==== September 29th, 2013
==== Daren, Nathanael, Taralde
==== Strange news greets Taralde as he arrives at Southern, borne by bustling Nathanael and bumbling Daren.

Who Daren, Nathanael, Taralde
What Strange news greets Taralde as he arrives at Southern, borne by bustling Nathanael and bumbling Daren.
When Dusk
Where Southern Weyr

nathanael1.jpg t-ral_um_what.jpg daren.jpg


In dark morn and dusky eve fog lies grim and humid against the still waters of Azov Sea. Only the noontime sun burns away the concealing clouds of man's height, revealing that which lies beneath the mist- an awe-inspiring stone pier that stretches far into the inland sea, to the east of the line of orderly boat-slips for the locals and larger, open spaces for transport ships. Fishermen are often as common as seagulls upon the pier's length in particular, ill-concealed and ill-clothed in the loose dun homespun of Southern's natives.

"Ahoy the dock!" A voice carries across the ocean water. Nathanael, set up on the dock with a net to be untangled and cleaned, looks up. The ship he had been tasked to watch for has finally drifted into speaking distance. Setting aside the net the small seacrafter sprints back to the SeaCrafter Complex. "Aye! 's 'ere!" He shouts. A group of men return just as the large ship creeps into it's final resting place at the docks. Ropes are cast down to be caught by those on the deck. In short order the ship is secured. Shoved off is a long gangplank and men begin to exit the ship.

Taralde hops up onto the gangplank, poised at the top, pausing to savor the liminal moment before he steps off of the boat and pens a new chapter. His keenly honed Harper senses take in the sights, sounds and smells, recording them for later perusal. The setting sun sends golden-pink light across the water, the ship's rigging, the dock buildings. The bustling fisherfolk are bringing another long day to an end. Seabirds screech and scrabble. A seacrafter boy with striking blue eyes. A dark young man walking dockward with a puzzled look on his face. Grizzled sailors furling sails, coiling rope, hauling crates. With a toothy grin, Taralde gives a wave-salute to the sailors aboard, "Thank you for a fine passage, gents! Fair winds and following seas." Some grin at the young Harper, others keep at their tasks with the competent indifference of long practice. Taralde trips lightly down the gang plank, a large pack on his shoulders and a large bulky case, most likely an instrument - given the blue and white Harper's knot on his shoulder. He grins broadly as his feet thump down onto the dock. "Hello, Southern." He tugs at his collar, sweat beading on his brow as he takes everything in, head on a swivel.

Daren is pacing slowly down the wooden planks, gaping around him at all the unfamiliar sights and savoring the scents as well, both good and bad. He'd been looking to find the beach again but has apparently taken a wrong turning and found himself on the docks instead. There's a ship just docking and unloading, yet another thing he's never had the pleasure of watching, so the young man tucks himself in a corner out of the way and just watches the scene play out. His eyes follow the man who is walking down the board that had been placed between the ship and the dock with interest, hidden though it is. A quirk of lips in a smile as the man apparently greets the whole continent. He's never heard people do that before either.

Nathanael is engulfed in the swirl of activity that always follows the unpacking of a ship to come to southern. Though the vessel is not set to head back to see for several days already the cargo held within is being pulled off the ship. Nathanael catches smaller bags that are thrown competently off the side, setting them in a neat pile out of the way. "'e're new 't Southern?" His eyes have decoded the knot on the man's shoulder, so he leaves off any honorific.

Taralde's lively eyes light on the boy, watching as he catches packages and bundles tossed from the ship. "That I am!" He cranes his neck up, standing on tiptoe looking over the crowd and crowded buildings, "Which way to the Weyr?"

Daren just now sees the short figure catching small bags tossed over the railing and smiles, never guessing that they'd let kids do something like this. The young man is more than happy to remain in the background at the moment, though if there was anyone he actually knew, he'd be right there with them. A shove from behind tells him his little out of the way spot is no longer out of the way as he stumbles back out into the main area of the docks. Catching his footing, he glances around and hopes no one saw that, it'd be terribly embarassing.

