Finding Cover (Padjma is Searched)

Characters E'stel, Oddisa, Padjma
Synopsis Padjma helps a journeyman during a spot of poor weather and is given an(other) offer in exchange.
Out-of-Character Date October 8, 2021

Center Bowl, Fort Weyr
The wide center of the bowl is often bustling with activity as riders come and go. Off westward can be seen the entrances for the candidate barracks and the guest weyr, while to the east is a large opening that leads into the dragon infirmary. The bowl stretches off both to the north and to the south, where the sheer stone walls rise steeply to the sky.

Water, a building block of life and a significant source of joy. Not today, though, sleet mixed with hail falls from the sky in sheets and pelts people with ice pebbles as the sky turns from gray to black with cloud cover that makes the brown of Fort Weyr appear even more disparaging. Emerging into the center bowl from the road is a figure stomping angrily, covered in black, thick, MUD. A trail of footprints marks the angered person? It's tough to tell anything about her from here. Every few steps, disgruntled growls are barely audible above the general din of the storm. All under her breath, the excess noise is fortunate because any discernible word is wholly unfit for most ears; the ill befit journey occasionally pauses as excess muck is rapidly shaken off one hand. The other is gripped around a halter with lead rope hitting the ground only to be growled at and regathered up. Moments like this, you hope to Faranath no one recognizes you.

Surely, this is the sort of weather that would force many people indoors unless they had truly pressing business that required them to dodge through the vastly unfavorable conditions to make it to some unconnected-by-tunnel destination with all due haste. Perhaps it's just that sort of business that sends the very occasional fellow pedestrian by now and again; one of them doesn't exactly pause mid-scurry from one excuse for shelter to the next, but there's a quick glance from beneath a jacket held over the head of a slightly taller person toward the mud-trailing, growling figure. "You're a long way from the stables, " says a friendly-enough if concerned feminine voice that can't quite hide the traces of what could be a familiar accent once she passes near enough to be heard. "I'd get indoors and wait this out." Certainly, she appears to be taking her own advice, turning her steps toward the nearest entrance pockmarked into the caldera.

The hammering of ice has most beings, dragon, equine, and human alike hiding amidst any and all shelters when they can. But the mud covered grumbling one trudging through the miserable bowl isn't the only one to be out in the wet. Jogging up from the south bowl comes a broad shouldered stocky man in a long caped oilskin, the shoulders of which the sleet and hail roll right off of. His face is hidden below a widebrimmed hat he's pulled as low as he can manage. He's moving at quite the clip, not expecting anyone in his path and certainly not seeing the grumbling little mud monster in his wake. At the last possible minute, however, something catches his trained senses and he looks up a moment too late. SKREEEEECHING to a halt in the slick mud, E'stel slips and goes down, reaching a desperate hand out that just might grab the poor halter-carrying figure. "Sheeelllllllls!" He yelps, as the mud comes up at him in slow motion. Slow enough he can take in not just the face of his beloved but also some well meaning figure not far off who will be an unfortunate witness to these events. SPLAT!

Anyone with any sensibility would be inside. Unfortunately, sensibility is at a premium for some. The friendly voice catches the extremely grumpy woman, and there's a loud sigh that ends in, "Shardin', duh." The tone of voice is terse but obviously female. The drawling accent is thick and getting small amounts of dirt in her mouth, spitting it out on the ground. A hand is raised and sleeve examined, but the amount of mud gives pause with a POP out of her lips. All in time to be completely run over by another individual, turning to land firmly on her ass and kick out to potentially bring down the man with her. It'd be nice to believe she would never do this if she had recognized E'stel, but that's a flexible truth at best. There's a chance the flailing out is an attempt to create a second victim to this terrible day will splatter and spray mud and manure in fine dots everywhere. "What is wrong with everyone in this Weyr." Once Est is recognized, she moves to smack him, only pausing to look up at the witness who might report this incident. "'Scuse me! COme back. I'd like to report a murder." A nose is wrinkled at bronzerider as she waves the fleeing person back, not so fast.

Perhaps it's E'stel's yelp or the mud-covered woman's subsequent call-back that gives the (clearly sensible) young woman all but set to exit the scene due pause. Either way, dark eyebrows arch high in evident reaction to the two falling together, and Padjma pivots slightly to better face them although she remains a pace or two away. "Are you alright?" She might be forgiven for sounding at least a little wary, particularly for the mention of, "A — murder?"

