Who

F'mond, Zetali

What

F'mond and Zetali bump into each other in the Bazaar, just in time to deal with an over-aggressive barker and an irritated old auntie, and prevent it from becoming an unpleasant incident.

When

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

Where

Central Bazaar, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 07 Mar 2019 08:00

 

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"I don't want to intrude, but why don't you let me handle this? I might be able to defuse the situation before it explodes like a broken flamethrower. That old grandmother is looking pretty angry!"


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Central Bazaar

All roads in the weyr ultimately lead here, to this center of commerce. Canvas awnings jut out over time worn, sandy cobblestone, sheltering customers and wares alike from the majority of Igen's elements, and funnel scents both mouthwatering and vomit inducing through the thin streets. Almost all store fronts are open air, delineated by sandstone arches with intricately carved facades. The insides of these stone-shingled buildings act as an amplifier for the salesmens' bawled enticements, and are held up by the chipped swirls of marble pillars.


Unsurprisingly, the bazaar draws many folks looking to make a mark or two any way possible. Despite the summer heat, the bazaar is bustling this afternoon and F'mond looks possibly a bit redder and grumpier than usual as the Parhelion rider makes his way through the crowd. There's an elderly woman that's leading him through the crowd and all the usual suspects of stall owners calling out that they have beads or food or whatever other knick knacks might catch the eye today. It's down a slightly smaller alley that is especially crowded that she pauses and points rather dramatically at the barker that's managed to captivate most of the folks. The bronzerider casts a rather dubious glance at the woman. "Him?" She gives a very firm nod followed by a accusing finger point and an equally accusing shout. "THAT MAN IS A CROOK!"

As usual, the desert is hot, which is a lot like saying that the ocean is kind of wet. Shimmering waves rise from the horizon, and even the roads that criss-cross the bazaar. Most folk who traverse it are wise enough to wear protection against the elements, and that includes the dragonrider threading her way through the crowds with flying leathers, and also a hood and veil drawn over her face. Frazzled brown hair is drawn into a messy braid, still growing back somewhat after weyrlinghood; the odd rebellious strand still manages to stick out of the hood and veil. A little blue firelizard clings to the young woman's shoulder, looking at everything with curious interest… and both of them squawk at the sudden outcry, turning to look in the direction of the accusatory finger. "Heh. Feel like doing some investigating, 'Zan?" she asks, to the firelizard. The creature chitters, rustling its wings and slithering over to her other shoulder, curling his tail about her neck. So she makes her way over to F'mond, folding her arms, sea-green eyes taking in his patches. Parhelion. The old woman is also given a cheerful nod; F'mond is given a salute. "Zetali, of Arroyo Wing. Anything I can help with, sir?" Sforzando chatters, too, staring at the man curiously from behind Zetali's hood.

Seeing as the woman's cry was perfectly timed and the direction perfectly aimed so the walls of the alleyway seemed to magnify and echo it, she now has all eyes on her and F'mond raises a hand to his temple. There are a few gasps of horror from some of the crowd milling nearby while some of the more gossip prone aunties are inching ever closer to try and catch ALL the salacious details they can muster. The accused man however… doesn't seem flustered at all. He barely stops in his spiel before laughing a little and giving a wink to his audience. "If I had a quarter mark for every time some jealous merchant accused me of being a crook, I'd be richer than the Lord of Fort! It's just my misfortune that I should have been blessed with a product that is simply too good to be true!!!" Whatever said product is, it's probably something from a bottle since he's flourishing one about on his makeshift stage. F'mond is muttering something under his breath that may have been something like 'I should have had more klah for this', but then a helpful Zetali appears and he looks over carefully. "Depends. How much do you know about disputes?" His head tilts towards the merchant and the woman that's fuming a bit at the supposed crook's reaction to her words.

"I was an apprentice of the Harper Hall before a big brown monstrosity that eats too much and snores too loud decided my life wasn't exciting enough," Zetali replies, with practised good humour. She grins, tapping at her Arroyo badge with its accent of brown thread. Sidling closer to F'mond, she drops her voice until only he can hear. "I don't want to intrude, but why don't you let me handle this? I might be able to defuse the situation before it explodes like a broken flamethrower. That old grandmother is looking pretty angry!" Raising her voice, she spreads her arms in friendly entreaty, and on her shoulder, the little blue firelizard mirrors the gesture with his wings, before turning and slithering back to her other shoulder, chittering curiously. "Good madam! May I borrow a few moments of your time? My name is Zetali. I'd like to help. What seems to be the problem, here?" She's calm, friendly, and polite; paying careful attention to the old woman, and generally trying to read the dissatisfied shopper's temper carefully. There's no telling whether she can make this situation better or worse, but Faranth willing, she's gonna try!

