Black Rock Hold – Courtyard

Pale flagstone has been painstakingly laid to create the wide courtyard, the cracks between free from growth, and filled with tightly packed dirt. The entire courtyard has a gentle upwards sweep, from the gates on the southern wall, to the large bronze doors leading to the Hold itself on the north. The light color of the courtyard stones is contrasted by the dark black of the walls and hold, the stone edges roughly cut, a pair of arches each with a bronze gate on the south and eastern portions. In the northwestern corner of the courtyard, a long, low building of stone sits. This is the guard and wher barracks, where the Hold's group of mine whers and guard whers are kept until nightfall, under watch of the guards of the Hold.

Coming from Fort Weyr popping out of *Between* over Xanadu Weyr is a trio of dragons, gold, bronze and brown. It is the bronze who sends greetings to the queen of Xanadu Weyr with a politely-worded, but vague request, Dremkoth asking Seryth for permission to enter Xanadu's coverage on a Fort Hold matter. The answer given, the Rider signals the rest of the group that they're to proceed and the bronze dips a wing, banking out away from Xanadu and leading the formation out over the Caspian Lake that the Sea of Azov drains into prior to running downriver for the Southern Sea. It isn't far, the distant shore where Black Rock Hold is situated visible as a dark line upon the horizon and so they'll stretch their wings and fly to the hold straight. It's the landing field D'ani chooses to land in, swinging down to await the others and when they're assembled, he tells them, "We're to stop at Xanadu Weyr on out return and see the Weyrleaders, but for now they've given clearance." Then he turns towards the hold proper, shifting in preparation to heading for the courtyard. "We're going to be low-key today. Just learning the jump-tos of Pern and studying how caravans in the south link to the northern ones for Weyrling classes. So our questions will mostly be general ones about when trains enter and leave, what sort of people run them, that sort of thing." He waits to see if they understand, "Any questions?"

Ezra scrambles down from Dremkoth's side, the boy's features flushed and excited as he stows his helmet, gloves, goggles, and riding jacket. He wears his Stonehaven one despite the weather, perhaps in the hope that it will lure Anrila out. Or, maybe he feels this is a Stonehaven mission, so it must be viewed as such. Even though no one will know the significance of those three colors. "Are we…us?" the boy asks, glancing at the dragons and then around at the others before pale green eyes flick back to D'ani.

Kouzevelth is cautious enough to send out a polite greeting to Seryth as well; it isn't the clearance request of Dremkoth's so much as a follow-up, acknowledging that she is on another queen's territory. That accomplished, she settles between her brothers, fanning out her wings oh-so-briefly and cautiously so as not to hit anyone with their expanse. Inri slips down, adjusting her scarf around her neck — if she'd thought of it, she would have one in Stonehaven's colors, but this one is Fort Weyr black-and-brown. "Excellent question," she says, grinning, because she herself isn't actually sure, regardless of how many premade personas she may already have for nosing about purposes.

Niumdreoth follows after the gold and bronze once they have came from between, he offering greetings as well to the local dragons not wanting to seem rude about just appearing here after all. The brown sweeps slightly to the side making sure there is plenty of space as they continue onwards toward the hold. Abigail lets her attention rift over the area, taking it all in and hums softly to herself. Once everyone has landed she slips down from her dragon, giving his neck a slight pat as moves onwards towards where the others are and listens in to what is said. She nods while glancing to D'ani and then sends a glance back to the hold. "Works for me." The question from Ezra makes her glances to him and she ponders that.

Rayathess has been given clearance to leave Fort Weyr but under restrictions obviously. A test, perhaps too. He has been silent since they all gathered to prepare to leave and did not balk when it was obvious he'd be pairing with Inri and have to mount up Kouzevelth. Awkward at best, probably made worse by the cumbersome borrowed flight jacket he acquired (no guesses as to who gave it to him) and just plain numbness over the whole situation. Poor Inri is stuck with frozen silence the whole way through or brief, curt answers and he probably kept his eyes closed for most of it. When they land, he looks all too relieved and dismounts as fast as he's capable without seeming too rude to either gold or her rider or land flat on his behind for his efforts. Moving off a bit towards Ezra once he has his legs steady again, Rayathess darts a nervous glance around the Hold, before focusing back on Inri and the other Weyrlings, "We could pass as Traders? Maybe." Right?

