Z'bor, Allash


Allash 'candystripes' in the dragon infirmary. Stops by to cheer up Ozriath, via Z'bor.


It is afternoon of the fourth day of the seventh month of the first turn of the 12th pass.


Southern Weyr

OOC Date


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Dragon Infirmary

An exceptionally large cavernous area is set aside for the dragons of the weyr to convalesce. Immediately adjacent to the ground weyrs, it provides some privacy for those pairs whose injuries require more silence and solitude for recovery. But there are also a number of dragon wallows here for triage and diagnosis; those with the worst injuries have the wallows nearest the open air exit reserved for them until they're well enough to be moved further in. Bins, shelves, and locked cabinets store all of the medicines and raw ingredients the dragonhealers will need for treatment, as well as things like blankets and 'medicinal whiskey' for the riders of the afflicted. A lettering system applied to the shelves above one lone desk hint at a filing system used by those who work here.

It is the sixty-fourth day of Winter and 62 degrees. Partly cloudy, the storm seems to be mostly gone with only the occasional short falls of rain painting the ground.

Z'bor is in a world of his own, off in space as he drags an oiled cloth along the hide of his 'sleeping' green. He leans his head against Ozriath's side, glaring sideways at the bandaging and splint rigging holding her wing to her side. A strained muscle and a fractured bone in her wing. Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He should have known better than to push her that far. "I'm so sorry loveling…" He whispers, but it greeted with silence from the sleeping green. He sighs, and continues to oil her down, needing something to do other than fret. The dragonhealers and their helpers in the room move about their business, none the wiser of Z'bor's conversations with himself, or his guilt at allowing his dragon to be hurt. Yesterday's threadfall had been difficult…

The dragonhealers have their hands full with their charges, trainees overseeing mundane and tedious tasks. Despite the pain and hurt that abounds, quiet groans and grunts and the occasional yelp, the overall feel is one of deep calm. Not un-helped by the constant pressure of the most senior and august of the dragonhealer dragons to calm the minds of the dragons. Riders… riders are on their own. And, so, it is in search of such riders that Allash, candy-striper, is wheeling a narrow cart along the aisles. Dark eyes are concerned as he looks in on each pair, stopping to converse with a rider here, or retuck a blanket there. A healer snags him by the elbow, murmuring intently. The guardsman nods in response and resumes his circuit which, in a trice, brings him by the fretting greenrider and his wounded 'mate. A deeply concerned look is cast on the dainty green dragon. The same look tracks slowly to the rider, "You eaten anything today?" Allash crouches to rearrange the goods on the cart and give the greenrider a moment to himself.

Z'bor goes delicately around the injured wing of his mate, and off to the other side, where he can't see as much of the damage. He rubs his way along her side and to her head, where he pays special attention. He's worked his way back around to the injured side when Allash approaches. It is a long moment before Z'bor looks at the man, shaking his head. He lays a hand upon Ozriath's side, taking in the dainty frame of his most precious. "I don't want to leave her…." His voice is strained, worried, tired. The formally Istan rider, looks lost for the first time since coming to the lush jungles of Southern. "I'll eat eventually."

"You don't have to leave," he gestures at the cart, "'s what the cart is for." He lifts cloths and opens little drawers, there's fruit -year round, gotta love here in the great wild South- pastries, meatrolls, simple bread. He fishes a plate from a stack in the cart's belly, a pair of tongs snicker-snacked, "What can I get you?" He looks at the cart and back to the rider, noting the look of strain and stress and the gut-deep worry that carves the stomach right out of you and hunger with it. "If there's naught here that seems good, I can pop over to the kitchen and get whatever you like," he gestures over his shoulder with the tongs, "M' sister's on shift, she'll fix you right up."

Z'bor shrugs and looks over at the cart, none of it looking good. "I'll take whatever you can stack on the plate… I'm not too picky." He drops the oiled cloth onto a chair he has nearby and sits on the edge of his cot, placing his face in his hands, he rubs it, hands still unused to the feeling of the scar there. "A strong drink might be better…" He comments after a moment, eyes finally taking in the rest of the infirmiry. Most who'd been scored during the last flight had left already, leaving he and Ozriath to their own devices. Grounded until the wing heals.

