Avalance and Flu Season

Who: Aerishani and Kironen
When: Month 11, 200 AT
Where: Infirmary, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Kironen has a (third) job as an Infirmary Aid while a flu goes around during avalanche season. Aerishani ends up his patient and has an offer for him.

Heavy rain lately has turned the spring thaw into high gear, causing greater risk of avalanches off the mountain range and overland flooding where water ought not be. Night turns any flat surface into a solid sheet of black ice as puddles or damp earth freezes. Search & Rescue wings will be run off their feet due to the weather alone, but even more so due to the broad spread of a flu bug sweeping through the Weyrhold. The foreign crafters and labourers have been hit the hardest but the illness is making its way through the local residents – dragonriders includes.

Having been hit hard in the bug’s earliest days, Kironen has recovered and somehow landed himself as an aid in the Infirmary when he isn’t assisting the Smiths. He has the glamorous duty of changing sheets, bedpans, and other messes to permit anyone with a minute amount of experience to handle the more serious tasks. A cot has opened up and he’s making quick work of readying the area for the next patient in triage.

The next patient turns out to be the Weyrlady, who ends up skipping the queue not owing to any insistence on her part, but because one of the Journeyman Healers repeatedly gestures to her and towards the cot Kironen is tending in a manner that becomes so increasingly dramatic that Aerishani can no longer ignore them or try to urge anyone else forth in her place. It’s evident just why she’s there the moment that she starts to walk towards that cot, one leg favoured despite clear attempts to walk as evenly as possible – though soon she has to give up and plant herself down in the chair next to the bed instead of standing as Kironen goes about his work. “What’s your name?” she asks him, light and casual, a smile there no matter what pain she’s in. “I don’t think I’ve met you before. I mean, I’m sure you’re on one of the lists somewhere, but that’s not the same.”

Kironen casts a sidelong look at the Journeyman Healer, perhaps seeking permission. His hands full with the old linens, the scrawny young man has no reason to linger about any longer other than the Weyrlady’s interest in him, and it’s clearly unexpected. “Kironen, ma’am,” he replies. He looks tired and is wearing clothes too big for his body, but he’s washed and recently shaved — or he isn’t old enough to grow much in the way of facial hair yet. He must, though, be on the cusp of full adulthood given the lanky broadness of his shoulders. “I’m a labourer for the Smiths,” he explains, his accent somewhat Fortian, and yet not quite right. “And help Wingrider Ixia load transport… And, well, this here. So… might be on a few lists, depending on what lists you got. Ma’am.” He uselessly looks at her foot. “Ice?” A guess.

The Journeyman doesn’t seem set on making sure of anything more than Aerishani being situated where they wish her to be for the moment, turning to move back towards the head of the room and leave her to her own devices. “So, you do a lot of things that I ought to hope we’re paying you adequately for,” she tells Kironen with a hint of a rueful smile. “And I should hope that you’d be prepared to tell me if we’re not. We may need all the help we can get, but I’m not in the habit of saying room and board are adequate compensation alone. Some may have moved here to take advantage of the work, yet we shouldn’t take advantage in turn.” Only then does she seem to remember why she’s sat where she’s sat, a glower angled down towards the ankle that has betrayed her. “Ice,” she confirms. “For which I guess I’ll now need ice. The irony isn’t lost on me.”

“Being paid fair or I wouldn’t be doing any of it,” Kironen assures her, a lopsided smile returning hers. He abruptly abandons her, disappearing into the crowded, noisy infirmary with his armful of laundry. It’s some time before he returns, clean towel and ice in hand. The lanky young man folds the ice up into the towel and, before he moves to place it on the offending ankle, he peers sidelong at Aerishani. “Might be you could help me. Most’ve my work’ll dry up when the Smiths are done. It’s a ways out and all but if I knew how to find someone who could line something up for me after that,…” Helpful, as he said. “That okay?” The ice on the ankle, presumably. He lifts a blanket up in silent offer, waiting for her signal rather than assuming he can invite himself to cover her.

While Kironen is off abandoning her, Aerishani hops – almost quite literally – up onto the bed and arranges her skirts so as not to crease them too badly and allow easy access to her ankle at the same time, sitting there with one leg beneath her in a fashion that makes her look quite as if she only has the one leg. “You mean you want to know that you can stay and there’ll be work for you when the Smiths no longer have as an active as use for you,” Aerishani assumes upon his return. Her sigh of relief is audible as ice meets ankle, the towel given a minute adjustment to rest more firmly along the inside of her foot too, her answer in the shallow nod of her head. “As long as the Smiths continue to have no complaints about you, I’m sure I could find you something to do,” she assures. “Is there anything in particular you want training in?” As for the blanket, she gives another tiny smile and shakes her head this time, promising, “I’ll live.”

