Cha'el, V'dean


It's all about smell. (Don't stop bathing, guys, it'll be okay.)


It is sunrise, the first month of the third turn of the 12th pass. The morning after Hannah speaks with V'dean


Council Room, Southern Weyr

OOC Date


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Council Room

Spacious, this room is cut from the same scale as the living caverns: vast and given to inspiring awe for those who enter. The floor is tiled in a shining cross-hatch of dark and light, an ironic chessboard setting for the looming and overlarge council table. Weathered it is, long and rectangular, with a matching sideboard twice again as long as it is. This is a room for meetings, for work, for decisions: such is evident by the hearth in the corner, and the always-fresh pot of klah.

The tension in the Weyr over the passed few days has been palpable causing the man currently hunched over a hide at the furthest end of the long rectangular table, sleepless nights. If not for the two mewling mites that Cha'el had been rocking back to sleep at the time of Ekerth's check-in, he would have dealt with whatever it was then and there. And so this meeting has been arranged for the crack of birdfart. With a mug of klah at hand but lips too tightly compressed for any of the liquid to pass easily through them, the Weyrleader curses and tosses the hide to one side. Mundane shit just wasn't going to cut it this morning.

It's too early to be very presentable. Already, too hot. The bandaging that winds heavier white beneath the summerweight loose of a shirt, high around torso and in a cuff about left bicep, has kept the bluerider from doing more than spongebathing away the wear of the past tense days. It is a fresh shirt. And there are recently wetted channels waving back through blonde hair, dragged by the fingers that now fold about a slim folio. V'dean may catch a snippet of sound from the Weyrleader's cursing. He doesn't have any of his own klah, at least, to account for the alert of his eye as he crosses into the chamber. His pause at the threshold is a scrap of formality, an instinct to shallowly bow in request of entry, though this morning his feet are eager to start his way in. "Sir, please forgive our intrusion last night," he leads with.

For all that Cha'el looks like he's been pulled through Between backwards, his damned general of a dragon has had him up since before dawn participating in Sikorth enforced PT. No rest for the wicked. Clothed in a loose navy blue shirt with a deep V to allow for as much airflow as possible and leather flight pants to indicate he's on the point of heading off somewhere, eyes of ocean's blue, sharper than might be expected given the time of the morning, lift and pin to the bluerider. Standing to his feet with a drag of chair legs over rock, there's a smart salute from the Weyrleader followed by a brief tuck of dark brows for the injuries reported to be lying beneath V'dean's clothing. "If it pertains to the Weyr, we're available night or day. Something my daughters don't quite understand yet or I would have met with you then." Wry the turn of expression as he waves the other rider inward.

Salutes are also one of those deeply ingrained responses, particularly when faced with a crispness that hearkens to northern weyrlinghood. The bluerider, in this, is a little constrained in form due to the tenderness stitched into his side and the fold of left forearm that remains across his middle. A smile touches lightly to his mouth as the blade of his palm lowers to recollect the folio from his other hand. When his heels move out of their clicked square, his stride is slowed from the pace of his arrival. "Thank you, sir," is given some warmth in his own offer of understanding. "It pertains to the Weyrwoman," which V'dean might equate with the Weyr. "I was by the infirmary before I departed the Ice Fields Holding evening last, and chanced to catch her in a speaking mood." This itself he judges cause for a fractional brightening of expression — a good direction for her health, at least.

Cha'el can be a prick sometimes but isn't that bad that the bluerider is likely to get a mouthful for being unable to return the gestures of formality. V'dean's opening statement immediately narrows the Weyrleader's attention seen in the closer focus of attention and the flicker of tension that twangs through his brawny frame. "I was just about to head up that way myself. Sikorth has been badgering me about taking Dhiammarath a fatted calf he's been keeping close tabs on." In a brief lull of conversation, the brownrider rounds the table and closes what short distance remains, eyes dropping briefly to the folder V'dean has in hand. "Did she say anything about who did it?" He has his suspicions despite his weyrmate's insistence to the contrary and that individual is currently languishing in the most desolate of weyrs at this time.

A dip of blonde head respectfully concedes the wisdom of Sikorth's plan. "A more comforting meal than the tundra fed beasts they have up there," he imagines in the space of the other man's transition about the table. The folder juggles up subtly to center spine in his palm, ready for opening. For now, however, it remains held to his side while V'dean meets the intent blue of the Weyrleader's gaze. "Yes, sir, that was exactly the point the Weyrwoman seemed most adamant to make." His breath holds a moment, high in his chest, though cool green eyes remain steadily earnest. "She is quite sure that the man who attacked her, the man clothed in furs, was a person distinct from the convict Ulrik." His tongue catches brief pause against his molars, eyes gaining a hint of greater tension beneath the relayed weight of Hannah's word. "She seemed very keen to impress upon me that the man Ulrik was a help to her."

