==== September 20, 2013
==== Sienna, Maryam, K'ane
==== Talk around the water cooler - er, the well of death.

Who Sienna, Maryam, K'ane
What Talk around the water cooler - er, the well of death.
Where Kitchen Courtyard

Kitchen Courtyard
//The domestic space of the kitchen courtyard is small, dusty, slightly over-grown, and practical. The focal point of the stone courtyard is a large well found directly in the middle. Turns have worn the once angled bricks to soft, crumbling curves about the lip, and a bucket always slightly damp is tied, secure, and ready to use at the side. Though a broom has swept here since last you passed through, it would appear the wind-borne dust has merely been heaped under the cobble-cracking shrubs of a stubborn environment that grow ever upward. A few benches are scattered around, but the feel is not comfort, for this small slice of sky and wind are saved for a kitchen staff always on the move. //

The Well. K'ane stands, eyeballing it with a look full of trepidation — as he is, underneath that gruff exterior, quite the supersticious lout. The last true Igenite weyrlingmaster died in this spot, so perhaps that is the reason for the strange expression on the big bronzerider's face; he stands among the post-dinner hustle and bustle of kitchen workers, generally being in the way, standing where he is.

Is that a voice echoing from the well? A soft call of 'K'ane' in the current Weyrlingmaster's voice? Oh. No. That's just the sounds playing tricks because Sienna is standing there in the entrance to the kitchens, giving K'ane a curious look. "Need water?" Because body water is the best water, right? She's wearing an apron, though its strings are stretched to their max around her belly, flour dusted over her massive stomach and her hands.

The Bazaar is a territory within and territory; rare is it that a Steen sets foot outside of their little realm. But when the matriarch of their clan is being especially demanding, and has the leverage of a heart condition behind her demands, special effort must be made. Sacrifices, one might say. K'ane is well and truly flanked by women, one apron'd, one veiled, one in the kitchens' door and Maryam now arriving from the bowl. The blue and dun of her robes and kirtle are well dusted by the trek she's made. In hand, a small sealed scroll containing Mama's current cravings, intended for the head cook. But, confronted with both a Weyrlingmaster and her assistant, the young woman pauses to take stock of the scene before her before dipping in a deep curtsey.

One thing is for sure: Sienna is EVIL. K'ane starts at the call, staring at the well with eyes that widen momentarily… then with a second start he seems to realize the woman. Er. His boss, that is. "Uh, no, sorry," he returns, half-stepping back. "If I'm in th' way." He WOULD be turning to flee about now except Maryam is there… and his face contorts in a quick but evident reaction to the veiled figure. He inclines his chin in a short nod for the woman in return to the curtsy.

Sienna shakes her head as she takes another step out. Without her cane, each step is very careful and measured. "No, K'ane, you're fine. I just needed some fresh air." The veiled figure is studied, Sienna quite obviously squinting and peering at the eyes. "Maryam?" she guesses, /thinking/ it's her but it's so hard to tell.

The curtsey is the limit of the greeting offered to K'ane by Maryam, at least for now. She tucks her head down and sidesteps to clear the path should he want to take it. Otherwise, her attention drifts to Sienna, whose apron-clad belly leaves a gleam of speculation in pale eyes. Not that she'd ever give voice to certain questions in front of a man, but they're there when she lifts her regard to match gazes with the other woman. "Yes ma'am. Good evening. You are…in the kitchens tonight?"

"Yeah. Well. S'fresh as any air is out here," K'ane returns to Sienna, giving a shifting glance over to where the butcher slaughters a herdbeast cheerfully. Only thereafter do his eyes land upon Maryam, and Sienna's assistant falls silent, not immediately moving to exit. Then… are his eyes drifting back to the well? IT CALLS TO HIM. Morbidly.

Sienna waddles closer to the well, glancing at it and then at K'ane. "It's clean now. Or so they say." Grimace. Then she looks back at Maryam and smiles. "I am. I needed a break. Wanted to make something, feel useful." There's a little shrug. The butcher working on the herdbeast is glanced at, before Sienna calls a suggestion to him. At first he responds with a sharp frown but then, looking at the beast, he considers what she said and then tries the new cut. And, surprise, it works, and he continues quite happily without a thank you to that little tidbit of professional knowledge imparted. With a slight shake of her head Sienna's gaze returns to the others. "How are you both? What brings you to the kitchens, Maryam?"

