Cruising from a Bruising

Half Moon Bay Weyr - Infirmary
This long, rectangular cavern smells faintly of antiseptic and strongly of pleasant medicinal herbs. The general atmosphere is one of bustling but orderly quiet and strict cleanliness. The back of the room is dominated by a small hearth for heat and medicinal preparations and by swinging double doors that lead to a small DragonHealing bay, an emergency surgery for human patients, the main storage, and the staff area where Healers can eat, shower, change, and the like during their longer shifts. The front of the room is a waiting and reception area where patients and staff can check in to receive treatment and begin work, respectively. The east wall of the room features examination, birthing, recovery and outpatient treatment rooms while the opposite wall is curtained off to provide privacy and bed-space for patients requiring overnight care.
Half Moon Bay can certainly handle most of the routine and sometimes urgent treatment needs of its residents here. It lacks some of the equipment available at the main Healer Hall. Once they are stabilized, patients requiring specialized or ongoing care are surely transferred there.


The infirmary seems to have hit a lull this morning. After a few early patients, who are now settled and as comfortable as can be, there have been no further people setting foot through the door. The healers and their assistants all seem to have something to do, and are bustling around doing whatever that is. This leaves Etinei, the white knot on her shoulder setting her apart from the rest, to sit at a table just by the waiting area and…roll bandages. It looks exactly as thrilling as you'd expect, and the girl looks both tired and a little bored, the skin under her eyes a touch grey as she stares down at the bandage she's currently, oh so slowly, rolling up.

"I can walk, damn it." Aishen's growl of protest preceeds his entrance into the infimary, a brash entrance in which he is propelled through the door by a mostly-gentle shove from the rider behind him. "I don't know why you're pissed at me. I didn't lay a hand on him." Which is apparently more than can be said for whoever the Candidate is speaking of - there's already a faint bruising around one eye, framed by the trickle of blood welling from a cut arching above his brow. "Which is why you're here and not bein' shipped home, Candidate," is the amused response, before the escort's gaze falls on Etinei. "See? They've already got the bandages ready for you. Patch him up, will ya?"

A distraction! There's a flicker of relief in the teenager's eyes as she looks up to see what's being asked of her - only for that hope to be extinguished when she sees a fellow candidate with his bloodied forehead. "Oh - um. Do you need to sit down?" There's a flutter of worry in her voice, that of one who wasn't prepared to deal with this scenario. Neither are there any healers immediately to hand for her to call upon. Her hands have paused on the bandage, and as she stands she picks it up. "Um. Put this on it?" She thrusts the half-rolled thing towards Aishen, across the table.

Without regard for Etinei's flustered fidgeting, the rider clasps Aishen on the shoulder - ignoring his slight flinch - and departs with a, "I'm sure you're in good hands." Left facing a half-rolled wad of bandages and a half-recognized face, the vintner lets out a low sigh and reaches out to take the bandaging, shoving it against the cut on his brow with a wince. "Don't fret," he rumbles to his fellow dragonbait, resignation tinting his baratone voice. "This ain't my first fight. Just the first one I couldn't finish proper. Stupid rules. Some pissant weyrbrat with a chip on his shoulder takes a swipe at me, I should be able to lay him out. Don't you think?"

Etinei's hand jerks back as soon as the bandage is taken, and her relief is all too obvious on her face that Aishen has his situation under control. "Um." His question is not one that she can easily answer; too many variables to consider. "If it wasn't for being a candidate, I suppose so?" She's trying to be polite and take his side, while also being well aware of the rules that have been set for them all. "Was he angry he wasn't a candidate?" She's still standing awkwardly on the other side of the table, not sure whether she should sit or not. He doesn't look like he's about to keel over or anything, but…her eyes still flick left and right, trying to catch the attention of any nearby healer.

"Fuck if I know," Aishen mutters. "Maybe that. Maybe he's just some bully looking for an easy mark. Probably both, which probably explains why there ain't a dragon in the Weyr to take a sniff at him." The ruddy beard covering the lower half of his face stretches as he grins, the expression showing little levity, and his voice drops to a low murmur, "And maybe I got a shot or two in where the riders couldn't see. If some blond-haired brute with one eyebrow comes in looking for something to help him walk straight, give him a laxitive for me, will ya? Maybe he'll have a better attitude if he ain't so full of shit." For all of his crude language, his movements are confident and careful as he shifts the bandage, blotting at his forehead. "Do they have any willowbark tea… Etinei, right? My head is splitting."