If this whole thing blows up spectacularly, she'll have to treat the beleaguered bronzerider to a cup of klah. Or something stronger, if things go that badly. Zetali shifts her weight, mindful not to fold her arms or do anything that might come off as antagonistic. Instead, she keeps her body language neutral, and keeps a faint almost-smile on her face, sea-green eyes flicking between Old Woman and Self-Assured Merchant; reading them. The brownrider rubs her hands together. And suddenly her arm is grabbed. Sforzando startles a little, before leeeeaning over and chittering inquisitively at the old woman. Zetali meanwhile takes the opportunity to study the old auntie. "Tea?" That brings her to blink, looking over to the merchant, and then back to the auntie. "Well, I can't say I've heard of that, but I'm out of Keroon, and they do things a little different there." Probably. Maybe? It's a good way to stay sort-of neutral, anyway. She turns to face the merchant, although the motion is stilted because her arm is still being gripped by tunnel-snake jaws — err, by the auntie. "My good sir!" Zetali offers a winning smile. "May I ask your name?" It's only polite. Also, a lot less awkward than calling him 'hey you with the face.'

If it blows up spectacularly, at least F'mond can now split the blame with the younger rider! Although he does take repayment in whiskey or beer. While Zetali is busy talking with the woman and the merchant F'mond starts working on crowd control and shooing some of the less persistent of gawkers at least further away. The merchant may be a many with many faces, but he is willing to give his name and his largest (and probably his most charming) smile. "My name? Why that would be Beneran. And what this woman is saying is at least partially true. I do sell a wonderful tea that can just melt away the pounds. There is a special brewing practice that I handle myself. But I guarantee it is true. How would she know it's not when she has never bought not even the smallest cup from me?"

"Hail and well-met, Beneran!" Zetali puts on her own winningest smile, folding her arms and settling her weight on the balls of her feet. "It sounds like a most interesting elixir. But I'm just a simple dragonrider. The only way I know how to strip the pounds away is to toss bags of firestone!" The former Harper manages a laugh. "I'm afraid I don't know of any miracle cures. I understand this good lady's concerns. My good man, might I purchase a sample of this tea of yours? Then, the good lady is free to try it, if she likes, on her own terms. Or not. And if she doesn't find it to her satisfaction… then it's no loss, yes? I might even purchase a sample of my own." Not really. The stuff sounds fishy. It's probably just water. "If nobody's satisfied, well, I can see about contacting a real Harper to settle this dispute. I'm afraid I don't really qualify, any more…" Sea-green eyes flick between the two. "Does that sound satisfactory?"

Ohhhh, pooor naive Zetali if she thinks it's just water. Beneran gives a laugh of his own. "Well, it won't melt them off before your very eyes, although it's almost as good. After just seven treatments now only one quarter mark each, you're sure to see results! But you do need to take them within an hour before you go to bed and only one serving a night. But really… just imagine what you could see in as little as seven days!" The man does hold out one of the bottles like he is actually offering it for the rider to purchase. F'mond lets out a cough and steps closer so he can mutter in Zetali's ear. "You're not really thinking of drinking that are you?"

"Seven treatments at a quarter-mark each. That's one and three-quarters marks. A fairly tidy sum, but surely a bargain for such a fool-proof solution, especially one that lets busy weyrfolk avoid the extra burden of time on an exercise regiment." Zetali smiles, and it seems more and more like the smile of the feline that has its poor unfortunate prey cornered. She makes no move to actually accept the vial. "A tidy sum for most folk, to be sure. Will you excuse me just a moment?" She offers Beneran her most winning smile, before pivoting on her heel, gently shaking the auntie off her other arm, and clamping F'mond's forearm to march a few paces away. Her smile drops just a little once she has her back turned to the auntie and the merchant. "No. No I'm not. I don't even want to know what's in that concoction. Faranth, it's probably disgusting, anyway. I'm sure it's a racket. This, however, buys me a peaceful resolution until I can contact a ''real'' Harper. I was an apprentice, but I wanted to be a luthier, not an arbiter. Let the people with more silvery tongues than mine take care of that. But in the meantime, we don't have a riot on our hands, yes?" She leans over and aims a cheery wave at the two, and an upraised index finger for more time, looking back up to F'mond earnestly. "Unless you've got a better plan, sir…?"

F'mond tilts his head as he considers Zetali and her plan but eventually he nods. "Plus, we could get the vial to some healers to see if they can actually make heads or tails of it." And he can write this all up as gathering evidence, plus hand it off to the harpers and wash his own hands of it. "Sounds reasonable, but what are you going to do about her?" He tilts his head slightly towards the auntie who is anxiously waiting back where Zetali had left her. "Think you may get a one person riot if someone isn't hauled off to the brig."