Maryam avoids looking at the well that's drawing so much attention. Call it superstition, or simply manners, but somehow she manages to keep from looking in that direction at all- even if it means studying the ground before her hidden feet when Sienna speaks openly of the thing. How terribly squeamish, for someone who works in bloodsport. "You are near your time," she murmurs, "it is a natural thing to want to create." A pause. "Mama had a wish for citrus-glazed wherry and we had none prepared. I have come to make inquiries with the cook."

K'ane straightens. "Sienna, I think you'd better give th' well some space." The sad thing is he is speaking calm and low, like you'd speak to a crazy person, and the bronzerider is COMPLETELY SERIOUS. "Y'don't need t'stand so close." Apparently he is here to serve-and-protect, emphasis on the last part. He eyes Maryam again, his look more-than-faintly troubled — and not just about the well.

Sienna chuckles softly. "I think W'rin is fed up with my nesting, though he's said nothing of it." Bless the man, if he's even noticed - or been home long enough to notice - the baby things Sienna has slowly but surely acquired. "Here, let me," she offers, extending a hand towards the note - leaning /towards/ the well to do it OH NOES.

A man has spoken, which means that Sienna really should be listening. Not tempting fate! Maryam's eyes widen in alarm, both for the greenrider's seemingly precarious position (in her condition too!) and for what surely looks like defiance to Nowtime eyes. The flicker of a glance at K'ane is lightning-quirk, and then she's gliding forward to insinuate herself between gravid woman and dank, murderous death-pit. All in the name of innocently pressing the note into Sienna's waiting hand. "Thank you, ma'am."

"I— Sienna— …" K'ane's voice terminates with a vaguely *glrk*y sound and he lurches suddenly towards the pregnant woman, a wild-eyed set to his face. He's a little belated, acting after Maryam's swift movement, and he literally sighs in relief as the veiled woman so deftly handles the greenrider. "Don't make me have Dhioth b'speak Valiuth," he threatens, pausing to lean heavily back on his heels.

Sienna isn't /that/ close to the well! Besides…she'd probably just get stuck like a cork in a bottle. Taking the note from Maryam she just gives K'ane a baffled look at his lurching. "What? I'm fine!" And she turns to waddle back into the kitchens. "I'll be right back." It's hard to tell if she's oblivious to the well's significance or (more likely) she's having a bit of fun at poor K'ane's expense.

A sympathetic twitch for K'ane's lurching ripples through the folds of cloth wrapped around Maryam. She gets it, and sends a wondering look after the greenrider. Will she ever understand Oldtimers? Likely not. A small puff of breath stirs her veil as she looks to the ground again. What follows is a moment of mild hesitation, possibly even awkwardness- this isn't a business setting, where she can speak confidently (but politely!) to a strange man. After some reflection, she remarks quietly, "They should fill it in."

K'ane looks INJURED. "I'm never bringin' y'cider ever again, woman," he declares with a shake of his head — his shaggy head. He looks like something out of the 70s right now, his hair halfway grown out to cover ears, the source of constant finger-combing to get the whole mess back. He balefully eyes Sienna a moment longer, before swiftly stepping towards Maryam, braving proximity to the well to look at her directly, offering his hand to shake. "M'thanks t'you, miss," he politely states. "I think I'ven't the pleasure. I'm K'ane, Dhioth's own…" The 'and you are?' is implicit in the cock of an eyebrow.

"Yes you will!" That was Sienna's voice from the kitchens. She's a WLM now, that gives her super teacher hearing.

Maryam studies the offered hand and is juuust inching her own out to accept it- a monumental step!- when Sienna's super teacher hearing and subsequent call are heard. She startles, pulls her hand back and hides it with the other in the full sleeves of her garb, as if caught at doing something horribly improper. "Well met, sir, and my respects to your Dhioth. Maryam. Steen's daughter, of The Pit."

See, K'ane's a jughead. Just. So everyone knows. He keeps his hand out, steady, apparently more than ready to outlive her awkwardness. "Maryam. I've heard of th' Steens," politely, hand still extended. His eyebrows are starting to rise. LET US SEE what wins out: the male authority figure desiring a certain consequence, or the standard ideal of propriety.

