Jonteim, Prineline


A short interlude between the Headwoman and a bazaar merchant.


It is the twenty-fifth day of Winter.


Living Cavern, Igen Weyr

OOC Date


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Living Cavern

Dim light from hanging glow-globes cannot fully camouflage the ravages of time and neglect on Igen's busy living caverns, though hints of its former glory peek through in the decorative cuts to the cave's natural limestone and the high quality of dusty, tatty-ended tapestries. Here and there, skybroom tables — stained dark by wood finish and a decade of grime — sit in loose groups, flanked by wicker chairs with pointy, broken rattan that pokes out to invariably find unprotected skin. The seemingly randomly placed furniture, however, at closer inspection, forms a sort of cross-shape of negative space. At the northernmost walls and nooks of the caverns, a long buffet table with tarnished lazy susans hosts an array of finger-foods and pitchers for the interested, refilled occasionally by drudges that shuffle in from the curtained entrance to the south, beyond which lies the kitchens. To the east is a large arch leading outside and, across from that, to the west, a set of rattling doors that open to reveal the tunnels and stairs of the inner caverns themselves.

Prineline is doing what Prinelines always do: working. She is not sweeping, no, but she's overseeing an elaborate crew of sweepers currently attacking every corner and crevice of the caverns. These sweepers seem to be a motley collection of youths, leading one to believe that this may be more punishment than productivity. But if the caverns get clean in addition to administered life lessons, Prineline is ok that. As for the Headwoman herself, she is seated off to one side, eyes scanning a couple hides, which she occasionally scribbles on with a stylus which she keeps tucked behind one small ear. Every few seconds her glance whisks upwards to her small collection of sweeping hoodlums before dropping back down. An extremely diminutive green firelizard is settled on its haunches to her right, the tiny creature watching the workers with softly whirling eyes of attention. Even when Prineline isn't watching, she's watching.

Of course, Jonteim must be here on some errand of his own. The mere notion that he would have come to sit and sip, say, klah is unheard of, so that he comes in from the bowl, angling toward the kitchens. Perhaps there's a faster way than cutting through the living cavern, but he seems in no particular hurry to accomplish his business, which probably has something to do with the small, draw-string style bag looped around his wrist, swinging faintly while he walks. It doesn't take but a glance to surmise the situation - brooms, Headwoman, people too young to have volunteered for such a dull chore - and he goes the long way around the mess, passing between Prineline's seat and the wall, offering on the way, "Who says that kids these days don't know the first thing about staying productive, hm?"

"On the contrary, my dear." Prineline drawls, her stylus skipping along the hide as she makes another notation. "They don't know the first thing about productivity, so they must be taught." This dry remark precludes her eyes scanning upwards until they arrive on Jonteim. She tucks her stylus back behind her ear, looking past the merchant as one of the boys attempts to talk to another sweeper. Prineline clears her throat loudly. The boy immediately scurries to another dusty corner and the Headwoman returns her attention to Jonteim, fingers finding the soft ridges of her small green, which causes a tiny rumble of contentment from the critter. "You look just like her you know." Prineline says at length, leaning back a bit to take him all in.

Passing along the alert, Jonteim raises his eyebrows at the boy caught in the act, then politely averts his eyes so as not to make matters worse by, you know, staring, though there's still the remnant of a chuckle at Prineline's answering drawl during all that. He might have gone on about his business then, already leaning into the first step that would continue him on his way to the kitchens, but being compared to a petite demoiselle is enough to waylay him for now. His forehead creases briefly while he puzzles that, but it gets him nowhere, and he stops with his arms crossed instead, looking contemplatively at the diminutive green. After about five seconds of this, he goes for, "Go on?"

Prineline shrugs before her eyes flicker back to her work. "Tanua," you have some of her structure." As she says this her fingers trace her cheekbones and chin by way of explanation. "She was a good merchant, I hope you will be equally as skilled and maintain the reputation she had." There's something else suggested there, something that may have a bit more to do with the shady dealings of the Bazaar than the family similarity. But for now, Prineline will leave it unsaid. "Were you going into the kitchens?" She asks, still not glancing up from her work.

"Ahhhh," while he settles into a nod, a smile breaking at the same time now that all the pieces have fallen into place and Jonteim need no longer stand frowning at the firelizard. "You should see my sister for that." The resemblance, he means, not the business doings, since no sister has yet turned up to participate in the running of the shop. Sometimes, talking about the newly deceased is awkward, but he seems to take it with conversational grace, lowering his head and shoulders in the sketch of a bow that humbly accepts Prineline's hopes (but prevents him from the mistake of making any promises). "I still am, though delayed. Do you need something?"

"I do. Would you be a pet and get me some of the day old meat scraps?" The little green perks up at Prineline's words which causes the Headwoman to smile wanly. "Is your sister here as well?"

Jonteim's, "Of course," is prelude to him continuing on his way, so that his answering about his sister - "Not at the moment." - has the tone of someone who will continue a story momentarily. Off he goes, gathering up a second loop on the purse while he walks, helpfully toeing a scrap of something out from against the wall for the sweepers before he's gone. His business must not take too long, for he returns after only a few minutes, carrying a shallow cup that we can safely assume is not klah, given the way he holds it by the brim with fingertips alone. And then the way he sets it on the table with the full length of his arm, putting it in Prineline's reach but hopefully not the reach of the firelizard. "They looked at me a bit cross, no firelizard."

Prineline chuckles unpleasantly. "Yes, well, next time just say it's for me and they won't give you any untoward looks." Or she will chase them with ladles. The Headwoman pulls the mug towards her with a finger hooked into the handle, shooing the interested lizard away with a flap of the hand. Once little lime is quieted, she gamely pulls out a bit of meat and dangles it within reach of the flit, who snaps it up greedily. "I assume she's coming up to help you in your new venture?"

Jonteim squints doubtfully and argues, "How many times a day do you think 'it's for the headwoman' gets used?" He shakes it off, having survived the odd looks a person gets for asking after old meat with no hungry firebuzzard hanging around, eyes absently landing on the feeding of such a creature for now. "I don't know. She's only just walked the tables at Healer Hall." Which is why he shrugs, summing up the problem. "So if you happen to hear of anyone that knows their way around herbs and needs work," dot dot dot.

Prineline looks up. "My staff knows precisely when my fire lizard eats because she, myself, as well as my staff, are on extremely detailed schedules." So, the excuse is a valid one. As for herbalry help, Prineline mentally flips through her roster. "We have a few women with some knacks for herbal tending, though I'm not sure the extent of their background. Most of the knowledge that has been passed through family lines is less grandiose than your shop would require. But," Prineline tips the mug slightly, allowing the small green to unfurl her wings and hop closer, small head dipping inside and munching audibly. "Maniane and Porla are both generally capable, though one is involved in the creche and the other spends a great deal of her time in the laundry. If you end up recruiting one of them, I will expect a replacement of equal value."

Laughing mildly, Jonteim assures, "I'll make sure to find a trained laundress before I dare take one out of the lower caverns, promise." He lays his palm over his heart to seal the deal, and then picks up his steps once more, starting on his way out the same way that he came in, with the same lack of a particular hurry. "And good luck," with a point to the firelizard.

Prineline pats the slightly growly and meat-possessive little flit. "Piece of cake." She nods to the merchant before returning to her work after slapping the table with an open palm to still the small conversation erupting from her sweeping charges.

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