Fort Weyr - Weyrleader's Offices
Aged by time, this office has lived through the ages of Fort just as its counterparts have. But unlike the Weyrsecond and Junior Weyrwomen offices, this cavern is spacious and formed in a rough semicircle of three conjoined caves that were carved and modified Turns ago. The middle portion acts as a waiting room of sorts, holding only a few modest chairs and a simple tapestry to otherwise brighten up the plain stone walls. There are no windows here and the only light comes from well placed glow baskets.
To the right, the smaller of the two adjoining caverns has been set aside for the Weyrwoman, a large desk situated in the middle and a bookshelf pressed against the wall. A small hearth allows for some warmth in the colder months and another cabinet rests across the room to hold various supplies, as well as several books, reports and records. More tapestries have been hung there, lending some color to room.
On the left, the larger cavern belongs to the Weyrleader's office and the walls here are littered with a vast array of maps, as well as a tapestry hung behind where he would sit. The desk is large and the wood aged, looking old and a bit worn, but well tended too. Shelves and a bookshelf line one wall, crammed with rolled hides, other maps, books, reports and records and all arranged in an organized chaos. A small hearth has been built in here as well and various well placed glow baskets are hung to offer just the right amount of light in this windowless office.
Both offices have stout wooden doors that have been carefully worked into the stone. They can be closed and locked if privacy is needed but are often left open.

Morning comes too early for some after a night of feasting and dancing, especially those with wine and ale swollen heads. One will have to count the Weyrleader in with that group, though to his credit the man holds his own quite well against a hangover, provided no one taunts him for it or purposely aggravates his aching head (and they may regret that if they do). Who knew he could actually unwind enough not only to look as though he took some enjoyment in the formal dances but actually appear warm and friendly (or that could have been all the wine) and in public, with strangers and non-strangers alike. Th'ero is at his desk this morning though, despite his condition and seated in his chair, he looks close to normal save for his paled complexion and the occasional wince of discomfort. There is a mug of some warm, hot drink in front of him but the smell is clearly herbal and not his usual klah. Who knows who foisted that off on him, whether it was Kimmila, Elara or his own hand. The Weyr is quiet for now, with most of the festival goers still dead asleep and oblivious. Things won't be picking up for several hours yet, though a few of the organizers and those unfortunate enough to still have dawn and early hour duties are out and about.

And, surprisingly, Dtirae is not nursing a hangover. Clearly, the woman has learned her lesson when it comes to drinking and unwinding. One does not need to get completely drunk in order to unwind. Still, she looks as pleased as a feline who has just had a meal. She's lingering at the doorway of the Weyrleader's office for a moment before giving a quiet knock and then slipping in. The door is closed behind her and grey eyes focus on the Weyrleader, intent. Though, that intent? It's not entirely clear what, exactly, she's after.

It is not that Th'ero needed the wine to loosen up (though it certainly helped!) and he could have done it well enough without the drink. But he actually allowed himself to be swept into the festivities for once and the Weyrleader, caught in conversation that was actually light and easy going, lost track of his consumption. Much to his chagrin this morning, which may explain why he is in the office and not out patrolling his usual route through the Weyr. At the knock, he looks up slowly and blinks in mild surprise to see Dtirae standing there. Leaning back heavily into his chair, he lets the papers he was holding fall back to the desk and waves for her to sit, even though she has already moved to close the door behind her. The Weyrwoman's intent look is given a frown, both cautious and curious. "Morning, Dtirae. You're looking well rested." And really pleased and intent and he cannot pinpoint the source.

With the gesture to sit, Dtirae gives a nod in affirmative. Though, there's a moment of hesitation before she breaks away from the entry way and moves to settle at one of the chairs before his desk. She'll take her time in speaking, settling herself down and getting into a comfortable position. "Good morning, Th'ero. I'm very well rested, actually." Further commentary on that subject, and even on the well-being of the Weyrleader isn't pointed out. At least, not so she's rubbing her good mood in his face or gloating. Instead, she's looking towards her hands a moment as she folds them neatly on her lap. "Look, Th'ero… I'd been meaning to come talk to you about what happened during… Well, about what happened with Laris." The whole almost drowning thing. "And, I understand that you don't like me. I get it, I do. And I understand that you don't like me butting my head into your things. But, well…" More silence, and she avoids eye contact. Gone is the cheerful, pleased, and intent woman. Back is the vulnerable young woman who took off with the Weyrleader's pants Turns ago. "Look, I'm worried about you. And shit, I may not act like I care or even show it like 'properly', but… You're like a brother and you're constantly getting hurt and I know I'm not responding in the proper way when these things happen because I get emotional. But, shit.. I don't know where I'm going with this anymore."