Sienna is in the kitchens, making sure Mama Steen gets her citrus glazed wherry.

This is the stuff that maidens' nightmares are made of. One expectant bronzerider, a public location and a demand that goes against every piece of training instilled in her from a young age. Maryam has likely broken out in a cold sweat beneath all of those layers. The debate with herself is a subtle thing, mostly visible in a shadow crossing her brow, bringing her eyebrows closer together. In the end, she opts to treat this as she would in The Pit- with all of the respect to be accorded a knotted guest. Her hand extends to attempt a fleeting press of palm to palm. "It is an honor, sir," she all but whispers behind her veil.

K'ane isn't a TERRIBLE ass. But he does shake her hand, firm-grasped, because he is K'ane and his daddy taught him to shake everyone's hand the same, not wuss out about women's so-called delicate hands. "I ain't sure 'bout all that. An' please, call me K'ane, y'keep sayin' sir and I'm gonna look around t'see where W'rin's at." Sienna's sure TAKING HER SWEET TIME.

Sienna emerges from the kitchens just in time to see them - gasp - shaking hands, as she waddles closer to them both. "It shouldn't take too long, Maryam," she says with a smile. "I put it on my tab, so don't worry about it. And you'd better get used to sir, K'ane, your rank demands it."

Not a firm grip! Maryam doesn't exactly twist her hand away but she does pull it back with alacrity when Sienna reappears. Zoop, into her sleeve it goes, hiding again. "I am sorry, sir," she says with seeming earnestness, "but it is required, yes. As the Weyrlingmaster says. Names are best kept to family." And speaking of Sienna, the young woman turns back to the greenrider with relief and gratitude. "Thank you, ma'am. That was generous of you."

A firm grip. K'ane may have half a smile for Maryam's quick retreat, and glancing over to Sienna with a stronger version of the same — his smile, that is, crooked. "I get it enough from th' weyrlings. I ain't be needin' it from anyone else." Then. Hesitation. "'Sides, it ain't like I'm gonna stay, after this clutch. Only reason I was promoted to it in th' first place was 'cause of," he rolls a hand. BECAUSE OF ALL THAT.

Sienna gives Maryam a warm smile, resting her hand on her belly. "It's the least I can do," she murmurs. "How is your mother doing?" She's not sure if that's an appropriate question to ask here, and in front of K'ane, but she'd rather ask than not. Then she's looking to K'ane, both surprised and then frowning. "You're not staying?" She is hurt! "Why not?" Abandoning your post!

"She tires more now but she is otherwise doing very well, thank you for asking." That Sienna did ask brings a softer light to Maryam's eyes, the implication of a smile. "She has agreed you should meet Annyka soon, as well. Whenever it is most convenient to you, ma'am. It is-" Ooh, awkward. There are exclamation points, and a quick retreat into silence for the young Steen, who looks back and forth between them.

"I came here t'fight Thread," K'ane states, and it sounds like he's had this argument before. With someone else. Then he relents: "Only if Elicheritath goes up, sooner'r later. I'd stick around. But I ain't teachin' no lot of boys if girls ain't gettin' a chance t'stand." Oh hi Maryam, have some contrary nowtimer politics and perhaps the rarest beast on Pern: the bronzerider feminist.

Sienna nods to the veiled woman. "I'm glad to hear it. On both counts. I would very much like to meet her. The sooner the better. Could she visit this far into the weyr?" Or does she have to waddle to The Pit? Then she looks at K'ane, frowning, and takes a breath to argue…and then she sighs. "Your own choice, I won't force you to stay." She just had /plans/. Oh well. She glances at Maryam and back to K'ane.

Were this the Bazaar, Maryam might be more confident in her response. Here, however, she hides a study of K'ane by lowering her head and observing him through her head wrappings. Peek peek. Not that it's her place to comment but such a strange beast, a bronzerider who speaks for women. Luckily there is Sienna to fill in any gaps of silence. "Mama has said that she may come to see you, as you are…" There's a pause while she censors what Mama likely said. "Deserving of some rest, before the birth."

K'ane scrubs at his chin and eyes Sienna a long moment. "I thought y'were leavin'," he finally states, half-a-question, half-statement. "After." He gestures vaguely at her belly, and squints a little bit over at Maryam, still a bit dubious about the veiled girl's pressence.

