Fort Weyr - Ground Entrance - SW Bowl
The dominant feature of the southern end of the bowl is the blue lake that fills the entire southern tip and the rockslide that tumbles down into its far side. It has been many, many, turns since the slide took place, but it still stands uncleared to this day. Occasionally, smaller pebbles tumble down to splash into the waters of the lake below, but the mass seems mostly stable. Sturdy fences mark the feeding pens that the dragons may choose their meals from, located against the west face. The beasthold here is minor, small cramped buildings, used mostly to maintain the herds which feed the dragons. The major beasthold is located out in the forests, just outside the Weyr. There's a sign which warns "that beasts in this location are fair game to the dragons" and that any domestic pleasure stock should be kept in the major beasthold location.
The other feature that does not go unnoticed in this bowl is the large cavernous archway. There seems to be cobble stone laid down near the archway, which causes a clatter when the wagons and trading caravans arrive. Indeed, it seems that there's a tunnel out of the bowl here, wide enough for two trader caverns to fit through and possibly a small blue dragon. To the opposite end, the great bowl stretches away far, leading to some very interesting locations.

Late morning heralds a Weyr that is blanketed in snow, the flurries having come sometime later in the night to cover the ground in thick, heavy drifts. The snowfall has tapered off a little now, but the wind is biting cold and those who wander out best be layered well. As much as folk would love to stay indoors, snug and warm (even if working), for many it won't be so. All this snow has to be cleared and everyone who could be found and spared have been dragged out, volunteered whether they liked it or not, to help clear snow so travel within and without the Weyr can resume. The Weyrleader is on site in the southern bowl, having dropped by after his patrols to oversee the task and also lend a hand to help clear the mouth of the tunnel. Velokraeth is on a ledge above, the pale bronze sprawled out on his stomach, stunted forelegs crossed and his head cocked in curious interest as he observes the work below.

Kimmila is out as well, bundled up, gloved hands gripping a shovel which she leans on. "Caverns first, as always?" she asks. "Not sure why the dragons don't just flame the whole bowl…that'd take care of it." And then it'd be an ice skating rink when the water froze over.

Zaala has been asked to help! Of all people, she probably was the one that begged the loudest to be allowed to do anything else than deal with the mountains of snow! She's still not accustomed to the weather despite the fact that she's lived here for quite some time now, at least a Turn. Even so, it takes a while for a southern to truly enjoy the wonders of the northern world. Yet, there she is, bundled up in her white fur jacket, hood thrown up, with thick gloves and big fur boots. She looks at least somewhat miserable, irritable at the fact that she's been requested to come out and be a spare shovel. Numerous times to someone she's working beside, she gripes, "Why can't the dragons do this? It'd be a lot faster you know…" Sigh. Not that she's helping too much, one of her shovel fulls takes about three times longer to pitch than the rest. But she's doing it, sorta.

Th'ero is dressed in his thickest and warmest riding gear, the collar lined with fur and pulled up close and tight to his chin. He keeps his hood down for now, and his gloved hands grip the shovel firmly as he hoists another shovelful of snow into a nearby drift. The Weyrleader's expression is reserved and difficult to read, brows knitted together and breath pluming out white from his lips. Pausing as Kimmila speaks, he smirks. "There's another team on the caverns. Figured I'd stop by here and help clear the tunnel entrance. Not that we're liable to get any incoming visitors from land… you never know." he murmurs, only to eye the bluerider. Really? Flame? "That'd not be advisable…" he begins to mutter, only to drift silent as Zaala's griping can be overheard and he snorts. "Because we've no weyrling dragons at the moment and it's not like we're facing an emergency. We've plenty of able bodied folk!" So suck it up?

Kimmila grins over at Zaala. "You want to try and make them?" she calls to the girl, clearly teasing rather than scolding. Heaving a sigh, the bluerider shifts and moves off a short distance to begin shoveling her own patch of the bowl, intending to meet up with Th'ero's section. "This is one thing I miss about Western…"

Zaala wasn't aware that those who were by her, close enough to over hear her, were (big-wide eyed expression here) in fact the Weyrleader and his weyrmate. Oh joy! The girl makes a sullen face as she turns her eyes back down and keeps whatever other grumblings to herself. No one ever made out well by telling off a Weyrleader, so she has to suffer through it. So the best thing she can do is ingore that Th'ero is even there. She's hardly talked to him at all, so she doesn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to rapport building, not to mention he scowled at her during the last time she saw him in the tavern for giving a -wink- and a bit of expected flirting that comes with waitressing. So yeah, better that he doesn't exist entirely in her mind right then. Thus, it's Kimmila that has her attention, with a disbelieving snort, "Only their riders can make them - so if their riders would rather do a job that would take a dragon two swipes of a tail, then, that's kind of crazy."

