Fort's Forests ~~ Fort Weyr - Amethysts in the Pines Camp
The camp is nearly finished! New buildings and new trails have been laid down, and everything is fresh and new. The main building is a large structure with a peaked roof, crafted from pine logs. Above the door is a large sign that declares this "Amethysts in the Pines Camp". The trails have been lined with gravel making walking along them after a rain less likely to result in muddy rooms and buildings. Trees have been cleared from an area around the camp lessening the likelihood of a tree being blown down on top of one of the buildings. The main areas of the camp have wood chips covering the ground though some areas have been left in their natural state.
One trail leads to the main cabin, and another path leads down to the lake and the stage.

It is mid-morning now over Fort Weyr, though preparation has begun well before the sun even began to creep over the horizon. Even now, it's weak rays do little to banish much of the cold temperatures and the winds remain even more stubbornly unpredictable. Clouds are drifting in and by the time events begin to progress, the sky is overcast and gloomy but threatening a storm for the later hours and it could be no more fitting a tribute!

For on this day, the final decisions have been made concerning the holdless and now the trial (if that is what it could be called) is gathering out in Fort's forests and on the 'outskirts' of the makeshift camp and the original one of Amethyst in the Pine. Most of the children have been brought inside the community centre and other warmer cabins, along with some of the women and those still injured or ill. Others, mostly able bodied men, wait huddled to one side of the main clearing and ringed by several Guards. In fact, there are Guards everywhere if one looks carefully enough. It would seem, despite the questionable weather, that this is to unfold outside. Where else could it be done, with so many?

The Weyrleader stands off to the side, dressed in his winter gear and could be considered 'formal' garb. His mood is sombre and grim and even to those he quietly speaks with, it's clear that Th'ero is already struggling to compose himself and hold his temper in check. The other men with him appear to be a Guard and another man who appears to be a representative for the Holds. There is a hushed and tense anticipation over the camp and perhaps a little too quiet for some as they wait for the rest of those attending to arrive.

Kimmila walks along the path towards the camps, no doubt accompanied by some other members of the weyr. She's dressed in her own nice looking winter gear. Hardly formal, but well made and cared for, hood up over her dark hair and framing her face with grey wool. Pausing on the outskirts, she glances around with a thoughtful frown before taking a deep breath and heading towards Th'ero, nodding to those she recognizes and offering brief glances to the holdless if any should look her way.

The Weyrwoman is just arriving, bundled in her winter clothing, hands tucked into her pockets. Dtirae is, however, not alone. She is accompanied by a guard, of course, providing protection should the holdless get out of hand. Her face is completely composed, a mask that reveals no emotion. The only reason her cheeks are colored pink is for the fact that the cold has been nipping at them for quite some time. Her gaze settles on the holdless, brief and expressing no emotions towards them, either before she's taking her place.

D'ani is here, dressed in formal flight leathers finished in a smoky amber. Flight jacket and boots are fur-lined, scarf wrapped several times around his neck, hands deep in pockets and still he's gritting his teeth to keep from reacting to the icy air. His face is settled into an odd mixture of cool resignation and regret, brown eyes sharply watchful of the crowd despite the guards there to keep things in check. He's moving into place meeting Kimmila's eyes with a significant expression, but barely perceptible nod towards the Weyrleaders that says he's ready if things go south. The situation, a potential powder keg in his mind, has him on edge. He's unarmed, but from under the edge of his jacket, a coil of leather can be glimpsed at his hip. "Morning," he greets them all in an undertone, his breath pluming white puffs.

Those arriving might have to prepare or already expect to be stared at by the holdless and not all are just curious. Some are glares and looks of anger and distrust, if not bordering close to hostile. Some may even hear some mutters that may sound like a curse or two directed their way, as if the men there already sense their fate. But no one dares raise their voice (or worse) and the Guards remain silent and still at their posts.