Sienna notices that censoring, and Sienna only grins. "What did she truly say?" she asks, grin crooked and eyes amused. Looking back at K'ane, she stares at him for a long moment. Is this a 'I'll stay if you stay but I thought you were leaving so I was leaving first' situation? "I want to be an AWLM. If the weyr will have me." She sounds doubtful, and for good reason given Corelle's ban against females on the sands. "The Weyrlingmaster knot is, I think, temporary. But I don't know. I serve the weyr." She seems to be speaking freely enough in Maryam's presence. Though Sienna's never been good at political intrigue.

Loyalty to Mama trumps all, which means that Maryam is now in the position of having to satisfy Sienna's curiosity without breaking that rule. Riders. Her life has become a great deal more complicated since she's had to begin dealing with them. In the end, a compromise is achieved: partial truths. "She said if you were to walk to The Pit in your state now, you would have your child in the Bazaar's dust." That's not offensive, right? Under K'ane's squinting regard, she isn't so certain and hesitates again. "I should leave you to your business," she murmurs.

"Huh." K'ane squintyeyes at her. Sienna-her, that is. "Well. If you stay." Why yes, this is one of those I'll-stay-because-I-thought-you-were-leaving-and-who-the-hell-wants-to-work-with-new-coworkers-because-if-you-left-I-would-have-had-to-train-them-and-that-would-blow-chunks-but-hey!-now-everything-may-work-out-fine *gasp for breath* situations. "Well, th' weyr would be dumb t'not have you." But his tone seems to indicate he's not putting much past this particular weyr. Ahem. To Maryam: "Naw, it ain't — nothin' secret. Nothin' t'be hidden." His words aren't pointed at ALL.

Sienna laughs. "Well, she would know," she admits, rubbing her belly with a slight frown. She knows she should be resting. She knows she should be off her feet. And yet. Work. Duty. And more work. Glancing back at K'ane, she snorts. "Well then we'll see what the weyr wants to do with us, shall we?" she asks, lifting her chin to peer at the well again. "Maryam, I had a question about The Pit, and you can decline to answer and I won't be offended, I promise."

Nothing secret but neither is it her business- at least out loud. With permission given, Maryam seems content to remain. And to listen. Always with the listening, and the occasional glance up between the pair. When Sienna's attention returns, she straightens and nods to the woman. "If I can answer, ma'am, I will do so."

"Guess we will." K'ane leans back again, glancing over his shoulder as if he may make to leave; but Sienna's question to the veiled one arrests his attention — and his feet, for the moment. He hovers, because he's a nosy jughead, too.

Sienna's dark eyes follow K'ane's half retreat before she looks back to Maryam. "How much profit - percentage - does The Pit make on each fight? I mean…it must be enough to keep the doors open, and yet…you charge admission? Do you charge for the use of the fighting pits themselves? The fighters must make their marks as well, I would assume… I am…" and she pauses, pushing at a stray curl, "trying to learn about things I know nothing about."

Oh, the humiliation. Asked about unfeminine numbers, in front of an audience! Maryam is caught completely off-guard, blinking in startled fashion at the greenrider. And then the bronzerider. And then the greenrider again. Equal opportunity blinking. "It is…there are…formulas. Ma'am. It would take a great deal to explain. Percentages, yes, and…I am…I am sorry, it is not…I am…" Deeply, deeply embarrassed. "It varies. Our arrangements with each fighter. Our take on each fight."

And suddenly, a gleam of interest. "Y'pay your fighters?" comes K'ane's very THOUGHTFUL question, and he leans towards Maryam-embarassed with a calculating expression.

Sienna is clueless, and she looks baffled at Maryam's reaction. Quick to hold up a hand, she imagines she's crossed some line into 'what riders don't need to know. "It's okay, Maryam, you don't /have/ to explain anything to me. Just…if you could. I understand that you can't." Then she looks at K'ane, smirking. "You can't fight until after graduation." Look, she gave him an order!

Somehow, Sienna's understanding only makes it worse. "It is inappropriate for a young woman to deal in numbers, ma'am. I apologize. I do so from necessity and aptitude, but it is…difficult, to speak of," Maryam is quick to say, in her quietest tone of voice. Barely a whisper, that. K'ane of the leaning is given an uncertain look. "We do, sir. Contracted fighters on different terms than independents. Unknowns earn much less but once a man makes his name, the percentage increases."

