Traders, Entertainers, and Juggling, Oh My!

Ista Weyr - Southern Bowl
The three walls of the weyr caldera rise upwards toward the tropical sky, the tightly packed ground black with the volcanic sand Ista is famous for. Northwards is a sprawling plateau where the missing section of the bowl once stood, having been blown clear away several millennia ago, leaving an unobstructed view of the vibrant jungles, sprawling boardwalk, and the seemingly-endless ocean beyond. Somewhat elliptical, the breadth of the bowl seems to run northwest to southeast, the bustling epicenter of the weyr. Several enormous entrances have been carved into the remaining sidess - northeast are the hatching grounds and south the living caverns - the two largest caverns in the weyr. To the east, a smaller entrance leads to the ground weyrs - the ledges of these line the bowl wall above, often filled with dragons of gold or bronze; westward is yet another ledge, but with a staircase built into the wall, allowing access to the Sable Sands. The infirmaries are located to the southwest, the massive dragon entry making it easily visible amongest the smaller tunnels that surround it. To the west, just at the edge of what is left of the bowl wall, the feeding grounds are located, nestled close to the training grounds to the southwest, and the weyrling barracks to the east. Above, the Star Stones are visible, as are the pockmarks of ledges and weyrs that line the bowl walls.

There is a gathering of wagons that have come to Ista Weyr, obviously unaware of the food issues that have been plaguing the weyr. At least they are here to give some small performances and trade small things for what meager marks there are to be had. And sitting on the very top of one of the wagons is Stephane. Well sitting is probably an understatement. He's sitting on one hand, his legs hanging outwards over the edge of the wagon, hanging precariously on the edge. "Come and visit," He sing songs.. "come and see, we've got trinkets and toys and bundles of glee."

It's fortunate that the wagons have come; the residents and riders alike seem to be in dire need of some entertainment after the past few sevendays. Some filter out to enjoy the spectacle while others can only watch from a distance before being hustled along to tend to some duty or another. And then there's B'haal, who is newly returned from some venture out of the Weyr. Indeed, Mephixath is still wearing his straps, the leather creaking faintly when he moves, just so. The rider himself is clad in black leathers for the time being, his helmet and goggles tucked under an arm. The wagons are scrutinized from afar - and then the pair approach, their respective strides measured.

"We'll have performances and juggling, flips and flops.." Stephane's sing song continues "And maybe if your lucky, a Stephane would even drop!" And with that he does a forward flip off the wagon and he lands on his feet. He laughs and bows, fishing out juggling balls and tossing them up in the air. He flips them around. "Come one, come all.."

The bronze utters a rusted out sound, a rumble gone wrong. B'haal plants a fist against the beast's foreleg and the behemoth stops, only to crane his head out a little further to study the juggling lad through slow-whirling eyes. At least those eyes are blue-green; that's surely a good sign. For the rider, though, there's only a slight upward lift of on eyebrow and a subtle pulling of his mouth to one side. He digs into the satchel that hangs at his hip, pulls something out, and lobs it gently at the juggler - it's another ball, wooden and heavy, but plainly meant to join the others that the lad's juggling, rather than to interrupt the show.

"Different weight, huh?" Stephane grins as he catches the wooden one and spins it around his hand as he juggles the other balls in his left hand. His right hand tosses the wooden ball up into the air and he joins it with the others, nodding his head towards the rider. "Most people don't carry these around." He says, grinning as he whips his hair away from his face.

"Little bit different," B'haal observes. His gloved hand descends into the satchel again to pull two more out, only to keep them in hand. He rolls them in his palm while he moves to hang the bag on Mephixath's straps. "I'm not most people," is likewise noted, if with a tilt to the set of his mouth - not quite a smile, but close enough. "That-" a chin lift indicates the juggling "-is a skill more people should practice." He's not yet doing the same, but the balls in his hand are slowly transitioning from rolling to bouncing.

"That I can see. Aren't we all full of secrets, sir." Stephane grins as he grabs the balls he's juggling and makes them dissapear up his tunic sleeves except for the wooden one which he rolls lazily around in his left hand. He bounces it against his knuckles, before flipping it back over to his other hand. "Good hand eye coordination."

The juggling commences thusly, even if B'haal is short a ball. "Aye," is his half-grunted concession, made at that moment between bouncing and a proper juggling has begun. "On both counts," is likewise agreed at the lad's latter words. He's watching - or seems to watch, anyway - while the wooden orb is rolled and bounced freely on the entertaining trader's single hand. His work is, predictably, a matter of efficiency rather than show; it's not terribly entertaining to watch, all told, unless one is fascinated by technical skill. "And good," he notes, "for keeping everything in perspective." Nearby, Mephixath rumbles low and terrible before he sinks to rest on the ground.

Stephane rolls his hands over the ball and makes it seem to dissapear before he drops it down and he kicks it back up into the air with his foot and catches it before tossing it out to the rider. "One must have the flair for the dramatic, though." He couters, bowing so low that his head nearly touches the ground. It looks like he bends himself in half.

"Ah, but so says you." The tossed ball is neatly caught with a soft *whumpf* of wood hitting leather. It joins the mix just as easily as that, with B'haal's attention remaining, steady and inscrutable, on the lad. "There is a beauty in efficiency that often goes unnoticed." One cycle. Two. By the time the third starts, one ball has gone missing. By the fourth, he's just tossing one around. Sleight of hand at work, of course, quick - but, as before, without much pretense. "I'll leave the dramatics to you and yours, eh?"

