==== September 28th, 2013
==== Renalde, Safra
==== Safra is steadfastly in the Renalde camp. Is he in hers?

Who Renalde, Safra
What Safra is steadfastly in the Renalde camp. Is he in hers?
When Noon
Where Southern Weyr

renalde.jpg safra_stern.jpg


Feeding Pastures
Up the side of the mountain, stone fences mark the lines of the different parts of the feeding pastures. Bovines, woolies, ovines, caprines, herdbeasts; they are all collected here, dotting the hillside in lazy repose to stand stark against the brilliance of the green pastures. Rich, rich grass grows here, fed by the humidity and tropical climate. The sounds here are a blend of bleating, baying, and the thundering of many steps as the different herds move about. Occasionally, the whiff of something foul is carried downwind from the collection of animals that serves as the weyr's food supply.

The sun is high and hot. There is little shade, save for some distant lean-tos and the shadow of larger boulder where varied livestock gather for relief from the heat. Insect noises rise and fall from trees at the edges of the pastures, Summer will be here soon. Safra stands somewhat attentively at Renalde's elbow, it is hot and her mind is heat struck and wandering, lost in a reverie of flight and cool winds. Not really minding the conversation Renalde is having with the herdsman. She'd been assigned to help the Headman on his rounds today not expecting that he'd be headed out this far. Or this long. She blinks, a stab of panic. "Uh, I'm sorry. Yes. What?" She tries valianltly to piece together the last few moments of the conversation.

"Does your Saevasanth prefer to be hunt here or down the mountain a bit?" A small smile broaches up onto Renalde's face as he looks down at the girl beside him. "It seems that the larger dragons prefer to have more room, but I wonder about the smaller ones." This seems to be the question for which he had carried the teenager up here for. Only a few steps away the rough looking herdsman grins at the inattention of the teen.

Safra ducks her head apologetically. "I'm not sure." She cocks her head, "He's not really hunted so much that he's developed a preference." She puffs up a bit with pride, "But he could thread a needle in flight." She grins at the herdsman and the Headman, "This would be grand. And appreciated." She executes a little bow, "Is there any time of day prefer, herdsman?" She glances at Renalde… am I doing this right?

"We'll keep an eye on things, don't you worry dear." The herdsman nods once to the weyrling. "Do be careful if you bring your young dragon up here, the felines have been bitting at the edges of the herds more frequently as the weather heats up." Renalde frowns at the news from the headman, "The herders ought to have some of those spears that Smith Aaron has been making, to keep out. Every herdbeast lost to those cats is a blow."

Safra nods at the mention of felines, eyes widening, chest tightening with fear at the thought of anything hurting Saevasanth. Daytime, then. She swallows, imagining the herdsman fending off the felines with knives. Looking between Renalde and the herdsman, she asks, "Is there anything we can do to help?" She shrugs, "Ferry spears? Keep watch?" Would a young dragon keep the felines at bay?

"I wouldn't dream of putting your little one in danger that way, but thank you for the offer." Renalde reaches out one elegant hand to put it on Safra's shoulder, squeezing lightly. "The Herders are well versed in dealing with the cats, but it is best if we get them the proper tools. Do what he has asked however, if you bring your blue up, be on the watch out."

He's not that little, she bows up mentally in defense of her dear dragonet, brow furrowing, on the verge of saying just that. She coughs, thinking better of it, and instead wipes the back of a calloused hand across her brow to mask the scowl. "We'll be up within the sevenday." She squints in the bright light, turning her head to shade her face somewhat, "We'll keep a sharp eye out." Her eyes grow vague, "Saevasanth says, 'Thank you.'" She grins, "He said he's already picked out a likely animal."

The scowl only makes Renalde grin just a touch more. "Lets head back to the weyr. I'm sure that you have other duties to attend to this afternoon, and I've found that teens are almost always hungry." Even the female-kind ones. He turns his back on the rocky mountains and begins to lead the way back to the weyr, walking slowly.

Safra's stomach rumbles at the mention of food. She glances around embarrassed and hopes no one noticed. She bows to the herdsman and hurries after Renalde. She walks quietly beside Renalde for a bit, lost in thought. She isn't really sure why the Headman has the reputation he does. "Thank you, Sir." She tosses her head at the pasture and the flock as they disappear around a bend. She wonders what would bring the fastidious and kindly man from a posting at Benden to scandalous Southern of all places. She peers at him curiously, eyes darting away if the man looks.

"Do you have something you wanted to ask me?" Renalde raises an eyebrow and looks sideways at the weyrling. He walks with his hands behind his back, relaxed and ready for anything.

Sure… How do I study people without appearing to…? She flushes and sighs, "Um. It's… not polite. Particularly." She is glad of the day's heat already coloring her cheeks as they grow hotter. She shrugs mentally, the Headman has opened the door… It would be rude not to walk in now. So she does. "You… don't really… fit. Here." She gestures towards the weyr. Oh, very nice. Insult the man that makes your life livable. She stammers on, word salad, "I mean, y-you, and the things that happe-" she balks, "Uh. You're… dignified." Oh dear.

