Demands
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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 buildings, 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.
Stables and a smithy are settled on their own plots, while trees border the western edge of the meadow, and a faint outline of a fence can be seen to the north.


Spring in the south brings rain, rain, and more rain, and while the days are slowly warming up, it is still a chilly dampness that lingers over Xanadu Weyr, extending cold fingers into doors and windows, and generally making each day miserable. Even with a break in the clouds, and stubborn rays of sunlight trying to peek their way through to the ground below, the weather is still less than ideal, and nothing is enough to completely chase away the dampness even as the hour has passed noon. In the meadow there is a wholly unfamiliar dragon, a rather small brown, who is lingering over the stables, crouched low to the ground with one large, facetted eye peering suspiciously into the stables, hints of yellow and orange showing his reaction to the loud commotion that has begun to erupt from the structure, and at the shouting that threatens to spill forth onto the meadow.

Underneath the shouting in the stable is the sound of unhappy runners- feet moving, voices neighing, alarm in general. Moments after a particularly upset whinny, Amelia comes bursting out of the stable leading a finely bred chestnut mare. The mare is favoring her right front leg, yet that doesn't stop her from nearly running over her handler in an attempt to get out of the barn and away from the angry shouting voices.

Daphne is not too far behind the mare and her handler, wincing and looking as displeased as the runner. "Shells." Is all she says at first, stopping to look back with a disdainful frown that looks out of place on her generally happy face. Her blond hair is instantly darkened in the downpour. "Does this sorta thing happen often around here?" The comment is thrown to the other girl as she pulls the hood of her jacket up over her face. Muck boots are moving again as she heads over the mare to help settle her. "Easy lady. Easy. At least the ground's soft." She murmurs.

Normally K'ael doesn't do rounds over the weyr, such menial tasks are best delegated to his riders. But today would see an exception, maybe someone called off sick or something. Or maybe he's feeling bored, or generous. He happens to be flying overhead when he sees a mare limping quickly away from the stables without someone on it. The bronzer floats down on Azaeth, landing near where the mare is heading but trying not to be close enough to spook her further. Or squish Daphne.

Shuffling awkwardly backwards - after all, dragons aren't made to shuffle and particularly not backwards - the brown gives a surprised snort at the runner, and the humans that came with it, looking rather confused as he spreads his wings wide, making no move to settle even as his lifemate comes out of the stable in turn, lifting his hands hurriedly as he looks around at the others. "Now now, I'm sure we can come to some sort of agreement.." The man with the Benden knot on says loudly - most certainly not used to runners - as he lifts his arms, trying to get people's attention, even though he and the brown fall suddenly silent at the arrival of the large bronze.

The mare is even unhappier at the brown dragon lingering too close for comfort, and similarly of the bronze. Tossing her head and snorting, she takes off in the other direction in an awkward trot. Amelia picks up a jog to keep up with the mare who decides she'd rather be anywhere else, and as soon as the mare has put at least a gold's dragonlength between her and the dragons, she stops moving and starts tearing at rainsoaked grass. Amelia gathers the leadrope now that she has the chance, and eases closer to the mare, sliding a hand over her neck. "Not really- can you check her leg, please?" She holds the mare, and peers back to the stable where her father is following the brownrider out. Amstel glances worriedly at the two apprentices and the mare, then back to the rider. "She belongs here now, bill of sale is clear and legal. Valda had every right to sell lame stock, no matter the bloodline."

Certain, a scuffle in the stable is not something that's going to make its way back to the Weyrleadership under normal circumstances. However, when said scuffle involves a certain Lord Holder who is most certainly on the Senior's 'Kill if at all possible' list, one can be assured that said Senior will be there on the double. Despite the weather, there's nothing slowing the woman down as she hurries towards the stables, catching sight of Azaeth landing, and moving to peer around him, wordless for now.

As people are clearing out of the stables, K'ael is sliding down off of Azaeth and peering around. He heads towards where Amelia is trying to calm the mare. Azaeth stays put for now, looking around much like his rider with red glowing eyes. The bronzer clears his throat. "Everything alright here?" He says in an authoritative tone. "Weyrwoman?" K'ael isn't totally sure if that's the Lord Holder on Niva's poop-list, but he'll just stand there and look as dangerous as a K'ael can look.

