Lunchtime

Half Moon Bay Weyr - Living Cavern
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 living caverns just before lunchtime can be a very very busy place indeed. Not only are servers bustling in and out of the kitchens with platters of delectable viands such as seasonal fruit, cold cuts, fresh bread and salad greens — plus all the fixings for sandwiches, salads and more — there's also dessert, and plenty of refreshments to be had. Never let it be said that Half Moon Bay Weyr would /ever/ let anyone go hungry. Add in all that, plus the growing line of residents, crafters, riders and everyone else who's eager to get a bite to eat, and well … the place can only be described as just a little hectic at the best of times and nothing short of sheer pandemonium and chaos at the worst. Which is probably why the Senior Weyrwoman's here, joining the hungry throng near the entrance to the cavern. Granted, Enka could pull rank and probably get the jump on food selection, but why bother? Once the line gets moving, it'll move fast enough, and there's /plenty/ to go around. Besides, it gives her a chance to chat with some people and mingle amongst the crowd.

The dust of her travels is evident upon the teens tunic and pants as well as the worn-out look her boots have acquired from walking so far. Marianita pauses just within the entranceway to the living caverns, having pretty much simply followed the crowds to find it. Never one for large crowds though she stifles a small sound of surprise when she catches sight of the hectic but possibly somewhat controlled chaos. So for a moment she simply stands in the doorway and simply gawks until am impatient blue rider nudges her with a 'move it along!" which causes her to blush furiously and steps quickly to the side.

Enka's chatting amicably with a greenrider and a brownrider, a few snatches of conversation drifting around. '…sure he's the most interestin' dragon on Pern.' '… did she really.' Nothing definitive of course, just that idle slightly distracted chitchat that comes while waiting in a somewhat moving line. But it's not like Enka isn't aware of any new arrivals, and that girl gawking in the entryway is sure to catch her attention, before there's that bluerider prodding said teenager along. Taking note of the blush, Enka lifts her hand, making a waving gesture that she'd hope would catch Marianita's attention — a come-hither beckon. "You two go on," the goldrider remarks to the green and brownriders, pausing a little in line to wait. "First time here, dear?" Enka does keep her voice a little low, nothing to draw too much attention and embarrassment. "Come right over here, get in line." So it's cutting a little, but it's an invitation too, right? Who can grumble about that? "Might as well tuck in to a bit of a lunch before you take it all in." Well, if Enka's acting a bit motherly, she's the Weyr's 'mother' right? Just ignore the fact that she's got a fancy important knot on her shoulder.

Conversations throughout the caverns seem to echo towards her and surround her. Inwardly cringing she may just have given up and turned on her heel to depart when Enka's 'come hither' gesture is just barely caught. Working up a small smile she weaves her way towards the weyrwoman with a nervous flicker of her gaze towards that fancy knot on her shoulder. "Thank you ma'am…" she murmurs. Keeping her gaze locked on Enka helps her focus her attention on her only and not the crowd around her. "Aye, just walked here. Thank you. I'm starved." unable to resist she looks around her with wide-eyed alertness. "Is the whole weyr here for lunch?"

Well then, consider saving someone from walking out on a good meal as Enka's good deed for the day. "Well then, you've gotten here just in time. I hear that lunch is supposed to be very good today. And the cook finally… finally asked me for one of my sticky bun recipes, so dessert ought to be delicious. Providin' of course, he stuck to the recipe and didn't try experimentin'." The line does seem to be picking up the pace a little, now it's more than just a slow shuffle, and that buffet table is getting so much closer. "Walked here, did you say? Up from one of the Holds? Sykan maybe?" there's a pause, Enka looking the teen up and down for a moment from worn out boots to dusty tunic. "Looks as if you've come a lot further than just one of Emerald Island's Holds. Hope you're thinkin' of settlin' down for a rest. If you're starvin', Half Moon Bay's the place to be. We've got plenty." The goldrider takes a glance around the crowded cavern. "Near about," she remarks with a slight chuckle. "There's some that take a later lunch or grab somethin' to eat earlier, with duties and all, but now's about the time when everyone comes to eat."

"Came up from Bluefire hold actually." replies Marianita with only a hint of shyness still lingering. The lure of the food is simply too great to even consider departing any more as they draw closer to the buffet table. Though it's clear she didn't come from that hold originally she doesn't offer much more detail than that just yet. She does remember her name. "Marianita is my name ma'am and I was hoping to stay on for a bit to rest and figure out what my next step is. Maybe earn a bit of coin for new supplies." habitually she shifts the bow that's attached to the backpack upon her back. "I thank you for the hospitality too. I can go hunting later if needed to help pay for my meal."