"If you'll excuse me," Th'ero can be heard murmuring to the men and they both nod their heads respectfully, Guard and Hold Representative equally sombre as they turn away to take their places not far from where everyone else is gathering. Shoulders hunched against the cold despite the fur that lines the collar of his jacket, the Weyrleader turns to join the others, having spotted Kimmila approaching and knowing that the Weyrwoman and Weyrsecond would likely not be far behind and he is not disappointed. "Morning," he greets D'ani in return. "All of you. Everything is in order. They're just waiting on our word to proceed." he murmurs in a clipped tone as he moves to stand next to Kimmila, putting Dtirae at his other side and D'ani on the other end to form a loose semi-circle. "Anything to discuss before we get this sordid affair over with?" he all but mutters next, pitching his voice low enough to only be heard by them and no other.

Elsewhere in the camp there is movement as more arrive from the buildings, most bearing Harper knots from Journeyman to Senior Journeyman. One man among them seems to be the 'leader', tall and lean in build and well into his prime age wise. He is deep in discussion with the other Harpers as they walk to join the Hold Representative, all of them speaking in hushed tones but with occasional and quick glances sent to the Weyrleaders and their group.

Kimmila steps easily to Th'ero's right, hands deep in her pockets and keeping her eyes moving, barely glancing at the others within their circle as she focuses elsewhere. Frowning, she shakes her head. "Not from me," she mutters. "Just to get it over and done with."

Dtirae is giving a shake of her head, brows furrowing in a very slight show of emotion. "None from me." There's a brief pause in which she glances at D'ani and gives a nod before her gaze is again drifting. "I would rather put this behind us…"

The hostility, despite the Weyrsecond's best attempt to be impartial and helpful to these people, while expected, is disconcerting. D'ani doesn't respond to it but he's aware of it nonetheless. Justice is a weighty thing, the whole affair from the history he's heard of Stonehaven to seeing firsthand the destruction wrought by Laris in his best friend, his brother and these people has been draining to say the least. There's no vindictive eagerness in him, just a bone-deep weariness as he first shakes his head no in answer to Th'ero's question and then mutters a brief, "Aye," in agreement with Kimmila and the Weyrwoman. Then he turns his attention to the approaching harpers, but moves his arm, hand still in his jacket pocket, swinging his elbow to give Dtirae a surreptitious nudge of support and a sidelong half-wink.

Th'ero turns his head down to glance sidelong to where Kimmila stands at his right side, grimacing as she gives her response but nodding his head all the same in understanding. Regardless of the fact that they are on strict and formal business, he will move his one arm subtly to rest against hers, giving an excuse for his gloved fingers to briefly clasp her. Swift reassurance and then gone. To the Weyrwoman and Weyrsecond he nods as well and his features twist, darkening. "I think a lot of us can echo that sentiment," he replies mostly to Dtirae in a formal and rigid tone that speaks volumes of the Weyrleader's current mood and mental frame. This is weighing heavily on his shoulders and the atmosphere surrounding the camp is not helping in the slightest bit. "Then we'll begin." he says, almost as if to warn them as he looks up and over to where the other group has assembled and gives a curt nod.

The senior Journeyman Harper and the Hold Representative approach, breath streaming white in the bitter cold air and neither look at all comfortable despite their warm clothing. Both dip their heads low in respect as they approach, but it is the taller and older Harper who does most of the introduction. A minor formal technicality. "Morning Weyrleaders, Weyrsecond, Wingrider," he says in a tone that is firm but rich, almost warm and calming. He extends his hand then for those wishing for such a gesture, yet his gaze seems to drift towards Kimmila and Th'ero for a moment before focusing back on Dtirae and D'ani. "I'm Senior Journeyman Garan, asked to stand in as the main representative for the Hall, along with some of my other Journeyman colleagues. I trust then that everything is settled and in order?" he asks, only to nod when the Weyrleader acknowledges it as truth. Garan exhales then, lips pressing into a firm and grim line. "So it shall be." No turning back now, is what the Harper means. Gesturing to the Hold Representative, the two men then step forwards a little and there is a noticeable shift as the holdless huddled in their miserable group are focusing their attentions on them.

