Ariele, R'zel


R'zel just wants a buckle that hasn't buckled - but what does Ariele want?


It is noon of the twenty-eighth day of the second month of the fourteenth turn of the 12th pass.


Stores, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 05 Jun 2018 23:00





A vast and sprawling cavern, the main storage area of the weyr is well-tended by the loving and stern hands of those who oversee the bounty stored within. Depending on the time of day, it is a place of illuminated neatness, stacks of dry goods and foodstuffs labeled clearly… or it is a place of werelight and stygian darkness that taunts those who would dare challenge the depths thereof.

With Rhiscorath's clutch off the sands, and Zymuraith's not quite ready to take its place, there's a brief lull in those for the headwoman's staff— and plenty of tasks to fill it. Just after lunch finds Ariele in the storerooms, supervising a handful of storekeepers in their regular stocktake. The headwoman's assistant glances down at her clipboard, making notes in the margin of her page as one of the women recites a count of items. "Do we really only have fifteen?" Ariele wonders, sounding surprised. "Why the sudden rush on rain gear? It's summer."

R'zel hears the question as he approaches through the sprawling caverns, and chuckles. "I believe the Ice Fields are very popular at this time of year. Also the Snowy Wastes." Is he teasing? Maybe, though there are some who flee a-dragonback from Southern's summer heat, given half a chance. "Hello, Ariele. I've come to raid your stores, I'm afraid." His glance takes in clipboards and counting assistants. "Are you checking inventory?"

"Half their luck," is at least reasonably cheerful, Ariele's face lifting from her inventory so that she can aim a glance - and a smile, efficient rather than effusive - in the approaching bronzerider's direction. "If you want white robes, we're quite out. Everyone's always so bad at returning them. But I have several dozen of those summer shirts and dresses that everyone returned in a hurry a few sevendays back." Inventory is confirmed with her nod, though she adds, "It's always helpful to know what we need ahead of the tithe season."

"Awww!" R'zel's mock disappointment is only moderately overplayed. "Oh well, white isn't really my colour. And I don't really do transparent, either, so I won't have a summer dress today." More seriously, he raises an open hand to show something on the palm. Or rather, the remains of something. "Do you have any waist-strap buckles in stock at the moment? One of mine disintegrated. I can go to the Smiths, but I know there are usually some here."

Ariele is straight-faced as she says, "Pity - your legs might work in a frock." She's a little more friendly, and more casual, as one of the headwomen, compared to when she was a candidate. "Mm, we should do. We've not gotten that far. Aleksandra— fetch the box of buckles, please. As far as I'm aware, all of ours pre-date the little issue they had with quality goods. Which is to say, we've not taken in any new ones recently. I hope yours disintegrated while you were safely on the ground?"

R'zel shakes his head with a wry expression. "Right in the middle of drill - and I'd checked it before flying, too. Fortunately, the belt has three, so it just got a little looser rather than dropping off. Or me dropping off. I'm glad to hear that what's in stock's all legit, though. And the one that failed, I'd had several turns, so that was't one of the dodgy items." He closes his hand over the remains again.

"At least they all didn't fail at once," supposes Ariele, sounding genuinely, if quietly, relieved. With the aforementioned Aleksandra off to fetch the buckles, and the other workers suitably occupied, she pauses to consider R'zel; there's time for a moment or two of conversation. "How are you, R'zel? And that bronze of yours?"

"Busy," is R'zel's wry response. "At least we've had a slightly easier time in Fall recently, and everyone's back from… long term illness, now, but before that it was pretty tiring for everyone for a while." For 'long term illness', read, 'your former boss trying to kill us all'. "And the schedule's more intense over the next few sevens, again. Verokanth's loving every minute, of course. How about you? How are things in your area?"

There's a thin line to Ariele's mouth at that mention of 'long term illness', her disapproval for the loss of reputation to her vocation plainly laid out. "At least you'll have two new clutches of new recruits in a turn or so," she supposes. "Though I'm sure that's no immediate comfort. I'm well - we're well. Adjusting to life under a new boss," and oh, doesn't she look thrilled to mention Ardstelle, "and running after candidates. The usual. It never ends, does it?" Surprisingly - or not, not really - she seems pleased about that.

"I sincerely hope the running after candidates isn't going to end. We can do with as many new riders and dragons as we can get." R'zel's tone is light, but the undercurrent is serious: Southern hasn't had the frequent clutches that one would expect at this stage in a Pass, and having only two gold dragons is far from ideal. "It would be excellent if Zymuraith clutched a queen."