Z'bor shrugs and looks over at the cart, none of it looking good. "I'll take whatever you can stack on the plate… I'm not too picky." He drops the oiled cloth onto a chair he has nearby and sits on the edge of his cot, placing his face in his hands, he rubs it, hands still unused to the feeling of the scar there. "A strong drink might be better…" He comments after a moment, eyes finally taking in the rest of the infirmiry. Most who'd been scored during the last flight had left already, leaving he and Ozriath to their own devices. Grounded until the wing heals.

One of each it is. Allash looks worriedly at the rider and hands the stacked plate over, a napkin and a mug of juice. A breath in, the sting of redwort ever-present, a breath out. In. Out. The pastries and fruit are fresh enough that they still have a pleasant, comforting scent of their own. He returns to the cart and fumbles inside with some muffled clanking and -voila!- a small glass flask. "For medicinal purposes." He hands the flask over and steps back, giving the strungout rider his space. A small pretense, organzing things on the cart, but he lingers over it in companionable silence.

Z'bor absent-mindedly takes the plate, and the mug. The plate is set on the cot next to him, minus a small piece of fruit, and the flask is taken with a wan smile of thanks, and poured in his juice. "Thanks friend…." He sips at the mixture as he worries at his piece of fruit. "You serving many today?" He asks, after all, talking to someone makes him look less crazy than talking to himself.

Allash nods, "Welcome," when the flask comes back he tucks it back into the cart's underbelly. "Can't say as I have much to compare to numbers wise. Fewer today than yesterday." He finishes his futzing with the cart and stands, tucking his hands behind him in a lean on the cart. Dark eyes take in the rider's posture, clothes, overall unkempt-ness. "What're the healers saying?" He dips his head towards the dozing Ozriath.

Z'bor shrugs. "Grounded until her wing heals, a pulled muscle and a fracture, it'll be at least six to eight sevendays before we can even do light duties again." He shakes his head, as he runs his hand through his shortened locks for the hundredth time. "I just wish I'd have known, that I'd let the ground crews worry about that knot of thread… But, if wishes were marks we'd all be wealthy." He gazes upon his dozing green. "I just hope she's ok and that she heals quickly. Being out of active duty is going to drive her mad…"

"I'm gonna say some words, 'cause I've heard them said hereabouts and, well," he cocks his head, and looks with sympathy at Z'bor, "They're not gonna help so much, the words, but you're gonna listen," He stands slowly, looking at the younger man, "And then you should consider takin' the words to heart. 'Cause they're smart words." He lifts brows and looks at Z'bor expectantly.

Z'bor looks over at Allash, sipping from his glass and abandoning his piece of fruit on the plate next to him. "and what words may those be?" Z'bor inquires, raising the eyebrow just under his head scar. "I'm listening." He gives the man a wan smile, and waves him on, go on, give him your words.

"She knows that y' didn't want this to happen. You may feel like you've failed her, but she's strong and she loves you," is it strange hearing this from a non-dragonrider? As much as he pawned them off as words he'd heard bandied about, there's a shadow of something on his face. "If you love her, you need to stop kicking yourself. Because that," he winces, "That hurts harder than the physical injury." Does he know the circumstances of Ozriath's injury? Boilerplate soothing platitudes? Personal experience?

Z'bor nods. "Wise words indeed there, Allash. I'll try to keep that in mind." He gives a fuller smile this time, returning to his juice mixture. He sighs. "I do appriciate it friend, you're the first to offer up more than just sympathy." Ozriath rumbles in her sleep and shifts, mindful of her injury even in her sleep.

"Ah, well," the guardsman-turned-candystriper shifts in his lean against the cart, which creaks ominously, "Maybe I have a little more," he shrugs, looking for the right words, "Distance, you know, than another rider?" He shakes his head, eyes sad, looking at the floor between them, "I've seen mothers tore up over their hurt kids, blamin' themselves. Kids hurt an' scared, just wantin' to feel safe." He lifts his head, eyes widened a bit, "Though. Can't imagine what it's like with," his head waggles back and forth, "Her bein' IN there where you can't really put on a brave face."

Z'bor shrugs. "Riders can keep some things from their dragons, I hope to never keep anything from her, but sometimes some distance mentally can be a great help." Z'bor eyes the creaking cart. "Careful friend, I don't like the sound of that creak…" He states, waving at the cart. HE takes another long draft from his cup, effectively draining it. He sets the cup aside. "Be glad your mind is your own." He chuckles at this and takes a breath.