Kimmila shifts into Th'ero's grip, though briefly, and then turns to watch the Harpers approach. Brows lift in mild surprise, and then her smile is almost relieved as she nods in return to Garan's greeting. "Senior Journeyman," she murmurs in polite and respectful reply, glancing to Dtirae and D'ani for a moment, studying the Weyrsecond particularly. Then she turns, adjusting her position to stand where she's most suited - with the weyr leadership - but still visible to the holdless. Sending the message (hopefully) that they are all united in these decisions. Hold, Weyr and Hall.

Dtirae glances at D'ani, though, there's not enough time for her to return the nudge. Cheeks do color a touch of pink, luckily hidden by the pink already lingering there. Instead, she merely turns attention to Th'ero. "Of course…" She responds to his statement with a very hushed tone before attention settles onto the Harpers. A nod is given, very formal but she does not reach out to shake hands. Instead, she's falling into a more rigid stance, back straight and completely stiff. Lips press into a thin line, betraying the previous calm.

Perhaps feeling eyes upon him, D'ani catches Kimmila's scrutiny of him, flicks her a silently questioning look, dark brows twitch, but that is all. His eyes pass next to the Weyrleader; he doesn't envy him this day! Then he turns his gaze back to the approaching harpers, murmurs a polite response to Senior Journeyman Garan and though his face relaxes a little bit while he shakes the man's offered hand firmly, he cannot bring himself to smile. Not today. He does stifle the impulse to sigh and instead steels himself for the procedure.

Th'ero does not take Garan's offered hand either, though neither the Harper or Weyrleader seem at odds over it and it is almost a silent expectation between the two. As the men move away, it's clear that the Weyrleader is struggling not to fidget, gloved hands clenching into fists and then relaxing slowly as he wills himself to remain calm and… silent. Perhaps that is what is irking Th'ero the most, that they are here officially all four of them and yet they're reduced to nothing more than fixtures, a visible message of unity — or an intimidating warning. If the Weyrleader had had his way, all this would have been done silently and without all this formal fuss, just has he had done before with the first camps they disbanded when Laris slipped from their fingers. "Let this be swift," he says in a low and grim spoken whisper, likely only to be heard by those around him. He speaks as though they're about to bare witness to an execution, not a reading of the charges and judgement decided by Hold, Hall and Weyr.

Harper Garan is the one to speak, the Hold Representative simply there as a fixture too it seems and both men keep their expressions carefully neutral. "You all know why you have been gathered here," he says, in a voice that is raised but level, pitched only so that it carries out over the wind and clearing and seemingly effortlessly. There's an odd resemblance to the way Garan holds himself, the tone he uses but one may not be quite able to place their finger on it yet and now may not be the time for such close scrutiny. As it is, there is a shift in the atmosphere in the camp as the group of holdless present begin to mutter uneasily amongst themselves, men and it turns out some women too, turning to each other and the first looks of apprehension and wariness begin to show. Before it can build however, the Harper continues and hands down the verdict in this 'trial' that is not a trial at all.

"It has been decided, mutually and after much discussion and debate between Weyr, Hold and Hall and through extensive interviews among you that all men and women actively involved with Laris' work are to be exiled," That causes a bit of an uproar of protest, to which Garan simply stands his ground and raises his voice over the din to be heard. Behind him, Th'ero only closes his eyes briefly and almost looks sickened before he composes himself again. "Women with children will be pardoned and may seek any of the Holds under Fort's territory as home. Any children currently orphaned will be fostered or adopted by the Weyr or Holds. Any youth of age to be legally responsible for themselves may chose their own fate, but are considered pardoned." And just like that, it is done and Garan goes silent, stepping back. The reaction of the holdless is predictable at best: outrage mingles with pleading (and maybe some begging), shouts, curses and those few that do start to advance are quickly skittering back as Guards instantly move in, hands on their weapons but not drawn.

Kimmila was just seeing if he was alright, and Kimmila's smile to D'ani is swift but encouraging. Everything okay? She knows how closely he's worked with these people. As Garan begins to speak, Kimmila shifts closer to Th'ero, shifting to place one hand against his back. She remains steady as the sentences are given out, her gaze unwavering as she watches the reactions to those who protest. But really, what else could they do? This is the fairest verdict, and she will stand by it.

