Fort Weyr - Living Caverns
This cavern, having been created by bubbles in the volcanic flow of this extinct volcano, has a breathtaking ceiling — a vast dome that arches high above the heads of the weyrfolk that scurry around beneath it. A hollow echo can be heard from loud enough noises, and the chatterings of various firelizards are consequently multiplied into a chaotic babble. All in all, the living cavern is a loud place.
Tables are scattered around the room, apparently in no particular order. Over to one side near the kitchens, two medium sized serving tables are constantly spread with snacks, klah, and other goodies. The tables look worn, yet perfectly fitted to the atmosphere of the caverns. In the 'corners' of the cavern, smaller two and four place tables are set up for more private talks or just a less chaotic atmosphere in which to eat.

It's time for a bit of late lunch and the visiting Sairon came and followed his nose to the smells of food. "…love Weyrs…" He mutters to himself around a mouthful of meatroll. "Always food." He's sitting at one of the tables, a heavy winter's jacket set next to him, and judging by the equally heavy boots and pants he's got on he's been out in the weather. He's not drinking klah, though, but ale.

With Fort hosting the Weyr Games too, there is bound to be double the amount of food! How they're managing to keep the stores from being exhausted is a good question… probably best left unanswered. Regardless, there is plenty to go around and a decent variety and Sairon won't be the only one heading to the living caverns for a late meal. A group of riders step inside, talking loudly and enthusiastically and their laughter ringing out over the cavern. Their mood seems almost celebratory and one has to wonder if they weren't fresh from a competition. They all continue on to the Shenanigan's Lounge, save for one and it's not hard to mistake the Weyrleader for any other. His knot gives him away, afar all. Pausing by the serving tables, he'll snag himself an ale as well and some bread, but little else. A quick scan of the tables and there's a bemused half smile for the semi-familiar face he spots. "Afternoon," Th'ero greets to Sairon. "Visiting again?" He'll gesture to an empty seat. "Mind another?"

Sairon raises up his eyes as he sees the man approaching, one cheek partly puffed out with food. He begins to mutter something but thinks better of it and swallows first before actually talking. "Of course, Weyrleader! Heh, it is your table.. pretty much." He remarks with a lopsided grin and a gesture to the table. "Oh, I was hanging around the area for awhile, yah. I don't often get to enjoy actual winter weather so I've been doing a lot of climbing. Besides, couldn't miss seeing the eggs laid! Don't get to see that all too often either. It's a win win in my book."

"I can assure you, I don't own the tables. These are all fair game," Th'ero muses as he settles into a chair opposite of Sairon, taking a deep swig of his ale before setting the glass back to the table. One look will show that the ale is a vicious black colour and the foam almost reddish-brown in tint. The Weyrleader is known for his tastes in the heavier, stronger ales and this particular one is his favourite. Rare few can drink it. "No? So the northern continents are relatively new to you for traveling, then?" he asks conversationally, only to quirk a brow up. Climbing? "Have you looked into the Games?" That's why he was climbing, right? Th'ero chuckles low, "Kayeth had good timing to lay her clutch. Plenty of eyes to witness it!"

Sairon seems the sort of young punk who'd about drink anything someone put in front of him, though likely out of an unpicky palate more than anything. "I did, hadn't been sure how long I'd stick around. Just about missed the hatching. I'm terrible at keeping track of time, I just too focused in what I'm working on and *whoosh*.. oh look, the daylight is gone and I'm halfway up a mountain. I was born and raised in Eastern so I'm used to warmer climates. Deep winter is something I never got much of a chance to see, so I'm soaking it in - quiet literally in some cases. Snow in your boots? Not pleasant."

Th'ero would likely put Sairon to the challenge, if the young man showed interest in the ale. For now though, the Weyrleader is content to slowly nurse the vicious looking brew. His mouth quirks into another brief half smile around the rim of his mug as Sairon mentions losing time. Now there's something the bronzerider knows all too well. "Don't think you're the only one who's lost half a day focused on one task," he muses and then from his grimace, he's of agreement about snow in boots — or snow anywhere where it shouldn't be. "Lesson hard learned then? Careful that you do not catch your chill in all that snow. Took me plenty of Turns to get used to the winters here. I was born in warmer climes too, only in the Western isles. Impressed there and only came to Fort on a whim… and have been Weyrleader since." Another chuckle and he settles more comfortably into his seat. "So is that the only reason why you've travelled this way? Snow and winter?"