Kironen shoves the rejected blanket under one arm and gives a poor non-committal shrug, turning his absent attention to pick at the blanket’s hem with slender, scarred fingers. His voice fails him, kept at bay by pride. When he does speak, it’s in a low voice to discourage passive eavesdroppers. “Nothin’ that needs me to, like, read. Or write stuff… If you got jobs here like that.” Shame lends him to shook a suspicious sidelong look at passersby. “‘Just rather not need to chase work. I /can/, though. If you don’t have anything, I /can/ move on. Would rather not though, you know?” Kironen considers her for a moment. “You /from/ here? Like, born here?”

Aerishani is not so good at hiding her feelings that she is able to completely conceal the surprise that hits her once she understands (or believes she understands) Kironen’s relationship with reading and writing, nor how her expression softens with what isn’t pity, but something closer to upset. “I could teach you to read, if you like,” she offers, her voice kept as low as his. “And to write. I’m a Harper. No classes with the littles or anything like that.” It’s that that holds her focus for a few moments too long, question put to her only belatedly remembered. “No,” is accompanied by a funny little burble of laughter. “Fort. I thought everyone knew that. Feels like it, most days. My parents are Harper Masters – or they are now, at least. They journeyed when I was tiny.”

Kironen’s small mouth twists with sour distaste and he shakes his head, knotty, wild curls jostling with the effort of denying her offer. “You have better things to do. I don’t wanna’ waste your time.” There is weight to his tone that suggests a history with others who had tried and failed. It must be an uncomfortable memory, the hem of the blanket picked at until Aerishani’s past pulls his attention away from his own. A light-hearted smirk faintly lifts the corner of his lips, luring a boyish dimple to appear. “Maybe you aren’t as famous as you think you are.” A soft, well-meaning joke he punctuates with a respectful, “Ma’am.” But to the point of his question, he asks, “Was it their work that brought you here then? Or you got Searched?”

“Try me.” Aerishani continues to keep her voice low, though there’s no denying that those two syllables dare Kironen to insist that she has better things to do. “Contrary to popular belief, there are some hours in the day that’re still mine and I can do whatever I please with them.” As one section of her ankle begins to go numb and beyond, she turns it slightly, adjusting towel and ice again to send the blissful cold along another length of aching muscle. “A Harper was requested to instruct Honshu’s youngest junior as a personal tutor – and that Harper was me. I’d already stood for two clutches at Fort and supposed I’d put the whole idea to bed by Standing here for a final time, when I was asked. But… Amorenth.” And the rest is history, as they say. “She’s only just mature. You never know. Maybe when she lays her clutch, it’ll be you who’s asked.”

Pride or fear of failure steps in the way of accepting Aerishani’s offer, and Kironen mumbles something about needing to get back to work and excusing himself from any further talk of dragons, education, or past lives before Honshu. It’s days later that Kironen seeks the Weyrlady out without much care as to where she may be or what she might be in the middle of. Without any customary preamble, he hurriedly inquires before his boldness expires. “Still up for it?” No explanation of what ‘it’ is, lest someone overhear.

By the time those days have passed, Aerishani is walking more steadily, if still favouring one leg, and Amorenth is ever nearer to getting on with the business of clutching. Rumours of the morning suggest the Weyrhold’s new senior queen has spent several hours investigating the hatching sands, which perhaps explains why Aerishani favours Kironen with nothing but a blank, distant stare for a few moments, looking up from the busy work she’s settled herself with in the records room. “Up for…” Focus returns, deep blue gaze sharpening as reality filters in little by little. “Oh! Yes. Of course. I meant what I said. You might have to try to forgive me if ever I run out on you – that’ll be Amorenth, not me. But if you’re willing to give it a go, so am I.”

Kironen doesn’t linger long in the room; maybe it’s being surrounded by what he has yet to learn or understand that has him backpeddling as quickly as possible. He walks backwards for a step or two, casting a dubious, almost apologetic smile her way. “Don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.” A waste of her time, he had said. Despite his discouraging remarks, when it comes time to learn, he will in the very least appear to try. Time will tell which one of them will come out the victor – Aerishani for believing she can teach him or Kironen for believing it to be a waste.

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