Fort Weyr - Crafter's Cavern
The Crafter's Cavern is quite stunning to behold. A high vaulted ceiling arches overhead, ornately sculpted sconces along the walls, once having held glows, are now fitted with the electric lights, casting a gentle glow over the area. On the walls around the caverns edge hang beautiful old tapestries, which depict various aspects of craft life.
All around the cavern the tapestries extend, representative of every craft. The door next to each leads to the quarters of the WeyrCrafter, while the large area in the center is divided into smaller work spaces, numerous desks and chairs, terminals and sandtables clutter the space.

Noisy. That's likely to be the first thought that enters one's head upon entering the Crafter's Cavern. This is due in all parts to the gathering of crafters working in the middle of the great room. Sitting in their cubicles or standing over work benches, these hardworking folk service the weyr with all manner of things its inhabitants might need. Among the workers today - as he is found most days - is Solan, the young woodcarving apprentice newly arrived from Lemos. He's standing at his little workspace, a wooden chair tipped upside down and resting on the table's surface. While a casual observer might night recognize the style, the more observant might recognize the chair as being from Shenanigans. With a brusque pace, Solan is sanding the newly repaired chair's new leg, his attention very focused on his work.

Kimmila walks into the cavern with Th'ero just behind her, the bluerider dressed in riding gear and surveying the scene. Spotting Solan, she grins over her shoulder at her weyrmate before striding forward to the apprentice's station, and *plunk*. Down goes a bag onto the workspace. It's not his original bag. It's a different one, though very much in the same style. Thick leather straps and a sturdy leather body with metal fastenings, the bag has loops on the outside to hold various tools, and lots of pouches closed by snaps or twisting buckles. "Hi."
Th'ero is indeed right behind Kimmila, also dressed in his riding gear. He'll return the bluerider's grin with a small smile, his gaze then settling on Solan as the woodcrafter goes about his work. The Weyrleader will also do his best to ignore any of the curious looks sent his way, as it's not often that the bronzerider comes to this part of the Weyr. As the new bag is deposited, Th'ero will stand beside Kimmila and give Solan a half wave, half salute. "Afternoon."

Turning at the noise - and the greeting that accompanies it - Solan ceases sanding motions and smiles widely; that is, of course, until Th'ero is spotted. "I—hello," he stammers, his smile fading as professionalism and nervousness take hold. It's the Weyrleader. In the Crafter Cavern. /At/ his work area. Gulping only slightly, Solan looks down at the bag - both a stalling move and a curious one - before nodding back to the pair and saying, "It's good to see you both. Is that for me?" It's a very handsome bag; dark, forest green with shiny buckles and snaps.

Other workers nearby have slowed in their work and are trying - as nonchalantly as possible - to furtively watch and eavesdrop on this little meeting. Why is Th'ero here?

Kimmila grins, pushing the bag - it's heavy - across the desk's surface. "It is, yup." She grins even wider, green eyes gleaming with amusement and excitement. "Open it." And when he does, he'll find it's full of his tools - his old ones - stacked neatly within the leather. And laying at the top is an object wrapped in brown cloth. He can probably guess what it is, but when he unwraps the cloth he'll find his father's knife, cleaned and polished and even sharpened. Rescued from the depths of the river.

Th'ero murmurs a swift, "Sorry to interrupt your work." before Kimmila goes ahead to push the heavy bag closer to Solan. Then the Weyrleader simply goes silent, a slightly bemused smile now fixed on his features as he steps closer to the bluerider's side, almost bumping arms with her. A dry chuckle is given when the woodcrafter asks if it's his for the taking, but he leaves his weyrmate to answer. Those other crafters and workers will just have to keep on trying to be sneaky with their curiosity, as Th'ero is not giving many hints, besides having simply arrived along with Kimmila. His attention right now is focused on Solan, tensing a little as he waits on the woodcrafter's reaction, giving a quick and fleeting look to the bluerider next to him as he does.

