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 tantalizing 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 a nice day at Western, not too hot and a little overcast so that the sun isn't making the day unbearably hot. And it's on nice days like these that the market place is the most crowded, as people bustle about to shop and eat and mingle. And this is where Straws is today, now that his work is over for the day. As it would happen he's standing at a stall selling fresh fish talking to the proprietor, a scraggly old fisherman with a big beard and a big belly. Straws is carrying a big container full of spiderclaws, perhaps an errand for the weyr, or maybe he's just going to have a spiderclaw feast later by his lonesome.

Iris, near the middle of her third trimester of pregnancy, is waddling around the market more or less alone this day. Shadhavarth is, as usual, basking in what sunshine she can find on the beaches, leaving Iris with only the firelizards for company- and they, being particularly fickle, pop in and out as they please- but they have been useful for taking the little packets of spice or the trinkets she buys, and delivering them back to their home ledge. The pleasantly pungeant odor of fresh fish draws in the junior weyrwoman, though, a sudden craving giving her inspiration for the night's meal as she approaches, keeping back a beat to wait politely for a chance to ask about the fish.

Straws is talking in a hushed tone with the fisherman. One can only imagine what they're discussing. Maybe Straws owes him money? Or they're talking about a lady? Who knows. When their conversation ends Straws notes Iris hovering and grins to her. "You don't want any of -those- fish, trust me. They're at least a day old. He keeps today's catch locked up in his stall back there." Straws snickers a bit. The fisherman shoots the blonde man a glare. "You keep your damn mouth shut with that, boy. You'll start costing me a fortune if everyone wants to dip into the 'fresher' fish." The fisherman looks over Iris for a moment, then sighs. "Well, fine little lady. Since you're in a delicate state and all, I'll sell you one from today's catch. But don't you go telling anyone!" He waves her back around to where the storage is in back of his shopping stall.

Iris lends Straws a grateful look. "My thanks, sir," she murmurs deferentially, and to the fisherman, she offers a charming smile, "I don't mind paying full for the freshest catch. Couldn't always afford it, you know…" she continues to explai nas she heads towards the back, glancing back to make sure he's coming along to oversee the selection. "I'd just like something nice and simple to make for dinner- I've already got the seasonings in mind, something lemony, peppery."

Straws follows along as they head around to the back of the stall. Straws moves his container of spiderclaws up onto his shoulder for the duration. He was getting tired of holding it. The fisherman waves Iris off. "The freshest catch shouldn't cost a fortune. Though getting fish has become a bit harder lately. With that ghost ship and all, some fishermen still won't leave the one side of the island." He undoes a lock and pulls out a big drawer. It's filled with fish in a sort of cool brine water to keep them fresh even overnight. The fisherman pulls one off and hands it to Iris. "Take a whiff of this, little lady! Smell how fresh it is!" Straws peers at the fisherman and points to the other side of the stall. "What's in there, then?" "In here?" The fisherman asks, pulling out the drawer and reaching inside of it. "Well, in here I keep the…" There's a pause and suddenly Straws drops his spiderclaws and wrenches Iris's arms behind her, and the fisherman shoves a rag into her face. It's got… something on it. Something to make her a little loopy and basically pass out.

Of course she doesn't suspect a thing, and with Shadhavarth happily basking in the overcast sun, believing her lifemate safely shopping at market… well, there's nobody around to be suspicious of the men. The junior weyrwoman peers interestedly at the fish, taking and sniffing at the fish. "Mmmm! I've some ideas what /this/ would go well with indeed!" She follows Straws's gaze to the other side of the stall, watching to see what might be in that drawer… and is, naturally, taken off guard when she's grabbed, blinded and drugged all in one fell swoop. The fish in her hand drops as she passes out, and somewhere in the distance, a sleepy gold dragon wakes with a sudden, shrieking roar of anger. It's only moments before the dragon is in the air above the markets, her voice howling with a raging fright that only comes when one's mental connection is tested.

Of course the angry queen sends the market into a tizzy. People start shrieking and crying and running everywhere to try to escape. "SHE'S MAD! MAAAAAD!" Someone else. "HELP HELP!" Someone else is yelling, even though no one appears hurt at this point in time. People are running out of the market and parents are dragging their children. Shopkeepers are closing up their shops and people are hiding under whatever shelter they can find. Amongst the chaos, no one notices a couple of men rolling a barrel of fish down towards the docks and getting it into a boat. In fact, there are lots of other people making for the boats as well. Where are they going? AWAY FROM THE WEYR, THAT'S WHERE.

With so little time between being grabbed and being drugged, Iris hasn't even a moment to notify the sleepily basking Shadhavarth of any suspicions. And with the junior weyrwoman now 'out' for the count, the gold can't even snatch images of the two men from her lifemate's mind. In a matter of moments, the gold turns from peaceful into raging, and any other dragons who happened to be nearby on the beach are in danger as the gold swerves sideways and up from her laying position, into the sky in a feat of craze, shrieking frightened anger as she flies straight to the market, her mental voice a harsh desert as she seeks to summon help. Teimyrth, whereever he is, is the first her voice will touch, with Suldith as weyrleader next- and it's not so much voice as the wordless fear 'IrisgoneIrisgone', panicking as she descends on the open market, determined to seek where she last recalls her lifemate being- that spice stand she so likes.

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