Description: [Cordel and La]
Ferret - November 12, 2011 06:07 AM (GMT)
Cordel was nearly always angry. It was one of his defining characteristics. Other things changed. Whereas he used to immediately shout, 'LAWHATAREYOUDOING' when anything crashed, now he shouted at Kas because it was almost certainly his fault. Or one of the machines. Or that hyperactive baker woman. Or the tall foxy fellow. Or any of the offworlders who were officially Not Allowed Sugar or Klah.
But now he had an entirely new thing to be annoyed over, which was kind of nice in a not nice at all sort of way. Certain individuals always went on about the importance of widening one's mind and learning new things. Cordel wasn't certain about this. All it ever gave him was a new way and reason to despise things.
Like oil-making duty. "Ok, La. Tell me again how many dragons are supposed to Rise in the next few days?" Faranth, but it was a lot more than he expected. And that meant oil.
Not for the dragons but for... er... other... things.
The oil went gloop.
giftwrapped - November 12, 2011 06:41 AM (GMT)
"I'm just saying, Cordel, it's been a long time since any of our pearls have risen, and then there are the garnets...I've had a lot of requests for oils and we just got in more hazel from Benden, so I thought it would be best to bottle it now. Gives it more chance to infuse..." La shrugged. "We're running low on peppermint, by the way. I've used most of it for the new...the hybrid things." She wrinkled her nose momentarily. La wasn't like Cordel. She rarely got angry at anything. But the strange little beasties that the Offworlders were making in their spare time like they were snap-together toys of some sort, those worried La.
Not all of them. Some of them (the big one) were almost polite. The rest...were a liability. Dragonets couldn't hurt people. They could bluff all they wanted, but in the long run, La knew that no matter how grumpy a baby dragon was, if she needed to sit on him and force castor oil down his throat, she didn't have to worry about coming away from it bloodied. These new animals, she wasn't so sure. The offworlders had insisted on taking full responsibility for their care, and La couldn't find it in her to protest. It gave her more time to devote to activities that weren't worrying about hybrids biting her arm off.
Activities like oilmaking. "Some of them request peppermint, you know," she went on, taking a small bottle of almond oil and adding it to the tub she was working on. As an afterthought, she uncorked a bottle of pressed coriander oil, smiling as the aroma of roasted and pressed herb seed filled the room. "It reduces sensitivity. I've heard it really helps in terms of staying power. Not that you need that, I'm sure, Cordel."
Ferret - November 12, 2011 07:04 AM (GMT)
La was 'just saying' a lot. Unfortunately, it was all completely true, even when combined with the unpredictability of Pearls. Perhaps especially so, actually, all things considered. And she was definitely right about the oil supplies as well; since it was something that Cordel avoided like the plague, it was just... something that he counted on La to keep track of.
"Yes, well, I'll send in a request from High Reaches. They usually have more peppermint than they know what to do with," he grumbled, glaring at the oil as though daring it to do anything other than what he wanted it to bloody well do. After a few moments of ferocious staring, he added the lavender oil to the mix, filling the air with its scent and combating the smell of coriander oil. In theory, it was a relaxing oil.
It almost worked too. And then La made the mistake of opening her mouth.
"Yes w... what? The hybrids ask for something that reduces sens..." and then the rest of the apprentice's snark filtered into his brain. And then it shut down. And tried to restart. And then it shut down again. "You're a terrible human being, La, and you're on dragonet constipation duty the next time any eggs hatch. Remind me of that."
"Why have the hybrids been requesting peppermint anyway? Is it just for the smell?" YEP. Move away from the topic of your boss's sex life now, La, because Cordel honestly didn't have a retort against that. After all, commentary about his sex life rather required that he have one.
giftwrapped - November 12, 2011 07:36 AM (GMT)
Ahhh the joys of ambiguity catching Cordel off-guard. The look of horror on her master's face when he realized she had made a joke of him was worth the risks La took in doing so, and she smiled to herself as Cordel sputtered and relegated her to constipation duty. "But that would mean you'd be stuck making oil instead of shouting at Weyrlings," she remarked, continuing to stir her tub blithely, "and I know how much you hate to be deprived of your only leisure activity. Unless you and brownrider Kaskirk and brownhandler Grayson have worked something out yet? I've heard some of the junior weyrlings are chasing - and whers grow up just as quickly."
The coriander went into the vat, along with a dash of klah bark extract. The sweet, spicy scent of her particular oil combated Cordel's lavender, but La didn't mind. Spices in combination always smelled nice, even if some of those spices were ones you never actually wanted to combine in food. Oil was different; it was about scents. "They want it for the same reason they want hops and lavender," she went on easily. "It puts their awful little brats to sleep." In theory, at least. Pernese medicine was one thing; offworlder sedatives were another. La had spent a fair quantity of time in the past few turns arguing the benefits of more natural Pernese methods. Some of the offworlders had accepted her ideas in the face of common problems.
Others were more difficult to convince. The ancient brownhandler had called her a 'damn hippy,' whatever that meant. La didn't pay him much heed, though. Insults tended to hurt more when you knew the meaning of the words. "It's the same formula I use on first-season dragonets and nasty firelizards," she added. Speaking of nasty firelizards...she wasn't even sure where her pair had got to. Trouble was probably patrolling. Jackass...well, he could be anywhere. La didn't really care; as long as she didn't hear screaming, as far as she was concerned, her boys were fine.
