Fort Weyr - The Entrance Square
The massive rock face that makes up the outer walls of Fort Weyr dominate your view amongst the small cotholds that dot the landscape. The path is well-worn and well tended, bushes and tall pine trees running right up against the road, keeping it well shaded in summer, and protected in winter.
Next to the tunnel entrance is a small Tavern, sounds of merriment facilitated by alcohol pouring out the doorway each time some one opens it.


Winter is upon Fort Weyr at last and it comes… in droves. Snow, snow and more snow falls heavily and lazily from the skies from early evening on to the next day and well into the noon hour. Drifts of it pile up and workers are hard pressed to keep the bowls clear and levelled. With no wind, the air still remains chilly and most weyrfolk and riders are bundled up thickly to stay warm. Those who don't have to venture outside stay indoors, but even a few weyrbrats and children tumble out of the caverns at some point to play in the fresh snow under the watchful eyes of caretakers.

Out in the entrance square however, there is another sceario playing out. Late caravans - or some would say some very gutsy and risky traders! - were meant to head out on the trails again but had been delayed. Outfitted as they are for winter travel, deep snow is not friendly to anything and poses its difficulties. Which in this case has led to an entire train being lodged, this way and that, across and scattered about the entrance square. It's like a huge puzzle and with very minimal maneuvering room. With no space for dragons to land and the trader's outrightly refusing to allow the wagons to be picked up and hoisted… it's proven to be a nightmare. Which may explain why Th'ero and the head and lead Trader are having a very tense and heated discussion (or argument). Word would have spread to Thunderbird regardless and out to any volunteers willing to help on the ground. Only… can anything be done?

Having recieved word of the issues and the tension in the square, K'drozen and several other members of Thunderbird wing have made there way on foot out to the squeare. Gazing about at the situation K'drozen frowns slightly and moves in the dirrection of Th'ero and the head trader. Looking to Th'ero he salute and says simply, "Sir."

Winter is a horrifically romanticised season if you ask Lana. Yes, she has lived in Fort Weyr all her life so one might expect her to be used to the cold, and as a matter of fact she is no stranger to it. But that certainly doesn't mean that she enjoys it. If she had her way she would be huddled up inside, nice and warm, right about now. But no, she's heading out to help with a bunch of traders that managed to get themselves stuck in the snow. Never mind that she hadn't received any orders to come out and is actually choosing to help out of her own good will. But that's still not a reason for her to be happy about the situation. In fact irritation seems to roll off the brownrider in waves as she trudges out to the caravan pileup and her Weyrleader, who seems to be in an arugment with the caravan leader. Lana gives K'drozen a quick dip of her head in greeting as she approached before offering Th'ero a salute and saying, "Weyrleader. If I may ask, what, exactly, caused all… this." Her last word is paired with a gesture to the cart chaos. The snow is probably a obvious factor, so she is more than likely referring to the carts being out in the snow in the first place.

Oh the winters of Fort. Always so heavy, so coldso /numbing/. Like K'drozen and the others, So'l has rushed out to the square to pitch in as needed. Clad in heavy winter-resistant gear, he's /still/ shivering (which says a lot of about this time of year) as he approaches Th'ero as well. "Weyrleader," he nods, his mouth obscured by the thick scarf wrapped around his neck as he saltues. "What a mess," he says lowly, eyes scanning the scene before the bronzerider offers a wave to both Lana and K'drozen. "Good to see you both. Thanks for coming out to help," he says, his breath puffing out from the scarf. Lana's question about what happened here piques So'l's ears as he waits for an answer.

"K'drozen," Th'ero abruptly ends his heated debating with the Lead Trader, turning his head slightly to give the brown Windrider a welcoming nod. Dark eyes glance past K'drozen's shoulders then as Lana approaches and So'l as well and some of the tension in the Weyrleader's shoulders drops. Here's some backup and some help! Just in time too, or Faranth knows how it would have progressed! "Good to see all of you," he says and though his expression is locked in a reserved and cold mask, his tone is genuine. "What a mess is right." Th'ero snorts in response to So'l, only to grimace at Lana and his answer cut off rudely by the Lead Trader, who is quite clearly on the defensive. "We were only trying to leave, as is our right! Our wagons are outfitted to travel the snows and we were under the impression that the roadways were kept clear here due to the traffic between Weyr, Hold and Hall." There is some truth in that, given how close all three locations are. "We'd started out as we always do but the lead wagon started slippin' and slid across so swiftly the others had no time to react…" Hence the chaotic mess. Th'ero just scowls at the man. "And we told you before that the snow here can fall faster than we can clear it. If you'd waited a little longer, we'd have been out! And if you would only allow us to use the dragons…" The Trader only scoffs, glancing back at his precious caravan train. "What? And risk having one of 'em dropped or damaged? Never!"