"Not sure she's pulled herself away from the Hold long enough to hunt for herself." Dhiammarath rumored to be wrapped about the place in a very Smaug-like pose. A flicker of worry relayed from his dragon slithers in and then out again. Waiting until the folder is held out for him to take, Cha'el's arms fold across his chest and V'dean is set with a heavily dubious frown. "Helped her, huh? That's not what Bailey and Rhiex said. They said when they found her that mongrel was crouched over her covered in her blood." As to the man in furs there comes a frustrated snort. "This is starting to sound like one of them wildling tales about a furred creature that lives deep in the snow that falls on unsuspecting people lost in snowstorms." Yeti, anyone?

V'dean stretches slightly beneath the Weyrleader's frown. His expression neatens, politely serious. Yes, helped, he dips a clean nod of bearded chin. Though that this counters a weyrwoman's word is something that tugs a brief thinning along his mouth. "It is an extraordinary thing, Weyrleader," his tone is too meticulously smooth to sound simpering with the apology. "My own experience," however — and one that drags that last word through greater tension in his throat, "was with just such a figure. Cloaked in leather and furs. Though I have no recollection of his smell." Only light emphasis, but it leads to a thicker swallow as his brows twitch and his gaze drops. Leather creaks in the open of his palm, the folder Cha'el waits upon, but it's the top paper which sighs free within the pluck of fingertips that the bluerider intends to offer. "I've made you a copy of my report. The Hold's guard found me in much the same position as this convict." Green eyes are composed again when they lift. "The Weyrwoman could not speak easily," is a solemn fact. "It must be important to her, that the true actions of her helper are known and taken into account."

Its not that Cha'el is questioning Hannah's word per se but more that he's taking into account, her shock, loss of blood and what must surely be a regular float of fellis to dull the edges of pain. "Hmmm." The confirmation of help from the quarter of a man already convicted of murder bears closer thought. "A convict wouldn't have access to leather much less furs." Mused out loud before a brow is cocked. "Smell?" The report being held out is taken and studied closely, attention flicking upward with a wry edge patterning to the brownrider's mouth. "Aye, but you're a trusted dragonrider, not a convict." Hence the huge chasm of difference in terms of assumptions made of motive. "I'll head up there and see if I can have a word with her." There's a pause in which V'dean is put under assessing study. "You doing okay?" It's a question not meant to demean but rather spoken with deep understanding of how such an ordeal can rattle a man.

There are, to be sure, a host of factors to consider. Surely V'dean isn't surprised to be faced with the Weyrleader's skepticism. There's a slight loft of his brows for the additional insightful point of clothing access that Cha'el makes. "The attacker had a good, clean smell." Like Orbit. "Scent is known for making good memory," is the form of his confirmation given the one-word question. It comes while his eyes drop again to the page turned over to the Weyrleader. The bluerider's dimple is more deeply shadowed as a smile hangs momentarily upon his lips. "I do have the advantage of Ekerth speaking for me," is his somewhat dry offering dropped into that chasm of expectation. A nod marks the brownrider's communicated intention, but there's a brief lag before his chin-up smile is fixed back in place. "I'll be fine, sir. Shouldn't take long to mend." That's not all Cha'el meant. "I'll be better once the creature who is doing this is caught and no longer a danger," it's an easy thing to add, but holds low truth instead of hollowness.

Smell is clearly not something had factored into the equation of things to take into account in order to hunt the killer down. "Any smell in particular? Perhaps a certain scent that could be picked out that would point to a type of soapsand used?" Next, surprise bathing inspections!! Hopefully not. Some of the old aunties might faint and be in need of smelling salts. "Truthfully, I view this son of a bitch in the same way I view Thread. He, or she," because hey there's some crazy ass wenches out there, "is bent on destruction so now it's a case of us getting to them before they get to us." There's another pause of silence wherein Cha'el stares blankly down at the report in hand. "Take your time, aye? No point in rushing back to duty if your head's not in the game yet." Firmly noted. He needs his fighting riders fully focused.

Imagine, a Hold and Weyr not bathing for daaaays in order to avoid suspicion that they're the squeaky-clean murdering psycho. More or less lucky, then, that V'dean can say: "Not that she mentioned." But perhaps Cha'el's conference with Hannah may slash wide the seedy underbelly of Pern's bath salt industry! In any case, the bluerider can take some comfort from the other man's outlook on the Ice Fields assailant. Information delivered, he falls into an approximation of parade rest with his snicked-shut folder rested behind his back. He'll even get his left arm swung back to avoid looking all half-measure. There's a lag before his final response. "Yes, sir. Thank you." He doesn't choose now as the time to dig into the minutia of Ekerth's recovery regime. And thus, he seems satisfied his duty is met, so stands with neat attention on the Weyrleader's word.

