Avoiding Pitfalls and Finding Treasure

Continued from Mattress Surfing at Mire Hold


Xanadu Weyr - Mire Hold

Surrounded by mountains on three sides and an expansive swamp on the other, Mire Hold is a combination of wet and dry land. Channels have been built to guide the water from the swamp in slow moving streams, while land space has been built up to support people, crops and animals alike. Bridges and pathways criss-cross across the area, giving solid ground upon which to walk. In larger open areas gray trees stand like sentinels in the water with long moss hanging from their limbs. In other areas, tall pines or deciduous trees stand in small copses. Fruit trees have been planted in many areas and terraced gardens have been built. A wall surrounds many of the residences, though several stone cottages can be found on the outskirts as well. Wooden fences breakup pasture land for herdbeasts and runners as well as other small livestock. Very few places are sturdy enough to support a dragon.

In the midst of the great wall can be found a rather thick bodied tree with thick branches and odd aerial roots that hang vertically down to the ground around the trunk and off of branches in spots. Stone pavers surround the tree and around the areas that have grown back into the ground, creating an almost park like atmosphere. Benches have been placed for seating and the shaded cover provided by the thick and broad oval leaves keeps things cool. Surrounding the tree are three one story buildings. These seem to be fairly new and look a little out of place in comparison to the other buildings. Two have no windows at all, while the third has plenty of windows but is only about half the size. The two windowless ones are storage and the third small one has been built as a place of learning. There are no desks, but there are several pillows that are stacked neatly along the sides, though in general they look unused. Maps and anatomical drawings of cattle and runners and even dragons line the walls, along with charts of the stars and the seas.

miah's eyes laugh up into Matrin's as he's getting his feet planted. "NOW you can say ya know how to mattress surf!" Her laughter is light, but her color high after that 'fun' comment of his as her fingers nimbly collect her hair, re-coiling it with the few pins she can find amongst the mess. She pretends alarm at Keziah, eyes wide, "Ya left us the dregs? We'll starve." All this as she follows the two of them in, pauses to open a trap door, haul up a rope tied to a jug from the depths below, plunks it on the table and pulls the cork. "The well keeps this chilled nicely," she says as she pours while Keziah's dishing the mudbugs on plates. "It's ale," she explains to Matrin as if that makes it clear why she gives him no choice of beverage. I mean, come on. Mudbugs! Nothing else will go with, right? And thus, the tea mugs double as beer glasses. She sinks gracefully as a Lady Holder in her mud-streaked, grass-stained dress, unmindful of the occasional leaf or twig in her hair and smiles sweetly at Matrin. "Now what do you want to know first?" Her fingers grasp the first mudbug (There's no cutlery on the table) and snap the head from the torso.

Keziah smirks a bit at Mishkia "It'll keep ya fit and trim." she notes with a smile and then she nods to Matrin "Definately try the ale, ain't nothin' like it at the Wherry." she notes as she makes sure to get every last little bit of flesh out of the carapace. She is watching Matrin though, just to see how he reacts to the fare.

Laughing eyes are met with a mischievous twinkle in Matrin's, and he gives her fingertips a brief little squeeze before leaving her to the fixing of her hair. He drops into his chair with a similar amount of grace in his equally muddy, rumpled, stained clothing, and lifts his mug for the ale when Mishkia uncorks it. "Fill 'er up, then. I'd hate to miss Mire Hold ale," he says, flashing Keziah a grin. And maybe if he's drunk he will be less aware of eating what looks like a giant beetle. There is a tiny tightening of a muscle in his jaw and he's not particularly tan anyway but now what color he does has slips away a bit. It doesn't kill that determined smile though, and he bravely pops the head off and turns it to suck out the juices. "Mmm, are the herbs local or might we have some around Xanadu?" Gulp, he swallows it down and then uses his pinky to swipe out what remains behind before cracking open the bigger section of the shell. "Well, how far back do your oral histories go? Or if you have something written, can I see?"