Ferret - November 12, 2011 08:50 AM (GMT)
"So kind of you, La. Your generosity gives me a cuddle in my heart, like I just wrapped it up in the cuddliest fleece." It would have been nice to say that Cordel was being sarcastic. But he was just halfway there. He really did enjoy yelling at people, demanding things, and being a jerk. It was pretty much what he did. He snorted at the Apprentice's next words. "Sorted what out? There's nothing to be sorted. La, three men can just be friends without it being something more. Well, two men and a Grayson, whatever the fuck he is."
Cordel was still partially convinced that Grayson was some sort of a robot and had, once, drunkenly ranted about this with La. But that had been months ago by now, although he doubted that his Apprentice had forgotten him talking about that 'green-blooded robot'.
"Have you considered trying to put the scent into candles?" Cordel asked curiously, switching back to safer topics, like healing. That was something they were both damn good at and held some common ground. "I heard some offworlders talking about it once, although they get their wax from insects. I don't even want to know how that works." Nope, he would stick to old-fashioned fat candles, thank you very much. They could keep their insect drippings or leavings or whatever the fuck their candles were made out of.
and those damn hybrids... Cordel still wasn't certain what to make out of those little abominations. Still, they were dragonkin; it was his duty to study them, no matter what. "Any ones in particular that need a lot of hops and lavender oil? Somebody has to take notes on the little monsters. Might as well be me."
Tribble and You were... minding their own business, probably. A careful eye would have been able to make out a small pouch of fabric hanging from the ceiling and a little white firelizard nose poking out of it. You still had trouble flying, but he did better when he could take off from a small height. That and Cordel privately thought it was cute. Tribble was probably off harassing Trouble.
giftwrapped - November 12, 2011 09:18 AM (GMT)
"Well, whenever you're ready to stop kidding yourself, just let me know. Lilac and lavender should do the trick for you, shouldn't they?" A wry smile twisted the young woman's lips, and La dodged around Cordel, dipping into the cabinet where some of the less common essential oils and extracts were kept. She came up triumphantly with a small vial of something and tipped a few drops into a bottle. A ladleful of the hazel and lavender mixture Cordel had been working on went into the bottle as well, and La swirled it a few times before corking it and slipping it into her apron. "It'll be waiting for you. Although I hear brownrider K'irk likes headier spices," she added with a wry smile.
Technically the man's title was "senior weyrling," but that just felt....well, honestly, it felt weird and incorrect. Journeyman Healer Cordel and Senior Weyrling K'irk? No, no. It made Cordel sound like some kind of cradle-robber phrased like that. "I haven't seen him around much, recently. Has he been hiding from you until Aesclepiuth is ready to chase? Removing himself from the situation because he's just incapable of keeping his hands off you otherwise?"
The comment about candles, as interesting as it was, simply couldn't hold, well, a candle to the pleasures of torturing Cordel, so until he barred La from discussion of her favourite topic (which was whatever made Cordel's face turn interesting colours - so Kaskirk and Grayson were usually pretty surefire bets) she would keep right on worrying the subject like a canine with a soup bone.
Ferret - November 12, 2011 09:41 AM (GMT)
"...I'm beginning to think that I might need to actually set up boundaries for you, La," Cordel grumbled, although there was no real ire to it. He wasn't a whole lot older than the Apprentice. It would have simply felt odd to try and re-establish a relationship like that.
And he really should never had let the woman catch a glimpse of him sniffing lilacs. He had even smiled during that brief moment of bliss. "If it ever becomes remotely any of your business, La, I'll be sure to never tell you anything at all because it won't happen," he said, mostly out of pure contrariness rather than any belief that it absolutely wouldn't happen at all. And who had La been talking to about Kas anyway?
Somehow, the Healer managed to keep his jaws shut about that and went back to work creating the angriest soothing oils ever created. He glared at the mixture again before reaching for the sharding peppermint oil; La was definitely right. The bottle was quite a bit lighter than he recalled. "Kas and Aes have been enjoying flying lately. Just flying," he said, sensing a Flight comment in the making. "You do realize that he's straight, right? When he's sober anyway." And, of course, when he was drunk not even plants were safe from his clumsy pick-up lines.
No comments about the Healer's own sexuality, of course. Most people assumed he could only get off on the tears of shattered Apprentices and their broken hopes gave him lovely dreams.
giftwrapped - November 12, 2011 10:05 AM (GMT)
"Boundaries? What are those? Do they taste good?" La asked, fixing her mentor with a cheeky grin before returning to the task at hand. The paddle returned to the oil, and La gave it another brisk stir before dipping into the case of bottles at her side. Bottling took longer; it was tedious and time-consuming and a lot less interesting than the actual processes of infusing and the fun that was coming up with new recipes. But the boring parts had to be done or the fun parts couldn't happen. And at least the rote chore allowed her to keep up her conversations without a break.
"He's straight, you're asexual, I know, I know," she answered. "I think it's romantic, in a sort of twisted way. Three men pining for a love that can never be."
But then the smile faded slightly, melting into a thoughtful, somewhat more serious expression. La shook her head, corking the first bottle and starting on the next. "Not that it's any of my business, Cordel," she remarked quietly, looking up from her work and giving the other healer a look that was for her surprisingly solemn, "but I think sometimes we define ourselves too much by those labels. I've been talking to some of the offworlders - well, one of the offworlders, really." The one who came by most often for oil. "They think about sex differently. Not totally differently, but..."
