Fort Weyr - Bathing Cavern
A high, domed ceiling stretches far overhead, voices echoing in the distance. Warm, moist air fills the room, coming from the variety of pools scattered about. Vines have been planted in baskets and grow up the walls, thriving in the soft artificial light provided by glows placed at random intervals about the room.


It's well past the evening hour and settling into night, with most of the weyrfolk done with dinner or any lingering chores and heading off to enjoy what few hours remain in the day. The bathing caverns, for that reason, remain largely deserted. This seems to suit Th'ero just fine, as the Weyrleader chooses his usual spot by a secluded pool that is tucked away but faces the entrances. Having just endured hours upon hours of meetings, he's seeking some solitude as he strips down and then slides into the pool, barely managing to suppress a muffled groan as the warm waters ease his cramped and stiff muscles from sitting so long. Resting his back up against the pool's edge, Th'ero lets his eyes drift shut for a moment as he simply tries to force himself to unwind. He could have chosen to do this in the privacy of his own weyr, but not this evening it seems.

Kimmila has been away from Fort for most of the day because, despite her recent habits, she does not actually live at this weyr. Western duties done, the bluerider returns to Fort and with a few quick questions (probably to Velokraeth), makes her way to the bathing caverns in search of Th'ero. "Wingmate," she says as she approaches his pool, stripping off her clothes without shyness or modesty, and sliding into the water across from him. "Mind company?" she asks, but only after she's sitting in the water with a crooked grin.

Velokraeth would share that information freely and gladly to Kimmila if Varmiroth asked him. But no matter how Kimmila wound up discovering where Th'ero had gone, the Weyrleader doesn't seem upset. In fact, when he opens his eyes to catch the bluerider slipping into the pool, there's a slight smile on his lips. "If it's yours, Wingmate? Never." He muses as he shifts a little beneath the waters as he sits up. Tilting his head, he gives her a long and curious look. "How were things in Western?"

Kimmila smiles at his reply, easing down into the water until it laps against the necklaces she wears. Her body betrays the usual bumps and bruises of the trade, none serious. "Mmm. The usual," she admits with a shrug. "Boring. Something going on about a box of fruit, but…" She shrugs again, waving a hand and watching the water drip from her fingertips. "Nothing like what's been going on here. How were the meetings?"

"A box of fruit? Some fancy import…?" Th'ero begins to ask and then snorts softly, shaking his head. "Ah, I'll have to ask Zi'on about it. Should write him, since it seems I cannot escape to see him." He muses as his head turns so he can face Kimmila. When she mentions the meetings, his expression falls to a heavy frown and he sighs wearily, looking as tired as he feels. "Torturous. Everyone is at odds as what to do. Half the Holders want blood, the others cry for caution and everyone just winds up tearing at each other and we all run in circles chasing our tails." Th'ero grumbles bitterly. "But we're making progress. Slow, but progress."

Kimmila frowns, leaning her head back against the rim of the pool and closing her eyes. "Typical," she mutters. "What direction is the progress going in? And did what's-his-name get himself throttled by a Holder during the interviews?"

"It's hard to tell," Th'ero admits with a heavy sigh while his hands come up, water dripping down his arms as he runs his fingers through his hair. He settles back against the pool edge then, gaze turning to stare off over the caverns. "Peace, it seems. Or some scheme to try and force talk over an all out fight. I don't think it's possible, from what Hatskel describes of Laris' character." The Weyrleader snorts then and grimaces, shaking his head. "You seem almost hopeful that he did?" Th'ero teases Kimmila lightly, giving her a playful nudge to the shoulder with his hand. "No, he didn't. But his rash tongue did little to sway them to his innocence or their struggles. Many view him and the rest of the men under Laris as brutish as some of the renegades."

Kimmila snorts softly. "If there's talk to be done, I'd do it with a weapon at your side and archers in the trees," she mutters. Then she sways at his push, smirking a little bit as she opens her eyes to look at him. "Not really, I'd feel bad for his kid. But he does not seem like the sort of man to inspire people to feel sorry for him, that's for sure."

"Hmm," Th'ero makes a deep and thoughtful noise in his throat and then begins to chuckle softly. "You and I share the same opinion then. Unfortunately, I have to get the Holders to agree. Some think we should just charge in and forget the subtle games. And while they guard their opinions, I'm certain one or two believe I'm too… soft to agree to it. Truthfully, I don't have the stomach for a blood bath - and that is what it will be - on Fortian soil." The Weyrleader grimaces again, lips drawing into a tight and thin line. When Kimmila mentions Hatskel's daughter, he grumbles a curse and scrubs at his face with one of his hands, water now trailing down the side of his jaw and to the stubble that lines it. "They wanted to use the daughter. I forbid it. She's likely to be traumatized enough."

Kimmila frowns at him. "A man is not soft if he seeks to avoid unnecessary bloodshed," she says firmly. And from the look in her eyes, perhaps it's a good thing she wasn't at these meetings. She's hardly diplomatic. "My vote would be for attempting to talk, but going in very, very cautious and wary. Since I doubt they will want to just have a talk and then peacefully surrender." Her frown deepens. "Who are you taking?" Then brows lift. "The daughter? How? Good for you."

