket with her, smaller, slung over the crook of her arm, and now she swings it down to her hand.

Jiamoth seems to find it immensely amusing that Cerise has been caught in her underclothes, clowning about. Nevermind that it was for the dragon's benefit! She lifts her head, easing a trill of laughter through the thick passage of her throat. Cerise is less amused but only because she has to go from upside down to right side up, a switch performed with a drop and a roll that leaves her rocking up onto her backside. Her face is red but one can assume it's only from having been reversed for awhile; her grin is brighter. "Always best to use your own judgment, aye? Or so I've found, if you're possessed of decent judgment. I'd say yours is better than most. Hello, Nora, and a hello from Jiamoth as well. Pardon the lack of trou, I lost them somewhere after my third cup of wine with breakfast. What've you got there, then?"

"So, positively itching to get out of here?" is what Nora will guess, watching the controlled tumble that turns the acrobat into a red-faced rider. But she's quick to take part in the play of proper greetings, "Hello, Cerise," she intones with a nod. "And Jiamoth," who gets her own nod and a smile. The wine arches that brow again, though, a little less teasing this time and that decent judgment might be present in the "Mm," of her reply. But nevermind that, there's a basket. "Oh, just some things," she singsongs. "Some less exciting than others." The shift of her weight starts her off for a chair, one she can drag nearer the pair of them.

It's a good guess! Good enough to deepen Cerise's grin by a notch or three; dimples are threatened. "They say give her another few days and she'll be well enough to move to the ground weyrs." An oft-repeated line, it's become a mantra, the carrot dangled before the pair. Such luxury, a weyr of their own again! "All things are exciting when one is trapped in a wallow," and from the woman's tone- an elegance that is lacked perhaps at other times- it might be taken as a statement direct from Jiamoth. Certainly the green's eyes are tracking Nora on her quest for a chair, while Cerise scrambles up floppy-limbed and reminiscent of her brother, to search up a pair of pants.

"Oh, don't dress on my account," Nora teases as she takes her seat with a neat folding of ankles beneath, the basket swung into her lap where it can wait patiently for full attention. Meanwhile, as clothes are hunted down, the headwoman's eyes can skim over Jiamoth, noting her color, whatever changes in figure might be discerned or imagined, not knowing how inactivity and appetite might come into play. She does not spend time on the space where a paw should be, not even to ascertain the healing progress of the stump. "They don't let you out at all?" she asks them both, disagreement ready in the pinch of her mouth. "You've had visitors, at least." Someone's been keeping tabs.

Jiamoth's condition seems fair, her color returned but the softness of her training-honed body now puddling into the first true signs of pudginess. There are rolls behind her elbows, and a bulge to the stomach that rests against smooth stone, even a loss of definition to the curve of her jaw. This is all in direct contrast to the loss of weight suffered by Cerise, whose bony shanks are on display until she finishes the round of hopping and pulling to bring her weyrling trousers up over them. "They're concerned with how she'll walk, aye? Her weight's held so low, if she comes down badly on the stump it's like to split the hide right open again until she's built up some balance and a bit of callous. Can't risk another infection, the last one almost did her in," Cerise supplies, the grin long gone as she drops to take cross-legged position before Nora's chair. "S'helped that folks have been by to see her though, true enough. We'd likely have gone mad without them. The Weyrsmith even brought by a cover for her leg, when she does get up and about."

"Well, no one's suggesting she take a hike around the bowl. But just to get outside in the sun, maybe with a little help?" But yeah, yeah, the healers have some good points. It doesn't mean Nora has to admit it. And it's true, the possibility of any further infection does wane any humor for her face as her eyes take their first sweep near the stump. Perhaps it makes her grateful to hear about the smith. "Oh, that's a good idea. A bit of thick leather to protect her?" she guesses, pulling back the cloth that covers the basket's contents. But Cerise's cross-legged seat makes her laugh, knees pinching and toes pointing for heels drawn high, her thing shoulders rounding in an exaggerated show of excitment. "I feel like we should gather everyone around for storytime or something. I should have a basket full of puppets." Okay, so maybe there's a flicker of an actual idea there in her eyes. But! Moving on, what she does pull out is a thin soft-bound book. "Now, I know… you don't really love reading, but it's a play. So it's different."