Dtirae is, surprisingly, keeping a very straight face as the verdict is given and the response comes. Her brow twitches, just once but she says nothing. Her gaze briefly falls away from the holdless and then settles back on them once again, watching the guards advance. She does not back down, standing by the decision made.

D'ani is keenly aware of the crowd's mood and thus, when the stir at Garan's first words ripples through them, he awards the harper a second look. He's mystified at the reaction; he face shows that, but it is swiftly replaced by the neutrality to hear the judgment passed upon the holdless. It is not altogether unexpected. It is still difficult to witness the despair and pleading, especially from the women who probably have children inside the community center. His throat tightens, the muscle along his jaw bunches as he clenches his teeth, but other than that he does not flinch at the verdict. His chin is up, his dark gaze remains steadily upon the people, but perhaps willfully allowing the tragic scene to blur with the sheen of angry, unshed tears that he refuses to acknowledge. There could be no other outcome. The cancer that is Laris must be cut out. This had to be done. He supports it. He hates it. Is he okay? No. But he will be. In time.

Fleeting, on the edge of the scene and likely mostly unnoticed, a young boy in nondescript clothing stands with his chin up and eyes flashing. Glancing between the holdless and the people in power, he stands apart, on the 'good' side of the guards and closer to the road that leads to freedom. Ezra has come to hear the verdict.

Another is skulking further back, a shadow to the shadow that is Ezra among the 'good' side of the guards but far more wary and cautious than the younger half and for very, very good reason. The holdless are stirred up enough already, but at least the young man has thought to at least conceal most of himself under a nondescript jacket and with a hood to cover his features. Because the last thing the riled holdless need to see is Rayathess lurking there, 'Turncloak' and 'Traitor' to far too many. But he too is there to hear the verdict and instantly regrets it.

The deed done, Th'ero stands where he is, stiff and rigid but unwavering in the final decision but he cannot block out the voices of the holdless, nor the sight before them as the Guards continue to close in, pushing them back, likely under silent and pre planned orders. No time to be wasted it seems. The Weyrleader wavers a bit then, leaning towards Kimmila's hand but also breaking his gaze away as if in a moment of weakness being unable to stomach any more of it, jaw clenched tight and his expression grim and disgusted. But it had to be done. Sometimes the right decisions are the hardest, supported and yet loathed in the same hand. Such is the conflict in Th'ero's mind and eventually he takes a slow, steadying inhale to glance towards the Weyrwoman and Weyrsecond, seeking… what? Reassurance? It's hard to say, as he never has a chance to speak before Garan is approaching them again.

Even the Harper is troubled, his frown heavy and conflicted. "We'll begin the next steps," The sorting. How dismal. His eyes flick from one rider to the next, never lingering too long as he stands before them. "We can send report later or are any of you wishing to oversee this part? I trust as well that… there are volunteer riders arranged for the transport?" Also just as dismal. Th'ero clears his throat, nodding his head stiffly as the Harper turns to face him. For a moment, if one isn't too distracted to peer closer, it would be like glancing in a mirror how eerily the two share similar expressions. But surely it can't be…? "It's been settled" The Weyrleader states flatly, with another sidelong look between Dtirae, D'ani and then to Kimmila. It has been, hasn't it? No doubt a group hand selected by them all.

Kimmila is too close. Far too close to the situation and so she did not volunteer for anything more than this. If pressed, she would of course step up, but she did not offer. Not for this. She is too conflicted. She /saw/ Stonehaven. She has fought some of these men, and seen the damage they have done. And yet, at the same time, she all too clearly sees the other side of the mark and knows what exile means to those men, especially those attached to women and children. And it makes her ill, her stance shifting and face going slightly pale before she steadies herself again, hand curling into the back of Th'ero's jacket.

Kimmila mutters to Th'ero, "… that… it's… much easier to… and kill them then?"
Kimmila whispers "Is it twisted that I think it's so much easier to just fight them and kill them then?"

