==== October 25, 2013
==== Maryam, Mayte, Taryn
==== It's Maryam's Turnday!

Who Maryam, Mayte, Taryn
What It's Maryam's Turnday. Mayte gives her first tasting as a present, and Taryn rounds out the conversation.
When Ten months and 21 days to the 12th Pass
Where Dustbowl Cantina

Mayte1.jpg i3_casual.jpg


Dustbowl Cantina
To enter the Dustbowl Cantina is to descend: the heart of the ancient tavern lies half underground, at the foot of ancient steps, insulated from summer heat and winter cold by the volcanic rock surrounding it. A windowless place well-lit by glows, it is homey, even cozy, with a certain bijou charm - but for the deep gouges worn in wooden table and solid stone, some clearly lingering evidence of boisterous brawling. The wall behind the well-polished bar, though, remains free from scars or graffiti, as does the door into the small kitchen, and the stairwell up into the owner's quarters: the barkeep and his staff reign, and they guard their territory well. After all, only a fool angers the source of the booze.

Early evening, and those who have not sat down to dinner in the Bazaar have begun to trickle into their favorite watering holes. Of these, the Dustbowl is the most popular (no doubt due to its owner's propensity for fine headwear) and so it is also the most crowded. Maryam, daughter Steen, is a frequent patron though typically her visits tend to be either attending her a brother, or delivering (or waiting for) various messages from distant contacts through less than visible sources. But on this night, once each Turn, she visits the cantina for a different purpose. On this night, the young woman has found a cosy table in a cosy corner and there she stakes her claim: a bottle of wine sits before her and beside that a glass waiting to be filled. It's of no special quality, the wine; infrequent drinkers have no facility to tell poor vintage from fine. But average or no, she is letting the uncorked bottle breathe while toying idle with the lower edge of her veil- thinking, perhaps, of how best to enjoy her Turnday gift to herself without making a spectacle or creating stains for the laundry to scrub out.

Early evening is the perfect time to strike. Those who seek to line their stomachs with good vintage have probably retreated to their homes to boast of the fine wines, while those who have no idea are lining up at the bar for less than prime vintage. It's into this particular world that Mayte ventures, her nose bright with antipation, eyes eager and mischievous with knowing that one extra fact. She squirms through the crowd to get a glass of something maudlin, and then squirms back out, somehow having acquired a second glass, and looks for a quiet place. Ahh look, the unmistakeable chancing upon someone who sits quietly with an empty glass, bottle or no bottle. Mayte makes her way over and pronounces herself to Maryam, "Hi there! Can I join you?" She's already placing both glasses down, and patting something in her breast pocket. Something that bulges, but does not clink.

Wait, what? Bulges are involved? Maryam's eyes, blue as the veil she's donned tonight, widen when the young woman lays claim to a portion of the table and then begins to patting herself down. Oldtimers, amirite? "…ah, as you like," she says quietly when some of her surprise has faded. And since she has had to be on her best behavior of late, a gentle admonition is tacked on: "It is best if you…if you, ah…" The words prove too much and Maryam demonstrates, setting her hands over the tables edge where they are both fully visible- fresh henna has been applied to palms and fingers, rust red latticework covering her skin- and therefore unengaged in any inappropriate behavior.

Mayte makes herself at home, thanks so much, placing herself into a chair with less of a plop than one might expect. The bulge turns out to be a nearly overfull-wineskin that Mayte places right in front of her, so it's within easy grabbing reach, just in case. Still, manners of some sort beg, and Mayte comments, "Ooh, I do like the designs on your hands. They're very nice." She eyes the bottle of wine sitting in front of Maryam critically, and asks the age old question: "Are you planning to drink that?" As for her hands, no fear - they're laced loosely around the wineskin, just in case anyone should try to make trouble. "I've got something that would taste a lot better," she tries for an alluring, secretive tone. Trust her: her knot says 'vintner', right?

Ah! Of course a vintner's suspicious bulges would be a wineskin. Maryam's breath puffs out between parted lips, lifting her veil just a touch. Relief? Recognition that this is a pitch? "Thank you," she murmurs for the compliment, her hands fleeing it and sliding beneath the table again. "I…was planning to drink that, yes ma'am. But if you recommend a different wine…" The young woman trails off there, and her eyes finally do warm with a smile- though she has a trick up her sleeve to throw a wrench in the peddler's works. "It is my Turnday but I forgot to set a bottle aside for the occasion."

