| 03.01.78 (backdated) | the dusty old library | early afternoon | @Shoki |
She hadn't seen him the last few days, though she'd stopped by the library, and had made a point to do her work from lessons there as much as possible. Rioth had been especially encouraging that morning, so she'd packed a little snack and brought along her favorite book of tales that day, in her bag with the other things for work. Tucked in that book were some notes on the land of dust. She'd been musing over the story, since F'mil had expressed an interest in it. She even briefly slipped through the dark passage in a dream. She hoped it all spun together well to make a good story. Nevertheless, it could be reworked if the first telling didn't come out quite right.
She arrived at the library, and for the third time didn't spot F'mil. That was fine. She turned her smile back up. Between him and his firelizard, he could find her in here. So she set up in her favorite spot, the corner in the back, on the little desk. Papers out, book plopped open, she went back to the shelves to retrieve the archive book she needed. Copying over the list, she started puzzling through the first few questions in short order, only to soon get lost scribbling ideas on the scrap in the corner labeled land of dust.
[smear:c82009]Go fiddle with your books.[/smear:ffffff] F’mil rubbed the Crimson’s head with a smile before picking up his books and heading down to the record’s room. Aweirgan followed the rider, basking in the pleasant mood. Apparently it was a good day for Telgar.
F’mil walked in and looked up at Aweirgan with a grateful glance before going to give his current batch of books back to the scribes he had borrowed them from. He hoped they would have some interesting reads for him going forward. The Firelizard though floated above the shelves and looked around. Soon enough he spied the straw haired one. Working away. The Azure-Crimson did not make any more noise than it took for him to land on the nearest shelf and sit up. However, his mind pressed against F’mil’s, distinct in its own way. It was like a little pin, precise and sharp. He knew immediately what the flitter had found.
A few minutes later, F’mil appeared from around the shelves near the back, quietly making his way to the desk. “Anything fun today?” The polite inquiry was voiced as he put the stack of books next to the desk, for the time being. An affectionate invitation was pushed to Aweirgan, who was silent as he flew onto F’mil’s shoulder. Oh well. That’s as much as he could expect for now. As much as he liked petting the firelizard, Aweirgan could be a bit serious about not being in a vulnerable position outside their weyr.
“Have you been well Emmeline?” Felt formal. Well, he could just needle her about a new bit of story, but that wasn’t really his way. Well, not yet.
"Ah, F'mil. Hello," Emmeline said. She stood and took in the books and the firelizard and the curly hair and relaxed into a smile. "It's been a quiet week for me, for the Weyr. I'm well. And you?" Pleasantries. Familiar, but here in the corner of the library, maybe they wouldn't need all of them? Her eyes flicked over to the book of tales sitting on the edge of the desk.
F’mil didn’t say that he agreed with her about the Weyr. He didn’t feel like talking about why he referred to Telgar as a person, not a place. He thought it pretty loudly though.
“Delgeth is well, so I am likewise. A good batch of searches these last days is nothing to discount either.” He looked rather satisfied. It was rewarding work. “So, if I may ask, do you have a tale to tell?” He glanced at the paper she had lately been scribbling on, tilting his head just a little to attempt to read a bit. A firelizard tail on purposeful accident hit the back of his head. F’mil merely straightened out his head and reached up his hand to rub Aweirgan’s chest. Such a proper creature. He loved him in spite of that.
"Yes!" Em exclaimed, only to cover her mouth and look around. Too loud for a library. "And perhaps you have one or two, from your searches?" she asked. Emmeline plucked the paper off the desk, away from searching eyes. She got the book of tales too and perched the paper on the front of it. She grinned that the flitt had hit him with his tail.
"Do sit though," she said, settling into the corner of the wall and the bookshelf. She opened the book to the page with yet more papers stuffed into it. She sorted a few. "The land of dust, explorers and passages - is that about where we were?"
F’mil’s smile sprung into full grin, at least for the shouted exclamation. Looks like she was just as excited as he was to get back to a land of dust.
“I might have some tales to trade, true.”
[smear:c82009]And sometimes shipfish swim.[/smear:ffffff] Delgeth snorted at his gossip monger rider for being so coy about things. F’mil merely continued conversing. Long turns of training didn’t let him escape their grasp so easily.
“Thank you.” He pulled up a chair, settling down next to his future reading material. Aweirgan, once the rider had sat down, moved to the table. He perched just at the edge so that he sat primly on the table and his tail could hang down and twitch slightly without being a distraction.