With some alarm at a heartier creak, Allash straightens, wincing at the the cart and looking sheepishly at the rider. "Ah. Well. There's an upside, too, then. She knows you love her and would keep her from every harm if you could," he smiles lopsided. A look of mild surprise crosses his affable features and he takes the step or two towards Z'bor closing the distance between them to extend a hand down to Z'bor, "Name's Allash, by the by." Shaken or unshaken, he steps back, "You play dice?"

Z'bor takes the man's hand and smiles. "Z'bor, rider of green Ozriath." He jerks his free hand towards the sleeping green, and chuckles. "I have been known to play a few rounds." He shrugs. "Gambling was never really much of my forte, but I enjoy it." He stands and looks around. "But I don't think we have a crate or a table to play on."

Allash nods at the return of the name, inclining his head more deeply at Ozriath, wishing her well. In his head at least. He snorts at the mention of a crate or a table, "You been dicin' in some classy joints, Z'bor." Allash produces a set of dice, seven each, on each the one-pip is the face of a different creature. "Ah, well, let me teach you a new game, then. More strategy than gambling," he holds up one die, showing a VTOL, "This veetle is the lowest rank," he folds onto the ground in a cross-legged position. Don't mind if I DO make myself at home, Z'bor. "The wherry, next. Tunnel snake," he shows creature after creature, "Finally dragon. Dragon trumps everything. Unless there are threes showing. That indicates a Fall and all dragons are out of play." Before Z'bor's eyes glaze over, he shows a few sample 'encounters' and they're off.

Z'bor nods and tries to follow along. "This is …interesting." He states as they play. He doesn't mind if Allash makes himself at home. "Where did you learn this game?" He asks, genuinely curious. He scratches idly at his forehead, trying to remember the combinations and what works, or doesn't work, together.

Allash flips one of his dice from showing a three to showing a two. Threadfall ends and Z'bor's dragon is back in play. There isn't a whole lot of rolling, beyond an initial cast of the dice to set the initial conditions. Thereafter the game is about surrounding opponent dice in triangles with dice showing pips larger than the one surrounded. Each turn you can flip all your dice up or down in value. Raising the value of your pips is a good defense. Lowering them will eventually trigger Threadfall (at three) or, more desirable, trigger the special trait of each creature. The game consists of trying to unlock special abilities while keeping values high enough to capture opponents dice. He scratches at his jaw, "I, uh, I might have made it up." He flips other dice and captures Z'bor's feline. Felines never did Z'bor any favors anyway. "Started out as a way to tell stories to my kid brothers when they were little."

Z'bor takes his turn, hoping he did things right. He captures….nothing. He laughs. "It seems like quite the complicated way to tell stories. It makes for an interesting experience though. How many kid brothers do you have?" Z'bor raises a brow, lookign across the dice at Allash. "I had two, well, have two, but they are back home in Ista."

Allash's squint and darting eyes make Z'bor's naively executed move seem better than the greenrider thought it was. He squints suspiciously up at Z'bor, grinning. "That was a good move," he points, "I have to respond here to save my Wherry," he points at the die hovering between triggering a Threadfall and unlocking his VTOL. "So I need to go back to Threadfall," he taps the VTOL die, "And keep your dragon out of play." He shakes his head and peers at the board before making some more adjustments. No captures. "Uh, well, initially there weren't rules, I'd just tell stories about whatever images came up. The first dice were all images." He laughs, "I told some pretty silly stories. The rules came later. Two," he answers. Two kid brothers. Allash sits back, "Don't get to see them much, yours?"

Z'bor shakes his head. "With me being a rider in Southern, and both of them apprenticed with different craft halls, no, not much." He smiles and shakes his head. "We make do though." He runs through his turn again, and captures Allash's tunnel snake. "I am sure those dice made for some interesting tales." He finishes his turn and waves Allash on. "Did they enjoy them?"

A pursed lip and quick hiss at the captured Tunnel Snake, Allash ponders his next move before flipping values this way and that. No capture again. Something seems to be in play. A big move, given how Allash seems to be devouring the dice with his mind. "Watch out there," he offers, pointing at a few of the dice, Allash is close to capturing another of Z'bor's. He points at different parts of the board and runs down why he'd made the move he did. "They did," he grins, "The tales or my brothers?" He laughs, "Both. Well, they were," he shrugs, "Brothers. Good kids. Men," he amends, "One's betrothed, now, due to wed here in a few months."

