Flipping the Bird

Xanadu Weyr – Meadow

A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of weyrs, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves.

Runner stables with the paddock beyond are to the south beyond the meadow weyrs, a smithy and a woodcraft shop are settled closer in towards the path to the clearing, while trees border the western edge of the meadow, and a faint outline of a stone wall and low rolling hills can be seen to the north. Wagons laden with felled trees from the forests to the southwest or ore from the mountains to the southeast are hauled by burden beast up the road through the meadow, over the bridge spanning the river to be processed in the appropriate workshops.

Coming out of the Woodcraft Shop is a certain Journeyman Woodcrafter, wearing somewhat faded clothes and old boots along with a long leather glove that extends past the elbow of his left arm. Datsun's Gryphhawk is perched on the glove, bouncing slightly as the avian moves with the motions of the Crafter's footsteps. A moment's pause allows him to orient himself before turning and heading to the direction of the Stables.

Intercepting Datsun is the Weyrwoman and it looks like she's coming from the stables, how odd is that? Known for avoiding runners like the plague (and her kids love them, go figure), why would she be there? "Ah, Datsun and Friend. Just the person I was looking for," says a pleasant voice, but Thea stops several paces away. "This is the grip- graf- grass? hawk? Thing?" She looks wary.

Muir is walking up from the beach, a towel slung over his shoulders and his hair damp. That plus swim trunks suggests he's been swimming. Noticing his mother, the teen angles towards her, flicking a curious glance at Datsun, which settles into a thoughtful frown.

Blinking as he's called 'Friend' by the Weyrwoman, Datsun pulls up short at that. "And why would I be the person you're looking for, Weyrwoman Thea? Business, perhaps?" The thought of more marks to fill his lately mostly empty marks pouch has him attentive. Forgetting that he's currently holding a Gryphhawk for the moment at the thought of marks until the animal is brought back to his attention, "Oh. Yeah, he's the Gryphhawk. Name's Ash. He won't bite or attack." Muir is noticed and a curious look sent his way as well.

His hawk is called Friend, not Datsun, since Thea doesn't know the name of the bird. But that is neither here nor there. A funny sort of smile quirks the Weyrwoman's mouth at the question. Why indeed would she be looking for anyone? They're either a business contact or in trouble. "Business? Noooo," she says drolly. Ut oh? And Muir is spotted, her son might read her deceptively mild smile accurately, even if the brighter one is turned upon him. "How was the water?" Back to Datsun, not that she doesn't believe him, but she's still keeping her distance from the bird. "Ash." She doesn't try to say gryphhawk. "He's a pet then?" She's eyeing the beak and formidable talons dubiously.

Muir does see - and recognize - that expression, eyes flicking to Datsun with more curiosity. What'd he do? Stopping beside his mother, he eyes Ash for a moment and then nods. "Perfect," he says, but it's bland and not really what he's here to talk about.

Appearing dejected at the lack of marks, Datsun sighs. Ever since that project for the Hatching Sands, he hasn't earned anything close to that large sum. Resisting the urge to pat his marks pouch, he steps a bit closer to the Weyrwoman with Ash still on his arm. "You can touch his chest if you'd like. He won't mind." Demonstrating just that, his free hand gently pets the Hawk's chest, but the large animal basically ignores the touch. Thea's question brings a smile, "No. He's not a pet. He's my hunting partner."

Thea caught that ‘perfect’ of yours Muir! There's a somewhat knowing smile teasing around the corners of her mouth as she eyes her son, "Oh?" She knows if it's a girl she's the last one he'll tell, but has to try, "What's her name?" Because when is water at the beach what a 14 turn old will call perfect? She takes a swift two steps back as Datsun steps closer. "Hunting," she says flatly, flicking Datsun's hand an uncertain look as he pets the hawk. "That's alright, I'll pass. He knows you. He doesn't know me," she says and yes, she's eyeing that sharp, wickedly curved beak as she says that. "What do you -er both- hunt?"

Muir blinks at his mother, confused for a moment. "Who?" If he met someone, he's sure not telling her. "What's up, Mom?" he asks then, glancing at Datsun curiously and then back at his mother.

Datsun notices those two steps taken back by Thea, causing him to chuckle as he stops. Shrugging, "If you say so. He's actually sociable. That's the only reason why he stays with me. Well, that and that I feed him." When Thea asks him another question, he responds with one of his own, "Did you by chance come to see if you could see Ash for yourself? To answer your question, he does most of the hunting. He can take down hare, small to medium wherries, young porcines. I've almost got him catching fish out of water."

