Fort Weyr - Centre Bowl
The wide center of the bowl is often bustling with activity as riders come and go. Off westward can be seen the entrances for the candidate barracks and the guest weyr, while to the east is a large opening that leads into the dragon infirmary. The bowl stretches off both to the north and to the south, where the sheer stone walls rise steeply to the sky.

The storm has finally broken. After…how many days? The blizzard seems to be blowing out. Some whisper it's just a break in the storm, while others say it's going for good, but regardless, the snow has eased up and the clouds have lifted enough to widen visibility. Ezra has been searching for someone to give him a ride to Stonehaven, and thank Faranth someone finally said yes. Moving out into the bowl, he follows a narrow path that has been shoveled out by some of the drudges, to meet a cleared spot that the dragons made, waiting for two others to join him. Wrapped in warm clothing, his Stonehaven jacket is a little tight, but…he doesn't care. Hood up, he wears it anyway.

Who kept count? Rayathess might have but he's not about to go complaining about it. Done is done and he's been holed up in Fort Weyr for the duration rather than the Hall. Which did not spell 'vacation' for him. Not in the slightest bit! The Weyrharper and posted Journeymen made sure to keep him at his studies and busy with other work. Joy of joys! So now that the weather has finally cleared and he has a chance to return to the Hall… what is he doing? He's going to Stonehaven instead. With permission! He's a good little apprentice, yes he is! Dressed in his warmest gear, Rayathess will pick his way along the narrow paths until he spots his younger brother up ahead. "Hey, Ezra!" he calls out in greeting, a faint smile on his lips. "Everything ready?" Was there anything to prepare?

Kouzevelth did! For all that that's worth, since dragons aren't exactly known as the best record-keepers in the first place; she has probably by now forgotten much more than the fact that there have been storms at all. And she does so love them. Who would be a better source of transportation in this sort of weather, anyway, than a dragon who chose to go flying on days when all the humans couldn't be outside safely? Inri arrives on foot moments before her lifemate enters from the skies, filling most of the clearing, straps affixed to carry three. "She's so happy," the goldrider laughs, essentially bouncing up to the brothers Stonehaven, "that someone wanted to go somewhere with her! Since I'd been refusing for so long."

Ezra turns to smile at the sight of his brother, reaching out to clasp his shoulder in greeting. "Yup, I'm glad you can come." He's smiling, but there is tension around his eyes. What will they find? "Hello, Inri," he says to the woman who arrives next, offering her a bow and a warm smile. "Thank you for taking us. We're very grateful to you and Kouzevelth both."

Rayathess clasps Ezra's shoulder in return and his smile broadens for the greeting he receives from his brother. "Glad I could get permission to join you." he says, only to shield his face a bit from any flying snow as Kouzevelth comes in to land. He doesn't openly gape at the gold, but he does stare in clear surprise to realize there transport is none other than one of Fort's weyrwomen! Surprise? Following Ezra's example, Rayathess will offer Inri a bow as well, followed by a polite, respectful nod of his head. He's… changed considerably since being dragged in from Gold Hill Hold's fall to corruption and Laris' men. "Very grateful indeed and glad to know that she is so delighted to venture out." he adds with another small smile. He will not fidget nervously. Nope. The reason his hands are behind his back is for… image. Yes. Posture… and not to hide his apprehension of riding a gold dragon.

"I'm just as grateful that someone wanted to take advantage of her — stir craziness wouldn't be quite right, she's very protective of Fort, it's not like she's got any desire to /leave/. Just eagerness to experience all angles of the exciting snowstorm." Inri makes a little bit of a sour face despite her pleasant mood, because to her it is not something she'd think of as 'exciting.' She bows her head back to them both, though, and once she's done making dubious expressions at her dragon's taste of what constitutes excellent traveling weather, is back to all smiles. "You get down low enough they can actually mount, oaf," is tossed affectionately at the considerably-sized dragon. Kouzevelth, at least, obeys without protest.

