Market Investigations

Western Weyr - Open Market
The sweeping canopy of the lush, green tropics gives way in this place to a massive clearing, spanning what must be a great many acres in a bustling, hubbub of noise, color, and activity. Rich golden-red terra cotta bricks line the marketplace grounds, providing a clean, bright place to walk and a level ground to set up shop on. The central part of the marketplace is an open bazaar, where people come to set up temporary shops in tents, out of carts and wagons, and some right on the ground with their wares laid out for anyone to see. The centralmost point of the open market is a massive, marble fountain rising up into a spire from who's top runs a cascade of water down the sides, gurgling over the intricate, mounted sculptures of all manners of Pernese creatures from dragons to whers to runners and all large and small, down into a large pool where silvery-white dolphins of stone leap and play.The smells of rich foods and sweet pastries and exotic tropical fruits competes with the less tantilizing scents of fresh caught fish and livestock for sale and those waiting patiently beside their owners carts or pastured in the temporary pens while their owners do some shopping. The colors of goods and the vivid swaths of tents and canvas wagons makes the place alive with brilliance, and at most all hours of the day there is a flurry of activity to behold.

It's getting later in the day at Western, and a little chilly out. The sun is sinking below the horizon, but the market is still teeming with people as they finish up work and head down to shop at the end of the day. There are lots of yummy sights and smells in the air, enough to get even a full stomach growling again. Zi'on though hasn't eaten anything but those pastries at lunch. The bronzer has actually made the trek to the market on foot, and taking one look at him it's obvious why, he's got a baby with him! And not just any baby, it's Ezio. He's got a little lined onesie on and a hat to keep his head warm. Right now the babe is in a carrier on Zi's chest, though the bronzer is pushing an empty cradle stroller as well. Suldith is nearby though, off mingling with the other dragons in the clearing meant for them. Zi'on fusses with his son a bit, trying to get him relaxed while they wait for Enka to show up.

Late enough in the day means that Miraneith is awake, the ungainly queen settling heavily with a thump into the area before the clearing, her thick tail curling over her haunches long enough for her to allow her rider to dismount before she waddles forward in that crabby sideways gait of hers. "And pick up your shardin' tail, Mir!" Enka hollers after her. Since it was just a short flight from the Weyr, the goldrider hadn't bothered to put on her flight gear, just whatever she had been wearing during the day, with a jacket thrown over her shoulder for when it was getting chilly. "And there you are," she greets Zi'on with a smile. "Hope we're not too late." The goldrider stands a bit on tippy toes to nuzzle up to Ezio, giving the infant a kiss on the cheek before she reaches up to tug Zi'on's head down a bit to give him one as well. "Mir was a little lazy gettin' up, but here we are." The gold is settling down by Suldith, whuffling softly at her mate.

Mir doesn't have to settle anywhere. Suldith prances over to her, greeting the queen with an excited croon. It wasn't often he gets to see her awake. Only for a few hours maybe each day, before she heads out to prowl and he goes to sleep. He lets the queen settle in where she will, then offers her a neck rub and a nose-bub, trilling away happily the entire time. Zi'on grins to Enka and gives her a wave as she approaches. "He's been a little cranky." Zi'on lets himself be pulled down, but he meets Enka's lips with his own. A nice hello-kiss. Ezio squirms a bit and reaches for Enka, babbling. "You want him? If not I might put him in the stroller. Anywho. Shall we start the investigation?"
Miraneith gives a loving croon at Suldith, the gold flipping her wings tight against her sides as she curves that short neck of hers against his nuzzling caress, and then bumps her nose back against his in return. Well, if Zi'on'll let himself be pulled down, then all the better… but no doubt a lip-kiss is way better than a cheek-kiss. "Poor Ezio, think he's colicky?" She holds out her arms to take the baby, since Zi'on's offered him to her. She'll take the sling too. "Maybe if he's with me, he'll settle down a little." She nods. "Let's go investigate. We can also investigate some dinner too."

Suldith returns all the lovings, then yawns a bit and curls up next to Mir. His babies, his queen! Though Suldith really isn't the jealous type, he just gets excited to see other dragons he knows, and he knows Mir quite well. Zi'on does give Enka a lip kiss, woo! He shrugs a bit. "Eh, I dunno. I think he's mad I made him eat earlier than normal, plus he's tried and we're outside in the crowd." Zi'on lifts their son out of the baby pouch and hands him to Enka. He undoes the sling and then puts it onto the goldrider, opening it up so she can drop Ezio into it. "He probably will," Zi'on admits. "Mm yes we can. I'm starving." And off they go. First stand they stop at is a guy selling fresh fruits and vegetables. He's mostly packing up for the day now. Zi'on questions him about business and where he gets his fruit from. And when they leave he pulls a notepad from his pocket to write things down in.

