Wasted Efforts

Winter - Month 3 of Turn 2720

Half Moon Bay Weyr - West Bowl
The western end of the great bowl of the Weyr. You can see the steep walls of the crater to the south and south, with small openings and ledges in the cliffside. These are the individual weyrs of dragons and their riders. To the west you can see the great natural arch, and the lagoon, to the east, the center of the bowl. To the south you see a large natural cave opening that has been made into a tunnel. It is the main entrance to the Weyr from the road to Half Moon Bay Hold.


Petra is sitting on an upturned barrel not far from the entrance to the Hatching Grounds. A sack of random pieces of mildewed leatherwork and rusty metal is at her feet, the pile of cloths and the bag of silver sand sitting beside her would suggest to an onlooker that she is attempting to rectify this mess. The tiny pile of clean leather and buckles on the other side of her would suggest to the same onlooker that she is not having a lot of success.

The journeyman she's accompanying is still with the Master they've come to visit, and so Etinei has been given leave to wander the external areas of Half Moon Bay Weyr. Thank goodness she was told to dress warmly, not just for their trip between but also for the wintery weather that greeted them. In a jacket that's slightly too large for her slight frame, the pale girl is wandering aimlessly across the west part of the bowl, staring up at black mouths of the dragons' weyrs. Nearing Petra's spot, her toe catches on a loose rock and Etinei stumbles, just about catching her balance and then standing still and looking down in betrayal at the ground.

Petra looks up in surprise as the newcomer stumbles and scrambles to her feet, offering a hand which thankfully does not appear to be necessary. The pile of leatherwork is pushed to one side. "Are you all right? The footing here is a bit treacherous even when it's not wet."

It's Etinei's turn to look surprised, at the offer of help from the girl she hadn't even noticed, so distracted by her ogling of the new place. "Um. Yes, I think so." She shifts her feet, planting them a little firmer, and withdraws her hands up into the sleeves of her jacket. Large blue eyes blink first at Petra, then the pile of leatherwork right there. "Sorry to disturb you." She stares a little longer at the items. "Um." Her attention shifts to the smaller pile. "What is it you're doing?"

Petra wrinkles her nose. "Senior stablehand, in his infinite wisdom, decided we were doing the spring cleaning a bit early this Turn. Judging by what we've been pulling out of the storage rooms, spring cleaning possibly hasn't happened for that last ten turns. So we haul out all this leatherwork and harness making stuff that has been peacefully rotting in corners since the beginning of time, and I made the mistake of suggesting we just burned the lot and got new in. Bad mistake. Really bad mistake. So now I get the job of sorting through it all and "proving" that it's unusable, and if you want to know why I'm doing it out in the bowl, then I suggest you take a sniff of it, and multiply by ten for what the storage rooms smell like." She does end on a grin. "At least out here, some of the people from the Tiki Bar take pity on me and bring me hot drinks"

Etinei's head bobs as she gives little nods to Petra's explanation. She does inch a little closer to the leathers, more cautious of where she's putting her feet now. She doesn't have to get too close to get the idea, and a little, alarmed cough escapes her as she backs off from the pungent items. "That seems…silly of them to try and repair them." But hey, she's not a leather expert! She turns a curious look on Petra as she asks, innocently, "Tiki Bar?"

Petra cocks a thumb in the general direction of the lagoon. "Down that way. If you want a drink or a snack, or somewhere to sit down and look at the sea." She picks up another leather strap from the bigger pile, yanks it speculatively and the impoverished leather rips in her hands. "That's another one for the rubbish pile. I think I've found three useable pieces in the whole mess so far. What brings you to the Weyr today?"

Etinei shifts to look in that direction, making a mental note. "Thank you." Then her attention is caught by Petra's examination of the next strap; there's a slight smile of amusement when it falls apart under the stress of the yanking. "I came with my new journeyman…I don't think he knows what to do with me. He's with a Master, and he told me to go look around…." She doesn't seem too annoyed by the situation, more bemused by it all. "I've never been to a Weyr like this. I'm posted at Monaco Bay Weyr - it's very different." There's a pause in her musings, and then she offers: "I'm Etinei, apprentice tech crafter."

