Assessing Applicable Experience

Xanadu Weyr - Steward's Office

The office of the Steward is a place for things to pass through. On the side of the wooden desk nearest the door are a pair of boxes labeled In and Out. The center of the desk provides a place to process those papers, with a set of draftsman's tools - pens, pencils, rulers and compasses - tucked in a small wooden box. The computer, as it receives fewer messages, is set off to the side of the desk.

One thing that stays in the office is the Steward himself - at least, so long as he holds that office - and so there's a comfortable chair behind that desk, as well as a pair of plain wooden ones in front of it for those passing through.

Bookshelves line the walls, crammed with tomes ranging in topic from weather patterns of the southern continent to crop output for the last one hundred turns. They are some the many things of which a Steward must have a passing knowledge - one sufficient to let him delegate the rest. To record the events so delegated, there are a pair of file cabinets full of paperwork not yet so historical as to merit relocation to the archives.

Shardsshardsshardsshellsandshaaaaaaaards! Riding a dragon wasn't supposed to be THAT much worse than riding a draybeast through a midnight blizzard and trusting the animal's instincts to get him home. That's what Chapar had told himself upon awkwardly clambering atop Kalsuoth. He should have gotten a clue when the rider buckled him into place. But he'd sat with a stoicism he didn't feel, huge arms crossed because… where else to put them? Liftoff from that remote mountain campsite into the thin mountain skies of early morning with his family watching had seen him looking outwardly unaffected even though below jagged peaks reached and chasms yawned inviting a precipitous tumble to disaster. Between wasn't so bad. Like that blizzard night the man had heretofore experienced; it calmed him. Emergence into Xanadu's late afternoon skies had been disconcerting, the bank to descend and land almost - almost - had the strangled breath he'd drawn being made audible. He'd resisted the impulse to kiss the ground upon attaining it and once pointed the way to the administration hallway, one sharp nod was all the thanks Mur'dah had gotten. If Chapar seemed taciturn, oh well. Might make the rider more cautious about spending time with his daughter. So into that hall he's lumbered stopping at the door he'd been directed to, the giant of a man lifts his hand to knock, setting the panels of the finely-finished wood to thundering. Oops.

Under ideal circumstances, Jethaniel would have found it advantageous to observe the camelids and their potential handlers in their native habitats. He will, however not be making any significant expeditions in the near future, though the nature of what currently constitutes significant is still being assessed. Investigations are ongoing, and this arrival is not unexpected. Stardust squawks at the loudness of the knock, spreading her wings and eyeing the door with displeasure, but Jethaniel simply reaches to brush his fingers against the green firelizard's back to calm her as he lifts his voice sufficiently to be heard on the other side of that door. "Come in."

Chapar grips the knob and turns it, possibly leaving unintentional finger-shaped indents in the metal - not that he'd be aware of it if he has - and enters. The man towers enough that he has to duck while stepping though that door, his frame is suitable to shouldering heavily-loaded carts stuck in rutted roads up steep mountainsides. Nearly-bald, there's a bit of reddish hair about his ears, left in disarray by the removal of the knitted cap he's holding - and twisting in both hands. The man lumbers - there's no other way to describe his treat - towards the desk and says, "Name's Chapar. I come for the interview." Simple, direct and to the point but at least the blue eyes are bright with intelligence if not humor. That, he lost somewhere in the skies between Xanadu and the High Reaches - if indeed he ever had it to begin with.

Were Jethaniel standing, he would still be significantly smaller than Chapar in both height and breadth. As he is seated at his desk, his head tilts up to regard the other man. He leans back in his chair, the better to facilitate the angle required for this examination. "Ah," he says, as his fingers give another brush to Stardust's back, convincing the firelizard to relax and fold her wings once again. "Yes." If his doorknob is dented, there are assuredly apprentice smiths who could use the practice of fixing it, and as such, Jethaniel does not appear concerned. Stardust having been calmed, that hand makes a gesture to indicate the chairs across his desk. "Please have a seat." Hopefully those chairs are sturdy ones, or he might also be giving repair work to the woodcrafters… but Jethaniel would prefer not to be craning his neck to see Chapar. Evidently he finds the light brace on his wrist sufficient, and does not require them added to other portions of his anatomy.

