====October 21, 2013
==== Mama Steen, Maryam, W'rin
====W'rin visits the Pit to have words about recent events.

Who Mama Steen, Maryam, W'rin
What W'rin visits the Pit to have words about recent events. Warning: Language and bullheadedness ahead!
When There are 0 turns, 11 months and 3 days until the 12th pass.
Where The Pit, Igen Weyr

mama-steen.jpg maryam02.png 2Contemplative.jpg


The Pit
One does not enter The Pit so much as descend into it. Why else the name? The Steen ancestors paid for their square footage with sweat, excavating the area and building curved walls up around it. Wide, smooth steps descend into a large entry area that overlooks the pit and galleries. Floors, ceilings and walls have been whitewashed with limestone paste, increasing the amount of light reflected back from the numerous glow baskets hung on the walls. A rounded doorway to the right leads one into the business' office, which is furnished in spartan style: cushions for kneeling or sitting upon, a desk that's low to the ground constructed of the same whitewashed stone as the rest of the building, and niches carved out of the walls themselves for decorative pieces. Here is a small sculpture of men wrestling, there is a wooden carving of a champion with a foot upon his vanquished foe.

Continuing on through the lobby brings one to another set of six stairs that descend into the galleries surrounding the sand-filled pits. A low wall separates audience from combatants, but even at its highest point, those in the galleries are never more than twenty feet away from the action. The sand is raked daily, with fresh sand added whenever the blood to soil ratio becomes too great.

-- On Pern --
It is afternoon
It is 3:17 PM where you are.
There are 0 turns, 11 months and 3 days until the 12th pass.
It is Winter and 43 degrees. It is very hot for the season.

The Pit is winding up for the evening's festivities. Drudges and younger members of the Steen family scurry hither and yon, cleaning and stocking what will be needed for their guests and the combatants during the fights. Another group of drudges linger at the edge of the arena armed with rakes; the sand will need to be tidied but it has to wait until the group of well known house wrestlers have finished practicing. A pair of brawny men are grappling each other, another cross dull-edged practice swords while still others are throwing themselves one at a time at a much smaller man who's special talent seems to be deflecting and tossing his opponents further than one would expect. And overseeing all of this controlled chaos? Mama, of course. She's on her dais, sipping at mulled wine to keep the chill at bay while Maryam kneels on a stool beside her. The younger woman's henna'd hands are slowly turning the pages of the official odds keeping book for the business, while Mama glances between the figures on the page and the figures on the sands. "…mark him a long shot," she instructs her daughter, who nods acknowledgement.

It is during the end of the evening sparring that W'rin walks. He has more decorum than to interupt The Pits day business. But he certainly makes no qualms about striding with purpose past the men and boys whom he would normally wait to be directed by, or stop to ask to approach the office which is currently occupied by Madame Steen and her daughter. He's not here to hurt business, but she has lost a certain amount of esteem in his eyes. Knuckles wrap in three short but rough knocks against the door frame. The man's face set unreadable, which is probably readable enough.

It is. Word must have gotten around, because the occupants of the building scurry when the Weyrleader appears, all of them heading in the other direction. It means there's relative privacy for that moment when Mama Steen deigns to lift her head- which will have to wait a moment, because she's tapping at the book again. "And two to one odds for him, he did well in his last bout," she instructs her daughter. Maryam's face is veiled, as per usual, but what can be seen of her face has gone a chalky shade of pale beneath the silky fabric. After nodding again, silent, she sits back on her heels and waits with head bowed, while her mother turns a gimlet gaze to the youngster looming over there. "Well?" she finally huffs. "Let's have it, then."

W'rin sets his gaze on the ghostly look Maryam, both in covered skin and the paling sight beneath the cloth. "I think perhaps we ought to talk." His gaze lifting from the girl to the true matriarch of the establishment. Giving his respects as one ought, he bows slighty at the shoulders. "Alone." He doesn't bother to look back at the younger female, his eyes steady on the older. Surprisingly he doesn't seem here to yell, or wield his power as a sword. His clenching jaw the only show that he may be containing any ounce of anger left from their encounter the night before.

Maryam keeps her head lowered to avoid any risk of eye contact. Here, in her mother's presence, she will be the meek and dutifully chastened daughter- the meek and chastened daughter who immediately rises, upon receiving a flick of the finger from Mama. She only glances up into W'rin's face when she hurries by him, the book clutched to her chest. There might be an apology there, or perhaps she's searching for some sign of murderous rage. Whatever that look meant, it's gone when she is gone. Mama is left to settle back in her chair- it creams ominously- with a thin-lipped smile playing over her lips. "Good to see that clutch of hens you've been dropped into haven't stolen your balls. Have a seat or don't, lad, and say your piece."

