Fort Weyr - Th'ero and Velokraeth's Weyr
… Almost directly across from the kitchenette, where the wall slopes and turns to form a natural hallway, another entrance has been carved into the stone. It is a spare room, converted into a modest and cramped personal office and contains little more than a stout and well aged, well cared for wooden desk and a bookshelf crammed with a variety of reading material.

Outside the festival is in full swing and quite popular despite the cooler weather. It could probably be overcast and wet and there'd still be good numbers out at those stalls and on the dance floors, enjoying Fortian hospitality. The Weyrleader has even made a point to be present as often as possible, mostly just to observe and mingle. Only Th'ero isn't there or anywhere in the visible public. Where can he possibly be? Why, he's holed up in his personal office in his own weyr. Not even Nyalle can find him here unless she dares kick down his door (and he knows she wouldn't do it). He sits at his desk and in one hand are a few sheets of paper and from the way he scowls and the distant look in his eyes, his mind is many, many miles away.

Kimmila has been at the festival as well, and earlier in the day she took Kyzen out to see things and dance for a bit. Now though, the boy is back with his foster parents and she's returning from sweeps, pulling off straps and her riding leathers before walking inside. "Wingmate?"

"In the office!" Th'ero calls out and a touch belated as he is slow to bring himself back to the present and escape his brooding thoughts. He doesn't rise from his chair, but he does look back at the papers he holds, his expression tense and grim.

Kimmila walks back to the office and leans in the door, smiling at him. One look at his expression though… "What's wrong, wingmate?" she asks quietly, pushing off the door frame to walk inside and around his desk, a hand resting on his shoulder.

Th'ero's eyes follow Kimmila as she enters his office and when she rests her hand on his shoulder, he lifts his other arm up to offer her the papers. They bear official Healer Hall insignias, but Half Moon Bay has also been stamped somewhere on there too. "Just received this, not long ago and not long after Velokraeth gave me a rather cryptic and puzzling message. I wonder if Kayeth was in on it too. Not that it matters. There's sickness in Half Moon Bay." He won't say the 'P-word'. Right now his mind cannot grasp something so large, something threatening but unseen. "They've quarantined the Weyr and there's reports that the Holds have their folk sickening. One confirmed death… Grypcove Ridge cothold."

Kimmila frowns, peering down at the papers. "A message from Velokraeth?" she asks curiously, before her frown deepens. "Sickness there?" She looks up, head tiling a bit. "A quarantine? Already? Shards. Do we have anyone here from there? In the craft fair?"

"If it can even be called that. You know how he can be," Th'ero mutters under his breath. He'll leave the papers in her hands for now to read if she chooses to. "Sickness," he confirms grimly. "And yes, already. Which means it must be severe to warrant that sort of response. Weyr and Holds on the islands, Wingmate!" He spreads his hands and lowers them again, fingers tapping restlessly against the desk surface. Her questions bring a heavier frown and then one of concern. He hadn't thought of that! "I don't know… but it's possible some may have already come and gone? Shards… Shards and shells!" Looking up at her, his eyes have widened considerably as his mind begins to go down so many paths. Dark and frightening paths.

Kimmila frowns again. "Where are the rosters? We can't see if anyone came to visit from there, but we can see if there are crafters in a booth…" She squeezes his shoulder firmly. "It's okay," she says quietly. "It's possible no one came."

Th'ero can only stare at her for a moment before he gives himself a sharp shake and blinks his eyes clear. "Right. Yes, the rosters. Wing rosters? Haast, perhaps? And… I believe we have the records for the stalls. Not in this office." he murmurs, pushing back his chair. He'll take those papers and fold them, tucking them into one of his pockets. Then she's squeezing his shoulder and he pauses to give her another look. "Do you truly believe that? That one rider from Half Moon Bay did not at least come here?"

Kimmila shakes her head. "No, not the wing rosters. The roster of who signed up for which stall." Then she sighs. "I don't know, wingmate. Maybe not? I don't know and there's really no way /to/ know without asking them."

Th'ero's brows knit. "Do we have access to that or is that the Headwoman's task to have them?" He seems so scattered and lost, which is not like him at all. He begins to reach for his jacket, preparing to step outside and take the short, brisk walk down the stairs to the council chambers and to his public office. "Ask who? If there are any Half Moon Bay riders here, then they best return to their Weyr…" Harsh?

Kimmila is quiet for a moment. "Nyalle would probably have them. Or the Headwoman. Whoever organized it." She sighs. "I don't /know/," she says, a bit frustrated with this new development. "Ask Half Moon Bay. Have Velokraeth reach out to them to ask. Or we go down ourselves and start asking around. Though that might just spread panic. Should we cancel it? Send people home? Or keep everyone here?"