Th'ero really isn't that bad with his temper of late and it's been sometime since the Weyrleader last told anyone off unless they truly deserved it. His scowling is just part of his personality and rarely account for all of his opinion. "There are days I miss not having to worry about snow or ice either, Wingmate. But I've come to accept it." he drawls to Kimmila and then promptly stabs his shovel into the drift and dusts his gloved hands together. By now a good portion of the bowl has been cleared and the Weyrleader is apparently taking a break. Not that he's slacking, as his gaze drifts to observe the other knots of workers and volunteers. Zaala's ignoring of him is, well, ignored in turn and he'll stare at her for a moment before smirking crookedly. "I think she just implied us riders are lazy, Kimmila." he murmurs with a faint chuckle.

Kimmila laughs. "On the contrary, I think she's saying we're working /too/ hard, by doing something by hand that it'd take our dragons mere moments to do on their own." Grinning, she continues to shovel even when Th'ero pauses.

Zaala gives a little smirk when Kimmila immediately disregards Th'ero's observations for a better and more practical one, "She's right," the girl turns on them both, a hand on a hip, regarding them with the other settled on the top of the shovel, "Why you like to create more work for yourselves is crazy." It's not like being a dragonrider isn't hard enough work without creating a little more. Then again, they do have all the extra bodies huddling inside now a days with the snow out, so it gives the people a break from crowded caverns and the like. Zaala shrugs her shoulders, her cheeks rosy red from the time already spent out doors.

Th'ero's smirk only quirks a fraction more towards a smile when Zaala turns on them both and he makes a soft, near scoffing sound. "Of course she's right," he drawls with a darted look to Kimmila. Being a dragonrider does mean a fair share of work and the Weyrleader likely has a considerable amount to wade through each day and yet… "Crazy, how? Yes, this is work, but it's necessary work. Perhaps I don't have to help, but I choose to. Figured it'd be better than lounging in my weyr while good folk toil out here, hmm?" he murmurs while levelling Zaala with a long look, only to shake his head and shift his weight. One hand comes back, as if in idle habit only to awkwardly freeze and lower again, all done swiftly and perhaps unnoticed. Th'ero is glancing towards the high drifts of snow and where he's placed his shovel, distracted and frowning heavily as he takes a few slow steps forwards. "Does the shovelling honestly upset you that much?" he'll ask of Zaala, though his head remains oddly turned down and away.

Kimmila arches a brow, eying Zaala and then laughing. "Why you would complain about something as mundane and easy as shoveling snow is crazier," she drawls. Then she's noticing Th'ero's actions, her eyes narrowing slightly. "What is it, Wingmate?" Yeah, he can't hide things from her. She's known him too long.

Zaala seems amused by how easily Th'ero goes along with the fact that Kimmila was right, her lips turning away from her own disgruntled scowl to an impish one, murmuring toward Kimmila behind an uplifted hand, "You've got him trained right." Her hand slides down and she sneaks a look back around her fur hood toward where the bronzerider had taken a rest. as for the comment about being crazy, she rolls her eyes, "Why should it be necessary when a dragon can be called down to dig out a path? They're not doing anything else are they? But probably laughing at how silly their riders are…" Now she's going to get annoyed. Maybe it's something about Th'ero's tone or his stubborness, as if he couldn't get the concept through his thick skull. She huffs, "You only make us toil. Seriously." A side look to Kimmila, looking at her if she's gone right loopy in the head. There's only a glove extended outward and sweeping across the field to explain her point, "Uhm, because it's cold and it sucks?" The teen shrugs at Th'ero, "I guess not. I just would rather do something else. You know, inside, where it's warm, and my nose isn't freezing off."

