A Hired Hand

Fort Weyr - Lower Caverns
This volcanic bubble is smaller than the Living Cavern, but no less well crafted. The walls are smooth, with electric lights placed into niches that used to hold glowbaskets. Another hearth burns here, with a pot on always keeping water hot for making tea or cider. Worn but comfortable couches and chairs are arranged by the hearth around a few tables where game boards and a few packages of dragon poker cards are laying.
From this cavern you can get to many other places - the tunnels of Fort Weyr having been dug far back into the caldera where the Dragons make their home.

The sweat and dirt of a heavy workday took some considerable effort, but are now scrubbed clean and away from the bulky lumber mill worker. Sore and grumpy at first, but now with that edge taken off right along with the grime of a solid workday by the baths, e-on passes slowly through the lower caverns, slowing to look at those near the hearth, a bemused, quiet smile coming forth at a game in progress there. He flinches and rolls a shoulder, kneading it with a palm and pulling his pack up further against the sore muscle, turning his path towards the living caverns.

Marte is one of the riders gathered around a deck of cards, the middle-aged woman's knot easily identifying her, however, as a Xanadu rider and not a Fortian one, though from all accounts, the woman does not seem to be suffering any from the time difference that favors the locals. With a triumphant shout, she's quickly on her feet, loudly thanking her game-mates as she sweeps the various mark pieces and little baubles into a small pouch that's hurriedly closed and shoved inside her jacket pocket before she's offering a little bow. "And with that, good sirs, I bid you farewell." She smirks as she turns, sauntering along in Relion's wake, watching the young man as she does so.

Relion isn't getting stalked or anything, right? Right. He actually has no idea he's being watched or potentially followed, though he does slow, pausing, as if something occurred to him. He moves to one side out of the way of others, naturally deciding not to be a physical block of traffic, and opens his pack, fishing around in it with a hand. Some still-damp strands of hair fall forward, which he distractedly shoves behind an ear again. It's not effective, the hair flops again, but he ignores it the second time. Even so, he finds what he was looking for, broad shoulders relaxing as he flips the pack shut again, and glances up and around, mild blue eyes falling on others, and then Marte, with a thoughtful curiosity, nothing more, noting her knot.

Marte is merely following in his footsteps, honest! The brownrider continues to saunter, her heading happening to simply be the same as his, actually passing him by with a flick of her eyes as he steps out of the way, making it all of a half dozen steps before glancing back over her shoulder, stepping out of the path to cut her way back to Relion, nodding her head at him, tossing a cautious look around her before speaking. "Hey, you.." She offers at Relion, lifting her chin in his direction, as to single him out. "Wanna make a mark?"

Relion arches somewhat heavy brows up, expression curious, but there's no instant excitement or eagerness to it. Although 'suspicious' also isn't accurate, more of a thoughtful quality. "Possibly," Relion agrees, as if the idea was amusing. "I've already had quite a day though," Relion adds, with a tired edge, but gamely enough. He glances around them as well as Marte did, as if to check for those same sneaky scoundrels she was keeping an eye out for. Wouldn't want them to overhear. "What'd you have in mind?"

"Just have some, uh, furniture to move. For a friend." Marte says quickly, the woman trying to keep her voice soft, as she glances over at the group she'd been playing cards with as two of the remaining gamers seem to be ganging up on the third - a younger man perhaps in his late teens who seems to be looking somewhat uncomfortable. "Just need an extra hand to get it where we can load it on Vwayath, Where he left it, there's not enough space for him to get close… And it seems that friend is… All caught up." And indeed, at that point, the trio is disappearing, a bit of a ruckus following in their wake, the brownrider looking a bit rushed as she tosses her head in the direction of the bowl.

Relion relaxes immediately, it'll show on him physically. Oh. He got picked out due to his bulky size. Well, that's not odd. "Ahhh, heavy lifting. Ug," Relion says, with a deep roll of a laugh that would suit an older man better, but fits with Relion's physical size. "Sure, why not. Though I can't tell you how long I'll last, I was doing that all day today," he sighs, but gamely gestures for her to lead to where she's needing to rush to, and kneads his hands into his forearms, gripping and warming up a little out of the stiffness of tiredness.