"I think maybe we spend too much time trying to force ourselves into little bottles, and maybe they're not the right shape for us at all." She shrugged, a little self-conscious and awkward, and returned to the oil-bottling with renewed vigour. She wasn't sure what her point was, really, or if she even had a point. But Cordel, ornery and ridiculous though he may be, was one of the few people La considered an honest confidant. He was somehow the easiest of her friends to talk to, and though she adored Elae, well. Polluth took up a lot of the weyrling's time, and sometimes La just wanted something a little bit...not deeper, but grimmer, maybe. Sometimes serious was good.
"Maybe it isn't important what bottle we're 'supposed' to fit in, you know?"
Ferret - November 12, 2011 05:49 PM (GMT)
"I'm told that they're useful for smacking cheeky Apprentices upside the head," Cordel grumbled, but both he and La knew he wouldn't actually do anything like that. Even if he did have a boundary on hand. For one thing, he'd probably have to go out and find another tall lesbian girl with fantastic broom-fu and then train her to be snarky and able to talk to him openly and that sounded like a lot of work. Besides, on some level, he probably knew that it was better for at least one person to talk to him openly and honestly. Well, besides Kas and Grayson, who weren't known for putting dampers on their thoughts either.
La's serious tone took Cordel by surprise; it was a little bit like being snapped at by a big friendly canine. Well, not exactly... it wasn't like La was never serious ever. She took her work seriousl. With a slightly annoyed sigh, Cordel made a dramatic gesture with his ladle. "Why does everyone always think I'm asexual?" he asked out loud. "If anything, I'm bi, but simply married to my work. We're very happy together." As for embarking on some sort of romantic voyage with Kas and Grayson, well, things would get complicated. Fast. Cordel didn't particularly like sharing, but enjoyed sex with other men (at least in theory; his only long-term relationship had been with a woman), Kas loved sharing everything, but especially sex with women, and Grayson's deal was probably sock puppets or something.
"Next time one of the hybridhandlers comes around asking for oil, let's try the lavender and peppermint. I'm certain it will work better than peppermint alone," he said, as though only paying scant attention to La's little speech about labels and bottles. But he was listening. Perhaps far more closely than he listened to anyone else who wasn't a patient (Or Kas or Grayson, naturally, but they usually just had rows, or at least Cordel and Grayson did. Well, Cordel had a row. Grayson just spoke calmly, which made things worse somehow).
"Well, we've got a fair bit of that ourselves. If you asked some of the stuffier Holders, we're both 'supposed' to be attracted exclusively to the opposite sex," he said in what he thought was a reasonable tone. "And I was supposed to be married by now. At least that's what I always thought." Pause. "But this is better."
giftwrapped - November 13, 2011 08:38 AM (GMT)
Hmmm. Cordel did have a point, La had to concede. It probably wasn't possible to live in a world where people weren't expected to conform to an ideal of some sort. She did envy the offworlders, though. It was like nothing was new to them. Well, dragons and Pern had been when they arrived, she assumed. But things like those unlucky few who found themselves in the wrong body? La had known a young man at Ista who had been subjected to intense ridicule before he had escaped the island with seacrafters who didn't know he bound his chest and had been born Alonya instead of Allony. And yet when she had brought it up to the offworlders, they had nodded understandingly like it was a thing that happened that they had long since learned to deal with.
There was probably a great deal they could teach the Pernese, if people were willing to listen. La had heard about the new folk from Southern, and it had bothered her to hear that they were so vehemently anti-Offworlder. But...that wasn't important, for now. Cordel's speech deserved some sort of a response, one that wasn't rote or joking or simply another dig at him. She had been lucky enough to have come into her own sexuality in a Weyr, but she could only imagine what the stuffier Hold upbringings would have done.
"I can't really see you married to anyone," she remarked, glancing over her shoulder to give Cordel an appraising look. "I mean, your work, obviously. But healing isn't something you can settle down and raise children with. And you certainly shouldn't have sex with it." She paused thoughtfully there, wondering at what point the conversation had wandered so thoroughly off. "Anyways, I vote we just sedate them," she said, snapping back to the topic at hand. "Verbena should work." Though the tone she delivered the words with was light and more or less cheerful, the words themselves were serious.
Open to the Offworlders as she was, La didn't fully trust anything that was half wher, half dragon, and entirely unstable.
Ferret - November 13, 2011 08:52 AM (GMT)
Cordel's mind was very much like a train: it ran on tracks, tended not to deviate very much and sudden changes were likely to result in disaster, explosions, and screams for all. In this case, while La had switched to the topic of sedating hybrids, the older Healer's mind was still very much on his love life or, rather, the lack thereof. He scoffed. "I am not going to sedate Kas and Grayson. Well, maybe Grayson, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't actually eat--"
And then he cut himself off there and stared at La. And then stared some more. And his mental train slowly managed to switch tracks. "Oh, you were talking about the hybrids... valerian. If we're very lucky, it will keep them extremely happy as well." And a very happy little abomination of science was probably better than the alternative, which was a very unhappy one. "The only problem is that it can't be given in oil, not properly. It would just stink." And no one wanted a dragon-wher monster that stank like old cheese.
"Are they still keeping the hybrids secluded? That's not right," the Healer grumbled. "They are going to be stranded here with us, aren't they? We should know what we're dealing with." It didn't help that Cordel didn't fully understand the process----or even half understand it-----and he tended not to trust things he couldn't understand. "What does Isonth think?"