K'drozen looks to the caravans and says softly, "We could move them easier and with less chance of damage with our dragon." he shakes his head and frowns just a bit, "He looks to Th'ero and says, "Maybe if we get some the ash from the fires, it would give them someting to grip on to pull free." he frowns a bit though.

Lana casts S'ol a smile at his thanks, although it is small and shows stress from the current situation. "No problem," she murmurs quietly. Then her attention is back on the Weyrleader and the Caravan leader, her eyes slowly narrowing as the lead trader gives his little rant of explaination. Her shoulders tense slightly, giving the hint that she might not be very fond of what this man is saying, but she does not say anything until he has finished, unlike the trader who cut off the Weyrleader when she had asked him a questions. Lana's voice is cool as she asks, "your men. Are they still in the wagons, and if so how many are there? Those that are able could be of use clearing out the wagons, and it may be best for the rest of them to return to the Weyr so they do not catch their deaths out here." There is a pause as she looks back over at Th'ero and inquires, "assuming that is alright with you?" It is apparent that there is more she wants to say. Oh, there is a lot more that she wants to say to this idiotic trader that had put his people at risk with a stupid, impatient desicion. But now is not the time nor the place.

When it comes to these sorts of things, So'l is never surprised how pride and greed can turn a man dumb. He holds his tongue on that particular point, however, and instead says, "The dragons are better equipped at keeping your wares safe than the snow. At least dragons think for themselves. The snow? Random and dangerous. And unfortunate," he says lowly, his eyes sweeping the scene again, assessing the damage and calculating a few things. "Ash would be helpful. So would some wooden planks. We can use them for leverage and as temporary tracks." Leave it to a former woodcrafter to think of such things. "At least until the wagons are back together and organized," So'l shrugs. Though his smile isn't visible (thank you, scarfy!), the bronzerider's eyes glint with a hint of mirth at Lana. He can tell that, like him, she has more to say and remembers a time when she wouldn't have held her tongue. Moving closer to her, he whispers, "Looks like those weyrling diplomacy lessons paid off, eh?" So'l looks to Th'ero, awaiting orders and ready to take whatever action is needed.

Th'ero tilts his head as he considers K'drozen's suggestions on ash but any reply from the Weyrleader is held off as he bristles again by the attitude given by the Lead Trader. As for Lana and So'l awaiting on his orders, none will come. Th'ero's head has tilted up despite the flakes of snow still falling, his brows knitted in a scowl but there is a worried edge to his expression as he gazes back to the Weyr's wall. "I've no issue with whatever is done to help clear the square, so long as ALL are on agreement. These wagons need to be moved by nightfall or they risk freezing. I… I have to…" He's distracted, which is NOT at all like the Weyrleader and he shakes his head, lowering his eyes to fix them on all present. "I'm required elsewhere. So'l? You, Lana and K'drozen are in charge. Delegate responsibilities as you see fit and relay to Abigail if any… situations arise. You can also keep Velokraeth informed." Before anything more can be added, Th'ero is stepping back and vanishing into the tunnel, his stride stiff and tensed. What could have sent him away?

The Lead Trader looks baffled and shocked by the Weyrleader's abrupt departure and it takes a moment for the man to gather his wits as he's left to face down with three Wingriders. "I'm well aware of what snow can do, Wingrider!" he sniffs, not at all convinced that dragons are the option. Lana is given a cool look, "My men and some of my women are ready to help, so long as they're not at risk doing so! And they're plenty warm enough inside the wagons!" Catching their deaths. HA! The man turns his attention from Lana to K'drozen and So'l next and he seems to relax at the suggestion of ash and wooden planks. "Could work and if we are cautious and move one or two at a time… All we need to do is get 'em lined up proper like and out of the way so the roadway can be cleared. My men can help with that!" It'll just be time consuming. Very much so!

K'drozen nods and shoots Th'ero another salute as the weyrlearder turns to go. He smirks at bit towards the traders and says softly, "We will do what we can to help clear this up." before looking to So'l and Lana, "So where do you two think we shoudl start?"

Lana can't help but give a small half-smirk at S'ol's remark concerning diplomacy lessons, although she makes sure to hide it by angling her head to the side for a moment. "Yeah," she murmurs low enough that only he should be able to hear, "lucky for him." Because otherwise she'd have him in teeny tiny strips of idiotic trader right about now. When the Weyrleader has to leave to take care of Faranth-knows-what, hopefully nothing that will be leading to trouble, she doesn't say anything but dgives a dig of her head as he leaves herself and her fellow riders in charge. Awesome, politics. And problem solving. The problem solving she might be alright at, politics… maybe not so much. But she isn't about to let that keep her down! To the lead trader she responds in a clipped voice, "somehow I think I'd be more confident if it was your people saying that themselves." There's a pause during which she sends the man a look of disapproval before continuing, "I can garuntee you that they will be much less at risk helping get themselves out of this situation instead of waiting around for us to fix it. More hands will make it go much faster, so I would be very grateful if you could find those capable of working and send them to help." With that she faces K'drozen and So'l, pausing for a moment as she considers the other brownrider's question. "I like your ideas and do think they will help," she begins. "So'l perhaps you can ask Sharuth to reach out to someone, perhaps a craftrider's dragon, and request them to retrieve wood and ash?" After all, she would know more about who to call than Lana.