"Leather and lambswool," Cerise says agreeably, rocking back and forth on her rump as if she were one of the childish story-seekers Nora's mentioned. Jiamoth extends her neck to hover head over curly head, jaw gaping on what she intends as a smile. She's keen for storytime and not above easing closer still, one eye forward, to peep at the basket's contents. "It'll likely be a feat to get her out and about but it'll be worth it, the aches and pains that come of earning them instead of just suffering- oh, aye?" Both dragon and rider perk to hear the headwoman describe the book's purpose. "I did not know they kept such things in the now! It's a play of these times?"

There's knowing sympathy in Nora's glance, the maddening ache of inactivity, physical and otherwise. Thankfully there's a new book to distract them all. She hands it over, an unfamiliar title, and an inscription on the first page revealing that it belonged to one of the first thirteen victims of the Pass — a fact that, if noted, does hitch regretfully at Nora's smile. "There's no date, but it's not one I've seen before. It's also not… a sensational piece." Not the kind that a colorful entourage could bust out to encourage donations. "I read it," because of course she had to make sure it was worth passing on. "It's good. Thoughtful. And if nothing else, you can dream up costumes and imagine how the players should perform the scenes…" With the lift of her eyes to Jiamoth again, perhaps the headwoman figures it's something that they can both take some amusement from. "You'll have to tell me what you think of Hisentia," she adds with the tip of her head, no doubt referring to a character Cerise and Jiamoth can explore during their long hours of convalescence.

Cerise provides a somber and attentive audience, particularly once she's taken the slim volume and opened it to study that inscription. Jiamoth? The prospect of taking part in planning such a spectacle has quite the opposite effect on the dragon. She shifts in her wallow, wings lifting and settling, tail flipped to fall outside the lip. She'd leap to that effort now if Cerise didn't hold up a warding hand. "Time enough in the hours to come, sweet girl," she counsels. "But," and here focus swings back to Nora, her grin quite returned, "you've found just the thing to catch her fancy. You've an instinct for nursing that wouldn't go amiss around here, I'm thinking. Thank you, Nora." The sentiment is punctuated with a whuffle of breath to stir the woman's hair as Jiamoth dips in close again, trying to focus her eyes on so small an item.

Nora's smile is surely pleased and proud, even if she seeks to make a joke of her talents by tapping a forefinger at her temple, as if all it's taken was a few minutes of thought. You know, that and someone dying. "All part of the job," she breezes lightly, positively beaming at the green anyway. There's more in the basket though. She pulls out a clipboard that looks suspiciously like good old fashioned work. "This," she says with a sigh and a shake of her head. "Freaking towels. Like I have time to fret over towels." But it's set aside, just her own stuff toted around, it would seem. "But, speaking of work, ye of idle, but talented, hands. I know this is kind of tedious and fine but… I need someone to repair and make some knots." And so with a bend at her waist, the rest of the basket is lowered down toward Cerise's lap, full of happy green tangles and sorted bobbins, other accent colors as well, and a folded list of what's needed. She puts on a bright, sweet, hopeful smile.

"Towels?" Cerise's eyebrows go all askew to hear that towels are a hefty enough topic to require a clipboard of their own. She's watching that as she sets the book aside, to Jiamoth's dismay. Play? Can she…? Can't they…? No? But the rider ignores the green, as celadon muzzle dips to nuzzle and poke at the volume, for her hands and lap have become full of color. A knowing look, only slightly wine-addled, is flung at the headwoman before Cerise plunges her fingers into the riot of strands. "Well, seeing as how I owe you for book and clothes, I think I can trouble myself to weave together a few of these, aye? Nice to see the numbers are still growing. Folk coming in regular? Still seems like half the Weyr's empty sometimes, down here close to the ground."

"Towels: usage, inventory, projections…" Yes, it gets its own clipboard — at least today it does. Then it's the plunge of fingers that turns Nora's smile into a more knowing and nose-wrinkled grin. "It's pretty, right? Perhaps not so pretty as a whole slew of bright costumes but…" She shakes her head. "It's not for me. This is just work that needs doing." And so, with something warm and sly on her face, the book and clothes will just have to be repaid some other way. And as for the population, "I hope so," she exhales rather emphatically, left with just the clipboard in her lap. "There will be candidates, if nothing else. We could use more healers, maybe with families. Plus there are promotions and such." Like slews of weyrlings becoming fully fledged wingriders. Meanwhile, she tips the clipboard to study it with a frown. "And they all use towels." She lets out a sigh. "I could use an assistant. What do you think — can there be a Headman and a Headwoman?"