"I had hoped Rhiscorath would," acknowledges Ariele. "Both, even, would have been ideal. It's not right, not so early in a Pass. Telgar has five. Perhaps we need to borrow one, if our queens don't produce as they ought." There's the faintest lift of one corner of her mouth, not amusement but nonetheless wry. "How soon can we expect Rhiscorath to rise again? Perhaps she'll be spurred on to do so promptly."

"Yes, so did I," R'zel admits. "And it's Zymuraith's first clutch, so who knows?" He thinks for a moment, fingering the metallic remnants in his hand. "Rhiscorath had been here almost a turn before she rose, and I don't think she'd just clutched at Benden when she joined us, so it could be a while. But then, queens do sometimes respond to a Weyr's needs, or so the records say."

Ariele presses her lips together, and shakes her head. "I hope so," she concludes. "Southern hasn't had terribly good luck with queens, it seems. They die, or they transfer away and benefit other Weyrs. Surely it's time Ista sent one back this way!" It's perhaps not a wholly serious remark, coming with the acknowledgement - in tone and in expression - that despite political aspirations, she doesn't know the intricate ins and outs of such things. "At least," she supposes, "Rhiscorath's clutch hatched healthily."

"All hatched, and all safely Impressed," R'zel agrees, and there could be a note of relief about the second of those accomplishments. "And forty new dragons is a decent clutch, even if it's not the biggest we've had. Let's hope Zymuraith's out to break records." There's a slightly awkward pause before he adds, "I was sorry you never…"

It's awkward, and it has Arielle's shoulders straightening (as if she didn't already stand with perfect posture; now it must be actively uncomfortable), her smile momentarily brittle before she exhales, and shrugs. "It wasn't meant to be," she says. "Perhaps I missed my dragon, or perhaps he or she never existed, and I was simply an extra warm body. It doesn't matter. I'm intending to be the next Headwoman, one day, and that's enough. Where is that—" She turns her head to look around, but no, Aleksandra is still struggling to find the buckles, it seems.

Bad move, R'zel. He shifts his weight to the other foot as he hastens to retrieve the situation. "You'll do it, too." And perhaps a change of subject is required. Uh, where's the bin for collecting scrap metal, please?" Pernese frugality assumes there will be one: any metal's precious enough to melt down and recycle, even little bits like those he's holding.

"Aleksandra? Bring the scrap metal bin, too." Ariele's voice carries, low-toned for a woman but firm and authoritative. Luckily, the young woman in question has finally found the buckles, and moves quickly to rejoin them and offer the box of buckles in exchange for the broken one. "I'll let you find the right one for you," Ariele proposes, only a little quickly. "I should return to my stocktake."

"Thank you. Here, if I give you this, you won't need to carry the bin," he tells Aleksandra, offering the broken buckle. When the young woman takes it away and heads back into the shelves, he turns his attention to the buckles in the box, and sorts through a dozen before he finds one the right size. "This will fit, thanks," he tells Ariele, and slips it into his belt pouch.

Aleksandra proceeds to give R'zel a brilliant - and more than a little flirtatious - smile, before she flounces off. "Good," says Ariele, composed without seeming to be too uptight, regardless of her earlier moment. "I'm glad we had what you needed. Though," and she dips her head towards the box, "it looks like we may need more soon. I'll make a note. Shall I take that?" The box, presumably, since she's just moved stylus and clipboard into one hand and extended the free hand towards it.

Aleksandra's attempt at flirtation is in vain; R'zel doesn't so much as look at her again as she leaves. Instead, he nods to Ariele. "Thank you." He directs a final glance into the box before he passes it over, holding it until he's sure she has it steadily. "I didn't see any others the same size in there." Something else for the stocktake to investigate.

It takes some juggling between her various burdens, but Ariele manages - with R'zel's assistance - to get a good grip upon the box. "Mm," she agrees. "Something to look into. I'll speak to the Smiths. There's more to our job than keeping people fed." And, you know, unpoisoned. Probably safer for the headwoman and her staff to step away from the food, even. She glances up, aiming, it seems, to meet R'zel's gaze if she can. "Enjoy your afternoon, R'zel. I'm sure we'll speak again soon."

R'zel meets Ariele's gaze with an open smile. "I'll look forward to it." He sounds as if he means it. "Well, time for me to get stitching; I'll need my straps later. I hope your afternoon goes well. Clear skies!" With that, he turns and makes his way out through the rambling aisles of the store caverns.

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