Th'ero heard that. "Careful." he warns, but it's hard to say if it's meant for her to mind her teasing comments regarding him or whether to be on guard around Kimmila, though truthfully the bluerider has the better sense of humor. The Weyrleader looks up then, eyes narrowing as he peers at several of the occupied ledges above. Velokraeth hasn't moved from his position, though his head has long since ceased looking down at the scene below and is now turned to face a nearby green, to whom he is courting with a few low, honeyed croons. Mercifully on them all, the green shows no signs of prodiness and merely goes about her preening. "Because," Th'ero drawls as he looks down again and first to Zaala, then to Kimmila. "Dragons aren't just 'called down'. They could be resting, for one or preparing for a day of duty. If it were absolutely needed for them to dig a path, then yes, they would. But they aren't and they do not mind us doing the work." he points out, only to blink and then come close to scowling at her — again! "Now how would I be personally responsible for that?" he asks, only to smirk. "I think a lot of us would rather be doing something else but it's a task needed to be done. But if you're going to be so sour over a bit of shovelling, then I suppose I could reassign you. Even IF that is more of the Headwoman's discretion than my own." Lifting a gloved hand, he'll beckon Zaala forwards, to where he stands by the snowdrifts and a patch of unshovelled but well trampled snow. Glancing past her to Kimmila, Th'ero will only minutely shake his head. It's nothing! Really. And his cryptic remark to Zaala has nothing to do with it. "To get your mind off the cold, why don't you help locate a misplaced item? It's bound in dark leather and should be around here somewhere…" Wait, here? As in — IN the snow? He's kidding right? Judging by the way he just looks, eyes level and face completely deadpan serious he's — well, serious!

Kimmila turns her head slowly to look at Zaala, the bluerider's eyes narrowing sharply. "I /beg/ your pardon?" Someone's hit a nerve. "Th'ero is not a canine that I have /trained/." Scowling now, the bluerider looks around. And then blinks at Th'ero. Her eyes flick down to his waist, then back to him, eyes widening slightly.

Kimmila earns a flinch from Zaala. She's not a woman! Or well, the typical sort that Zaala hangs out with. Most would just giggle, smirk knowingly, or do something else that would reciprocate the jest. "Wow… grumpy and chuckles over here…" she mutters under her breath, hopefully not loud enough that they'd hear, but, it's always possible the way the wind is blowing. Now, it just looks like she wants to shovel over -there-… the other end of the line of toiling workers would be just fine with her. As for Th'ero's excuses, she snorts, doing her best to bite her tongue, even though it looks like she's burning to say something more. Thankfully, she doesn't. Keep it together! Maybe she's just angsty because of the weather. It drives some people to mood swings. Then again, she's a girl. That doesn't like doing manual labour in the outdoors. That could explain it. Though, she's devious enough to use this time in not shovelling. Nope, no more swings made while she's being talked to. Th'ero gets a shrug, "Because… shit runs down hill and from where I"m standing, you're on the pile." OH she didn't just do that! Yes, well she did. And she seems oblivious that she just cursed in front of the man, uptight as he is on the outside! She makes a noise of disapproval at being called sour, a girlish scowl replacing her expression. She did not like that! That purse and twist of her lips was enough to declare that in a loud statement. It's the silence that one should worry about! Always the silence with the women. Silence was deadly after all, right? As for being beckoned, she goes, a few steps, then a few more, if only because she's not wanting to dig herself any deeper into a grave yet. And suddenly, the adventures of searching for a needle in a haystack are presented to her. She stares at him levelly in return, her own tone drawling, completely not impressed by the task, "Really…" her eyes give a roll, "Have you -seen- how much snow there is?" She does take a cursory glance around, but otherwise, leans on the shovel she had dragged over with her, a defiant find it yourself look creeping up on her features - now whose being called a dog. Fetch! Ugh.

If Zaala is digging a gave, at least she already has the shovel to do it with? Keep digging girl! Th'ero will miss that muttered comment, too busy with giving Kimmila his attention when it's apparent that the bluerider's nerve has been struct. So much for her having the sense of humor this morning? Now the Weyrleader may face having two irate women on his hands and so is swift to murmur to his weyrmate. "I'm sure we're all aware of that," he drawls. Let it go? It may be best that Zaala holds her tongue, as Th'ero's mood is rapidly shifting as well but not so much towards anger and frustration than it is just frustration and what may be concern. Or is it nervousness? His hand does, after all, fidget again in that same subtle twitch to his side. One that Kimmila picked up on and at her widening look, he'll only quietly shake his head. He has no time to ponder over what might be making Zaala so prickly, though he likely has a few assumptions of his own and he is no stranger to awkward silences. He often is the cause of them and knows them far too well. As for the crude comment, the Weyrleader only stares at Zaala before frowning heavily, lips pressing into a firm and disapproving line. "So that's your issue, then? Your perceived notions of the ranking system?" he drawls and in a tone as if to say he's either not impressed but not surprised or disappointed or all of it and all wrapped in a brief flare of annoyance. "Yes, I've seen how much snow there is!" Th'ero remarks dryly and in a firmer tone, lifting his hands up now to gesture and emphasize his next words, which are curiously enough spoken fairly low as more crypticness comes into play. "I figured I'd ask for some help considering this item is a bit priceless and valued!" he mutters, eyes narrowing as he catches that defiant look in her eyes. "And I'd rather not have to call too much attention that I've misplaced it." Whatever it is? But does she get it now? And never mind that Kimmila has caught on, but Th'ero is doing his best to continue acting as though nothing is amiss. "So? Will you help or not?"