Shards, but they really did have a lot of that hazelwood oil. As he spoke, Cordel started to prepare the next batch. Perhaps it was just his hands doing work automatically while his mind tackled a bigger problem or maybe Cordel's mind was still on Kas, but he was adding stronger scents to it.
giftwrapped - November 13, 2011 09:19 AM (GMT)
Oh, Cordel. So linear. So easy to confuse and fluster. And so, so very fun to play with when your mind worked in nonlinear ways, the way La's did. But she spared Cordel the trouble of really having to think, and responded to him in order this time. "Verbena and valerian, or just valerian? And anyways, I imagine it'd be easiest to just drug their water supply if it ever came to that. Or encapsulate it and feed it directly. Don't know if the offworlders would let us do that," she admitted. "But if we need to, I bet we could convince a few. The woman acting their weyrlingmaster - if you can call it that - seems practical enough."
Actually, she seemed rather a lot like Cordel, only with breasts and a few decades of extra experience in being angry at the world. But La wasn't going to say that out loud. Partly because she wasn't sure how receptive Cordel would be to the idea that someone could out-grump him, and partly because she wasn't sure if staring at fifty-year-old offworlder women was acceptable behaviour in an apprentice or not. So instead, she kept right on talking about hybrids.
"They're living in the Weyrling barracks right now, actually. Since our juniors are seniors and our seniors graduated. I just don't know anyone in there well enough to visit. They're around, though." She shrugged. "Isonth...doesn't really know what to think. She likes them because they're babies, but she's anxious about them because they're odd. I guess their heads feel different." Another shrug. "I'm not really surprised. Dragons and whers aren't that similar mentally, so putting the two together must have played merry havoc on the way they think. The big one, Alex...he's clever. Maybe that's why Isonth doesn't know what to think about them."
More oil went into bottles, and La's attention returned to Cordel and his newest tub. "A bit robust, that one," she said, the ghost of a wicked smile starting on her face. "It's nice to know that you listen to me when I speak, Cordel."
Ferret - November 13, 2011 06:05 PM (GMT)
"Just valerian for now. They are just babies after all," Cordel said, but only very, very grudgingly. After seeing the damage that 'baby' Alex had done at the Hatching, it was very tempting to just drug the little terrors to the gills. Or whatever they had. At least one of them probably did have gills; the stories of the mutations were getting a bit out of hand although Cordel personally thought the one about the tentacle-face was complete bunk. "If we need to, we'll try something else later. For now, we should be cautious. We still don't know if killing one of these things would harm the handler."
As he stirred the oil, Cordel listened very carefully to Isonth's words, as delivered through La. The Healer actually rather liked the motherly and gentle dragon. While the Green lacked the pain dampening abilities of a queen, she was still very good at keeping injured dragons calm enough to allow dragonhealers to work. "They seem like very unstable creatures," he admitted. "And they're far too clever. Most three month old baby dragons are still learning how not to bite their own tongues off. Alex was already sneaking around. And he might have started that earlier for all we know."
It was... upsetting, to say the least. And the only thing stopping the hybrids from tearing the world apart was twelve or so handlers, most of whom weren't very old.
La's commentary about Cordel's sex life was very nearly welcomed, if only because it saved the man from the doom and gloom of his own mind. "Oh, look what I have in my pockets for cheeky Apprentices. It's all the fucks I don't give," he said, waving empty hands.
giftwrapped - November 14, 2011 09:30 AM (GMT)
"I don't want to pass judgment on anyone yet," La began, a thoughtful hesitance to her words as she finished funneling the last of the oil into bottles and started on the tub Cordel had been working on prior to the more heavily perfumed blend. "But you're right. There's a lot to them, and I'm not sure the scientists really know what they're doing. They made a lot of claims, but...I haven't heard much from them since the eggs hatched. Whatever's going on, it seems unnecessary." Peregrine had perfectly serviceable dragons and whers without the offworlders mucking about and trying to reinvent AIVAS-era technologies because they could.
"We'll see what happens," she finished after a moment's thought. "They can't be all terrible, and maybe since they Impressed they'll be easier to manage." She shrugged. "It's not like all dragons or whers are picnics and daisies when they Impress." But even La sounded doubtful. Luckily, she didn't have to think about that for all that long, because Cordel tossed some curse words at her and continued right on with his winningly cheerful personality.
A simple, "Aren't you charming," was all she had to say in response to the cussing, but she gave Cordel a winning grin in addition to the general cheek, twiddling her fingers in an amused wave. "I'm surprised there aren't more lines of women swooning outside the infirmary just so you'll give them physical examinations." And though there was no real sarcasm in her tone, there was something about the emphasis she put on 'physical' that made it clear that she was making more sex jokes. Not that she often wasn't. With La, nearly everything was a sex joke.
"Actually, on the note of physicals and other important things. I've gotten a request for oil from Iassenth again," she remarked. It didn't happen that frequently - usually just when the pearl wanted to ruin her rider's day by having La show up with a bottle of smoky-scented oil tied with black ribbon - but it was something the healer kept an eye on. Pearls were, from what she had seen, notoriously unpredictable fliers, and if that was how they were going to be, well. Iassenth had put in for oil once and risen the next day, and anything that might correlate was important to know.
Ferret - November 14, 2011 09:54 AM (GMT)
"I just wish they'd explain why they're doing it. It must cost a lot of marks, what they are doing." Those words were tinged with doubt, notable only because Cordel never doubted things. Even when he wasn't actually sure about things, he always spoke with absolute certainty that he was right and everyone else was wrong. But finances weren't his strong point at all. He was vaguely aware that things cost money. Sometimes he needed things, like healing supplies. Generally, he went and asked Sh'ard or R'ley and wouldn't leave them alone until he was satisfied.
