Fort Weyr - Training Complex

The remnants of a historic collapse are apparent here, as the slope face of the bowl has a predominant downward curvature. It's likely long ago, that a cavern larger than any Fort currently has was where the training complex currently is. A probable cave in triggered a fissure on the bowl wall which lead to a great chunk of it dislodging, thus creating the rounded slope.
Yet, many centuries later, all that remains to give evidence is the pocket made into the bowl wall. It seems that the inhabitants of Fort Weyr have made best of the created space. Rock on the ground proper has long since cleared, but pebbles and loose shale are constantly underfoot. Still, the sprig of some green leafed vegetation isn't too out of the ordinary in these parts, as long as it doesn't get trampled by the comings and goings.
It's clear that this area has been designated for the training of young minds, whether human or dragon. Surrounded by rock on all side, it's like a personal weyr bowl for the youngsters to minimize distraction and danger. The candidate barracks have been built across from the Weyrling barracks, so that one group can educate the next. Finally, placed in the center of the two entrances of the opposing barracks, near the rock face, is a statue with a memorial plaque.

Without any weyrlings about there's only so much an assistant weyrlingmaster can do. His own training courses have been repeated over and over. And so when he's not prepping for the next set, A'lin can regularly be found honing his skills down in the training center. Today he's got the archery targets set up, and is getting good practice with his bow. It's quiet, other than the soft sound the bow string makes as it's plucked by the brownrider, and the thump the arrow makes as it hits one of the targets out on the other side of the training area. Ada seems to be concentrating fairly hard, even if the targets aren't moving. Or maybe he's having a conversation with Njordeth.

There may not be any Weyrlings now, but there won't be too long of a wait until the training complex has some milling about. It's rare that the Weyrleader often comes down this way on the off time and when he does, it's usually just brief and duty related. On this day though, there seems nothing official about Th'ero's arrival. It's been a day since Zuvaleyuth rose and perhaps it's understandable that he hasn't been seen much since. As he makes is way over slowly to where A'lin is busily practicing with the bow, Th'ero watches silently and waits a short distance away. Once the assistant weyrlingmaster isn't firing, he'll clear his throat. "Good shooting." He remarks casually and with a vague smile.

And A'lin intends on being in tip-top shape for the weyrlings! Though right now it looks like he's working on some of his more personal skills. There generally wasn't much need for a weyrling to know how to shoot a bow. Ada has no doubt heard about all the flight business and change of leadership, though he hasn't seen Dei in a while. It's likely the brownrider visited Th'ero several times in the infirmary while he was still in the weakest of stages, but once the bronzerider was back to work so was A'lin. It's probably no surprise to Th'ero that A'lin isn't wearing a shirt, and the big man looks over to grin at Th'ero once he makes his presence knows. "Ah, weyrleader! Hello! How are you?" The brownrider makes his way over to Th'ero to envelope him in a bearhug. "Congrats on the flight!"

Perhaps not much need, but it couldn't hurt for a weyrling to have some basic skills with a bow or sword. Regardless if it is for training or A'lin's personal benefit, Th'ero doesn't seem to question him for it. He likely vaguely remembers the brownrider coming to visit when he was weak and recovering. Then it was back to a backlog of duties and the Weyrleader hasn't really crossed paths with him since. Not long enough, anyways, for a short casual talk. "A'lin," Th'ero returns politely and not at all surprised now by the other rider's shirtless state. The bearhugs do still catch him off guard though, but at least he returns the gesture with a gentle thump to the other man's back. It gives him time too, to mask and recover his faltering smile to the congratulations. "Ahh… thanks. It was unexpected." One way of putting it and then Th'ero takes a step back. "I'm well enough. And yourself? It's been… some time, I think, since I last had a chance to speak with you. Aside from duty."

Perhaps it would! Was that part of the regimen now? Generally self-defense was covered, but not much beyond hand-to-hand. A'lin had been concerned the weyrleader might die from his wounds following the battle with the holdless. Kimmila, too. The brownrider gives Th'ero some thumps on the back as well before releasing him. "The weyrwoman stepping down was surprising, or Zuva's flight and all?" A'lin can't imagine Th'ero was surprised to be weyrleader still. "I am fantastic! Looking forward to the new candidates and then the new weyrlings! I am all reach for teaching and training!" A'lin gives Th'ero a curious look then. "Is there something you require of me, weyrleader? You need just ask!"

