Fort Weyr - Herb Gardens

A sturdy wooden door leads out to a peculiar section of the Weyr that's clearly taken some time to construct. Rather similar to the Weyr's bowl — though much, much smaller in scope — the space has been filled with all manner of garden goodness. Here, the air is redolent with the hum of trundlebugs and the spicy-sweet aromas of the herbs and spices that are flourishing. Sage, spiceroot, rosemary, thyme, and more make their home here; so, too, does comfrey, chamomile, mint, and a smattering of tea plants.

It is, for the most part, a purely utilitarian garden — the herbs grown are for the cooks and Healers alike to put to use. Each row is clearly labeled with plastic signs that are changed out seasonally as old plants are removed and new ones put in. Some plants are potted in half-barrels, while others make their home in the soil itself; all of them are well-tended not only by the gardeners, but also those cooks and Healers with a hand for them. Stone pavers have been used to sculpt walking paths between the rows, giving a further sense of organization to the place.

Yet, no garden would be complete without flowers and a small section has been set aside purely for those with a green thumb to experiment with floral creations that have no useful purpose than to look pretty. A gate leads to that portion of the garden, with a woven trellis laced with delicate pink blossoms arching over it. Across from the flower garden is the vegetable garden, where a large shed and a storage structure can also be spotted.


The gardens of Fort Weyr are often visited by residents, either taking the time for relaxing strolls or courtship on the paths that wind throughout the area. This blustery afternoon, however, does not suit for most people, and so the gardens are all but deserted. Among the few people present is Idralia, who is working to wire exterior lighting at the door and at the junctions of the paths. The techie has an array of light bulbs and sockets in a basket beside her, as well as her tool kit and a long coil of insulated wire.

The blustery day seems to only keep Deitra outside and from being inside when everyone is busy heading inside to avoid the wind and the cold. With her hands tucked into her pants pockets, she strolls in from the kitchen. Grey eyes are focused on the ground, then flickering upwards to consider her path and make sure that she's not heading into anyone's path. Then she's peering at the tech crafter as she works, making her way over that way and considering the work. "Need help?"

Idralia is so absorbed in her work that she doesn't notice the young woman's approach, and she startles when Deitra speaks to her. The bracket she is holding up to the fencepost drops from her hand and she bites back a curse. Glancing toward the hunter she nods briefly, holding a socket against the post and flicking her fingers at the fallen bracket. "If you could hand me that, and then a screwdriver?" she asks, trying to not let the socket shift around. Then, "Deitra, right?"

"Sorry." Deitra chuckles softly, "didn't mean ta scare you." The bracket she dropped earns a careful look before she's looking back towards Idra. "Sure." The bracket is fetched and handed back up to the woman and then she's going for a screwdriver, after checking where the tools are. "Yep. Deitra." The young woman offers the wrench up and smiles at the tech crafter. "Why're you workin' out when the wind is all active?"

"It happens," Idralia replies with a slight shrug, accepting the bracket and carefully fitting it around the waiting socket, lining up the screw slots with predrilled marks in the post. Holding the bracket with one hand she pulls screws out of her pocket with the other, slipping the first one into place before taking the screwdriver and starting to tighten it down. "The wind isn't a problem. Rain is what I worry about. I need to finish mounting these before it starts to drizzle or the sockets will get wet, and possibly rust," she explains. With the first screw halfway in she adds the second, starting it so the bracket stays level and snug.

"Yeah. Tends ta happen when yer workin' and yer not payin' attention to anythin' else." Deitra frowns a bit and watches the other woman work, bottom lip coming into her mouth and being chewed upon silently. "Shells. Yeah. Ain't it a bad thing ta get wet when working with electric things? Ain't the best with that." A laugh and Deitra shifts to watch the work still. "And rust. That ain't good ta deal with. How do you keep the rain from getting' on it in the first place?"

Idralia nods, getting the screws firmly seated before rummaging in her basket. "It is, which is why I would like to be done before it actually starts to rain. Once the bulbs are in place the sockets will be protected from anything but a serious soaking. They have sealing rings to block out the moisture, and covers that keep rain off the tops," she explains. From the basket she extracts a curved glass dish mounted on wires, which she affixes to the bracket and socket to leave the light protected but still attractive atop the post.