"No reason to be sorry, sir," Solan replies, his tone all professional courtesy. "I welcome interruptions from you at any time." A polite smile is given before Kimmila thrusts the bag his way and commands him to open it. "How?" Solan drawls, his voice infused with both naked wonder and astonished gratitude as he does so. Upon first glance, he'd thought the bag merely full of new tools but with the largest flap open now, he's staring into the sack with disbelief. It's obvious that all of his tools are there; tools he's been collecting since he first became an apprentice, and some even before that. But most amazingly is the knife, soon unwrapped and glimmering in the light. "I don't understand," the young woodcarver admits before realizing he's already stuck his foot in his mouth. "I mean, thank you!" he exclaims, a toothy grin exploding on his face as he regards Kamilla and Th'ero,"but how? That bag must have flowed way down river!"

"It's Th'ero! What's he want with that apprentice?" An older woman - a weaver - has leaned over to whisper into the ear of her seamstress coworker.

"Shh!" the other woman whispers, I can't hear!"

Kimmila grins, and then she laughs. "It sank like a stone," she says, giving the apprentice a knowing look. Surely he remembers its weight? "I dove for it." Back into the river that almost killed them all!

"You may regret saying that." Th'ero drawls in a low tone to Solan, returning the polite smile with a slow nod of his head. The Weyrleader hasn't quite relaxed enough to drop the formalities yet, though it doesn't help with the whispering gossips around. He pretends not to hear, though he fidgets a bit next to Kimmila all the same. As the woodcrafter opens the bag and discovers the true nature of the tools inside, Th'ero can't help but grin faintly but his attention soon shifts to the bluerider as she explains how they were recovered. His hand reaches up to press lightly against her lower back and there is no denying the pride in eyes as he gazes over at her.

"Never," Solan shakes his head, "I'd never regret that. I'm here to serve," he offers Th'ero a smile. "And I can't believe you did that," Solan says, looking at Kimmila with open appreciation, the actual sack of tools forgotten as he stares down again at the knife. He imagines the blade hasn't looked this good since it was new, and that was some thirty turns ago. Visions of Kimmila diving down into the drink, searching the bedrock for the bag and having to come up multiple times for air, swim through his head. The gesture is an incredibly touching one that's left Solan not quite sure what to do or say. "Thank you," he beams, holding the knife (safely) to his chest, covered in both hands. "Thank you both. It means so much," Solan nods, wistful.

"They just gave him sumthin!" the first woman hushedly whispers. "A bagand what's that? A knife?"

"I told you to hush, Laral!" Batting the other woman with roll of cloth, she tries to keep listening in but it's pretty obvious what she's doing.

Kimmila chuckles, smiling up at Th'ero and leaning back into his touch. "He was there too, making sure I was safe," she adds, so the Weyrleader gets his share of credit too. "Well, I couldn't just leave it down there. The thought of /my/ blade being down there," she says, touching the ever present dagger at her hip. "I just couldn't leave it." Then, hearing the muttering again, the bluerider sighs. "Okay," she says, pinning the two with a look that's wry and amused. "Solan here lost his pack when he was helping me with something, and I brought it back to him. Okay? Go back to work, jeez, you're worse than the aunties in the caverns." Kimmila and Th'ero are standing at Solan's workstation, the upside down chair he was fixing abandoned for the moment as he looks through a forest green leather pack.

Not that much of the credit, as Kimmila did most of the (dangerous) work! Th'ero was just there to lend support and help when and where he could and be certain that she wasn't swept away again by that river. The Weyrleader looks a little sheepish by Solan's beaming reaction, as if awkward and uncertain of how to respond or even behave. At least he manages to smile warmly for once! "It was her idea," he says with a nod towards Kimmila, his hand still pressed against her lower back. Th'ero can understand the upset of a lost blade or item of such importance too, though he doesn't share his personal story — yet. Because at that very moment, Kimmila is confronting the gossipers and he has to bite back the laughter that threatens to erupt. "They were just curious," he murmurs, though he too is sending them a sharp look. Satisfied? They best get back to work now, or it may very well be the Weyrleader who speaks to them next.
Hey look! A door she's not been through yet. Indeed Angelique hasn't done much more exploring so she peeks in here to see what activity is going on. Spying the familiar trio (clothed!), Angelique strides over to peer at Solan's workstation as well. "Weyrleader." she says politely, adding a smile to Kimmila and Solan as well in her greetings. Her own belt knife is still missing from her sheath, evidently she's not found the time to commission a new one yet. A brow arches as she hears the tail end of Th'ero's words but she doesn't ask who was just curious.