Z'bor nods. "Well, that's good news to hear. Weddings are always a thing to celebrate!" Obviously Z'bor has never noticed all the arranged marriages around Pern. He takes his next turn, careful to take Allash's advice to heart. No captures, but to Z'bor, it seems like he's out of danger for now. "They grow up so quickly. Already my brothers are a slight enigma to me, but, having been separated for so long, it doesn't suprise me. Are you still close with yours?"

"This one is," Allash nods, flipping dice again. No captures. What is he planning? The guardsman presses tented fingers to his lips as he ponders the playing field. "Enigma." He nods ruefully, "Yeah, that sums it up nicely. They've always foxed us a bit, being twins. I haven't seen them since I came South, but yeah. We're close."

Z'bor grins. "That's good. Siblings should be close." Z'bor stares at the dice, unsure of what he should do next. "They chose each other then?" Z'bor looks up from the dice with a smile. He'd never be able to choose a life long mate, he had Ozriath for that, but he was happy for those that could. His eyes go back to the dice. What to do? What to do?

"Not exactly," Allash studies the dice, murmuring past steepled digits, "But they like each other. So we're pleased." 'We' being the family. Allash watches Z'bor for a moment, glad to have lifted the burden of the man's worry over his mate, if only for a little while. He shifts, dropping his hands, folding arms loosely over crossed legs. He doesn't offer any advice, but has some if Z'bor asks. Allash's feline was one turn away from captured. The end of the game was close, but it could still go either way at this point.

Z'bor stares at the dice. The fact that the feline is almost capturable, escapes him. He looks up at Allash briefly. "Well, that's more than most can say. I can think of a few arranged marriages that weren't paired very well." One of them being his own. He looks at the dice again, and turns a couple. No captures.

Allash's eyes dart up to Z'bor's, wary for a moment, then back down to the board. "No, you're right. They're not all like that." Z'bor's on his own. He leans over to the cart to snag a mug and a pitcher. It's too far and he, reluctantly uncoils and sidles, crablegged to the goodies. He pours a mug of juice for himself and fishes the flask out again, adding just a blessing of spirits to top it off. Eyebrows go up, in silent inquiry, Another?

Z'bor shakes his head and holds up a hand. "No thanks friend. I need to keep a straight head, never know when Oz is going to wake up. And her head will be fuzzy enough when she wakes." Z'bor takes a stretch and looks around. "To be honest Allash, I should probably take the time to go to the baths and get some fresh clothes." He points at the plate of food. "I'll get that ate sooner or later…"

Allash nods, "Just so." He stands easily, setting his spirit-blessed juice on the cart, "I can stay with her, if you want." Was that a thing to offer? He'd do the same to someone sitting with a person… so why not? It wasn't like Z'bor wouldn't know and be able to talk to Ozriath if she did wake while he was gone, but it seemed the thing to do. He stoops to scoop up the dice, pointing at a trio towards the far edge, "There's your move. A closer," he grins, scooping the dice away after Z'bor has a chance to look. "Thanks for indulging me," he gestures the fistful of dice at the greenrider.

Z'bor nods. "That would be kind of you Allash, thanks." Z'bor smiles. "I won't be gone long. And thanks for showing me your game, I'd gladly play it again." He grins at the 'candystriper' and turns. "I'll be back soon. Thanks again, by the way." And with that, Z'bor is off to cleanliness and fresh clothes.

Allash watches the greenrider move away and chalks one up in the 'Win' column. He smiles to himself and sets about neatening the area. Not that there's much to do, but what there is he does. He covers up the goodies on the cart and folds himself onto a stool with his mug watching Ozriath sleep fitfully. He fishes the dice back out and casts them onto the floor between his feet. He looks at the images for a little while, thinking. After some time he takes a deep breath and begins, "Ozriath. Once upon a time, Oh Best Beloved, there was a Wherry who longed to breathe flame," He leans forward, taking up the mug and, with elbows on his knees, settles in, "She flew high, high, high, all the way to Ruhkbat…"

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