This Time, Without Buckets

Western Weyr - Living Caverns
Here is the center of Weyr life, the living caverns. These two main rooms were man-shaped from smaller caves, and are joined by a carved arch with depictions of dragons in flight and dolphins leaping in swirling waves. One room has many round stone and wooden tables and a stone fire-pit instead of a hearth. Over the round-walled, gas fired pit is a large conical hood made of polished bronze, with reliefs of dragons with their riders flying over ships guided by dolphins. This hood and chimney keeps the room smoke-free. Through the archway is an enormous hall, with long tables and benches, some carved from the rock floor, many crafted of wood. This room is a combination dining and meeting hall, and can seat over 300 comfortably. Above both rooms, angled shafts lined with polished metal bring in sunlight during the day. Electric lights also burn, day and night.


The problem with not having a 'set' job is that there are plenty of less-than-exciting duties out there, and eventually one ends up being put to work doing them. Tonight, that means that Rhysanna has a tray to carry around the long tables, and fill with abandoned crockery that some people are too busy, lazy, self-important or otherwise to clear up for themselves. In deference to the work, her long hair is braided, and her dress is covered by an enveloping apron; her expression is distant, but at least she seems to be more or less watching where she goes.

The problem with being an apprentice is that your job is whatever the journeymen tell you it is! …of course, sometimes that's not terrible. Sometimes it is! Tonight… Takapola's managed to finish his duties. Well, most of his duties. He's sitting at a table with a soup bowl three-quarters empty, a mug half-empty, a sheet of paper half-filled with carefully printed letters, and an expression of concentration.

It's inevitable, of course, that Rhysanna's trek up and down the long tables eventually takes her towards Takapola. That there's no hitch in her step may speak to self-control, because there's certainly a wrinkle in her nose and a somewhat wary look to her expression. That's probably why her nose abruptly lifts into the air, and why when she sets her tray down just beside the apprentice, her tone is a little clipped. "Are you finished with those?"

It was bound to happen. She could have done the zigzag circuit around him, but… self-control! Also dutifulness. She has it, apparently. Takapola has… concentration! At least until… blink. What. You talkin' to him? …apparently. He looks up at Rhysanna, and for a moment, he just looks. Oh. It's… tiiime for him to put a smile in his face. "Hi!" Was there something she wanted? Oh right, the tray. Of crockery. He looks to bowl and mug, and… "Uh, with the soup, yeah. All done with that." The mug, he'll keep… for now. He curls a protective hand around it.

It could be worse. She could be waiting on— oh. Never mind. The fact that he hasn't, you know, turned red or squirmed into his seat (or thrown a bucket of salt water and sea creatures over her) or anything seems to help; she gives a vague smile, more professional than friendly, and reaches to take the soup from him. "Don't forget to put your mug away when you're finished with it, then," she instructs.

It could be even worse. She could be weari- uh. Never mind that, either. But at least Takapola hasn't sunk down through his seat and turned into a puddle. And while there might have been seafood in that soup somewhere (they're on the coast! These things happen!) it's properly cooked, and also safely contained. Takapola nudges the soup (but does not spill it) to Rhysanna, and nods. "Sure. Course I will." He's clean and neat. Except when he isn't. Soooo. "…busy night?"

Even so, Rhysanna is very, very careful as she picks up the bowl to put it on the tray. Very careful. It's a thing, now. "Not too bad," she answers, not in a way that is unfriendly, though it could certainly be more so, if she tried. She's cautious; it's better to be prepared, just in case, right? "There was a group of— I don't know, just a group, maybe, who left food all over the table." Which she clearly is not thrilled about. "But otherwise it hasn't been too bad. What are you working on?"

The bowl might explode. It doesn't! But… it might. Rhysanna is probably wise to be cautious. Takapola… doesn't make any sudden movements. Because that's best when dealing with, uh… "Yeah?" he says, and glances to see if he can see the right table. Which he can't, of course, because now it's been picked up. "A group of apes, maybe." Who knows? Not him. He just… "Oh. That." He looks to the page. "Writing a report. Ship's log. The unofficial one, to see if I get the right stuff in it." He shrugs.

It has happened, after all. And stranger things than that, really. A person simply cannot be too careful. Now that the bowl is on the tray, stacked up with some others, Rhysanna seems at a loss as to what to do with her hands, though picking up the tray and moving on with it doesn't seem to have crossed or mind. Or perhaps it has, and she's discarded it as an idea. Either way, "Apes. That sounds about right. People who don't think." She gives Takapola's page a glance. "Oh. How's it going?"

There does come a point when someone's so cautious that they can't do anything because of what might go wrong, but… different people have different ideas about what's too much when it comes to careful. Takapola at least has his mug and pen to fiddle with, which can keep his hands busy for now. "The rare Western ape!" He grins. "Or, well, not so rare. Might be better if it were." He glances to his page, and shrugs. "Alright." His handwriting's not bad. What it is is overly careful, the letters formed with large swoops in a way that seems vaguely childish. It makes it easier to read from a distance, but the page is mostly notes about the wind direction and degree of chop with a few fish and dolphin sightings thrown in for added interest.

"Much better. I'd quite like to knock their heads together, sometimes," agrees Rhysanna. It's… this is… it may actually count as a proper conversation. Maybe the awkwardness of their last meeting has been defeated! The lack of buckets and flying queens may be helping quite a bit. It's hard to tell if she is actually trying to read what Takapola has written, or if she's just glancing in a vaguer sense; her words don't give much clue to that, either. "I'm glad I don't have to write reports. Once I've done what I need to do, I just leave. It saves a lot of hassle, really."