It's probably fortunate for Jethaniel that the man doesn't shake either of Jethaniel's hands. Chapar appears unsure whether to engage in this formality or not, but as the steward remains seated, the High Reachian strides forward and eases into one of the chairs (because, yes, he's encountered enough frail furniture in his life to merit caution). The chair squeaks a protest, but does not crack or break. The massive Chapar remains sitting bolt upright as if he expects it to disintegrate underneath him. After a flick of puzzlement at the petting of the firelizard, blue eyes return to the man behind the desk. "Thank you, Sir." A cough, "Steward, sir." Chapar can be polite. Can he do interviews? Heh, let's hope so. He's obviously nervous. The cap is lowered to his lap, but remains gripped in the massive hands. "Boy said you're looking for folks to herd camelids. Done a lot of that."

Jethaniel does wish his hands to, respectively, retain and improve their functionality. This may be one of his motivations for the lack of formality, but a desire for efficiency is another. He is capable of standing, if necessary - his cane is hidden behind the desk, as is the brace on his leg - but he would prefer to get down to business. He would also prefer that Stardust remain calm, which she seems - now - inclined to do, settling down and half-lidding her eyes. As such, she will not disrupt the attention he intends to present to Chapar. The salutation, Jethaniel barely notices. 'Sir Steward Sir' is not the most awkward thing he has been called, and is substantively accurate. He smiles slightly, a polite expression, then nods. "We are, yes." A small lean forward, politeness joined by interest. "Perhaps you can begin by summarizing your experience for me? Number of beasts, type of facilities, your role in the herding?"

Chapar, bless him, wouldn't hurt a v'tol but often doesn't know his own strength. Pets are somewhat beyond his ken. Animals - firelizards included – exist to serve a function or so he thinks. He makes no remarks about his philosophy, however. Summarizing he can do though the trio of questions earns a squint. Facility? What? He bobs his head and clears his throat with a rumble. "Drive 'em from hold to gather markets in the summer with my caravan. The number…hum. Varies depending on the output the holders have had and how the market for sale looks. That varies too." He should give some sort of a number though and so, "Can be anywhere between ten and thirty head at a time." Type of facility, he's going to take a stab at guessing. "Rope corrals at night." And his role… "I'm wagonmaster. My younguns do the herding."

There are a wide variety of functions which animals may serve. Jethaniel is not inclined to philosophize on that matter, though it may become relevant in the context of the functions which the projected camelids are intended to serve. He nods to Chapar's experience, his expression a considering one. The hesitation around number brings a slight smile, an encouragement to imprecision, and then another nod as it is achieved. Jethaniel continues to listen to the details, not rushing Chapar to answer - but once he has, the Steward has more questions for him. "What ratio of herders to beasts? What would you consider your maximum herd size?" Maybe he's trying to see how cheaply he could do this - or maybe he's trying to assess Chapar's level of confidence, and determine if it seems excessive. Jethaniel's tone simply reveals that he is inquisitive. "Have you ever lost a beast?"

Ratio? Uhhh…. Chapar does the accounts for his trading business. As such he does use numerical data. He can add and subtract. He keeps track of statistics such as which items sell best at which holds, which items are seasonal, which are perishable and which can be shipped how far before spoilage. Thus, he engages in linear programming and correlation to his shipping routes. He analyzes transactions at the gathers and has become fairly adept at the exchange rate between crafter and holder marks as well as reading signs of a soft versus hard bargain. Jethaniel? He cannot fathom. He's given a vague estimate of how many camelids he's herded to market. Ah! But the herders he has not. "Three herders to ten beasts." At the most. "They don't require anyone with 'em when they're in paddock." Lost a beast? Chapar assumes he's still talking camelids and thus, he rumbles a laugh. "Oh, y'heard they can be flighty, eh? Nope, we don't run 'em. They're excitable. So we let 'em graze as we go. They keep in a tight flock. Sorta like birds. Don't tend to wander off alone, so if one bolts, they all go." That's not exactly an answer, so he adds a hopeful, "Haven't yet."