"I'm sure it was difficult," Solan replies, his gaze sweeping into the past and locking onto the river, "but I can't tell you how much I appreciate it." He's had nightmares about that awful river since returning and the fact that Th'ero and Kimmila went to such effort on his behalf is a bit staggering. Whatever nervousness the woodcrafter felt about having Th'ero at his workstation has apparently evaporated, though, as Solan offers the Weyrleader a wide smile of appreciation that soon shifts to Kimmila, only she isn't looking his way anymore. She's verbally smacking the seamstresses and rightly so. As Th'ero shoots them a look, too, the woodcrafter places the knife back on his belt and spots Angelique. "Twice in one day!" he grins, happy to see her.

Caught! They've been caught! Laral becomes very apologetic as she says, "Sorry miss, we're sorry. Pay us no mind, just a couple of old women makin' shirts. We meant no harm," she says, turning to her compatriot. "Did we, Maergie?"

"No. No, we didn't," Maergie smiles at Kimmila. "It's just, I don't think we've ever seen the Weyrleader down here before. Just curious, that's all. We're sorry." When no one is looking, she bats Laral again with the cloth roll and hisses, "See what you did?!" The two women go back to work in silence though an occasional glance is still thrown the trio's way.

Kimmila looks a bit sheepish now, fidgeting under Solan's praise. "Well…We've got a history of recovering lost blades," she says, glancing up at Th'ero with a little smile. "So, it was happily done. You're welcome." Glancing around, she spies Angelique and the bluerider grins, nudging Th'ero and holding out a hand to him. Apparently he's holding something she wants. "Hi, Angelique, how are you?" The seamstresses are ignored for now.

Th'ero clears his throat slightly as Kimmila looks up at him and he can only smile back. "We do, actually…" Funny story? Somehow it doesn't seem quite that way, but the Weyrleader is not about to elaborate further. He is only giving Solan another warm smile, pleased that the woodcrafter is touched by Kimmila's idea to recover the lost tools and knife. Not that he had any doubts! Well… maybe a little. He has to close his eyes for a half-second as the two women apologize to Kimmila, jaw working as he fights back the temptation to snap something at them. Luckily for all, Th'ero remains calm, if a bit quiet. "Thanks." he murmurs under his breath to the bluerider, only to start a bit as the assistant Headwoman arrives. "Afternoon, Angelique. What brings you here?" he murmurs in greeting, only to fidget again and in doing so actually leans against Kimmila's arm this time, trying to gain her attention. For what, exactly?

Angelique finds a table lean against a bit, sliding a brief gaze towards the seamstresses but doesn't remark. "Did your tools get recovered Solan?" to Th'ero she grins. "Thought I'd go about trying to find someone to make me a couple new knives actually. Didn't expect to see you and Kimmila here though."

As Kimmila reaches out to Th'ero, the woodcrafter closes the flap on his bag and nods enthusiastically to Angelique. "Kimmila dived for my sack while Th'ero watched out for her. Can you believe it?" he asks, Solan's young voice filled with wonder as he stows the bag in a cubby underneath the table. It's slid right next to another green bag, though this one has no shiny buckles or snaps. It does, however, have quite a few tools inside; tools he acquired from the store room while K'drozen and Angelique questioned those children. Angelique saw that bag earlier - in the gardens while Solan was repairing a bench - and the young man finds himself hoping she doesn't mention it to Kimmila and Th'ero. He'd hate for anything to make them feel like their gift wasn't of the utmost value. It certainly /is!/ "A history, eh?" he asks, hoping to head things off at the pass - both in terms of the second bag AND the nosey seamstresses. "I'm sensing an interesting story there"

Kimmila turns her head to look at Th'ero, blinking a bit and muttering something to him. Then she looks back at Solan, and then up at Th'ero. "It's more your story to tell, wingmate," she says with an encouraging smile. "It is a good one though. I'm sure Harpers would like to get a hold of it to write ballads about." As she says that, she shoots the seamstresses a look. Are they still eavesdropping?

Kimmila mutters to Th'ero, "There's… You… did…"
Kimmila whispers "There's Angelique, give me the dagger. You didn't forget it, did you?"