But he was pretty sure that marks changed hands somewhere. Admittedly, the offworlders seemed to work on some different system entirely. They had seemed pretty charmed by the idea of marks, more or less. Very baffling. "Then again, for all I know, their monetary system might be based on goats," he said off-handedly before giving the oil another half-hearted stir. "Is there bergamot over there? I can't find it over here.
"Oh, La. We both know they line up for my ruggedly good looks, not my sterling personality." La was so very lucky that Cordel had a soft spot for cheeky Apprentices, or at least he did for cheeky Apprentices who actually knew what they were talking about. The Infirmary was no place for slackers. "Hm? Did she now... huh. I thought Pearls didn't give any warning... I suppose C'ross and I'saac might just be running low without really realizing it. Iassenth could just be looking after her rider."
He looked down at the oil again, frowning just slightly. Would Aes try to Chase Iassenth...? No, certainly not. ... ... probably not. ... ... maybe? "The bergamot, La?"
giftwrapped - November 19, 2011 06:28 AM (GMT)
"Pretty sure it's not goats. If it were goats wouldn't they have been more excited about our goats? I mean, obscure alien goats are more valuable than regular goats in a goat-based economy, aren't they?" At this point, La was just chattering, indulging Cordel's general oddness instead of worrying at a point that he probably wasn't willing to discuss. He was still sore about the entire thing with Kaskirk, probably. La wasn't entirely sure what about it was troubling him, and unfortunately despite all her jibes, it wan't appropriate or fair of her to try to get Cordel to open up. There was still a very, very small margin of professionalism between the two of them.
"Bergamot, right. Bergamot...." La trailed off, leaving her own work while she went through her bottled essences and turned to the cabinet of herbs and oils, rummaging through for the requested essence. "Do you want the oil or the peel?" she asked absently, extracting a handful of small vials and setting them on the table beside her. Standing on tiptoe, she pulled down another small basket of vials. Citrus oils, all of them. Rifling through a few, she shook her head. "Thought we had more than we did, but I doubt you'll need much more than this."
"And anyways, I think Iassenth just likes watching C'ross squirm when I deliver the oil. Poor guy." She shook her head slightly, expression growing suddenly mischievous and self-satisfied. Iassenth might have enjoyed torturing her rider, but La enjoyed it nearly as much. And there was that thank-you note she had gotten framed. Faranth only knew what that was about. "So what else are you adding to this not-at-all-formulated-to-my-recommendations custom oil blend?" she asked, not entirely casually.
And it was right back to bottling oils. Empty tubs were required before more batches could be made.
Ferret - November 19, 2011 08:06 PM (GMT)
Cordel glared at La out of a general principle. Space goats? SPACE GOATS? Their goats were the finest goats, thank you very much, and certainly weren't space go... except... well, he realized sort of belatedly that they kind of would be weird to offworlders. Possibly. Quite frankly, the Healer was confused by the whole 'our goats are weird now' thing. So he glared more at La and was content that this would solve the goat issue and the fact that he was wrong about something.
Well, not really 'wrong'. Just... a little less right than he usually was. "The oil from the herb," Cordel explained, wondering when they had even gotten the peel. Clearly, he needed to pay more attention to the store-rooms, a thing that he generally left up to La's attentions. His mind guiltily traveled to the pile of paperwork on his desk. Somewhere, in that mountain of paper, there was probably a little note from La that clearly stated they were running low on things.
Honestly, the oil should have sizzled under the force of his glower as he ferociously measured it out and added it to the mix. "Somehow, I can understand how C'ross feels," he muttered, with a Very Significant Glance at his apprentice. Shards, he loved her but... well, she was La and therefore contractually bound to harass him.
Aaaaand there it was, a casual offer of help without actually offering help but both of them would always know that La totally helped. And that was horrible.
"I was considering sandalwood as a fixative," he said in an overly casual sort of tone. Nope, he certainly wasn't listening to La's advice, not at all. She certainly didn't know more about the uses of oils than he did, no sirreee.
Except they both knew this was a rotten lie.
giftwrapped - November 23, 2011 05:37 AM (GMT)
Truthfully, it was rare that La left important issues like storeroom stocks to chance. Or rather, to Cordel, but leaving anything up to Cordel that wasn't immediately interesting (or Kaskirk) was very, very similar to leaving them up to chance. It wasn't that Cordel was a bad healer - because he wasn't. La wouldn't be surprised if the man found himself promoted to mastery at an obscenely young age. He was, put simply, a genius. Which meant that all the space that knowledge took up in his head tended to crowd out things like, well...common sense and logic. So La saw to the paperwork, and other little fiddly things like schedules, on her own.
She had gotten quite good at forging his signature. In a perfect world, Cordel would never find out. Thus far, La's world had been pretty close to perfect.
"Bergamot, sandlewood....sounds rather like you've got an idea on your own. Don't think you really need me for it." The smile she gave Cordel was surprisingly sweet, though there was something mischievous about it. 'I believe in you, even if you are rather hopeless,' it seemed to say. Nonetheless, after a few seconds' solemn thought, La picked up two small vials of oil and handed them over. "Cloves, maybe. Or rosemary. I'm inclined to say cloves just because they're a little spicy. Unexpected. Also as lovely as I think rosemary is, there aren't all that many who jump out of their skins with delight at the chance to smell like it."