At Lana's whispered comments, So'l is smirking back beneath his scarf and playfully nudges her with shoulder. But then the Weyrleader is suddenly being called away and though the reason is unknown, it must obviously be /very/ important. "Understood," So'l nods to Th'ero before the man is moving away, leaving the Thunderbird trio to resolve the situation on their own. Nodding to Lana's suggestion of contacting Sharuth, the bronzerider looks far away for a few moments before replying, "M'se and P'yn are mobilizing members of Haast to come help. They're bringing as much ash and planking as they can carry. Also some strong rope, in case we need to pull any of those wagons along manually." And with no room for dragons here, it's going to be /hard/, manual labor. "In the meantime," So'l looks over to the lead trader, "why don't you start rounding up your people and sending them out here. We'll put them to work once supplies arrive. You should also secure any wares that might be jostled around while we're trying to rock wagons out of the snow."

Not that important of a matter! At least, not one that would result in the Weyr exploding or general mayhem and chaos! No, Th'ero is likely drawn away for other matters, ones murmured about in some gossip circles by the hearths among the riders. How a certain bluerider has reshuffled her duties in her sub-Wing within Pheonix and has not been seen leaving the Weyr — not by going Between anyways. The Weyrleader is gone however and so are any of his answers behind the cause of his departure! But he has faith in the three he left in charge and trusts them to see this sorted through!

The Lead Trader regards Lana cooly again, his mouth drawing back in distaste for the young brownrider and it is hard to say if it's because of her tone or choice of words or that she's a woman (or all of the above) that has him holding her in minimal respect. "I am the head of his caravan, and so speak for my people! I never said they'd not help. We're no slackers, not like some caravans!" he states firmly and dryly. Hmph! The nerve. So'l's reassurance that supplies and added help are on their way have the Lead Trader nodding his head briskly. See? Now this is someone he can reason with! K'drozen too, as the man hasn't done anything (yet) to upset him. "I'll round 'em up but be prepared that we may suggest a few things too! We know these wagons well and how much they can and cannot tolerate, as well as what's in 'em and how heavy they may be." he says and then turns to begin bellowing orders to his people. Soon enough, there are several able bodied men, young and old, dressed in tough winter clothing who come out from where they were standing with their wagons or from within and approach to form a loose semi-circle group around the three riders.

Lana gives a nod when So'l confirms that people are on their way with supplies. "Thank you, So'l." Her voice is sincere as she speaks and is followed by a grateful glance that she casts his way. However, she doesn't focus on it long as the Lead Trader is soon speaking again and apparently trying his hardest to make her snap. Lana forces a tense smile onto her face as she corrects, "actually, I was referring to your insistance that the wagons are warm enough for everyone, even in this weather. But it's good to know that your men will be of use." Her tone remains cool and at least semi-civil, although it is clear to see that she isn't exactly overflowing with love for the man. "Suggest whatever you like," she adds, "as long as it does not put anyone at risk and will not slow progress down too much." As the men arrive she eyes them for a moment before turning back to the Caravan Leader and asking, "how many runners do you have? If you still have them connected to the wagons it would be best to move them away, getting them free from the snow would not be easy if one of them panicks. But they shoud be kept close, they may still be of use."

"Of course," So'l nods back to Lana, lowering his scarf briefly enough to smile her way when — yet again — she responds with civility rather than barbs. When the men begin gathering, so too come a couple of riders from Haast and some general helpers no doubt gathered up from the crafting cavern. In tow they have sacks full of dirt and particulate that will aid the wagons in gaining traction as well as enough planks to work on at least two wagons at the same time. With the caravan's men and the weyrfolk, there's no doubt the job is doable — it'll just take some time. "M'se, R'yn, why don't you focus on that wagon there? Take some men with you, see if you can get it free?" Nodding as the riders move away with some helpers, So'l turns back to Lana, K'drozen, and the lead trader. "Alright, let's focus on this one here," he says, pointing to the worst off of the wagons. Nodding to the suggestion about the runners, So'l comments, "Wingrider Lana is right, we could certainly use their help but best to detach them for now." Gesturing to stacked piles of sacks and planks, the bronzerider moves to grab up enough of the wooden slats to make sturdy tracks atop the snow.