Of course Muir isn't telling his mother. It was worth a try anyway. "I'm dealing with a complaint," she answers her son nonchalantly, her gaze returning to the woodcrafter. "The only reason?" she queries, dipping to scrutinize at that leather gauntlet Datsun is wearing and then peering at the hawk's talons. "You don't tie him to keep him from flying off?" The list of critters the young man names has her standing upright and adding ominously, "Small furry critters, chickens, kittens and ferrets?" Mind not that toe tapping there.

Muir shifts his towel around his neck and looks at Ash, and then back at Thea, and then to Datsun. "Did he kill something he shouldn't have?"

"I do, yes. He's not tied right now because I was planning on going out with him." Datsun's somewhat confused by the response to Muir's question from Thea, "Otherwise he's usually tied to me or his perch or to a chair or whatever." His head tilts at Thea's question, "I don't let him hunt in the Weyr proper." His answer is a bit flat and defensive, raising an eyebrow. "Are you implying he's killed one of those?" His eyes shift over to the avian before going to Muir, "No."

Thea's glance flicks towards Muir, "Not yet." Pinning Datsun at that defensive tone he takes, a hint of ice pales her green eyes as she adds, "And I'd better not find out he does." It's clear she doesn't trust the hunting instinct of a predatory raptor. And he's not tied right now. She is not really happy with this answer. "Taking an un-tethered bird into the Caverns at mealtime where small children, noise and sudden movements could startle it was not a wise thing to do, was it?" Clearly she expects him to agree with her there. Watching a feather float down from the bird, she adds, "Especially into the kitchens where food was being prepared. Is he potty-trained?" She holds up a hand to forestall him and answers her own question, "No, I don't suppose he is. Cook was upset. Do not do so again," she says firmly.

Muir lifts his brows as he watches this exchange, and then the boy laughs. It's not polite, but it's what he does. Then, laughing, he turns and strolls away, having got his bit of gossip for the afternoon.

Datsun blinks at Thea, looking around at the open sky and the lack of a Caverns ceiling above them. "Begging your pardon, Weyrwoman, but we're not in the Caverns. If I do take him in there, he is tied." His eyes follows Muir at his laughter and departure. Frowning, the Woodcrafter takes several more steps closer to the Weyrwoman, "That was simply an accident. The Cook seems all too happy to accept what Ash takes. I share what he kills with the Weyr. You've probably eaten something he took."

"Don't get cocky with me," The Weyrwoman warns, narrowing her eyes slightly. "You were in there. He is not allowed in there - period. I am ultimately in charge of the caverns and kitchens. Not cook. Am I making myself clear?" Muir laughs and leaves. That's her boy. Finding his amusement no matter how inappropriate it may be. Maybe though, the laughter will help Datsun not feel so badly when Thea - again - steps back as Datsun approaches. She adds firmly, "That bird (she's not going to stumble over the word gryphhawk again) is to be tethered at all times when in the Weyr proper whether you are taking him hunting or not. I do not want him overflying the Weyr. I don't have to tell you that a sobbing four turn old and her angry mother over a dead kitten is not something I want to deal with." The look she levels at him is plain. He will be held responsible. "You should have cleared that with me before bringing it into Xanadu," she adds.

"I was already told by Baker Lorelai that he was not allowed in there, and I promised her he wouldn't go in there and he hasn't since." Datsun answers, "I am well aware of where he is and isn't allowed to fly." At the dramatic scene described with the four Turn old, Datsun raises an eyebrow, "Maybe you should consult a knowledgable Beastcrafter about Gryphhawks before you go and place unfounded accusations or wild predictions against them. Hawks are tied when around people and trained to ignore noise." His other eyebrow raises at her last remark, "You know, Soriana told me her tunnelcat killed a feline." His eyes go to Ash, petting the hawk's chest again, "So why aren't you telling her to keep Inkfoot tethered? He could go after a kitten just as easily."

It’s the arguing that does it topped by his insulting suggestion of what she should do. Thea reiterates, pointing at Ash, her tone rock hard, "The bird goes. Find another home for it. Got it?" She waits, her gaze locked upon his long enough to receive an affirmative in either verbal agreement or a nod before she turns and heads back to her office. He doesn't have to like it. She doesn't expect him to. He can ask around and what he'll get are snippets of her history: his Weyrwoman grew up in the peaks of the High Reaches seeing what raptors like that could and did do to her father's livestock. Perhaps then he'll understand her strong reaction to the creature. One thing is certain, she's not going to argue with him.

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