"I see." Deitra replies, tone rather distant as her nose wrinkles a bit more. "Ain't the best, like I said. Never really paid much attention ta this stuff, but, guess with the way things are going it'd be stupid not ta follow along in that." She nods in her train of thought, before she's watching Idralia work again. Silence lingers from the woman before she declares. "Yer smart. I ain't going ta touch that dragon's stanky turd, 'less 'm breaking it and I don't imagine that'd go over too well."

Idralia mmms absently as she finishes setting up this light post and screws a bulb in, making sure it is properly seated. Picking up her basket and tools, she moves them several yards down the path to the next post, then returns for the wire, which she unrolls along the way. "It is wise to be aware of what is safe and not safe where technology is concerned," she agrees, using plastic u-shaped stakes to anchor the wire along the ground. Then there is a pause as she glances at Deitra. "What are you talking about?" she asks, puzzled by the slang the hunter uses.

Though the work is mostly lost on her, Deitra follows along after the other woman, watching but completely lost on what exactly is being done other than repairs. "Guess so. Better safe than sorry, right?" A chuckle and she shoves her hands a little deeper into her pockets. "Technology, electronics. All confusin' ta me, best that I stay away from it 'lest I break it. I mean, I can help but, y'know… Simple things. Like holdin' something. Picking heavy things up. Like that." She shrugs, "never really bothered ta learn 'bout it. Wasn't that interested."

"Ah. Well, that's understandable," Idralia says, finishing laying the wire and running it along the top of the post. She grabs a socket and some tools and sets to attaching it to the wire, careful of her fingers when handling the sharp blades. "Most people don't know much about technology and treat it much the same as you. It's confusing, and complex, and they have other stuff to do. I don't mind. It means I always have work."

The wire is given a rather skeptical look, brows drawing into a deeper frown before the woman laughs. "I can't imagine what that's for. I mean, there's wires ta get things workin' but then there are ton of other ones and how do you know which is which?" Deitra keeps carefully away, however, and out of the way of the tech crafter. "Mm. Well, don't blame 'em. I mean, fascinatin' but ain't something I should mess with 'less I know what I'm doin'. Probably too late ta learn. But, I guess if everyone knew how it all worked, there wouldn't be much need for the Craft? So, there's that."

Idralia glances at the hunter, then the wire. "Well, this one is a single-purpose wire. There is only one strand of copper inside. The complex stuff is all in the socket and at the converter inside the kitchen, where the electrical current is regulated," she explains as she finishes anchoring the wire. "Hand me another bracket?" she asks before continuing to discuss her work. "Well, there is too much for everyone to know and still get everything else that needs to be done taken care of. But I get what you mean. The same can be said for any job, Craft run or otherwise."

"Uhh." Deitra stares at the woman, "right. Okay. Got it. This one just a light an' the kitchen one just… Controls everything." In layman's terms, right there. She's reaching for another bracket and moving to hand it over toward Idralia. "Yeah. Same with every craft, though? It ain't like huntin' where one hunter can be good at everythin'. There's… Specialties and other things? I just heard 'bout it once. Also didn't pay attention ta that." One must wonder what she /did/ pay attention to. "That's true. Hunter is an easy job ta do. Ain't really a craft thing but if everyone knew how ta do it, then I'd be out of a job… If they wanted ta do all the work themselves."

Idralia nods, flashing a warm smile to the hunter. "Exactly," she agrees as she accepts the bracket and lines it up. This time, she was smart enough to keep the screwdriver within easy reach, so she moves right along to securing the bracket. "But hunter's have specialties, too," Idralia notes. "They just aren't as formal. Some hunters are good on the plains, others in the mountains, or forests. Some of you use snares, or other traps, or weapons, or… whatever else you do to actually handle the killing." She doesn't hunt, so she's run out of knowledge on the subject.

"Guess it's easier said than seen." A chuckle and Deitra watches Idralia work once more, head tilting towards the side as she stares upwards. "That's true. Each hunter is a little better at somethin' than the others. Some are more experienced and good at a bit of everythin'. Then there are the ones who're better at skinnin' than others." The hunter muses before she's clicking her tongue. "Yep. There's a lot ta huntin'. Seems so simple at times. But, guess that's a sign yer good at what you do." Hands go into her pocket as she watches, nodding idly in thought.

