Fort Weyr - Smithy Repairs

Off the tunnel leading to the inner sections of Fort Weyr is this small smith shop. The entry area has been separated off from the forge in the back by a U-shaped counter, forming a nice little waiting area for customers. There are a few chairs there for sitting. The counter in front is covered in piles of papers: receipts mostly, standards paperwork, signed copies of things, and other bits of this and that. A plaque on the counter reads: In Living Memory of Jedrek, original owner/operator.
The forge itself is off to the right of the shop, carved right into the stone and has several anvils around it that the smiths uses to shape the metal against. There are a few different workbenches each with their own tools for different jobs, the one that stands out the most is the long one closest to the door. This one is covered in small metal parts and where the smiths usually sit to repair items. The left side of the shop's wall has many machinery parts hanging on it and some larger tools.
Towards the back of the left side of the shop is a staircase leading up into a private living area.

It's amazing how rocks, fits of anger, and blades don't mix. Zapallie found that one out the hard way when she threw a tantrum all alone in her favorite deep Weyr hideout. Now she's lazing about miserably, lacking anything better to do, while somebody gets around to fixing one of her precious knives. Those things are too expensive to be putting dings in them. This time of day, the traffic is minimal and the smithy is blazing with the fires required to melt and reshape metal. Zap has stripped off her jacket in concession to how very warm it is here, and it hangs over her arm while she leans and glowers at just about everyone, as prickly as a cactus as usual.

That was a lesson Th'ero learned a long time ago concerning his own blades. Today though, he'll likely learn another new lesson: don't prod a prickly cactus… or he won't learn and only roar and rail over getting barbed. It's always a hard thing to tell and given the stoney expression set on the Weyrleader's face as he comes striding in from the main roadway it won't be any easier today. He's carrying a short sword in his one hand, sheathed in a well worn leather scabbard. Ignoring the heat of the forges, his dark gaze hones in on the first Journeyman smith to approach him. There's a murmured exchange, the words quiet and partially hushed but it's obvious enough when he draws the sword that he's likely here for repairs too or perhaps to remake the whole thing. Regardless, it's handed over and it only takes a span of a few minutes. It's when Th'ero goes to turn to stride out again that his gaze catches Zapallie glowering away in her spot. Instantly his features harden and he fixes her with a long look as he fumbles for a greeting that isn't abrasive from the start. When that fails, he simply skips that formality in favor of a flatly spoken question. "What brings you to the forges?"

Zapallie lifts her bicolored eyes to Th'ero when he speaks at her, since her glower was more of a general habit of daydreaming rather than a malicious singling out of any one person. Her nostrils flair just so and she makes a sour face, like she's just bitten into a lemon and is too prideful to spit it out. "I tried to kill a rock." Did she just…make a joke? Surely not. "Turns out, they don't die so easy." Her eyes scroll towards the Journeyman he just surrendered his short sword to and one eyebrow raises inquiringly. The question isn't stated, but it's implied.

It's not so much the glowering that has Th'ero focused as he is on Zapallie and more so a suspicious borne curiosity as to why she'd be at a smith forge of all places. At her soured expression, his darkens and the Weyrleader comes to stand tensely some steps across from her. Her joke is met with the barest of smirks. He may be cold and aloof, but the man does have emotions beyond that. "Best stick to the trees and plants," he remarks dryly. "Unless you wish to trade your blades for hammers and chisels." While he doesn't sound amused while speaking, it's as close as he'll get to "joking" for now. At her implied question, he answers only with silence and a firm frown. No, he will not elaborate. Not unless she directly presses him. "Why, may I ask, were you attacking a rock?" he drawls lowly.

"Yah, but then I'd feel guilty for stabbing an innocent tree…" remarks Zapallie with a hint of a smile hiding deep in the corner of her mouth. "The rock was there." Which is really quite logical. "It seemed like a better thing to attack than the boy who shoved me into a supply closet and locked me in there for half the morning." Not that she's ruled out revenge in some non-violent form.

Th'ero has no reply for that logical reasoning from Zapallie and only levels her with a longer and heavier look. Fair enough? The Weyrleader's brows lift in a slightly incredulous way though for her next tale and slowly does he lift his arms to cross them over his chest. "Now what would have prompted this boy to lock you into the supply closet?" he asks dryly, with a hint of sarcasm lacing his voice as though he doesn't quite view her seriously or entirely innocent in the matter.

Zapallie is not one to shirk blame. "He was bragging about growing his beard out. I told him I'd seen baby's asses with more peach fuzz." How she says these things with a straight face is anyone's guess. Still, she shrugs, absolving herself of any remorse over being brutally honest in the most insulting way she can manage. "His friends laughed at him. I'd have shoved me in a closet too."

Th'ero doesn't laugh or even show the slightest twitch of amusement or sympathy towards Zapallie (or the poor boy who got the brunt of her remark). He grimaces though, taking his turn to look as though he's just bitten into something sour and isn't quite sure what to do about it save work through it. "You're lucky it was just being shoved in a closet that that abrasive comment earned you," he says bluntly, giving her a disapproving glance. "I see that you seem to have an issue with curbing your tongue. Until you remedy that, I'm afraid you will have to expect others to react in kind." It's the harsh truth, the Weyrleader not bothering sugar coating his words around her.

