Cullen, Virgilio


Two cheesemakers - novice and experienced - meet by goat-cart.


It is evening of the tenth day of the sixth month of the seventh turn of the 12th pass.


Some Sidestreet of the Bazaar

OOC Date 22 Mar 2016 07:00


"Better ways t'steer a caprinebeast than walking behind."

Some Sidestreet of the Bazaar

Another typical Igen night, hot and miserable, with the obstinate Bazaar denizens non-the-less illuminating their fine, and not so fine, environs with so many torches, so a fine haze of smoke further darkens the streets. That, at least, masks the odors that sometimes permeate these streets on other windless nights, but it sticks heavy to the sweat, the clothes and hair. A drum circle can be heard distantly, south of this particular side street that leads in from an emptier section of the bowl, closest to another mostly unused section of the Weyr proper. Voices and the stringy sounds of a flute, inexpertly played, float out from a nearby backroom. And the distinct wooden clunk of wheels over cobbles, meld with a man's voice, rich in Keroon-Igen low-brow accent, addressing some unseen audience: "Well, if you'd had kids, like I told you to, you'd not much be havin' to labor like this. Your choice, Sylvia. Next time, you'd better be nicer to the fellow, and mayhap you'll catch. You don't be doing this, you're bloody useless and I'll be sellin' ya off."

Cullen batters his way through the cloyed darkness like a cudgel on two STRIDING legs. Dressed in an a casual tropical-flower print button up and (dear god) shorts and sandals, exposing all that middle-aged man leg and toe hair, he's just one pair of sunglasses away from looking like a hitman on vacation. All hatchet-harsh peasant's features, heavy-bodied and unemphatically frowning, he's roaming the thick smokey night air with one hand hitched off the front of his belt and the other curled into a default FIST. Passing by that side alley, hearing that voice, earns a pricked-ear like a canine. The person walking behind him nearly slams into him, and he offers them no apology or, let's be real, acknowledgement at all as he decides to investigate this apparently on-sided dialogue. And ventures further into the side street, swallowed instantly by the shadows.

"Ah bloody hell." The voice, an otherwise mild baritone only coarsened by the words they speak, is followed by a grunt and a sound of some groaning, then a whirring sound, and another hefted grunt. Something bangs and suddenly there's a scrabbling sound and the wheeled contraption's racket progresses toward the newcomer to the alleyway. An image resolves itself from the smoke: A big caprine, all convex-nosed and big-eared, brown and wide-eyed, in harness and attached between the shafts of a small wagon that's obviously been rigged for a goat to pull it. No halter, but only a collar on this goat, and she's hurrying along in the head-bobbing, waddling fashion of a slightly-overweight animal. In the wagon is a couple big milk canisters, secured but none-the-less now making a tinny racket as the wagon bounces along. One green firelizard, days old, splays itself across the lid of one of the canister with wings tightly furled and her twin flings herself awkwardly overhead, as if somehow trying to coax the first into the relative safety of the air. Finally, a dusty-looking fellow, dressed in drab and stained garb, comes jogging along after. He appears not to have seen a razor in more than a few days. "Easy now, girl - Easy." Calm voice, still, despite the ruckus.

Seeing first the drawing animal and subsequent wagon - at first appearing to be WITHOUT DRIVER, Cullen can say a lot with a Dead Stare, stopping in the center of the alley, wide-legged, directly in the way of the goat-and-wagon's path. And begins… absently patting at his own chest, searching through his own pockets and casually mouth-breathing, never taking eyes off That Fat Caprine. Like he has absolute faith it will come to HIM without his own further involvement. "Better ways t'steer a caprinebeast than walking behind," he comments. His own baritone is coarse as sandpaper, and slung low through the chest.

"Hard to get the wheel out of a hole from the front end of a goat." comes the voice that belong to the brawny fellow who follows the wagon. And sure enough, this caprine is the friendly sort, and this person standing there very possibly might have something interesting to eat that he would like to share with her. The doe veers toward Cullen and slows down, though her inexperience is evident when she startles at the feel of the shafts pushing the leather of the harness up against her. She'll solve that by trying to impale Cullen on the shaft, to kind of help her stop the thing; Virgilio as well will settle a heavy hand on the back of the wagon to slow it, when the goat begins her slow-down.

NOPE. Cullen's located a toothpick from a shirt pocket, and from the torso upward, he could be just as easily alone in this alley, devoted only to tucking the bit of wood between his front teeth to chew. But torso and down: one foot raises, so that the front most point of the shaft comes to rest against the bottom of one sandaled FOOT. The grounded leg locks at the knee to become a very firm barrier to forward movement. He otherwise IGNORES the damn goat now that it's reached him, heavy-lidded eyes raising instead to the younger man following. "What's in the wagon." Hi, Cullenonsequitur question. He does nosy like a shovel to the face.