Taralde gets a cocked head from the boy. "'elcome t' Southern 'en, I'm sure m' pa…" Nathanael searches out over the dock to catch sight of his father. "PA! I'ma gonna take 'e newcomer up t' 'e weyr!" The announcement is met with a wave from the rough seacrafter. "Common, 'll take 'e up." Setting aside the last of the bags Nathanael turns to trot up the dock, easily avoiding the bustle of activity. He almost bumps into Daren, "Hey! B'careful! 'e dun wanna get caught under 'e docks. I'm Nathanael." He switches his attention between the two older men easily, his voice breaking only twice into a deeper tone.

Taralde follows the young seacrafter's bellow and nods appreciatively to the elder man. He hitches up his pack, using the momentary weightlessness to readjust his grip. He reaches out with his free hand to steady the dark haired young man, grinning at the two. "Taralde." He edges away from a man who shifted close to catch a crate. "Let's get out of here. Some where safer." He makes good on his word, walking ahead of his guide in the direction of not-in-the-way and takes a deep breath of the warm sea air and wilts, "And cooler."

Daren flushes red with embarassment as he nearly runs a boy down with his stumble and stops short of taking another step. "I'm sorry … didn't mean to try to run you over." he says softly. He's getting terrible at walking in crowds, first the two women yesterday now the boy today … maybe it's the new boots, he never had trouble in his shoes. "Ummm … Daren, sir." is a murmured response to them both giving him their names. "It's cooler at the Weyr …" is his helpful statement before stepping back and turning to allow the man and boy to precede him back in that direction.

"'e came at 'e bad time if'n'e was lookin for cool Taralde. 'e know, 'e look slightly familiar. 'e ever been 'round'bout Nerat?" Nathanael darts forward, overtaking Taralde in the advance position. The man gets a curious look from the young apprentice as he skip… er, walks in a totally less than bouncy manner, (okay, he skipped). Turning Thanael walks backwards, not at all seeming to be concerned about tripping over anything as they step off the dock onto the hard pebbles of the road. "'r 'e new 'ere too, Daren?"

"Well met, Daren." Taralde wilts again in anticipation of the promised cool of the Weyr. He grins at his guide and shakes his head, "No, never been to Nerat." He peers around at the vegetation that tops the buildings, and infiltrates the roads and… everything. It feels… wrong. The grinding burr of insect noises from the sweltering, deep green darknesses seems suddenly loud under the murmur of voices and the steady lapping wash of the waters. "I'm fresh from Ista," he tugs at his collar again, "Well, not fresh. Newly." He peers into the darkness, "Is it true there are felines as big as runners here?"

Daren follows the two hesitantly since he had gotten lost coming down this way and wouldn't mind being put back on the right track anyway. But now he's being questioned, something he'd not thought would happen since no one is ever curious about him. Of course, after nearly running the boy over, an answer should be forthcoming. "Ummm … not really? Been here just shy of a moon." is the low voiced answer. He smiles slightly at the other man but remains silent for the most part since he's not likely to have the answers the man is requiring.

Nathanael eyes the young man again, then shrugs. He continues walking backwards, somehow avoiding the bumps in the road. "Yup! 'e Smith Aaron, 'e makes 'ese big ol' spears 'n people go hunt'n 'em." The young man gets evaluated again, slightly squinty. "Not me tho, Pa says 's not for 'pprentices to be hunting 'e cats."

Taralde chuckles weakly, "That's probably smart," nodding at Thanael's Pa's wisdom. He peers into the darkening jungle along the path to the Weyr, the bustle of the docks behind them. "I must admit, I was hoping that would turn out to be a rumor." He peers worriedly into the twilight, eyes flashing as he imagines that felines as big as runners could be ridden like runners and then darkening as he imagines the likelier outcome of such an attempt. He swallows. Lighter fare! Lighter fare! He clears his throat, "Where are you lot from?"

"f'rm Nerat, fishin' community. Pa 'n I came 'ere 'bout, oh, six months 'go?" Thanael's eyes get all screwed up as he estimates the amount of time he has been in Southern. "'e people 're real nice. 're 'e gonna be helpin' out 'e harper's 'en? Or trainin' with 'em?"

Taralde grins, "I suspect a bit of both, really. Helping and training." He looks up as stars above are beginning to glimmer. Stars are the same at least. He hitches at the shoulder straps of his pack again and shifts the instrument case to his other hand. "That's what apprentices do, neh?" He shares look of comraderie with the seacrafter.