Poor buckets. Getting all the blame when really, those flying queens (or, well, queen. Fortunately there was only one!) might just possibly have had something to do with the awkward. But if Takapola's an ape, he's at least being a cheerful one who grins at the prospect of knocking heads. There's no secrets written on his page, so he doesn't bother to hide it. "Well, it's less about me, more about the ship." He grins. "The adventures of Takapola are hardly exciting reading!" Neither is 'Wind, west-southwest, 25 knots.' "Someone on every ship has to keep one, so they have us 'pprentices take turns practicing."

"Takapola. Is that your name, then?" Rhysanna actually blushes when she says that; it is kind of awkward, not knowing, and probably more awkward having to confirm it out loud like that. She considers him, then nods. "That makes sense. Better to make the underlings do it than have to do it yourself all the time. And good practice, too. Even so, I'm glad it isn't me."

He did kind of miss out on introducing himself last time, didn't he? Takapola pauses a moment, thinking back through the mists of time (and also dragonflight), then discards the exercise as unnecessary. "That it is." Whether or not it's been previously said. "Takapola, senior apprentice in seacraft." Which she probably figured out from the ship's log and him mentioning that apprentices do that, but it's a) more formal like that and b) lets him stick on the 'senior' part, so he sounds ever so vaguely more respectable. He's probably got to practice that, too. "The best of practice. The worst of practice… is manning the bilge pump." Takapola grins, then tilts his head. "Oh, but I'm sure you've got worsts of your own."

Come to think of it, so did she. She rectifies that, now that they're being formal about it: "Rhysanna. Not senior anything, I'm afraid: just a caverns worker." Westerner though she clearly is, given her accent, she hesitates, awkwardly, and then wonders: "What's a bilge pump?" And then, quickly, "Oh, there's plenty of awful things. I try to avoid as many of them as I can, though."

Takapola salutes. Formally. He also grins, informally. Maybe because neither of them is at all the sort to get salutes. "I did that for a bit. The caverns work. Back when I first got here, while I was still working out… some things." A shrug. "There's things as can compare with a bilge pump. There's things worse! Bilge pump's… well. Most ships leak. Not much, but no matter how much tar you put on, the water finds a way in. The bilge pump's how you get that salty, seaweed-tangled, minnow-infested water back out." It's that, or using… a bucket.

The salute makes Rhysanna laugh, probably because she really isn't used to that— she tries to offer one in return, though it's sloppy at best, and utterly useless at worst. "It's good solid work," she says, not quite defensive, but certainly firmly. "It keeps the Weyr going." Bilge pumps make her nose wrinkle. Buckets… well, it's a good thing that's not being talked about out loud. "That sounds disgusting," she agrees. "Worse than scraping plates, or doing the really disgusting laundry."

Takapola does not judge the salute. Takapola merely grins, and then he nods easily about the caverns. "Oh, aye," he agrees. He sounds serious. Well, as serious as he ever sounds, but he at least isn't smirking or anything. "Makes the place so much nicer than being stuffed into a ship. It's not so bad island-hopping, but on the longer trips…" He trails off, shaking his head, because apparently it's too awful to even consider. Just like buckets are. Bilges? Well, they're right on the line. "It's one the journeymen never seem to do for themselves. Can't say I blame 'em, really."

Rhysanna's smile is warmer, now, and much more relaxed than it has been. See! Everything is fine. "You make it sound like you don't even like sailing," she says, with a teasing lilt to her tone. "Why are you a seacrafter, if so?" Of Journeymen, she can only laugh. "It's what I would do, if I were in a position to hand things off to someone else. Delegate. That's the key, isn't it? Perhaps you could delegate it to the more junior apprentices."

"The sailing I like just fine! The wind in my sails-" well, his ship's sails "-and the stars to guide me!" Takapola grins. "But anyone who tries to tell you a ship's comfortable is lying to you. It can be fun. It can be exciting. It can let you see the world… and it'll make you ever so grateful for a chance to sleep in a bed and have a genuinely hot meal… at least for a day or two, before the sea calls you back to the world of the waves." He laughs. "Maybe I'm a seacrafter because I don't have a good enough memory to remember why I shouldn't go back." Takapola shrugs, then grins again. "Oh, yes. The chain of command. Very important."

Rhysanna frowns, considering all of this with an expression that suggests she doesn't entirely understand… but is willing to give Takapola the benefit of the doubt. "I… see," is what she settles on, finally. "Well, it definitely doesn't sound like a lifestyle I would enjoy… even when I'm grossed out by my duties for the day." She gives a shrug, then glances back to her tray, her sigh… well, it's probably mock-long-suffering. "I should get this lot back to the kitchen. It was nice to meet you, though, Takapola. Good luck with your report."

Takapola is used to being doubted. He laughs at the dubiousness - not unkindly, just sounding amused. "You should try a ride on a skiff sometime. Just for an hour or two, out around the island." Then she might understand… or else get seasick. Either way! But he nods understandingly to that work - "Dishes wait for none," and waves. "Thanks." It'll be the best list of wind and surf conditions ever. Oh, and before she goes- "If you want that sail sometime, just let me know."

Hesitating, Rhysanna looks thoughtful, and then smiles. "I will," she says, firmly. "It seems like something I should try at least once. Have a good night!" Then, tray in hand, she makes for the exit. Indeed: dishes wait for no one.


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