Etinei's looking around takes on a more nervous edge. Did anyone else hear that cursing?! But no, there are still no healers in sight. "I-I- I'll bear that in mind," she promises, though her soft voice is uncertain if this is a promise she can fulfil. Suddenly the bloodied cut is more appealing than the thought of assisting with revenge against a bully. "Um - I think so. I think- come over here and I'll have a look." She can give out willowbark tea, right? That's hardly dangerous, as long as you give one of the pre-measured bags. "Is it still bleeding?" She asks as she leads the way towards the medicine cabinet that doesn't have a lock, where the less dangerous substances are held.

There might be a glimmer of amusement in Aishen's eyes for Etinei's discomfort, but it doesn't show in his voice as he replies, "Not too much." He pulls the bandage away and reaches up to touch his fingers to the cut, wincing slightly. "Head wounds always bleed worse than they are, though. It'll clot up soon enough." Glancing around, he finds a stool to plant his rear on, moving stiffly enough that it's clear the bully got in a few shots where the bruises won't readily show. "I think the most annoying - ow! - annoying thing about this whole clus- ah, kerfluffle," yes, he noticed her unease with his language, "is that I honestly didn't earn it this time. I was just taking the kitchen scraps to the compost and he started layin' in to me."

Etinei purposely doesn't look as Aishen examines the damage. No, she's finding the little measurements of willowbark tea to pull out a bag. By the time she's heard the sound of her fellow candidate sitting down, she's collected herself, and when she closes the cabinet and turns around, she looks much calmer. "Etinei, yes. I…don't know your name." She holds the tea in her hand dumbly for a moment, then asks: "do you want me to make it for you now?" Maybe it's a good thing she's not a healer. "It sounds like you didn't deserve it," she agrees, looking now at his eye. "Did they take him away, too?"

"He scattered soon as that rider that brought me in shouted," comes the disgruntled reply. "Still, I'm sure they know who he is. We'll see what happens." He unwads the half-rolled bandages in his hand, carefully rewinding them into a slightly neater bundle. "I'm Aishen. Ash, if you're feeling friendly. I suppose I've been good at keeping my head down, 'til now." He chuckles, a deep sound that radiates upwards from his broad chest. "Still not sure what to make of this whole Candidacy thing. Think I was a bit drunk when I said yes, truth to tell. You from here, or elsewhere?" He lifts his azure gaze to study his fellow Candidate, beard twitching with his slight smile. "If you would please."

"Oh." Etinei doesn't share in Aishen's anger, an outsider to the whole affair, but landing enough on his side of the argument (the only side she's heard, anyway) to try and agree with the situation. "I hope so." As to the fact she doesn't know his name - that can probably be explained by the fact she's kept to herself, and to the other female candidates, more. "Me too," she agrees softly as she moves off a little to one of the kettles kept around for hot water. A cup is procured, and the tea made with the utmost care, as if Etinei's worried she can do something wrong in the simple act of adding water to cup and bag. "Elsewhere," she confirms, looking across at the man to turn the question back to him. "And - you? It seems like a lot of us aren't from the Weyr." She cradles the cup in small hands, heading over to carefully hold it out for him.

Silently watching her, Aishen fights against another smile, instead giving the gravity of her disposition as she makes his tea the (outward) respect it deserves. "Originally from Igen," he confirms, as he reaches out with one large hand to pluck the cup gently from her own. "Hold, that is. S'where my fathers have been posted as long as I've been around. Got nabbed from Monaco, though. Was visiting my sister - or trying to," he adds, with a deep chuckle. "Usually from Tillek though, when I'm not out looking for new ways to brew up a good, strong beer. So where's your Elsewhere when it's not here?" He sniffs at the tea, reflexively grimmacing at the sharp odor, before swallowing the dose with a resigned sigh. "Gah. Stupid no alcohol rule."

The story seems to be more complicated that Etinei expected. She hovers for a moment, waiting for him to take that first drink of the tea, seemingly worried that she hasn't made it properly. "Oh. I was at Monaco. Posted there as an apprentice." She doesn't smile at his sigh, but there is a twitch at the corner of her mouth and a look in her eyes that hints at amusement. "Is this your first time as a candidate, too? Who's your sister at Monaco?" Although he's grimaced at the tea, he's drunk it, so now the teenager retreats to the nearest chair to settle into it, still watching with frank curiosity.