Zapallie stares at him and she laughs. "You won't catch me complaining. It's better than being bullied around and wondering what I did to deserve it. I know where to expect the next punch from this way." She thinks about it and frowns. "Most of the time." Then she shakes her head to dislodge that thought.

Th'ero snorts, being all too familiar with this sort of situation and behavior. Granted, he /was/ the bully or at least instigated many a scrap and fight in his youth just for the thrill of it. But that's not details he's likely to ever share and so he can only pin Zapallie under a heavier frown. She's baffling him, but the Weyrleader is doing his best to mask that as well. "Why do it at all?" he asks, smirking. "Most of the time?" he echoes and in doing so gently prods her into explaining more in a rather subtle manner that can be rightly ignored if chosen.

Zapallie baffles everyone with her flawless and very twisted logic. "Why? Because if I don't…" she trails off and shrugs. "Then I'm not in control of it all anymore." And control is very important to a girl who never had any as a child. His prompting earns a pressing of lips together and a sharp nod. "I got shoved down a flight of stairs once. Broke my arm. That one, I didn't earn."

Th'ero's head tilts up ever so slightly, his eyes flashing briefly in understanding. Ahh, so there's one of the keys to the puzzle. Control is something the Weyrleader can understand, at least, given he's a man who seeks the same — at least on a personal level given his temper. "Then you need to learn to balance," he says simply, as if that is the answer to all though he gives no further explanation for her to follow. At her statement, his brows knit together and his voice lowers again, tone a little cool. "And what are you implying then?" he asks, skirting around directly confronting her on the matter. It's not his business to pry into her past or her life for that matter. Yet here he stands, arms still crossed and posture still tensed.

"I'm not implying anything," replies Zapallie with a shrug. "I just told you, somebody shoved me down some stairs. I hadn't said anything, I was minding my own business. I can do that, you know. Occasionally." She folds her arms across her chest and leans her head back into a wall, looking at him with raised eyebrows. "Are you always this nosey?"

"You're implying you were the victim of an unwarranted attack," Th'ero points out stiffly, giving her a narrowed glance now as if to consider what she just shared with him, uncertain quite how to take it. "No," he replies and smirks again, standing a little taller and regarding her with a cool but still baffled look. "I hardly call this being nosey. You are giving me hints to your life and I am simply replying as politely as one can for idle chatter." His voice remains level but the sarcasm is there too, under the drawl and accent.

"I've beenn the 'victim'—" she emphasises the word sarcastically — "of plenty. Like I said, I decided it was better to pick who was going to punch me, rather than waiting for a fist to find me." Zap gives him a narrow-eyed look. "Idle chatter. Politeness." She snorts rudely. "Right. Because you're not itching to haul me into a jail cell by my hair and let me rot there awhile." And she'd understand completely if he did.

"That is not a solution," Th'ero drawls in a firm voice, done with the sarcasm now even if her remark was riddled with it. The look he gives Zapallie is a studious one, her recent comments having the Weyrleader reevaluate his perceptions on the girl. Not by much, but enough to brush aside her narrowed eyed look, though it doesn't keep him from bristling a bit at her last comment. "I have no reason to, do I?" he says briskly, eyeing her with a glance that is suspicious and silently questioning. Does he? Right now, he sees her as relatively harmless, save for the sharpness of her tongue. And he's learning rapidly to ignore most of it if he wishes to keep a level temper. "I am not going to be hauling you off to a cell. We have already discussed the matter," he goes on to explain in a quieter voice, though it's unlikely any of the smiths will overhear them over their work. By now, the heat of the forge has got to the bronzerider at last and his arms uncross long enough for him to slip off his heavy riding jacket and fold it instead over one arm as they resume their earlier position.

"I don't know," replies Zapallie flippantly, "Do you?" there's a hardness to her jaw as she firms it. A bead of sweat trickles down the side of her face and she lifts a hand to brush it away. Then, in a strange gesture of peace, she unclenches her teeth, her face easing. "The eggs ought to be laid soon, right?" she attempts carefully, not so great at this small talk thing.

Th'ero glares at Zapallie for her flippant remark and his mouth draws down into a thin line, a sign of his disapproval and one of his pricked temper. "I don't," he says without hesitation and carrying a hidden warning. The Weyrleader spoke the truth, but he's also hoping she doesn't go out of her way to force his hand. As the discussion abruptly turns, he gives her a long, silent stare as if considering any motives behind it before reluctantly accepting the terms of "peace" if that is indeed what it is. "I would say within the next sevenday, if not earlier. Zuvaleyuth is quite gravid now and Velokraeth has been doting on her more often than naught." he replies, his tone slightly reserved but polite enough.

Zapallie is not looking at him, judging watching the smiths a safer route than provoking a wolf. "Zuvaleyuth? Is that her name? I'd never asked." Not that she's the kind to ask many questions in general, especially not about gravid Queens and Weyrleaders who don't like her.