Mayte sees the movement of the veil and grins a little, though she eyes the disappearing hands briefly. A little chortle, and Mayte leans in slightly closer to say, "Well, miss, I am always ready to recommend a different wine," aka, hers, "to a ready and willing tongue." The wineskin wibbles a little between Mayte's hands, "And on your Turnday, no less. I'm not sure who has the better of the other, then. Is your fancy red or white?" Looking around surreptitiously to make sure no one is near to stealing her drink, Mayte hints," I just sampled a couple of blends I've been waiting on," and by the expression of pleasure that crosses Mayte's face, "They were well worth waiting for. Would you like to try some?"

Oho, the vintner is good at this game! Maryam's enjoyment grows, seen in the way she leans slightly forward to listen as the other woman responds. Oh so solemnly, she takes the ball that's been lobbed to her and runs with it: "I know very little about blends but by your knot and by your eyes, I see someone whose advice I can trust. Whatever you would suggest, ma'am, and I will pay you…shall we say half? It is, after all, the day of my birth and that comes but one a Turn." There. It could be said that she's anticipating Mayte's answer with as much relish as she is the wine itself.

You can always trust a vintner, if that vintner's name is Mayte. Or Eollyn. Probably a few others, but this one Vintner affects a moue of disappointment, shaking her head, "No, no, Miss. I know my vintage is good, but it's still in trial stage! I need to know if," and for a brief moment, Mayte eyes the be-veiled Maryam and smiles, "the wine pleases just me, or all palates." She's not about to let Maryam change her answer to 'no', though, and pours a nearly opaque ruby red wine into the clean glass and pushes it forth to the birthday girl. Her own, filled glass gets dumped into an empty one on an adjoining table. That lucky patron isn't about to bemoan a new drink. Mayte pulls out a kerchief to wipe it dry. "It should be… well, tell me what you taste. I don't want to prejudice you." Mayte pours herself the same amount, and lifts the glass in invitation, "Happy Turnday," she says with a welcoming smile.

The advantage of not being an actual trader in the Bazaar is that one needn't feel guilty about speaking the truth. Case in point: Maryam does reach for the filled glass, but as she cradles its cup in hennaed hand, she warns the vintner, "I am not certain I have the tongue to tell good from bad." Caution delivered, her other hand lifts the veil just enough that the glass can be slipped beneath, allowing her to drink. With eyes cut to the side- the better to allow her a moment of thought- she rolls that tiny sip on her tongue before finally declaring it, "Sweeter than I had expected for such a color."

While some may have particular reasons for being in the Cantina, Taryn is more just a creature blown in from the cold of the desert night. She's quick to shake back the thick of her heavier shawl upon entrance to the subterranean space, letting it fall from hooding her head to slump more loosely from the nooks of her elbows. She has a lighter scarf is still in place over blonde hair, more tidily so for the simple pins of dull metal in glowlight. A scan of kohl rimmed eyes finds the two young women enjoying their wine and sets her course towards them.

Mayte waves a hand, and sips her own, commenting, "A lot of people get wrapped up in the nose, the weight, the so-on-and-so-forth," and though Mayte rolls her eyes, the terms roll off her tongue easily enough, "I want to know if people like it." The Vintner watches curiously for any change in expression in Maryam's eyes, nodding at her analysis, "That's true, but it's also slightly less alcoholic for the sweetness." That fades into the hint of reluctant possibility, but Mayte smiles brightly to cover, "so one can enjoy more." The nearing of a new presence lends Mayte to look up slightly in surprise. Who's this new celebrant?

"I do like it. I enjoy reds but when I partake, I find the after taste a little strong. Sour. This is quite different." Maryam isn't about to do cartwheels over the blend- can anyone imagine her doing cartwheels over anything?- but there's a certain thoughtful pleasure in the way she lifts her veil again to take a second sip. Surely two sips must mean it passes muster. As the glass is lowered to the table, her veil restored, her eyes follow Mayte's glance to discover Taryn set to intercept. If…intercepting were a thing people did to stationary objects. "Healer," she greets, tipping a hand towards one of the vacant chairs in invitation.

A grateful smile flashes for the invitation. "Daughter Steen." There is, perhaps, a slight wince of apology which betrays that the more general address isn't all choice. "Are you having a good evening?" The young woman is all bright inquiry as she slips around the chair, the neatness of crossed ankles and swept skirts a little to put-on to be completely natural. "It appears you have the beverages for it," a nod towards their wine glasses. Her smile goes next to the teen, a hand lifting only to deflect to fussing with the lay of her shawl. "Hello. I'm Taryn."

