Herik, Ramita


Two young Steens discuss the family's latest project


It is midmorning of the nineteenth day of the twelfth month of the tenth turn of the 12th pass.


Igen Weyr - The Pit's Administrative Offices

OOC Date 19 May 2017 05:00



"Is there anything else I can help with? While I'm in the chair."


Administrative Offices

In the depths of the Pit, winding halls meander beneath the stands, carved from bare stone. Shortly into one such tunnel is a door of fine wood that opens up to a small room. Paneled all in dark woods, the room finds a balance between spartan simplicity and a reminder of the wealth of its proprietors. A singular polished desk stands as centerpiece, behind which sits a large chair of Steen scarlet. Shelves line the room with records of all sorts - matches, bet ledgers, improvements, and maintenance. To the side of the room stands a small table with an assortment of amber liquids, and upon the tiled floor is a large colorful rug, well-worn from decades of use.

Here, away from prying eyes, Steens manage the day to day affairs of the family and consort with whom they will, making deals to arrange fights or deals within the bazaar with equal interest.

Herik has been set to do some paperwork today, so it would seem. The young Steen is sat at the desk his father usually occupies, frowning as he reads over a record in a big ledger. The writing is small, and now and then the man has to squint with his face closer to the book to make out what the words are. Then, after pulling a face, he'll move on, eyes continuing their journey left to right, left to right. He's not dressed for fighting today, and down here in the office is well away from the action. Still, one hand taps idly at the desk with a restlessness that hints at someone who would rather be doing something active. But hey, he's out of the cold at the least.

Ramita striding through the hallways in the Pit like she's on a mission hasn't been a terribly unusual sight in the past couple sevendays, but this time instead of heading towards the kitchens, she takes a turn towards the offices. She'll slow down as she comes towards the spot that Vitus normally occupies and briefly glance in as she's passing to see who it is at the desk. Seeing Herik there has her turning around and suddenly going into the office, shutting the door behind her. The woman will give the room a cursory inspection to make sure they are truly alone before turning her attention fully on her cousin. "Herik, what did you do?"

Herik looks up gladly from his studies, leaning back in a chair he feels too small for. "Oh hey, Mita." His hands are still on the desk, though his fingers have stopped drumming now as he looks across the desk at her. "Be born?" He suggests, dry as the desert, but with humour sparkling in his eyes. "Did you come to free me?" Does he sound hopeful? Yeah, just a bit.

Ramita will cross the room and claim one of the chairs across from the desk, giving the man's joke the proper eyerolling that it deserves. "Maybe it was what you didn't do, then? Did you know your father has me recruiting men to work on this road project?" Yeah, he may have had his hopes set too high. She'll free him from paperwork… but apparently there is still Steen family business to discuss. She's going to tap her fingers on the arm of her chair while waiting a response.

Herik's hand brushes over the ledger before he leans back in the chair, arms coming off the table and onto the chair's arms. "I knew he was starting some road project but…men huh? Where's he want you to get them from?" It's news to Herik, but he greets it with exasperation rather than annoyance at not knowing. And, perhaps, he has a feeling that Ramita's been tasked with finding men from less than savoury places, which has him looking across at her with slight suspicion.

"So you weren't the one he had working on it before me?" There's definitely a note of surprise in Ramita's voice at that, but her hand stops tapping. "Apparently whoever he had working on it before, wasn't able to find enough bodies. He didn't seem to care where they came from. But with whatever it is that's going on with the Akzhan now, finding folks is getting more and more difficult. I asked around, trying to find someone that might be more connected in the bazaar than me. One name that kept coming up was Rigo's, so I went and had a talk with him." She'll meet that suspicious gaze with her own icy cool stare. Mita's got her business face on now, which is might similar to a poker face.

"I was allocating men to jobs, one of which was father's road, but I didn't try to get too involved." Herik makes a face. "I didn't ask too many questions where they were coming from, but now that I think about it." There's a shake of his head, and he sits himself up straighter. "Rigo, huh?" There's no surprise at the mention of the man's name, and Herik will meet Mita's look with one of his own, one eyebrow slightly lifted, silently imploring her to go on.

"How many tasks does he have you working on that you can't keep them all straight?" Ramita will make a face of her own, mainly one with a single brow arched slightly, but she'll shake her head and move on. "Yes, Rigo. This isn't normally the type of project he finds men for… but he can find men. One major caveat is that they won't be the most reliable of men. Or trustworthy." She's just going to trickle out this information, testing the waters and carefully watching to see how he reacts.

"He's slowly adding to my duties," Herik says with an eyeroll now, but he'll also shrug both shoulders as if shrugging that issue off. "Right." Is his first response to Ramita's further information on Rigo and the men he can supply. The word is clipped, tension obvious in Herik's throat as he considers this offer. "Well, they wouldn't be out of place around here." With that said, he'll now turn the decision-making away from him and onto Ramita. "And what do you think? Worth taking the risk or…do we look somewhere else?" The 'we' is dropped in there perhaps without him realising.

"You're not the only one getting new duties," Ramita's going to remind with a slight smile. She's apparently more okay with the task now that she knows she didn't just inherit a huge sharding mess from Herik. Instead just a normal sized sharding mess from some still unknown family member, which doesn't seem quite as bad. "Speed was something that your father emphasized. And in order to speed up the work, we need more men than we can otherwise find. I think we've already exhausted all the normal options. And it's winter now… we need to get as much work done as possible before we have to stop for the summer heat. Rigo did also mention he could provide men that would have experience in making sure the less reliable men stay in check."

