Group: Jr. Moderator
Member No.: 11
Joined: 6-March 09
(OOC> For timeline purposes, this scene is set two days before the Hatching of Zajadisth's Paradise Clutch. )
The Hold Dining Hall was lively with the afternoon crowd - mostly men coming in from the fields and the herds for their lunch, but with a good splattering of women from the Weavers and other Crafts, all served by a mini troupe of drudges who were kept busy seeing to the many orders being called over the bustle of the warm summer air. There were holdbrats here too, though they were for the most part helping with the harried drudges and the many plates and mugs to be distributed. Summer was a good time for the Hold; a time of busyness and activity, of tending the crops and welcoming the traders before the cold months closed in on them once more. And the holders would make every use they could of it while they could.
The way through the big open doors to the Hall was quiet now that the majority of the Hold had made their entrance, and so it was that a lone figure strolling through them was quickly noticed and mentioned for appraisal. Thin and lanky, with dark chestnut hair to match the cool gray tint of his eyes, the newcomer looked back at the few people who turned to see him - and smiled. They smiled back as if a spell had been broken, and one woman waved him to an empty seat not far away. He nodded his thanks as he made his way casually to it, the firelight from the big hearth catching on his Wingleader knots as he moved.
T'or took his place quietly, ignoring the High Table at the far end, and almost at once there was a drudge at his side with a bowl of steaming stew. He waved her away, chuckling.
"Just klah'll do. I've eaten."
With a bob of her head she rustled off to do his biding, and the bronzerider made himself at ease with the crowd. He was a familiar face here, and had been so for turns now, ever since he first visited the Hold as a weyrling for the annual Gather. No High Tables for him - he came here far too often to be wanting a permanent seat at the place reserved for ranking members of Pern. The people here knew him as he knew them, and it was not long before he was hailed by the two men sitting beside and adjacent to him.
"T'or, it's been a while," the burly one said, tearing a chunk of homemade bread as he spoke, "What word from the Weyr? We know Lakiya's got a new man now, but there's not been much squeak on changes in Weyr policy."
"Hush now Boryn," the thinner fellow sitting adjacent chuckled through a mouthful of stew, "Ya' know the lad just flew his first Goldflight. Heard Guiyath did well enough in that one, though it was his first aye? Maybe he'll get the girl next time!"
T'or chuckled with the rest, his gray eyes sparking with just the barest hints of laughter. It was good to be amongst the general holders again, with their rough manners and easy words. He knew that there had been some who said he would stop coming when he had become a Wingleader, but such plans were not in the young man's mind. A Hold's Dining Hall was a good place to know people; and a good place to hear things. Coming here was well worth the energy and the disdain of those who did not know better.
The drudge brought his klah, and the bronzerider leaned back to let her place it in front of him. When he came forward once more the conversation had shifted to the state of the crops and the health of this turns' herdbeast calves. Sipping lightly, T'or listened to them, only occasionally punctuating their words and their guffaws with a comment. Only once did they ask his opinion - on whether he thought Zajadisth's clutch would Hatch within the week. T'or shrugged as he gave his two cents' worth, noting that the Clutch was nigh due and likely to come soon. From across the table a woman's voice drifted to them.
"Hoy Boryn! Timmer tells me you'd lost two heads o' herdbeast to a pack o' whers last night! That true?"
"Aye, so I did," the big man scrowled, sorrow lighting his eyes, "Two of my best cows too! I've got Reagen handling their calves so they'll likely live, but it's a heavy loss any rates."
"A pack of whers?" T'or glanced at him, "How many?"
"Three. Or at least, three that we saw, there might have been more," Boryn sighed into his stew as another man looked their way.
"But that's...strange. Whers don't hunt in packs."
"Aye," the thin fellow sitting adjacent nodded, "You sure it was three together, or were they killin' each other for those cows?"
"T'was three together alright, no doubt about it," Boryn growled, "One ran the cows right into the other two, and they made off 'fore our wherhandlers could hop to it. Made the kills real quiet-like too - our old herdsman never saw them till they had both down."
"Skilled killers then," T'or's voice was quiet, "And hunting in coordination."
"We'd best start seeing to our children as well then," said another man nearby, his eyes bright with worry.