Dustin, Tallel


Tallel makes the acquaintance of the new Zingari herder.


It is the evening of the twenty-sixth day of the ninth month of the first Turn of the 12th Pass.


Lost Oasis, Great Central Desert

OOC Date


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Lost Oasis

Blocked from view in the south by one of the largest sandstone formations jutting from the desert, this lovely oasis is truly a hidden jewel in the sand. Leagues away from any trace of civilization, it boasts a tranquil blue pool of fresh water and shallow stream fed by an unseen spring beyond a dark crevice in the bluff. Trees spring up against the rock, providing merciful shade and filling in the narrow recesses surrounding the water. The height of the outcropping funnels a near-constant light breeze through the place, cooling the air considerably in comparison to the desert beyond.

However, for all its beauty, there is an unaccountable air of fear and uncertainty about this oasis. At night, the otherwise friendly wind can cross the space with a low, unnerving howl, and creatures passing in the shadows do so in nervous, unseen movements. This has, unfortunately, been a place of grisly discoveries for Igen Weyr - most likely due to its out-of-the-way nature. Sweep riders have observed no renegades, bandits, or criminals of any other stripe in the area thus far, adding to the mystery here.

Dustin is sitting by one of the smaller campfires that has just burned down to embers. He's got a skin of drink with him and is relaxing after a long day. He is by himself, although he doesn't seem to mind that.

The desert is starting to get fairly nippy at night, and Tallel comes out of his wagon grumbling under his breath about that. He has to go back to wearing long-sleeved shirts under his vest in the evenings now, and having to get used to it whenever the cooler weather starts kicking in has always started out with itching. He could just grind a powder to help with that…but he's too lazy. Teenage boy problems. What does make him happy is that, over by one of the other fires across camp, a couple of musicians have a soft drum and pipe going. People are starting to heal up and feel better, and spirits are lifting. Spotting the big-muscled, dark-haired sitting near the ember-filled fire pit, he drifts over and stops a few steps away, giving a curious tilt of his head. Does he know this man? Thinking, thinking… "Are you the one who came along with all the sheep the other day?" he questions, listening for the quiet noises made by the animals in question off across the oasis.

Dustin looks up from his contemplation of the fire and he nods, "Yes I am. The name's Dustin. What's your name, cousin?" he asks as he motions for the teenager to sit down. "Thirsty?" he asks offering up the skin to share as he moves over a bit to make room by the fire.

Tallel cracks a grin, triumphant at his correct guess, sidles over to squat down beside the big man. "I'm Tallel, from the Steppes caravan," he replies, stretching out his hand for a shake. "Well met! I can here with my Auntie Melusine; we're healers. And I do sleight of hand for entertainment." Eyebrows waggling, he accepts the skin. "Ooo, what's in here?" Big, fortuitous, and generous with his drink. Tallel likes him already! "Mind if I stoke this back up?" he asks, poking at the embers with an iron prod left nearby.

Dustin smiles. "Nice to meet you. I met your aunt last night. A very interesting woman, to say the least. It's just some very good wine. No, go ahead and stoke it back up," he says as he leans back. "So how long have you been helping your aunt?"

Tallel 'ooo's again at the wine and takes a good sip before corking the skin and setting it aside so that he can coax the fire back to life. "That she is," the young healer says with a crooked smile. "My family is healer stock, so we've been learning and practicing alongside one another for Turns. I was apprenticed to my da, though she'd always take up minding my training when my parents had to go off places. So it's been…six Turns? Seven Turns? Something like that." Turnabout is fair play, so he asks. "Where'd you come from? How long've you been a herder?"

Dustin is sitting by the fire and he's relaxing with Tallel by a now stoked up fire. "All my life. My father's one and my mother is a weaver. I came from the western caravans. I help take care of the animals. All the animals here are in good condition."

"Oh, like out Ruatha and Fort way?" Tallel wants to know. Fresh flames lick upward into the blackness with a satisfying pop and spray of sparks, and Tal flips a hunk of dry log into the pit before scooting back a little and resting his wrists on bent knees. "My caravan is known for its runners. All of us know a little something when it comes to them, though not always about driving stock and herd animals and such. Did you have a look at one of the drays pulling my aunt's wagon, by any chance? He went a little lame during the last stretch getting here because of the storm, but it didn't seem bad." For good measure, the boy snags one more sip from the wineskin before holding it back out to its owner with a nod of thanks.

Dustin takes the skin back and takes another drink. "Yah, around that way. We move around a lot." He nods. "I did, and she had me look at a couple in particular. I did notice that, but he seems on the mend and should be no problem once we leave here. He could do with a bit of exercise, too."

Tallel nods firmly. "Good. He ought to be plenty useful, then." He flicks the poker idly back and forth, knocking it against the stones ringing the fire pit with a light thunking of dull metal. Ever curious, he looks a bit up and over at the big herder. "Do you do an entertaining? Like knife-throwing, or maybe strongman stuff?" Tallel rubs his skinnier arms absently. He doesn't lack for muscle, but he's still got a little filling out to do, and compared to the herder…he's a twig.

Dustin nods. "I do. I plan the panpipes; I'm not half bad with them, but nothing that I would call entertaining - just a way to while away the time when you pull having to guard the herd and need to stay awake. I suppose I could do strongman stuff if I needed to. You said that you play right? I know your aunt dances; what do you do? Is this your first time away from your home caravan?"

"Oooo, panpipes!" Tallel is either easily excitable or easily impressed. Possibly both. He also just loves music, so anyone who can play gets extra points in his book. "Nah, I don't play. I dance some, though. I'm not as impressive as my aunt or probably Willimina, but I'll do it every now and then. And like I said - sleight of hand. I'm an illusionist. When the whole caravan is feeling better, we ought to have a party so we can all see the talents we each bring to the table," he declares with an expansive gesture. The question of whether or not it's the first time he's left home earns a laugh. "Oh no. I've done a lot of wandering - on my own and with my siblings and cousins. I don't like staying in one place for too long. But, if I'm needed here for a while…" He shrugs, letting silence fill the blank. He'll stay as long as Willimina wants him to, he supposes.

Dustin smiles. 'Sounds like a good idea. That way we can all know what each other can do so that if something happens, or something needs to happen, we know who we can turn to for help within the caravan."

Tallel makes a scoffing noise before grinning over at the herder. "It wouldn't be much of a party if we all showed off our trades, aye? Things like this…" A small ball of blue glass appears in his hand, held between thumb and forefinger. Then, with a flourish, another - this one green - appears between forefinger and middle finger, followed by another wave of hands with the appearance of a red ball between his middle finger and ring finger. Abruptly, he folds them all into his palm, makes a scrubbing motion between his hands…and is suddenly holding a single, larger ball of purplish glass. Pleased with himself, he grins, then tucks the oversized marble back into his pocket. "…Things like that for parties, cousin. Anyway." With a grunt, he stands up and dusts himself off, looking down at the herder. "I'd best do one last check in the big wagon and then try to get some sleep. Good talking with you, Dustin. See you in the morning, probably!" And with that, the young healer is off into the shadows, his steps springing with a cheerful spirit in spite of his destination.

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