As he's still alive once the tea is drained, she must have made it properly. Aishen places the cup gently on a nearby surface, then turns his thoughtful gaze on the girl. "Apprentice, huh? What craft? My sister's Wendyn - she's an apprentice too. Miner. Likes to play with sparkly things like our father." He flexes his fingers, staring down at slightly abraded knuckles that speak of less innocence than he proclaimed upon his arrival. "Not that I don't like a shiny or two," he adds, with a vulpine grin that hints at a secret joke. "But - to answer, yes, this is the first time I've been a Candidate. And I still wonder that it's not that bluerider getting back at me for not giving her another beer. How about you? Been out there," and he jerks his head in the general direction of the Grounds, "before?"

Etinei's face brightens when that name is mentioned. "Tech craft - and I met Wendyn!" This is the first true enthusiasm the quiet girl has shown, voice lifting at the sudden link between them. "She came to the Weyr, we were int he craft dorms together. She mentioned you," she adds, before doubting what she's just said. "Unless she was talking about another brother?" It all seems suddenly intriguing to her, that such a coincidence is possible. "No - it's my first time, too. I'd never really…thought about it before, really."

"Lucky for her, she's only got the one brother. Not sure she'd survive two of us." Aishen's eyes alight with genuine pleasure as they speak of his sister; it's clear there's a close bond between the siblings. "I hope she didn't say anything too awful - I'll have you know I'm just one big stuffed bear, and she's the one with the bite." Almost reflexively, he rubs at his shoulder, grinning ruefully. "Honestly, never even thought about Search or riders or any of that crap. Dragonriders and I don't… always see eye to eye on some things." His eyes cloud with a brief unhappiness, before he shakes his head slightly. "That's neither here nor there, though. You got any sibs?"

"She didn't," Etinei says, sensing that this is probably the right response? Maybe? "I like her. Is she going to come to the Hatching to root for you?" There's more common ground on not having thought about Search, though Aishen does lose her a little on the not seeing eye to eye thing. She opens her mouth as if to say something, but changes her mind and goes for the easier topic: answering his question. "Two brothers…my older brother's off being a candidate at whichever Weyr he feels attracted to. But he hasn't Impressed, yet. Maybe I'll Impress first, if things go that way here…." She seems oddly neutral about that idea, stating it as a fact rather than a want or desire.

"She must have been sick," Aishen murmurs. "It's okay, she bounces back fast." He might be teasing. He might be completely serious. Good luck figuring out which. "I haven't decided which way I want to go. On one hand - me? A… dragonrider?" It seems he's edited out a few words in there. "That's as laughable as a cat in the kennels. But." But. He's Pernese, and there's always going to be that bred-in-the-bone want that just the thought of Impression seems to invoke in most everyone. "Still. I figure at the end of the day, ten of y'all will walk off the Sands with a new life, and I'll get to have the fun of getting all the rest drunker'n an Iernian wh- woman."

Etinei doesn't have the ability to work out whether Aishen's kidding or not, so that'll just have to remain a mystery to her. She nods, slowly, when Aishen talks about being undecided. "Yes. My older brother - he always wanted to Impress. But I got into my craft and…that's all I wanted." She blinks when Aishen changes his last word, her naivety a blessing, perhaps. "But you might Impress? What if you do?" She doesn't hold back asking that, plainly curious about how he's going to deal with that possibility. Her expression is clear and intrigued as she looks at him.

"Then I make it up as I go along. I'm good at that part." Aishen grins, a lethal flash of teeth against his russet beard. Rubbing his hands together, he slides off of the stool. "Tea's kicked in, and I don't want that shit for brains thinking that he got the best of me, so I'd best get back to work. And you," he adds, eyes cutting towards the table and its plethora of bandages - rolled and unrolled - "have a far more exciting task." Is he mocking her? Maybe a little. "I'll see you around. And think of what I said. Blond. Unibrow. Big and dumb as a bull charging down a hungry dragon." With a wink, he tosses his bloodied bandages from hand to hand, then clenches them in a fist, tossing her a jaunty salute before sauntering - or, at least, not quite limping - out.

Etinei nods - she's good at nodding along tot hings - and offers up her first smile to Aishen, when he gives her that wink. "I hope you feel better soon," she says softly, sitting there and watching him as he leaves. Her gaze turns back to her work with a sigh, but there's a healer who's now, finally, appeared, giving her a stern look. So it is that she rather reluctantly returns to the table and the chore awaiting her.

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