Kimmila is a woman! Just not that kind of woman. Kimmila's focus is on Th'ero though, and she shakes her head, tossing her shovel aside. "Where have you been." More of a statement than a question, as she begins to wade through the deep snow. "It's your dagger, isn't it? The one I got for you." Yeah, she's irate. At them both, by now. Grr. "Help, Zaala." That's…an order? From an unranked bluerider. That'll go over well!

Zaala sighs and shivers a little underneath her fur jacket, as if it wasn't enough to completely take away the bite from the wind, or maybe the bite of the conversation, perhaps both. She notices the disapproval suddenly as his tone expresses it, her head giving a quick shake, "No. That's just a saying, you know." Like, don't take things so seriously, "and quit putting words in my mouth." She doesn't appreciate that either! Even if her cheeks are rosy already, they deepen, looking abashed, "My father was a Weyrleader once, I would never mean to offend how it all works…" In essence, that's her apology, even if she's not at this moment, going to take back her opinion. The continued sharpness in those dry tones have her kicking her boot awkwardly into the snow underneath her, "I'm sure you could replace it… or wait until spring. It's just a—" and then Kimmila interrupts to interject exactly why it seems important. "Oh," sentimental value. Aww. She bites her lip as she show some sympathy for the loss, although Kimmila earns a quizzical look for the tone. See, the cold makes people grumpy. "Fine whatever…" she huffs, "When and where did you have it last? Otherwise you might as well point me to the haystack so I can find the needle too while I'm at it."

Th'ero has never been too good with sayings, he's too logical and - to be honest - thick headed to really grasp those sort of things until the meaning all but smacks him in the face. In this case, it comes around too late to the Weyrleader that he's misunderstood Zaala and so he grimaces, his expression easing just enough to show a hint of sheepishness for his blunder. "I'm not putting words in your mouth! Not intentionally. It was a misunderstanding." Fair enough? Then his brows lift again, surprised and mildly curious despite the growing tension and the apology given. "As I said, it was a misunderstanding." he murmurs and he will have to save his prying questions concerning her family and past for another time. Th'ero is just about to protest about 'just replacing' the item when Kimmila interjects and lets it all out of the bag and into the open. Grimacing again, almost flinching at the bluerider's irate tone, he holds up his hands in a warding gesture. "It was with me when I went on patrols this morning!" he mutters in his defence, only to inwardly groan when he realizes what that can imply. Now it's his turn to dig a grave? Apparently the cold DOES make people grumpy, as the Weyrleader's mood is now plummeting and his frown grows dark and troubled. "And I'm positive it was still hooked when I came here to help." he'll tell Kimmila, only to glance sidelong to Zaala. Yes, it's very much a sentimental item! He snorts for the sarcastic remark and then gestures towards the bowl wall, not but a handful of steps away. A packed drift of snow is stacked there and from the looks of it a lot of activity had once taken place there by all the tracks left in the loose snow. "Start there and I'll take the other side. Wingmate, are you helping too?" Or will she just stare daggers (HA!) into his back the entire time? "It can't be THAT hard to spot in all this snow. Black against white, it should stand out." he mutters, turning away to begin his hunt and perhaps using it as an excuse NOT to meet either of their eyes right now. This is embarrassing for him! Both because he's misplaced something so cherished and because Zaala is witness to it and Kimmila's upset over it (to put it lightly).

Kimmila shakes her head firmly, pushing hair back beneath her hood. "Shit," she swears under her breath. Yes, she will help, but she'll do it angrily as she moves to another spot in the drift and begins to dig. A moment later a few uninterested firelizards show up and start poking through the snow, but they quickly lose interest and dart off again. Useless things.

