Veresch, Cha'el


At the end of sweeps, Cha’el drops by the Oasis Inn and learns of the task set Veresch by Tuli


It is midmorning of the thirteenth day of the seventh month of the first turn of the 12th


Igen Weyr, Oasis Inn

OOC Date


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Oasis Inn

Tucked into a small fold of foothills along the road leading from the Weyr to the Central Pass, this inn truly is just what its name implies - an oasis for travelers coming from either direction. Stabling and board are available - though the boarding comes at a price, since there isn't much of it. The most well known part of the Inn is the tavern - a rustic bar built of solid skybroom and furnished in dark, oiled wood, leather, metal, and glass. Though well used and sometimes abused, the furniture is also well cared for and maintained, and the food and drink draw many a rider in alongside the travelers. The decor is eclectic, consisting in hangings, rugs, carvings, and other things from every region of Pern, bestowed upon the owner in barter for lodging. The atmosphere isn't one of a dive; it's cozier than that, though there is just a touch of harmless shady to be found - particularly in the evenings.

No one in their right mind goes into the central desert during the daytime, and even with traders skirting around it, there aren't that many people this late in the afternoon at the inn right at the foothills of the Central Pass. There are riders there, certainly, enjoying speculating on what the evening meal might be, but there's a very dusty, very tired Veresch as well, curled up in one of the nooks of the room amidst rugs and hangings left by other visitors. There's a glass of something on the low table in front of her. On the other side, a small stack of hides, the topmost of which has a small-scale map of the area that she's carefully making notations on.

There are some that do head for the central desert except that they do it at heights were the heat isn’t quite so stifling. As evidenced by the abominable sandman that next comes through the doors of the Inn with nothing but keen blue eyes showing in the small opening allowed in the scarf wound about his head and lowers face. Careful to try and keep the sand silting off of him to just the area where he’s standing just inside, the man begins to strip outer layers off, slowly but surely revealing himself to be none other than Igen’s Weyrsecond. Draping the helmet with gloves stuffed into it, goggles and scarf on a hook provided for just such things, boots are stamped of what sand can be dislodged and he makes his way inward, ordering a drink on his way through in a voice hoarse from thirst.

That's a lot of sand, enough to have to be swept outside. Even above the low murmur of conversation the silky sound of it falling attracts attention and Veresch looks up. For a moment she's curious, then as identity reveals itself her jaw firms and she looks down at her work again. There's a sip of liquid - from the way she's tossing it down it has to be water - and she wiggles a bit back on her bum, drawing into her little nook like a turtle inside its shell. Despite that, there's no way she won't be seen to anyone scanning the place, and from the twitch-twitch of her jaw she knows it.

Given that he hadn’t quite gotten his goggles in place before the sandstorm had kicked up along outer edges of the desert sweeps, Cha’el’s vision is little blurry and still gritted with sand. Shown in the few tables and chairs he bumps a hip into as he passes by rubbing at his eyes. Which might explain why initially he doesn’t notice that the booth he’s chosen to plonk his sandy rear in, is actually. Only once he’s folded himself down and stretched his legs out under the table does he glance sideways and when he does and catches the small figure of Veresch, he startles with a curse. “Flame me! How long you been there?” Blink, blink.

Veresch's eyes widen as the Weyrsecond comes and parks his big (okay, pretty muscular) butt right in her booth, and there's a staaaare as she waits for realisation to sink in. "About two hours," she finally says, putting the charcoal stick down safely on a twist of hide, and she moves the map she's been working on out of the way. "You should go and rinse your eyes out, they look like they've been cooking in hot sauce. The more you rub the more it's going to aggravate the sand in there." She even pushes the glass of water closer. Her complexion, once he recovers enough to look, is slightly dry, indicative of a long day spent outside, and there's something about the slouchy posture that communicates fatigue as well. She curls up and away a little, and a trio of creels sound close to his ear before they grumble-move towards her body.

Blearily Cha’el forces vision to focus through the grit on Veresch and everso slowly, a wry smile pulls into place for her reply. “Sorry. Didn’t see you there,” he croaks flashing a grateful look for the water but instead of using it to rinse his eyes, he instead chugs it back like it’s the elixir of life. Swiping the back of his hand across his mouth, the messenger’s state is taken in. “You look like you could use a hot bath, a good meal and about twenty four in bed. What you been up to?” The map she tries to hide, eyed. The critters that creel and shift away met by a drunked brrraaarrrr from the scrawny brown that emerges from the front of the Weyrsecond’s jacket.

