Fort's Forests — Fort Weyr — Forest Ruins
Little more than foundations are left of this ancient building, the stones long-since fallen and scattered, and so overgrown as to make them nearly blend into the forest from a distance. Small as it is, the moss-covered walls and tumbled-down roof form a sort of maze that twists and winds around trees and shrubbery, some of which growing right out of cracks in the rock. Here and there, bits of metal are visible, peeking out of the ground between pine needles and other debris, a testament to just how old this structure is. An overhanging bit of what may have been the roof, with slate tiles set precariously over it, reveals a shadowed nook, and a stone staircase that descends into darkness. Possibly, there may have been an old mine shaft here, though now the dense foliage makes exploration difficult at best. There is, a little ways beyond the outskirts of the building, a clearer area, with the stone floor still somewhat intact.

It is roughly a day or so ago since Unevyr was caught by Fortian Guards trying to barter safe passage to the South. Throughout the day, the sun has been out and the winter skies clear. But the wind remains bitter and no Fortian can escape the feel of Winter to their very bones. Few come outdoors unless it's required by their duty or work to do so. As the sun begins to set and the hour ticks onwards to evening, the winds pick up but luckily no snow or rain comes with it.

The forests are silent, save for the wind rustling through and providing meagre warmth as the last of the sun's weak light begins to fade. Very few, if any, souls ever venture to the ruins. Pernese are not superstitious concerning hauntings or even ghosts but regardless old relics such as these are often avoided or simply passed by as nothing more than what may have once been in the past. Th'ero has been here often and often alone, save for the rare few instances. Today would be one of those instances, where the Weyrleader has sent word by firelizard to call a certain Guard to report, of all places, there. It's a spur of the moment decision, one likely borne while the bronzerider sits with his back braced against the corner of some of the remaining ruined walls of the once stone structure that stood there. It at least is sturdy enough and offers some shelter from the winds and while he waits he goes about sharpening his sword. Is the man ever idle?

Walking briskly through this wooded terrain, the Guard in question has a demeanor of purpose. Though his posture would never give it away, his eyes show that he's not entirely certain where he is. Afterall, his normal duty never requires him to come here. Still, he's confident enough with the directions he's been given and tucks his hands deep into the heavy duty duster he wears against the cold. It would appear that Yurolt has not shaven since he left the Weyr a little more than a sevenday ago. He already has the workings of a mighty beard, although his skin is not used to this and he occasionally itches unknowingly. Upon reaching the designated spot, he sees the Weyrleader, and offers a salute.

Very few know the way to this exact location. Most will stumble across it by accident, as Th'ero did, either by forest path or the ancient tunnels deep in the Weyr itself. The Weyrleader is prone to wandering the Weyr and the forests and the mountains beyond seem to be a preference of his. Dressed in his thickest and heaviest winter gear, the bronzerider is no doubt cold but not enough to be uncomfortable. The fur lined collar of his jacket keeps the worst of the wind from his face, but his hood is down at least and one can easily see his face and the mood his features are currently set in. Th'ero has kept himself well groomed, save for the short beard he always sports. Yurolt's approach is given away both by the quiet being disturbed by his footsteps and the fact that the Weyrleader has put his firelizards on sentinel duty somewhere among the trees. Straightening, he puts his sharpening tool away and slips his sword back into its scabbard as his eyes focus on the young Guard. There is a stiff but respectful nod given for the salute and a moment of lingering silence as Th'ero studies him. "My apologies for the unusual location. I hope you did not get too turned around?" he asks and his gaze noticeably lingers on the Guard's unshaven face. Questioning, but never voiced. It's straight to business it seems. "I received your end of the report concerning Unevyr's capture. You lead this team yourself?"

Yurolt has seen Th'ero's eyes flick to his new facial feature. There's no regulation about shaving in the Guard, at least not that he's aware of. He gives a brief shrug at the Weyrleader's question, "Not too bad, sir. You gave rather concise directions." The guard falls to parade rest while he responds to the question of the Tracking Team. Nodding he says, "Yes sir. I lead Cobalt team. Iarohana was Iron, Sergeant Oannis had Obsidian. I believe one of the Lieutenants had Steel team."

No, there is no regulation against it. But it's piqued Th'ero's interest because of the Guard's youth and not so much borne of any rules. The Weyrleader smirks but his tone seems almost amused when he speaks again, "Regardless, few have managed to find this place and not at least get turned around once." So was it a partial test? Or is he just being cryptic for the sake of it? He nods his head a little as Yurolt lists off the information, a frown settling on his brow as he no doubt checks it against what he may already know from the Guard Captain. "A rather prestigious task for one your age and rank," Th'ero murmurs and then holds up a gloved hand to ward off any protest or interruption. "I don't mean it as an insult. But I am curious of a few details. You and the other teams encountered nothing out of sorts on your searches? And Unevyr truly did not put up much of a resistance to capture, save for what you outlined in the report? He said nothing, mentioned little beyond his selfish complaints?"

