Who

Ramita, Xanthee, Kishivara, Ziniel

What

Four very different people meet in the Menagerie one Winter afternoon

When

It is afternoon of the tenth day of the first month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

The Menagerie, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 21 Jan 2018 05:00

 

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The Menagerie

The labyrinth of square geometry was once a familial compound purchased by the Steens and reinvented to display animals of a different kind. A 10-foot high wall of neat stone and adobe encloses the menagerie's total property and in front, a trefoil arch with a gate leads the way into a small courtyard improved by several rock gardens and succulents, some many meters tall. Beyond brilliant alabaster pillars are quarters for a variety of animals: a pair of giant white cattle on loan from Igen Hold's closed herd, whersports from southern jungles, a dynasty of desert-dwelling snakes, and in a well-shaded enclosure heaped with boulders: a young watchwher still growing into his wing stubs.

In the northeast corner stretches many desert willows and a freshwater pool 3-feet deep at its margins, stocked with a breeding colony of pinioned waterfowl, striped and vivid-colored, once called mandarins.

Many benches are placed for strategic loitering, though a full troupe of firelizards with the run of the place monitor for wrongdoings and safety of the animals. The newness of the menagerie and several empty quads tell of more animals to come.

It is the seventieth day of Winter and 32 degrees. It is a bright, sunny day.


Contrary to what some of her aunts may claim, there are some days where Ramita actually does behave like a proper daughter Steen. This chilly winter afternoon happens to be one of those days. The vintner is modestly dressed in layers appropriate for the cold and a matching scarlet headscarf. She's claimed a bench in front of the slightly frosty waterfowl pond. The avians at least don't seem too terribly put out by the weather. It's still warmer than those more Northern climes they come from. She's paying more attention to the hide in front of her, scowling a bit at the neatly written ledger. Somewhere in the Menagerie not too far away her ever present shadow of escort is lurking. Far enough to give that ever desirable illusion of privacy, while close enough to step in if needed.

Walking into the menagerie, a dark cloak keeping her warm in the winter, Xanthee is meandering around the exhibits for a moment. No real purpose in mind, she just got off her early shift at the Tea Room and decided she should take a little walk before heading home, see what interesting sights there may be. When she spies Ramita by the waterfowl pond, she clears her throat, "Good afternoon Ma'am." she says with a smile. "Took your work outside? It's a beautiful day for it."

It takes time to get used to a new place, especially when the new place in question is as big as Igen. Kishivara would like to think that she's been making good progress thus far. This afternoon, her explorations have lead her to the Menagerie. The first thing she does is scale the wall by standing on one of the benches closest to it, jumping a few times until she makes one high enough that she can just hook her hands over the top, and hauling herself upward. She lays panting on her back for a moment before standing up. Her arms feel like noodles after the climb, but she sticks them out to help herself balance as she starts walking along the wall anyway. They're lowered once she's made several steps without wobbling. Each step gets a little faster until she's as close to running as she dares. That ends when she catches sight of the pond and the women beside it. Curiosity drives her to slow down to a dead stop and, when merely looking doesn't prove satisfying enough, approach. There is no bench by the wall in this area and climbing down proves to be a tedious process. She gets on her knees, braces her hands against the edge of the wall, and carefully lowers herself down, but her height still means that there is a five foot gap beneath her feet. Kishivara closes her eyes and braces herself before letting go. The impact rattles in her shins and causes an audible thud, but she is unharmed aside from a slight discomfort. She allows herself a victorious grin before starting to slink over to the strangers. Although her movements are swift, she is not trying to sneak up on them or avoid being seen. Sometimes, you just have to entertain the urge to butt in on a stranger's conversation.

Mathematics will not be rushed! And neither will Ramita. She'll take a minute to finish reviewing that column before turning her icy eyes up from her accounting to the off-duty server girl in front of her. "Xanthee." She does remember those people she's offered jobs too, even if they're not working directly for her. "It is a nice day. Although if I had been more prepared, I'd have made sure to take a kettle with me." She takes a moment to rub together her pretty chilled hands. It is hard to write with gloves on after all, so her fingers are just having to deal with the elements. Even if Kishivara had been trying to be sneaky, the Steens value the animals on display here and well trained firelizards are everywhere. The girl scaling the wall has caught the attention of a lopsided little green that will follow along after the girl. Immediately after the thud of descent, the vintner turns to get a good, calculating look at the trader. "We do have a gate, you know." And the shadowy escort will step just a bit closer to make the guard's present more obvious.

Setting her gaze on the person who just jumped down off the wall, Xanthee takes a good look, furrowing her brow in Kishivara's direction for a long beat before she turns back to the Vinter, "I can go get you one if you want." Xanthee says, not yet out of her waitress-mode from her earlier shift. She keeps her hlimbs tucked under her heavy woolen cloak, keeping the heat in.