Idralia chuckles softly as she moves on to fitting in a bulb and mounting the cover for this fixture. "That's how it works in the Crafts. We just put a name to that skill, and call it a specialty, so it is very clear what each person is best at. It makes it easier to send crafters where they will do the most good," she explains. "Any job has a lot that goes into it, so every job will have some people who take the time to learn about it and be particularly useful in that area."

"Ah. Sounds more like a complicated way ta say that someone is better at doin' this than someone else. But just because they ain't the /best/ don't mean they can't do it. I guess. All really complicated." Deitra laughs, "not that it should bug me any. I ain't part of it, and, well… If hunters started ta do it, then, I'd do it too." Easy going is easy going, and she seems quite content with the thought of it all simply by the grin that lingers. "But, yeah. Guess that makes sense, too. Needin' someone of a special skill ta be in a certain area ta make sure it is all done right. Hunting ain't that complicated, but, y'know. Can appreciate that orderly gets it done right."

Idralia shrugs as she finishes and repeates the transfer of items over to the next post. "It's not complicated, actually. See, me? I can tell everyone what I'm good at by saying 'I'm a journeywoman techie specializing in maintenance and repair'. From that, a potential client knows that I am good at fixing things and keeping them from breaking again, and that I have at least five years experience in the Craft and know what I'm doing. You just have to know what it all means." She glances at Deitra again and offers, "Hunting seems awfully complicated to /me/, while this stuff is simple and straightforward. It's a matter of what you are used to and how you think."

Well, when yer explainin' it that way, it sounds a lot simpler. But what if you're good at a bit of everythin'? Or, are you made ta choose rather than goin' everywhere?" Deitra questions as she watches the other work. "How long does it take ta get to Journeyman? Seems like a long time ta be working at it from some of the stores. Twelve ta eighteen? Six Turns? Or twenty? Eight turns, there." A shake of her head and the hunter drops her gaze to her foot, idly toeing at the ground. "Yeah. Yer right. Everything you don't know seems ta be complicated. But, guess I'll just learn it as it comes."

"You say 'with no specialty' if you are one of what we call a general mechanic," Idra replies. "It's usually assumed that if you have taken a specialty you know more about that area, but that you only know the basics of most other things. I know a little bit about everything, and I study all the time to learn more about the stuff the Weyr needs me to know." The question of rank and time elicits a shrug as the crafter works. "It depends on what you are learning about and how good you are at the learning. It took me almost eight Turns to become a journeywoman, and I started at twelve. I've been in the craft for just shy of sixteen turns now - I turned twenty-eight a few days back."

"Ah. Well, why wouldn't you say yer a general mechanic, then? That seems a little better and makes it sound like you ain't a total mess up." Deitra returns, brows furrowed thoughtfully. "Ah. And if you don't have one, you do look like a mess up, cause you ain't meetin' the standards as well by not expandin' yer knowledge on one suject before covering the rest. Got it." Her grin grows wider before she's nodding along. "Just seems like a long time. But, gets yer results done right." Then, she's staring at the woman with her jaw dropping. "Shit. Yer old."

"You can say general mechanic if you're talking to someone who knows what that means, but most Holders and the like don't even really know what a mechanic /is/," Idralia clarifies. "So we use the other phrase to try and reduce their confusion. It works, for the most part." A pause, then, in a stiff voice, "I am /not/ old. I'm not even /thirty/ yet, let alone /old/." Huff! "I don't even have enough experience to attain my Mastery. That'll be another five Turns or so." So there!

"Well, figure if they got something that needs ta be looked at by someone who needs ta fix it. Then they should at least know what the general means in mechanic? Or, the title. Whatever." Deitra frees a hand just to wave the subject away before being shoved into the baggy pants of her jeans. "Well, not everyone can figure that shit out." A soft snicker escapes before she's going completely straight-faced again, staring at Idralia with grey eyes wide. "Nope. Yer old. Ten turns older'n me. That's old. But, don't worry 'bout it none. Old people are cool."