Th'ero will miss that moment of hesitation, having leaned forwards to reach for the mug of whatever herbal concoction sits on his desk. He'll hold the drink between his hands, likely savoring it more for the warmth than the actual scent of the fragrant steam. A brow quirks up at her response though on her well being and now his smile edges towards a wryness rarely seen in the Weyrleader. "I'm sure you are. You looked to be enjoying yourself last night at the feast and then with the dancing." he murmurs and though he does not say it, his tone implies it: with D'ani. Its not meant to be negative, as the bronzerider is actually quite pleased and approving of the match — if there is any friendship there and not just something fabricated by his own assumptions. Sensing that the mood is sobering to a serious note, however, Th'ero frowns a little, taking a slow and careful sip of the drink and though he grimaces at the taste it does appear to fortify him a fair bit. Which is needed, as Dtirae's words all but have him reeling and he hastily sets the mug aside before leaning heavily back into his chair. He can only stare at her, a blank and stoic mask of silence on his features as he lets her finish and the brief silence that follows is heavy and awkward until he speaks. His voice is low, but his tone is strangely gentle and not the usual cool and aloof he prefers to use. "Dtirae," He's dropped formality and rank now too, it seems. "I don't hate you." It comes surprisingly easy from his lips, though he looks a touch surprised by his bluntness. The truth is the truth though and he will not deny it now. "I'm not sure even how that thought entirely came to be." Yes he does, he knows the fault lies in him, but now is not the time for him to go admitting to it. "Perhaps I was angered by your words at the island," After he regained consciousness from nearly drowning. He grimaces, wincing slightly as his head gives him a good jab of pain and he rubs lightly at his temple with a few fingers. "But I was not myself then, half drowned as I was. I came to understand why you did what you did later and had meant to come talk to you." But? He shrugs, carefully sweeping his hands out in a helpless gesture. They both got absorbed into duties. "And it's not that I mean to get hurt and cause you distress," he goes on to add in a softer tone, keeping his eyes level with hers. "You or Kimmila or anyone else who may care." Silence again, as he takes his turn to look at her intently.

There's a flush of color that touches her cheeks when he mentions the dancing. "Yes, that was enjoyable." She'll spare him details, of course. His underlying approval, however, is not missed. Dtirae's not that blind or deaf. After the confession, however, the silence builds between them and her mouth opens as if to say something but quickly she quiets herself before anything more can spill out. And before she rambles away entirely without allowing him a word. His reply, however, is what throws her off the most. Grey eyes lift to meet his, brows furrowing in a sort of disbelief, but, she doesn't argue nor try to prove him wrong, or prove how she could come to formulate that thought. Instead, she allows him his innocence and doesn't fight. "I know you don't mean to get hurt. I wasn't speaking rationally, either." After all, she did sort of accuse him of running in without a plan, though she knows that's far from true. "I feel like you'd rather keep me out of what's going on outside of the Weyr until you need me to come play concerned Weyrwoman." Though, perhaps she should stick her nose in more rather than letting him and Kimmila run off and do everything. Fingers twist in concern, wringing at themselves rather than the fabric of her pants. "I know I didn't respond that well to Stonehaven, but, I want to be more help. You don't have to take everything on yourself. We're partners, Th'ero, and…" She avoids eye contact this time, "I don't want you to leave me alone in this."