The map, now that he's eyeing it somewhat more clearly, is of the local area, yes, but carefully marked up to indicate promising water spots. The bit of map that sticks out beneath that one is much older-looking, in that the language is a little strange and the lettering style is from her time. Her old time. It is, however, freshly copied and still bright, so she's not toting priceless maps around. With the glass of slightly barley'd water disappearing in three big gulps she manages a small smile. "Wandering around out here with a parasol, checking to see whether the water routes are still good." She eyes the three firelizards crawling over him to get to her, and reaches out a slim arm, which they sidle up like, well, lizards. "Tuli wants to know. I'm doing some initial research."

Dry amusement lifts up for the parasol comment, falling lopsided on the Weyrsecond’s lips as he draws the maps a little closer so as to better inspect the markings on them. As the three of his kind go crawling by, Savvy makes idle attempt to catch one of their tales but instead loses his balance and lands in a bundle of limbs and wings onto the table. With a meep of chagrin, the brown flit takes a while to right himself and then…struts off drunkenly and…falls off the edge. “Quit fucking around, Savvy,” Cha’el chides the firelizard without making a move to go to its aid. “You’d cover more ground from the air,” he goes on to say flicking an approving look Veresch’s way, “I’ll see if we can maybe scare up a few off-duty riders to take you on some low sweeps.” Good exercise for those recovering from injuries but not quite up to joining the fighting wings yet.

There's hissing, creeling laughter, and Veresch's three scampers off to go and try Savvy's method of exploring. It's enough to get a beady eye from Veresch and she leans in under the table to check their playing; satisfied, she sits up straight again. "I had wanted to ask," she admits as she ruffles through the hides on the table, pulling one out that shows a much wider area, almost at normal flight height. There are spots marked on it, little scribbles of notation from another likely map, and she taps the one closer to where they are. "This is us, right? I have to get closer data, so I have to go along the ground for at least some of it, but it'll help if a rider could double-check from the air, check for patches of green, clustering animals and so on. She wants everything up to the foothills first, but then likely the desert as well." A long task, certainly.

When Veresch peers under the table, she’ll discover that instead of lying sprawled on the floor, the brown flit is hanging upside like a bat with his talons dug into the underside of wood, happily chitter-slurring away to his ‘crew’. Listening attentively as the messenger explains what it is she’s needing, rubbing occasionally at his eyes even after having been told not to – What? He’s male! – Cha’el nods. “Water is a precious commodity around here. Taken for granted sometimes when we soak our hides in the baths. I can speak to the dragonhealers and see who’s been cleared for flight but not duty ready but it might be better if you were able to fly along so that you can see from the air where you need to be on the ground next.”

It's conditioned reflex picked up from her mother, that smack at his hands (whether it lands or not), so that he keeps from rubbing at his eyes. Veresch likely doesn't even know that she's doing it, given the way that she's looking at the map. "I'd appreciate it, thank you. I'll be back at the Weyr in a seven or so, I'm guessing, so if there are some that need a little light exercise… if they don't mind carting me around, that is." With that out of the way, she looks up at him with a bit of a frown. "What are you doing here then? I thought you couldn't wiggle Sikorth away from the eggs with a really big stick. Or are you on …" The word escapes her, and one hand mimes flying to and fro over the map, likely to indicate a watch of some sort. The little gold beneath the table, too young to do much but fan her wings, coils around her ankle; the green and the bronze avidly play along, swinging from pants and bits of rug and hanging drapes alike.

The conditioned reflex earns a conditioned response and Cha’el glares blearily at Veresch with a ‘Hey, what you do that for?’ expression in place which on a man his size and turns, probably looks ludicrous. Business concluded with an agreeing nod of head, the Weyrsecond pauses as his drink finally arrives, flashes the waitress a sandy smile and fits the messenger with an amused look. “Sweeps. I was flying late sweeps. Took Naru’s flight for her because her kid’s sick. Heading back to Southern soon as I’ve wet my whistle.” Which he does right thereafter, exhaling an appreciative sigh and slumping a little more in his seat. “Sikorth gets to play with his eggs at night and we’re here during the day.”

"Eh." Sick kid? Not Veresch's Deal. "Bet she appreciated that. And there are so many eggs to play with as well. There's a red and orange one I particularly like." The Tsar's Apples egg, as it turns out. "Is this the first time he's a clutchfather?" Polite, so very polite, even to the barmaid. "May I have another glass of that water, please?" There's a wince, likely as the playing underneath the table gets rough, and she transfers her legs sideways, easily slouching. "SWeeps. That's it."

