Eastern Weyr - Main Clearing
The main clearing of Eastern Weyr is immense, a sprawling space carved out from the verdant jungle that is constantly threatening to encroach from the north and east. There are a few pathways paved with dark stone; otherwise, the ground is full of dust — or worse, mud, during the rainy season — due to the constant churn from dragons taking off and landing. The trees tend to be enormous affairs, sweeping the skies far above the heads of any dragons, with trunks bigger than a dragonlength around. Shaded by the surrounding foliage is the single feature that makes this area suitable for habitation: a series of large bubble caverns provide permanence and shelter for the inhabitants of this tropical Weyr.
At this late hour, electric lanterns with paper shades are lit, providing bright beacons against the thick tropical darkness. They highlight the main paths, and are strung festively from the rock of the main cavern. There's a faint glow from the doorway of the cavern, which is closed only in times of extreme weather. Summer has struck this coast paradise hard, the heat of the day neary unbareable without the shade and breezes, but the evenings made sweet with the smell of the coast.

This evening in Eastern is cool, with autumn bringing a break from oppressive humidity of summer months. The moons are up, stars dotting the sky above as the sun has long since vanished over the horizon, leaving the sky a deep indigo blue. Lanterns sway in the gentle breezes, and a blue and his rider stand on the edge of the clearing beneath one of the immense trees. While Varmiroth scrapes his talons against the soft ground in idle doodles, Kimmila sits on an exposed root and sharpens her knife to pass the time.

Having received the letter once he was free from another long round of meetings, the Fortian Weyrleader had immediately informed his staff of his departure, set the straps on his bronze and left just as the dinner hour began. Velokraeth appears from between, warbling his greeting to the watch dragon on duty before angling his wings into a slow dive towards the main clearing. Careful of the lanterns and anyone nearby, the small pale bronze angles in to land, wings sweeping back as he settles and then neatly folding to his sides. His oversized head turns to rumble pleasantly to Varmiroth while Th'ero unbuckles himself and dismounts. The Weyrleader is dressed in his usual riding gear and as he strides towards where Kimmila sits, sharpening her knife, he's already unbuckling the jacket to reveal the rich wine colored tunic beneath. "Everything all right, Wingmate?" he calls out as he approaches, quickly closing the distance between them and coming to a stop by her side. Velokraeth meanwhile approaches Varmiroth, though the bronze is very careful to avoid any of the blue's doodles in the ground.

Kimmila looks up from where she sits and smiles at Velokraeth's arrival, wiping her blade clean and sheathing it before she stands. "Hey," she says with a warm smile, leaning over to offer him a little kiss. "Everything's just fine." She's dressed in a loose, long sleeved green tunic, the sleeve covering the bandage she still wears on her arm. "What about you? That issue get resolved?" Whatever the issue was that made him BAIL on her a few days prior. Reaching out, her fingers lightly brush his tunic, and she grins wider. "I like this on you," she comments. Varmiroth warbles happily to the bronze, stepping back from his doodles to show them off proudly.

Th'ero looks both relieved and a little annoyed when she claims that everything is fine, though it soon dissolves into a relaxed smile as she leans in to kiss. Kissing back, he gives one quick glance around the near to deserted clearing before stepping closer to Kimmila's side. At her question, the Weyrleader gives her an apologetic look, "Those details I can't discuss." He explains, with a low exhale, the only hint of some stress or exhaustion over whatever the issue may be. "It is resolved though. Took all day, but it's resolved." Otherwise, it's unlikely he'd be here. As she brushes against his tunic, he glances downwards and then chuckles softly. "You do?" Th'ero muses, before letting his own fingers pluck gently at the long sleeve of her green tunic. "Color suits you well." He compliments in turn, before pulling his hand back and standing a little straighter, eyes moving to now meet with hers. "Why Eastern?" To ease some of the abruptness of his change of subject, his tone is gentle as he presses the question to the bluerider.