“So we were, lots of mysteries and no answers yet. Where has our wanderer found themselves now?” A spark of interest was obvious. Mysteries were lovely. Bask in them, enjoy them, and greedily seek their conclusion. Which, if things were ideal, lead to more mysteries. But he waited, fingers knitted together under his chin, listening with care.
"The wanderer finds himself nowhere in particular, yet," Emmeline replied. "It was dark in the tunnels, his light barely enough to illuminate the passage right beside him. Worse, after some time walking down, the passage began to level and the stairs were replaced with flat stones. A huge room, hidden in darkness, only faintly guessed by the disappearing light. Something vast and empty, below a land vast and empty."
"Still, curiosity won out over caution. Our explorer continued on. In what he could only guess was the center, he found a tall pedestal. Some liquid in it. He dipped in a finger and sniffed. It was slippery and smelled well past its prime, but it was oil all the same. Careful to keep himself away, he let the torch light find the stand. The flames wicked along, lighting up the vast space. A grand center to somewhere, carvings on every wall with images of dragon and riders alike, and a script he could not read. Too worn? Or unfamiliar? He wasn't sure. What was certain was this was an old place, perhaps once a Weyr, hidden under this vast dusty land. What a find."
Words fell like little bricks, building the world of the wanderer win a few sentences. They pulled the explorer along, illuminating the path he was stepping down, making the fire spring to life and etching strange sights around them. F’mil listened, his face reflecting the delight of a new discovery. Fiction or no, it was the sort of thing that spoke to him, so it was easy for him to trade places with the wanderer. Which is why he also flickered to curiosity a moment later. How had these come to be there? A Weyr coated and dust, long cut from the sky, how long had this been? What more might there be to discover? His mind flew along these paths of thought before being reigned in and centering on a single question.
What happened next?
The question was distilled in the silence down to a single word that escaped him.
“And?” Always eager for more story this one. Aweirgan, more rooted in the physical and emotional was not as curious, though he enjoyed stories because they sounded nice and made his rider feel nice. So he looked pleased as opposed to eager next to the rider.
"With the dust storm overhead, there wasn't much to be done. No way to make his way back to the place he had left months ago. Traveling by foot was very slow, as you know. But it was part of what excited the wanderer, the way each length of ground was hard won by his own two feet. He fetched a tin of dried something or other, made rather tasteless by the wear these last months. And some water, of course. He sat mulling over the functional meal by the wall nearest the light, easiest to see."
"A scene- two people with hands clasped heartily. Pickaxes. Chests. Some sheep off to the side. To its right, an enormous dragon whose wings stretched beyond the best of the light. It had many short lines under it. One almost looked like letters - Aulth, perhaps? He sat admiring the details of a basket filled with food, true enough to life to remind him of real, honest, fresh bread and some vegetables. He had eaten his last stored tuber a few sevendays ago."
"Having now finished eating he took out his traveling log and made all the notes he could about how we had found such a place, and what he found here. It took two hours, at least, in all. He picked up the light again and walked the perimeter of the room. It was impressive. Big enough to fit that dragon from the carving, most like, and some of the other inhabitants most likely. He tried to imagine a scene of daily life here. People bustling about. There were a few halls that left it and continued on. Would he dare? Or why would he not? He made the calculations of how long he could afford to stay in this place and make it back out of the dust lands to a stream and a place where he could forage a meal. He really didn't have too much left, the storm had delayed his travels and opportunities to navigate."
"He gave himself the rest of the day. Made a little camp in the center room near the oil lights. In the halls he found nothing else so impressive as the main room. What had probably been areas for living, working, cooking, the usual human activities. In the room under the kitchen, probably a cellar, there was what could only be a well, but the rope for it had long worn away. A shame."
"At the next day's dawning there was little to do but try and plot a course back, hope for fair journeying and a discrete crew to hire when he returned."
The world expanded, as life continued to be infused into it with words. F’mil, a mere observer to this little world, marveled with the wanderer, rested as they did, letting imagination carry them both to the past, for a moment. It was easy for him to see it all, and he went along with each word to each new discovery. What next, and then after that. He enjoyed it all, even the pauses for effect. He waited on baited breath for each new word.
So he waited more patiently in the pause for more. He was enjoying this world of long past.