Laral and Maergie are still there, though Th'ero's sharp look earlier has then in /complete/ silence. In /fact/, their overall productivity has actually shot through the roof. They can over hear, certainly, but they're not actively listening like they were before. Even so, best not to reveal any secrets one might not want the aunties to know about.

Th'ero coughs and shoots Kimmila a look. Harper ballads? Really? He tilts his head to her muttering, shaking his head in response and hurriedly replying before looking up again to Solan. Well, seeing as the hole has now been dug… "It's a bit long winded." he warns the woodcrafter. "But if that doesn't scare you off, then I suppose I will share. First thing though," And now he turns slightly to face Angelique and he's reaching into his jacket to one of the hidden pockets within. "Here." A wrapped bundle is handed to the assistant Headwoman then, held firmly in his hand and relinquished only when she takes it in hers. They're just FULL of gifts this afternoon! When unwrapped, it will be a set of brand new knives and as close to the originals that she had before that they could have managed.

Th'ero mutters to Kimmila, "… course… didn't…"
You whisper "Of course I didn't forget! I just had it hidden." to Kimmila.

A story? Not sure what exactly she missed, Angelique won't walk away though when there is a story to be told. Eavesdropping seamstresses are still ignored as she casts her gaze from Kimmila to Solan then to..whoa. Wha? First reaction as Th'ero hands something towards her is to reach out to grasp the bundle. "Ooooh." she hardly breaths as it's unwrapped to reveal the brand new knives that closely resemble the ones she had lost. Speechless a moment she finally dredges up the words to express her gratitude. "…thank you! I never expected..I..thanks!"

Solan grins as the Weyrleader agrees to tell the story. Of course, that'll be after Angelique receives her new knives! "Wow," he breathes, smiling, "you wouldn't get this kind of treatment at Lemos," he laughs, finding himself very, very pleased that he chose to come to Fort Weyr. "They're fantastic," he whistles lowly, admiring the replacements. As if hit from ball behind, the young woodcrafter suddenly remembers his manners. "Did you all want to sit down? There's plenty of chairs," he gestures around them. Indeed, several cubicles sit empty and though they aren't the most comfortable, it's at least something, right? After all, long stories /are/ long right?

Kimmila grins, looking a bit sheepish again, waving off Angelique's thanks with a simple, 'You're welcome. Couldn't let a girl go without knives.' Pat, pat, goes the blade on her own hip. Gift giving awkwardness over? On to story telling awkwardness? Awesome. Pulling up two chairs, Kimm sits down and nudges the other one to Th'ero with a grin.

That's all they'll need! Word getting out that the Leadership in Fort Weyr hand out gifts. They'll be flooded! Th'ero chuckles to Angelique's reaction to the gifts, only to glance sidelong to Kimmila and down to where she pats her own dagger. The Weyrleader's expression almost softens then, before he realizes what he's doing and hastily tosses up his masks again. Phew, that was close! "You're welcome." he murmurs to the assistant Headwoman and his gaze sweeps to include Solan as well. "Both of you." No explanation given as to WHY they went about it. Maybe it is best not to ask? As chairs are pulled out and one nudged by Kimmila towards him, Th'ero only sighs and lowers himself down to sit, gesturing for the rest to do the same. "Guess it started with the whole mess with Laris escaping with his followers. We'd been searching for him for Turns and half way across the planet before we puzzled it out that he'd been hiding on an island in Drake's Lake. We mobilized the Wings, got the Guards and off we went to end it all, We had captured most of his men, along with the women and children of his band but Laris wasn't going to go down quietly. We… that is myself, Kimmila and Abigail wound up on some rickety platform at the peek of this cliff. Separated, I had drawn my sword in challenge to Laris when he refused to back down and attacked," For the second time. "The fight was brief, but ended when the platform collapsed. I killed him before we both fell to the waters below but… my sword was still in him and I lost my grip when we were tossed off the cliff. Sank with him." See? Happy fun time stories! More like dark and gruesome! "When I was recovered enough to recover it, I had discovered it was mistakenly tossed with the scrap and worse yet it was broken. Cleanly, thankfully. I had it mended. It was the first sword I ever owned, gifted to me, back when I was a Guard on the Emerald Isles west of here." Th'ero leans back in his chair then, to signal the end of the rambling mess he calls a story.