Zaala is about to argue the point that he -was- putting words in her mouth, yet, some inner instinct tells her not to pick this battle to fight. There are bigger battles she may one day have to fight this man for, this, was not one of them. It wasn't worth the time either. So instead, as her mouth opens to argue, it instead closes with an accepting nod. She waits quietly for some answers, some hint of where to start, unable to keep from rocking on her feet side to side and rubbing her arms a little. It's just too cold for a southern born, at this point. When in fact, the admission is made that he had it on patrols, she took gives an exasperated 'are you kidding' look, rolling her eyes and crossing her arms against the shovel handle, half crouching down to put her weight against it, a heavy breath coming out to nearly flap her lips and send air brushing against her half damp bangs. "Next time, I will grin and bear the shoveling…" because with a very lack luster glance toward the piles of snow, it could take -longer- than it would've to shovel out the pathway in finding the lost treasure - if it's even out this way. Needle in a haystack for sure, considering with all the white, the dagger is likely burried. She saunters over with one of those sassy 'I can't believe this' type walks, arms sagging, dragging the shovel, moving rather carelessly and sluggishly toward the drifts. She stops by the pile of snow and grunts, "So.. basically undo all the work they did, so we can find a dagger. A prime example…" she mutters the rest, starting to carelessly stab her shovel into the pile, scoop out a big section and without aim, plops it some where behind her in a big old swinging chuck.

Smart woman! Best to pick and chose the battles to fight with Th'ero, for he can be a very, very stubborn man. Ask Kimmila! She's the expert in going head to head with him when he's in a brooding and set frame of mind. It's never pretty. The Weyrleader will only give Zaala another one of his lingering, narrowed looks for her behavior, having to bite his tongue this time around to keep from calling her out, his mood on edge now that Kimmila is upset with him and he is upset with himself for his carelessness. It is totally a needle in a haystack situation but Th'ero is determined now and he'll turn the entire bowl upside down if he has too (and probably drag Zaala and Kimmila along with him for that FUN task!). Leaving Zaala to work, the Weyrleader will pick at his section but it will yield nothing and so he tromps over to where Kimmila has begun to search and it's to her that he'll begin to mutter under his breath for the bluerider's ears only and not feeding into Zaala's continued behavior.

Someone else is watching though and has been for some time while the trio were sufficiently distracted. Velokraeth has given up on courting the green in favor of observing the goings-on below. Precious little escapes the ugly, malformed and stunted pale bronze and sensing the change in mood of all involved, he begins to shift his weight. Talons click against stone as he hefts his bulky weight and wings flare in a semi-lazy manner as he half launches, half topples off the ledge to make the brief descent to the bowl below. Zaala will only get a warning sound of rushing wind and a startled curse by Th'ero before a shadow is looming from behind and beside her. Just as abrupt, Velokraeth's front foreleg will extend and deftly will he 'sweep' it through the snow and effectively clear out most of what she was attempting to shovel. See anything? Of course, he's very careful not to sweep her up with it, but he comes awfully close and closer still when his oversized head lowers down and he begins to edge his way forwards in an attempt to 'herd' her away from the spot and more out into the open.

Indeed he can be. And with a scowl, Kimmila continues to search through the drift, muttering back to him when he comes near. And ducking away with a startled sound when Velokraeth is swooping in so close as well. More muttering, angry and swift, as she throws herself into her work.

Zaala still doesn't really show much appreciate for the FUN task ahead, in fact, other than the odd scoop of snow here and there, her effort is as much as a snail pace as it was earlier. No fancy dagger is going to move her enough to put her back into it, or her heart. She even stops now and then, yawning over one scoop of the shovel as she stares at the wall of white. This will teach her not to mutter about things she should just suck up. The girl coughs against the cold air now and then, even sniffing loudly as the cold has started to make her nose run. Lovely weather, isn't it! All the knots fault that she's out here, indeed, though some of course would consider it an inviting task. Not her. Even her own firelizard, the blue, Tea as she's named him, swoops in for a look but doesn't do more than watch with interest the movement of the snow shovel, flipping his wings each time she burries the end of the shovel into the snow. Now while she might've only been aware of the rushing wind, she gets a split second warning sooner because her firelizard squawks in alarm and launches up to poof into *between*, hiding from the looming shadow that grows behind Zaala. The girl herself has to brace against her shovel for the winds stirred up behind her, a squeal of alarm for the gusts of wind and snow. She senses the presence of the beast more than she sees it, like one senses someone watching you. It's the same thing and after she rights herself properly, she shoves her hood back and glares back behind her at Velokraeth - yet it's at that moment he swipes the ground with his foreleg and sweeps the snow clear where she was digging. PROOF! She flails a finger and points dramatically, "SEE! I told you how fast it would be!" It's a tone that suggests she's rather just go nah nah, tongue stick, told you so - though she doesn't do just that, save the tone. A smug look replaces her features, being that she was totally right that it would take two seconds for a dragon to do what would take a person twenty or thirty minutes. Justified, she turns on Velokraeth as his oversized head lowers, her hands going up to snug his snout if he doesn't pull back, her way of appreciating his proving her earlier point.