Daphne moves deftly out of the way of the prancing animal, slipping to the side. She follows, exuding a steady air, despite the traces of frown still on her face. "Easy… Easy…" As the mare drops for grass she exhales in a tension relieving sigh. "Yeah sure." Her voice is regaining it's brightness and her eyes flicker only breifly towards the brown. "Alright miss thing." Facing her russet haunches, the slight girl runs a hand down the runner's leg. With a small squeeze and gentle cluck of her tongue, she's raising a proffered hoof. "Mud…" Daphne mutters mildly, pulling out her hoof knife and cleaning out what she can. "It still looks okay." She prods gently at the spot with the end before releasing the hoof and standing up. "Just like it was before. Getting better, but still tender."

While the brownrider was sent silent by the arrival of K'ael and Azaeth, the proud man that follows behind him - none other than the Lord Holder of Black Rock Hold - has no such problem with finding words. "That girl had no right to sell one of -my- runners, no matter what the foolish girl did to them. My runner -will- be returned to me, let me make that clear!" And his voice carries easily, the brownrider shrinking a little in the presence of the older man, as Toban minces no words, having not yet taken note of the Weyrwoman's arrival.

Amelia nods at Daphne's assessment, but calls nothing to the gathering storm. "It'd almost be better for her to have hurt herself worse by that little outburst. I can see this going badly." She continues to hold a steadying hand on the mare's shoulder and watches across the way as her father notices Niva. Amstel is glad to see the weyrwoman, as well as K'ael. Though he is not easily intimidated by anything animal, well, Toban is a creature all his own. Amstel speaks slowly, deep voice as controlled as the journeyman can make it. "The Keroon runners were Johanna's and not yours; upon her departure she gave them to Valda to do with what she would. Selling a lame mare was her perogative."

"I thought I made it clear, Lord Toban, that you were not welcome at Xanadu." Niva finally speaks up, stepping past Azaeth, her eyes flicking momentarily to the Stablemaster and the 'hands, before she's looking back to the Lord Holder with a tilt of her head. "For someone so concerned about a lame runner, it is quite amazing that you were so willing to send such -fine- specimens with the Lady Johanna to Keroon. In fact, I'm certain that we have one of them, here. Quite an.. excitable creature." Her voice is even though her eyes flash, and she turns a glare to the Benden rider. "We'll ensure the Lord makes it back to his proper holdings, rider."

K'ael tries not to look confused as what exactly was going on here. All this over a lame runner? Nah, this was some sort of political battle. "Surely the Lord Holder has better things to do than quibble over a lame mare… What was the selling price?" Especially one he'd recently given away. Against his better judgment K'ael goes sticking his nose in. He lingers by the goldrider for now. Not that she really needed his help, he'd likely be the one holding her back.

Daphne raises her eyes from where she's begun stroking the mare's shoulder to peer over at the dragons and those assembled. "Well, the Weyr's leaders are here. That should help, right?" It was a weak comment to make. A silly and overly obvious one, but Daphne was much an innocent as any when it came to anything beyond runners. Her voice lowers more a moment before asking, "Was he the one who 'broke' her?" The 'broke' said with the feeble joke of injuring rather than starting to saddle as it would otherwise mean. "The Lord Holder?" Only here a sevenday and things are getting pretty intense.

The brownrider hesistates for all of a minute before he's backing away from the Lord Holder and the tableau in front of the Xanadu Stables. A soft rumble, and the brown is backing up and taking off, blinking between low over the meadow, disappearing from view without leaving Toban any time to argue the point or summon him back. "Our runners are not for sale, particularly not to the Weyr." Toban snarls after a moment, recovering quickly from his abandonment. "She's of an important bloodline which Lady Johanna would hate to lose."

Amelia shrugs weakly and explains to Daphne, "I hope it'll help- Lord Toban is… he's intense. He'd pop into the stables sometimes, and I always tried to be scarce- anything to /not/ be worth remembering. He didn't do it himself, but it was his fault it happened." She watches the scene unfolding as the mare nervously eats grass. When the brown rises, the mare's head flings up and she skitters to the side, watching the spot where the brown disappears.

"What I paid was sufficient for the Lady Johanna as well as her daughter; I verified everything via firelizard," Amstel moves toward Niva and K'ael, preferring to be on the side of the Weyr. "I know well what bloodlines were valued at the time. Forget not that I /was/ your posted journeyman for many years, Lord Holder."

"Get Nicca's mare, the one she brought from Keroon. The Lord Holder can have that runner instead - I'm sure that that runner will a better challenge for the Lord, after all, it has plenty of work that needs to be done." And Niva glances towards the stable staff, hoping one of them will fetch the bay mare, even as she straightens up, glaring at Toban. "If they have the paperwork, it stays. And I'm certain that the Wingleader would be happy to return you to Black Rock. I'm certain we can even find a carrier so that the other runner can return with you, so that I don't need to return it to Keroon." Niva nods to Amstel, a look that she'll stand by him, gaze flickering to the other two in a reassuring look.