She's frustrated? Th'ero is too but his mind is drifting in other ways too, all of which are grim and dark and yield him no answers or solutions. "We'll start with the Headwoman. I don't want to disturb Nyalle with this quite yet, if she isn't already aware of it." he mutters as he slips out the door and begins to walk down to the offices. He won't speak again until they're past the council chambers and the silence is tense and heavy. "Ask them? All Velokraeth tells me is that they've closed their borders. No traffic but if there are visitors they are subject to a health check by Healers…" Which doesn't answer much! "No. I do not want to cause unnecessary panic or cancel the festivities. It's not as though the sickness is here and sending everyone home may give folks that impression and we'll have everyone jumping at every sniffle, sneeze and cough… Bad enough that autumn is notorious for common ailments!"

"But what if someone sick arrives and spreads it here? And then it travels all over Pern?" Kimmila asks in concern after Th'ero has broken his silence. "The sickness could be here, wingmate, if someone from Half Moon Bay came here."

"What will you have me do, Kimmila?" Th'ero asks in an exasperated tone, giving her a narrowed look as his temper flares and his frustrations build. They're in his office now and he nudges the door closed, muffling their conversation to the outside. "You don't think I haven't considered that already? If that's the case, then it's already too late. The Craft Fair is set to wrap up soon… Must we end it in panic? The Healer Hall mentioned nothing about us shutting our borders!"

Kimmila frowns sharply. "I don't /know/," she snaps back at him. "But if it is a sickness and it is spreading, then time is of the essence!"
Time slows for a bit. Saving database

Th'ero's eyes narrow when she snaps at him, his temper rising but swiftly clamped down upon. No, no… he's past those Turns when he'd fly off the handle over the stupidest of things. He knows this is his fear trying to control him. He takes a steadying breath, "Wingmate, the Healer Hall said only Half Moon Bay is quarantined. Until we are told otherwise, there is NO sense in starting widespread panic among the festival goers! Discretely, perhaps we can find the records of the stalls… but as far as any guests? It's too late. There's no way to track which riders or passengers from Half Moon Bay have come and gone."

Kimmila huffs in irritation, but she knows he's right. Still doesn't mean she has to /like/ it. /They/ were there! She took Kyzen there this morning! That thought chills her to the bone and she takes a slow breath. "So we need the rosters. If anyone is here from Half Moon Bay, they'll have to be notified."

Th'ero is trying very hard not to think of their son or the twins… or of his childhood home. Some of his temper ebbs when Kimmila calms down and he will sit heavily in the chair behind his desk. "I've sent Cranky and Boromir to find Talica. If she has the rosters, she'll send a drudge here with them. Otherwise we will have to call Nyalle here…" Which they'll eventually do regardless but he's hoping to have a plan in place first.

Kimmila nods, and she begins to pace a little bit, back and forth. "Okay. It's a place to start at least…if they are from there, what do we do? Have the Healers check them? Offer them a place to stay?"

Th'ero follows her pacing and can't help but smirk at the irony behind that. Usually HE is the one doing that habit and yet here he is, sitting heavily in his chair and just looking so tired. "If we find anyone from Half Moon Bay here, we'll have to send them immediately to the Infirmary. Quietly, if we can. The Healers here are no doubt already informed and aware and they likely have their procedures to follow. We've some empty weyrs we can house them in, if a quarantine is needed."

Kimmila nods, "That sounds like a good plan," she agrees softly. She stops her pacing and flickers a bit of a wry grin. Yeah, she noticed. "Anything more we can do? Supplies for Half Moon?"

Th'ero motions with his hand for her to sit though not specifically anywhere. "Until we see those rosters and inform Nyalle, I am not sure, Wingmate. Supplies will be her decision too. We can only hope that this… sickness is not as fast spreading as the messages imply. For there to be ill in the Holds and Weyr so soon…" He only shakes his head, unable to continue.

Kimmila sits, more perching on the edge of his desk with a frown. "It does not bode well at all," she says quietly.

Th'ero leans back in his chair, looking up at Kimmila when she perches on the edge of his desk. Her frown is echoed in his expression and he sighs. "No, Wingmate. No, it does not bode well at all…" he sighs, running a hand up through his hair. There's a stretch of silence and he adds, quietly and as if ashamed to even bring it up. "… Irondell should be remote enough…"

Kimmila frowns. "Irondell?" She's silent a moment before asking gently, "Why would you care?"

Th'ero's frown deepens and he snorts. "I know, I shouldn't, should I? Given all that it stands for. Despite my past and grievances, there are good people, a few good people, in that sad excuse of a cothold. Ilenki's wife for one and their little girl." Probably not so little anymore. "And Kenali has relations and friends there."

Kimmila shrugs slightly. "I suppose it doesn't hurt to care. But…there's nothing you can do about it. Your mother and father are out, so. There are good people in Half Moon Bay, too…"

"I'm not saying that there are no good people in Half Moon Bay and I can tell you know I feel worse for the Weyr and the Holds already affected than I do for the possibility that Irondell will fall," Th'ero mutters and exhales heavily. "We can only hope they caught this… sickness in time."

Kimmila shakes her head. "That's not what I meant, Wingmate," she murmurs. "Just saying…you have no real ties to Irondell anymore. No more than any other area affected."

Th'ero looks down at the surface of his desk, confused by her words but he does not argue or protest them. He grimaces, "Perhaps you're right, but it still bothers me to think of so many sickening." Something else comes to his mind then too and he gives her a sharp look. "You said you had Kyzen at the stalls…?"