"That's why you wear the big knot, getting to think about all the fun stuff." Cerise has already plunged her hands into the mess, pulling out the largest snarl of cording to begin plucking and pulling to bring order to chaos. "S'pretty enough to keep me at it for awhile, at least. The nights are longest, and this'll fill the time well enough. Keep it coming if you have need, aye? Gotta earn all that choice food they've been tossing at us to keep us plump and sassy." Jiamoth snorts at this. She's given up on opening the book with her nose and opted to settle back into the wallow again, reclining on her side while she listens. Now and then a twitch travels down the limb that ends so abruptly but she makes no sound, nor does Cerise though occasionally the stronger twitches see an echo in the rider. "I think you should put it to the Weyrwoman," she says, glancing up at Nora in her chair, "but be prepared for a kick from Renalde, aye?"

Plump and sassy. Nora bounces an eyebrow at the pair of them, the plump and the sassy. "I'd have it no other way," she gushes lightly, even if there's an eye for the softened girth of Jiamoth as she shifts back to her wallow. Or perhaps it's not for her figure at all, the way the assistant headwoman's lashes narrows in calculation. She takes one look at the foreshortened limb and then her attention springs back to Cerise with a roll of her eyes. "He'd still be the Headman. How very big and important that sounds. Head. Man. But it does rather beg for there to be a counterpart, doesn't it? After all, why specify 'man' is there isn't a woman as well?" Which is not at all how it works, but Nora is hardly above twisting the facts for her purpose. "There's enough work, surely." The clipboard gets a tipping little wave in her lap. "We're juggling a lot of schedules at the moment. It's amazing, really, how extra sweeps seem to mean extra everything else — making sure there's food when they're back, stocked baths, child care, more laundry…" Endless, really. "Do you think they'd go for it?" she asks with a turn of her head, revisiting the topic of title with a sidelong eye.

"Because then it'd just be head and that sounds odd, aye? Head of what? Perhaps he can be head of men and you can be head of women, the folk of this time should like that well enough, splitting one from the other." Cerise tucks her chin low again and returns to easing curls of cord through knots and snarls and everything else. It is a mess but slowly, and surely, she's shaping something that has begun to look like a spinner, with limbs that go off every which way. The joviality has slid from her face as soon as the shadows of her hair close around it. Focused, she looks, intent- or simply joyless. "Knowing what I know of folk who come to rank, whether it's through effort or by birth, they'll fight for their position more than anything else they might have in life. More than wealth, or love, or blood. You give a man a knot and then tell him he must split it…I think if there were a way to keep them from going for it, he'd find it, and then you'd need look over your shoulder every day."

Oh sure, the Nowtimers might like that division of labor, but it brings its own hesitation to Nora's face, the unsatisfied twist of her mouth to one side. And of course, Cerise's cautions come with their own thoughtful seriousness, leaving a few beats of silence as she sifts through ideas. "Well, he didn't want me to be his assistant, either," she recalls. "And he's rather pleased with the arrangement now, as far as I can tell." Or he should be, she thinks loudly enough. "Maybe it would just take a bit of… adjustment. And then we'd all be happy. And I could go focus on schedules instead of spending time on towels. Not that it's hard just…" She has other things to do. And now, one of those things is to observe the shadow that's fallen over Cerise. "You okay?" she asks with a little nudge of her chin.

"No harm in asking, aye? You'd do well with it, and you've shown you can work with him without resorting to murder attempts." The wry stab at humor wavers only a little when Cerise glances up and finds Nora's eyes upon her. "Hmm? Oh…fine, fine. S'just a bit of adjustment, like you said. You caught me thinking too far ahead for our own good," she remarks, swinging a look towards Jiamoth. The green returns a steadier regard but makes no (audible) comment. Sometimes there's wisdom aplenty in silence, though it leads Cerise to snort and turn back to the tangle in her lap. "The knot sure would look fine on your shoulder, Nora. Were I you, I'd go to Lendai and see what she has to say about it. Even if it's no, perhaps there's something else you could do that'd save you from the towels."