Kimmila blinks in mild surprise at that annoyed look, her head tilting somewhat. "Are you upset?" she asks, peering at him. "Did I interrupt something?" There a little frown at his avoidance of the topic, her curiosity well and truly piqued, but she lets it go without comment other than, "I'm glad it's resolved." Then, "Yeah, I do," she says with a little grin, hand falling away from his tunic. Then her gaze drops to her own tunic and she shrugs a bit. But rather than argue the compliment, all she says is, "Thanks." She meets his gaze again and grins crookedly. "Because their only gold just flew, so I knew it'd be safe?" she teases. "And also this seems to be the only place someone can rent runners, so I thought we'd check them out and see if it's something we might like to do sometime."

"Not upset." Th'ero says quickly, once he notices Kimmila's frown and the way she peers at him. A small, reassuring smile is given to the bluerider as he continues to explain, "I'm exhausted. I didn't mean to come off as annoyed. And I wish I could discuss it, but there are some matters of Fort's affairs that I can't… openly discuss." In short: the Weyrleader can't go talking of sensitive information to a non-Fortian rider. Even if he trusts her unconditionally and her mother is one of the weyrwoman, he won't share anything more on it - for now. Th'ero starts a little when Kimmila teases him. News of the flight must be new to him, as he suddenly turns his head towards the clearing and then up to the starry night sky. "Leadership flight?" he asks once his attention drifts back to the bluerider. Velokraeth gives a disappointed snort and the Weyrleader shoots his bronze a narrowed look and smirking. Shaking his head, the bronzerider makes a thoughtful noise deep in his throat, brown eyes meeting Kimmila's once more. "Shame its nightfall. Eastern has a good stock of runners then?" A pause and a slight frown settles to his features. "It would be a nice change. Though it's been a few Turns since I've ridden and even when I did it wasn't often. Never lucked out much in drawing mounted patrols."

Kimmila ohs, frowning a little bit, but her look shifts to sympathy when she gets over her minor pout at him not telling her, and moves on to understanding how difficult his job really is. "I understand. I'm sorry you're exhausted…maybe this isn't the best time for this." She frowns, biting her lower lip. Once again acting without much thought put to it. Then she nods, glancing to Velokraeth with a crooked grin. "Yes, a leadership flight. And I'm not sure what sorts of runners they have, but I thought we could go and see. It's been a while since I've ridden too, so we'll re-learn together." Reaching over, she puts her hand on his arm and gives it a gentle squeeze before she steps back. "So do you want to go to the stables? Or…we can go do something else too, if you're tired. Maybe grab a drink or something…"

At her apology, Th'ero shakes his head and grimaces, reaching up to gently cup her face and then draw her close with his other hand. Turning his body, he shields them from any prying eyes or at least so that none would be able to get a clear look of their faces or knots as he leans down to kiss her. "It's fine, Kimmila. This… I need escapes like this. If I was truly too tired, I would have just sent you a letter in reply." And it's the truth. The Weyrleader's tone is genuine and it is something he would do. At the confirmation on the flight, the bronzerider nods his head and there is a visible relaxed drop of his shoulders. "Good. That ought to stir the morale here. And here's to hoping the flight is fruitful and the clutching and hatching also go to Eastern's favor." Th'ero murmurs, sincere in his tone. "Then we should go see? Do you think it's not too late to go wandering through their stables?" he adds, slightly amused as she squeezes his arm. When she steps back, so does he, turning to face the clearing though he still remains close to Kimmila's side. "I leave it to you, Wingmate. I know very little of Eastern, so lead on."

Kimmila tilts her head into his hand and steps close to him at his pull, her arms looping loosely around his waist, careful not to press her bandaged arm against him. Closing her eyes, she returns his kiss with a lingering touch. "Okay," she murmurs, leaning back to smile up at him. She knows he wouldn't have come if he didn't want to, and that eases her concern somewhat. "Yes, here's hoping for that," she agrees. Then she shrugs, "I don't know, but we might as well go try? If they kick us out, we'll just say we didn't know." Which is the truth. Once their embrace is broken, Kimmila flashes him a crooked grin and leads the way.