If it's best not to ask then certainly Angelique won't be asking. As chairs are suggested she too sits, her new knives laid out carefully across her lap. Her full attention goes to Th'ero as the story begins. Certainly she's never heard any of this before. Ooh, dark and gruesome bedtime stories for the kiddos. Fun! What she gets out of it. "You know how to fight with a sword?" yes, she's impressed at that bit of information given.

"I'll never complain about sweeping the floors again," Solan announces at the story's conclusion. He can't even imagine a life so complicated as to require manhunts, sword fights, collapsing walkways, and death like that. "Wow Th'ero," he sighs, "that's some story. I'm just glad you were able to get your blade back. It's funny how *things* can mean so much to us. Like they're part of us, even though they're just things." As Angelique asks about knowing how to sword fight, Solan chuckles. Maybe she wants to learn? Then the drudges REALLY better watch out.

Maergie had been looking over and when the foursome had sat down, she'd nudged Laral and the pair of them had begun eavesdropping again. When the stories finishes, though, they try to look as busy as possible.

Kimmila listens to Th'ero's story, not interrupting. When he finishes though, she elaborates a bit. "We'd spent turns hunting him down, after he and his men slaughtered almost the entire Stonehaven cothold," she says quietly. "You might have met the survivors, all three siblings live here at the moment. And yes, Angelique. He is an expert swordsman. Really something to behold," she says, giving him a look that is subdued, but there's still pride in her expression even though she keeps it carefully schooled for the sake of modesty. And then she laughs. "No, I wouldn't complain about that either. It was several turns of stress. A lot of stress, and a lot of dangerous missions. I am glad it's over and he's dead."

Th'ero looks a bit startled by Angelique's question until he realizes that it is not commonly known of his past position as a Guard. Having been Weyrleader for several turns now here in Fort Weyr, the bronzerider sometimes forgets that he was not originally from this region. "I was trained for short sword combat and duelling, yes. I was a Guard before I was a dragonrider." Th'ero explains, only to snort towards Solan. "Kimmila tells the truth. It was stress. A lot of it. When we get lulls like this… it's very welcomed." As the bluerider goes on to explain a few more details, there is no mistaking the pained and grim look the Weyrleader takes on at the mention of Stonehaven. "One of Laris' many, many crimes." he mutters, only to exhale and allow that to fall back into the past. "Mhm. It's nice to have something that has a history or connection. Be it tools, a sword, a dagger or knives. No harm in it, right?" he muses as his gaze shifts from Solan, Kimmila and then Angelique. Back to the woodcrafter, he smiles crookedly. "I was very relieved that my sword was not lost. And I am not that much of an expert," he chides teasingly to Kimmila, trying to cover his sheepishness over her praise.

Angelique makes a face and can't help but agree with that. "It sounds like a lot of stress from what i've heard of the whole situation." including the story told just now. "Huh…didn't know." is remarked towards Th'ero's remarks on his training in sword combat and dueling. "Sometimes I forget that each rider wasn't always a rider." admits the assistant head women with a sheepish grin. "Did this Laris have people who worked with him or was he solo?"

Solan chuckles as Kimmila laughs at his joke. Yay! Mood brightened. Even Th'ero - who normally seems so bottled up, at least from what the woodcrafter has seen - seems more relaxed. There were some warm smiles from the man earlier and now the Weyrleader was telling them personal stories. Solan smiles and says, "For all the stress it was, we appreciate what all of you," his eyes flick to Kimmila and back, "have done for the weyr and for others. I've not met any of the survivors you mentioned but I'm glad they here," he nods, sitting back as Angelique asks more questions.

Kimmila shakes her head, patting Th'ero's arm. "He's modest," she tells the others. "He is very, very skilled. And he…accumulated a band of followers, Angelique. Some with nefarious and dangerous outlooks on life, while others were simply holdless folk that got caught up in his lies and his promises of a better life. He was…crazy, but a complicated man." Glancing at Solan, the bluerider studies him for a moment and shrugs. "I saw what he did at Stonehaven," she says quietly, glancing at Th'ero and then away, distractedly. "It was the right thing to do. Couldn't let him…continue."