Pretending not to notice Rayathess' awkward landing, the bronze Weyrling pulls clipboards of paper and pens out of the pack atop Dremkoth prior to dismounting, offering them to the others once they're assembled. "We're us, yes," Dani answers Ezra, adding gently, "They saw us flying in and landing, after all. All but you two." His gaze flicks to include Rayathess, brown eyes holding a touch of apology for the necessity, "It's probably best not to mention Stonehaven here, since we're too near to the territory Laris has been lurking in for my comfort. He may have men stationed here." He grins at Inri then, adding his praise to hers; it was an excellent question! His attention goes back to the boy, "That it was, Ezra. And for this jaunt, you are just Ezra, note-taker?" Unless the boy can come up with a better reason for coming along on a Weyrling in-field assignment. "Or traders," he amends after Rayathess speaks. "Remain alert, keep any weapons you have out of sight and be laid back about the questions you ask." If he's armed there's nothing visible as he turns and leads them to the courtyard where access to the waterfront docks beyond it lies.

Ezra smiles encouragingly at his big brother and nods to D'ani. "I can do that," he says, accepting the clip board and stylus, tucking it automatically behind his ear. "I think note taking is best," he says to Rayathess. "I don't know anythin' about trading, but I can take notes." Have to be realistic, right?

Inri probably isn't any more armed than the knife she always keeps on her out of habit; she knows how to gut fish with it, and probably /could/ defend herself if need be, but fighting really really isn't her forte. So she's sticking with the group, some of whom are assuredly carrying weapons, holding her head high and acting as almost-a-weyrwomanly as possible. "Pen looks good," she tells Ezra with a softer smile. "You have completed your disguise. You can be a touring merchant inspecting the area for a possible setup, maybe," she suggests some finesse to Rayathess' alternate identity. "Just have a plan for if someone asks your name."

Abigail casts a glance over to Rayathess once he had joined the rest, she tilts her head to watch him a moment before her attention turns back to D'ani where she takes hold of the clipboard and paper curiously looking over it. Doesn't have to be told to keep her weapons hidden, and while she doesn't have her bow with her she does have something that is for sure. "It'll be alright, just have ta stay calm and so forth." This said softly before she looks to Ezra, a smile seen and she nods. "I have ta agree with Inri. Fit the part well." She'll wait for the others to lead before following up the rear of the ground it seems.

Rayathess only glances briefly to D'ani to acknowledge the apology, not taking any offense. If anything, the young man's mind is distracted and though he tries to focus, his eyes are constantly darting over the surroundings. Clearly, someone is not enjoying being so far south. "Note taking works." he murmurs to his brother, "I know a little bit about trading or… being merchant. Either works or something…" Inri earns a sidelong look that actually looks thankful for the gold Weyrling's input. But at the names, Rayathess can only grimace, "Any ideas, Ezra? Something easily remembered? I could go as Ray?" Pretty obscure? "Alert. Right." Only thing Rayathess can do, since he's likely as unarmed as Inri is. Maybe given one knife or a small dagger, but there is no hint or sight of any weapon on him. He'll follow once D'ani begins to lead them towards the courtyard, sticking closer to Ezra's side though he gives Abigail a quick look over his shoulder as she takes up position behind them.

The courtyard of Black Rock, flanked on all sides with whatever offices and shops a hold like this would have, is a-bustle with activity. In one corner there's a small bakery-sandwich-and-klah-type shop with several tables outside. Half-doors open to the summer breeze, the owners raucously call out to attract business to their place. Groups of twos and threes move through on different errands and a sprinkling of hold brats who should probably be in harper lessons run in and out the brisk foot traffic. They either skipped out or it's a local rest day. A dog snoozes in the sun against the wall, there's even a feline who braves crossing the courtyard, but someone steps on it, the yowl adding to the racket. A line of dock workers with sacks and boxes on their shoulders move through from the docks towards the main hold, while a heavily-loaded, creaking cart enters the other side of the courtyard from the inland road. "Shall we spilt up?" queries D'ani of the rest, eyeing the chaos, almost loathe to plunge right in.