Th'ero is saying very little while Zaala continues, lack lustre, in her 'help' to search for the dagger and he hunts through the snow as well between furitive glances her way and then to Kimmila at his other side. At the shadow, the Weyrleader starts a bit, reaching out to grasp the bluerider's arm briefly as she ducks away but swiftly lets go with the muttering. Peering at her, he can't even get a word out edgewise before Velokraeth pulls his little stunt and Zaala is declaring her triumph. "Yeah, only now there's a ton of snow right where everyone had shovelled previously!" Th'ero calls back irritably, frowning at his bronze's behavior. It's true too, all the snow or most of it has been swept onto the tracks cleared and several folk are groaning about it under their breaths. As for Velokraeth? He only rumbles an abstract apology, which promptly changes to a smug and honeyed croon. The snug wasn't expected but he doesn't reject the contact — not the bronze. The bronzerider however, does. Th'ero bristles, either for Zaala's flailing finger and the tone of her voice or the fact she brazenly touched Velokraeth. He's just about to storm his way over when the bronze huffs in a tone edged in warning. Wait! The Weyrleader pauses, scowling and his distracted gaze keeps focus on his lifemate. So she's safe? For now.

Kimmila turns to watch the girl, blinking. "Yessss," she says slowly. "We /know/ it'd take less time with a dragon. We /know/. But we're still doing it." Rolling her eyes, the bluerider heaves a sigh when the snow topples over to where they'd just cleared, eying the bronze, and then looking at Th'ero. QUESTIONING LOOK.

Velokraeth earns a short contact, but it is a contact of hands quickly brushing across his muzzle, "Thanks big guy," she compliments him for the sweeping of the snow, even if it -was- in the wrong direction. She does lower her hands away, looking toward the mound of snow that has been scattered, "Well, it's not here." She chips in, deciding to meander on over toward another fresh snow bank. She sends a fleeting glance toward both of the riders - well they asked for her help, they didn't necessarily ask for her to be sweet about it. As for the snow being in the wrong place, it's not her dragon that did it and she's not shoveling the pathways anymore, so, yes, there's an aloof shrug as she plods toward the next spot. She actually waits for Velokraeth, curiously underneath a poised brow, "Do it again," she encourages, as it'd be swifter to find the dagger this way than with her slowly plugging away at the snow mounds. If she's making the two riders bristle with frustration, she's oblivious to it, at least, it appears she is - more cheery now that her point was truly made, ironically, by the talon of the Weyrleader's dragon. Hah. Winning.

Th'ero shakes his head as his eyes refocus and he turns to Kimmila, only to see The Questioning Look on the blueriders expression. He shrugs and smirks, uncertain yet of what to tell her. As by then, Zaala is on the move again and Velokraeth is lifting his head up to peer curiously down at the young woman. When he's encouraged and asked to preform the task again, he simply snorts sharply and then chuffs in as close as a mimicry to laughter as he can manage and promptly settles back on his haunches, tail wrapping about his feet with the tip of it flicking back and forth in a lazy but amused fashion. Nope, he's not going to do it! So sorry. "Zaala, you can't just ask him to do something! It doesn't work that way." Th'ero tells her in a firm tone, grimacing. By now the Weyrleader is simply annoyed and perplexed by both her behavior and that of the bronze. Boots crunch against the snow as he casts another glance to Kimmila, motioning for her to join him as he steps past Velokraeth's side and pauses again. Pauses, because he's suddenly staring incredulously from Zaala, to Velokraeth and back again. "You're kidding, right?" he blurts outloud (yet still mumbles it). Nice? The pale bronze only rumbles and cants his head with an air of smugness about him. No, he's not kidding. Now get on with it. Th'ero's eyes narrow and then he exhales heavily, turning to face Zaala once more with a expression now shifted to neutral. "You've stood before, have you not, Zaala?" he drawls, already reaching into the inner pockets of his jacket with gloved fingers. If she has, she'll know the signs, wouldn't she?

Kimmila hastens after Th'ero, and when she sees that look from dragon to rider, and hears that question, she laughs sharply. "Really?" Yeah, that's not very nice. But what are you going to do? She shoves her hands into her pockets and watches this unfold.

