Ge'ar put his arm around his sister's shoulders. "Merigel, it's not all bad, really!" The vintner-turned-dragonrider sniffed back tears.
"It's just wine." A'kko said, not sure why she was so heartbroken.
Merigel looked at the floor of the wine cellar. The floor glistened with wetness, and light from the glows glimmered wanly on the shards of broken glass. "It's not just wine!" Merigel sobbed, "Some 'brat was roughhousing in here, and rammed into this shelf and shattered six bottled of a very very very good vintage!"
Ge'ar scratched his head. His pet firelizard swooped around the cellar, looking at everything.
"How good?" A'kko voiced for them both.
"It's a redfruit-raspberry pressed the spring after Litayath was hatched."
A'kko's jaw dropped. Ge'ar answered this silence. "A nearly twenty turn old wine?"
"Tiyanni would be touched, Ge'ar." Ikara said from the doorway. "Try closer to thirty."
The weyrling brownrider gawked. "I would never have guessed she was that old."
"Not old, mature." A'kko corrected him. "Try some tact, Ge'ar." A'kko looked to the Headwoman's second.
"Why is there a thirty turn old wine in here?"
"For Tiyanni's wedding. She's sentimental like that. How many bottles gone, vintner Merigel?" Ikara respondedd coolly.
"Six gone." Merigel answered.
"That leaves eighteen..." Ikara mused. "Should be plenty."
Merigel's turn to gawk came then. "Tiyanni laid on 24 bottles of wine? And kept them this long?"
"I told you she was sentimental. Now weren't you weyrlings supposed to be out suntanning or something useful like that?" Ikara said.
The trio began to smiled, and filed out of the winecellar.
"And don't worry about that wine, Merigel I caught the culprits-they'll pay for this."
Ge’ar tightened the last bolt, and Elborth gingerly released the beam. It held. “Thanks Elborth.” He said, “A little dragonpower makes the world go round.” Elborth rumbled, happy to help. “Ready, A’kko!” Ge’ar called to his brother.
The healer set the machine in motion. “Are you sure this thing will work?” Merigel called over the mechanical whirring.
“Positive!” G’ear replied. “Watch!” he called, and soon water issued forth from the pump and splashed into the basin.
Ooh! Dementh shivered excitedly.
Very nice. Phynneth commented from his lofty perch. But how will this help? Always practical, was A’kko’s dragon.
“Oh Phynneth.” A’kko said, “It’ll bring fresh water up where we can get to it even in the coldest of winter.”
Oh. The blue dragon said.
“So the machine will pump the water up until the basin fills, and then stop?” Merigel asked.
“Exactly.” Ge’ar said. “The basin is equipped with a float about a handspan from the top. The water will lift it, and that will stop the water’s flow, though the motion of the machine doesn’t stop.” Merigel nodded, and her brother continued. “The next step is to run piping to get the water to the kitchen, now that we know this works.”
A’kko looked a bit paniced. “Ge’ar, I’m a doctor, not a plummer!”
“No worries, brother. I’ve got a couple of journeymen lined up to help with that. You two have done more than enough.”
Merigel grined. “That’s what family is for, right? A’kko helped Maranni, we helped you, and you help us. We’ll even help K’mer and his lover if they ever get back from Wu!”
“Right!” the young men chorused.
This page made partly in Microsoft Word; The background comes from that program.