"We use runners primarily for riding point and trail lead, so not many. Five 'n none fit for pulling." The Lead Trader points out with smirk. "And we've left 'em picketed towards the market place when we noticed how bad things got. We'll get the burden beasts unhitched though. You lot!" The man bellows, pointing out a few heads. "You heard 'em! Get the teams unhitched and out!" Several men hurry off then and the sound of harnesses being unbuckled and lowered, the sound of the burden beasts snorting and lowing in complaint at being moved soon fill the air. Only the wagons slated to be worked on first keep their teams. The Lead Trader leaves off harassing Lana, though he still gives her a few distrustful sidelong looks even as So'l begins to organize which wagons are to be worked on first. "We'll keep 'em out of the way and from underfoot. And that wagon," The man points to the one they're considering to move first - the worst of them by far - as he crouches down to heft a few sacks to his shoulders effortlessly. "That 'un has itself mired deep in the back. We tried to balance out the weight within to see if it'd ease up… no luck. Don't think it'll tip…" But one never knows, right? Other Traders step forwards to help carry the materials, waiting and ready to spread or lay it down when instructed to do so by the Wingriders.

The bronzerider's smile is returned by Lana. Well, if she's going to be helping the caravan of some ungrateful trader out of the snow at least she's going to be doing it with a friend? It's certainly better than doing it with people she can't stand. And hey, Ezra certainly won't be able to say that she doesn't have any experiance working with construction again, this totally counts. Not that she particularly sees that subject of conversation coming up again. But if it does she is /prepared/. Unfortunately that doesn't particularly matter at the moment as it is rather important that she focus at the cast at hand. Her jaw clenches as she restrains herself from giving the cavern leader her pattented glare of death. Taking a few steps toward the first wagon that they'll be dealing with she crouches down before suggesting, "perhaps we use several men and some of wood, for leverage, to move the back wheels up a bit and them slide some beneath to keep it level." Of course this would be /much/ more easy with dragons.

Easier? Yes. But where's the fun in that? So'l actually finds himself enjoying the task a little. It seems like ever since he Impressed Sharuth, most difficulties have come easily delivered on dragonback. No food? No problem! Just instantly teleport to the Southern Continent to pick apples and hunt felines. Little girl lost in the woods? No problem! Sharuth can just fly overhead and spot her from above. It's times like these — when dragons can't swoop in to make things easy — that So'l particularly appreciates his training before ever becoming a rider. Nodding to Lana's suggestion, he carries the sturdy planks towards the back of the wagon and sets them down. "We'll lift from behind," the bronzerider gestures to the lead trader and a few of the stronger-looking men, "you and the others slide those planks under the wheels?" This is asked to Lana, who TOTALLY gets points for not unleashing her Barbed Tongue of Doom (tm) on the caravan leader. "Once the planks are under the wheels, let's try to pull the wagon out. Ready?" he asks, moving to firmly grip the wagon's back end. When the others are in place, he'll give the order to lift.

It would be so much easier with dragons for sure, but sometimes situations call that they cannot come in to save the day. In this case, space would not allow for landing and a very tenacious and stubborn Trader would not allow his precious wagons - his and his families and other families livelihood - to be lifted up and out of harms way. Truth be told, it would be just as difficult to get the wagons up in the air. They'd have to be lifted over the Weyr wall and even with the winds down, the weight and awkward shape of the wagons would make it difficult to keep them steady even to be shifted such a short distance. Without Lana's Barbed Tongue of Doom, the Lead Trader is a reasonable man and a hard worker when put to task and so are his men. Neither she or So'l or the other Wingriders will get grief from them and any request asked will be followed through — if possible. "Done and ready when you are!" The Lead Trader calls out when the planks are in place and join So'l and Lana at the back of the wagon. "On your mark, Wingrider!"

Three… two… one… LIFT! On So'l's order, everyone puts their backs into it and with much grunting (and swearing), the wagon slowly but surely wedges its way out of the snow and with the aid of the planks it can be moved out of the way — somewhat. What follows is a myriad of puzzling out which wagons to move and where and to what angle. It's tiring work, repetitive and close to frustrating but at last all the wagons are freed and lined up as they aught to be and out of the way. Workers can now come out to clear the road and pathway, no doubt WITH dragon aid (Pernese plows, anyone?) to speed up the process. By then it's late afternoon and the snow has FINALLY stopped and with exhausted but relieved cheers, the Lead Trader will thank So'l, K'drozen, and yes, even Lana for their help and apologize for his pigheadedness at the start of it all. Offers of a round of drinks and warm food are extended, though if turned down no offence will be given! In the end, the work is done and the Traders will be out of everyone's hair by nightfall, just as the Weyrleader had requested be done.