Cue the pout as the dragon plops himself down. What, she's not cute enough for him to give her a little hand? Zaala cants her head at the bronze, "Aww, come on you, it could be out here you know, your rider's treasured possession… What if someone else finds it first?" She speaks to the dragon as if she would ever hear an answer in response. Instead with a long sigh, Zaala goes back to digging her shovel into the snow. It's too bad, really it is! As for Th'ero's response, she shrugs her shoulder, "Maybe not, because he really doesn't know me. My parents dragons would often help out when needed." She regards Th'ero intently, wondering where the firm tone was coming from and that grimace. What?! She blinks innocently, swishes her hair back with a gloved hand and digs around in the snow a bit longer. It's the drawling question that draws her attention back, as the whole you're kidding remark she figures wasn't for her, because there's really nothing she said that would've earned such a response. Thus, she pivots a little to face Th'ero and Kimmila, shifting her hazel green eyes between the two, "Yes sir. The clutch in which Abigail impressed, I stood for that one, and I've not stood since." She regards the motion of his hand into his pocket, eyes giving a hint of widening, the laughter from Kimmila, undoubtedly not a nice laugh, has Zaala's back straightening, getting defensive, eyes narrowing back at Th'ero. He better not shove her lack of impression in her face, not now. Cautiously she prods, "And so what, most weyrbrats end up standing one time or another."

Kimmila's laughter has Th'ero turning his head just enough to give her a sharp look from over his shoulder. Yes — really. It's not that Zaala isn't cute enough, just that Velokraeth has played his part in this game and now has another one to set into motion, one that she oh-so-helpfully plays into. If the bronze could grin, he'd be doing it but those strange chuffs roll from him again and Th'ero stiffens, mouth dropping open slightly as he glares up at his lifemate. "You knew all along where it was! You—" Rascal? somehow that's not the word that was likely about to be used by the Weyrleader, but whatever curse he was about to spit is hastily cut off by a sharp, scoffing laugh. "Dagger never was missing!" he informs Kimmila, though his voice will carry enough for Zaala to hear. "It's in the weyr." Safe and sound, all along. Turning to face Zaala again, Th'ero has pulled his hand out of his jacket and he makes no effort to hide the white knot clutched in his grip. "I'm afraid the hunt for my dagger was all a ruse and only because he," This meaning Velokraeth, who only sits there all smug and satisfied. "Was in a mood to play us like pawns. He says there was something in you before and that has unchanged…" Th'ero hesitates, clearly having some doubts in this choice but — once a Candidate, always a Candidate and the dragons are so very rarely wrong. So the Weyrleader swallows his own reservations and nods his head, "So they do. And so you'll get your second chance if you accept to Stand for Dremkoth and Kouzevelth's clutch." The knot is extended then, but for a moment he hesitates, glancing past her to the snow beyond. He… wouldn't dare throw it, would he? Zaala would truly be searching for a needle in a haystack (snowbank!) then.

Kimmila blinks in surprise and then glares at Velokraeth. Walking forward, the bluerider thumps the bronze on the shoulder and then turns to stalk off in a huff. Oh, and, "Congratulations, Zaala. Try not to whine so much so you don't get kicked out, okay?"

The interplay between dragon and rider are observed, but Zaala remains a silent party to all that, her shovel stopping once it's announced that the whole thing was an elaborate ruse drawn up by the bronze. Her brows quirk up at the Weyrleader's further words, intrigued but not entirely ready to jump for joy. The last time was crushing and hard to recover from. It took her two turns to let it sink in that life wasn't going to be that way for her and she had to make it doing something else, which, she's become completely fine with - save for dealing with the cold wet snow shoveling bit. And it's not something cheerful either, since she can read the hesitation and the reaction from the bluerider as well, even her words making Zaala frown instead of smile. This was supposed to be a happy occasion, then why did it feel so forced? Especially when Th'ero hesitates on extending the knot toward her, to which, she hasn't exactly gone to reach for yet. Even the congratulations seemed contrived. Matters are weighed, her eyes flashing down toward her boots, then back up, more sincere and less standoffish with the Weyrleaders now, "I was really hurt last time. I felt lost for a while… didn't know where or what to do. I finally just figured it all out, or at least, I thought I did… coming back here." Her lips tighten, there's a little quaver in her voice, afraid to get her hopes up or afraid to get her heart broken. Something like that. She shuffles a foot, before she starts to wander toward Th'ero, each step comes with a decision being made. Dare she?