"And this is why we all of us work better together than separately." Zetali snaps her fingers, although the sound is somewhat muted by the wherhide of her gloves. "I wouldn't have thought to bring the sample to a healer. I just want a temporary peaceful resolution so we don't have any… problems… on our hands." The brownrider gestures more nebulously. "I'll save sample. Worth the cost of the whatver-it-is." Sea-green eyes flick back to F'mond, speculative, as she flicks a quick glance at the old woman. "I haven't decided," she says, low. "But I don't have the authority or the evidence to haul our oily little friend off to the brig. I'm afraid I'm a little out of my element, and a lot out of practise at this sort of thing." Her smile is just a hair nervous, as Sforzando skitters to her other shoulder again, wrapping his tail around her neck and chattering at F'mond. "Any ideas…?"

Ever so slightly, F'mond tilts his head to get a view of both the accuser and the accused who is still basking in the attention of some of his attentive audience. "Best to know what we're dealing with. Could be the stuff is harmless…" He sounds doubtful but shrugs but an idea does come to him. "Depends on how much time you have. The bazaarmaster keeps a large stack of all sorts of forms on his desk. Think he's got at least five for any possible type of caravan that might be coming in. If you want to spend an hour taking down all the 'observation' she has for the 'official record'…" He raises an eyebrow to see just how into this whole peacemaking the brownrider might be.

"Could be the stuff is harmless," Zetali mutters in agreement, "and it could be the stuff isn't so harmless, too. Better to be sure which one we're dealing with, especially where unwitting buyers are concerned." How much time she has? She shrugs, brushing nonexistent grit off the wherhide sleeve of her jacket. It's hot out here, and eventually she's going to need water, but she can hold out a little while longer. "I have time, and more of it if you've got a canteen on you, friend. Where can I find the bazaarmaster's office?" She reaches up to rub at the back of her neck, a little awkwardly, eyeing both the barker and the old woman sidelong. "We might as well do this right and collect the proper documentation. Elsewise, this is going to come back around to nip me, I reckon. Shards," she sighs. "Well, lead on. We may as well get this over with."

F'mond is gonna need a drink after this, but probably not the type he's got in his canteen. Water for taking that auntie that just won't stop until she sees her own version of'justice' out off his hands? F'mond will take that deal any day and hands over the 'skin that's still three quarters full. "He's got a stall right off the caravan grounds, but two stories up. Caepan likes to be able to see everything. I'll send him a note to let him know you're on your way. He owes me one." Just what favors might the bronzerider have earned from that particular man? Who knows, but at least one chip is gonna be cashed in today. "How about you break the news to the lady? I'm sure once you mention hidework and the bazaarmaster, our merchant friend will find somewhere else to be."

Zetali takes up the canteen and tests how full it is by bouncing it once or twice in the palm of her hand, eyeing it speculatively. It's good enough for the time being. Uncapping it, she takes a generous swig while she listens, keeping an eye fixed on F'mond despite the awkward angle. She's still listening even as her throat works, but she'll wait to respond until she doesn't taste dust any more. It takes a few seconds. Once she tears it away, she offers it back, sea-green eyes bright. "Thanks. Yeah? Well, that's good." Zetali reaches up to clear her hair from her face, frowning just a little. "Heh. I'll let her know, but… you think he's going to let go so easily?"

"I got him," F'mond gives a firm nod as he squares up his shoulders. He might not be the largest dragonrider around, but he can loom with the best of them. Besides, the possible swindler seems like the easier task to deal with. Old ladies are scary. With a clearing of his throat, he steps over towards the troublesome two. "Ma'am, if you'd please go with my associate, she has some forms she'll need your help filling out. And as for you, I think we need to have a little talk." He gives a wave of his hand towards the corner of this particular alcove and doesn't really give the man much of a choice but to go along further. At least now F'mond's body and the distance can muffle most of whatever the conversation might be leading to.

"You got this!" Zetali encourages, but quietly, pumping a fist a little. You go, girl! Guy. Whatever. She falls into step behind him, letting him take the lead in directing the situation. The brownrider risks a quick glance at the alcove as F'mond leads the barker away, shrugging. "Well, then, Ma'am! Right this way! We want to know your observations, if you wouldn't mind sharing with us. We'll be heading to the bazaarmaster's office. Yes, yes, this way." She gestures to get the old woman coming along, maintaining an air of cheer, which is only slightly forced and well-hidden at that. Pleeeease play nicely and not cause a scene? So she turns up the cheer with that bright smile! C'mon, Auntie, let's get this over with. "Come along with me, if you'd be so kind?"

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