Chapar can likely also conduct prospective value calculations - in his domains of expertise - far faster and more accurately than Jethaniel. Much of this knowledge is, of course, procedural in nature, but that is entirely acceptable for the position which Jethaniel intends to fill. This interview merely requires it be expressed in a declarative fashion. Jethaniel nods to the ratio, once expressed. As for the camelids in paddock - "We have wild felines in this region; it may change the requirements somewhat." If felines hunt herdbeast, they'll hunt camelids once they get used to the scent, and Jethaniel lifts a brow slightly in an invitation for Chapar to speculate. Whether that invitation is taken or not, he listens carefully to the further information regarding the nature of these camelids. He has, of course, conducted research… but it is nevertheless useful to hear directly. It is also useful for Jethaniel to compare and contrast in order to create an assessment from this interview. The ultimate answer receives a nod, and Jethaniel takes a moment to settle back in his chair before asking, "Why are you interested in this position?"

That ratio is based upon the largest estimated herd, ah…herded to the exact number of herders Chapar has, which is three since that's the limit of his offspring - unless there's something Lei hasn't shared with him yet. Anyway, he wasn't asked how many is ideal and he likely hasn't tested the limits. Mention of felines draws a grunted frown from the man. "Boy said something about 'em." That would change the requirements indeed. "You probably want a tiered approach to guarding then," he says after considering. "Bring 'em into an enclosure at night, herders, chickens and guard dogs during the day." He thinks to add, "You want people who can shoot crossbow or arrows accurately." Yes, not hitting the stock or dogs would be a plus. Chickens? They're expendable. His children? That's debatable. Why does a trader want a change from lugging overloaded carts over treacherous mountain roads, braving icy passes and muddy terrain? "I'm not as young as I once was," admits Chapar with a meaty hand lifted to rub the back his neck. "The wife is weary of the winters in High Reaches." Aaaaaand, "You're hiring."

The ratio is an approximation, and Jethaniel expects that the ideal is rather variable - it will, for instance, be greater when the camelids themselves have offspring. The staffing requirements are unlikely to be so easily managed, however. Jethaniel listens to Chapar's speculations about how to protect the camelids from herdbeasts, and nods. The suggestions made are compatible with those he has thus far modeled from the ovine and caprine herds kept in the more mountainous pastures, though he is aware there will be differences. Nevertheless, Xanadu can and will provide the dogs and chickens. The mention of accurate shooting presents an obvious question, so Jethaniel asks it. "Do you and your herders possess that skill?" He could always test them on chickens - the unintentional successes are a form of stochastic selection for what's going in the dinner pot - but he is, at present, in his office and not on a target range. Sometimes, even the obvious questions need to be asked, and as Chapar answers concerning his desire for a career change, Jethaniel nods. It is a fatuously true statement concerning the trader's age; due to the nature of time, he is, in fact, not as young as he was upon entering the office, and he may even have more grey hairs than when he left High Reaches - which may or may not be ascribed to Kalsuoth's flying. It is, nevertheless, true that certain avocations place more stringent physical requirements on a person, and the self-directed trader lifestyle may become less appealing in comparison to well-defined tasks and a steady paycheck. Jethaniel's lips twitch at the second reason, and become fully a smile at the third. "Quite so." He brings his hands together in front of him, braced and otherwise. "Xanadu's winters are, compared to High Reaches, relatively mild." Jethaniel's smile for that is one of private amusement; his experience with Reachian winter involved a hypocaust and an avalanche. It was not funny at the time. Nor are Xanadu's winters entirely hospitable, but the contrast may nevertheless be favorable. "Taken for given that I am, in fact hiring," whether or not from this interview, "do you have any questions?" Or did he manage to answer them all in those notes he gave Mur'dah?

No questions asked about chickens hmm? Chapar was waiting for that one! You and your herders. This required clarification, "We're traders." Who herd camelids occasionally. There is, apparently, a difference. "The wife and I, my daughter Raeleigh, my son Chell are all accurate with crossbow. Piel my youngest is learning. Helps discourage renegades." He tacks that last on by way of explanation for the why of weaponry. The large man does have questions. "I do. I read your notes the boy brought. I'd need to know before the spring thaw so I can renew my contracts with the mountain holds or let them know to find…other traders." He shifts, the chair squeaks and he adds, "Do the children- Raeleigh is sixteen but the others are underage- qualify as employees? Will you wish to interview them?" He muses on, "You'll want beastcrafters also, but Lei and I are willing to learn the care of the beasts." For all that they've 'handled' them, they haven't cared for them. "They're gazers but their teeth need trimming, their toes too. There's the shearing." Heh, getting here was one dragonride too many for Chapar. Too bad he has to go home today! "If we are chosen, I'll wish to travel to Xanadu by ship. Would that take too long?"