Th'ero's look to her earns a slight smile and a nod to Th'ero, a silent attempt at reassurance that lasts only a brief moment before her gaze is settling on Garan. The Harper is given a very blank look from Dtirae. "There are riders arranged." Her tone is incredibly void of any emotion. Though, it is Kimmila's comment that has the Weyrwoman finally loosing a shade of color, even if she hasn't heard the entirety of it. A breath is drawn before the Weyrwoman speaks again, "excuse me. I'll see to that the riders come shortly." And then, she is stepping away without waiting for any responses. Of course she could have Zuvaleyuth call the dragons and their riders, making her departure entirely redundant. Regardless: the Weyrwoman has left the area.

D'ani turns away after a moment, and in doing so, catches Th'ero's eye. He stands tall, spine straight, only pausing long enough to draw a steadying breath then says in a clear-toned, carrying voice, "Heard and so witnessed!" to not only the harpers, but the crowd as well. It is, after all, a rider's duty. So they may record that all was done properly. Garan's similarity with the Weyrleader is overlooked, perhaps noted, perhaps not, possibly to be mulled over later. "I will remain," he says, adding, "And transport." He volunteers for the very same reason that Kimmila doesn't. He's feeling both sides, but this he must do. He doesn't catch the entire comment by the bluerider, but as Dtirae pales it sinks in. Such is his trust of her and the Weyrleader that he isn't shocked; sentiment voiced in such difficult situations is understandable. He reaches a hand towards the Weyrwoman, fingers seeking to comfort, reassure her just brushing her sleeve as she turns to leave. Then he turns to step towards the harpers, his steps forced, measured but resolute. He will see this through to the bitter end.

On the outskirts Ezra shifts, leaning forward on his toes and then dropping down again. And he can not keep his silence. Lifting his voice, he calls out in a shout breaking with emotion, "For Stonehaven!"

D'ani should have expected Ezra to be lurking about. But for some reason he hasn't thought about the boy being here. The shout shatters his careful calm and his head whips around, his friend is spotted and with several swift steps he reaches the boy, one hand reaching for the boy's upper arm, fingers curling about it not too gently. He doesn't address Ezra. Rayathess has been looked for and spotted, for he knows where Ezra runs headlong into the fray, Rayathess will follow. Two steps. That's all it takes for D'ani to haul Ezra backwards to where his brother lurks. The bronzerider's face is white and set. The boy is shoved into his brother's arms. "Get him out of here before they riot!" he hisses. The brown eyes that meet Raya's are mingled anger, understanding and naked fear. Just do it. Please! He'll pick up the shards of his friendship later, says the look.

Th'ero is too close in this situation as well. He saw the aftermath of Stonehaven, what damage Laris' corruption has wrought, fought some of his men and was nearly killed by the deranged holdless leader twice before the man fell to his blade. Even Laris' death weighs on the Weyrleader's shoulders. Too much from this does and likely will for a long time to come. Mercifully, the children were separated though who's idea that was is uncertain. But if they had had to witness that, Th'ero's resolve likely would have snapped and he would have to have left. Even a man such as himself has limits. As it is, his control is rapidly thinning and he is wanting so much to be done with this. But his part has not resolved quite yet. Kimmila's whisper to him has him starting and shooting her a look that is so blankly stunned for a moment before he can recover and shake his head vehemently before he whispers something back to her.

Both Th'ero and even Garan are surprised though when the Weyrwoman addresses the Harper and then makes her retreat, the Harper merely nodding through his surprise while the Weyrleader stares after her, lips drawn back into a grim and tense line, before his eyes flick to D'ani, as if the answers lie with the Weyrsecond. As the young bronzerider steps forwards though, he'll soon find himself not entirely alone. "And so will I." As is befitting his rank? Or is this a personal decision, despite his conflicted nature? Garan's brow settles into a heavier frown, the Harper almost looking displeased by the Weyrleader's offer, but he simply nods his head again. If there is any connection between the two, the older man clearly knows better than to allow it to interfere now, though he does cast Kimmila a sideways glance that may not go unnoticed.