Enka bobs her head in a brief nod. "Ah, well, Sykan was just a guess." she concedes gracefully enough. "Either way, you're welcome to stay here for a few days. Wash the dust of the road off, and relax. We're the place where you go if you want t'get away from it all for a while." It's like mini vacations, really, all of Emerald Island is, to be honest. "Well met, Marianita, I'm Enka. Miraneith's rider." Although she doesn't quite come out and say 'senior weyrwoman' … no point in driving anything home after all and throwing weight around when it's unnecessary. "After you've eaten, you'll want to be seein' one of our assistant headwomen, Nereza, perhaps. She can set you up with a nice place to stay for a while. Might even be able to find you a temporary job." The goldrider nods. "Always got a need for a bit of huntin', though fishin' seems to be more the trade here. Still, fresh game beats out herdbeast sometimes." Ah, there's the table, and Enka picks up a plate to pass it along to Marianita before grabbing one of her own. "What brings you all the way here?"

Marianita looks appreciative of the offer to stay a few days. "Sounds good to be." a winning smile flashes as her comfort level grows a bit the more Enka talks. She makes a mental note and murmurs. 'Nereza' to aid her in remembering who she needs to seek out after her meal. "I can fish as well. Learned to make up a pretty sweet trap to get a bunch at once. Can do a bit of both." offers the huntress. The plate is taken with anode of thanks. "It's a long story really." is said with a bit of chagrin. "Short version is I'm seeking information on a group of bandits."

Enka says nothing for a moment or two, focused on forking a few slices of roast wherry, salad greens and other fixings onto her plate before she grabs a bread roll. "Splendid," she remarks after that brief moment of silence, turning a bit to settle a cheery sort of smile in the huntress's direction. "I'm sure there'll be plenty to keep you occupied as long as you're with us. Of course, around here, work almost seems like play for everyone anyway." Hard not to, tropical location — plenty of good weather and a nice paradise sort of life to live. "Bandits, you say? Can't say we haven't had our share of similar problems. Had a group of pirates who stole Iris, one of our junior weyrwomen, right out of the marketplace. Took a while to get her back, but we did. Why this particular group?"

Marianita follows Enka's example and falls silent as she considers the food options before her. Not stranger to hunger perhaps the feast before her is a bit more than she's used to for she's hesitant at first. Finally in the end though the hunger wins and she takes several slices of meat, plenty of fresh fruit and tops it with two rolls. "It seems very nice here." from what she's seen. "Though I admit I fairly well came straight here when I saw so many people headed this way. And the aroma of such delicious food was tempting as well." she bobs her head with a wide-eyed look at Enka's telling of Iris being stolen. "I do hope I am tracking the right group. Not that they came here but I learned they were close by in their camp." she says hastily to assure the weyrwoman that she doesn't think bandits would actually be in the weyr. "As far as why them they kidnapped my sister." a trace of hurt is heard in her tone before she can hide it.

"I must admit, I'm partial to it," the goldrider comments, retrieving silverware and napkins before she moves towards a table. "You will sit with me, won't you?" the remark is somewhat off topic and out of context, but spoken more like a polite demand rather than curious inquiry. "As I was sayin', I'm a bit baised," .. a bit, try a /lot/ … "so I'm likely to be singin' Half Moon Bay's praises for the rest of my life. It is a nice place indeed."A vacant table is spotted, and Enka makes a move towards it. "Followin' the crowd, and your nose can lead to good things," she says to Marianita, somewhat teasingly before quickly sobering. "That particular crew of pirates were dealt with long ago, but that wouldn't mean someone couldn't have moved into their place. Got lots of islands, and little bolt holes all over. I'll put the word out with our wingleaders to have their sweepriders checkin' for any signs of bandit activity." The goldrider nods, taking her seat with some finality. "Your sister was kidnapped? Sorry to hear that."

A bit flustered perhaps at the invite so that the conversation can be continued, Marianita nods her head several times in agreement once hr plate is filled and various utensils grabbed. "Well I can see why you're biased on your home. Were you born here?" she asks curiously as she trails along behind Enka. "Your nose can also lead you to smelly things as well." she matches the slightly teasing tone before sobering. "I'd appreciate any help I can get." is said honestly and gratefully. "It's been a long and fruitless search so far to be honest." she slides into her seat. Cutting off a bit of the sliced meat she tucks it into her roll. Pausing before taking a bite she nods. "Thank you. She's only 12." that said she takes a bite!

"Nope," Enka sets about slicing both bread roll and wherry meat before jumbling it together with salad greens into a serviceable sandwich. "I'm actually from the mainland, really. Born at Ista, grew up at Telgar … brr." that last gets a bit of a shiver before she continues, "and then back to Ista where I Impressed Miraneith. We moved here a couple of turns after that and I've been a Half Moon Bay resident ever since." Which has been quite a long time indeed. It's about here that the weyrwoman pauses to take a bite of her sandwich, chewing politely (mouth closed, of course) before conversation can resume. "Only twelve? Shells, she's young. I do hope you can find her, and I'll do what I can at offerin' resources to help out."