Sairon considers the question with a scrunch of his brows, a few fingers tapping against the table like he was measuring his own thoughts. "Uh.. mostly? I don't really have any plans. I'm just getting out, see the world. I'm a rider's kid, I mostly saw the same things day in and day out, Turn after Turn. I wanted to get out and see what else is there. They always figured I'd be a rider so never pushed me for a trade, not that I've found something much I'm interested in besides runners and a good drink. Guess you could say I'm just out seeing what slaps me in the face. If it doesn't once I've hit up all the sights then I'll sit and have a chat with myself and see what to do."

Th'ero takes his turn to knit his brows it thought. "No plans?" He's having a difficult time wrapping his head around that concept. His upbringing had been so strict and set in stone. The idea of such total freedom to explore? Mind boggling. "Well, if there's one thing I've learned is one should never assume one's child or one's self will be a rider. My sons and daughter have Turns to go yet before they're old enough to Stand, but I will not hold that pressure above their heads. Yet, on the other end of things, I never figured I'd be a rider." Let alone Weyrleader. He smirks and then snorts, giving Sairon a look that could be read as amused as he lifts his mug of ale again. "Best of luck then, for your wanderings! Can't say I can be of help with runners, but if you're a man for drink… You try the ales?" Uh oh.

"My mom is… a bit hidebound, especially as she's gotten older. If I had to listen about grand destinies one more time I was ganna jump off a way bigger cliff than I could land on. I think she's gotten twitchy, the dragons don't seem to have given a lick about me or my younger sister." To it all Sairon just shrugs, "Whatever. I like living day to day myself so it works just fine." As talk turns to drinks, one pale eyebrow slowly raises with a clear look of interest that tries to be casual. "I had whatever happened to be out at the moment, but I haven't had a chance to test the rest. Brewed here?"

Th'ero grimaces again and his eyes flicker with understanding for the 'hidebound' term, though the Weyrleader brings up no mention of his parents, or specifically, his father. "Can't blame you there," he admits with a smirk. "It can be grating and wearing to hear the same thing over and over. There's pride and then there's… Well, there is certainly a line to cross." He levels Sairon with a curious look, silent as he nurses another sip of that black ale before nodding his head. "Consider yourself lucky that you can do what you do. Not all have the freedom." Lowering his mug, he'll nod his head again. "Mhm, brewed here. Most of the drinks are. We've a skilled number of vintners here, though if you truly want to know which is the best of the best, you speak with Borodin. Me, I prefer this brew…" He'll point to his mug. "Few can stomach it but I like it."

"Ooh don't get me wrong, glad for the chance, just.. I dunno, hope I find an answer." Sairon says with a faint exhale, though talk of drinks does help to distract from menial things like discussions about life endeavors. "Nice, I can appreciate that. My dad experimented in it a bit, won my mom a gold firelizard years before me, so he's the one who gave me an appreciation for it. That's one of the best parts of traveling. You learn a lot about a place by their brewing. Take that." He points out the Weyrleader's drink. "Looks like it could strip grease off a hundred-turn old cooking pot. Likely helps ward off the cold weather chills and goes with the heavier food."

Th'ero nods his head, offering another half-smile of encouragement. "Give it time!" he murmurs, only to have that half-smile shift into something a little more genuine and true as Sairon openly shares more of his past. "Is that so? Guess there is truth to that. Benden and Tillek are known for their wines." Everyone knows that infamous reputation between the two areas when it comes to vintages. As for the dark ale the Weyrleader drinks? He laughs low and soft for the young man's description. "You know? It probably would. It does help warm one against the cold though. Care to try some?" Not from his mug, but Th'ero does flag down a drudge to have two more mugs brought over. He had just about finished his first round anyhow.

"Of course!" Sairon says with a quiet laugh as he glances towards the imminent drinks. "Hey, I like a good challenge - even if it lands me coughing on the floor when it kicks me in the face. Aaand to answer the unspoken question, that is a yes both in regards to runners *and* drinking. It feels alarmingly similar no matter which did the kicking, both then and the morning after. I can at least learn not to stand behind the runner. So, that drink of yours have a name so I know to order - or avoid it - later on?"

Th'ero's expression is difficult to read even as he appears to smile bemusedly to Sairon. Does he approve of the mention of a good challenge? Probably. The Weyrleader could be curious to see too if the young man will curse him for being cruel in a moment, given the potency of the ale about the be served. There's a wince, "Can't say I've had that "pleasure" of a runner kick, but if it's anything like a terrible hangover? I'll pass. I get enough of an aching head as it is on a normal day and that's often without touching an ale or alcohol." Oh woe be one who is Weyrleader? As the drudge returns with the two ales, Th'ero will wait until Sairon has taken his share before lifting his second mug of the vicious looking drink. "Black Damnation." he supplies, amused as he takes a sip. The smell alone reminds one of strong klah and something sweeter and dark fruits. Taste wise is the same, but bold on the roasted malt flavour, mildly bitter and holds a long, roasty aftertaste. In short, it's got a lot of aroma, taste and a good kick to follow and yet if one can get over the shock, it does lay smooth on the tongue after a few tastes.