You have never seen a more apologetic face… and you still will only see half of this one given the mud that's plastered along the side of it now. "Odi! I'm SO sorry! Shardin'…" There's a preemptive wince for the smack before it ever falls, but a general resignation to it as well. "Why are you out here in this???" It's not accusatory, or maybe it is? Just a little? "Here, hang on..," He pushes himself up, slowly before offering a mud covered hand to her. A glance at the state and he attempted to wipe it off on his coat, only to get it more muddy. "Shells. Whatever, here." His volume is louder than it would be normally to be heard over the pelting weather. The concerned bystander gets a pause, however. "I'm fine… are you fine?" But before Odi can answer, "She's just… kidding. I think." He shouts, giving Odissa a glance.

As the woman takes Oddisa seriously, she stares up at her earnestly, and the excessive filth makes the wrinkle between her brows that much sharper. "Not really. Shards, tried multiple times an' he simply survives." Headcocking to one side, the bronzerider's hand up is accepted before there's a quiet hiss, "Muds not so bad it's the weather." Gratefully the hand up is used to pull herself to her feet. "It's a long story, kinda." Gathering the halter, she dropped in the spill and, standing up straighter, "Would you mind helping us find cover?" Asking with a stare around aimlessly, "I'm not sure our dragons need to be out in this." A simple explanation, shoulders squared, but it's hard to manage dignified in this storm.

"Really, " and Padjma's two-for-two on performing her best parroting impression in response to both the man and his companion's attestation to his survival skills, except for the hint of dubiousness that creeps through that last syllable and the way the corners of her mouth twitch in the manner of one swallowing a laugh. "Those tunnels into the caverns are probably your — our best bets." Head tilting in the direction of the aforementioned entrances, she resumes her hasty movements toward whichever one's closest once it's evident the other two are on their feet; she's obviously intent on forsaking the weather as rapidly as possible.

After helping Oddisa up, the bronzer looks around for his hat that flew off in the collision only to find it several feet away and firmly planted in the mud. It's almost enough to abandon it, but… well, it's his hat. Coat collar pulled up against the weather- truly irrelevant given the mud covered bit of lining- he shuffles quickly over to pick up the dripping thing. That's not going on anyone's head any time soon. A shuffling return and the bystander is now leading them towards the caverns entrance. E'stel slips in quickly beside Oddisa, holding open the least muddy side of his coat to protect her further from the weather as they go. There may even be the gentle support of his arm behind it ushering her forward towards warmth- or at least less cold and wet. At this point the mud may even end up insulating them.

Oddisa is cold, if only evident by the way her jaw clenches every few minutes and the mild shiver that's hidden by tightly tucking both elbows in to stabilize her chest. As the woman offers a guide, there's a sharp affirmative nod, and she reaches to take the hat from E'stel, "Lets get in then." Following inside, there's a cocked head for Padjma, the rain hiding glazed eyes that turn to E'stel with a mischievous gleam and a playful bump as they arrive. "Hmm, I feel like I've not gotten your name; figure your Weyrwoman should hear of your good deeds." Coming into the dry cavern, Oddisa stands still, staring down at the wreckage of her clothing. "I guess sittin' down is out. I know it doesn' look like it, but I'm Oddisa, Journeyman beastcrafter, among other things." Of course, these other things aren't offered up readily for now.

Having already lowered her jacket to fold into an admittedly damp bundle into her arms by the time they're well within the shelter of the caverns, their guide is a dark-haired girl who looks to be about their age, give or take, features creasing into a sympathetic grimace for the other young woman's matter-of-fact assessment. "Probably so, " she agrees for not sitting, dipping her chin for the offered introduction. "Nice to meet you, journeyman Oddisa. I'm Padjma." Her own is markedly shorter, ending with a smile that's as polite as the (expectant) eye contact she shifts to include Oddisa's heretofore nameless companion.

Once safely inside, E'stel heaves a sigh of relief, dropping the side of his coat and peeling it off slowly. He takes the hat back from Oddisa with a nod, placig it over the coat folded on his arm. A smirk plays at his lips at Oddisa's introduction. As his gaze moves over to the newly introduced Padjma's where he inclines a nod. "E'stel, Bronze Roheith's…" Now with coat removed, his knot is finally visible. "I'm in the stables a lot myself… which brings me to," A brow raised to Oddisa now. "How did you get like this?" The question no doubt Padjma must be wondering too. He absently picks at a fleck of mud in her hair… uselessly but affectionately.