Ramita's quip and smile rouses a little smile from Herik, though when she presents the quandary at hand, the man slowly leans forward and rubs both thumbs at the bridge of his nose. "Right. Well, I don't like the idea of men we don't know keeping other men we don't know in line. I think we need some trustworthy men of ours to be in charge." He stops grinding his thumbs into his face and lifts his head to look at Mita to see what her opinion is on this.

Ramita will steeple her hands together and consider this before responding. "I don't like it either… but how many of our men can we spare? This project that Vitus has set out… it's not just for the bazaar. It goes out into the protectorate as well. Perhaps it's a better use of our resources to have Rigo's men keep the masses in line and our more trusted men to supervise Rigo's and do whatever more delicate tasks we might need them to do?"

Herik lets out a 'hm' as he considers that, staring at a point on one of the shelves. The thoughts roll around in his head for a minute or so, and then he slowly nods. "Yeah. Keep the best men close to hand." Drawing in a deep breath he straightens up. Now he fixes Ramita with a sad, subtly despairing look. "I don't think we have any choice, do we? Especially if father's pushing and pushing for this to be done…."

"Do you really want to drag this out any longer than necessary?" If Herik was looking for sympathy for a pity party, he's not going to find it in Ramita today. She's still all business and focused on the task at hand. "The part nearest the Pit will be completed first. But if the other parts drag on too long, it could get other people coming to you with all their complaints. And the sooner it's done, the sooner we can start collecting the tariffs." And once this project is completed and more funds are coming in, it's a lot more likely Mita will finally get a proper space to set up a distillery. "So, if you're okay with this plan, I can talk to Rigo again to work out the last details. Your father said to have the men report to you for their first shifts."

"I know, I know," Herik gives his bridge one final, exasperated pinch between thumb and forefinger, then lets his hands rest on the ledger, tap-tapping a single finger. There's a wan smile when Mita mentions tariffs. "No wonder father wants it done so quickly." There's a more genuine smile in his eyes as he looks across at his cousin, the man definitely less business-like than she. "Sure. Let's see who he can get. Send them to me and I'll deal with that bit." As an afterthought, he asks: "and are we telling father who got us the men?" At least a touch more serious now.

Ramita will allow a small smile and nod as Herik puts two and two together about the tariffs. "Yes. And he definitely implied it was in my best interests to get it done as quickly as possible so that I might get more space that I desperately need." You know, that space Herik promised he'd help her with. Which will be easier for both of them to do if they can successfully accomplish this project. As for telling Vitus about Rigo, she gives a small shrug. "I don't see why not. Rigo's done business with the family before. He does have references and if he can't deliver on what he promises, it will be his reputation and business that suffers. This was the most efficient way we could accomplish this."

Herik rolls his eyes skywards when Mita brings up the space, but there's a fond smile on his lips; it's amused exasperation. "Okay. I'll mention to father that men are being found, and Rigo's organising it. I'll…try to deal with it if he has any reservations, but I doubt even he can argue about looking elsewhere." And he nods at Mita's quite sensible comment about the man's links to the Steens. "Yep. And if he brings us any troublemakers, at least father will know who got them for him." Not him and not Ramita, technically, and that's important.

"As long as it works, I don't think he's going to be arguing." Ramita will agree to that. "Also, I'm sure he'll be bringing most unexpected issues to you before he brings them to me…" The woman will give a resigned sigh for the well known chauvinistic behavior of the Steen patriarch before continuing, "But if there's something you think I can help with, I do have some experience in managing things." She's worked in a couple different vinyards and distilleries, overseeing apprentices and other workers before her return to Igen. There's more to vintner training that literally just making booze. As for the troublemaker comments, a light laugh. "If he brings us troublemakers, I don't think we'll get off completely without blame since we were technically in charge, but at least we've taken all the steps we can to mitigate any possible damages. It's the best we can do."

Herik snorts. "Yeah. He will be." Of that, the Steen heir sounds certain. He toys with the edge of a page in the ledger. "You're Craft-trained - if anything, you deserve to take over things more than I do." But, such is the way of the Steens and inheritance, and Herik shrugs, eyes down and focused on the ledger. What can he do? "Yep," he agrees with Mita's last. "He'll have to accept we did what had to be done to get the project moving along at the speed he wants." And moving to other topics, he looks up at Ramita again, asking, "is there anything else I can help with? While I'm in the chair." A fraction of a smile.

It's Mita's turn for a sad smile, the best she can do to hide whatever traces of jealousy or anger at the unfairness of being dismissed just because of her sex. She did get craft-trained, which is more than most of the other women in the family. "Yes, but you're Vitus-trained. So of course you'd be better to take over after him. And he's still training you." There is a bit of an eyeroll at that and she'll laugh again at his last question and rise out of her chair. "No, I think I've brought enough problems to you for one day. I'll leave your to your chair and your…" She'll wave at the ledgers on the desk that she had interrupted. "And I'll tell you when Rigo should have men reporting to you. Hopefully before the end of the seven."

His eyes turn away from Ramita, guilt evident on his face even as he tries not to show it. He didn't ask to be the next in line to Vitus, but this is the way of it. At least Mita finishes things off with a laugh, anyway, and Herik will gladly leave behind the discussion of inheritance. "The door's always open," he tells his cousin with a warm smile, nodding as she makes that promise. "Thanks. I'll be interested to see what we get." He sounds like he's not expecting the best of the best, but has accepted this eventuality.

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