Ezra flashes Inri a grin, the boy growing at least half an inch at her praise. Abigail's too, but the boy has always been sweet on Inri. Looking up at his brother, Ezra shifts a bit closer. Seeking comfort or trying to give it? "Uh, I can go as…" He trails off and looks towards the sky, before he nods as if reaching some decision. "I'll be Jedtro." As they walk into the courtyard the boy edges closer to both D'ani and Rayathess, wide eyes gazing around him. "No," is his quick - almost too quick - answer to D'ani's question.

Inri's identical response, a quick and clear "No," comes almost simultaneously with Ezra's. She smiles shyly and adds some elaboration, "It actually adds to credibility that we all stay together, honestly. That's much more believable, a group of weyrlings staying together. Splitting up might make us look suspicious." It's also potentially terrifying, but she doesn't need to say that, does she?

Abigail follows along, her pale gaze drifting here and there now and then while she takes in the different people that they pas getting an overall idea of the place it would seem. As for the idea of splitting up she shakes her head. "No, I dan't think that's a good idea." Once Inri brought up the thought she smiles a moment. "For the moment I agree with that. Sticking together is the key at the moment."

How's four 'no's' for an overall stereo effect? Rayathess' is abruptly cut off however, as Ezra's and Inri's voices override his, so the man only smirks towards D'ani. Seems like that idea has been voted down? The bronze weyrling isn't the only one loathe to plunge right into that chaos either, though Rayathess is doing his best to heed Abigail's earlier advice: Stay Calm. So he does — sort of. Alert, his eyes take in each sudden movement (those kids are likely driving him nuts right now), lingering briefly on faces and clothing. When the feline yowls, it takes all his strength not to flinch and instinctively react and he edges himself a little further towards Ezra but keeping himself well within the group. "Inri and Abigail are right. We've more strength as a group here," he says in a low voiced agreement, grasping at /something/ to focus on other than his nerves. "At most, I say spread out a bit but still be within sight."

"Okay, no," D'ani chuckles at them all, smirking back at Rayathess over Ezra and Inri's head. He returns his attention to the chaos. Where to start? The children are harmless - or are they? One of the larger ones bolts from where he'd been loitering, dashing through the crowd while behind him shouts of, "Stop! Thief!" Rings out and a portly man tries to give chase. One of the smaller kids, who has been walking along the top of a head-high stone wall rimming the courtyard, sees his chance and leaps upon the back of the running pre-teen. This doesn't slow the pickpocket in the slightest, with the would-be hero riding the thief runner-style, his tiny fist bonking the other on the head. His path of escape takes him right past where their small group is located - he's likely making for the open landing grounds right behind them. No one else in there is doing anything, so as the pair fly past, D'ani steps back, sticks out his foot… and trips him. The rear guard had better have quick reflexes!

Ezra sees the reaction to the robbery with wide eyes, the boy jumping a bit and reaching out to grab onto Rayathess' arm. But then he's letting it go with a deep frown and rising anger, reaching out to try and grab the thief. To try and hold him, or…just to try something.

Inri, on the other hand, just jumps out of the way — she doesn't want thieving types falling on her, or into her, or trying to steal any of her things or anyone else's — on the other hand, there's nothing she can really do but step aside. They're not on Fort's territory that she has any say what happens anyway, and so all that comes out of her mouth is, "Oh," and she's watching to see how the others handle this development. Maybe they'll get some information out of it after all.

Abigail smirks a bit as she sees that Rayathess is agreeing with Inri and herself, well then so be it, that'll work for her! Her gaze flicks towards the sound of the 'thief' bit and she tenses slightly while watching the one running, and now his been ridden on? Well this is interesting turn of advents. Her clipboard is dropped once she catches sight of D'ani stepping out to try and trip. As the teen is tripped she is quick to move forward, a hand going to try and grab hold of the thief's wrist and she then moves to try and twist that arm to the side. She is mainly trying to deal with the thief, the one that was 'riding' the thief is a thus ignored at the moment.