"More… awkward than heavy, I'd say, though.. certainly too heavy for just one." Marte tries to reassure him with a grin, reaching to smack his back in a thankful manner as he accepts, tossing his head towards the caverns, and the bowl beyond. "Just a table, and two chests of drawers, shouldn't take you too long. And I'll make sure to make it worth your while." Marte offers, glancing once more in the direction that her 'friend' was coerced, shrugging a bit and leaving the younger man to his fate before she's headed out, a quick pace set despite her merely average stature.

Relion is about as fun as smacking a tree; she can put a lot of power into it if she wanted. Relion grins naturally back, an automatic response to being grinned at. "For reference, instead of 'Hey you, lift that side higher,', It's 'Relion, lift that side higher,'" Relion offers by way of a mildly amused, teasing self-introduction. He follows her pace more slowly at first but warms to it, game to accept her speed.

"But 'Hey you' works for everyone.." Marte counters with a smirk over her shoulder, the middle-aged woman teasing the muscle behind the job with a grin, offering a crooked salute. "Marte, brown Vwayath's." She offers, taking his hint, weaving through the Living Caverns without any slow downs or distractions, looking more and more as if she's ready to be gone. "Come on, Relion, it should be right outside, and down a bit."

Fort Weyr - Center Bowl
The wide center of the bowl is often bustling with activity as riders come and go. Off westward can be seen the entrances for the candidate barracks and the guest weyr, while to the east is a large opening that leads into the dragon infirmary. The bowl stretches off both to the north and to the south, where the sheer stone walls rise steeply to the sky.

Relion does another thing while they walk, he fishes down the side of his pack distractedly, drawing out some tawny brown work gloves that look like they've gotten a huge amount of use, drawing them on idly. There's a level of simple, serene easy tolerance to him; willing to assist her with her furniture moving, despite his grumpy quality at the beginning of the idea. He scans over her head to look for the table and other items she mentioned as their goal.

Vwayath is settled a portion of the way down the bowl's wall, the brown stretched infront of a little dip in the wall, against which neatly sits exactly what Marte promised - A medium sized four-legged table, and two chests of drawers arguably almost as tall as the aging woman. A large net-like contraption is settled underneath Vwayath, the edges visible as he shifts his wings, turning faceted eyes on Marte and her 'hired help' as they approach, looking as impatient as his rider. "Like I told you - ain't much, and it ain't too far, Just got to get them moved over and settled, then we'll tighten up the neck, and he'll do the rest." Easy 'nuff, right? "Hey, Vwa, move you lump." Marte offers with a good natured thwap to the brown's nose, the dragon looking a bit surprised as he scrambles to his feet, crouching to leave the net loosely sprawled on the ground.

"Here… wait a minute. With the chest of drawers… you'll want these drawers secured, or they'll scrape," The woodworker comments, pauses, and removes one strand out of the side of the net, crouching by it with a removal of knife— to pull a strand out, and use it to loop through the drawers, securing down the front face of the piece of furniture to itself to stop the motion of the drawers, should the thing tilt. He's efficient, this is clearly something he's had experience with, and it's done momentarily. He does the same to the other one. Relion smiles briefly to the dragon, fearlessly but mostly disinterested: his focus is on the job at hand. "A'right."

Marte offers a pat to Vwayath as the brown looks confused, tilting his large wedge-shaped head to peer at Relion's handiwork, dropping his nose to snort at it before seeming to simply be bored of it, lifting his head to peer around the bowl instead, leaving the work to Marte and Relion - or more precisely Relion, as its not likely Marte will be all that much help. "Shards, thanks, you." Marte offers in a teasing tone, nodding her head to the other side of the table as she reaches to grab it. "Table first, maybe, get that settled, then drag the dressers over, and lay them flat? When we cinch it up, they'll sit flat against him." Hopefully. "On three…"

"I think if we flip it to put it on the bottom, you can stack these onto it, between the legs, and shouldn't be as funky with the legs goin' doing through the net. As much as I'm sure he wants to get stabbed by table legs," Relion grins a bit as the dragon looks away, gesturing that he's going to flip to his left, and works with her to start the moving, table first. He'll guide the less experienced woman to an extent, and take the brunt of the workload.