Listening raptly as Enka describes her path to the weyr, Mari eats at the same time. A bob of her head as Enka gets to the part of moving here. As now the weyrwoman eats she takes up the thread of conversation. "I don't wish to be a burden ma'am." she says politely. "Or spending of any resources on my behalf. After all, you hardly know me." she says sheepishly.

"Trust me," or not, maybe that's just the way everyone says it, "spendin' resources to find a pack of bandits who've already shown a proclivity to kidnappin' is somethin' I need to be doin'." Enka isn't trying to make things up here, really. "Our interests happen to be the same thing, findin' the bad guys. Could you imagine what might happen if some of my Holders got wind of miscreants and rouges like that within' spittin' distance of their homes?" the weyrwoman pitches her voice into a sort of whiny falsetto. "Bandits stole my sheep, Weyrwoman, I can't afford to replace them. Or … bandits made off with the crops, can't aynthing to the Weyr now." Enka heaves a sigh, regarding Marianita levelly. "So you see, you could almost say I owe you for bringin' this to my attention."

Amusement flickers in her dark grey eyes at the imitation of the holders. Inclining her head she gives a simple nod. "Then I appreciate the offer of help and accept it." is stated gracefully. "I've been tracking them for some time." she pauses her for a few more bites of food as she mulls over the offer she just accepted.

Enka lives to please and amuse, it seems. She also lives to eat, and henceforth says very little for the brief time it takes to polish off her sandwich, dabbing at her lips with her napkin afterwards. "So there you have it," the wyerwoman remarks at last. "Helpin' each other out, keepin' holders off my back that way, 'specially Lord Yaran. He'd be whinin' about losin' the fishin' boats or somethin' if he knew. Works out for all of us. If we catch them bandits, your sister is saved, and so the rest of us. No more trouble." There's a brief pause. "How long is some time?" Because she's curious, that's all.

Polishing off her own sandwich, Mari starts in on the fruit picked up. Leaning back in her seat she looks around the room curiously. "Holders be always whining about something." she says amiably. "At least the smaller ones I think." a shrug lifts her shoulder. "How long…" a pause is given. "Roughly 6 months I think." it's been some time for sure!

Enka chuckles softly at Mari's comment. "Aint that the truth, holders always seem to find somethin' to complain about. I'm sure they'd complain for the sake of complainin' if they had nothin' else to complain about." Enka pokes her fork into the remains of her salad, taking small brief nibbles between pauses in the conversation. "That is a long time," she nods thoughtfully. "But it's gotta be worth it, gettin' your sister back and all."

"It's been tough." murmurs the young teen. "My father passed away a few years ago so since then it's just me three of us. My mother and my sister." Marian finishes off the fruit and her last roll and looks content. "That was the best roasted wherry I've had for some time. My compliments to the cooks here."

"I …. see," Enka remarks, having heard everything that Mari had to say. "Sounds like your childhood was a lot different from my childhood, and well, my childhood was a lot different from anyone else's childhood. But," she shrugs. "It's worth livin' life isn't it? No matter what happens." The goldrider gives the teen a warm reassuring smile. "I'll pass along your compliments to the cooks then. They've got a way with cookin' that I never could. My skills lie more in makin' treats than anythin' else. But I do like the meals they're cable of puttin' together."

Marianita can only nod at that, not offering too much more information on her own childhood. "It's been an interesting path to say the least but surely the struggles have only taught me. After all I wouldn't be so versatile in the woods if my father hadn't died when he did." she fiddles with her empty plate absently as they continue to chat. "I'm better at catching and skinning than I am cooking the meat that comes off my kills." declares the hunter. "You mentioned though that the cook was to use a certain recipes of yours?" the word treats made her remember and now she sits up with an eager eye towards the table of food to see if she can spot the treats out there.

"Sounds interestin'," Enka puts in. "We all get to where we get by whatever means the world can throw at us, and whatever happens to us in the meantime. I guess I could say if it weren't for my parents splittin' up, I wouldn't have ended up back at Ista." And the rest would be history. "Just have to take whatever happens and make it work for you." That's the best advice the goldrider can give, after all, happened to her. "Mmm, I did mention a recipe, didn't I? Those would be the sticky buns." enka nods towards the buffet table, and the desserts on the end. "Meant to make them a different way, and they turned out better than I'd planned. I've been tryin' to get the head cook to try the recipe for a while, and it looks like he finally gave in."