Another figure on the outskirts darts forwards, but by the time he has moved, the damage is already done and D'ani has already closed in on his errant brother. Stonehaven isn't recognized by all the holdless, but there are SOME among the group there that remember and perhaps were even present and they single themselves out by lifting their heads and scanning for the source, their features a mixture of emotions ranging from shock to wariness and worse. Rayathess gives no voiced answer to D'ani as he takes a firm hold of Ezra, the look he gives him answer enough. The young man is just as unsettled and troubled, angered and all too aware of the danger of the situation. Without hesitation, he turns and will be certain to tow Ezra along with him, willing or unwillingly before either the holdless descend upon them in a riot or the wrath of the Weyrleaders.

Th'ero mutters to Kimmila, "You… not… them… only lower… to… just… if… cruel than death."
Th'ero whispers "You know that would not solve anything. Killing them would only lower us to their level of brutality. It cannot be done, we have to remain just even if it seems far more cruel than death." to Kimmila.

Kimmila blinks back at Th'ero, giving her head a quick shake as she mutters back to him in reply. Ezra's call has her stiffening and turning, but she doesn't have time to react before D'ani is taking care of the situation. And then Kimmila turns back to face Garan, and then looking at Th'ero to murmur something else under her breath.

Kimmila whispers "No no no. That's not what I meant. I meant I'd rather face them in battle, in open combat, fighting in their camps than have to dole out justice like //this. I do not wish to kill them now. I only…it's easier when we both have swords in hand. Easier emotionally. And do you wish me to go? I will go with you, just say the word."//

Ezra is already looking stricken and shocked for the words that sprang from his mouth. So much so that he even claps a hand over his errant organ as if he could snatch the words back. He makes no sound when D'ani grabs him, nor does he protest Rayathess' handling of him as he's pulled away. He stumbles, tries to look back at D'ani, but he goes. Just like the errant child. Though as he's lead away he straightens, taking longer steps of his own accord, and looks back again.

D'ani's too busy to follow Ezra's departure. Even as he's thrusting the boy at his brother, his head is turning to sweep the crowds with a keen gaze, committing to memory the faces that have turned their way and look in any way alarmed or guilty. Ezra may have just accomplished what hours and hours of questioning could not do but that doesn't mean he's any less worried for the Stonehaven's safety. He trusts Rayathess to see him safely back to the Weyr, moving back the way he's come before they are three steps away, searching faces with a sharp gaze as he returns to the Weyrleader's and harper's side. He's too preoccupied to note any further muttering or shocked looks going down between the pair.

Ezra's outburst causes quite the ripple effect and not just in the holdless. Th'ero stiffens as well, anger flashing in his eyes as he catches D'ani reacting and settling that half of the situation. With the Stonehaven brothers removed, the Weyrleader shoots a narrowed look to Garan and the other Journeymen Harpers, who have now joined their Senior after overhearing the 'Stonehaven' call. "Just what we need," Th'ero mutters, reaching beside him to grasp Kimmila's forearm in his, a silent gesture and likely in response to whatever more she murmurs to him.

"We'll keep the order," Garan assures, though the Harper is struggling to keep from looking too doubtful. If the numbers of holdless had been smaller… but such is not the case. The Guards are doing their best, but it won't hold forever and there is an air of urgency now over the camp. "You three then, follow us." Garan begins to move away then, signalling to his Journeymen with a few gestures that must hold some meaning, as they dart away on their own tasks without a word but move with a purpose towards where the Guards now have the holdless pushed back towards the frozen lake. Already it seems as though they are splintering them into smaller groups, orders being shouted over their continued raised protests. Angry words are thrown into the mix, followed by curses and other oaths and phrases filled with spite and venom as those among the holdless aware that they are now facing exile in truth begin to (attempt) to fight back. They remain subdued however, barely so, but time is of the essence.

Th'ero lingers long enough only to glance between Kimmila and D'ani, his expression conflicted and unreadable but now set and determined. "We best hurry." he remarks flatly. Obviously! And then the Weyrleader is stepping forwards in a brisk and stiff stride that betrays his anger and turmoil over the whole affair, now made all the more difficult. He will only glance back once to see if Kimmila and D'ani follow and then he is keeping pace to Garan as the Harper leads them away.

'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.