Who needs details when the evidence is right there in the flush of color to her cheeks? Th'ero doesn't press her for further details or even look all that smug (and he is, deep down), only allowing himself to give her another brief and small smile. Then their conversation takes a serious turn and all light joking and teasing are set aside as the silence builds and the Weyrleader continues to sit quite still in his chair, as if concerned that the slightest movement will disrupt everything and they will be back at each others throats or either one of them will storm off. Hungover or not, Th'ero stands his ground and holds his gaze level to hers whens he meets his eyes, determined it seems to see this through to the end and not screw it up as he's well known to do. "I don't think any of us were quite rational then. A lot had happened and I am surprised that more chaos did not erupt." he says, slipping that murmured comment in before her next words can throw him off kilter again and into a prolonged silence. His frown his heavy, thoughtful but also troubled and the Weyrleader exhales heavily, shifting in his seat as he sweeps a hand up and through his hair. Well, this is a royal mess, isn't it? He knows nothing apparently. Now his obliviousness or choice to remain oblivious is coming to bite him hard in the ass. "That was unintentional," he says, reverting back to his clipped and curt mannerisms before he can catch himself. To soften the edge, he does smile though it's weak and crooked at best. "I — we — never had any intention of making you feel excluded or left out. Things just… progressed so fast and perhaps I was wrong to assume that you would prefer to stay here in Fort Weyr to oversee things here while I was to investigate." That is hard to admit and he hesitates at times but despite his efforts, it paints him as a traditionalist whether he wants that image or not. Grimacing, he continues. "I see the error in that now and part of me knew it was wrong to always forge on ahead without coming to seek your counsel until after all had been said and done. As for Stonehaven…" Now he gives her a longer, closer look and some seed takes root in his head, some long overdue understanding. "Does that still haunt you? What you saw, what was done?" Th'ero asks in a quiet tone, boldly laying out an issue that could be, for all he knows, long dead and settled. Then another truth is laid out by her, too obvious for the Weyrleader to cryptically sidestep around it. Not that he would. Not with her suddenly open and vulnerable, even if he's questioning why now she approaches him. Guilt flickers in his eyes, perhaps the first true emotion he's shown and likely not to be the last. "We are partners," Th'ero agrees as he takes a slow and steadying breath, "And I am sorry my actions made you feel this way. It truly wasn't my intention… at all. So you are not alone in this, Dtirae." He lets the silence fall again between them, awkward and charged as he wrestles inwardly with himself, hardly visible save for the way his gaze drifts now and a subtle tension to his features. "Why didn't you come to me sooner with this?" The question is almost too quiet to be heard, but he speaks it all the same when the silence becomes too much. There is no accusation in his voice and Th'ero's eyes hold her under a curious regard. He wants to know, needs to know to put his own conscious at ease.

There is a nod of agreement, words were indeed spoken from irrational thoughts, and luckily, things did not explode more than they had. At least the chaos was kept to a minimum and could be worked with rather than leaving them with even more pieces to pick up. There's a slight intake of break from the woman who avoids meeting his gaze full on, but she does chance an glance up at him now and again. His statement of the unintentional is given a very cautious nod, and the smile is met with a slight one of her own. "I can oversee things in Fort if that makes you both feel more comfortable, if only because of Zuvaleyuth as well. I would… Appreciate hearing more, though." She'll let his traditionalist ways slide, and even work with them. But, more open communication is certainly required. The question on Stonehaven is met with silence, a slight frown before she gives a shake of her head. "No, it's in the past. But, I felt that you were keeping me back because of how I responded then." That, at least, is not a topic they will need to dig up and rehash. When his agreement comes about their partnership, she visibly relaxes but still avoids meeting his gaze head on. There's hesitation, as if she's something more to say on that but, she doesn't. Instead, he's questioning her in response and she finally lifts her gaze to meet his and hold it. "Because, Th'ero… You could have died. Velokraeth reached out to Zuvaleyuth and it made no sense. /She/ was scared to lose him, and I'm scared to lose you. When I said I don't want to do this alone, I should… I should have said: I don't want to do this without /you/, Th'ero. I'm sure any other Weyrleader would have been fed up with me by now. And, well, I don't want anyone else as my Weyrleader." There's a pause and she murmurs, "not that I'm in love with you, this is all platonic even if it doesn't sound that way."