Rayathess tenses immediately at the cries of 'thief', his green eyes hurriedly scanning the crowds for a glimpse of the would-be culprit, followed by a surge of near panic. Please don't be someone he knows… Relief is mingled with a sense of puzzled bafflement as the "thief" turns out to be no more than one of the larger children, with a smaller one doing his best to bring him down. Odd, but his frown deepens and a wary sort of concern begins to build as their paths begin to cross. Defensive now, as Ezra reaches for him, he tries to take hold of his younger brother only to miss as D'ani trips the thief and Ezra is going after him. No choice but to move now, Rayathess lunges forwards, not to the aid of Abigail who is now making an attempt to subdue the thief but to Ezra and his hand will reach out again to try and snare his brother — even if he has to haul him back by the collar of his jacket, if he hasn't already made it to the thief.

D'ani, meanwhile braces himself and catches the would-be hero when he is thrown from the pickpocket's back as he's tripped, the force sending him down on his butt on the flagstones. The thief is easily corralled by Abigail, but struggles vainly to wrest himself free anyhow while glaring at her. A bunch of kids scramble up in the wake of the chaos staring at Ezra with hero-worshipping eyes. He's their age and he STOPPED THE WHOLE THING! At least that's how they see it. They cluster around him peppering him with excited questions like, how does he get to be with riders? And where's he from? And why's he here? The portly man huffs and puffs to a stop with a guard on his heels while the rest of the courtyard? Goes about their business with barely a yawn. If they even noticed the commotion.

Ezra stops the thief. SINGLEHANDEDLY. While there were five, no, TWENTY other guys fighting them. Yeah. He's just that cool. Hauled back by Rayathess when Abigail steps in, the boy straightens his coat and looks around at the other kids, and in the end he just lifts his chin proudly. "M'from Fort. These are my friends." /His/ friends. Nyah.

"Hello," Inri tells the gaggle of children, kneeling down ever-so-slightly and waving. She turns her attentions to the hardened criminal pre-teen, next, with a slightly more judgmentally quizzical look. It is trying for strong, crowd-controlling and weyrwomanly, and it's at least working on getting there. "So /are/ you a thief, or are you just getting called one?"

Abigail works on keeping the thief down once he has been tripped. She tightens her hold on his arm, twisting it once more while using a knee to try and push it against the struggling teen to keep him down. The struggling doesn't make her stop; in fact it makes her tighten the grip she has on the boy's arm. "Stop moving or I'll break yer bloody arm." She hisses out, a slight grumble escaping her.

Rayathess will let Ezra go almost immediately once he's hauled back, bringing his hands back to his sides where they curl slightly into fists. Must not ruin his image and reputation as hero of the moment! He can only stare as all the kids scramble up and begin to ply his brother with questions, but holds his tongue. Stepping in a little closer to where Abigail holds the would-be thief down, he murmurs, "Need help? Or you got him?" But his attention is soon drawn to the portly man and the Guard following behind him. Those two are given a wary look, despite Rayathess' attempts not to. Now who are /they/? He almost snaps out a few questions, brows furrowing as his nervousness spikes but bites his tongue, catching himself. Keep calm, keep calm.

"He took my wallet!" claims the portly man, while the guard ignores the gaggle of kids and pretty much the Fort Weyrlings also as he wades into the small group to haul the pre-teen to his feet. "Hand it over," he says in an almost bored tone, as he holds out one hand. D'ani, meanwhile is helping right the kid he caught, who scampers over to boast his pouncing and riding skills, eyeing Ezra with perhaps a little jealousy. The would-be thief gives Abigail one last glare after he's back on his feet, reluctantly produces the wallet, which is joyfully snatch by the portly man. "Thanks," the guard says to the Fort group, an offhand praise for their involvement then, "Come with me," and he hauls the kid off to be dealt with. Their little corner is now a little less hectic save for those kids eyeing Ezra with outright /envy/ for the company he keeps. Only then does a figure sitting on a barrel whittling beside the courtyard entryway speak with a rough accent, "Now then, why're you here, really?"