There were a few, of course. One of La's regular 'patients' was as enamored with rosemary as the healer apprentice herself was with its cousin, lavender, but he was the exception, not the norm. "Some people even take exception to smelling like the kitchens at roasting time. Not sure why," she went on conversationally, studiously bottling away and cheerfully avoiding the terrible jokes that hung pendulously over their heads. At some point in the near future, if someone didn't use the word meat, the gods of lowbrow comedy would no doubt explode with anticipation.
Ferret - November 23, 2011 07:05 AM (GMT)
For a few minutes, it looked as though La's luck had finally run out. Rosemary, rosemary... Cordel couldn't recall when he ordered rosemary at all. It was very useful, yes: restoring proper circulation was vital when someone spent a long time in bed, but, despite the herb's usefulness, Cordel preferred not to use it often. It was the smell. It tended to travel quickly and just a few leaves could overtake the entire Infirmary.
Well, clearly, Cordel had merely been thinking forward at some point. How very clever of him. And La's ruse went uncovered, which was probably the best for everyone since a Cordel without supplies would result in a very angry Healer not leaving the Weyrleader or Weyrwoman alone ever. "How dilute is the clove oil?" he asked. And then, on further consideration, he asked in his most casual voice, "And have you been keeping up with your medicinal studies, lately?"
Almost random. Almost. There was just one little theme that kept running with all of La's helpful suggestions. Well, two things. First of all, they all smelled great. Secondly they all had... ahh... a particular anatomical use.
And that made the Healer suspicious. Just what was La getting at anyway? "Remember, clove oil can have very mild anesthetic qualities. I prescribe it for toothaches just for that reason." In other words, not something that you'd want to use in this particular kind of oil. He tapped his fingers on the tub in thought before absentmindedly commenting, "Labdanum. I'm certain we've got that." He didn't remember filling out the forms, but he remembered seeing them completed. Same thing, right? They were complete, therefore he must have filled them out at some point.
giftwrapped - November 24, 2011 03:32 AM (GMT)
There was that moment of bewildered silence where La blinked, the ghost of an 'oh shit' look on her face as Cordel looked thoughtful about the rosemary - but in the end, ego won out over the possibility that his apprentice might have been putting in work orders behind his back and he seemed to dismiss the thought. Which was good, because he gave La the perfect out to jump straight into actual healing. And as much as she loved her aromatherapy, honest herbalism was just as important to her, and a little bit more applicable to the craft. So she straightened herself up, gave Cordel a sweet smile, and clasped her hands behind her back.
"Rosemary's primarily a circulation aid. Helps with arthritis, aches and pains, general stiffness. The oil makes a good poultice for muscle pain. It's also delicious, smells fantastic, and makes an excellent hair and mouthwash. And it's antiseptic. Which is why I like having it in the infirmary, even if you want to be a wet blanket about it." And there, she stuck her tongue out.
"Cloves aren't used all that often, but like you said, they work as an analgesic and anesthetic in concentrated form. The scent in high concentrations has warming qualities - so in a sense, it can be used like rosemary if you dilute it. Plus if you don't want to use the clove oil, you could always cold-infuse the cloves themselves. Takes longer, but the scents are the same. Sounds like you have something a little different in mind, though." Which was all right; La and Cordel weren't the same person, though the apprentice was slowly picking up a great number of his mannerisms. Cordel liked what he liked - and though La was fairly sure of some of Kas's personal preferences, she was also quite sure that this was something Cordel was making to his own taste.
"I'm not sure if there's anything I'm missing in either of them, but my guess is that you have some big lesson or point to make?" And the bottling was done. Nodding to herself, La picked up another jug of oil - this one safflower - and started filling the first empty tub.
Ferret - November 24, 2011 08:12 AM (GMT)
La's cheery grin was met with Cordel's usual glare. It wasn't like he even meant to glare; it was just his default expression these days. As La spoke, it turned to a more neutral expression, either approval that she was saying all the right things or perhaps expressing Cordel's disappointment that she hadn't said anything wrong. He opened his mouth a few times, as though trying to add something and then thinking better of it at the last second. It was a bit like watching a man reach for the last chip; he knows he should not eat it but, on the other hand, it is the last. Not like there will be any more...
Finally, he bit. "Your expression is far too innocent. No one looks that innocent. Ever. Especially not you, La. You know damn well what I'm talking about." Not that it could really be La's fault that virtually every herb in existence had some sort of application to the male organ. It was just some sort of human nature. They would find something new and immediately try to use it on someone's dick.
"Save that oil for laxatives, La. With all the changes in Candidatemaster position so far, I doubt that the Candidates have gotten a full curriculum. Someone is bound to overfeed their dragonet." Seriously, three different Candidatemaster in less than that many turns? It was enough to make people downright spooked about accepting the position. Or... was it four people now? Cordel frowned. He didn't tend to take very much notice of things outside his Infirmary, but he was pretty certain that there had been a few anyway. The fact that he'd noticed the change in position at all was a minor miracle.
Presumably, some Candidate had told him about it.
giftwrapped - November 25, 2011 07:55 AM (GMT)
There was a brief pause after Cordel spoke where La was honestly lost. And then realization dawned and the smile spread across her face like a sunrise: slow and vibrant. Then, deliberately, she hefted a bottle and regarded it thoughtfully. "You do know what kind of oil this is, right, Cordel?" she asked, turning it over in her hands. "And unless you plan to give all of this to K'irk - which I'm not saying he won't appreciate, but he might find that much oil a bit odd - there are plenty of other people who could benefit from those sorts of things."