Idralia rolls her eyes at Deitra's dismissal of her statement, firmly repeating, "I am /not/ old. Just because you are young doesn't mean I am old. That's just plain silly." It's time for another bracket, apparently, and she glances from hunter to basket. "If you would be so kind as to hand me another?" As she shifts the current socket minutely, settling it just so, she adds, "Besides, if I was old I wouldn't be crawling around in ventilation shafts. I'd be too rickety and stiff for that. No, you don't get to be old until your body stops behaving the way it should. I may be old/er/, but not old."

"Just cause I say I ain't young doesn't mean I ain't young. But, I ain't young." Deitra announces as she moves towards the basket and again reaching for a bracket before putting it up. "I mean, yer old cause yer older'n me. And, you'll call me young cause 'm younger'n you. Just works out that way. Ain't going to be different any other time, really. I mean when yer sixty, I'll be fifty an' I'll still think yer old." But she certainly won't be /young/ in the sense of the word. Hands are again shoved into her pockets. "'m sure old people crawl in vents. The cool ones, y'know. And yer cool." There's a pause and then she considers. "Nah, when yer body ain't workin' right, yer just an auntie or an uncle. But, yer not a guy so yer goin' ta be an auntie."

"No, I say you're young because you /are/ young," Idralia counters firmly. "For that matter, I'm young, really. Think about how long we're likely to live, and section that into four parts: child, young adult, middle age, and old. Most people are children until around fifteen, then a young adult until around thirty or so, middle age until, say, around fifty, and then they start getting /old/," she adds reasonably. Then, as she attached the bracket, "And no, they don't crawl in vents. Their knees and elbows don't let them. It has something to do with joints getting sensitive when you age."

"I ain't young." Deitra protests firmly, "old 'nough to hunt. Makes me not young." And then the math comes out and she's staring blankly at the other woman, nodding idly and then becoming quite lost. "Well, math sucks. I win." Still staring blankly at the older woman, until finally she glances away to watch her attach the bracket. "That's boring. You know boring older people." Silence picks up and Deitra returns to watching. Laughter then breaks the silence, a hand lifting to wipe at her eyes. "I like you. Figure we'll get along fine."

Idralia snorts as Deitra's resorts to completely illogical arguments, shaking her head slightly. "And here I find math very important, to make sure the machines I fix will work as they should, and not overload or burst into flames," she remarks, fastening yet another glass dish in place and settling another bulb. "Hey, I do not! I just /real/ older people. Just because they can't crawl in vents doesn't mean they can't do other things that are interesting." And, because it seems to fit the situation, she sticks her toungue out at the younger woman. "I'm sure we'll do great, so long as you stop calling me old. Otherwise you might find your bed wired for shocks or some other horrible thing one of these days."

There's no logic to this young woman! "Shells. Well, math ain't that important ta me. Well, 'less 'm countin' how much I killed and how much I can make off certain skins." Deitra chuckles softly, "didn't know it took math ta run machines an' lights and stuff." Her head shakes in a sort of disbelief before grinning wider at the other woman. "Suppose not. But, nothin' as interstin' as crawlin' in vents. Interesting, just not as." More laughter follows the reaction from the other and her grin just grows brighter and far more amused. "I'll not call you old anymore, then. Long as you promise not ta try and prank anyone, doesn't sound like you know how ta. Don't want you ta get caught in the act."

"Deal," Idralia says, as she finishes this post and then looks around. "Looks like that's the last for this side, and I can do the other side at another time," she notes, beginning to put her tools away. "Thank you for the help with the brackets. Not having to fish around for those made this much faster and easier. I'll need to go put all of this away now, but I imagine we'll bump into each other again later," she finishes, smiling briefly to the hunter. "Have a good eveing, Deitra."

Deitra's laughter continues and then, slowly comes to an end but the grin still lingers. "That's great. And 'm sure it went faster with company. Glad I could do some good for you. Learned a few things, ain't somethin' I do every day." Her head inclines in a sort of nod, then freeing a hand to wave a farewell. "Enjoy the rest of yer day. Will see you 'round." And then, she continues to meander through the garden, even with the possibility of rain.

'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.