"Yet," Nora interjects on the point of murder, her own humor a far more brassy thing. "I talk to Hannah more. Maybe if she lobbied Lendai on my behalf…" The this little headman's assistant might not seem like the power hungry rank-climber she probably is? And she's shameless at delegating tasks. Cerise might be occupied with that bundle of cords, but Nora lowers hand to her knee, letting the clipboard hang closer and waved just a little toward the greenrider's busy lap. "What were you thinking?" Not about her own oh-so-ambitious plans. "It's not the end, you know. It's all just… your own personal Renalde." With a side of physical agony? There's a weak twist of her mouth for the lousy comparison, but it's an encouraging one anyway.

"An even better idea," Cerise says in agreeable tones, for the plan of Hannah first and Lendai second. Leverage wherever one may find it, that's her motto! The questioning that follows produces a shrug- or perhaps that's simply Cerise raising her arms as she lifts free sections of cord, freed pieces set aside for later coiling. "We'll see what comes, aye? One day at a time and that's all Jia cares to consider," she goes on with a glance for the green in question. This time, the dragon has turned her head and fixed that level and unblinking gaze upon the headwoman (ambitious or otherwise). The look lingers a time before she lowers her muzzle, prodding at her ribs as if testing the saturation of oil in that velveteen hide. "One supposes we'll be decent at watch." Cerise'll just…sneak that in there.

If only Nora could read that steady gaze, because she does meet it, staring back at the Jiamoth with her expression quiet and her own silent thoughts moving there behind blue eyes. It's not to the green that she puts in her own sneaky addition, but to Cerise. "Sure." Watch. "Until she gets her strength back." No more talk about stepping stones or grand plans for the future, though. "One day at a time. I think that might be everyone's mantra just now." The clipboard gets a stronger wag toward the greenrider. "Come on. Take it. Do my work for me. You can't fuck it up; it's just towels." Is she joking? It's hard to tell.

Cerise must judge that a joke because she wrinkles the bridge of her nose and bats at the clipboard to send it swinging away. A showman's grin is not long in following. "I spent my life responsible for a single wagon. Y'know how many towels we had? Two. Two towels. You wouldn't like the damage I could do to a Weyr's functioning, if given charge of it. Might hurt your chances to step up to the fancier knot. G'wan then. It'll be time for them to come poke at her stump soon and you won't want to be here for that." The transition from jesting to instruction comes in the blink of an eye- perhaps a comment was made from Jiamoth to her rider. "When I've these knotted up to specification, I'll have someone drop 'em by. Shouldn't take too long."

There's another big roll of Nora's eyes for how much trouble they could be in under Cerise's towel management, but she does start to her feet, clipboard hanging at her side, her free hand up to check the artful twist of hair from her face. But no, she's not eager to spend time with focused attention to the stump, so there's every indication that she'll be on her way, her smile easy, laced with hints of humor and apology. She's not leaving, though, without asking: "How's the pain? Is it getting better?" Does her own thumb graze lightly over loosely curled knuckles? Why, yes it does, and probably without her notice. And yes yes, knots, the spread of those fingers insists she has every faith Cerise will see to them.

"A stark improvement, all things considered," Cerise says promptly, without hesitation, without even the time for thought that such a subject should perhaps take- because there are grades of pain, aren't there? Grades and types and variations. But her answer is whole-hearted, and Jiamoth doesn't argue, choosing instead to continue nuzzling at her own hide. The rider's head lifts, curls a-bounce, and another grin is given while she flicks a study over Nora's person, perhaps to gauge whether she's buying it. "Nothing that a little more rest won't solve, I'm sure. Luck with your towels, aye?"

With a suspicious twist of her mouth, the answer is probably no, she's not quite buying it. But Nora's not oblivious to the cues that she's being hurried out either, so there's no pinning Cerise down to coax the rest of the answer from her. Plus… the assistant headwoman has ploys of her own. "Well, I have my fingers crossed," she'll supply in sweet submission. "And I'll just leave this here and see how lucky I get." With the sharp return of her elfin smile, it's obvious that the clipboard she sets on her vacated chair, it was never in her basket by happenstance. The knowing light in her eyes is sure that Cerise won't be fooled either. And really, no one here wants to have an ongoing conversation about pain and usefulness or how neither the delicate work of the knots or the complicated puzzle of towel numbers will be aided by a brain full of wine, do they? "I'll come by again soon," she promises. "With puppets." There's a full on cheeky wink for that. "And maybe…" Oh, she's already got ideas. But none of it quite obscures the heartfelt tone she ends with. "Good luck, sweetheart." There's a beat of eye contact that comes with it, steady and warm. And then her clackety heels can carry her off again.

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