Ezra glances at his brother and there is a gleam in his eyes. Oh, yeah, sorry he didn't mention they'd be traveling in style. "It /is/ nice traveling weather," he remarks as he moves towards the queen, bowing to her as well before mounting. "Any weather you can fly in is good traveling weather." He buckles in and fidgets with the straps, uneasy not because of the flight, but because of what they might find. He hasn't heard from his man at Stonehaven…he /has/ to get him a firelizard and get it trained, shardit.

Rayathess gives Ezra a quick sidelong look for that gleam in his eyes. Oh, they'll talk about that little lack of forewarning later! "Not afraid to brave the storms, is she?" he adds to Inri, his eyes sliding up to Kouzevelth as well to include her. Should he have said it directly to the gold? He's not certain. "The Weyrleader… Weyrleaders, pardon, won't mind that we're taking some of your time, Inri?" he asks and it's a genuinely curious one. Or maybe he's trying to reassure himself that it's quite alright to be asking a goldrider for a lift. Maybe he needs to brush up on the subtleties of etiquette in his training? "I second Ezra for that statement," he muses, just before stepping to Kouzevelth's side and with a steadying breath he climbs up those straps after his brother. At least he doesn't slip?

"This is just diplomatic enough to count as time on the clock," is Inri's response to the second question first, swinging up onto the gold's neck with a practiced ease. As to whether Rayathess should've spoken directly to the dragon, she doesn't seem to take issue either way, and Inri doesn't correct. "Or else as far as I know it does. If I'm wrong, I'll be hearing about it later, but she doesn't go anywhere out of the Weyr without telling Kayeth — and isn't going to buck against what she wants, so if Ny—if the Weyrwoman had an issue I assume I'd already know!" Kouzevelth flaps her wings a couple of times, just getting a feel for the bowl's thermals, as everyone else tries to settle in.

Ezra fastens his coat around himself once he's buckled in, adjusting his seat and reaching forward to gently pat the queen's neck. "Thank you for taking us," he says quietly, apprehension settling in. As for Kayeth, the fiery autumnal queen is perched on the rim, watching, and she only rumbles a farewell to the other gold. « Fly safe. » She is staying here, thankyouverymuch.

Rayathess is satisfied, if not put a little more at ease with Inri's reply and as he buckles himself in behind Ezra, he'll nod his head. "Good to know! And… I guess there would be trouble already, wouldn't there?" he admits, lifting his voice up just enough to carry. He'll clap Ezra on the shoulder again, likely sensing some of the apprehension in his younger brother. It'll be alright? He won't voice that out loud since he harbours his own doubts and worries. Who knows how bad the storm was outside of the Weyr? Rayathess will grip the straps then, after signalling to Inri that he's ready.

"Everybody stay warm," is Inri's parting call, because much as Kouzevelth might want to do the whole thing straight to enjoy the snow, nobody else does. Or at least Inri doesn't, and she knows there's no reason to keep them out of between — she also knows they're not going to stay warm, but it was at least worth a shot. Kouzevelth's takeoff is her usual level of teetery, just enough to be startling if you're not used to it (the disproportionate wings and tail making things a little rough sailing at first) but the glide she pulls into is as lovely as the takeoff wasn't, and after a bit of mental protest, Fort is left behind for Stonehaven, the fast way.

Stonehaven appears beneath them, covered in snow. Drifts upon drifts have piled up against the outer walls, topping them and tumbling into the courtyard. The trees are barely visible by their tops, and the barn is nearly covered to the roof. However, there are positive signs. Smoke rises from the cothold's chimney, and there is a rope tied from the open gate to the barn. Signs of life, which has Ezra exhaling in relief at the sight of them.

Rayathess can't help but smirk to Inri's parting call. Is there any way to stay warm against the chill of Between? He's not so worried about the winter cold, but he's been Between only a handful of times still. Hopefully Ezra won't mind being clutched at either when Kouzevelth's takeoff is a little on the rough side. It'll ease when the gold pulls into that glide and he would have enjoyed to watch the land beneath them for the duration of the flight. That is promptly snatched away for the few seconds it takes to transfer and then… Stonehaven! Buried in snow, but for the most part looks whole. Relieved as well, he'll attempt to grip Ezra's arm in a firm, supportive grip. See? So far, so good.