"But if you think I'm insinuating something about you - which is funny, since I thought this oil was for K'irk and we all know that you and K'irk are by no means together, and everyone knows K'irk has no problems in the potency department - then maybe you need to stop and consider why you're so caught up in what I am apparently insinuating about your virility. A mindhealer might be good for that. I hear the offworlders have a very capable one." And there was that look, an expression of delight that was positively evil. La had the upper hand and she was going to hang onto it like a terrier with a scrap of jerky.
"The Candidatemaster isn't in charge of hybrid and wher babies. Angry offworlders are in charge of hybrid and wher babies," she pointed out absently. "Well and theoretically angry Southerners, but I haven't heard much from Orennik." Which might mean he was doing everything right - or it could mean that something had gone terribly wrong and nobody was willing to admit it to the healers yet. Nonetheless, La did set aside the jug of oil and look back up at Cordel. "I'm impressed, Cordel, you actually noticed Weyr gossip before I pointed it out to you. Did you personally witness it, or did someone stick a memo about it to your shirt? Since I can't fathom you finding out through any of the normal venues."
Like S'ass and Elae.
Ferret - November 25, 2011 08:15 AM (GMT)
Yep. La definitely had the upper hand. At this point, the older Healer's mind promptly shut down and reminded him that he was a goddamn Journeyman. He didn't have to argue with an Apprentice over anything at all. "La, you're on numbweed duty for a week."
It was a waste of her skills and they both knew it. They also both knew that the Journeyman Healer would promptly forget about the punishment as soon as he needed La to do something else or until he simply lost interest. Whichever one happened first. The point was, the 'punishment' was basically Cordel's signal that La had gone too far. If she went further, she risked the man simply flat-out ordering her out.
And they both knew he'd lose interest in mixing oil and then everyone would be miserable. Speaking of oil, he went to work on bottling the batch he was working on while absolutely not making any eye contact with La whatsoever. Kas was always open and honest about his attractions but Cordel most certainly was not. It was private, thank you very much. He was exactly the kind of man who would adamantly deny that his parents ever had sex and that he was brought by the wherry instead.
"Relax, you don't have to worry about some sort of 'End of the world' scenario just because I actually heard about things. Someone managed to badger the man into seeing me, just to check his ankles. I got the story out of him eventually. It was like trying to pry answers from an oyster." Not that Cordel had any real experience with prying anything from oysters.
giftwrapped - November 26, 2011 02:49 AM (GMT)
And that was the sign for La to stop talking about what she had been talking about. Whatever bit had hit a nerve, it had hit enough of one that Cordel had decided it was time to cut the conversation short. That was fine. La respected that. She did not, however, respect the idea that Cordel would slap her on numbweed duty for a week - but she could also hazard a guess that as soon as the infirmary got busy or someone came to Cordel with a problem he didn't actually feel like treating, she'd be right back to doing her real job. She gave it a few hours into the first day of punishment, tops, before he was hollering at her to get out of the numbweed room and do her job.
Which mean that that thread of conversation was ended, and La had to go back to the other one. But that was all right, since the other one was actually a fairly interesting thread of conversation, with plenty of room for good-natured jibes. "Oysters don't talk, so I'd guess it'd be a lot more difficult to pry answers from an oyster than from a person, even if he didn't want to talk," she remarked conversationally, picking up a jug of hempseed oil instead of safflower and filling the tub with that, instead. "He was okay, though?" she asked, a much more serious note creeping into her tone. "I only heard a little of what-all went on, but I don't like it." She sighed. When she was a Candidate there hadn't been any of this craziness.
Admittedly, Candidacy at Ista had actually been formal, and not the sort of vague 'You look to be the right age, get on the Sands' non-process of selection that Peregrine had. So the Candidatemaster position had been fixed, rigid, and essential. Meanwhile, Peregrine just sort of chose whoever. There was always Pearlrider S'ass, but he barely qualified, since his brand of teaching was much less 'How to comport yourself like a proper rider' and much more 'How to stop doing the stupid things you do with your personal life.' Not that La minded. She liked it, honestly.
"Do you know who they're bringing in as the new one, by any chance, if you're hearing all this news without serious intervention?"
Ferret - November 26, 2011 09:55 AM (GMT)
"It's a metaphor, La. They're used for things besides innuendos, you know," Cordel chided, getting right back into the arguing mind of things. Not that it took much to get the Healer into an argumentative mood. It was pretty much his natural mindset. If someone told him that the sky was blue, he'd debate until he was blue in the face about how the sky was green. "Physically, he was fine. Mentally, I can't say much about a man who goes, 'Ohh, a stranger asking me to get on her dragon? I can't say yes strongly enough'," he said, mocking David's accent before snorting. "Sharding lucky though. It must've been quite the drop from a Brown dragon's back. It's bad, when a Candidatemaster can't keep their temper."
This was not, in his eyes, being hypocritical at all. After all, he wasn't a Candidatemaster, whose job was, essentially, dealing with people all day. He frowned at the oil, whose only response was to go 'bloop'. This was not hugely helpful to the conversation in any way, shape, or form.
"Now, La, you know that getting answers like that would require me to take interest in something that isn't Healing." Or Kas, but that was a topic of discussion that was Very Much Closed. "Have you heard anything?"
giftwrapped - November 27, 2011 07:58 AM (GMT)
The new batch of oil got a short bout of contemplation and then a double handful of hops, a handful of dried chamomile blossoms, and a dash of lavender oil. Then La covered it with a damp towel and dragged it aside. Cold-infusion took a long time, but as far as La was concerned, it paid off. She cold-infused nearly all her dragon oils. That was, however one tub out of commission. And as La picked up another jug of hempseed oil, she shook her head. "Going to cold-infuse my dragon oils, Cordel. So when you're done with that tub, I'll take it, and we're done with oils for the day."