There is a lot of complexity behind why Th'ero hesitated but most of it did not have to do with Zaala as a person. The Weyrleader hardly knows her and would not cast judgement so swiftly and she has shown she is capable of far more than she's shown with the shovelling task. Truthfully, it IS rather dull work. But she did help them with those holdless kids and along with Jastre led them to agree in returning to the Weyr. Perhaps it's that memory that has Th'ero keeping that knot extended and not revoked and tucked back in a pocket or cruelly dropped in the snow for amusement (not that he would do that!). Kimmila's comment earns her a sharp look again from the Weyrleader and a heavy frown. No, he didn't entirely approve of that either, but he does not call the bluerider back as she stalks off. He only sighs, grimacing. It's Velokraeth who follows, the pale bronze lingering only to give Zaala what appears to be a respectful nod before moving on in his odd, waddling and lumbering gait with a rumbled-chuff to Kimmila's retreating form. Hey! Wait up will you? "Understandable. It's never expected of anyone left Standing to take it easily." Th'ero murmurs, that knot still held out temptingly. "And I cannot promise you an end you may seek. No one ever knows what to expect going in. But is it worth the risk not to? This time, at least, you go in a little more aware of what may await at the end. BOTH possibilities."

She approaches Th'ero now so that she's a respectable two or so paces away, not in his personal bubble as it were. Still, it may be too close for comfort, considering the Weyrleader's ways. Her hazel eyes lift up to regard the man as he speaks, the truth of the situation. She was only fourteen when she last bounded merrily into the sands, not a clue about how it would feel to be left behind as she watched her friends impress. What's worse is that her mother was at least in attendance and had to be there to pull her up off the floor from where she collapsed. All those memories come running back, competing against the rational approach that Th'ero does at least offer her. The final tipping point in making her decision is the fact that she was aware and could face the tougher outcomes of being left standing again. She takes another step forward to extend her fingers toward the knot, which is thankfully not chucked out into the snow. There's a quiet smile on her face, scared as it is happy, her eyes showing an instant of misting up - but that's because in the next instant she's tossing herself at Th'ero to give him a hug. Bristle about that! At least Kimmila isn't around to see or else she'd be wrestled to the ground or something! It's a quick hug, maybe awkward since she's liable to catch Th'ero off guard, and once she does back away, she bobs her head, showing gratitude with a trembling "Thank you."

Th'ero will wait patiently, as he always had, while Zaala works out her decision. He says nothing further, not wanting to force her hand or mind towards the offer. It has to be all of her choice in the end and when at last she approaches and is close enough to make the exchange, the knot is given to her waiting fingers. The Weyrleader expected to step back then, to go into the next portion of the tradition only to be thrown off guard as he finds himself hugged. Hugged! By the very girl who was making those remarks earlier and it confuses him, along with the awkwardness that sweeps in heavy and strong. Because the Weyrleader only goes tense and rigid, his arms lifted slightly but stiff as he is struggling with the choice either to return the gesture (very lightly) or simply stand there. He opts for just standing there and when freed, steps back, eyeing her with a wary but curious look. What was that for? Th'ero will at least nod in return to her thanks and then clearing his throat, resumes where he left off. "Congratulations then, Zaala and best of luck to you. I'm sure you know the rest? You've best to report to the Headwoman now and then see that you're settled in the Candidate barracks." Now she can escape that dreaded shovelling!

Yes hugged! And the confusion goes hand in hand with her being a teenaged girl. She certainly doesn't look able to explain it either, nor is she willingly going to provide a reason for her sudden compassion. At least when the Weyrleader gives her the final word of congratulations, Zaala tips her head and does take that expected step back, hiding a smile behind a shy downward look. Nope, she doesn't want to get too hopeful, even though it's hard to in the face of the fact that she's going to be wearing a white knot and has that second chance! "I do know the rest," she assures, handing him her shovel in return as she goes to pick it up off the ground near by, "Thank you sir, thank your lifemate for me too. I'll go see to being resettled." A higher note at the end finally expresses her excitement. She can barely wait as she turns with a soft girlish squee like giggle and races out of the snow toward the warmth of the weyr, thank Faranth!

Th'ero takes the shovel with a frown, only to then promptly stick it down into the snow so firmly that it stands upright. Let someone else claim it! "Good! And I will pass that on to Velokraeth, though I am certain he may already know. Clear skies, Zaala." And he'll watch her race off, lingering as he shakes his head and mutters something under his breath. He almost turns away, only to remember the mess Velokraeth made and with a curse slipping from his lips he reclaims that shovel and begins to undo the damage done. Then he stalks off across the bowls and back to his weyr, to face yet another challenge possibly awaiting him there.