When F'mil still didn't say anything, Emmeline paused. He was being an excellent listener. Though it left her with a good deal of storytelling work to do. Well, she had offered. Fair enough.
"It wasn't an easy journey back. The dust storm was still puttering out when the wanderer left. He tried to mark the sun and his heading, but he wished he had a better view of the starts that evening. He was newly out of water when he reached the stream and left the dust lands. A small relief, though still quite far from well worn and peopled lands. Still, he was resourceful and had set out knowing as much. The eating was still dull, unpleasant at times even, but he made it back one day at a time. His first real meal was on the outskirts of a small holding, but he paid the farmer well for his family's hospitality. He told them nothing of his findings, and little of himself either. Privacy in the field of findings and all."
"He took a few days once at the holding to patch himself up and put on a few good meals before making the rest of the way on the well worn road to the main Hold. Its tall gate a welcome sight when we reached it. Afterwards it took him quite some time to watch and wait for the right employment opportunity. He also sent a few short notes to people he had worked with, by private firelizard, a luxury expense, but he was only so patient. And unfortunately the little beasts had never taken a liking to him. Mutual feelings, he supposed. It took the better part of two months to assemble a team, and longer still to plan and supply. They had an old dragonrider with them, retired and pulled into their adventure with carefully made promises. Also an artist, and a scholar friend of his who had entirely too much time on his hands - hence their friendship."
F’mil watched the wanderer in his journeys, getting as close as the wanderer himself seemed to allow. The more he followed the character, the more the wanderer seemed to keep him at arm’s length. Still, he got a more clear image of the life this man had, and he watched closely as he methodically acquired what he needed. F’mil could see where it was heading, as the character pulled him along. He caught glimpses of what the character didn’t say, just by what he did, how he did it. The words painted and image and the impression of an image. F’mil could connect the dots himself, since a story like this one took two. The storyteller to take the base, spin it into a tapestry with artful spaces. The audience, they had to pull the threads into this space themselves. His hands never moved from under his chin, and though his expressions did change, mostly from thoughtful to curious and never far from eager, he was quiet.
The expanded cast of characters were still new, the words painting them in broad strokes, but word upon word would define them, in time.
"It took them some time to relocate the hatch. The place was too small to be seen from the air, so they had to land by the stream and walk else they would miss it. They had brought better lights, true camp supplies, and with a dragon in their party they could easily send him back for whatever they might need. Though they had planned well enough to save frivolous trips."
"After two days searching they found it. After two days more they had the complex nearly sketched out. There were a few odd dead ends here and there, something that would need an entire work crew to manage safely. They found an office deep below, papers on long worn out hides. Most of it lost. Some left. Obviously not all of it, but what they could search yielded this."
"The carvings in the main room had stood through time the best. The scholar spent much of his time with the writings. He had yet to find a proper name for the place and so referred to it as Aulth's Weyr for the time being. He was in agreement with the wanderer about the large depiction of the dragon."
"They were disappointed that their findings lacked things easily sold and profitable. So they had to be cleverer in funding their prize. But with proper petitioning and influence they were given stewardship of the place under the Hold that held the land. And set up a little camp that became a makeshift town that is now this day a bustling town. For they found what had put the place there initially. Once propped back up and restored, they found the old mines, and they were not empty. It is a bother enough to import so many things to the dry lands, but they make due and still come out with a profit of it. And while the scholar and a few others still live there, the wanderer's old friend now the steward, and the rider too, his old dragon rather fond of the dry heat, the wanderer is only seen now and again. He's looking for what else Pern may be hiding."
Story continued weaving until it finally knotted itself to a close, with one thread trailing off into the dark like a ball of yarn under the bed. Was it even now being woven into another tale? Very likely. At least, that’s what it seemed to F’mil. Still, once it ended he smiled and clapped, though quietly, as he had come back to a world of quiet scribbling and pensive reading. Aweirgan twitched his tale a couple of times. Appreciating the story even quietly.
“A wonderful story, thank you.” He let a gleam flash in his eyes as he added, “Though I may have to ask you for another one soon.” It was there only a moment, he was back to polite pleasure in the next instant.
Emmeline kept grinning, saving the image of F'mil's gleaming face. "I'm glad. I think I'm rather fond of it too. I bet a few more tellings could pepper in the details but I quite like it. But you, on the other hand, cannot ask until you have given me a tale of your own. Your turn, F'mil," she said, settling back into her seat and looking at him expectantly.