Without missing a beat, "Starvin' would keep me dead," quips Mishkia Kezi-wards with a smirk and then a casual, "Thanks" for the plate she's been handed. The dark ale foams richly, giving off a heady, yeasty odor, smooth to the tongue, deceptively, mildly sweet but in a few moments the rush may hit hard. It's strong stuff. It's probably telling that Mishkia pauses in setting the head aside to gape at Matrin as he sucks the brains from the creature and swallows it before she can warn him. "We don't… ahh… eat those. Ya gonna feel that come mornin'," she notes sagely proceeding to pull the first leg off, lift and squeeze the thing out into her mouth like old Earthings would with Easy Cheese. It's followed up with a swallow of ale. Even eating this way, she manages a sort of easy grace about it, wiping fingers and lips before picking up her mug. Once her mouth is clear, she shares, "We’ve got written records back to one hundered and fifty turns or so." Her eyes take on a bit of a wary look. "But why exactly are ya so interested in a mudhold's records? Y'wanna learn how we grow crops in the swamps? Find out the secret of breedin' critters that can eat the weeds and still drop calves?"

Eyes wide Kezi watches Matrin eat the brains as well. "Wow." she states and coughs a little "I hope those come out all right in the moring." she states simply. She gets up and heads over to a bowl and pours some water from a jug into it and washes up her fingers and hands and then dips the corner of a nearby towel in and wipes her mouth. "Breedin' are always fun records to look over." she notes. But that's the beastcrafter inside her. She settles back down in her seat and watches the two. This is Matrin's area of expertise so she actually doesn't say anything that might make it harder. Or maybe that's outta deference to the higher ups?


It's too late by the time he registers the women's reaction, and Matrin lets out a long sigh as he eyes the empty head on the plate. "I suppose I should have asked how to eat these things before anything else." If he started out with a little less color than usual, he's downright pale now, but a sip of ale seems to help bolster him a bit. "So long as it doesn't kill me, I imagine I'll make it through," he decides with a weak little smile. Then he does the smarter thing and mirrors Mishkia, focusing on the legs which are apparently safe. Licking a bit of the salty juices from his lips, idly tapping a finger against the hard shell that still remains on his plate, he drops an elbow to the table. "Yes, I would like to learn all those things. I'm a Harper and communities like yours are unique and rare." He pauses to arch a brow. "But you seem like the sort to appreciate honesty so I'll be blunt. I'm wondering if your people have any stories about an Ancient settlement in these parts. Closer to Xanadu really."

Mishkia actually leans forward to pick up the plum-sized empty shell of a head from Matrin's plate, turning it carefully to examine it with unfeigned concern. "Oh good! The eyes’re still there. Whew!" Which means he didn't suck them out of the sockets, lucky him! She exchanges a significant look with Keziah, a slightly worried one at that. Does she say why? Nope. "Gabit can show ya the herbs. Ain't never been to Xanadu, so I dunno if they grow there." But he's asked for records, and now mentioning a settlement. Coppery brows knit as she mutters, "Those old ruins?" Like they're so yesterday's news. "I think," she says slowly after replacing the head on the shell-pile, saying it so softly it could almost be to herself that she's speaking, "I have somthin' ya might wanna see." There's not a hint of suggestive tease; the statement is made with total innocent candor. She rises to wash her hands in that same water bowl, steps from the room and returns with two bundles which are placed on the table. One is a series of hide-bound books, each a little newer as they ascend. The second is the one she places closest to him. "There's a notation in our earliest records about Jamark's oldest son bringing a wife from over near there. She brought this with her."

The bundle is in a crumbling hide folder, sheets of crumbling vellum with faded, barely discernible writing. Indeed, many letters are faded to obscurity.

Keziah breathes out a sigh of relief herself about the eyeballas and she just nods a little to Mishkia. She does roll her eyes a bit though at the phrashing. However, has bundle is brought out, and the vellum is eyes Keziah blinks and then gets up from the table and removes herself from the vicinity of it. "I think I'll just sit over here. It'll be safer for that." Oh yeah, she may have outgrown much of her clutzyness, but enough remains that she knows better than to risk something of that antiquity.

Matrin squints at the hollow head in Mishkia's long, graceful fingers as if trying to verify the presence of the little bug's eyes. "Well thank goodness," he murmurs, taking another gulp of ale and then eyeing Keziah over the rim of it. If there's a hint of accusation there, it's mild now that the potential crisis seems to be at least mostly avoided. "Avoiding pitfalls, Wingleader," he reminds her with a faint smirk. Mishkia's reply about the ruins wipes his smile clean away though and his brows go up. The offering of the books reduces him to flat out, unvarnished awe and he hastily stands up to wash his hands in that same bowl before touching any of it. He starts to wipe them dry on his pants but finds them too dirty to suffice, so he just tucks them in his pockets and leans to look at the items without touching them. "Thank you," is his simple gratitude even without verifying the contents. Keziah's moving away makes his smirk come creeping back, albeit slowly and he shakes his head. "You might need to read it to us or something, as apparently neither one of use wants to mess it up."