Marianita spies the desserts on the ends and half stands, hesitating before she seems too rude. Stuck for a moment like that she comes up with a solution. "Can I get you one?" she asks. "If you're the senior weyrwoman shouldn't the cook make the recipe the first time you asked?" she asks honestly. She doesn't know, she's never spent much time in weyrs to really understand the hierarchy though she did learn the various knots in her school to know who exactly her companion is.

Enka nods slightly. "Would you? I've been wantin' to see what they taste like bein' as the cook made 'em and not me." And because she's got a sweet tooth and probably wouldn't stop at just /one/ if she was the one to take them off the tray. "It doesn't really work out that way," she admits about the whole hierarchy thing. "It's one thing for me to be in charge of makin' sure we have the right supplies, and that the Weyr has good finances and our Headwoman and her staff is runnin' smoothly, and I could order people around if I really had to, but makin' a request can only go so far." she winks cheerfully. "Besides, in a kitchen a cook is the lord of his domain." And you really don't want to piss off a cook too much.

Marianita obtains two small plates and sets one sticky bun on each. Returning to the table with no incident other than a quick nod to a brown rider she passes, Marianita slips back into her chair to slide one plate before the weyrwoman. "I've not studied much of the leadership within the weyrs to be honest." is commented before taking a bite out of the bun. "Ooh, this is wonderful!" declares the hunter. "You've a point though. I saw my best friend Garron piss off the cook at Crom once and for three days all his food was over salted! Everyone learned to stay away from his table I can tell you!" she laughs at that.

Enka slides the sticky bun and plate towards her the rest of the way after Marianita had set it down before her, eyeing it thoughtfully with some interest before she scoops it up and takes a bite. A warm gooey delicious yummy bite. "Mmm," comes the goldrider's satisfied diagnosis, the tip of her tongue sneaking out to capture a bit of frosting at the corner of her lips. "I told him he should have made it a lot sooner, wasn't anythin' wrong with them, and he followed my recipe right to the letter." And that makes for a happy happy Enka indeed. "See, there you go." she chuckles. "It's dangerous riskin' a cook's ire. Better to ask and cajole," and yes, even nag until he finally gives in, "than to outright order him to make somethin'. He might've used salt instead of sweetener." Woe.

"That would have been tragic indeed." agrees Marian before falling silent to finish off the bun. Now she's completely contented. "How is the weather out here normally?" questions the lightly tanned teen. "Have you a lot of storms?"

"Exceedingly tragic," Enka can quite agree with that sentiment — the very thought, of sticky buns made with salt, horrifying indeed. Nibbling at the rest of her own sticky bun, the goldrider is quiet, listening to the hum of conversation from other tables around them before the teen's question has her regarding the girl once more. "Fairly nice weather overall," she admits. "Lots of sunny days. Occasional storms, mainly durin' the summer. They can get fierce, but they don't last too long."

There's some thoughts clouding those grey eyes but Marian gives little hint as to what they are. "Who is it I can speak to about a temporary job?" she inquires. "At the very least I have to work off this great meal and others while I stay here. I really am grateful for the offered help and place to stay for a bit and rest." she glances down ruefully at her dirty attire. "And maybe somewhere to clean up?"

Enka dabs at the last of the frosting on her lips with her napkin, setting the crumbled linen onto the plate in front of her. "Well, as far as a temporary job goes, I'd say you'd have to talk to the Headwoman, although she might just send you on to me. Which means it might be a day or two before you get somethin' to be assigned to. But check with Nereza, as I said. She can at least find you a place to stay here, and get you some clothes and show you the baths. After you've had a chance to settle in a little, and rest some, we'll find somethin' for you to do."

Marianita starts to stand, stretching as she does so to send muffled pops along her spine. "If'n you don't mind I think I'll go searching her out now." a glance is spared around the caverns. "Looks like the lunch rush is thinning out just a bit so hopefully I'll be able to find her not too busy at the moment."

"Don't mind in the least," Enka comments, pushing her chair back and rising to her feet as well, although without the stretching and spinal noises. "I'm a bit behind on my work, and need to decide what I can do myself and what I can leave for my juniors." Which who know, might end up being everything. The lunch crowd was winding down, there's less noise, and less food — but still plenty enough to go around. "You'd probably find her in the lower caverns. I'm pretty sure the Headwoman's assistants take lunch in shifts, so Nereza might've already had somethin' to eat. She can show you around from there." The weyrwoman pauses. "It was nice meetin' you, and havin' lunch with you. Hopefully everythin' will work out for you later."

Marianita inclines her head and offers a polite smile to Enka. "My thanks ma'am. Perhaps I'll be seeing you around again." she pushes in her chair before gathering up her dirty dishes and moving across the room to learn where to deposit them. From there she'll seek out Neraza to get some help and perhaps a tour about the place!


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