Th'ero isn't quite provoked (yet) but he does level her with a skeptical look. "Somehow I am not surprised," he drawls in a crisp tone, his disapproval of her taking another grand leap. "However it's not something usually required. Simply a gesture of respect, I suppose. Another old tradition among the many." Normally the Weyrleader is one to ask questions, but he's treading lightly around Zapallie: a circling and wary wolf sniffing out his quarry.

Zapallie shrugs her shoulders gracelessly. "I'm not exactly on conversational terms with, uh…." Her eyebrows knit. "Mostly everyone," she concludes after a cursory examination of everyone she's spoken with. "Ah well. I know it now." Which counts! "Does she — Zuvaleyuth — usually clutch well?"

Th'ero snorts and there is little in the way of sympathy for Zapallie admitting her lack of being on conversation terms with others. That is not his immediate concern and he can only shake his head slightly, lips pressed tightly against voice his true opinion. He figures the girl likely knows her flaws enough and the Weyrleader isn't about to impose change. At her question though, he quirks a brow up and some of his reservedness eases back in favor of neutral discussion. "Hard to say. This is only her second clutch. She is a young gold and though her first was of a good sized and all hatched, it is debateable if we will be fortunate again." he murmurs and showing that neither is he much of an optimist.

Zapallie grew up in a Weyr, these conversations are easy, safe, yes, neutral. "She became senior on her first flight?" asks Zee, something of surprise on her face. "That's some damned luck." She lifts a hand and waves it, neverminding. "Do you have reason to think this clutch will fair worse? Did she not blood properly? Did something to wrong during the flight?" Perhaps it doesn't occur to her that Th'ero might just not expect happy things in life.

"Yes, it was rather sudden. Zuhth showed no fault in rising, but Neyuni retired rather… abruptly," So much for neutral. Th'ero hesitates, grimacing as he considers swiftly how much to delve into the past. Granted, what he just shared is common knowledge enough and Zapallie could easily work it out of other weyrfolk with little problem. "It was agreed that the next gold to rise would be the senior, as the old tradition states." And it's obvious as to how that worked out. Given the Weyrleader's past, no he does not expect many happy things in life or is wary enough of good fortune not to enjoy it fully. "Nothing of the sort," he replies a touch defensively, giving her another pointed look though it was all his fault for planting the thoughts in her head to start. "Zuvaleyuth blooded proper both times and this flight went as… well as any flight ought to. We can only hope that the number of eggs will be high, that is all." Which it isn't.

"I don't blame her," drawls Zap. As he talks, she reaches up to scratch lazily at the back of her neck. Yes, she's smart, and often pieces things together all on her own. Like the curious look she gives him at his strange cadence, pauses. "Hmm. Well, you won't catch me betting either way. It's bad luck to bet on dragon clutches, don't you think?"

"It was her choice," Th'ero agrees stiffly before letting the subject drop. The Weyrleader is not about to go into debating it and he only remains impassive under her curious look. At the mention of bad luck, he actually does quirk one side of his mouth up into a vague half-smile. "I am not superstitious," he drawls, "Nor do I bet. I am the wrong person to ask. I will say though that you best just keep your marks regardless."

Almost but not quite! Th'ero can smile and actually laugh too but it's a rare day in Fort if anyone spots him doing either or both genuinely and when he's relaxed. "You assume correctly," he answers dryly and with little mirth though it can be taken as a rather flat joke. The Weyrleader knows his flaws well enough. There is a grimace though and for once he does show some understanding and common grounds as far as smithing and marks are considered. "How many of your knives did you break with your futile fight with the rock?" No, metal work is not cheap at all and who knows how much he's in the hole with getting an entire short sword reworked.

"Just the one, thankfully. I mean, once you realize you're probably /not/ going to dig yourself out of a closet, you're pretty well resigned to siting there until somebody needs something, right?" Which, honestly, was probably a little scary. Zapallie scratches the back of her neck again and sighs. "I suppose I ought to just check in later, I doubt they're going to get to it while I just stand here." Which is her way of dismissing herself from a conversation that has the potential of being — gasp — pleasant.

Now Th'ero puts two and two together. Knife. Rock. Being locked in a closet! Of course. He almost curses his obliviousness of connecting them, if there was even ever a hint to start. "You should seek compensation, even if just half. Whoever shoved you in the closet was going over a line, even if your comments earned retaliation." he murmurs as a suggestion and about as close to a "nice" thing he's likely ever said directly to Zapallie in their brief encounters. Aside from ordering that she is released from questioning. Pleasant and awkwardly so, he eagerly accepts the dismissal, likely glad for the chance to excuse himself as well. "Most likely. I'll leave you to your business then," he says and with a brisk nod of his head, begins to step away and then turns to wander back the way he came. No smiles, no fond farewells. Blunt, short and to the point.

Zapallie looks at him dubiously. No, she has no intention of doing any such thing like that. "Mm… See you around, Weyrleader," she says distractedly, not exactly shedding a tear at his departure either.

'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.