Perhaps there was a reason that Cha'el had used that particular analogy with regards to the Hold Killer - dun, dun, duuuun - for there's a particular tightening of focus on V'dean just now. "Thank you, V'dean, for bringing this to me." The report lifted in indication before being set down on the table. The stance the bluerider then adopts draws a faint twitch of lips though it may be hard to define its origin. "And Ekerth? His recovery is coming along well?" Asked with the focus of a man that at any given moment has his finger on the pulse of what fighting pairs he has at his disposal.

V'dean should know some radars are too good to be slipped. His own hair's-breadth adjustments of features are rather inconspicuous, though pleasure can probably be ruled out when it comes to the underlying currents of what they suggest. "Sir," the slight inclination of his head is nevertheless agreeable. "His sails are holding together. We've been increasing flight time under the dragonhealers' guidance." There's a flicker in the cool green eyes, matched to a long breath drawn into the rider's lungs. "The cold has been a challenge." There's a touch of rough worn at edges that mark their passage through reluctance. "But we appreciate that we've been spared the heavier of cargoes." All in all, then: "He is recovering in line with the more optimistic of initial estimates." Maybe it should make his smile more than a perfunctory thing.

Cha'el is a records junkie! As is Sikorth a stern general in terms of keeping close watch on those under his command. The slight flicker in the arrangement of the bluerider's features is to be expected and taken as such with the Weyrleader putting out the edge of a smile worn at the edges with stress and worry. "Just don't overdo it, aye?" Not that V'dean needs such reminders. "We need you two back and not set back." Up goes a brow in pointed notation of the difference and then there's a rough sound of amusement that follows. "Aye well, I wasn't about to land you with ferrying that fat schmuck from Boll." Narrow escape there, V'dean. Narrow, or not so narrow as the Holder's ass had proven to be. "Its hard when they're down." Not that he's yet had personal experience of thereof but there's a general empathy shared amongst riders for such a thing. "When he starts lifting his head at shiny greens, you'll know he's about good to go." Delivered with a crooked turn of lips.

"Oh good," V'dean will allow his own slip of amusement to roll out dryly in follow of the Weyrleader's lead. "It's been months since I've relaced our underbelly sling." Because that Bollian ass fitting atop blue shoulders? The spark of humor subsides to a quieter thing as the rider gives a small nod. "We've the long view in mind, sir," is his assurance against short-term pushes that risk set back on the path to health they've already spent so much time trudging. And as for greens, well… that thought meets with a voiceless huff of laughing breath. Sure. More nodding drops his gaze in further mask of the private smile that stays constrained to tight lines. "Thank you for your concern," is more appropriately back to business. Appreciation has taken softer residence upon his expression. "Is there any other way that we may be of service?" In the meantime?

With Sikoth starting to get antsier by the moment, there comes from the Weyrleader a sigh and reaching for the report he'd set down it gets tucked into a folder. From there he's moving to where his flight jacket is slung over the back of his chair. Shrugging into it a thick scarf, his helmet, goggles and gloves are taken up. "Every one of our riders wellbeing and that of their dragons is of interest to us, V'dean." Cha'el quietly notes, features once again settling about a grim line. "But it's those that fight the good fight without giving up that are the most valuable." Approval sifts into his baritone for the manner in which the blue pair has met the challenges they've been faced with. "We look forward to seeing you back in the air with us." As to what further might be required of them there comes a faint shake of head. "Not that I can think of offhand but if you need anything, you know where to come." And with that and a smart salute, the brownrider will start to head for the door. "Thank you again."

A low blink of lashes answers the Weyrleader's approval, greater shadow let into the bristle-coated dimple. V'dean lets his smile make silent answer. That, and the salute he snaps off in reply to the departing brownrider. It's a more textbook affair this time, his left arm dropping stiffly straight with the hold of his notes as his right elbow wings high and true. "It's our honor, sir." Honor. The bluerider delivers his lines without any trace of irony. Perhaps, some things are made true enough by the saying. "Our best to the Senior. May you have clear skies. And clear hallways." Given that a fool's gold threat from below is added to the silver that comes from above. After giving the Weyrleader space for his departure, the bluerider will be close behind, though his infirmary check-in will be done in the heat hazing over Azov sea instead of the chill whispering over foreboding dark mountains.

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