Yurolt nods slightly and says, "As I said, sir, your directions were quite good." He's not sure what Th'ero is playing at, but something about his tone has Yurolt just that much on guard. No pun intended. As for the Weyr Tracking Team he pauses for moment, and carefully considers his words. "PFC Iarohana and I were put on the teams least likely to actually find Unev…Lord Heir Unevyr." Satisfied with what he has said he goes on, "We just got lucky, sir. The only interesting thing of our search was when we actually found his trail." He pauses again and shifts his weight onto his left leg before continuing, "And I believe he was too shocked that we'd found him to resist. He must have thought himself untrackable. He was indignant of course, sir, but he alluded to bribary a few times. I didn't feel it was our right to question him further, seeing as we were outside of our…duty area…I felt it was better to return him to the Weyr for questioning." The guard maintains his rest position and stands by for the Weyrleader's response.

A Guard on guard? But it makes such a good pun! Th'ero could be up to nothing and unintentionally making it seem as though he is or the Weyrleader IS testing Yurolt in some way. One never knows and he likely prefers it that way. "Ahh, I see," he murmurs as the young Guard fills in a few more details concerning the teams. As the proper title is used, Th'ero snorts and says, "Don't waste proper formality on the man. He lost his priviledge and respect for that title months ago." In a dry, flat tone before allowing Yurolt to continue uninterrupted. Satisfied, Th'ero nods his head and then gestures for the Guard to be at ease, if he wasn't already. "Sounds exactly like the man. Bribes! Even when surrounded? Fool." he mutters, lifting a gloved hand to scrub it along his jaw as he frowns heavily in thought. "No, you did right. Unevyr was turned over to Fort Hold in the end, but Captain Breshir and I are of agreement that the situation was handled well. Even if you and PFC Iarohana were not meant to truly find him. He was caught and unharmed, so they will get the answers they need…" Which seems to bring some relief to Th'ero, though he does not explain why.

Yurolt is happy that his team has done well and that both Weyrleader and Guard Captain approve. He stands more at ease as he ponders what answers they will get from the former Heir. The guard notices the relief on Th'ero's usually cryptic face, though he doesn't know the reason.

"I don't suspect that we'll hear much from the Hold for some time on the matter of Unevyr." Th'ero remarks dryly, "So I can only hope that once they get what they need of him, that they choose a suitable punishment. Otherwise we'll likely be needing another manhunt." The Weyrleader snorts at that, shaking his head and letting the subject rest. Slowly, he pushes to his feet and adjusts his jacket, lifting the hood back up over his head as he steps from what little shelter he had settled in. "Tell me, Yurolt," Th'ero murmurs, dropping the formality of rank between them for the time being it seems. "Off the record, so to speak… Did you enjoy leading the team given you? You had to Privates with you at the time, correct?" he'll ask, while motioning for the young Guard to follow him as he begins to thread his way through the trees by a different path that the young man arrived by.

The young guard is not apprehensive over being led into the wood but he is curious as to where they may be going. He follows the Weyrleader without question as he ponders his answer. Yurolt gives brief regard to further thought of Unevyr and says, "I did indeed sir." If Th'ero is dropping formality of rank, Yurolt will be a bit slow on that matter. "Aye, sir, I actually had Trainee Taegan…and Kazulen…" Whatever rank he is…

Th'ero does not lead them anywhere mysterious or unusual, but its a rather complex way that loops back towards the outside wall of the Weyr. One long since disused by regular traffic (if any at all). Eventually one will be able to glimpse it through the trees and the Weyrleader does not stray away from it. "Good," Th'ero says and with a vague half-smile, not bothering to correct Yurolt on his continued formality. He leaves it to the young Guard to choose, it seems. "Trainee Taegan? When did that one sign up? Any potential?" Not that he has much say in the matter, but the Weyrleader likes to keep some tab on the influx of new recruits it seems. "Ah. Kazulen, yes. I know of that one. One of the three Guards Searched last clutch, but failed to Impress. He was present at Gold Hill as well. Sharp tongue, a bit brash. How was he on this mission?"