It's still enjoyable to look at for what time is left, and Kouzevelth's landings are nothing like her takeoffs. This is where the wide wingspan comes in handy, and there are no unpleasant jostles or bumps, just a smooth sail down to the best possible space on snowy courtyard. "She says it's beautiful," Inri passes along, because what Inri thinks is still reserved — at least it appears that nothing's been destroyed! — but Kouzevelth has a happy croon as she settles on the ground, just slightly folded in on herself, to let the humans down.

Stonehaven's courtyard is too small to be landed in, but just outside the walls works fine too. Dismounting, Ezra slides down and then hops into a drift…and vanishes. Whoops? That's some /high/ snow.

"It is beautiful, in it's own way." Rayathess agrees, in regards to the snow. So it may have buried most of the hold and possibly caused damage and Faranth knows what else, but one can't help but admire the look of all of it. Pristine and largely untouched. Maybe that's just the Harper in him? Blinking as Ezra unbuckles and slides down, Rayathess casts a look to Inri before unbuckling too. He's about to start dismounting when his brother just… disappears! Uttering a startled curse, he'll start to head down after him, only to hesitate. Hope Kouzevelth doesn't mind him just chilling there on the straps against her side? Ahem. "Ezra? You alright?" he calls out in concern.

No complaints from Kouzevelth; anyone who could read a dragon's face might figure that she approves of that course of action. Inri is doing the same thing. "Are you still here?" she chirps, trying to remember how much shorter she is and just how high the snow will be relative to her head. At least the dragon's big. "I mean I doubt there's some Dremkoth-style vortex in the snow, but just in case —" No cries of anguished pain, at least? Kouzevelth actually stretches cautiously, trying not to dislodge the remaining humans, to nose around in the snow and track down Ezra.

Ezra flails a bit, fumbling around until his hand thumps against a golden muzzle. "Thank Faranth. I mean, thank Kouzevelth. I'm fine! Just…if she could help…there's a dip here…" The snow isn't that deep /everywhere/. Meanwhile, the door to the cothold is opened, a middle-aged man stepping onto the porch. "Hello?" he hollers, even though the sight of the queen dragon has him biting back a gasp a moment later. Dragons he's used to, but a /gold/?

Rayathess breathes a sigh of relief when Ezra surfaces again with the help of Kouzevelth. There's a snort to Inri's comment about a Dremkoth-style vortex hidden in the snow and then he's gripping the straps firmly while the gold moves. He'll move again when the middle aged man steps out, trying to lift a hand up to wave in what is hopefully a reassuring way. Hey there? "So where's a safe place to dismount?" he asks, likely to both Ezra and Inri.

"Not right there," Inri supplies oh-so-helpfully as Kouzevelth nudge-mouths Ezra to safety, letting him hang on to her snout as he likes to right himself and be nosed to a less perilous location. She's straightening up and smiling at the newcomer, trying to be exactly as offputting as her lifemate isn't. "Hi!" she calls. "Sorry if she's taking up a little too much space." As far as dismounting: "Maybe off in the other direction," is a later conclusion.

Ezra gets to firmer ground with the gold's help, patting her muzzle in thanks. Then he tromps his way to the open gate, touching the rope briefly. "Gerald. It's so good to see you, I'm sorry I couldn't get here earlier. Dragons were grounded." Guilt. Ezra is feeling guilt. Gerald just smiles though, a slow, easy smile. "S'okay Master Ezra, it's okay." And he bows as the Heir returns home, and when he sees Rayathess as well. "Sir. Ma'am. Please come in, I'll put another kettle on. And give my report." His speech is slow and measured, movements well paced and there is a certain stiffness to his stride.