The chickens are self-explanatory, which is to say, they will explain themselves, loudly and with notable dissatisfaction, to any felines or other predators who approach the flock. This explanation may lead to the application of counterarguments in the form of crossbows and/or guard dogs. Also, they're expendable and self-propagating, which provides a value-add without ongoing investment. This makes them cheaper than either dogs or herders, but Jethaniel shakes his head to Chapar's clarification. "You are applying for the position of herder." He smiles slightly. "It is true that you gained the applicable experience without so being, but if you wish to arrive at Xanadu as traders, there is a different discussion to be had." A rather briefer one; Jethaniel isn't hiring traders, at least not ones from the northern continent who require a long relocation. He is hiring herders who received initial training as a side task of their work as traders. A job title may not provide a complete listing of applicable skills, and as such, further clarifications are required. Their accuracy with a crossbow, for instance, he acknowledges with a nod, unsurprised at both the skill and the reason presented. Jethaniel is also unsurprised that there are questions, and he listens to them before answering. "There will be a beastcraft journeyman in charge; given your skills, you would be acting as assistants with pre-existing domain knowledge." There will likely also be some people reassigned from those ovine and caprine herds, but a familiarity with camelid behavior in at least some of the herders is advantageous, and specialist journeymen are both relatively expensive and remain effective in a substantively supervisory capacity. "Children over the age of ten may qualify as employees, but are subject to restrictions in time worked and requirements as to education." It's about the same age as most crafthalls will begin to consider taking on a junior apprentice, and the regulations are designed to maintain a general equivalence. Adults may overwork themselves as they see fit; children are required to have harper lessons and time to go play. "You may speak on the behalf of those beneath the age of majority; an interview would be required with Raeleigh." Jethaniel smiles slightly. "It could, however, be postponed until after relocation." Because, oh yes, he understands the motivation behind a preference for travel by ship instead of dragon, and he expects - regardless of precisely how many he hires - the family will move as a unit. The camelids are also being transported via ship - being carried a few at a time by dragons having been determined to be unduly stressful to the flocking prey animals - and as such, Jethaniel says, "Transit by ship is acceptable, though I would advise transporting the majority of your possessions via dragon." Cargo space is expensive. Ships are cheaper than dragons if one is paying market rates for both, but Jethaniel isn't.

Yeah, chickens are noisy folk. As such they'll tend to awaken the dogs and so forth. Chapar twists his cap more, bobbing his head in agreement to which position he's applying for. "Yes Sir, I am. I didn't want you to assume we'd had any hall training; we haven't." They've just learned on the fly. "But maybe the boy told you that." He's not sure. He also… appears to have forgotten the rider's name. Maybe. In any case, the answers to his questions seem to satisfy him for he smiles for the first time since his arrival. "It's the… passengers I meant to voyage. The belongings won't care." While his family… likely will. He'll happily comply with the steward's requirements for transport. "Piel is seven turns, Chell is nine." There go two potential herders, ah well. The rest of the positional clarifications seem to relieve him. Just so they don't put him in charge and expect him to be the expert. However, "Raeleigh is quick on the uptake…" his voice drops to a self-directed mutter, "if you can get her to settle down." Speaking of which, "If your decision is yes - and I am happy to await it - the girl is asking me if we're hired may she come early…to start getting used to the place? If you wouldn't mind, that is. She's good with runners too."

