==== Oct. 23, 2013
==== Kultir, Nika
====Late afternoon meal & a bit of conversation

Who Kultir, Nika
What Kultir has a late lunch, Nika is contemplative, a good conversation ensues
When 10 months and 27 days until the 12th pass
Where Living Caverns, Southern Weyr

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Living Caverns
Grand and spacious, the cavern curves high aloft in naturally-vaulted ceiling that soothes any sense of claustrophiba. Rich woods line the cavern floor, varnished and stained a rich mahogany, while round tables scatter about candlelit and intimate. The largest table lies southerly next the sideboard, long trestles that seem oriented to providing for the weyr's youngest. The rich blue of Azov can be seen from a distance in good weather, when the heavy stone doors covering the entrance are allowed to stand open.


Kultir stumps into the caverns, knocking the last few bits of mud from his boots. Rain cape is slipped from his shoulders, shook out a bit and then hung on an empty peg to drip-dry as the young man moves toward the trestles for whatever foodstuff is still available. A plate is filled with a bit of everything left from lunch along with a mug of hot klah before turning to find a spot to settle to enjoy his meal. Not being here for a regular meal means most tables have several chairs open so he chooses one at random and lowers himself with a soft groan of relief.

Unlike smart people, or people who have thought more than 1 minute ahead on their day off, Nika did not leave her weyr with a rain cape, or anything other than her non-riding attire. Fitted by not tight tunic, luckly for all night white, and baggy black pants are drenched. As are his normally tight ringlets which cling to the skin of her face. She's currently dripping in her food, look a bit like a dog, but a rather content one. One leg curled under, the other knee jutting upward her free arm wrapped around it. The other hand is occupied with plopping pieces of fruit into her mouth at regular intervals, a soft hum emminating from the woman who sways to an beat unheard by anyone who isn't sharing her brain space. Only then there is a person dropping down across from her. Eyes widen and smile beams as she recognizes the lad. "Hi! How are you?" Not her normal barage of questions but she's in a contemplative mood.

Kultir glances up, just realizing he'd sat down across from someone he actually knows and smiles slightly. A shoulder is cocked upward in a faint shrug as he replies. "I'm doing well enough, Ni … er, Wingleader. Thank you for asking." His eyes drop back to his plate as he takes a neat bite, chewing and swallowing before a deep draft of the hot klah is taken as well. "How are ye doin', ma'am?" He takes note of her dripping appearance and raises an eyebrow slightly but it's not something he can actually comment on without sounding presumptuous.

Dripping is AWESOME. It makes the fruit taste juicier. "Nika is fine!" It is sung like a single line in a song, curling upward at the end for emphasis. She isn't Pern's best voice, but she makes up for it with enthusiasim. "You're not a candidate anymore, as long as it isn't official business - I'm just Nika, and he's just At-man. And I certainly am not a ma'am." Giggles follow his official orders about her name, and she signs them into effect with a salute. "I'm grrrrreat! Why are you eatin' so late?"

Kultir chuckles softly at her 'orders' to call her Nika and nods slightly. "Aye, ma … Nika." he says, correcting himself with a slight tinge of red to his cheeks. "Still not got outta th' habit, iff'n ye know what I mean." He takes a couple more bites to still the squirming of his guts and glances up once more. He washes that last mouthful down with another drink of klah and sighs softly. "Checkin' some traps I got set up on th' river. Hopin' t' find out what's runnin' this season. Ain't never trapped round here so … should be somethin' worthwhile." He cocks his head curiously at her and asks, "No practice in th' rain?" He's seldom seen the Wingleaders in the caverns when he usually gets back from his jungle-running.

"Traps! Like for little living things." Two of Nika's fingers scamper across the table only to violently snared by her other hand. Just in case the boy was confused by her conversation. "Do you think a lot moves around in the summer? I mean it's either melty degrees outside, or drown-y o'clock." One of her previously prisoner fingers is released to push the fruit around her plate. "Naw. It's my day off anyway. I was just off exploring by the river. I found a real neat shell." She pauses and then looks back at the male, "Hey! If you catch anything cool can I see it? Ellen taught me out to butcher! I'm not very good, my knife gets stuck on the white stringy parts but I could get better. If you wanted help and I had the time."

Another soft chuckle meets her little pantomime as Kultir nods. "Yes, little living things is usually the reason for using traps." he says. "And that's why I have them set … so I can see what's running, if anything." He considers her offer … or was it request? "Hmm, sounds like you just might need more practice. I've been skinning and gutting since I was a kid … well, a young kid, anyway. Took me a turn or so t' get the hang of it." He had to correct himself since he could still be considered a kid by many folks.

"Yah…" Nika's words trail off as she considers her previous thought. "I guess it would be dumb to set a trap for an already dead thing. It'd never get to. Dead things are notoriously lazy." She finally moves to swipe some of the drops out of her line of vision. "Yah! Practice, cause Ellen's knife goes through all smooth, like she's just pushing it through water, but I have to stop and hack away at shit. The real stringy stuff, that looks like it'd be real east to cut but then just makes you want to scream cause it won't." Surely he can understand that. Right? RIGHT? Round eyes consider the boy across from her surprisingly quiet for a moment. "How old we're ya when started?"

Kultir grins at the bluerider and nods. "Aye, they are at that … guess that makes 'em easier to cook though." he says teasingly. He nods as she tells about her attempts and his eyes say that he totally understands her frustration. "Yeah, sometimes, with a critter I never saw before at least, it's still that way f'r me." Taking a deep breath as he ponders her question, he frowns slightly as he thinks back to his rather remote childhood. "Guess m' Da started me out when I was 'bout … eight, maybe nine turns. Guttin' yardfowl durin' butcherin' time. Don' wanna keep them skins so they's a good startin' point f'r a kid. Once I could do that without manglin' the carcass, I got t' work on the caprines and herdbeasts we butchered … that was when I was 'bout ten turns, I guess."