"The first step in avoiding being rude is to know. But, I did ask." Renalde takes a few steps more along the path as he considers an answer to the girl's question. "No, I suppose that I do not 'fit' in the most proper sense. Southern is a whole area full of untamed people and beasts." He looks downward along the path. "Weyrwoman Bailey invited me to relocate when she saw the mess that the newly formed lower caverns had rapidly devolved to. It was a…. challenge, and continues to be a challenge."

Safra nods, studying the path in front of her, brow creased. "How did you know her?" She looks up, "Bailey, er… the Weyrwoman, I mean."

"I was the assistant headman at Benden Weyr." A particuarly large step has Renalde pausing for a moment, "Ware the step," before stepping down himself. Moving forward the man makes way for the younger woman to step down. "I watched the weyrwoman grow with her dragon. It was a simple decision to make." His tone is matter-of-fact.

Safra hops carefully down the large step with the vigor and surety of youth. She looks consideringly at Renalde. "Ah." She nods, "I didn't realize you were from Benden." Fabled Benden. That makes sense. A thought strikes her, "What is Benden like Now?" The capital 'n' is clear.

This time the silence stretches for quite a few steps. The headman's face is unreadable as he ponders the girl's question. "Many weyrs are alike though Benden tends towards the conservative. The only women riders are those who sit upon gold. There is a proper way that things are done, and there is little room for originality." This last bit is added with a slightly quirked eyebrow, as if the man finds the idea still more than a little silly, even with the prevalence here.

"Oh," she says quietly in a small voice. Safra walks along in silence, soaking that in from one of the few grown folk in the weyr that she'd gotten close to. Or felt she had. She swallows a surprising lump in her throat and looks up and off at the sun, courting a less embarrassing excuse for the sudden welling tears. "Yeah," she says a bit hoarsely, "Benden was like that Then too." She sniffs, focusing her attention wholly - unnecessarily - on the ground in front of her, very deliberately picking her way along the path.

The beginning of tears does not go unnoticed by the Headman. He stops, turning to stand in the path of the tall teenager. One elegant hand reaches out to lift her head up so she looks him in the eyes. "My dear, this is why I fear for you young ladies. The rigors of being a dragonrider are enormous. Some young men struggle, and the coming of Thread will only create more strife."

Safra draws herself up very straight lifting her head sharply out of the Headman's light grasp, eyes flashing, still shining with unshed tears. She says quietly, looking up "'This.' What 'this?'"

"Your emotions stand at the forefront of your thinking. For a woman this is an asset. Children need a nurturing soul to help their development into moral, upright individuals. For a rider, who must make life and death decisions?" Renalde releases her head with a bit of a sigh and a head shake. "It can only be damaging to your wellbeing."

Safra's eyes grow flat, flinty. "You haven't been in the Barracks?" she asks simply. It's not really a question. Her eyes bore, unblinking, steady. "At night," she brings her chin back down, eyes looking up under her brows, fierce, "To hear the muffled sobs." The implication is clear, they're not all women. Her upper lip tightens, "What would be damaging to my well-being, Sir, is hiding my fear." She tilts her head back away again, eyes flashing, haughty, "What *IS* damaging, Sir, is that I am afraid, and I will fly and fight Thread," she's building up a bit of steam, "And a…" she falters, and is hoarse again, "A friend," she clears her throat and clenches her teeth, "Pities me."

"Of course I have been to the barracks." He has heard the cries of those struggling to adapt to their new lives, heard them for years longer then the girl before him had even been alive. There is deep pity in his eyes despite the offense that she has taken in his words. "If the role of riders was not so vital…" He closes his eyes and turns away. "But, it is. I wish that there was a way to protect the children who have been chosen to bear the burden." He turns away from the girl and continues to walk down the path towards the weyr. The girl may follow, or she may not.

Safra grabs at Renalde's sleeve, hoping to stop him turning away, "You do protect us." She blinks, surprised at her hand tugging at the neat and spotless sleeve of so august a personage. She drops her hand and her gaze, when her eyes raise again, "Today," she gestures off in the direction of the herd and back towards the weyr, "Every day." She relaxes a little, "And while I don't envy you your position," she shakes her head ruefully, "I don't pity you." She blinks up at him, smiling, "I appreciate it." It's all so simple, see?

There are not many people on the planet who would touch the stern headman. When the girl does however, it brings Renalde's footsteps to a solid stop. There is a bit of a sad smile on his face as he examines the girl, "Thank you dear, I do my job as well as can be done. Do stay sweet child, the violence that is to come can only destroy easily." Turning, Renalde moves back down the path, "Come, there is much to be done still before the sun sets."

Safra doesn't know any other way to be but sweet. Except for hiding Ez'iah's clothes. He deserved it. She nods soberly at the Headman's words, both his gloomy truth about the coming Fall and about getting on with rest of the day's work. Falling in beside the headman, her stomach growls and she grimaces sheepishly. The two return to the weyr in relative silence.

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