The table is lifted as he signals, and while it's not raised too far off the ground on her end, at least it is high enough to move without incident, and she's shifting to step onto the net, carefully watching her footing inbetween glances up at Vwayath's bulk, attempting to judge the best place to settle the table, pausing closer to his belly, in the middle, and nodding at him, lifting her hand to start to flip the table over at the pace he sets, face turning a bit red in the process.

Relion says nothing to the red, but healthy coloring of the woman, his smile is brief but subtle. Once the table is flipped and settled, he moves up to check the security of the item, and then heads back over to the chests of drawers, lifting one partially, to see how heavy they are compared to the table. He rolls his back and stretches briefly, letting her set the pace for when she's ready to keep going. "You have help at your destination for these, yes?" he asks.

"Well, was contemplating offering you another mark to help move them on the other side, if you're interested." Marte offers nonchalantly as she moves to help with the dresser, lifting a hand to the top of the dress, ready to help rotate it to its side in preperation for its carting over to its spot between the table legs. "Double your money.." She offers with a grin, and an arched eyebrow. "We'll make sure you get back here safe and sound, so you don't need to worry about that."

Relion grunts a little bit, but it may be in connection to lifting the heavier base of the chest of drawers up. "Hmmmmmm," Relion comments. "I'd need to get back to get some rest before dawn hits. Early shift," Relion sighs, but turns more of his attention to the chest, to get that settled on the table. "But I agreed to help you, so, I will," Relion says simply.

With the first set of drawers settled on the table, Marte's brushing her hands over her thighs briefly, eying to to make sure its settled before turning to head back to the other one, hands going to her hips with a smirk. "Easy way to make the marks, though. Its not more than three breaths *between*, a few minutes to unload, and then we'll get you back. Won't we, Vwayath?" She offers with a grin, motioning for the young man to tilt the second dresser on his ready, loading going much faster with two sets of hands.

"Well, yes, but it's best to not sound terribly focused on money, isn't it?" Relion teases mildly, looking past the chest when she's ready, and naturally, the second one will be faster, now that they've gotten the first out of the way and an idea of how each will lift and move it. Once it's moved, he climbs partially to haul the sides of the net up, musculature flexing as he jerks the top together, and checks through to be sure the load within the next is secure and stable.

"Watch out - don't want to catch you in the net - not sure its the most comfortable of rides." Marte jokes to Relion as the second dresser is settled and she's moving to Vwayath's side, the brown crouching low and allowing her to climb to his back, where a variety of buckles are tugged on, and the slack in the net, pulling it and its contents to lay flat against his belly, mostly of the the way, leaving little room for it to shift. Marte, already aboard, is moving to settle in, even as she's leaning over to wave him up. "Come on, Relion. Get this there, so we can get you back." She offers with a grin, glancing up at the sky to judge the hour.

"Only 'three breaths', I'd survive," Relion says with a soft laugh, but definitely does NOT get caught in the net. As harrowing of an adventure as that could be. He climbs up at her gesture, to move to strap himself in behind her, efficient with the buckles. "Yeah, yeah. Ready when he is," Relion smiles.

Marte spares a glance over her shoulder, watching Relion strap himself in, systematically doublechecking the various loops and clasps behind him, even as Vwayath is shifting, settling the weight, before at a slap and a silent mental touch from his rider, the brown is pushing off, taking to the skies, and rising above the bowl's wall in short order. Another glance over her shoulder, a brief nod from the rider, and then - *between* they go.


Xanadu Weyr - Clearing

A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a this and sharp border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.
The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the Caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the Infirmary is a human sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.