"Evening." Virgilio murmurs, coming forward to check the impediment that checked the goat, and that she's OK, since he never expected the wagon to stop that quickly, "Milk canisters. Too hot here for curin' milk." No firelizard in the wagon anymore either; she shot up into the night sky, abandoning Virgilio and the goat to their fates. "Thank ye, for stoppin' her." He reaches to hook a finger on the collar.

"Depends on how you're curin' it," Still keeping a pinched grip on the toothpick, his small lizard-teeth clamped down on the other side, Cullen essentially speaks through a clenched jaw. When Virgilio steps up to take the caprine's collar, he lowers his foot from the wagon, surrendering it back to its owner.

"Not as well as I'd like. Bit of kid stomach and a culture from bovine cheese," Virgilio admits, "As I've not found a caprine cheese culture here, and I'm fresh out of runners to go looking." He also appears to be fresh out of time, funds and hands, as it's rather late at night for him to be finishing up work that no doubt started at dawn. "Cellar I dug last fall isn't keepin' things as cool as I'm needin' and there's no running stream close enough that everyone's not already using it." He straightens to pop his back for a moment, the goat busy exploring the buttons on Cullen's shirt with delicate lips.

Well well. Just faintly, the corner of Cullen's mouth twitches, scanning Vergilio in a nominal VISUAL FRISKING. It's hard to tell what conclusions he comes to - it's hard to tell that he's got any sort of enlightened human reasoning going on, his eyes are about as flat as a bad stretch of Kansas highway. "—Cheesemaker." AUGH GOATFACE'D - he uses the side of his knee to whomp the poor goat on the shoulder when she gets too familiar with him. Not horrifically violent, but certainly not gentle. "Good company, then. I'm Cullen. Once-cheesemaker of Oldtime High Reaches." He puts out a hand, crooked-fingered and missing a pinky, to offer a clasp of wrists. "Poor conditions for soft cheese, these parts. Bloomy rinds wither. Washed rinds rot. Dust gets fucking everywhere."

"Yes." Agreed. To all of the above. "Well-met," Virgilio's hand may reveal that it's a single-man operation: From the digging of the cheese-shop pit, the retrofitting of the wagon, the milking of the goats, the building of the shop itself, and everything in between. Work-roughed, strong, firm. "I'm beginning to think that the only way to make cheese here is in the 3 sevenday between the freezing winter and the thrice-cursed summer, and I'm kidding out goats about then, with all the milk going to kids. And then fall, there's another 3 sevenday. Got a cave finally, that way. Need to get a door and lock on it." He looks down on the goat, then, and rubs her head affectionately while she horks up some cud to chew, "I'm thinking this was a bloody stupid place to try makin' cheese." He'll turn his study to the other man, seeking opinion.

"Stretched-curd's a'right," Cullen says, vaguely, using his tongue to maneuver his toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other. He's frowning down at that GOATFACE again, "Though better with fattier milk than sharding caprine. You got time and investment to wait out a hard-aged, I been…" Thoughts flicker, behind his eyes. Subtle sparks in the ashes. He darts eyes back to Virgilio's face, "What's thy name. I take a look at thy cave, and if it's up to my sharding standards," he says this with zero humor, "I'll show thee a few routes t'go. In turn," his brows jump upwards, at their outter sides. It causes a series of parallel M-shapes in his brow, "You allot me three shelves t' use of my own purpose, and a moit of milk." His dead-set expression belies no urgency. It's entirely take or leave.

"Done. Virgilio." The other man nods, "I'd appreciate it. Gotta get this one back to the stable, then I can show you. Or I can tell you - it's the third entrance over from the end. Then head in until past where they stop refreshing glows, and a hole over on the east. I've a glow in there, kept shielded so folks aren't snooping, but they are anyway. No shelves yet. Lumber's at a premium here. It won't be up to your standards, I'm suspectin', sir, unless you have remarkably low standards. It's on The List." —Of things to do, while getting a novice business off the ground, now finally having finished kidding season. Eating is also on the list, and from the lean look of the otherwise bulky man, that's not gotten much attention of late either. Virgilio's been having fantasies of places with trees to cut for lumber, and running streams for quickly cooling milk, and not having to haul water into the cave for humidity, because the soil actually isn't bone-dry. "Been told this variety of caprine has high cream content. Tastes fatty." But he nods. "You're welcome to be lookin' at it and havin' whatever opinions come to mind. I'm the shop nearest the entrance, but mostly in the stable." Again, he offers his hand.

WHOMP. Cullen's large hand clamps once more around Vergilio's like a meat-padded bear trap. "Y'might regret it, lad. I've many opinions, and no patience for varnish." And shut up, ok, with an expression of utter distain, he lowers a fist to softly thump it in the center of the goat's forehead as well. It's a wholly familiar-with-god-damn-goats gesture. "Mayap, a few days then." And with that, he withdraws back into his own filthy night of swelter like a near-missing nightmare… in a floral-print shirt.

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