Leaning back against E'stel, the coat is taken off, revealing pale arms made all paler by the dark muck. Slowly dirty water streaks down those as well, handing her jacket over and throwing both arms around his waist in a rare show of affection or a random attempt to seep body heat. Take what you can get. Twisting around, there's an intent look at the young woman, "Well met, Igen's duties to Fort and her queens as well." Rooted firmly in place, she glazes over and then smiles, "I was helping hold for a breedin' that had to happen today. Older mare, important." The eye-roll is given before Padjma is looked up and down once more, "I guess it's not all wasted time, my dragons been doin' some chattin'. How do you feel 'bout Igen?" Reaching up, she will try and stuff her hand over E'stel's mouth, "If mine's correct, you've stood before, and she'd like to move you into a warmer locale for preventing E'stel's untimely demise." A loud snort escapes the young weyrwoman. "Humoring Oriapeth is usually in everyone's best interest."

"Nice to meet you, E'stel." Padjma's quick glance to his shoulder once it's in the open yields a small lift of her eyebrows for his knot; hers, it should be noted, is presently conspicuous by its absence. There's a subtle shift of her weight to her heels for Igen's duties to Fort, followed by her hands clasping stiffly behind her back for the female rider's next query. "How do I feel about Igen?" Perhaps the overtone of incredulousness might be mistaken, in the moment, for the entirely appropriate response of someone who's surprised by the offer that follows. Gray-green eyes slide unseeingly to their surroundings; she swallows, then: "If my superior will consent to let me go, " again, "I've been meaning to make a trip that way for — some time." She tries for a smile, but it doesn't quite reach her eyes once she re-establishes eye contact. Not-quite-begrudgingly, "I suppose it would be nice to be somewhere a little warmer, right about now."

E'stel takes her coat, placing it over his hat because well, the top side is cleanish? The show of affection is welcomed, resting a sweatered arm over her shoulders to assist with warmth giving. E'stel gives a small snort at the explanation. "Well at least someone had a good time in this weather." A glimmer in his eye as he gives her a small squeeze. But it all goes no further in light of their company. That is to say it changes to amusement at the next bit of information. Before he can speak however there's a muddy hand at his mouth. Brows knit in halfhearted annoyance. The things she'll do to get out of being who she is… He's sort of stuck being a coat rack with the other hand but he does give a go at leaning out of reach. "I definitely recommend trying for it…" He's been getting fonder and fonder of his visits to Igen in the winter time the more he goes. A glance to the outside once more. "Get away from this nonsense." Not that candidacy is a vacation, of course.

The tightness is not overlooked, head tilting one way as E'stel easily escapes her arms reaches to spit words out. "None of those men can manage a stallion, all whip an' no treat or all treat an no whip." Grumbling on about her day, the young woman before her is given a nonchalant shrug. "I'll give yu until the storm passes, an' I get this mess off. Figure I'll stay the night an' be ready to go tomorrow, I can' influence your choice but who would stay here." The words come out of her mouth, and she side-eyes E'stel before turning. "I'll be in the bowl just past dawn; if yu show up, I'll assume yur answer." Staring out at the slightly lessened winter storm, there's an apologetic nose wrinkle before she strides toward the bathing cavern. The choice is left in Padjma's hands.

Padjma's expression almost turns wistful at E'stel's encouragement, but her lips press together as Oddisa continues, posture still held stiffly after the journeyman — dragonrider lays another decision before her. "It's home." It's low, maybe almost too low, and likely meant to answer that rhetorical question. (The other answer, however? That's not evident until she presents herself quietly the next morning in the appointed time and place.)

For a moment E'stel looks sympathetically annoyed, giving Oddisa another squeeze. "Some are coming around… mostly the younger handlers. Though I'm surprised no one's gotten killed." Though there's always this coming spring. When Padjma stiffens he smiles at her sympathetically, too used to Oddisa's manner to take any true offense at her bashing his home weyr. He's done it in the summer at Igen anyway. He's also used to Oddisa waltzing off with no warning. So the sympathy continues. "She's… flightly like that. You get used to it. Congratulations either way though… Takes a lot to get Oriapeth's attention." A glance after the weyrwoman. "I'd better go… after…" And with an awkward pause, a nod, and a grin he's trotting off after the tiny goldrider.

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