There's a soft rumble of happiness from the gold. Although she's not sleepy or anything like that — indeed, she's well aware and looking around with avid interest — she remains where she is, snuggled against the smaller form of her mate (who happens to be her son to boot, ah, dragons) Yes, his babies all right. And lip kisses, hurrah. Enka likes those, especially from the bronzer. Most definitely if they come from the bronzer. "Did he?" Enka nods a little at the explanation from Zi'on, accepting the baby with the air of a mother intent on finding out what's wrong with her child. Ezio is snuggled down into the sling once Zi'on's got it around the goldrider, and the baby rests his head against his mother's chest. "Maybe it's just somethin' he's used to," she suggests, to explain it. What baby doesn't know more comfort at that young age when snuggled up to mama, right? "I'm feelin' pretty peckish myself," the weyrwoman admits, although she doesn't seem interested in any of the fresh fruits from the fruit guy. "What did he say?" she asks, peeking over to try and read what Zi'on was writing down.

Suldith will busy himself chattering with the other dragons around, including Mir. And relaxing and being happy next to the gold and all. This was where he likes to be! Zi'on also likes lip kisses, especially from Enka. He knows those lips well. Ezio is a little cranky, but it seems to be mostly because he's got a full stomach and is sleepy. And his father insisted on walking him all the way over here. He snuggles right up to Enka though and eventually he'll fall asleep, noisy or not. "Yeah. He seemed fine earlier." There's a nod about feeling peckish. After he's talked to the stand owner he shrugs to Enka. "Not much really. Says he hasn't had any trouble getting produce. Said the only thing out of the ordinary was some of the fishermen talking about they saw a ghost ship or something." They move to the next stall, slowly working their way across to the stands for hot food. Or quickly, if Enka would like to eat right now.

Miraneith likes being where she is — right there next to Suldith and watching the sights. She doesn't particularly converse with any other dragons, being content to watch as they chatter, and reaching over now and then to nudge against the dark bronze, her short muzzled face forever curved into that cheery lizardy smile. Those lips are definitely familiar territory for the bronzer, and so welcoming too. "He seems all right now," Enka peeks down at the baby snuggled against her and then grins at Ezio's father with a cheerful smile, despite the fact that the goldrider had been complaining about feeling hungry. She nods at his words, glancing back over her shoulder at the fruit stand owner and then back at Zi'on. "A ghost ship?" she sounds surprised. "I suppose we can ask the sweepriders if they saw anything." But maybe they'll get more answers if they keep moving. There hot food is up ahead, but there's so much more to ask and see. Enka doesn't seem to be in too much of a hurry.

Suldith goes into happy trilling after those nudges, that slowly dies down. When the other dragons bore him, he'll talk a little more privately with Miraneith. Zi'on nods to Enka, leers at her a bit and mistaking that cheerful smile for smugness that their son loves her more than himself. Zi'on shrugs at the notion about a ghost ship. "Crazy old men, fishermen. Most of 'em drink too much, so I wouldn't trust it's more than just a wisp of cloud or some debris floating in the water. But we can ask the sweepriders, sure." Just then, a grimy looking old man with a grizzled beard and a bandana reaches out to grab Zi'on's arm, causing the bronzer to grunt and jerk it away from him. "I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss such things, lad. I saw the ghost ship, meself. With my own eye!" The old man says, pointing at his one eye. The other one is milky white and clearly blind. Zi'on wrinkles his nose. The man smells like salt and seaweed and fish. "There ain't no such thing as ghosts, or ghost ships, old man. It must'a been something else."

To be honest, while the hustle and bustle of the closing market is enough to catch Miraneith's attention for a while, she's quick to lose the desire to keep watching, and to keeping listening in on all those dragons. So a private conversation with Suldith is just the thing for her. They can chatter at each other, surely. The leer that Zi'on gives Enka makes the goldrider shiver a bit, maybe in anticipation, and twitch her eyebrows at him, alluringly. Maybe later. Well, the baby probably loves both parents equally, but mothers tend to get the most of it when a baby is a baby, not yet a turn old. "That's true. They just sit out there on boats for long hours. They must get bored and start hallucinatin'." She might say more, but there's that creepy old guy with the blind eye grabbing Zi'on's arm. "What did it look like?" There's some skepticism in the goldrider's voice, but she asks for the sake of some identification.

Suldith normally is somewhat of a social butterfly, but if it's between having a private conversation with his girl and a public conversation with a lot of other dragons he doesn't know too well… well, it's a fairly easy choice. Zi'on raises an eyebrow at Enka's suggestive eyebrow raising. She knew just how to distract him, it would seem. Plus there's a creepy old guy grabbing at him. He stands between him and Enka to shield the goldrider from the creepiness. "It were allll gray," the old man drawls. "With tattered sails. It didn't move like no normal ship. Oh no. It sort of floated above the water, didn't seem to care 'bout no waves, neither. But it were fast. We saw it across the horizon from our boat, and after a blink it were out of sight again. Mast and all." Zi'on rolls his eyes. "Alright old man. Whatever you say. We'll send some sweepriders out to check for the uh… ghosts."