Once landed, Relion gets to work— once it's safe, unstrapping himself, and calmly climbing back down to start to unsecure the net's load, easily untying each of the knots he'd himself tied not long before. "So, these are your friend's? Are they a gift?" Relion asks, conversationally; small talk to pass the short time of unloading and carrying, really.

Evening at Fort means its early - very early - morning at Xanadu, and the artificial lights around the clearing keep the area lit for those arriving at all hours, such as Marte and Relion are. "More like… collateral." Marte answers after a moment, slipping down to the ground after she loosens the various buckles, nodding her head absently at the door to the Resident's area. "Just need to put them… sort of over there. They can move them inside in the morning." She offers, shifting to watch his progress until such a point that she can help, Vwayath awkwardly craning his neck to do the same, wedged-head tilted to peer at Relion.

Relion winces at the very early morning; while aware he has more time, it makes him feel like he should have been long since in bed. He shakes it off, glancing back as Vwayath looks at him, answering the peer with a curt, polite nod to the dragon, brows up, smile immediate. "Sure," Relion says as Marte clarifies where she wants them, and moves back to angle and lift the first chest up and out, taking the heavier base again, leaning the top towards Marte. "Watch the table leg," he warns, adjusting, to clear it, and slide the chest free and out.

With the first chest easily free, Marte is moving onto the second, unbothered by the late - or early - hour, waiting for Relion's help in relocating the furniture - a move that Vwayath follows with each step. "Vwayath, -move-." Marte says curtly flailing an elbow at the brown, with her hands otherwise occupied. "You're in the way." She snorts as the brown is shifting and rearranging himself causing the table to tip in the net, startling the brown a little.

Relion moves back over quickly back to Marte's side, grabbing at the table leg and easing it back down, so as to not take as much damage. He has an apprication for wooden craftsmanship, and doesn't wish to see this group damaged, really. "Let's get the net off of you?" Relion suggests, looking for the ties to it so that it's less of an issue, and the dragon gets to move a bit more easily. Soon enough he's on that second chest of drawers though, same deal as the first, to get it out and next to the first.

A word from Marte, and Vwayath is settling again, though he's still being quite antsy as the furniture is moved, the brownrider muttering as they move the chest. "No, Vwayath, he's not going to stay here, we need to take him back to Fort." And then there's a little, almost sulking snort from the brown who awkwardly shuffles, unable to lay completely down with the table underneath him. As she walks, Marte glances over her shoulder at her lifemate, shaking her head. "-Vwayath-. Hold still!"

Relion heaves the chest down next to the other. He leaves the temporary ropes onto the drawers; best that whoever takes them from here be the one to take them off when the pieces are settled into their new home. "What's wrong?" Relion asks in alarm, looking to Marte, and then down and across to the table, brow furrowed. He wipes the side of his brow on a heavy wrist, watchin Vwayath.

"He said he doesn't want to take you back to Fort. That you can just spend the night here. In.. In the candidate's barracks." Marte replies almost offhandedly, even as she's wiping the palms of her hands on her pants once more, as she reaches for the table legs, ready to flip it back over onto its feet. "But, I know you need to go back - Sometimes he gets the most outlandish ideas." She offers, Vwayath offering a little snort at his rider at her dismissal, turning peer down at Relion once more.

Relion watches the dragon curiously, and chuckles, surprised, and accepting Marte's explanation. "Oh…. I expect those are just for candidates, really," Relion comments, eys dropping to the table. "Let's flip and then move it," he says, bending to carefully crip a corner and leg, and start to rotate the piece up and over with a smooth movement— to a side, then entirely over. He pauses to check some grit on a corner, but it comes loose, and he nods, ready to haul the table to join the others.

"Well, that's the thing." Marte comments as the table is flipped, her words going quiet as she initially lifts the table, though Vwayath is more than happy to fill in the silence with a rumble of his own as he's free'd of his burden and able to move around, stalking after the human pair as they move the table. "He says with two clutches on the Sands, you would make a good candidate." Marte offers, before hurriedly piping on her own thoughts. "Don't think I won't still pay you."