"Aye!" Nathanael flashes a bright smile and then turns to trot facing forward now as the group reaches the outskirts of the weyr. "'e should go look f' Nora, 'e assistant headwoman, 'r Renalde, 'e's 'e Heaman. Jus' ask 'round, some'un'll point 'e in the right direction!" With a jaunty wave Nathanael scampers back down the pathway towards the docks, small showers of pebbles plopping up under his feet.

Daren has gone a bit dazed at attempting to decipher the boy's speech since it's a bit thick and he speaks so quickly. When he comes back to himself he realizes what he's done but the boy is gone, leaving him with this man from the ship and the young man has no idea what to say … or do, for that matter. "I'm sorry. I … was having trouble understanding him." he says, waving toward the boy who's already disappeared.

Taralde's stomach tightens sickly as he skids to a dead stop, gravel skittering away from under his boots. His jaw drops open, mouth working for sounds… moisture. The young Harper is dumbstruck. No. He shakes his head, squinting, He's at… why would he be here—-. The realization strikes him all at once. Memories of Benden flood back, turns ago, dim yet strangely stark with the distance in time - all the spare details carved away to reveal a clear moment incised into young Taralde's bones, a sad truth about his life.

Taralde paused at the door to his father's office. He'd been 'summoned' again. He was never invited or asked. Only summoned. Usually for discipline. The door was ajar and as he raised a hand to knock and announce his presence, he heard voices within. A muffled sob, female. A soothing murmur, male. That… couldn't be his father. The man didn't so much as soothe anyone. Not any more. Certainly not Taralde. Curious, he leaned into the doorway, peering past the narrow opening. His stomach fluttered. Jealousy burning. His father was - albeit stiffly - holding the junior weyrwoman close, smoothing her red hair as she sniffed into his crisp jacket. Bailey. The glimmering sun and star of his lonely days and nights. Burning. But was he jealous of Renalde… of Bailey? A red fog rose in his mind. The Headman murmured something more and the two separated, Bailey nodding. Taralde withdrew, lest he be seen, and turned from the door, stalking off to delve the dark and dusty corridors of the weyr.

"Bailey," the young Harper whispers hoarsely. He's standing in a bit of a fugue state.

Daren blinks as the man skids to a stop and reaches out a steadying hand if the man needs it. He's not sure why the man had such a reaction, unless he was scared of dragons. "I'm … sorry?" he asks, wondering who this 'Bailey' might be. He shakes his head slightly as he motions to the Weyr and says, "Well, there it is. The caverns are over there though." A finger is pointed in the direction of the Living caverns on the other side of the bowl, off to the right.

Daren is talking for a while before the words get through. Taralde blinks slowly, eyes flicking left, right, left… head staying perfectly still, as when you wake a strange place and don't know quite where you are and don't want to attract attention. Slowy the scene resolves. Stone bridge. Starry twilight. Jungle insects. Daren. He draws a deep, slow breath and nods, looking politely at Daren, "I'm sorry, what was that?" He peers along the other young man's outstretched arm, "Ah, yes, the Living Caverns. Will I find Nora or Ren-" he coughs, "The Headman there?"

Daren frowns at the man and then shrugs. "I don't know Nora." he says, puzzled. "But the Headman should be in his office. I think, anyway. That's where I met him." He shrugs again, and gestures in that direction again. "You want to go there now?" He asks, thinking that might be what the man really wants.

Taralde draws out the first bit of his next utterance. "I, uh, I really don't," as if it's a realization of some kind. He shifts under the pack and swaps the instrument back to his left hand, "I'd like to put all this down and get something cold to drink." He looks expectantly at Daren.

Daren smiles and nods. "That's fine. There's drinks in the caverns." he says, and leads the way in that direction. He's so not used to leading and has to force himself to walk normally instead of trying to drop behind the other man. He sighs softly to himself and chews on his lip, force of habit is so very hard to break.

Taralde senses Daren's discomfort. Not that it'd take a finely calibrated instrument to do so, but he's interested in the man and the story that would have him so jumpy and uneasy. With a friendly smile he looks sidelong at the awkward man and as the two walk towards the Weyr and refreshment. He makes friendly conversation with Daren, attempting to gently draw the man out of his shell. They disappear into the entrance to the Living Caverns.

Hello, Southern.

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