Rayathess smirks to Inri's reply not to dismount right where Ezra had. No, he figured that out on his own! Eventually, he'll find a spot that doesn't look too deep and resume his downward climb. Then he looks up again to Kouzevelth and so long as neither she or her rider mind, he will pat his gloved hand against her hide. "Thank you again for the lift here." And no doubt back to the Weyr later, but there can never be too much gratitude, right? Right. "Good day." Rayathess will greet Gerald, his smile reserved but polite as he dips his head in respect, following everyone else inside. If his steps seem to slow or linger, it could be because he is casting his eyes about the hold now that they're on the ground and is distracted or… he's observing Gerald's movements and trying not to be obvious about it.

Being compared to Faranth, in a way, has Kouzevelth charmed for the time being; that means she won't try to get any closer to the Hold proper, at least. Ezra gets a parting exhalation of air in his face as thanks for the pats, and then she settles in for a nice snowy nap as Inri trots along beside the brothers. "You're welcome," she tells Rayathess in a slightly lower than normal voice that is generally used as her Kouzevelth-to-words translation tone before she straightens and gives Gerald her best diplomatic smile.

Ezra touches the stone in the door frame as he steps inside, looking around. "Damage?" He can't help but ask that first. "No, sir," Gerard says, putting a kettle on the fire and gesturing for them to sit. Ezra, without thinking, takes his father's chair, and only after he's sat does he flick a guilt look at his older brother. Sorry? "Beasts?" They're fine, though we're low on feed since the delivery didn't come."

Rayathess mimics the same gesture of a passing touch to the stone in the doorframe when he follows Ezra inside. Another look of relief when Gerald reports no damage or loss of stock, but the mention of the feed has some concern. Which he doesn't voice, only glancing to his brother. The guilt earns a brief puzzled look. What? That's his chair now, not Rayathess'. The older brother hasn't even made a move yet to a seat, but does pull one out close to Ezra's side and gestures for Inri to take it.

Which is perfect timing, as Inri had just been puzzling over where it was proper for her to sit. Rayathess to the rescue; she gives the Harper a more individual smile and delicately sits down — diplomacy, again, and not the flopping into a chair that she would've done in other country. "That I might be able to help out with, if you don't have anyone else greasing the wheels," Inri remarks, semi-helpfully, about feed deliveries.

Ezra gives his brother a grateful look now, and Inri an apologetic one. Right. He should have let her sit before he did. Arg, this stuff is hard sometimes, especially with worry for the hold weighing on his mind. "Sorry," he murmurs. He looks at Inri with a smile. "Thank you. I'll let you know if I need assistance with it." He looks around again, and back. "It looks nice. Gerard is a master woodsmith," lower case 'm' there, "and he's working on the cabinets and things during the winter." For which Gerard has a gentle smile. Ezra slouches suddenly. "I'm so glad everything is okay. I was so worried but I couldn't get out here…"

Rayathess returns that smile as Inri sits down and only then does he wander off to his own seat, which may be to Ezra's other side but some ways down. Fickle things, these rules of etiquette and rank. To his brother, he only shakes his head. "Don't be." he murmurs in a lowered tone. It wasn't that much of a blunder and he had his mind on Stonehaven! Not the whole intricacies of diplomacy. "Quite the task, but I agree with my brother. You've done well and good work here, Gerald." Rayathess goes on to say as his gaze drifts about the room. Is some of the work done here too, by the woodsmith's hand?

"Once you're done with that, can I persuade you to take another commission?" Inri says hopefully, though she's at least halfway teasing. It's genuine, but only just: no sense in distracting the man. "Because if you've done any of this room, I would want to display your work in the administrative complex of the Weyr. But I'd hate to take you away from Stonehaven." She couldn't resist asking, eyes glimmering a bit.

Gerald smiles with quiet pride, beginning to brew some klah for them. "Work's coming along well," he says. "Aye. Fixed up the cabinets in here, though those're original. Just needed repairs. Polished 'em up a bit. These chairs, here, that table. Plenty to keep a man busy and Master Ezra makes sure I've got all the wood and tools and time I desire." For that, the man is grateful. He looks at Inri in surprise, then. "Miss? I mean, ma'am? I'm sure the weyr has better crafters than me…" Ezra just smiles at that, a quiet pride blooming in his chest.