Ezra is sad when his new groupies trickle off, and with a little frown he turns around to check on Rayathess, peering up at his big brother with some concern. "You okay?" he asks, leaving the 'grown ups' to answer the barrel-sitting man.

Inri looks up at the voice, and manages the cute-girl-play-dumb headtilt (that, due to her knot, is probably an /obvious/ ploy, or else Fort keeps some stupid people in future leadership, but she plays it off well regardless as a tactic) for half a moment before saying, "Who, us?" She waits a moment before offering up the laziest possible of answers, "We're weyrlings. Learning. Practicing. We don't have much experience betweening in the south, and we've got classes on train routes, so we came down to get a better look, take some notes." A nod toward Ezra and his clipboard.

"Thanks, I got 'em." Abigail offers to Rayathess as she hears him. The thief is hauled upwards once he has stopped struggling, she never loosens the grip on the teen's arm until the wallet is given over and the guard is hauling him off to deal with him. Once she lets go she brushes the bit of dirt off that she managed to collect on herself from the struggling. Her pale gaze drifts over the little group and she glances to the one on the barrel questioning what they are doing here. At the answer given from Inri she nods. "Aye came to learn about the different holds, and the businesses that they see and deal with as well."

Rayathess doesn't wholly relax, even when the would-be thief is handed to the Guard and the wallet returned to the portly man. He's still eyeing everyone warily but trying to mask it as curiosity and with Ezra's groupies trickling away, it helps ease the tension he felt trying to keep tabs on so many faces and voices at once. "I'm fine," he mutters to his brother's question, managing a faint smile. "Busy place." Understatement. Rayathess begins to bristle again at that rough voice, turning his head as his green eyes search for the source. Once pinpointed, he swallows back his unease and just bobs his head along in agreement with Inri and Abigail's answers.

D'ani will allow the other answers to stand, there's no sense chiming in where others have so ably answered. The gaze of the man on the barrel lingers longest on Rayathess but he includes all of them when he holds out a calloused palm. "I'm stevedore on th' docks. Can tell you a lotta stuff 'bout the traders' ships, what they carry, where they're from, where they're bound." His hand remains there, waiting, a hopeful gleam in his eyes. It's D'ani who digs into his pocket for some coins, dropping them into his palm and says simply, "Tell us what you know about the routes through here and the carters?"

Ezra stays beside his brother and watches with wide eyed interest as D'ani pays the man, before his gaze flicks eagerly to him. Then, as if remembering something, he grabs the stylus from behind his ear and waits, poised to take notes.

Inri doesn't speak, but takes a few steps closer to D'ani, acting as the shadow standing next to him more than anything — though she takes a moment here or there to look at the other three, watching everyone but especially Rayathess, who seems to be reading as somewhat uncomfortable. Not wanting to interrupt, she doesn't /say/ anything, but she's got her eye out for it now. The only thing she says is to give the man a charming smile and, "Thank you. We appreciate it."

Abigail curiously watches the person on the barrel for a few moments more, pondering before she sends a glance to the ones she is with. The nervous energy is picked up from Rayathess though and she shifts to stand next to him, a slight nod a faint smile sent his way to try and show it'll be alright. Her pale gaze us back to the man who is hopefully going to give them some information. "Aye, thank ye." Maybe the more time he hears it it'll mean something, not that the coins that D'ani just handed over wouldn't be the real reason.

Rayathess is uncomfortable and for various reasons but with everyone else playing it so calmly, it helps keep him grounded and focused. So slowly, but surely, he eases more into a mask of idle curiosity, almost bored as an excuse for his gaze to be wandering as it does. He does his best to ignore the stranger's lingering glance, the hairs on the back of his neck crawling but he brushes it aside and pretends to take interest in Ezra as his brother takes his stylus. Just as though he's overseeing his work… or something. D'ani's payment is noted, perhaps a little frowned upon but Rayathess keeps his silence. Barely. He's just as interested in what the man has to say in reply even if he's overly cautious and wary. Abigail is given a brief look too as she stands closer and he gives her a faint nod. All is fine.