"Even I forget at times," Th'ero reassures Angelique, offering her a warmer smile that only falters when she brings up the subject of Laris again. To that, he shakes his head sadly. "Oh no. No, Laris had a large group of followers. He was… a corrupt man." But he lets Kimmila finish the rest, grimacing as he nods his head in agreement to her retelling of the man many know as Laris. "Short end of it is that it was quite the mess to clean up… A lot of his followers were exiled for their participation in his plans and crimes they committed. Others were relocated." Looking over to Solan, the Weyrleader blinks for a moment at the woodcrafter's words and then he does a rare thing indeed: he actually smiles. One that reaches his eyes! "Kind words." he murmurs. "And I am sure you'll run into some of the survivors sooner than later. The Stonehaven brothers are often skulking about somewhere." Kimmila's hand is stared at when she pats his arm and for a moment it looks as though Th'ero may shrug it off. Instead, it only shifts so that it can rest modestly against her leg. "Skilled, but no expert." he stubbornly insists, only to stare at her after her quiet spoken remark. "It's ended now." he says, as if to reassure her though his gaze includes Angelique and Solan as well. "A rather sad, grim tale of Fort's past but we're looking to move ahead now. We can only hope for a quiet but prosperous Turn!"

Angelique would raise a glass in toast if she had one but alas all she can do is give a firm nod in agreement. "Indeed I'll second a quiet and prosperous Turn! With new friends." she glances from Weyrleader to Kimmila to Solan. Leaving the subject of Laris behind she remarks. "My skills with weapons end with the knife though I'm fair in a fight and I can throw 'em deadly." she says quietly. "Though I've seen some sword fights at Boll and I've always found it an impressive weapon to master."

"I'm better at making weapons than using them," Solan chuckles. "Well, not real weapons, of course. Practice blades," he explains. "And not officially, mind you. I—" The thought goes unfinished as a head pokes up from a cubicle down the way. It's the young woodcrafter's direct supervisor and though the older man says nothing, Solan understands the look being given. "I have enjoyed this /so/ much," he smiles at Th'ero, Kimmila, and Angelique in turn, "but I should probably be getting back to work. Thank you, again," his tone is infused with warmth and genuine gratitude, "for going back for my things. If there is every anything /I/ can do for you, please don't hesitate to let me know."

Kimmila smiles at Th'ero, snorting a bi at his stubbornness. "Expert," she mouths to Solan and Angelique with a wink. Then she snorts. "Skulking. An apt description of those two," she says with a little frown, and then a shrug. "Oh yes. We're turning our planning sessions from Laris-hunting to farming. I think that's a good sign." When Solan is reminded to gently get back to work, Kimmila stands with a laugh, grinning at Solan. "Oh, we won't hesitate." Ominous? Maybe.

Too bad that they don't have glasses! Th'ero will nod his head though, accepting Angelique's addition to his impromptu mini-speech. "Swords aren't so hard if you've the right blade," he points out and with a sidelong look to Kimmila, his smile turns almost wry. "If you want impressive, try using a bow! Kimmila makes it look easy." Now it's her turn! HA! Solan's comment earn the Weyrleader's interest the moment he mentions 'practice blades'. "Why not?" he queries. "And has anyone ever shown you the basics of how to use one?" Any further pressing for information will have to wait it seems: Th'ero sees that very supervisor pop up and swiftly is he recalled that they're sitting in the middle of the Crafter's cavern, having a conversation. Uh… oops? Standing, he straightens his jacket and nods to Solan. "Of course! It's been a pleasure and we won't keep you from your work." Back to formalities! Does this man ever stay relaxed? Kimmila's mention of not hesitating has him almost chuckling though, as he reaches out to offer his hand to her.

Angelique stands as well with a chagrined smile that they're just seated in the middle of the Crafter's cavern holding this conversation. Really though it's not like they are in anyone's way, yet. "I've things to do myself." she says as it looks like everyone's preparing to depart. "Clear skies, and I'll see you around Solan."

Kimmila takes Th'ero's hand, flashing a grin. "I'm amazing with a bow." It's her turn, yup! The only difference is she doesn't try to downplay it. She embraces her hard won skills! "Take care, you two," she says, before she's stepping back and tugging the Weyrleader along with her. Off to their next thing!

'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.