Eastern Weyr - Stables
As you walk into this alcolve off the feeding grounds, you see a decent sized cavern that is neat and tidy for a stable. The cavern is a semi-circle and you are in the front line of the circle. That has a wall along half of it, the other half is a series of large wooden doors. In the cemi-circle ther are seperate stalls. The main one in the center is for herdbeasts and such, used to feed the dragons. On the far left is a few stables for various bovines, pigs, and even a small one for chickens. However to the right is the cleanest and most finely fashioned of them all. It contains Easterns new pride. They are the runners of Shaun and Saravs joy. They are treated like kings and always have food and water. The office of the two beastcrafters is next to this in a small alcolve. It contains a desk and a cabinet.

"Playing oblivious? I suppose that could work." Th'ero says while chuckling dryly and then turns to follow Kimmila as the bluerider leads the way through the clearings and off to the Crafter's section of the Weyr. All during their trek, the Weyrleader's gaze roams over as much detail as the lights allow in the dark. Eastern is not a Weyr he's visited often and very rarely casually and it shows. When they slip into the semi-circle cavern that makes up the Weyr's stables, Th'ero gives a low whistle and an appreciative nod to the cleanliness and setup. "Looks like they house the runners to the one side there," The Weyrleader points then, to the stalls further down the cavern yet he leaves it to Kimmila to continue leading them onwards.

Kimmila stops just inside, gazing around with a thoughtful look. "Yeah," she agrees, meandering in that direction. Peering into the stalls, she keeps well back just incase a runner inside is the vicious sort. "Don't look too bad," she remarks, "though I'm not sure which ones are ones you can rent, and which are private. But they look alright." Glancing back at him, she shrugs with a little grin. "What do you think?"

Th'ero keeps his distance as well and only approaches the stalls to peer inside to inspect the runners. The Weyrleader is no expert though and he can only shrug his shoulders to Kimmila's remarks. "No, they don't look too bad." He agrees. "In fact, they look very well cared for. These may be private stock." He tells her, still sticking close to her side. Neither of them are approached by any of Eastern's stablehands or posted Beastcrafters and it would appear that either their presence is welcomed or no one is aware that they are here. "They should have some at least for rent. We just might not be looking in the right spot."

Kimmila looks around with a little frown, and then she laughs. "I guess I really should have planned this better," she says, running a hand through her hair with another low chuckle. "It's harder to find runners than I thought it'd be, Wingmate," she says, looking up at him with a crooked grin, her green eyes amused. "It might be easier just to /buy/ a pair." She snorts under her breath and continues to walk along the stalls, peering curiously at each of the runners, hands idly slipping into her pockets.

"It's still a good idea. We'll just have to wait for a better time." Th'ero points out as he finishes inspecting yet another stall that contained a very loving mare. The Weyrleader had even gone as far to stick his fingers inside the bars to give the runner an affectionate scritch or two before moving away. "Hmm, seems that way, doesn't it? Wasn't there a bad plague some time ago? A stablehand had brought it up to me when I was in Ista. I hadn't heard anything of it, since it was at a time when I was nothing more then a guard." He pauses then and adopts another thoughtful look before continuing. "Have you heard much on it?" Glancing towards Kimmila, Th'ero tilts his head a bit in a curious manner, eager to see if the bluerider had any new light to shed on the matter. Mention of buying one has the Weyrleader snorting, "Aren't runners expensive?" he asks with a smirk.

Kimmila nods, "Yeah, I did hear about that," she says, leaning against the door to an unoccupied stall. "Seems to have killed off almost all of Pern's runner stock. I can't remember who told me about it, but they seemed pretty knowledgeable. Happened when I was wandering through Southern, on a tough little pony I rented. He seemed healthy enough." She shrugs, watching him with the mare with a smile. Her grin stretches a bit at his last question, "They are now," is her wry answer. "Mother used to have some when I was growing up. I'm not sure what happened to them though."