Broad shoulders lift and fall in a shrug. “A distracted rider is of no use.” Cha’el states, lifting his glass to further quench that thirst. Lips are curled about a wide yet weary smile when Veresch picks out one egg in particular. “Aye, they’re hardening nicely. Interesting colors too. Like a Lady Holder’s jewelry box.” Said as if he might have actually seen such a thing. Don’t ask! “First time,” the brownrider confirms, “and he’s been strutting about like a proud rooster ever since.” Fondly spoken. Catching that wince coming from the messenger, the brownrider nudges at the scamp now trying to slither down his legs. “Oy! Cut it out or you get home on your own.” There’s a muffled meep from under the table and then Savvy appears from under it at the girl’s side. Giving his human a reproachful look, the drunken brown will do his best to cuddle up to her and look entirely pathetic.

Veresch is girl enough to fall for that sucker-look and the pathetic droop of brown wings. One fingertip wiggles down to caress along headknobs and the long length of back and tail, until she twines her tail around it. "Hey," she greets. "And yes, I love the colours. I wanted to go down and rub all over them, but I think Dhiammarath might have tried to eat me then, and I'd be just a pair of boots. Are they gearing up on the Candidates yet?" Her expression changes to thankfulness as the water shows up. "It's weird. Every time I go down there I feel as if I'm swimming, and up here it's so dry that my skin's feeling stretched. I can see why the traders wear those head-scarf things now. I think there's a storm due soon as well."

All but melting under the attention, Savvy sends his human a crafty look from under lowered lids – The pirate always wins the girl! From Cha’el’s side, he utters a snort. “You keep that up he’ll appear and night day to con you out of everything shiny that you might have.” He warns Veresch. Amusement warms sandy bearded features at her comment about rubbing up all over the eggs, “I rather Sikorth might not be too amused either.” A nod is given on the matter of candidates. “A batch of them had come in yesterday and Dhiammarath has told Sikorth there are yet more due to arrive tonight.” Throwing back the last of his drink, the brownrider lifts a hand to rub at his eyes, glances at Veresch and then lowers it in a fist back down to the table. “Ista has weather you can at least count on.” Sideways agreement given to the disparity of weather between Southern and Igen. As to a storm coming in, the Weyrsecond takes that as his cue and pushes to his feet, setting a few mark pieces on the table. “Aye, that one we nearly got caught in was headed this way. We can drop you off at the Weyr before we head South unless you’re planning on hunkering down here for the night?”

It only works for pirates, see. Veresch smirks down at the punch-drunk brown and lightly, gently scoots her hands around him so that she picks him up, ready to be handed over to Cha'el. "I'm going to stay here for the night, there's still a good bit of foothills that I've got to cover, and I've set up some trading in the morning with a caravan passing through not far from here." Responsibility makes her pretty face almost stern. "It costs a bundle, but I nearly fell asleep right here earlier. If you'll tell Sikorth that I hope he's doing well? And… hey, you, stop clinging." That to Savvy. "And I hope you get back home safely before the storm, but that I'll come by and extra-oil bits if he wants, afterwards. If you don't have a thousand kids lined up to do it already."

No! No, no, no! Don’t wanna go back. Pleeeeeease let me stay. So might be what the brown flit might be saying if he could form words like his more evolved cousins. Instead, when Veresch lifts him and attempts to hand him over, Savvy tries to wrap himself about her hands, talons curling over fingers – careful not to puncture skin – tail wrapping about her wrist and making a pathetic creeling noise. “Stop being such a sodding girl’s blouse you drunken eejit,” Cha’el chides the creature with fondness in his tone and carefully extricates talons, wings and tail from the messenger’s hands. Once he has the winged creature in hand, he tucks him back down the front of his jacket where after a few more sullen little chirrups, Savvy settles down. “Just be careful, aye?” The brownrider returns on her going out and meeting up with a caravan in the morning, “There’s been trouble round these parts and you can’t always trust a trader.” A warm smile greets offer of helping oil the big lump masquerading as a dragon and for a brief moment, eyes unfocus. “Sikoth says to thank you for your enquiry and that he always appreciates help with the itchy bits. As do I.” Well not his personal itches but that’s not how it might come out.

There's a warm smile from Veresch too; whatever her hangups with the rider, she dearly loves Sikorth, and practically did since the day she first got to oil him. "I'll swing by, promise, and yes, I'll be careful. And oh, if you could deliver this to Sadaiya for me, I'd really appreciate it." As if by magic, a twist of folded and knotted hide appears, passed over the table. "Clear skies… if you two fly fast."

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