"To each their own, good sir. To each their own." Stephane offers as he motions around to the wagons. "Please, go ahead and peruse the wares. There are all kinds of things." He moves over to his wagon and reaches in. "I've got jewelry, I've got rings and bracelets. Anything for your missus or for your mister."

There's an absent click of his tongue behind his teeth and B'haal makes the last orb disappear. Mephixath huffs audibly and withdraws, though he remains on the ground; he's just far more interested in studying this patch of earth here. And of the Weyrsecond? His interest sharpens just a little as the other wares are displayed. There's a grunt, though, for the last bit; instead: "Do you sell toys? For infants or children?"

"We do indeed." Stephane moves over to another wagon and motions to the owners inside. "And here they are. Small toys for toddlers, but not small enough to eat. Small jingling things for babies to look at and coo over." He motions to the wares, moving over to the side so the rider can see them

A slow, thoughtful sucking of teeth ensues while B'haal peruses the wares - and studies the owners of the wagon, as well. He hooks a finger into his riding jacket and pulls it open, but only to fish out a small pouch of marks. This is held contemplatively in a fist, while he leans in to get a good look at the things on display. "I'll take that- and that." A good handful of things are indicated, jinglies and plushies and the like. He clicks his tongue again, then cuts a sidelong look to the juggler. "How long do you plan on staying?"

The vendor beams at the man and he gathers the things up in a small box to hand over to B'haal. "Here you are, sir." The man says, handing the things over as Stephane answers. "For a while, sir." He looks around, seeing the mood of people. "Seems like we're needed at least." He nods his head to those gathering around. "That's what we're here for."

The box is collected and balanced in one hand, while a certain bronze is reluctantly roused from his earth-studying. It's all so B'haal can put the box in the bag still swinging from those straps, freeing his hands up for the time being. "I see," he intones after a long moment. "Make sure to speak with the Headwoman. Make sure it's clear through her." A day's visitation is one thing; anything longer is something else entirely. He grunts. "They'll not have much time to enjoy it - but I'm sure those that can will do so."

"Why not?" Stephane asks as he looks from the rider to the gathering people around. "My name is Stephane. I'm a juggler, acrobat and somewhat terrible jewelery maker." He admits. "And I'll make sure and talk to the headwoman, make sure to let her know we're staying."

"Duties." It's a fair enough answer, if only by B'haal's standards. There's a grunt at the name offered and he half-turns to indicate the bronze with a tip of his head. "Mephixath. I'm B'haal." Weyrsecond, gauging by the knot which is now a bit more visible since he's turned the way he has. That turn continues a bit more, requiring him to look over his shoulder to conclude, "Good. Try not to create too much of a mess here, hm?"

"B'haal, nice to meet you sir." Stephane tilts his head to the side as he nods to Mephixath. "Hello." He calls out to the bronze as well before he looks around. "Make a mess? Us? /Never!/" he laughs out loud at that before he reaches up on the edge of wagon and he pulls himself up in an odd action as he moves to sit on the top of the wagon. "This is a beautiful weyr."

"Mmhm." B'haal pauses at the last, though he doesn't look back at the youth right away. Mephixath issues a thin rattle of a sound at that 'hello', however, and swings his terrible visage around to properly study the acrobat. There's a momentary baring of teeth - but, in the end, he settles back into relative silence again. "Aye," the rider-half finally says. "No finer Weyr than this one - and I've seen the lot." He considers for a moment, then two, before: "I'd recommend staying here instead of venturing further out to the Holds. Not much to be found that way, if you're looking for marks."

"Holds having a rough go of it?" Stephane asks as he swings his legs back and forth as he looks out towards the rider and his huge dragon. "We're all about the marks. Course I don't know of any trader caravan who isn't." he snerks at that, nodding his head to B'haal. "What's the headwoman's name?"

The man's chuckle is a low, gravel-filled thing. "Aye. Be a poor caravan if you weren't." B'haal rubs the side of his nose thoughtfully with a thumb, then squints off into the distance. "Bad crops out thattaway. Worse tempers. They can't make up enough to properly tithe; I can't imagine their coffers are doing any better." And that's that. The latter question is met with a - by now familiar - grunt. "Serri. Probably in her office right now. And if not her, one of her girls. Folks around here can point them out if you need."

"Alright, I'm remember that. Serri." Stephane nods his head as he takes a shoe off and shakes it out, dumping out a rock. "Knew there was something in there…" While he's shaking out the rock he lifts his foot to eye-level to see if any cuts in his sock had been made. "Huh, that's good luck."

There's another chuckle from B'haal, but it's as short-lived as the first. "Clear skies," is customary and offered as such, even while he goes to thump Mephixath on the leg. He mounts the beast and secures his bag to the straps properly before calling down, "I may have a need for your 'terrible' jewelry at some point. Don't go too far in the next few sevens." And, with that, the pair prepare to leave properly - duties, and all.

Stephane raises his hand in a wave. "Take care, sir!" He puts his foot back down where it's /supposed/ to be, and slides his boot back on. He nods his head. "Safe roads."

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