That's why she wouldn't have climbed the wall if she was trying to be sneaky. As stealthy and badass as it looks, unless you have the right equipment and no other options, it's mostly just awkward and unnecessarily risky for breaking and entering purposes. The reason she did it, as she states with an easy shrug, is, "using the gate's not as fun." The pros of 'looking stealthy and badass' definitely beat out the cons of 'difficult and unpractical' when it comes to the question of 'should I do this thing for shits and giggles?'. Having a firelizard tail you just makes it that much better! It's almost like she has a side-kick for her shenanigans. Kishivara looks over her shoulder to see it the green's still around, a sparkle of childish amusement on her face. "Does the flit have a name?" she asks. The tiny part of her mind that's always on edge notes that she'll have to be more careful if she ever wants to break in here for real. For the most part, she's just interested in seeing if she can get the green to follow her around other places right now. Like an adorably lopsided tiny bouncer!

Also… Parhelion and the Weyr Guard will STRONGLY recommend that all thieves trying to be sneaky attempt to climb walls in broad daylight. It makes their lives so much easier. Ramita gives a small shake of her head as she dismisses Xanthee's offer. "No need. You're not working. I'll send Brasal if it's required." And honestly, that younger cousin would probably welcome the change from trying to muck out the watchwher's den. Fetching tea is much easier. And less smelly. The journeywoman turns back to the girl in front of her, any hint of possible amusement is well hidden. The green firelizard can just as well watch Kishivara from Ramita's shoulder and burrowing in the headscarf is much warmer, so that's what the flit will do. As for her name, Ramita will give a simple "Yes." She didn't ask what the name was…

Xanthee shrugs her shoulders slightly as her offer isn't taken. "I'm in there enough, it gets ingrained you know?" Sitting down at a nearby bench, she tucks her feet up under her, "So Ramita, have you heard of this miracle cure going round? The stuff that glows blue?" Her mission to get all the gossip on this new trend is still going strong, and she raises a brow in question at the Vinter. And if Ramita doesn't know, well who better than Xan to fill her in. Gossips gotta gossip yo!

Awww, sweetie. As if Kishivara intends to make life easier for anyone! Kishivara raises an eyebrow at the non-answer, but promptly brushes it away with a small snicker. "Alright, then!" She shuffles closer to Ramita and crouches down to wiggle her fingers at the green. "Hello, Yes," she coos. "You're a pretty little girl, aren't you?" Her hand extends a little more in a silent offer. If the flit allows it, she'll give her all the skritches she could desire.

Serrano is about as standoffish as her owner is. She is quite content curled up on Ramita's shoulder and while she doesn't actually hiss at the hand that's offered to her, she's staring at it like it's mere existence offends her and the close proximity the firelizard doesn't even have WORDS for (not that a firelizard has words for much of anything). Ramita raises one of those perfectly manicured eyebrows at the girl getting all up in her personal bubble (and it's a large personal bubble normally not interuded upon as looming guard normally prevents that sort of things, but he's having an off day apparently). "Are you daft?" She glances over towards Xanthee as if the other young girl might have some insight on what's going through the other kid's mind. "And yes, I've heard." It would be disappointing if the Steens hadn't.

Xanthee's eyebrow risks jumping off her forehead at this strange girl's behaviour and lack of personal boundaries. Maybe the wee lamb is soft in the head? Who can tell? But when Ramita does indeed confirm she's heard of the blue glowing stuff, she bobs her head, "There was a shop that set up right close to the Tea Room. Some guards shut them down almost as soon as it'd set up. So good to know they are around. Makes a girl feel mildly safer." She says that with a shudder as a recent memory comes to mind causing her to frown slightly.

Kishivara lets out an offended little huff at Ramita's question. "I asked if she has a name. You said, 'Yes'." One side of her mouth turns up in a grin. "Sorta left me to draw my own conclusions there." She pulls back from the sour flit and gives her a thoughtful look. "I mean, it'd be pretty daft of you to think I'd ask if she has a name and not wanna know it." Her expression remains serious for a heartbeat before breaking into a laughing grin. Teasing. She's only teasing.

"And your conclusions were to approach a strange woman and stick your hand in her face without asking permission?" Ramita's clearly not impressed and the green's eyes even have a little flick of red in her whirling eyes. How rude! "Do they not teach you manners where you come from?" The vintner's own accent is a particular unique blend of Igen Native colored by her long turns spent in Benden. Each has their own attitudes on the importance of manners but approaching strangers and personal space should be universal, or so she thought! She does give a brief nod to Xanthee. "It's good to see the guard doing something." Not that the Steens actually rely on the Igen guard to protect what's important to them. See exhibit A about five paces behind Ramita glaring at Kishivara.