"My balls are firmly in place, woman." It is only now when it will do her no real harm to either her or him that W'rin allows a bit of his frustration to seep into his voice. And he does drop himself into a chair, arms crossing over his massive chest as he studies her for a moment. "Ladivos was my idea. Not that I am sure that does much for your daughters status, and I could give to shits about whatever you family issues are." He grunts heavily as he shifts, his legs spread out before him with an ease of a man of authority. Not the authority that comes with a knot, just a man who is sure of himself. "My concern is the weyr. My duty is thread. My job is to ready the wings. That said. I was trying to help. There is a balance to must be maintained. At least from prying eyes." His eyes narrow as he brow pulls down over his already small eyes, "That I am sure you understand. Having to keep certain things out of the public eye."

Mama listens impassively throughout, her own mantle of authority unruffled by the ease of his. It might well be a little like looking in a mirror. An…odd mirror, to be sure. One that doesn't follow his movements, as the old woman is more inclined to sip her steamy wine than to fold her arms. Fuck her gout; she's earned a spicy drink to keep her old bones warm in this desert winter. "Fuck your help, if it means sneaking around behind my back with the girl. What's private about taking my dog and fitting him with a new collar in front of the Weyr? Might as well have announced I can't keep my house in order anymore, and what do you think that's gonna do for me? S'like waving a flag in front of a bull." That bull being Corelle, no doubt. Her jaw sets on a gulp of wine, her own eyes equally narrow. "Never thought you'd be the lad as would try to hamstring me. I say I'm owed, for that, and the smear on my girl's name for you encouraging her to run amok."

W'rin only snorts at the accussation and shakes his head, "Fine, fuck my help. All well and good, Steen." His massive hands press against his thighs as he leans forward. "I only took the leash from the dog's owner. He wasn't your dog at all." His lips thin, and his nostrils flair as he lets that sink in. "Never thought," He lifts an eyebrow as he mimics her speech, "You'd be the one too busy trying to maintain the power of your house to take a good deal when you see it. If you weren't so preoccupied with beatin' the girl back down, no one else would have had to know."

The hand not holding her wine is balled into the meatiest of fists and slammed against the arm of her chair. The wood groans again. "No one does and no one will," Mama roars, proving that she is actually the bull. Or maybe a bear. All she lacks is teeth and pelt. "But I'll have my thrice-damned apology from you. No one knowing doesn't excuse you for what you did! Where's your honor, boy? You were trained up better than that! You've known better since you started growin' short and curlies!" Rage spent, she flops backwards in the chair, wine sloshing unnoticed over her fingers. What follows is more lacklustre, her age showing even before she lets loose a sigh. "It's those women, isn't it? That knot you're wearing has thrown you to the hens, you're too used to dealing with that sort. All high tits and big ideas. Dammit, W'rin."

"You're not so different from them. Minus the high tits." W'rin's grin curls just lightly bitter coating his amusement. "Hasn't thrown me to the hens, but just like you play by certain rules, the weyr does too. The sky is mine, the domestic life hers. So I have to play in the shadows if I'm going to play." He pushes himself back upright and his arms re-cross as he thinks. "Damn be all you want, Steen. If you'd played cool, claimed responsibility for Lavidos being captain, it would have gotten back round to Corelle. He'd have been fired just the same as Seagam." One hand leaves its rest to grasp at his temples. And he finally huffs an apology, but not the one she was hoping for. "I over estimated your trust of me." A grumbled frustration as he drops his hand to uncover an ever more bitter look. "You can rest asurred I won't again."

"Damn straight you did!" Mama levels a thick finger at the man. "You want to play in the shadows, fine. Next time you come to me, not an unmarried girl with more clouds in her head than good sense. You give that girl of yours a few Turns and see how you like it, people thinking they can pull her into things because her pa's got some weight to throw around. And if you want a light touch you don't go to the novice." There. The last of her ire, spent and sputtered. It leaves her capable of appreciating the humor in his first remark. Her free hand pats in proprietary fashion at her chest, which more resembles sagging boulders than proper perky eye candy. "Ha! A woman's tits should drop, shows she's done her duty by her people."