Relion is distracted by that statement about candidates, and nearly puts the table on his foot. Not actually, but it was close; he got his foot out of the way. "What? /Me/? Oh… I don't know about that," Relion says, flushing, an interesting sight considering his hair is also quite red. "I just cut trees," Relion smiles at the dragon, and looks to Marte, with a somewhat embarrassed humble quality.

Marte takes another step before she's realizing that Relion - and the table - have stopped moving, giving a little 'oof' as she catches it across her stomach, shaking her head to clear it, even as Vwayath's looming grows closer, breathing warm air on the two of them even in the cold Xanadu morning. "He insists. But, like I said, if you don't want to.." She shrugs absently. "Cutting trees is more than some of those candidates have ever done." She offers with a little dismissive snort.

"Sorry about that," Relion says quickly as she runs into the table, with an apologetic wince and grin. "I got distracted." Once the table is moved safely, though, he slips his gloves off, curious. "No? Well, maybe they're just young," Relion suggests goodnaturedly. And then laughs. "Not that I'm not young myself, but. It wasn't like dragon riding was something that would come up for me… you have to make our own way," Relion says, calmly. "He's really sure?" Relion asks, and looks up to the Brown, in surprise, curiosity.

The tip of Vwayath's tail twitches back and forth, back and forth, his attention glued to the young man, faceted eyes whirling slowly, still hovering over them, Marte waving off the apology, with a glance up at her lifemate. "He's really sure." She confirms, smirking a little, arching an eyebrow. "Sometimes you never know who has what it takes.. And who'll get lucky out there on the Sands." She offers, hands going to her hips, chuckling as her lifemate snorts. "He wants to know what you say."

Relion doesn't just leap for it, he lifts a now ungloved hand to rub back through his hair slowly. It's long since dry, what with their flight and all, a long mildly tangled reddish mane. He just needs a minute to process the information, clearly. "Well… really, I've believed that anyone that has a chance at it SHOULD be there, on the Sands, and so…. yes, I'll do it," Relion says, in a sort of shellshocked, surprised tone.

"Great.. Now, Vwayath, will you -move- and let poor Relion be?" Marte snorts right back at Vwayath, pushing one hand at the impossibly large snout to get him to move, waving a hand towards the rounded building nearby. "Should be a cot empty right next to the door, when you go in. Sleep yourself out, and I'll take care of getting you an off day tomorrow." Marte says with an air of confidence, her hands going through her pockets before a two-mark piece is found and offered over to him. "And thanks, you."

"Yeah, this schedule shift might make me worthless for a day or two," Relion admits, still… rather on the surprised end of things, evidently. But he's also tired, clearly. "I'm glad I brought most of my stuff with me," Relion adds, touching his bag. But, well, he can take care of that in the morning. Eerr. Later morning. Whatever. He accepts the piece of money, and offers a hand serenely, by way of greeting. His hands are broad and rough from his work type, but there's no harsh squeeze at all if she accepts the handshake; he's comfortable, nothing to prove. "You're welcome."

"They'll understand. I'll let Hisolda know, too - If you need anything, don't hesitate to let someone know - we take care of our candidates." Marte smirks, with an inclination of her head, giving his hand a firm shake in return. "Go on and find your cot - I'm certainly heading home to do the same thing." She offers with another nod, turning towards the forest. "Have a good night, Candidate, and best of luck. My marks are on you, when the eggs hatch." And it seems to be her sort of dismissal, though she does offer another easy wave of her hand at the Arena and the barracks that are settled along its side, leaving no doubt for what direction he should head.

"Only gamble on a sure thing," Relion teases back, but with a smile. "Honestly, the experience will be worth it," he adds, and waves in return to her. "Goodnight, Ms. Marte," Relion adds politely, shouldering his bag higher, and starting off on his way towards the Arena. Who knows…. he's up for the adventure, regardless!

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