Mayte smiles, the death of many grapes having come to fruition. The simple pleasure in Maryam's tone is enough to relax Mayte's shoulders slightly, and she takes a larger sip. "I'm looking for a name for this blend," she tells the woman directly, "Something that will call to women. Did you know, women tend to be the decision makers when it comes to wine?" With that little information tidbit dropped, Mayte focuses on the new party-goer with a smile, "Hello, Taryn. I'm Mayte, Vintner," just in case the wineskin doesn't indicate, "Would you like to try some?" The hunt for a clean(ish) glass is on. She eyes Maryam a moment with a secretive grin. Turnday girl.

"Please. Maryam tonight. Simple names for a simple evening." Let's set a tone, shall we? An atmosphere. Casual in public? How novel! Though there are limits. The younger Steen reaches for her wine and again slips it beneath the veil, rather than removing the drapery entirely. "Somehow I am not in the least surprised. The men at the Pit always prefer beers and ales, before and after fights. Some, I think, live entirely off of barrels rather than plates." As for names, well! Yet another taste is needed, while she muses on possibilities. "…I confess to being better at thinking of fighters' names. But…something that suggests coolness? Always a popular thing in the desert."

The vintner's tidbit may lead her introduction, but Taryn nonetheless leans after it. The thought turns up wide blue eyes as some fancy touches her smile. "A pleasure to meet you, Mayte," she says with a succinct little nod as her attention drops back. "Maryam," is also confirmed with the slanting cast of a quietly sly little quirk — shared appreciation, perhaps, for the simplicity that's not always so simply come by. Also: "Please," she'd love to try some of the yet-unnamed wine. "I wouldn't trust many of the men of my aquaintence to choose on anything more than alcohol strength," she'll also add along to the other women's assertions.

And yet, in not knowing how to name a wine, Maryam may have tweaked Mayte's fancy for strange wine names: the Vintner's eyes go dreamy, the glass is raised to rest on the lip, and Mayte tests it out: "Casual." Then, realizing she's among friends, Mayte comes back to Pern and brightens into a smile, "I think you've got it exactly right, Maryam. 'Casual', to suggest a comfortable, but elegant, drinking wine." The wherry is in the details, but so is the advertising. Taryn gets a wide grin and Mayte flags down a server, stealing a clean glass whose brethren was surrounding a bottle of whiskey. Brazen, yes, but Mayte isn't going to offend a new friend as to let her drink from a wineskin, for shame, and fills the glass with her own dark ruby red to push to Taryn, "Maryam calls it a pleasantly sweet finish but not overpowering." And who is Mayte to disagree, "What do you think?"

The healer's remark, buoying her own, draws a soft whisper of breath from Maryam. That might have been a chuckle if she were in the habit of public displays of amusement. "Strength to men, taste to women?" she suggests, albeit in the softest of voices to avoid being overheard. Her own wineglass- the level within barely lowered in spite of the repeated sips- is turned slowly between her palms while she considers Mayte's suggestion. "An odd name," is her honest assessment, "but Igen has become an odd Weyr, mm? I should have told you to call it Maryam, then you need only drop the Steen name and you'll have no more in stock." Odd name, odd Weyr and definitely an odd sense of humor.

Perky thanks are murmured under the Healer's breath as she accepts the slid-over glass, amusement rather than scandal showing for the apprentice's resourcefulness in aquiring the vessel. Her gaze flicks over to Maryam as she lifts it towards her lips, the other woman's suggestion leaving her teeth chiming soft against the rim as it prompts an uninhibitable grin. At least she doesn't snort the wine. Taryn proves herself no seasoned connoisseur, holding a mouthful a little awkwardly in her cheeks as her eyes rove in consideration of both the taste and the Steen's words. Her swallow is perhaps a little thick as she levels a less certain look after that odd humor, lips turning up tentatively as blue eyes drift to Mayte to see if the vintner perhaps better understands. "Deliciously sweet," is what she has to offer, meanwhile. "Perfect for sharing with friends under a tasseled awning."

Speaking of weird senses of humour, Mayte raises an eyebrow, "You should have heard of the one we were gonna call Wingleader." A shake of the head and the Vintner grins, "Had a label drawn up and everything, but no one was buying. 'Maryam' would definitely sell better." What Mayte doesn't mention is how the weird ink led to complaints of smells from the wine, or which Wingleader was to be named, but who knows, really. Trying to match her sips in time with the Daughter of Steen results in Mayte taking slightly larger parts than usual, though she doesn't seem to suffer from it much. A gracious bow of the head to Taryn, and Mayte ventures, "Do you like the sweetness? Would you share it among friends?" She's not sipping now, at least, intent on hearing Taryn's answer.