W'rin watches the finger with a passive sort of look, like one notices a drifting leaf on the lake. A snorted gruff at the woman's inability to recognized this is partly her own fault. "You want my help, you offer the respect deserved." his turn to level a pointed look at her, "You may not often recognize it, but your shop is set up in a weyr because you need protection." Protection he offers. Even if his a temporary part of the equation. Clearing his throat he chuckles softly and nods in agreement with the older woman next to him. "Indeed. And your work is good work. A number of proper, smart children." His eyebrows lift as he considers the thought for a moment, before pressing his hands against his thighs once more and lifting himself. "I trust your raising of children, my girl will be no fool." As he has left his children in her care, or the care of her family, something to be considered as he bows. More formally this time, a hand sweeping in front of his waist as he gives to her fully her respect. "Madame Steen."

"And if you want the help of one of mine," Mama rumbles, "then you come to me. That's respect, W'rin. As well you know." When he makes as if to leave, complete with formality and a gesture even a courtier couldn't perform better, she eyes him sourly for a moment- and then snorts. "Oh, don't Madame me. Fine, fine. Weyrleader. No more marches through your caverns," she allows, "so long as you remember how things should be done, eh? You spent too much time here to not know it'd go badly, you swearing the girl to secrecy. Maryam!" The bellow is sudden, and prove that her lungs are still working just fine. There's a whisper of cloth in the doorway, the young woman stepping into view a moment later. "Get that half-cask I was saving for the River Hold's Lord. Compensation, for me staring you down a'fore your riders, how's that?"

"We have an agreement then." W'rin allows the woman to have the final say in the matter, though his own wrinkles deepen as he offers an unpracticed smile, as genuine as it is, it isn't hard to tell it doesn't surface much. "Whatever you choose to do, I'll swear as little rider inteference as I can muster, just know I'll be working on sweet talking and fluttered lashes at her, accept what I can manage without her knowing. And neither one of those things are my strong suit." The man clasps his giant hands together, the muscles of his arms involuntarily pushing together his pecs as he flutters short lashes at the woman with his head tilted. A horrifying sight to be sure. Until he releases the posture with a grunt. "Consider it washed away for that price."

Mama's nostrils flare as she snorts again, with more gusto this time. "You pull that look at me again and it's all off, including the tithes," she rumbles, some small measure of good humor restored. "And don't take it so hard, lad. Wasn't the idea that was poor, just the execution, eh? S'what comes of leaving it to children." Coincidentally (or not), this comment is timed just as Maryam returns with a drudge in tow. The servant has the fine-grained cask up on his shoulder and his head down; the young woman's eyes are up in order to look from matriarch to Weyrleader- only to drop immediately when that targeted remark finds her ears. As it was meant to.

"Indeed." W'rin adds just enough intone to let her know he isn't entirely sure part of the botched execution isn't on her. "Lad'." He echoes the woman's word with a snort. No one here is quite so young as she seems to think. His eyes fall just briefly on Maryam, has she been forgiven for naming names? Were it a possibility to ever talk to the girl alone, they might have a talk about that, but at least for her there is no anger lurking in his look. After a moment his attention is back on her mother. "Your consideration is appreciated, The Pit is truly a blessing to the weyr. I'll make sure to mention to the weyrwoman I learned many a solid lesson in the ring."

Maryam steps aside, chin tucked practically to her throat in a way that presents the crown of her cloth-wrapped head for W'rin's viewing pleasure. Whether he feels ire over her submitting to her mother's anger or no, she won't take the opportunity to look for it. Not while Mama Steen is keeping such a close eye on her- and on the Weyrleader. "Shame we can't get her out there on the sands to learn a few, eh?" Eh?! Now that would make for a packed house, wouldn't it! "G'wan then, my man'll carry that for you, through the Bazaar. Let 'em see all respect where it's due. You've been a damn sight better than most of the men've wore that knot, W'rin. Not one of them had the troubles put on your plate now." And so compliments are exchanged all around, before the matriarch waves her hand to dismiss the topic and ends the interview by barking, "Don't just stand there like a moony calf, girl, my wine's gone cold, fetch another."

This done then. Things smoothed where they were rough. Straightened where they were bent. W'rin takes his leave of the Steen's office without a look back, he'd carry the thing by himself if wouldn't be more insulting to turn down the woman's offer, and so he will stomp back through the bazaar where he is a rather infrequent visitor with The Pit's man dragging behind him carrying the thing on his shoulder all the way to his weyr.

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