It's hard to not notice the unusually tall girl that enters the menagerie. Her height, or rather the comments on her height is something that Ziniel has had plenty of practice ignoring. On a bench is a small lump of something that looks vaguely like a moss and lichen covered stone, "There you are," she says as she makes her way to where the 'lizard is curled up sleeping. The presence of others is only noticed after Zini scoops up the 'lizard she just addressed. Xanthee is given a smile, a curious look is given to Kishivara, and a respectful nod to Ramita.

Xanthee watches Ramita take the other girl to task on her manners, and then she spies Ziniel and offers the Zingari girl a little wave. "Afternoon. I was just telling Ramita here about that scuffle we noticed, with the guards shutting down that merchant." She offers, as if there are so many other scuffles going around these days that she must be specific it seems.

Kishivara rolls her eyes. "Someone might've tried, once. 'Fraid it didn't stick." There are reasons why she left High Reaches. Of course, those reasons are more complicated than 'they tried to make me use my manners', but she isn't about to go around telling her life story. Her eyes re-focus on Ramita's living shadow for just long enough to give him a playful grin. Does she care about his presence? Nope. She clearly does not. He doesn't even hold her attention long enough for her to smile at him for more than a few moments. Instead, she looks over at Ziniel, interest sparking in her expression. "Hello there. Is your flit as sour as Madame Manners' Wobbly Wonder?" There's no spite in her voice despite the jab. In fact, the expression she wears as she looks at the sleepy green is an affectionate one, much like the one she gave Serrano.

"Madame Manners' little one has more restraint than mine," Ziniel answers, in a tone that nearly dares Kishivara to touch Stone, "And I remember that night. Have you learned anything more on that stuff?" is asked of Xanthee. For her part, the 'lizard that is being held by Ziniel opens a red tinged eye and hisses warningly. Touch me, and lose a finger kind of warning, "Proddy again are you?" is asked of the 'lizard with an amused tone.

Mr. Grumpyface bodyguard is not smiling back at Kishivara. In fact, he looks like he's just itching for an excuse to actually step in but well, it's not gotten that point where that is called for quite yet. Hauling random youths out of the Menagerie by the seat of their pants wouldn't be good for business. Ramita gives an exasperated roll of her eyes. Kids, these days. Never mind she's not more than ten turns older than most of them, but she'll turn her attention mostly back to her ledger although she's keeping an ear on the blue glow conversation. "I'd have to recommend staying away from most of the stuff you find in the bazaar. It's had some interesting side effects the peddlers won't tell you about."

Shaking her head at Ziniel, Xanthee sighs, "I'm still waiting to hear back from H'rik about what it is we actually got. It kept slipping my mind there for awhile while I was dealing with other….things." But Ziniel is Zingari and surely heard about her troubles so she won't go into them. Then when Ramita's attention is back on then, she nods her head, "Yeah, that's what I've been hearing, among other things."

Kishivara lets out a huff and throws her hands up in exasperation. "Are all the greens here like this?" she asks. The red eye an the hiss are enough to keep her from petting Stone, but oh, she wants to. It's plainly visible that she wants to, but she also doesn't want to lose a finger - not even the tip of one. Instead of trying to worm her way into Stone's affections, she goes tries another method. "D'you know where you can get a firelizard egg? That won't cost ya an arm 'n a leg."

Ziniel gives a nod to Ramita while her 'lizard's hissing wakes the other draped along the back of her neck. More laid back, this one will merely stare at Kishivara. A nod is given to Xanthee, she had heard, "I still need to talk to Tallel," because she's not had that opportunity yet. Kishivara's question gets a flat out laugh, not one of amusement. Rather the laugh is one of incredulous disbelief, "Try hunting in the desert. I hear the deeper out you go, the better your chances. Don't forget to leave your water behind," and with that very snide comment, Ziniel gives Xanthee a smile, "I'll stop by the tea room sometime," and they can talk.

"Oh, the green watchwher isn't so bad," Ramita says offhandedly and waving towards the exhibit her cousin is busy cleaning. Here's a note: the watchwher most definitely is NOT friendly to those that he doesn't know and the Steens would kick out anyone that dared to try and disturb the beast. 'Look, don't touch' is very much the rule in this place. The mention of her cousin's name is noted as well, as in she actually jots down a reminder for herself to check in on the man.

Xanthee giggles a little bit at the Zingari girl's departure before turning back to Kishivara's questions about firelizard eggs, "You know, interestingly enough, I haven't heard of anyone having any eggs lately. How odd now that I think about it." She ponders this for a moment longer and then looks at the watchwher when it is brought up watching the youth clean it's pen.

Firelizards just seem to be thriving around the Menagerie, eggs or not. A little bronze comes bearing a note for Ramita. She doesn't even need to accept the note before she's already gathering her things. The note can be read on her way wherever. Not even a word for the two girls as she leaves. Surely they can't get up to much trouble, right? It's not like there won't be plenty of supervision under the eyes of the ever present firelizard flock that can summon someone if needed. But there's plenty of animals to look at to kill some time on the lovely winter afternoon without causing any more trouble, right?

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