The dock worker peers at his palm, then back up to D'ani. His look: Really? That's all you're giving me? The bronze Weyrling twitches his brows, adopting indifference and simply waits, turning a warm, brief smile to Inri as she steps close to him. The dock worker's gaze sweeps the group, testing their generosity, winking coarsely at the cute little goldrider act. "Walp," the Black Rock man finally gives in, pocketing the coins, "we ship a lotta grain, salted beef, live cattle and runners… fish." That's a given he seems to imply. "When the herds are here, they gotta go an' if the ships're late, they'll drive 'em upriver to the coast. Same with the grain cos it molds if we wait. The carters 're all local families. They'll go only so far before reloading their goods off to another train further north." He then waits for questions from them.

Ezra writes away, the tip of his tongue peeking out of the corner of his mouth. "Grain…beef…cattle…what was the rest?" he asks, looking hopefully at the man. "How do they know what goes to what caravan? Where things go and stuff?"

"Good question," says Inri to Ezra; it's one of the many times that she says that to him, but he took the words right out of her mouth. Her brain cogs are turning, eyes slightly squinty — she keeps opening her mouth as if to ask something else, but closes it again, dismissing the idea.

Abigail tilts her head while peering at the dock worker at the look he gives the coins in his hand, well she isn't about to offer anymore so that'll be all he gets it would seem! A slight hum escapes her and she nods slightly to the information that is given. She glances to Ezra and smiles while nodding to what is asked, she'll wait for the answer before thinking of any questions herself.

"Runners and fish," Rayathess supplies in a quiet, muttered tone to Ezra, though he could just be clearing his throat too. Never mind that the question was asked to the strange man either. Giving his brother a nod of approval, he's content to keep up his silent act, listening attentively while feigning idle interest. While they answer questions and ask them, he's keeping an eye out as he remains untrusting of the crowds and throngs of people passing by them as they go about their business.

D'ani stiffens and glares when the stevedore oogles Inri, stepping closer to her side protectively. "Fish and runners," supplies the barrel-seated man helpfully to Ezra in an almost-unison with Rayathess, after which he chuckles dryly. He's sharper than he looks, having noted Rayathess' unease, and shoots him a question, "Ye ever been here 'fore?" And if he's going to give out more information, the dock hand wants more coins. His hand is there, waiting while he smirks. Only after another - but it's only one - is dropped into his hand and he's frowned to show his displeasure, he answers, "The ships take what's ready and buy it outright for resale unless it's a transport for special delivery. The carters - depends on what region they come from. The ones furthest to the south o' here drive in the live critters from the ranches. The ones from right here - Black Rock - take the salted fish and the ones from the plains load up the grains from the farms. They all stop here, though, whether they're offloading to ships or passing through overland to show their manifest to and pay the fee for road usage." D'ani is casual when he asks, "Do they usually keep their families on these wagon trains or no? And where do they go from here?"

Ezra scribbles, "fish and runners," and a few other notes as well. Absorbed in his task, he doesn't have much room for watching his brother - or trying to come up with his own questions. Not at the moment, at any rate.

If Inri noticed the ogling at all, it absolutely doesn't bother her — she's got to take advantage of what she can, right, and if looking cute is part of it, well. There you go. She twists one of her braids around her finger and keeps watching, offering up the tiniest of appreciative expressions only. Noting that Rayathess is looking at the crowds, though, her eyes wander as well, looking in the direction he isn't — just n case. There might be something they're missing.

Abigail smirks faintly as she catches the barrel man also ogling at Inri, her arms fold in front of her which proves she isn't amused. Her eyes narrowing a moment while she bites her lip to keep herself from making a comment that most likely would cause a problem. The question towards Rayathess makes her glance over to him and she peers over at the crowds pondering if he may have saw something.