Th'ero ceases paying attention to the runners in their stalls the moment Kimmila admits to having knowledge concerning the plague. With his attention now entirely focused on the bluerider, he comes to stand near to where she leans against the door. "None of the herds or stock on the Isles seemed ill either Hold or Weyr. Could be they kept it quiet but I was shocked to hear." The Weyrleader admits with a hint of a smirk. "Maybe they were working on keeping it quiet?" The wry answer is given a small snort of amusement before the bronzerider shakes his head, slightly surprised once more. "Did she now?" Th'ero murmurs curiously. "What type?"

Kimmila shrugs, "I'm not sure, I was lead to believe that it was a really wide-spread plague." Ahh, the pitfalls of gossip. What /is/ the truth? Turning her head to look at him, she grins a bit. "We'd have to ask around I guess, to really discover the full extent of it. And they were just regular riding runners. Great for the forests around Fort and for the kids at the camp to use. One of them was mine. A mare named," and here she winces, rolling her eyes a bit, "Starlight. I was just a kid," she says, giving the Weyrleader a quick glance. "She died while I was here, actually," she admits, moving her hand around to encompass the weyr. "Kind of want to have another runner someday, but I can't justify it. Nor is there really anywhere interesting to ride, in Western."

"Hmm, that's what I heard as well. Maybe it was only widespread in main lands? The isles and islands may have been spared. At least, that's the only logical way I can figure it." Th'ero says thoughtfully, frowning as he tries to recall just what that stablehand had mentioned. Kimmila draws him from his thoughts though and the Weyrleader simply nods his head at the suggestion of seeking out the truth and the type of runners Elara had once owned. "Starlight?" The bronzerider interrupts, obviously trying to hide back a laugh despite the bluerider's quick glance. Clearing his throat slightly, he sobers quickly enough save for the crooked smile. "You would? Another like the one you had or your mother's?" Th'ero asks, giving Kimmila a curious look. Maybe he's never pinned her as the type? "It would be hard to balance the time for a runner and be a dragonrider." To the mention of Western, he grimaces. "It has it's own beauty, I suppose. But I've patrolled enough of the territory that I could say I'm jaded. Much rather explore elsewhere."

Kimmila nods, looking thoughtfully at the occupied stalls. "That makes sense," she agrees. "The islands are isolated, after all. Or at least more isolated than other areas." To his held back laugh, she directs an elbow at his side. "Stop it. She was dapple grey and I was a kid. She was sweet." Nostalgia touches her features for a moment, before she shrugs it off. "If I ever got another runner I'd want something sturdy and hardy. Small. Something I could hunt Fort's forests with. Not a racer or something fancy." Her nose wrinkles with distaste of the 'fancy' runners. "A smart, sturdy little thing. That's what I'd be looking for. If I ever got another one." She shrugs again. "No time for one right now, with my duties and my free time spent doing…other things." She gives him a coy little wink at that. "Oh, Western is beautiful, for sure. It's just not somewhere that I like riding. It's…pretty flat and uniform. I'd want a runner somewhere where there's mountains to climb, and places to explore."

Kimmila's elbow reaches it's target and Th'ero grunts softly before playfully attempting to return the favor (though obviously gently). "I'm sure she was." He murmurs with still a trace of amusement in his tone. Any mention of the plague or the mystery surrounding it seems to be abruptly dropped by the Weyrleader then, in favor of lighter topics. "So… a practical runner that serves a logical purpose other then prancing about?" Th'ero points out with a grin. "Sounds just about the type of runner I'd seek out. Or used, even." Nodding his head, he gives Kimmila a look of understanding and perhaps approval of her choice and the words that follow. Another snort and now Th'ero takes his turn in trying to jab at her side. "And are you complaining then, that these… other things, take up too much of your time?" he teases.