Th'ero's stubbornness apparently makes him hard to kill or at least that's how the Weyrleader was mildly-joking about it to some later. His wound was minor compared to Kimmila's though. If either of them came close to dying, it was the bluerider and not him. Regardless, the concern was noted and now the bronzerider is there, trying to awkwardly broach the subject. "All of it. What's the saying… it always comes in threes?" What "it" entales remains the mystery. Th'ero is susprised, but he's hiding it well. So he smiles vaguely again, "Glad you're so optimistic and enthusiastic and just what we need in our weyrlingmasters. Any bets yet on the size of the clutch?" At this curious look, Th'ero straightens a little and then his smile turns a bit lopsided. "Well… perhaps." He draws and then shakes his head. "First things, though. I wanted to… thank you. For what you did when we confronted Laris and his men. I'm in your debt."

A'lin chuckles to Th'ero. "Bad news I thought, was what always happens in threes. Would you have rather someone else took the job as weyrleader? You seem to be doing such a terrific job at it, though!" Ada goes to pull the arrows free of the targets, then hangs his bow and quiver on a rack on the wall. "The size of the clutch?" Ada ponders this for a moment. "I'm not expecting anything too large. Maybe a good nine or ten eggs. Is it cheating to ask what you think the size might be?" The curious look is still on Ada's face when Th'ero talks about what happened with Laris. "Well, your thanks is appreciated. But really, the rest of the weyr should be thanking you for taking on Laris personally! I was just doing my duty. That doesn't sound like must of a request though, sir." The brownrider notes.

"Is it?" Th'ero smirks a little then and gives a dry chuckle. "Then perhaps that's not the saying I was wanting. Ah well, no matter." He looks a little uncomfortable from A'lin's compliment and for a moment his eyes dart away from the brownrider. Awkward. "No, no… I am glad to be Fort's Weyrleader again. I just didn't think the flight would have been so soon. That's all." Sure it is. The Weyrleader then shrugs his shoulders a bit, but his smile does return at least and he back to at least looking directly at A'lin. "I don't think so? I'm not a superstitious man. But nine or ten would be a generous clutch. So lets hope then. And I think it's frowned upon when the colors are betted on before the clutch is laid." Or maybe it's both. Th'ero seems puzzled by the assistant weyrlingmaster's continued curious look and his reply. "Hardly," he muses dryly, "I could have been killed and then that would have made a mess of things. You may have just been doing your duty, but you did it bravely and I still stand by it that I owe my life to you." It's an awful lot to toss on another, but Th'ero does it all the same. There's a soft snort when the brownrider points out the obvious. "No, it's not. I figured I'd just get the good overwith first." He gives a slight sigh then and levels A'lin with a serious look. "How well do you know Dtirae? Or did?"

A'lin chuckles. "Last I heard, I believe that it how it went. Though maybe that was just a saying of my hold." Leave it to an Irondell to feel awkward like that after a compliment. "Ah. Well, best to get it on with and start letting the weyr adjust to the new leadership I suppose. Though I guess it's you and the rest of the weyrleadership that will have to do the most adjusting. Dei is capable enough though, I would think." The big man chuckles. "I'm not superstitious much either. Though I try not to gamble like that. I wouldn't want to be disappointed during a hatching!" When Th'ero insists on thanking Ada, even the brownrider looks a little awkward. "Ah, well, thank you, sir. It was an honor to fight alongside you in protection of the weyr." He seems surprised then by the next question. "I, er… I knew her quite well, though I haven't seen much of her lately. I still consider her a close friend. Why do you ask?"

"Seems like most folk have adjusted well enough. Though I'm sure it will be the talk of most of the gossip from sometime." Th'ero murmurs and then nods his head briskly in agreement to A'lin's remark on Dtirae, though there's a slight twitch to his smile. And who's looking awkward now? The Weyrleader certainly does, along with A'lin now. Seems like compliments aren't handled well by Irondell blood, even if they're justly deserved. "I'm glad." He can only manage to say before clearing his throat and switching topics to one that isn't any easier for Th'ero to come to terms with and voice. So his smile vanishes for a frown as he listens to A'lin. "Would you know if she had any places here within the Fort region she may go too? Or out?" he asks and then takes a slow, steadying breath. "She and Zuvaleyuth took off shortly after the flight. I don't know where, though Wiyaneth was in contact with her. She hasn't returned and it's been a day now. They are safe and well, that much is certain. But I cannot have her out there, somewhere and unreachable." It's not quite the whole truth of the matter, but enough for the brownrider to hopefully pick up on what the Weyrleader may be asking of him shortly.

A'lin nods. "Well, they're always looking for the next big thing to talk about! Better this than prying into someone's private life, I suppose." A'lin was mostly just caught off guard by the question. Was he in trouble? Was Dei screaming his name during the flight sex or something? "Ah. Hm.." A'lin look relieved, and considers the question. "I'd heard she was being elusive. My only guess is someplace in the woods. I'm sure her dragon went with her? So I would look for a large clearing and start form there, perhaps." He scratches his head. "Perhaps Njordeth can get in contact with her. Maybe we can convince her to come back. What made her run off? Just the unexpectedness of it all? Ah, I suppose maybe you don't know." A'lin ponders things for a moment. "Perhaps it's better if I go. I could retrace the old hunting grounds. I'm sure that's where she's hiding."