Yurolt still does not recognize this area, but once able to see Weyr wall is a bit disappointed. Perhaps he thought they were going to a secret entrance or some such thing. "Aye sir, Taegan is quite skilled as tracker. Fresh, for sure, but without her skill we wouldn't have found Unevyr's trail." This is said with a finality, almost daring the Weyrleader to disagree. When the question of Kazulen is brought up, Yurolt has to pause and think exactly how to phrase his response. "Kazulen is indeed brash…Perhaps overly so," though Yurolt is young, he's learned that bravado and brashness only go so far, and often lead to demise thanks to Gold Hill, "Although, I think he was the perfect counter to the coolness Trainee Taegan and I showed. Intimidation went a long way on Unevyr…the coward."

It is a secret entrance! What traffic it sees is likely only from those that know of it's existence. Tucked away on the far end of the Weyr wall, it's almost hidden from all the underbrush permitted to grow nearby. It was never a large entrance to begin with and so the narrow opening all but disappears at some angles. Th'ero knows the way though and proceeds without hesitation towards it. "Hmm, so this Taegan then, she'll make a good Guard in the end? Worthwhile to train?" he asks, glancing just enough over his shoulder to catch Yurolt's gaze. The Weyrleader has neither agreed or disagreed, remaining neutral. Seems he is more interested in the young man's personal opinion than his own. "Hmm, yes. Brashness does not need to be a fault, but it could be a problem. Or, as you said, it can balance…" Th'ero snorts then and chuckles dryly, "Now that is more an apt title for the man." he muses as he leads on through the trees and closer to that half-hidden entrance. Reaching into his pocket, he pulls out a few glows but shields them in his closed hand for now. "Prior to this mission you were given, had you any experience in leading? Or even training of other Guards?"

Aha! He new it was a secret entrance! Although excitement flashes in the guard's eyes there is also a sense of tactability in them. Who else knows about this entrance…It's a bit of security hazard isn't it? He'll ask Sergeant Oannis later. As for now he tries to focus back on the Weyrleader's conversation. "Taegan will be worthwhile, yes sir. As for brashness…It's a double edged blade sir." He indicates the scar on the left side of his face and his slightly bum leg. As for Th'ero's next question, Yurolt wonders how candid he should be with the Weyrleader. There are certain procedures that the Guard /should/ go by…However, despite the respect the guard has for the Weyrleader, he geniunely likes Th'ero as a person as well. So he'll be candid, "Well sir. As I'm sure you know, guards are formally trained only by Non Comms. However, NCOs aren't always available…So I've handled quite a bit of training, /informally/. As far as leadership goes, I've done several training missions as team leader and such." Perhaps the breach in procedure won't be met with punishment.

If the Weyrleader hadn't concerned himself with the security concerns of that entrance, it must be pretty well hidden or just disused not to be. Th'ero nods his head again to Yurolt's comments and he comes to a slow stop just at the mouth of the entrance. It's dark inside and with the last of the day's sunlight rapidly fading, it's difficult to make out any details within. "It's true. Most flaws and virtues are double-edged," As the young guard so helpfully points out and the bronzerider only smirks. No punishment will come, as Th'ero is unlikely to bring up any of this conversation with the Captain or, at least, not this part. "Non Comms? I'm afraid you have lost me," he admits and there is a slight frown now on his features. "I assumed that most Guards were trained by the higher ranks." There is a nod given when Yurolt confirms his experience as a leader and Th'ero's expression briefly shows a flicker of something close to what may be a pleased look to his eyes. Confirmation, perhaps?

Yurolt looks into the darkened entrance and wonders where it exits in the Weyr. He looks awkwardly at the frown on Th'ero's face. "Noncommissioned officers, Non Comms, sir." Perhaps that bit of Guard speak should have been explained earlier. The guard looks toward the darkening horizon and then back to the Weyr.

Th'ero only continues to give Yurolt a long and lingering look, even after the Guard expands on the previous term used. Seems the time is now for explaining and the Weyrleader unshields those glows he had held in his hands. They offer some light, but not much. "I'm afraid you'll have to go into greater detail than that," he murmurs, gesturing for the young man to follow. "Night is falling. Follow me and you can fill me in about these… Non Comms. Mind the tunnels, they're old and often wind back on themselves. One can get lost easily if you do not know the right paths." Which may explain why so few tread this way! Taking the lead, Th'ero steps inside and will lead them through. When they reach the end, they'll come through midway into the subterranean tunnels of the Weyr, not far from many of the storage rooms and the library.

Yurolt will follow Th'ero through these lesser used passages and tunnels. Along the way he'll even fully explain the noncommissioned officers, corporals and sergeants, along with their role in the Guard. Does he find it odd that the Weyrleader has so little knowledge of such things? Slightly, but he'll not mention it. At the end of the tunnel he'll have finished his lecture and offer a salute to Th'ero. From here the guard excuses himself and will return to the barracks.

'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.