Kimmila is elbowed twice, and she gives a short little laugh, reaching over to try and grab his arm and then, if she's able to hold him in place, punch his shoulder. "Practical, yes," she agrees with a crooked grin. "And no, I'm not complaining," she says, her grin taking on a slightly wicked tinge. "Not in the least." Stepping close, her green eyes gleaming, she tries to avert any retaliation to her punch by trying to kiss him.

Held in place only because he is distracted, Th'ero takes the punch to the shoulder without even so much of a wince. The bronzerider does make sure to try and return the gesture though - it would only be polite, after all! At her wicked grin, the Weyrleader tilts his head; eyes narrowing in suspicion though the smile he also flashes show it to be all in jest. And perhaps he'll never quite connect his return punch to Kimmila's shoulder as Th'ero is averted by the kiss, which he returns eagerly enough to start. Then a random sound spooks him like some jittery runner and the bronzerider is pulling back, head up and darting towards the source of the noise. When it turns out to be nothing, the Weyrleader looks sheepishly embarrassed and awkwardly reaches up to rub his hand along the back of his neck. "Sorry." He mutters.

Kimmila was just getting into the kiss when he's pulling back, startled by a noise that she chose to ignore. Rocking back onto her heels, her touch lingers on his arm for a moment before she slowly pulls it away, hands slipping into her pockets. Green eyes flick around the stable and she looks up at him with a slight frown and a curious tilt to her head. "Why…" she begins slowly, eyes seeking his and brows furrowing, "why do you still try to hide…us?" For lack of a better word. "Seems like you're not comfortable with any sort of…anything, in public…"

Th'ero closes his eyes for a moment as he becomes aware of just how awkward the atmosphere between them has become. When he opens his eyes again, his frown is thoughtful but he at least meets Kimmila's eyes. "I'm not hiding our relationship." He murmurs in a low voice, arms coming to fold across his chest. "Affection?" The Weyrleader fills in with a dry chuckle and a hint of a smirk. "I've always had issues regarding that, Kimmila. It will take… time, perhaps, for that to change." Th'ero exhales deeply then, shaking his head and glancing away from the bluerider and towards one of the occupied stalls. "I'm not trying to hide. I just… don't want unnecessary gossip trailing us. We're in guests in a Weyr that neither of us have duties to and the last thing I wish for either of us is for rumors to be spread." His smirk takes on a bitter twist then, pausing only for a breadth of a second before rambling on. "I'm not naive in thinking it won't happen regardless, despite trying to avoid it." Another pause and his expression soften to something a little warmer. "And I'm not saying we can't be close in public. Subtle. Those with the wit to see it will make the connection."

Kimmila continues to frown as she listens to his words. "Rumors…but. What sorts of rumors? Rumors that we're together? Because…we are. So…how can that be a bad thing?" She's not outright upset, more puzzled than anything, though that frown does persist. "I mean, I'm not the kind of girl who would hang over you or throw a hissy fit if you don't lavish me with attention," ugh, "but…I don't want to feel like I have to jump away from you whenever someone glances our way, you know?"

Th'ero inhales slowly and deeply, shoulders rolling back as if in preparation to speak and yet when his mouth begins to open nothing comes. Kimmila has the right of it, logically and it's stumped the Weyrleader into silence. "It isn't a bad thing," he finally says, frowning. His expression takes on a sheepish, apologetic look when she states her opinion and his gaze casts downwards. "I do understand…" Th'ero begins, before making a soft frustrated sound in his throat. "It's just - It will take me time to change that habit and accept that some may whisper and assume over what they see." He can only shrug his shoulders helplessly then, at a loss for words as his thoughts become too complex to explain.