"Yah, it'd be hard to cook a thing that was still wiggling around." Nika grabs her stomach in laughter, before her arms curl up, spasaming like a live animal in a pot of boiling water. Wiping away a few tears she nods, "So it's normal to be bad at it at first? That's good to know! Maybe I'can get better. "10 turns! That's good. I got my first chores round then. I mean major ones you know. Cooking and stuff. And then when the plague came I got to change bandages and give people baths n' stuff." She blinks up at the lad, "How old are you now? If I was your age 'n a rider I'd probably have been married off a turn or two ago."

Kultir laughs at Nika's pantomime and nods his agreement. "Aye, 'xactly that." he says. "And yeah, it's normal t' be bad at it f'r a while. Practice is all ye c'n do to get better … but ye should know that a'ready, bein' a rider an' all. Had t' 've taken a bunch o' practice t' get t' be a Wingleader." At her mention of the plague, he shudders, that's always an inherent fear in small cotholds like where he'd grown up, without anyone knowing more than basic first aid anywhere nearby. "I be a mite over seventeen turns now. M' Da woulda had me married off by now too … him an' Mum was lookin' when … when I left." He shrugs slightly and turns his attention to his food once more, a few more bites taken as he thinks about how things might have been, if he'd stayed in Keroon.

Nika nods a quick series of bobs. "Yah, most 'uh Pern about 10 turns ago…well 10 for me 410 for you." Her nose wrinkles as she eyes the boy. "Well some stuff. Some stuff people are good at automatically. Not everyone, but you know, like talents and stuff." Twirling a straightened curl around a finger, she nods along with his story, "Yah, if ma hadn't died, then da and I never would have moved to Reaches, then I'd be married off and have a little of babies..only I wouldn't be here at all." Her lips curl up thoughtfully, "Funny how stuff works out, even when it doesn't? Huh?"

The amber gaze clears as her words bring Kultir back to the present. A nod of agreement is given as he sighs softly. "Aye. Sometimes tis better … sometimes just … different." he says thoughtfully. He smiles slightly at her comment of talents and shrugs. "I dunno 'bout talents 'r nothin', but I seem t' be pretty good at jungle-runnin'. I kinda like the challenge o' sneakin' up on stuff out there … see how close I c'n get afore they spook." A mischievious grin is slanted toward her as he chuckles. "People ain't quite s'much fun though … 'less they be used t' huntin' and stalkin' an' stuff."

"You like to scare jungle animals?" Nika slides back futher into her seat, fingers drumming on the top of her propped up knee. "Like the scary ones? How can you catch 'em if you'd scared 'em off?" Here eyes squint back and forth as she considers. But whatever her suspicions were they evaporate without further analysis, "I stalk stuff! But not really. Just like little flying things, or chairs." Don't try to follow, find the message within. "People 'aint so bad. Then you can get real close and go 'BOO!' and then they like scream, or hit you or something."

"Naw, naw … the scary ones, as ye call 'em, they be work. I dun stalk 'em t' scare 'em, I stalk 'em t' find where they be dennin' or lairin' up so's I c'n go back wit' a crew t' clear 'em outta the Weyr area." Kultir says by way of explanation. "I jes scare th' avians when I can, 'r th' wild ovines up on the plateau sometimes." He chuckles softly at her comment about startling people and nods. "I done that too, been hit a couple times … mostly they jes scream their bloody heads off. Tis funny then."

"Good idea' wouldn' want you to end up jungle chow." Nika's giggles cover the space between them as she covers her mouth with a hand. "People get scared real easy sometime. 'Specially if they're thinkin' real hard, so its good to sneak up on 'em when they're reading 'n stuff. And it's hard for them to hit you if they're sitting." Tiny fingers scratch at her cheek as she brushes away the hair. "Whattya do with 'em once you've trapped 'em?"

Kultir chuckles softly at her comment and nods. "I dun wanna be jungle chow neither, gotta use folks willin' t' help me right now." he says. A grin is given to her suggestion of sneaking up on people. He considers his options on what he can do with trapped animals once he has them he shrugs slightly. "I guess I be tannin' th' skins, curin' 'em if they's furs. Sellin' 'em once I got 'em done, maybe. Dunno what else I c'n do with 'em."

"If they're tasty you could sell 'em to the kitchens maybe. You know. Earn your keep or whatever the adults say." Because when she isn't on wing duty Nika is not and adult. Pulling her other leg up she half stands on the chair as she jumps out of it. "Hey, next time you go out, when I wouldn' drown in it, or you know, slow you down, can I come out and see what you caught?" The whole idea has peaked her curiosity. "And everyone needs blankets n' stuff for the winter, if you know how to sew 'em together." Her mind bouncing back to the original idea as she starts to gather her stuff. "Anyway. It was good to see ya again, Kultir, or was it mountain-man?" And with that she's bouncing off to drop her stuff off and go for a swim back to her dragon and her weyr.

Kultir smiles up at her as she stands to leave. "Aye, been tryin' t' do that sorta thing … bring 'em t' the Weyr f'r general use." Her request to join him on his runs makes him frown slightly. "Yeah, sure. That'd be fine. Maybe ye'r next restday would be a good day, iff'n it ain't rainin' 'er somethin'." He waves a hand as she starts to bounce out of the caverns and calls, "See you, Nika. Nice talkin' to ye."

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