The Drake's Lake confrontation with Laris could have gone so much worse and in so many ways. As it is, it is still causing ripples of disturbance, but far more controllable now. They have all those holdless still to concern themselves about, a matter that the Weyrleader has been allowing others to take on rather than try to shoulder the burden entirely to himself. For there is his flaw, his sense of honor and duty. It often blinds him, even if he has convinced himself he does it for the good of the Weyr, the weyrfolk and riders and for those he cares for. Th'ero shakes his head, a gesture he soon regrets as his head reminds him of his over indulgence the night before and he has to rub again at his temple and lean back against his chair for support. The tea, forgotten until now, is picked up again and he takes a longer drink of the liquid which is no doubt by now medicinal. "It's not that I don't want you participating, Dtirae and you've every right to be involved. Directly or not. It's not entirely about my comfort. I see where I've erred in that regard and while I can't promise things will change I will do my best," he says, once his thoughts clear and his head no longer throbs quite so distractingly. He means it too. "That is not the reason why. We all had our reactions to Stonehaven. I suppose mine clouded my judgement and I felt it… necessary to shoulder it all." It is the past and one he would prefer to leave to rest and so Th'ero does not press the Weyrwoman any further on the issue. Holding her gaze, she will see the flicker of guilt again, swiftly followed by shock and disbelief that is echoed in the way his features fall and slacken, all tension and masks gone in a brief instance of vulnerability. For a heartbeat or two, Dtirae sees the man behind the shields, one that only Kimmila knows well and intimately before Th'ero recovers and some of those masks slide back into place but not all of them. He is guarded, but not holding her so distant and aloof. But it's too late, he's revealed part of his nature that he normally keeps well hidden from the world: one of a man who actually cares, bound by honor and loyalty. He cares for those under his charge as Weyrleader but he cares for those he's come to respect, even if not fully trust. So he is not cold hearted as some of the weyrfolk gossip and is, in fact, quite the opposite. "I know," Th'ero says simply to her comment of his close brush with death. Something that still plagues him now, though only Kimmila would know of his nightmares and aversion to deep water. He flinches, "I wasn't aware that Velokraeth had called personally to Zuvaleyuth. He was… even I had difficulty calming him when I regained consciousness." Can the bronze be blamed? Not really. The Weyrleader has to pause to absorb the rest of Dtirae's words, his hungover thoughts scrabbling to form a coherent response that doesn't have him sputtering and fumbling in numbed shock. "Does Zuvaleyuth care that much for Velokraeth?" he asks, too uncertain on how to respond to the rest, save to say: "You won't lose me as Weyrleader, Dtirae. So long as Velokraeth flies Zuvaleyuth, I've every intention of keeping the knot. Nor will I be so eager to rush headlong into danger. Of that, I've had my fill, I think, for a lifetime." he admits with just a hint of amusement to his tone which deepens when she goes on to murmur again and he only chuckles in response. He knows she means it in a platonic regard and that does not bother Th'ero in the slightest bit, as his heart is deeply bound and joined to another.

"Doing your best is all that I ask, I cannot ask you to promise something that is against who you are." Dtirae smiles, a little more at ease, now. Certainly, the burden of her feelings might have been heavier left unsaid. "You do not have to shoulder everything, Th'ero. You are still a person, Weyrleader or not… But, I appreciate the sentiment." The mask that falls off and leaves the vulnerable, caring man to her view is something that she does not expect. Though, she does not visibly react nor recoil. Though, there's a brief appearance of awe and understanding, but, she does not press nor question. Understanding is there, as she knows those masks all too well as she hides behind her own. It is unlikely that she will ever jump to the defense of the Weyrleader due to gossip, letting him hide behind the misunderstandings of others as he sees fit. Just as she hides behind her own rumors and the gossip. "Yes… He called for her. I dropped everything and ran. She even took to speaking in a more clipped manner." Something that the gold does very rarely and usually only when she is proddy. A smile plays at her lips for a moment at his question of Zuvaleyuth's feelings and there's a nod that follows. "He's the only one who has caught her, and I think she only tires of the chase when she knows he is near enough to catch." Speculation, but, she wouldn't dismiss the idea. His reassurance brings a smile, one that is truly genuine, full of relief and gratitude. If the woman were more emotional, it is likely she would be showing something other than her smile. But, that smile is more than enough to get her feelings across. She rises from the chair, her hand reaching out and placing a gentle pat on his hand. "Thank you, Th'ero. I really do think you should take a vacation. Come back refreshed and open minded. You haven't taken one since you first became Weyrleader." It is, this time, a gentle suggestion rather than something she will try to force.