Kimmila arches a brow at him as she studies his face, watching him closely as he speaks. And then she smiles, and though it's a touch crooked it's also a touch warm. He gave a good answer, apparently. "I understand," she says. Then she shrugs. "I guess I've never let whispers bother me, really." She's had to develop a thick skin where those are concerned. "Or been in a position to really care about what other people thought or said about me. It was different with A'ven and I, I guess," she says, turning to lean against the empty stall door once again. "/I/ was different."

"How were you different?" Th'ero asks and as Kimmila moves away to lean against the empty stall door, he'll follow. The bronzerider will stick close to her side as he comes to stand more or less in front of her. With his arms still crossed over his chest, he seems reserved but the relaxed set of his shoulders tells otherwise. Truthfully, the Weyrleader is beginning to calm again, now that the awkwardness has passed. "And I should have learned that lesson by now and guard myself more against it. Develop a tougher skin. Figured I had…" And here Th'ero shrugs again, though he chuckles softly in amusement to his own failings.

Kimmila glances at him with her green eyes, a quirk of a smile on her lips. "I wasn't half so wild before my daughter," she replies softly. "I had better graces. More patience. A better hold on my temper. I wasn't the sort of woman who invites gossip, truth be told, but now I am." She shrugs. "Sometimes comments still hurt, even if you do have a tough skin. Sometimes, something will worm in and sting."

Th'ero seems surprised by Kimmila's answer, though he's careful to keep it toned back. Tilting his head to the side, he gives her a curious and lingering look, before smiling softly. "I never figured you were one who invited it. Not purposely, like some." Pausing, he mulls over his words before continuing. "Everyone changes." The Weyrleader murmurs, nodding his head in agreement to her next words. "And I know that too well." Th'ero admits with a faint smirk, letting his arms uncross and fall to his sides. He steps closer to Kimmila then, eyes drifting to meet hers. "I'll try to be less on edge. I can't promise anything, but I will promise to try."

Kimmila meets his gaze and smiles faintly. "I never invite it. But it finds me from time to time." Her chuckle is quiet and introspective, meeting his gaze and lifting a brow slightly as he steps closer. "Do you?" she asks, lifting a hand to rest light fingertips against his chest. "Everyone changes," she replies, the corners of her lips drawing up, slightly teasing as she echoes his words back to him, but in a new context.

"I do." Th'ero replies, simply and without further elaboration, chuckling softly again and leaning forwards slightly to Kimmila's touch. When she echoes back his words and in a new context, the Weyrleader only smiles crookedly. Well played! "We should get back." He murmurs as his hands now lift to slip up along the bluerider's sides. "And we can stay here, if you prefer. Drinks, perhaps? Or we can return to Fort." At the last suggestion, his tone takes on a subtle hint, but Th'ero neither grins nor changes his expression from one of idle curiosity and interest in seeing what the bluerider may choose. It would seem he's leaving it for her to decide. She invited him here, after all!

Kimmila's fingers spread out to rest the whole of her palm against his chest, and she chuckles softly. "Let's find a drink here, first. If I remember right, the ale is excellent. Then we can return to Fort." His subtle hint is not missed, though while he doesn't show it in his expression, her green eyes take on a faint gleam of mischief. Standing on her tiptoes, assuming he doesn't move away, she gives him a sudden searing kiss that lasts but a few heartbeats. Then she's turning away, sauntering towards the exit and assuming he'll follow, out into the evening air

"Ale, hmm?" Th'ero muses but nods his head in approval of the choice all the same. A quizzical look flickers onto his expression at the gleam of mischief in Kimmila's eyes and he doesn't move away as she stands up to kiss him. The searing kiss is returned and uninterrupted this time. When it's broken, the Weyrleader is grinning softly, shaking his head as he lets his hold on her pull back as she turns away. And while she saunters off towards the exit, the bronzerider is indeed following behind and as closely as he possibly can. The rest of the night will be spent sampling the best ale that Eastern has to offer, though Th'ero is careful not to get too inebriated. It does help him relax though and he won't shy from Kimmila, no matter how many or who may glance their way, even as they return to Fort to conclude their night together in privacy.

'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.