"And anyways, I'm as in the dark as you are about all this, Cordel," she went on mildly, adding bundled lavender and spearmint leaves to the new tub of oil. "I couldn't even guess at who they're bringing in next. I'd imagine someone R'ley and Sh'ard actually like." And she shrugged. "Hops, chamomile, lavender....lavender and spearmint....I was thinking lemongrass for that one, what do you think, Cordel?"
Ferret - November 27, 2011 10:37 PM (GMT)
What was this? La was giving Cordel a completely legitimate excuse to stop mixing oils for the day? Fuck yes, the Healer was all over that and he made a mental note to knock off a few days from La's numbweed duty. Once he'd scraped up the last of the oil from the tub, he happily left it to La's attentions and leaned against the wall instead.
"Why is it so difficult to find dragonriders who won't A0 Instill color bias in the Candidates, B) Assault other people or C) ignore their duties entirely?" Shards, he was very glad that it wasn't his job to look after Candidates. While he was technically within the age brackets to be a Candidate himself, he nonetheless thought of them as 'kids'. Some habits were just hard to shake and others were simply bred into the bone.
"An interesting combination," he said, tilting his head to one side. "Well, let's just see how it turns out. Trying to make something to soothe uneasy hybridlings and dragonets?" he guessed. That seemed to be a common theme of the day and not one he could disagree with.
giftwrapped - November 28, 2011 07:46 AM (GMT)
"Aloe, maybe. Or dragon's tongue," La murmured to herself, only half-hearing Cordel for a moment. When his words finally did register, she looked over at him and quirked a lopsided smile. "You'd think that with a Weyr full of people like Weyrleader Sh'ard, someone would show up who has what the Weyr needs." Then again, Peregrine Weyr was....different from most other Weyrs. As a Candidate, La had never needed to be instructed on proper comportment around offworlders - or general adjustment into proper Weyrlife. Not that the offworlders really needed that anymore - at least theoretically. La wasn't always so sure, since some of them seemed surprisingly reluctant to adjust, in spite of ten turns on the planet. Ah well.
"You know, if they can't find a dragonrider, maybe they should choose someone who isn't one," she fielded thoughtfully. "Clearly we can't find dragonriders who don't commit violence, perpetuate colour prejudice, or ignore the job - well, I mean, other than S'ass, but Fort doesn't approve of him as a figurehead." Well, admittedly, Fort was right about that. S'ass was good at a lot of things, but teaching actual Candidate lessons was not in his skillset. "So clearly what we need is someone not stuck to a dragon. ....I would suggest you for the job, but I feel like the 'violence' thing might still be a little problematic." Her expression never changed as she spoke. She was on numbweed duty already, so there was no reason whatsoever not to push other boundaries.
"Just looking for something pleasant-smelling, really," she admitted. "I like chamomile. Isonth likes chamomile. It's a nice scent. And you know how I feel about lavender." She grinned. "Oiling should be relaxing for dragons, anyway. Might as well help it along."
Ferret - December 1, 2011 12:34 AM (GMT)
Peregrine was very different from any other Weyr. Cordel always thought that Telgar was where the troublemakers were sent but... now it seemed as though Peregrine was the choice destination to send people that Weyrs had no idea how to deal with. Like Cordel himself, for example, although in his case, the transfer was practically voluntary.
"Viole... oh come on. That was just as much his fault as it was mine. He should have known better than to get within my bite radius. That hardly counts as 'violent'," Cordel sneered, waving the Incident away without really thinking about it. Really, he was usually just nine parts bluff with one part action. It just happened to be the other guy's bad luck to think Cordel had been bluffing at the time. And then getting within the Healer's personal space, which could become devastatingly large when he was annoyed at something.
And he was perpetually annoyed.
"Makes sense, getting another non-dragonrider. The Candidates don't have dragons either." Not that he had time for Candidates. They were outside of his interest area, unless they happened to be injured or sick. As he spoke, Cordel moved to the oil cabinet to take a look at what they actually had; it was beginning to dawn on him, once again, that he didn't remember ordering some of the oils present.
Clearly he must have. After all, they were there. "Lemongrass. Don't use too much of it. We'll need more when fever season starts again."
giftwrapped - December 6, 2011 03:19 AM (GMT)
"You know, Cordel, most people don't have a bite radius. You do know that, right? This is not a usual condition of humanity, a bite radius." But the conversational tone never left. It was Cordel, after all. He didn't do anything in a "normal" way, and most of what he did was just so incredibly bizarre that it was hard to be fazed by it. Biting the guy had still been pretty weird, admittedly. But that was just Cordel - full of surprises, none of which were particularly pleasant ones.
"Right you are, Captain," she added quietly, tossing lemongrass into the oil without much thought. "Is there something you need in there?" she added after a moment, brief doubt creeping into the pit of her stomach. Cordel had never noticed her clever forgeries before, but that was mostly because he left the organizing to La, and usually didn't venture much beyond the herbs that La kept very cleverly in the front of the cabinet. It wasn't important that Cordel know she had rare citrus oils from Nerat, or expensive venoms from various dangerous things near Igen. The important thing was that he never ran out of what he needed.