No social butterfly, she, but rather a princess intent on subtle manipulation of her Weyr. Or maybe with her rank and position as the preeminent queen, things aren't quite so subtle. Miraneith curves her short neck, tilting it a bit to croon and converse quite privately with Suldith. Enough with the rest of the draconic population, this is their time, see. Yes, Enka's quite good at distracting, which is probably not the best thing to be doing here and now, but there's always a seductive promise to be had. Creepy old guy is creepy, and he's especially creepy with that white eye. So Enka's quite glad that the bronzer is between her and him. "Oooookay," she drawls out a bit. "A gray ship with tattered sails and floatin' above the water." a slight nod at Zi'on. "Mmmmhmm. Sweepriders, yes. We'll get right on that," she tilts her head briskly in the other direction. Like maybe they should get out of there, and get some food. See ya creepy.

She didn't have to be a social butterfly really. Everyone listened in on what she had to say regardless. Suldith included, though he preferred the more intimate chats with the gold. Zi'on knew Enka was good for her seductive promises. She wasn't too much of a tease, though suggesting things to him in an open market was a little on the mean side. That white eye… it can see your SOUL. "Right. Right on that." Zi'on lingers behind a bit, so that Enka can lose herself in the crowd and the creepy guys stay away from them. Once he's caught up with her he motions towards his favorite food stall. "There it is. Hopefully Mr Creepy McFishereye didn't put you off your appetite." He rubs his hands together and grins as they get in line. "They've got fried dough here, as well. You can push sugar on it, and it's delicious. I'm getting a fried meatroll. Ooh, or maybe a bacon cheese roll. That sounds good, too."

That was true, Miraneith was the big boss, and everyone pretty much had to listen to what she had to say. That however, wasn't really happening, the queen preferring instead to converse with Suldith about things, like wherries and eggs and the Hatching Sands and all sorts of things that might catch her fancy. Yes, Enka was most definitely good for all of that, of promises of fun romps to be had. Although it was true that suggesting things or looking at Zi'on like that here was kind of mean. Especially when she's carrying their son, and there's too many people around. Darn. Definitely going to have to wait till later. Nooo, not the soul.. not the SOUL. Luckily, they're past the creepy old dude and she dawdles a little to let Zi'on catch up again. "I don't think I'm much put off my appetite," she admits, checking to see if Ezio was asleep yet, "as long as I don't think too hard about that creep." She nods. "I might want to try the fried dough, see if it's as good as anythin' I make."

Dragons were social creatures, for sure. Though they probably gossiped the most about their riders, and other riders. Zi'on might take Enka up on her suggestions later, but for right now they had a task at hand, getting something to eat! When Zi'on gets up to the counter, he orders a double fried meatroll, a cheese and bacon roll, some fried dough, and a couple bottles of citrus juice. The stroller comes in handy as food transport, since baby transport was left up to Enka. He chuckles a bit. "I dunno. You think any of what he said was true? It sounds like he wasn't the only person that saw something like that, at least. I guess we can ask around to see if anyone else has seen it."

Dragons just liked to talk. And gossip about their riders was probably pretty common place. Why, even now, Miraneith is totally telling Suldith something about Enka and what Enka is thinking about, which definitely involves Zi'on and that 'later' No entanglements and a rather healthy dose of being around the bronzer during the proddy stage has the goldrider thinking naughty thoughts even now. And Miraneith will definitely share them. After dinner, of course, and after the baby gets taken back to the nannies. "That does come in handy." Enka remarks, observing the stroller. "I think … I think we do need to get sweepriders out. Night and day, as much as we can." the weyrwoman decides that easily enough. If that guy was tellin' the truth about that ghost ship, maybe one of them will see it." She frowns a bit, and then shrugs. "We had better ask around. See if anyone else has too. Which probably means a visit to the fishin' docks."

And Suldith is likely passing the info along to his rider. Which is making things even harder on him. Zi'on did technically have other entanglements, but they all seemed to fall to the backburner when Enka was around. Since Enka didn't seem to mind… why should he? He laughs a bit at her remark about the stroller. "Only if Ezio's not in it." There's a nod about sweepriders. "And I was going to see if Th'ero needed a few more. Ah well. Western comes first and all. Just in case there is some ghost ship that floats above the water." Zi'on finds a table they can sit at to eat. "After we eat. Maybe we should drop off the little one and change, too. Look more like common folk and hit the taverns. We'll find out more that way." Go undercover! That would be fun. But they wouldn't get around to it until later. For now it was time for eating.

Miraneith probably meant for the bronze to pass things along, happy riders made for happy dragons, and with a clutch on the way, the gold needs all the happy she can get. Other entanglements can always end up on the back burner, depending what the bronzer chooses to do. "Good point," Enka chuckles a bit, taking another peek at the now sleeping baby. "We might be able to spare some sweepriders, you'll have to check the roster." Since that was the weyrleader's job. "And if we do, maybe you can go offer them in person. He's a friend, isn't he? Wonder if he's heard the news." she winks teasingly at him before taking a seat. "That sounds like a plan," she agrees. "Can get more information that way. Or are you just tryin' to get me into a wench costume again?" That's for later though. Food now.

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