Rayathess has seen nothing in the crowds but the stevedore is given a bit of a startled look as he's pulled from his thoughts by the sudden question. But he plays along with it, giving a bit of a sheepish smile even if he's anything but for his behavior. "Nope. Haven't been this far from Fort in my life." So his unease could just be a bit of jitters for being in a new Hold and a busy one at that! Letting his features fall again into an idle and passive curiosity, he listens intently and shows nothing in reaction to the man's information. If anything has clicked, the young man is hiding it by pretending to be interested again in the surroundings or overseeing Ezra's work again.

The stevedore shoots D'ani an incredulous look. "Are ya daft? That's heavy work, man. Wimmen are far and few and them's a burly type." Again his eyes drift toward Inri, appreciatively linger there for a moment. Inri may not mind, but D'ani isn't taking the man's interest so equably, shifting his body to shield Inri just a bit. The dock worker doesn't seem to notice, adding in an afterthought tossed into the puddle of remembered happenstance. "Kid and woman were in one a' th' trains come through with a cattle drive a seven and three day back. Kid was mighty hungry." How does he know that? When D'ani ohs casually, the man points a rope-roughened finger to the outdoor tables of that klah-sandwich shop and says, "The woman with the carter bought 'er sandwich and cakes there." So the child was a girl. He chuckles, shaking his head. "Never saw a kid - tiny little thing - inhale cakes like that. You'd think she'd never had a sweet treat her whole life." Whether he believes Rayathess, there's no telling for the benign nod that follows the answer given.

Ezra's heart leaps into his throat and he has to cough to stifle his gasp, turning his head to cough into his sleeve, dropping his stylus in the process. Scrambling for it, he resumes his note taking, muttering, 'no women…kids…hard work…' as he goes, though he darts a quick look around at the others. Must not be suspicious. But OH OH OH.

The longer he looks the more Inri /doesn't/ like it, and so she brushes her hand against D'ani's back quickly, a gesture of thanks, and doesn't move out from the shield he's creating. Her eyes want to widen, but she's forcing her face stoic; that can't sound significant, people will notice, and Kouzevelth is pressing her inside her head to keep focused and not give away any sort of tell. "So they stood out? Must've been the talk of the town that there were kids on the train, if it's not something that usually happens." As in: lots of people will be talking about it and they can follow the rumors.

Abigail listens closely to what the dock worker goes on saying, there was a kid and woman here not that long ago. Well that sounds like a possible lead indeed, even more so when the fact that it was a little girl I brought up. Though like the others she doesn't offer a show of it being important. IF there is something she can do she can at least keep a stern face.

Rayathess doesn't seem to care if his answer was taken as truth or not, his focus suddenly honing in on what the stevedore shares. Barely does he manage to keep his features neutral, trying to keep that mask of idle interest in place when all he wants to do is pass knowing looks to the Weyrlings, some sort of signal though he can guess they've likely picked up. Jolted back from his tumbling thoughts by Ezra's scrambling, he clears his throat slightly as if to correct him for his fumbling. Part of the ruse, right? He steps a little closer to his younger brother, dropping his gaze as if to peer over his shoulder at the notes, trying not to fidget now. Did Ezra take notes on what the rest of the stevedore said? Inri's question has Rayathess' gaze lifting to dart her way for a moment, then to the man again, his interest genuine this time for his response.

"Aye, yeah? I'd say so," answers the stevedore absently to Inri's question about standing out, eyeing that sudden flurry of movement from Ezra. "But not the talk o' th' town, really. I only noticed cos she wolfed the cake down whereas the younguns around here make 'em last as long's they can." Though that really doesn't answer the implied question of whether anyone else noticed the child. There's the sound of a bell clamoring from the docks. "Argh! Time ta git!" The dock worker slides from the top of his barrel-seat and strides off into the crowd. D'ani can't very well herd the group over to the sandwich shop without shouting to the stevedore that they're here to trace a child on the caravans, so he simply nods to the information. The hasty departure of the man is helpful however and soon enough, he's guiding the group for that sandwich shop for refreshments and it is there they find out that the girl in question left via the river road north with the caravan, bound for Rubicon River Hold, near to the southern sea.

'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.