Petra also seems amused. "I was warned when I came here looking for work that the place was "unusual". I wouldn't know, it's the only Weyr I've ever been to other than one visit to Ista. My family come from Keroon. I'm Petra. Very junior stablehand here. I clean up corrals, do odd jobs, and assist with horrible springcleaning enterprises. I rank basically below everyone else, and somewhere a bit above the tunnelsnakes." She seems curious. "What's it like at Monaco Bay Weyr then?"

"Keroon," Etinei echoes, a brief, distant look coming over her. "They do a lot of animal work there?" This all seems to be making sense to her, if her little nod is anything to go by. More focused, her mouth twists in a slight grimace at Petra's work. There is no immediate comment on it; instead, she answers the teenager's question. "Nice…very verdant. And there's a nice beach. The Weyrwoman told me I should have surfing lessons." She clears her throat, having said that. "I was at Landing before, so…I'm like you. It was the first Weyr I'd been to."

Petra nods. "Beastcraft has always been based at Keroon - my older sister is a Journeyman there. My parents always assumed I'd apprentice too but…I just wasn't sure I wanted to spend the rest of my life shovelling runner crap. So I came here to shovel herdbeast crap instead." The wry grin she gives brightens her face and she picks up the bag of sand, giving it an enthusiastic shake. Various metal objects rattle within it. "And there's no shortage of that when the whole herd's having hysterical diarrhoea for three days after every dragon mating flight. I suppose you can call it job security"

Etinei can't help but smile at Petra's optimism. "Yes, I suppose it must be a good guarantee of work." There seems to be a flash of something in her eyes when dragon mating flights are mentioned, and her next bit of information is related to that topic. "My previous journeyman - she's pregnant, after two gold flights at Monaco. She's keeping it, and apparently she can't go between for a while. Something like that." It all seems like a foreign topic on her tongue. "So I'm with a new journeyman, now, a man." The last comes with a hint of exasperation, and Etinei glances briefly towards the caverns entrance she and her tutor went through earlier.

Petra is not the most perceptive of people, but it would take a seriously oblivious person to miss that exasperation. She looks curious. "Do I take it you don't get on very well with your new journeyman then?" She delves into the bag of sand, extracts a buckle, studies it carefully and picks at a rust spot with the edge of her fingernail, then drops it back in the bag and gives it another vicious shake

Etinei catches herself, looking vaguely guilty for implying there's something wrong with her superior. "He's just…different. I think I might be his first apprentice." She takes the vicious shaking Petra gives the bag as a new topic to latch on to, hopeful to move on from her error. "Do you think you can save all the buckles? I suppose they don't degrade like leather can."

Petra shakes her head. "Waste of time, like most of the leather. They're rusty and rough, and the strap's only as strong as the buckle, so they couldn't be used for dragon harness anyway. I wouldn't even want these on a runner. I think the idea is that they can be used for the next lot of Weyrlings, to practice strap making before they get to work with good leather. If we can salvage any of them". She shakes her head. "I still think we should have burned the lot, but apparently we don't have a hope of getting any more unless we can prove that none of these are useable. I've already dumped three bags of rotting leather outside our posted Tannercraft journeyman's office, and I'm about to have a fourth bag to drag up there. So - if you're his first apprentice, do you think he's just worried about getting things wrong with you?"

Etinei peers at the piles, curiosity plain in her eyes. Amateur she may be when it comes to these materials, she can still nod in agreement with Petra's thoughts on burning it all. "I always assumed the Weyrs were priority for leather, what with the need for it." There's a pause as the next lot of Weyrlings is mentioned; a snippet of chatter remembered from the nighttime chattering of her fellow apprentices. "Didn't a gold fly here recently?" She shrugs, jacket rustling over her slim shoulders, when Petra asks about the journeyman. "I suppose I would be, in his shoes. It's just such a difference from my last one; she was so confident and nice." The way she says it, you'd think the woman had died!

Petra nods. "Yes, we have a new Weyrleader and Weyrwoman, half the staff here have changed roles, and there's been a lot of upheaval." Her tone is very non-committal - perhaps too much so. "So there'll be weyrlings and young dragons soon. I'm rather looking forward to it. I've never been to watch a Hatching before." She gathers up the sack and gets to her feet. "I may see you later if you're still around, got to get this lot over to the Tannercraft office and then clean up. Hope things get easier with your journeyman" She sketches a wave, slings the sack over one muscular shoulder and walks off towards the corrals.


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