"Indeed. It is advantageous to have the appropriate context." Otherwise, there may be misunderstandings and failures of communication, and Jethaniel strives for precision in his speech. "I am inclined to believe in adaptability." There's a faint smile for that, and then he continues. "Practical experience is often more valuable than theoretical knowledge." So says the man sitting behind a desk in an office full of books and papers. He nods concerning the nature of that transport and which items are and are not capable of self-reflection concerning it. The Weyr is, when it comes to such things, frugal but not cheap; an optimization occurs which takes as inputs both cost and human happiness. "Ah," Jethaniel says to the provided details concerning the younger children. "You are, of course, welcome to prepare them as you see fit for such a time as they are employable." If that means learning camelid tending from the beastcrafters… children younger still are doing that sort of thing at cotholds across Pern. Jethaniel is merely expressing the Weyr's policy concerning who can and cannot receive a paycheck. Raeleigh's enthusiasm is duly noted, and Jethaniel nods. "I have other interviews to conduct, but you may expect news within a sevenday via Rider Mur'dah." There's the name again, in case it was forgotten. "If favorable, a partial early arrival is certainly feasible - room and board in the dormitories for light stablehand or similar chores." Or other details to be negotiated, but given the efficiencies of the scale of the Weyr, Jethaniel is quite confident both that there exists work to be done and that, for someone willing to do work, room and board are well within the available budget. It would also give Jethaniel an opportunity to conduct not only an interview but a longitudinal aptitude assessment. "If you wish a tour prior to your return to High Reaches, one can be arranged."

So says the man who never studied at the crafhall to be steward, but has adapted. Chapar bobs his head regarding the sentiment. Versatility is key in his line of work, otherwise he'd have told those crazy camelid herders forget it when they'd offered to hire him drive them to market. "We…didn't have much access to harpers on the trail," the man says thoughtfully. "Some formal learning wouldn't hurt them. And we won't be driving them overland once here." His family never had five paychecks before, so he won't miss them now, even if he'd been faintly hoping such was the case. Ah well! He listens to the steward finish, ahhing and interjecting, "That boy, yes," and more nodding for Mur'dah's name. Maybe if he doesn't retain the name he won't be followed and asked by his family if they may keep him? "Thank you, Sir, I appreciate the time. I can wait, but my family will be asking about the place, so I'd best have that look 'round." A rueful smile tips his mouth as he shifts to stand, brows lifted to ask politely whether the interview is at end.

"The harpers here have regular classes; placement could certainly be arranged." Including whatever tutoring is necessary due to the informal nature of the education those children have received thus far; it would not be the first time new arrivals have been integrated into the Weyr's educational system. The steward does not dispute Chapar's choice of referent for Mur'dah, so long as they agree that they are, in fact, speaking of the same person. "It has been a pleasure meeting with you," he says, and while he does not stand, he does lean foward to offer a shake of his wrist-braced hand. Presuming his hand retains a modicum of functionality afterward, he will then send Stardust with a pre-written message to summon one of the Quasar wingriders (or whoever else they send for the task) to provide that tour. The firelizard is, as such, useful. "Someone will meet you at the end of this hallway; they will be glad to answer your questions about the Weyr." Or at least pretend to be. If Chapar wants to tromp out to see the barns, the actual enthusiasm of his tourguide may vary. Jethaniel's actual enthusiasm will be revealed when Mur'dah arrives with a message from the steward, but that document is not yet written. It is more complex and requires detailed consideration. There are also other interviews to be had, but this one is over.

Chapar can only agree about placement. Yeaah, he has no clue. He teaches them maths. Lei, reading. But there are holes. He… eyes that extended wrist-in-brace. Not knowing quite what to do with it, he gingerly takes it in massive thumb and forefinger, lifts once, fractionally and lowers it. The move is extremely gentle, the look on his face comical in it's uncertainty. Blue eyes lift quizzically to Jethaniel's. Was that correct? He hopes so! He'll release the poor man's wrist if so and rise. The chair squeaks relief; it may yet need attention from the woodcrafters. The little firelizard is awarded a keenly approving following look as she goes off on her errand. So. They do serve a purpose! He doesn't see many in the High Reaches. "Thank you," he says again bobbing a half-bow while backing out into that halloway. Oh, he'll want to tromp to the barns and more - he'll ask about where the camelids will be. Perhaps Mur'dah will overfly the upland track to the highland pastures before they wink out for the man's home where he'll arrive to early evening his time. It's possible he'll be up late into the night answering the very many questions of his family. Sleep? May not be in the cards for him tonight.

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