"What, y'don't want me t' show up at another graduation battered'n bruised?" K'ane has a lazy smirk for Sienna, and then a focused look at Maryam. He's close enough to overhear, with his leaning, and his eyebrows SKYROCKET. "Why's it inappropriate for you t' talk about numbers?" He's not pissed, he's confused. It may make it worse, because his face is screwed up in a giant 'huh?'.

Sienna tilts her head a bit, and then looks surprised. "Oh! I apologize, I…well. One more thing I don't know," she says with a little frown. "I…why is it inappropriate?" she asks almost at the same time K'ane does. "No, I most definitely do not," she mutters, smirking. "It sets a bad example. How'd you feel if /I/ showed up battered and bruised?" He's alllll about equality, right?

The thought of a woman on The Pit's fighting sands leaves Maryam looking blankly at Sienna again. True, it's rumored Mama Steen cracked a few skulls with a hammer back in the day, but that's Mama. And Sienna is pregnant. "Women are not allowed to fight," she feels compelled to say before taking a calming breath, that leaves her veil pressed against her mouth. These riders. These riders! "It is…it is men's work. What I do. It is inappropriate. But I have…I remember numbers."

K'ane looks at Sienna after a moment. "I'd kill someone," he replies, and his voice is wholly irrational. Sure, he's a feminist. But he's a, uh. Chivalry-oriented feminist? Or something. He's K'ane. He doesn't have to make sense. "Once I figured out who'd be dumb enough t'do such a thing." Like beat up Sienna. Well. If he could get there before W'rin, which… is probably not likely. "Why's it men's work?" Blank, blank look.

Sienna looks startled at Maryam's words. "I'd /never/ fight!" she protests, sounding very nowtime with how appalled her tone is. Dark eyes flick to K'ane and she studies him for a long moment. There's a faint little smile, a silent appreciation for his chivalrous nature. She likes that. She appreciates it. It makes her feel safe, knowing people (not just men) would have her back. Then she looks back to Maryam. Again, K'ane's asked her question before she has.

Finally, something Maryam can agree with! K'ane's expression of potential murder receives a solemn nod from the young woman- that is as it should be. But then she's put on the spot again and this time, there's no dragging her gaze up from the ground. "I apologize. Ma'am. Sir. I should go. Begging your pardon," she says quickly, nay, hastily. A quick curtsey is offered the pair. Likely the rudest thing she's ever done, turning away to attempt a retreat.

"But…" K'ane doesn't try to stop her from leaving, of course, but his flummoxed expression follows Maryam out. "Uh." His blue eyes scythe back over to Sienna. "Was it somethin' I said?" He looks awkward, standing there, staring after the strange creature… but hey, in brighter news, he totally forgot about the well.

Sienna says, "What about the citrus glazed wherry?"

She paid for that!

Too late, Maryam is fled! Poor Mama will have to go without.

K'ane mutters, "She's gonna hear 'bout that." From her Mama, of course. Maybe even get her ears boxed. Or pilloried. Whatever barbaric custom these strange nowtimers indulge in.

Sienna will have it delivered.

Sienna exhales softly after sending a drudge to the bazaar to deliver Mama's food. "I'm not sure," she admits. "Likely both of us, truth be told…" And she glances at her assistant with a faint smile.

"Yeah," K'ane agrees after a minute. "I think you're right." He shakes his head, then, and suddenly becomes aware of the well again. He edges away from it. Slowly. "I think," he starts, "I think I'd best go, uh," beat, "Get some dinner, or sommat."

Sienna glances at the well once more, and then to K'ane. "No one's going to push you in," she murmurs, turning towards the door. "There's good stew tonight. Rich," she suggests. But then, "Thanks."

"My luck," K'ane, gloomy, "I'd trip." It's true. He grins over at Sienna, a quick flash of expression, then. "I'll keep that 'n mind," about the stew; then he's giving her a jaunty salute and heading, with alacrity, AWAY FROM THE WELL.

He didn't even ask what the thanks was for! Which is probably good because Sienna probably couldn't have explained it. Returning the salute, she peers into the well once more and then waddles back into the kitchen.

Add a New Comment