Rayathess turns his head a bit to take a closer look at the cabinets when Gerald mentions them being originals and… sure enough they are. Which seems to surprise him, to some degree. As for the table and the chairs, those will be given a closer glance too, his fingers likely tracing the edge of both in a subtle manner. "Busy is right and your skill shows, Gerald. As good as any of the Crafters in the Weyr." No bluffing there, right? Rayathess will glance across to Inri then, one brow quirked up in silent question. Was she serious on her request?

"Precisely. All of Pern has good crafters. The Weyr's aren't somehow more special than anywhere else's just because of location — they tend to pick us, or the Halls do." Inri's implication: being posted to a Weyr does not actually mean you're the best thing since Pern's equivalent to sliced bread. "And, I mean, I have a dresser in my weyr that needs restoration, but that can wait ten turns if it has to — I like your work, though." And then she looks down, falls silent; she's distracting from the point again.

Gerald dips his head in modest pride. "Thank you, sir. Ma'am. If it's fine with master Ezra, then I will be honored to travel to the weyr for the work." Looking up, Ezra gazes round the room and nods with a small smile. "I'm sure that can be arranged," he murmurs. Klah is served, and Ezra settles deeper into his chair, gazing into the flames. Silence desends as Gerard does the same thing, almost matching the young heir's pose.

"Inri brings up a very good point," Rayathess muses with a quiet chuckle. He'll nod his head in thanks as the klah is served, allowing the silent to stretch a little more as he takes the first few tentative sips and tries not to grimace when he ends up burning the tip of his tongue. Ow? Setting his mug down, he'll glance along the table from Inri to Ezra and then Gerald again. He'll take note of the near to matching poses and does his best not to start snickering. "Are you on your own, Gerald? I'm thinking with the snow out there…" It's far too much just for one man to clear, isn't it? Or was it going to be cleared at all?

That's somewhere where Inri can help: "If you need draconic assistance with that — with the snow — Zel absolutely does not mind." Will other people mind having a gold do that kind of work? Inri probably doesn't care. In fact, Inri certainly doesn't care; she came to help, didn't she?

Gerald nods, "Aye, I'm the only one living here at the moment. Keepin' the stock, minding the cothold." For which Ezra also nods and smiles. "She wouldn't mind?" he asks, a bit startled and looking a bit guilty. "It would certainly help, at least clearing out the space between here and the barn, so it all melts faster and we can get the feed delivered without it getting too wet…"

Rayathess looks rather impressed when Gerald confirms that he is, in fact, the only man here at the cothold when Ezra is away. Stonehaven may be small but it's not that small. "And doing those duties well too. You do not mind it, being here on your own? Not that I mean any offence by asking… Just curious." He's still not good with the whole small talk thing. Glancing to Inri, even he looks startled (again) when she offers Kouzevelth's help. "It'd certainly save time too." he adds.

"She really doesn't, I promise," Inri reassures everyone, after having consulted the dragon: her response was mostly that of a couple of thunderclaps. Good-natured, for her. "Snow is something she still acts like a weyrling in. She'll roll around in it and play with it a bit, but getting to push it out of the way with her paws would be entertainment for her where to us it would be work. So long as she doesn't realize it's work, though. Wherever she can fit she can help clear out."

Ezra smiles gratefully at Inri, and finishes his klah. "Right then. To work." Gerald is on his feet swiftly after his employer/landowner/cotholder/whatever, and together (hopefully with Rayathess' and Inri's help if they're willing) they will accept the queen dragon's help in clearing out pathways and areas around the cothold, so when the sun finally does come out, things are quick to melt. A small meal in the cothold and then they're taking their leave, returning to Fort and leaving Gerald to continue his work in the cothold, the man happy and content in the quiet.