Th'ero's mood eases when Kimmila frowns at him and another low chuckle escapes him for her comment. "I know, Wingmate. I know. Which is why I stayed firm by what I know is right." And while the bluerider had to return to Western and may not be the most diplomatic of riders, the Weyrleader would still have at least enjoyed her support at his side. "The way their camp is situated, it makes it difficult to set a trap. I had hoped to keep us riders out of the way, but it seems we'll have to bring in some into the thick of things." And by some, he likely means himself of course. "Who? I've not thought that far. Until I can get the Holders to unite on one plan, I've seen no reason to think too much into that." When Kimmila mentions the daughter again, Th'ero shakes his head and pushes from the pool's edge to stand. "Take her away. Use her as a threat over Hatskel. Petty tricks." None of which he seems to approve of at all. Smirking, he crouches down then to lower himself beneath the water's surface for a few seconds. When he resurfaces, his hands immediately push back his hair and he turns to face Kimmila, still clearing the water from his eyes and face as he asks. "When must you return to Western next?"

Kimmila continues to frown. "I want to be there," she says firmly. "You could use me. Archer support." She then snorts, shaking her head. "He'd only try to murder his guards and escape or something." Plus, you know…it'd be bad for the girl. She's briefly distracted by his hair (oh, the HAIR!) but then her green eyes focuses on him. "Tomorrow around noon," she says with a dismissive shrug.

Th'ero gives Kimmila a long and level look and for a moment the Weyrleader looks ready to fight her and deny her. But he knows better and deep down he /wants/ her there. "Are you certain? The risks…" And he lets that drift, watching her carefully. "I'm not denying you. If you wish to join, then do so. But clear it with your duties to Western first." Th'ero smirks and nods his head in agreement to the bluerider's next comment, silently agreeing with her and letting the subject drop. Focused as he is in their discussion, he doesn't quite notice Kimmila's distraction and begins to run his hands through his hair again. It's probably meant to be a soothing sort of gesture too. "Hmm." He grunts, frowning heavily. "Would you like to join me for the meeting in the morning? It will be early enough." And by early, he means the crack of dawn and ending by breakfast. Brutal to be up for, but necessary and for various reasons.

Kimmila arches a brow and meets his look, staring back at him until he agrees, in a round about way. Then she nods. "I will." Or she won't. Either way, she'll be there. Her eyes flick to his hair again, and then she's closing them to sink lower in the water. "Sure," she says quietly, "but I can't promise I'll hold my tongue." But she'll try. Then she opens her eyes and peers at him. "Have you gotten any shit about me being involved in this? Like that guard lady?"

Th'ero knows better then to try and talk Kimmila out of it. While he may come to regret agreeing so easily to her joining them, for now the Weyrleader is just pleased to not have to have another battle of wills. Those meetings must be draining him something fierce. "So long as you try, Wingmate, it does not matter. You won't be the first to loose their temper." He admits with a smirk and then blinks a little when she peers at him. Th'ero's eyes darken then and his brows lower into a heavy scowl. "Most know better then to question my decision in having you with me. Most also know you are Elara's daughter, therefore of Fort even if your duties technically lie in Western. As for Yarisa," And he stresses her name. "Captain Breshir has reprimanded her fiercely for her conduct. You nor I will have any grief from her, but don't expect her to be warm either."

Kimmila nods slightly. "Kind of weird, though. That it's not questioned because I'm Elara's daughter. If I weren't…I just wonder if more people would have something to say about it." Then she blinks, brows lifting a bit in surprise. "Really? I wouldn't have thought she'd be reprimanded for that…"

Th'ero swims back to the pool's edge and then pulls himself up, settling himself so that his legs still dangle into the warm waters. He pulls a towel over his lap, mostly out of habit and need then modesty really. "How is it weird when it's the truth? And I'd still defend you regardless. Let them talk." The Weyrleader grins faintly, giving Kimmila a reassuring look before he focuses on drying off. Distractedly, he makes a thoughtful noise and then shrugs his shoulders. "The Captain felt she acted way out of line in how she handled both of us. Honestly, I expected it. I know my Captain back at Western would not have tolerated it. Not from his First Lieutenant."

Kimmila shrugs, but she gives him a little smile just the same. When he gets out, she pushes herself out of the pool as well, grabbing a towel and playfully flicking it at him when she passes by on her way back to her clothes. "Huh. Well…that's his deal then, I guess. Have any more meetings tonight? Or can we grab some food and relax?" One guess which one she'd rather do.

Th'ero doesn't even try to dodge the towel Kimmila flicks at him, but he does try to deflect it and perhaps pull it from the bluerider's grasp as she passes him by. "Mhm. Guard matters, really. Just know that her rudeness towards you didn't go unpunished." The Weyrleader frowns as he tries to recall and then shakes his head. "None for tonight. Just very early tomorrow." He says with a sigh, reluctantly pulling himself to his feet. Side glancing to the bluerider, he chuckles dryly as he wraps the towel around his waist. "So we can grab some food. I should eat. Last meal was lunch." Th'ero then strides to where he's left his clothes, slowly sorting them and then dressing himself, all the while keeping an eye on Kimmila. "My weyr then?" Does he even have to ask?

Kimmila dries off and pulls on her clothes, draping the towel around her shoulders like a prize fighter. She grins crookedly at him and nods. "Excellent. I'll swing by the kitchens and grab us some food, and meet you there." Stepping closer, she gives him a swift kiss before she's departing, walking with a casual swagger out into the maze of Fort's tunnels, whistling.


'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.