Daphne is focussed on the group of people and not so much on her surroudings. Perhaps she'd been mulling something over in her head from what Amelia had said. She should have been paying attention. She really should have expected the mare's reaction when the dragon rose, but for whatever reason she did not and promptly finds a chesnut rump swung into her chest. "Ack!" Staggering back in the mud, she's not much choice for a good landing. The sliding of her muck boots makes even less so. Down she goes with an unpleasant SLAP into a mud puddle. "Uuuuuhhhhhhhh!"

"Now now, let's not be too hastey. If the mare means that much to him maybe the Lord Holder would be willing to buy her back. For two or three times her asking price. Plus a transport fee. That seems fair to me, since she's so prized and all. Or we can give him Nicca's runner. That sounds equally as good." K'ael says. That brat didn't need a runner anyways! "I'd be happy to show the Lord Holder home." There's a blink from him as Daphne goes careening into the mud, and he moves over to help her up. "You alright?"

Toban's face gets rather red at the mention of the other runner, looking about as if he's going to explode, even as he's trying to find some sort of words to argue. "I'm not going to buy back my own runner!" He protests, voice getting a bit squeaky as he protests, though a long look at the bronze and his rider has he potentially reconsidering his words.

Amelia winces when Daphne goes down, and the mare starts again at the noise of human hitting mud. Amie asks the mare to come forward and for once the mare doesn't refuse. In fact she is quite willing to hurry forward a couple yards closer to the gathered group. She stops promptly and drops her head back to the grass; the scary part is over. Amie looks back to Daphne apologetically- if she weren't holding the mare she'd help her up.

"Lame mares are not in any way useful to your Hold; she can hardly bear foals in this condition, nor can she show." Amstel's brow furrows as he looks toward Niva at mention of Nicca's runner. "I don't believe we have any runners at Xanadu that are sturdy enough for your vigorous pursuits." As they've talked, one of the hands listening in the doorway of the stable leapt to be useful and fetched Nicca's runner and brought it outside, speaking calmly and darting glances over at the argued-over mare. Another hand stands to the runner's other side; the hands won't take any chances in case Nicca's horse decides to take a page out of the chestnut mare's book.

Daphne is wet. And muddy. She sits there only half a moment, as if in shock of the event before she's trying to get to her feet. After all, sitting on your butt in the mud around a nervous runner is not the best place to be. Luckily for her the mare is not only headed away but a Weyrleader is headed over. She takes the offer of assistance gladly. "Thankee, sir." She murmurs, craning her neck back to look at the mess upon her backside. "Ugh. Thanks lady face." The last said a bit quieter and far less sincerely. "I'll be fine. Just… need some fresh pants." She says with an exasperated sigh. "Shoulda seen that one coming." Her eyes turn to the journeyman, but he doesn't looks in the sort of scenario to interrupt with requests to be excused, so awkwardly she bandy-legs over to Amelia and the mare again. "Ew."

Nicca's runner has already dumped the Weyrwoman's daughter off quite nicely, the resulting fear instilled in the girl likely the reason for the creature's return. However, for now it seems the mare is behaving well enough, a fact which seems only to help Niva's point. "You can take that mare in exchange, its of your own bloodlines as well, and its not lame. We'll make sure it gets to your stables in one piece. And you're right, you're not buying back your own runner because its not for sale." She says, and flicks a hand at K'ael once the bronzerider is free. "Would you, please? I want him out of my sight." She says dismissively, turning her back without another look back.

K'ael shrugs a bit to the Lord Holder. "Fair enough then. I suppose the runner stays here." Once Daphne is back on her feet he… pats her shoulder a bit. "Careful there. You uh… might want to go clean up when you get a chance." When Niva gives him the go ahead K'ael grins in an annoying way and claps his hands together. "Alright then. Azaeth can actually do the transporting of the runner as well if we can get a crate for it." That's directed towards the stable-staff. "Don't you worry, Lord Holder, you'll be more than happy with this runner. I think you've made quite a good trade, don't you? And I'll make sure you get home safely." The bronzer moves over to wrap an arm around Toban's shoulders.