Th'ero only nods his agreement again concerning the gossip. Many know his contempt for it, but now is not the time to get into that debate. A'lin is far from being in trouble and that much is easily seen. "Yes, Zuvaleyuth went with her. Velokraeth and I tried to follow but she was quick. We did a quick search of the forests and the outskirts of Fort's territory and found nothing. Repeated the same at a few other key locations across Pern that I assumed perhaps Dtirae would have gone. Nothing either." There's a pause as the Weyrleader listens attentively to A'lin's reasonings and suggestions and in the end only sighs, scrubbing at his lower jaw thoughtfully. "You may have better luck then I in tracking her down, having been her friend and close to her at one point. I don't need to go quite yet. She may come to reason and return on her own. But… if not, then I will need you to find her and report to me. Then we'll have to work out on how to bring her back. Peacefully." Yeah right.

A'lin certainly wasn't one to pass around gossip if he could help it. He might contribute to it accidentally, though. "Hm. That is puzzling. One would figure Zuvaleyuth would have a hard time hiding herself from the air. I will at least have Njordeth contact her. Perhaps she'll at least like to hear a friendly voice. Though I am surprised you're asking me and not P'on. Unless you've already spoken with him as well. Or maybe he went with her?" A'lin gets a serious look on his face and nods. "Give the word and I will bring her back." It would be more difficult to bring her back without making peace with her, first. Especially with a gold dragon about. Though eventually Zuva would have to come back to Fort to clutch regardless of what Dei wanted.

Th'ero's features twist into something of a pained look, though knowing him it's probably annoyance. "P'on is not exactly wishing to speak with me right now." And for various reasons, none of which the Weyrleader voices. He only shakes his head and grimaces, "She went alone." He confirms and then his expression relaxes a little to one of relief. "Keep what I've told you to yourself. I know word is already being circled about, but I'd rather not the fires be fed. Understood?" Th'ero asks, keeping his voice somewhat gentle to keep the edge off his orders. He does respect and actually like A'lin, so he's trying not to be too brisk and blunt with the brownrider. "You may not be alone in going to retrieve her. Elara may come as well and so will I. We only need to know /where/ to go. And perhaps, hearing from a friend like you suggested will calm her."

A'lin blinks a bit at Th'ero. "Hm… I see." Perhaps he was jealous of the flight? "Maybe I could speak with him, then?" Though if Dei went alone maybe she didn't want P'on around either. He nods to Th'ero about keeping it to himself. "Yes, sir. My lips are sealed." Ada salutes Th'ero, just to make sure he realizes it's a serious order. "Mm. probably a good idea, if it comes to such a thing." Ada finds his shirt and actually puts in -on-. "I will at least have Njordeth contact her to say congrats. Perhaps I can convince her to at least talk a bit." Since clearly Th'ero isn't giving any hints as to why the goldrider ran off after the flight.

Jealousy was probably a good part of it. Regardless, it doesn't seem like Th'ero and P'on are on very good standings with each other. "You're welcomed to try. He may be more then willing to help you." The salute is met with a trace of a grin and the Weyrleader waves it off. He believes and trusts the brownrider. "Just be prepared for her not to be welcoming. But I'm sure a friend would be what she may be seeking." Nope, there are no hints. A'lin may learn from Dtirae or Zuvaleyuth what really happened. Th'ero seems determined to keep it a secret. The silence that falls then might be awkward as the Weyrleader struggles to find something more to talk over. "You have my thanks again, A'lin. For doing this." He finally manages to speak the words and the bronzerider even goes as far to clasp the brownrider on the shoulder. "I should leave you to your work. We'll catch up shortly?" At least he's making an effort to speak again with the assistant weyrlingmaster, even if it's just a report on Dtirae's location.

A'lin nods about P'on. Truth be told, ever since Dei was assigned to look after him during candidacy she never seemed to have much time for Ada. So there might be some feelings of resentment there, and why Ada never really made an effort to become friends with the bronzer. He nods to Th'ero about her not being welcoming. "Mm. Hopefully I can be effective at finding her. Don't worry, Th'ero! I am on the case!" There's another nod to the weyrleader then. "As soon as I have found her I will report back to you immediately!" Th'ero may think that he's saying he'll come back to chat with Ada, but what Ada hears is that the weyrleader will be back soon to check on his progress, so he'd better get to it. There's a pat to the weyrleader's shoulder, then A'lin is running out of the training center to find his dragon.

'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.