"Ah," Maryam breathes out soft amusement, "a wine marketed to riders only? Not a poor idea, they seem to drink quite a bit. But I suppose that would depend on the Wingleader. Some seem well liked?" She's only guessing here, suggestion more than statement. "Maryam is a poor name but if Mama told people to buy it…" See? This is why she shouldn't make jokes. Explaining them takes all of the funny (what funny there was) right out of it. And then she too is tipping a look to Taryn, hands cradling the glass, shoulders already settling into a more relaxed posture as the wine works its magic. It doesn't take much.

There's an eager blink as Mayte speaks of this Wingleader label, then the toss of a little nod to agree with Maryam regarding the riders. "And if women decide," she slips in with a low note, brows arcing high and smile small around her sip. "Some Wingleaders seem very well likable." The Healer then settles in her chair, too, helped out by the additional context Maryam gives even if it leaves her late to appriciate the joke. She's doing quite well enough appriciating the wine, anyhow, rolling the taste of it about her lips and tilting looks through the glass as she holds it out where light can spangle prettily through. "I would gladly buy it with the marks I hope to earn and the friends I'd like to make," Taryn proclaims in answer with a cheerily wry little slant offered the vintner.

Mayte nods happily at Taryn: that's promise enough, "With only an apprentice stamp on it, it won't be too expensive," as not all quality wine has to be. Well within a journeyman's economical means. The idea of a likeable wingleader gets a little snort from Mayte, but she doesn't mention an unlikeable ones. The vintner opens her mouth to say something but thinks better of it and turns to smile at Maryam, "Steenwhistle, perhaps, for an honoured vintage beer?" Mayte ventures, "Would the Steens condone adding their name to that?"

"To marks and friends," Maryam considers as a possible toast, tipping her glass just enough to look into its dark red depths. Toasts are called for on occasions such as these, no? But then Mayte goes and distracts her with business, which even half a glass of wine can't keep her from contemplating. Here is someone who clearly doesn't know the meaning of the term rest day. "If you were to brew a beer that Mama approved of, I have no doubt she would commission it exclusively for Pit use, for fighters and galleries both. A decent journeyman project, mm? Mama has exacting tastes." And a nasty case of gout but Mayte shouldn't let that get in the way.

Taryn practically sparkles as she lofts her glass along. "Then I think I like it all the more," she sways to share with Mayte upon such economical remarks. The Healer is occupied with sipping as they speak of beer, but her brows loft with interest and blue eyes shift from one to the other. "What a great idea," is her enthusiastic bolstering for the vintner once she's swallowed. "Maybe in smaller batches, as you start, it would not go unwelcome as a prize? If the men are as fond as you say," she acknowledges Maryam with an animated turn of her hand. A catch of breath twitches her smile and puts a slight tilt to her head. "Mama Steen must be… quite the woman." It's no idle flattery, with the curiosity that's light in stormcloud eyes.

Hey, man, Mayte's day job IS a rest-day - she makes and samples wine. Does it get any better? Not that this apprentice has found. The possibility of satisfying a request to the exacting standard of the Steens? Mayte is aglow in the whirling embers of thoughts until Taryn's smart suggestion gets a nod, "Of course, the trial batches could be tested under some unassuming name, until getting coming close," Mayte says quietly, "And of course, I would need a judge to tell me when I'm nearing the apex of Madame Steen's taste." An eye doesn't cut to Maryam's slender person, until Taryn wonders aloud, and Mayte agrees curiously: "I've only seen her from a distance, but she is unmistakeable." Unless you're foolish. THEN you get what's coming to ya.

Ah, yes. The danger of mentioning her mother. Curiosity. And it had been going so well! Gently, carefully, Maryam places the wineglass on the table. Unfinished, alas, but Faranth only knows what she'd say were she to drink the entire thing. "If you were to put together a proposal, I can arrange a time for you to meet with her," she murmurs, reaching up to ensure her veil is in its proper place after all of that shifting about to partake of intoxicants. "Especially if you were to name it for the family. Excuse me, please?" The tips of hennaed fingers rest on the table as she rises, nods deeply to both of them and then slides out from behind the table to take her leave with no other parting words or explanation. Nowtimers? Definitely odd at times.

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