There's a tentative sniff that brings a suspicious look to Sairon's eye. "Dad's was Anvil Strike. Said he named it because it hit like one. That was my first drink. I thought mom was going to send him to a long flight Between. This does not smell too far off." He regards the mug in his hand before holding it up towards the Weyrleader in a salute. "You only live once, right?" And with those potentially famous last words, he takes an undaunted swig. To his credit, he doesn't immediately start coughing though there's a faint water to his one eye that suggests it's a close possibility. When he does swallow it down after a few long moments, smacks his lips once in a slow mulling, and then says, "…ohkAy.." Complete with the faint hint of a wheeze he covered with a clearing of his throat, though his voice remains a bit rougher as he continues. "Yeup. That's got a kick. Not bad, though, acquired taste definitely."

"Anvil Strike? I like the name," Th'ero admits and likely is already noting in his head to see if he cannot track it down the next time he is ever in Eastern territory. "Is it still brewed? I don't mind an ale with a kick. More interesting. Cannot stand the weaker drinks…" He'll watch as Sairon takes his first sample of the wicked looking ale and he looks both amused and impressed by how the young man handles himself. Far better than some have! "It grows on you. Just a word of caution, lad… Name is apt on this one. Drink it with respect and caution. A mug or two is usually not enough to do damage. More though? Well. Damnation is right, for the hangover it brings." So he can't complain that he wasn't warned!

"Yah, it's still around." Sairon says with a lopsided grin. "Since he retired from most work, dad keeps himself busy. Still small batches but I can send him word to set aside a barrel for ya." He takes another drink, slower this time to process the flavor more. "Well noted. Considering I'm one down and it's not even evening, I'll likely be calling it. I have no intentions to make a fool of myself on your front door. I save that for the trader camps!" He says with a laugh, "They love a good fool, usually get a good breakfast out of it anyway."

Th'ero scratches his fingers along the underside of his chin in thought and soon nods his head, "If it won't be asking too much? Not sure if I need a barrel of the stuff quite yet but a bottle or two to sample would be ideal. Think he'd be a man to enjoy some of this ale in return?" Anvil Strike for some Black Damnation! Would it be fair? There's a low chuckle then, as the Weyrleader's gaze settles to linger thoughtfully on Sairon again. "Never fear. With the celebrations and the Games, you'd likely be one of many who have gone into their cups by nightfall. It's a wonder the Weyr will be sober come spring." he drawls. "Do you travel at times with the Trader's then?"

"Heh, he doesn't do anything by halves, but bottles are totally doable." Sairon says with a firm nod of his head. "He'd love a swap, I'm sure, he's got a love of a good ale that will 'put more hair on his chest', and for a guy that looks like a herdbeast in full coat that's a tall order." Mention of a well-drunken Weyr brings a faint chuckle from the young man, "Hey, they have a valid reason at least. Me? Sometimes yes if we're all headed the same way, the company's good and always safer to travel with someone else. I do odd jobs like tend the animals for a spot to sleep and a meal, works out good."

Th'ero quirks a brow for Sairon's description of his father and the WEyrleader chuckles. "Sounds like he's an interesting man," he admits and works on downing a little more of his second ale. Will he be walking straight out of the caverns by the end of this? Who knows. "True, Fort does have reason to celebrate!" he muses, only to go silent as he listens with interest. "Ahh, that does make sense. Did you happen to travel with any of late coming here to the Weyr? Or hear of anything from them?" That could be a loaded question, though Th'ero isn't hiding it that he's fishing for possible gossip or news from other sources. He casts a glance towards the cavern entrance, but it's a brief look before he's focused back on Sairon again.

Sairon seems to miss the look or either doesn't see a need to notice it. He just gives his head a shake in regards to news, "Afraid not, at least nothing beyond who's having crop shortage, who has better beasts for trade, who found some nice looking woman at some tavern or another. Really nothing that I'd say is abnormal. I was staying with the group just outside of here at their camp before I came this way. I travelled here with a healer, Cyrus, just as road companions and someone to talk to - and educate him on the merits of a well-fitted suit. News though? Sorry. I don't have anything."