Kimmila sighs softly. "Yes, I took him out this morning. Mostly we just looked around, didn't buy anything…"

Th'ero shakes his head and reaches out to rest his hand against her thigh. "I'm not trying to worry you, love. Only… perhaps as a precaution we should see about sending Kyzen away, maybe even the twins, until this whole sickness thing blows over." Or worsens. He meets and holds her gaze, watching her carefully as he speaks his thoughts out loud rather than brood on it.

Kimmila frowns. "Send them where? How do we know what's safe and what's not?" Her hand does cover his though, and she gives it a firm squeeze.

Th'ero squeezes her hand back and his expression only turns all the more grim. "So far the sickness is on the island and maybe won't ever make it mainland. If it does though, we could be the first… or perhaps to the south. Didn't Soriana speak of a party for her son Skyler or something of that nature? If Kyzen and the twins don't show signs of illness… perhaps we can send them to Xanadu." Half a world away. "Kiena would know if there are respectable and reliable enough caretakers."

Kimmila frowns again, shaking her head. "But what if Xanadu is at risk, but here is safe? I don't know, wingmate, my gut tells me to keep them here unless people here show signs of illness. Then we send them out. Even if I took them to Keroon, to our cabin, and stayed isolated."

Th'ero exhales heavily and can only shrug his shoulders, his hand still holding hers firmly. "I just don't want to risk them, in case things turn south here, Wingmate." he murmurs, only to blink and stare at her blankly. Keroon! He'd forgotten about their cabin! Almost immediately, the tension that had begun to build in his shoulders and around the corners of his mouth ease and drop away. "That could be an option…"

Kimmila watches him closely. "Shall I send Tlazio's family, and ours, to Keroon?" she asks softly. "With plenty of supplies? Tell them to just…wait it out there?"

Th'ero blinks again as that thought now crosses his mind. Tlazio's family! Garan and Kenali too. He grimaces, "I don't think Tlazio will just up and leave his Craft and position here. So… as much as I am keen to send them off perhaps you are right, Wingmate. We should wait." And keep hope that things do not get worse.

Kimmila shakes her head. "Perhaps not, but perhaps his wife?" She sighs. "I do not like this, wingmate. I do not like this at all."

Th'ero nods his head slowly. "Perhaps," he agrees and when she sighs, he lets go of her hand so he can try to draw her to him. The door is closed and he is only wanting her to sit in his lap. He wants her close, even if just for a moment. "I know, Wingmate. I know." he whispers but in a tone that encourages her to talk, to vent, to share her worries and fears with him.

Kimmila shifts, sliding into his lap and curling up against him, her head against his shoulder. She is silent for a few moments, listening to his heartbeat. "I can't lose anyone," she whispers finally. "Not you, not the children, not mom or dad… no one." As if by saying it she can make it happen.

Th'ero sighs softly and kisses the top of her head when she rests against his shoulder. His arms slip around her, firm and protective in their embrace. "Neither can I, Wingmate. Take heart though that we're a strong and healthy bunch. You won't lose us, love." he murmurs softly, making it seem like a promise. As if he has any control over fate!

Kimmila sighs, curling up close against him, just being held. Savoring this moment with him. "I wish that was guaranteed…"

Th'ero holds her close and tight, one hand gently stroking along her back. He rests his cheek against her hair and he sighs, "I wish I could guarantee it for you and be able to promise and swear that no harm will befall us or those we love…" He knows better than that. "… We know what to do though, Wingmate. We have that at least? In case things go bad."

Kimmila shivers in his hold, nodding her head with a low sigh. "We do have a plan," she agrees quietly. "That is something…"

Th'ero makes a low and soft soothing sound when she shivers and his hold on her tightens for a moment. He continues to stroke her back, slow and comforting. "We'll be alright, love. We always are and we've been through tougher trials than this…"

"With enemies we can see," Kimmila protests softly. Very softly. Then she takes a slow breath. "It'll be okay. You're right. It will. It has to be."
Th'ero grimaces as she brings up his one fear and so plain and simply too. "It bothers me that this is something we cannot exactly see or control too, Wingmate. But we don't have to lose heart. We'll be alright. You'll see," he whispers and hugs her fiercely to him.
Kimmila relaxes into his hug, because what else is there to do? She shifts, slipping an arm around his body to hug him back, tightly.

Th'ero hugs her and holds her, letting the silence settle between them for a few comfortable moments. He nuzzles her after awhile and then tries to seek her out for a slow and lingering kiss.

Kimmila sighs, tilting her head up to meet his lips and kiss him back, slow and lingering, matching that. Loving. Savoring.

Th'ero returns her kiss and the rest that follow. Unhurried. He savours this moment, the emotions that lift to blot out the fears and anxieties and dark news and the thoughts born of it. For now, it is just her and them, together, on his chair. Eventually he will break away and nuzzle her fondly. "We may have a little more time yet before Nyalle returns. Come with me to the weyr?" Playing hooky? Well, he is the Weyrleader. What's a few minutes more in hiding?