"Even we ain't wanna die," Mishkia says about those bright, beady little eyes still safely in the head shell before stepping out. Matrin? You should definitely talk to Harper Hall about hazard pay. When she's settled those documents, gingerly handled to be sure, Mishkia re-seats herself. "I can't." She admits with a tiny, frustrated shrug of shoulders. "Gabit's been through the area huntin'. He went through the ruins and ain't found anythin’ more like 'em. But these-" Her hand waves with a gesture that is both fluid and regretful, "-are noted to have been brought back with Jamark's wife. And that is all our records say." Her nose wrinkles, "I keep the records, so I know our recent ones. But age and the humidity makes the oldest hard to read." There's a helpless look over towards Keziah. It bothers her greatly. "Are those ruins important?" The question is posed to both of them.

Keziah shrugs a little in reply to the question "There an intriquing find for us. And myself, any information concerning them is sure to be important. Especially any hidden secrets or entrances that we may not have found. Who knows if any one has been lurking in the ruins and is enjoying keeping an eye on our activities." Paranoid much? Nah. Never.

The first assumption when Mishkia says she can't read the records is that she can't, in fact, read. It makes Matrin wince ever so slightly for the unintentional tactlessness, but as she goes on it becomes more clear and he switches to a slow, thoughtful nod. One pocketed hand escapes to scrape his hair back from his forehead. "Well really the fact that there was something there at all may be enough. Do you know if any of it resembles a map at all? I may be able to bring in some tools to help us better read it, if so." Tools he didn't think to bring this time of course, which makes his brows dip into a frown. That hand waves vaguely at Keziah and he nods. "That of course, but also Xanadu's exploring the area and the maps aren't matching the printouts we have. Hidden dangers aren't good but if this is an undocumented ancient settlement, there could be important things resting there."

There's a puzzled sort of headtilt at Keziah on Mishkia's behalf along with a snort of amusement, "Those old tumble o' stones?" Of course, she may be echoing Gabit's derisive description of the ruins. "The Weyrfolks found 'em huh?" Found she says. Ha! If only she knew! "Why'd anyone wanna lurk in that damp place?" It's a rhetorical question asked with the sarcasm only one accustomed to the swamps would ask. But spying was implied and she has to chortle. "If there was anyone else out in these parts, Gabin woulda popped them upside the head with his staff and asked questions later." The assurance is given in a fondly tolerant way, almost as if she doesn't really expect Keziah to take it to heart, afterwhich there's a headshake for Matrin's question, "They're really faded. I can feel the indentation of where the pen had pressed, but…" She knows nothing of special tools nor the importance of all this to Xanadu, but the mien of both Keziah and the harper communicate something to her. It may have everything to do with his willingness to mattress surf and eat mudbugs, but her next words carry the sum total of her trust, "If ya need to take 'em back an’ study 'em ya may."

Keziah hmms a little "I suppose that means I outta call Alosynth in to come pick us up." she notes softly, and darn, she was looking forward to subjecting Matrin to the swamps again. Sure there's not many places to land a dragon, but there actually are some. She clears her throat a little "Oh I'm sure Gabit gets who he can, but they are still out there." she notes. And even though she's not seen hide nor hair of a renegade in many Turns, doesn't mean they're not out there. They've just gotten sneakier. Ayup, that's her story and she's sticking too it.

Matrin can only bow his head to Gabit's undoubtable prowess and leave other comments to Keziah's expertise. Plus his attention is fixed on the treasure of these crumbling documents, and when Mishkia offers them up so easily, his eyes flare wider and he starts to shake his head. "I…" he begins to protest, but with a glance out the window at the swamp outside he lets his breath out through pursed lips. "I give you my word to treat them with the utmost care and respect and return them as soon as I can, Mishkia. And I can't thank you enough. If there is something else I can bring when we come next, just let me know." He's even too distracted to realize that if Alosynth can pick them up she could have dropped them off. The time waiting for the green's arrival is taken up with carefully readying the documents for transport, and he stretches it out a little to ask Gabit about the herbs used in the mudbugs and to spend a moment or two in harmless, light flirtation with Mishkia before the Xanadu pair head out.

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