Th'ero quirks a brow, looking a touch surprised but relieved by Dtirae's reassurance that he will not be force to promise things he cannot keep or be molded into a man he cannot ever be. "All too recently I have been made aware that I am not without my faults," he says slowly and quietly, letting her know in a roundabout way that he's well aware that he is a person, human and has his limits. Whereas Dtirae may not hop to his defense come gossip, Th'ero would in her case but again, that is only his nature. Not that he would lay out the truth, but he would stand up for her should he feel the gossip goes too far into tarnishing her name and rank. The Weyrleader for now though only remains thoughtful, struggling clearly as he tries to digest everything spoken in so short a span of time. At least his temper does not flare and there is no sign of his old habits of shutting down coming into play. Perhaps Dtirae's timing was good, to catch him hungover and not at his best game. But he is touched by her words, something he won't show outwardly but may be noticeable by his lack of negative reaction. Turns before, a talk like this would have ended so poorly. "I often wondered if Zuvaleyuth had not been favoring Velokraeth but I could never fathom why. Not when she has plenty of other stronger and younger, suitable mates among the bronzes." And a lot better looking. Speculation or not, Th'ero takes it to heart and though his smile remains small, some of that relief and gratitude is mirrored in return. His hand does not twitch from her touch, but he does not rise either and the faint apology in his upwards glance may speak volumes or not. If he was more of an emotional man (and not hung over), he'd probably rise from his seat and go as far as to clasp her arm in the typical gesture shared between two good friends or even hug her. "You don't need to thank me, Dtirae. I've a feeling that this was… long overdue. Partilally both our faults. I'll admit, I was intimidated by you in the beginning," Th'ero drawls in a slow and cautious tone, "We did not start on the best footing, but that does not excuse my lack of communication. But it would seem that was the cause for all of this." At her gentle suggestion, the Weyrleader only snorts and allows his gaze to fall to his hands, which have now wrapped themselves around the mug of tea. "You're not the only one to share that opinion. I know I need to go but it is just not so easy. But I will go, in time. Soon. Once the holdless are dealt with." Which could take sevendays, if not several months! They have been making so little progress, even with D'ani's involvement in overseeing the interviews lead by the Harpers.

Dtirae gives a nod, again, understanding and not pressing any further. As for gossip, she would not stand to have someone insult her Weyrleader, but calling him heartless and cold? That much is harmless, and she would never reveal his true nature shown at that moment. "She does favor him. I do, as well." Favor the bronze and his rider. And she leaves it at that, because those words are enough. "Yes, I agree. I admit that I can come off a little strong in the beginning, I'm looking to improve that. However, I agree that it does not excuse my lack of communication, either." The fact that she is not the only one encouraging him towards a vacation is a relief, so she nods. "Once they're dealt with." She agrees. Maybe she'll even throw Jaja into the fray with the indication she may be returned to Junior if she can do her duties well enough. "Rest up, I'm sure we'll have another crazy day ahead of us." And with that, she departs, closing the door softly behind her as she goes. And she'll deflect anyone who happens to be looking for the Weyrleader, sending them on a merry goose chase.

Th'ero will not argue or protest Dtirae's continued reflection on Zuvaleyuth's preference towards Velokraeth or the implication that the favor goes beyond just the gold's personal choice. Those words are more than enough. "We all have our faults," he murmurs with a crooked smile, for some reason known only to himself he seems to take amusement from that remark as well. "Rest?" Now he does laugh softly, "I am resting. Why do you think I am in here and not out there?" But his mood sobers again and Th'ero nods his head slowly, respectfully and not without a bit of hesitation, but no jarring pain comes this time. The tea must be taking effect or his hangover is wearing down. "Take care, Dtirae." he offers as farewell and she is swift to depart, his joking comment that perhaps they'll cross paths at the mud wrestling left unspoken — for now. He stares for a long time at that closed door, left now in silence and to his tumultuous thoughts. Eventually, Th'ero sighs and rubs a hand over his forehead again, struggling still to absorb everything and pushing his chair back with the barest of winces at the grating sound it makes, he gathers a few papers and the now empty mug before slipping out the door as well to quietly make his escape back into his weyr and undoubtedly wake up a certain bluerider still deep asleep and find the restful peace and calm he needs before facing the days events.

'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.