Th'ero doesn't look terribly disappointed by Sairon's reply or perhaps he is, as in the next moment he is draining the last of his drink and fastening his jacket closed. "Pity. Will you step outside with me, for a moment?" he murmurs and while his tone is neutral, it doesn't quite sound like an order. Yet who would deny the Weyrleader? Pushing too his feet, he's patient enough to allow Sairon to finish his ale (or most of it). Perhaps to alleviate any concern or worry, Th'ero will pick up a casual thread of conversation too, before he'll begin to lead the young man towards the entrance leading out to the bowl. "Cyrus? Healer… that's right! You both were there when we crossed paths the first time."
Sairon finishes off the drink in a respectably short order, at least heeding the Weyrleader's caution, after uttering an 'of course'. He doesn't quite look like he's worried he's in trouble, though he's certainly not stalling. Once finishes, he's getting up to his feet and recovering his heavy winter coat and following after the rider once the jacket's slung over one shoulder. "Yah. Not a bad guy, just twitchy but not unexpected throwing a Holdborn into a Weyr. I've seen it enough."

"Ahh, I wondered if he were Holdbred or not. Can't blame him. I was too, though I was a Guard when I was posted to Western Weyr Turns ago. Still a shock all the same," Th'ero goes on to add as he leads Sairon out to the centre bowl. Most of the snow has been cleared and even at this time of night there is considerable traffic as weyrfolk, riders and guests alike travel to and fro. They'll all clear out of the way, however, in the next instance as the sound of wings and the whoosh of air that follows signals the arrival of a dragon. Velokraeth lands rather gracefully, despite his physical deformities as he settles heavily to his stunted forelegs. The pale bronze is… definitely not a pretty one. Yet he folds his wings and holds himself with an air of wise dignity and just a hint of smug amusement as he rumbles low to his rider. Or is he staring at Sairon?

Sairon follows the Weyrleader out into the bowl as he pulls on his coat, though he leaves it unbuckled to hand loose. "I bet. I can't say I know the feeling but I tried to at least recognize it. I can't blame a guy faced with an entirely different culture than.. his.. own." He trails off faintly as the bronze dragon lands in front of him. With a faint grin, he bows to the dragon in a respectful greeting. Only belatedly does he seem to realize the dragon might be looking at him directly, though he only stands himself back upright and loosely holds his arms behind his back.

Velokraeth is, in fact, watching Sairon and rather fixedly even as he begins to move off to the side so that his wide, boxy bulk is out of the way. He's silent for a long stretch, though it seems as though the bronze is almost grinning and would be, if he could. Eventually, he whuffles and his posture, though relaxed as he settles on his haunches, is smug and pleased. Th'ero has been watching the entire exchange, their previous conversation set aside. The Weyrleader does smile, however, as he reaches into his jacket pocket. "Don't mean to abruptly change the subject, but Velokraeth wanted to see you in person." For obvious reasons. Sairon is weyrbred, the young man wouldn't need an explanation why, would he? Th'ero doesn't think so and so as he holds out the well known white knot of a Candidate, he can't help but broaden that smile. "And I will extend the offer to Stand for Kayeth's and Velokraeth's clutch, if you so choose."

He had a vague suspicion of course, this is a dance he's seen firsthand, but there's a wild difference when it's /you/ being scrutinized. Sairon is left blinking up to the bronze and then over to the Weyrleader and the offered knot. "I… uh, of course! What I mean to say is of course I will, I'd be honored! Wow. Thank you, both of you." He says with a widening, brilliant grin as he accepts the knot.

How's this for a bit of irony? They had been discussing — or more Sairon had been mentioning how he'd been overlooked before and now here he is! "Excellent!" Th'ero grins and Velokraeth adds his own low throated rumble, pleased and approving. "Welcome then, Sairon, to Fort Weyr as our newest Candidate. You can go and speak to the Headwoman and then see yourself settled to the barracks. Looks like you'll be experiencing more of the winter here than intended, hmm?" Did he just tease the young man? Yes. Yes he did. Velokraeth rumbles again, but this time with an impatient note as he looks out towards the south and the forests well beyond the Weyr walls. Th'ero exhales, "And it looks like we are needed elsewhere. My apologies, Sairon, to leave you so suddenly. Congratulations again and we're happy to have you join the ranks. Again, the Headwoman or her assistants will help you with anything you may need. Have a good night and clear skies!" With a respectful nod of his head, Th'ero will then briskly walk off further into the bowl with Velokraeth following until he can safely mount up and the bronze can take wing and soar away.