Toban is fit to be tied as he's dismissed by the Weyrwoman, starting to protest loudly even as K'ael is moving closer, and then is draping his arm over his shoulder. Still red, the Lord Holder is quickly throwing off the arm, and stalking over towards the bronze, muttering something about Weyrs and useless stablehands, "You watch out, Amstel. I'm not going to forget this.." He threatens the man a little bit, even as one of the other stablehands is stepping up to help encourage the Lord Holder along, and he's herded in the direction they want him to go.

Amelia smiles a bit at Daphne's state, holding back the chuckle that wants to escape. Her amusement ends when she sees Toban on the move towards her father. Amstel, however, moves not a muscle, staring down Toban as he is escorted toward Azaeth. Amstel turns back to the hands, catching sight of Daphne as his gaze passes Amie and the mare. "Dry off and fetch the leg wraps and blanket," he asks, and motions one of the other hands to join Amie with the chestnut, and another hand to help Daphne prepare Nicca's runner for transport.

Daphne is looking exceptionally miserable. A nod is given to the journeyman before she finds herself hobbling after Nicca's mare as she's lead back to the stable. The girl will have a long twenty minutes of wrapping and prepping before she'll be able to get away to get changed. At least, she thinks with that flash of optomism, it could have been worse. She could have been facing the other way.

K'ael doesn't look put off at all when his arm is thrown off. The bronze sinks down for the Lord Holder, and K'ael is sure to give him what's probably an unneeded boost up. It might be an unnecessarily bumpy rider for the Lord Holder. At least he's got about half hour to relax while they bundle the runner. Though K'ael might 'do him a favor' and take him back before he takes the runner. No sense in torturing the runner more than needed.

"Just come back for the mare. There's no reason to keep the Lord Holder waiting, and I'd rather not have him poisoning the Weyr any longer than necessary." Niva half snarls at K'ael as she passes by the bronzerider, moving to nod to Amstel and Amelia in turn, eying the runner carefully. "I'll make sure there's an extra guard down here, just in case someone decides to take matters into their own hands." She offers, and nods with a soft sigh, glancing back at the Lord Holder as he waits on the bronze. "I'd be perfectly happy if he was dropped between."

Amelia watches Daphne disappear into the stable, and calls over to her father, "Should I maybe take her elsewhere? Time on the sand to ease the hoof?" With his permission, Amelia bows out, leading the mare in the direction of the beach- making a wide arc around Azaeth. Meanwhile, Amstel nods at Niva. "Our thanks, Weyrwoman. Glad you managed to get down here." He doesn't smile, still watching warily as the Lord Holder is lifted and taken away. His voice is quiet. "Dunno what he hopes to gain by that, save a 'prize' to gloat to Johanna over. I'm glad we got out of the mess at the Hold, but I'm sorry we brought more onto the Weyr through it."

K'ael nods to the weyrwoman. K'ael wasn't too fond of the Lord Holder either, given his attitude. Niva was usually sandpapery, but that didn't mean the holders should be at the weyr demanding this or that. "Unfortunately too many people know he's here now." So no unfortunate accidents for him. K'ael climbs up onto Azaeth then and the two make a rather jerky lift-off and are gone soon afterwards.

Niva doesn't even look at Azaeth disappears, taking the pain in the rear with him, instead just nodding to Amstel with a soft sigh. "I wish I knew. Though, I also which I knew why he sent such a green, nervous runner to Keroon with Lady Johanna…" A flick of her fingers, and she glances back towards the Weyr. "I suppose I should let Nicca know that she doesn't have to worry about the mare waiting for her when she returns."

"The buying and selling of runners can be a political game… I didn't understand him when I worked for him, and I didn't approve of his actions with the runners or the way he argued with his daughters over some of the runners," Amstel shrugs and glances into the stable. "I did recently acquire a nice, well-schooled runner Nicca might appreciate more than that mare," he nods toward the mare in question, who is getting a little ancy during transit preparations. "A little older and steadier and of friendly stock."

"I'm not unconvinced it wasn't a ploy of some sort, an attempt to… cause harm to the Lady." Niva is rather exasperated by the whole situation, and at Amstel's offer, she nods. "I'll mention it to her, for when she's back at the Weyr." And with a flick of her gaze to the stables, she nods once more. "I'll let you get back to work. And send that guard your way." And she bows her head, turning to leave.

Amstel chuckles- just a little bit- and nods. "I'd bet on it. Try to have a good afternoon, Weyrwoman." He turns back to the stable and takes the leadrope of Nicca's former mare while stablehands fetch the transit crate and begin wrapping her legs and body for safe travel. In time, the mare is sent off- just as the rain returns to once again soak the meadow.

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