Fort Weyr - Firebloom Hill
Completely surrounded by tall pines, the somewhat steep curve of this hill is peppered with small wildflowers of the same variety. Some are predominately red, some orange and some have specks of yellow. Most notable, however, is a dense patch which looks to have been planted by someone. The flowers in this patch are deep red in the center, bursting through a range of orange and finally a brilliant yellow at the edges of each petal. As the wind passes over them, the colors create the illusion of tiny, flickering flames. A soft, pleasant fragrance fills the air here.

It's not unusual that Dtirae would be out in the wilderness, away from the sounds of the busy Weyr, considering the silence she had grown used to in the south. The goldrider is settles herself amongst the flowers, an array of them rest on her lap, where her long skirt — stained with pollen — is shifted in makeshift basket. Her attention is focused on raven locks of hair as she braids the flowers into the knotted strands. Zuvaleyuth is somewhere, to be sure, but not in plain sight of the area.

The silence of the forests (if they are ever truly silent) is alluring to many within the Weyr and Th'ero happens to be one of those who seek familiar trails and not-so familiar ones in time of need. Today is no different. The Weyrleader has much on his head, more even resting on his shoulders and so, with Velokraeth's help, he comes here. The pale bronze left him to dismount several clearings over and it's only by chance that he wandered here, his path aimless and his thoughts heavily distracted. He is, however, not entirely blind and it takes only a bit of movement on Dtirae's part for him to spot her and a second longer for recognition to hit. "Dtirae?" he calls out in greeting.

It is silent compared to a bustling Weyr, full of people. The sounds of nature could be considered silence in comparison, at least. Dtirae, however, is aware of the footsteps of another before their presence is announced. Listening for prey has certainly honed this skill. Grey eyes are searching despite her head tilted in a manner that would note distraction. But, when the greeting comes from a familiar voice, her head lifts and a smile is offered towards the Weyrleader. "Th'ero." She calls out in return, though, she does not rise, nor does she salute. A horrible Junior, it seems. But, when did she ever really salute the man?

Th'ero wouldn't expect a salute from Dtirae and if she had done so, he'd be almost put on guard by such a gesture. He expects, in time, that it may come to pass but for now? He doesn't seem the least bit perturbed by her lack of formality. It'd only make him uncomfortable too if she were to rise. Instead he slowly walks around to face her and she will see then that he is dressed in his lighter riding gear, his jacket already half unclasped. On either of his hips are his usual dagger and, of course, his sword. Patrolling then, while he brooded over his dark and troubled thoughts? Possible. "I'm not intruding, am I?" he asks and returns a faint smile.

Dtirae is not without her daggers, simply settled on the ground beside her and carefully camouflaged in the grass beside her. It is more obvious the closer one gets, at least. "No." The answer comes simply and the goldrider offers another smile, a little more teasing as she continues to braid the flowers into her hair. Though, she stops short and ties the braid off with a strand of hair and shifts to focus entirely on the Weyrleader. "Join me?" She gestures to a place beside her, smoothing down the grass in case he chooses to. "How are you?"

Th'ero's eyes flick to her hair and take note of the flowers she's woven into the strands. Wisely, perhaps, he does not ask what it is she is doing. Somehow, in his mind, he'd never picture Dtirae as the type. Her offer to join her is met with a thoughtful look to the spot in which she smooths down and another half-beat is taken before he accepts. Lowering himself down, he bends one leg at the knee and rests his arm against it, keeping his head turned slightly to face her. "I've been… well, considering. The Turn is already looking to be not without its challenges. Though that should be nothing new, hmm?" he murmurs and lapses silent for a spell. "And you?"

That smile only grows a touch more mischievous as he looks to the flowers in her hair, but no answer is revealed. Dtirae looks to him as he settles down, nodding her approval before she shifts to clear off the extra flowers, stretching out her legs and tucking her feet into the grass. Her arms stretch out to rest upon her knees and fingers lace as she listens. "Fort is never without its trials." Her head tilts slightly, and she chuckles. "I'm doing well enough. It's overwhelming. All the people. The noise." Grey eyes drift away and take in the sight of the forest. "But, it's home… Regardless whether or not her residents want me back. But, I am fine, being… Alone in a den of angry felines."

"This is true," Th'ero admits with a dry chuckle. He's been Weyrleader of Fort long enough to know that the Weyr's peace is never a thing to last, no matter how hard he strives to keep it. Something or someone always comes along to disturb it and the whole cycle starts anew. Looking away and over the hills, his attention is still on Dtirae while she speaks. He does not gaze at her long, however, simply because he knows that it's unnerving for him to be observed so keenly. "You grow accustomed to it, over time," he murmurs. "The forests help. I'll take it that's why you're here?" Home. That word has him looking back at her curiously. "What makes you think you are still unwelcomed, Dtirae? Nyalle saw fit to give you your knot back. If there are any angry felines, it is possible they're already up in arms over matters not related to you but they seek anything in which to nurse their petty grievances." In short form: don't let them get to you.

"Maybe, one day, there will be a time where we have a whole Turn without trouble." Dtirae hopes so, but there is no wood to knock on. She shifts, only to lean forward a little more, her gaze keeping away from the Weyrleader and nodding. "The forest does help. That's why I'm here. It was… Unnerving. Overwhelming. Zuvaleyuth adores it, but I've been away from it for too long. The settlement was not like the Weyr." Her gaze shifts to meet his, the smile wry and a distant cry from the more cheerful ones of before. "I am welcomed back in an official capacity, but there are bitter hearts who hate the actions I took. I doubt their anger towards me is because of other circumstances. For all intents and purposes, I abandoned the Weyr." Her head shakes, however and the smile turns a touch more gentle. "But, I don't blame them. I don't hold it against them. I will face their anger, and I will not leave again. Not if I can help it."

Th’ero snorts, almost a scoff of laughter but there is a trace of humor there even if so very faint. “We’ll see. I’d like to see that day but… we’ll see.” He’s too logical, too practical now to really invest much hope that there will ever be a ‘quiet’ Turn without so much as a peep of trouble. “Oh? Was it the remoteness then that set it apart?” he asks quietly, his gaze having drifted back towards the trees and now focus back on her with a small frown. “If any of these ‘bitter hearts’ speak out against you openly, I’d like to hear about it.” There is little he can do about gossip and rumour mongering but if someone does cause trouble openly? The Weyrleader is prepared to step in. Both as her friend but also because he seeks to keep Fort unified and does not tolerate dissent — especially among his riders. “Dtirae… you did not abandon the Weyr,” he says with a soft sigh. ‘Not entirely, anyways’, it seems to imply. “We all do what we must and at the time you felt that it was best for Fort if you stepped down as her Weyrwoman. You’re not the first goldrider to do such a thing.” When the promise comes, Th’ero smiles faintly. “Good to hear. You won’t be alone in this either. You know that, right?”

Dtirae’s smile lingers as she tilts him a look. No further commentary on the ‘quiet Turn’. Because, she knows far too well how something can shift just a fraction and everything will tumble after. “It was. I also didn’t spend much time there, but… It was still quieter. Softer.” In volume. Her head lowers to rest on her arm with her gaze tilted away from the man. “Kimmila is mad. But, I understand that. She, at least, would never cause trouble.” Her head lifts again to look him in the eye, grey eyes sharp. “Do you honestly believe that? You were against us leaving. Zuvaleyuth was, too.” Her lashes lower, gaze focusing elsewhere but the Weyrleader. “It was best for Fort. I could have handled it better… But there was no way I could have continued as Senior. I likely would have driven myself into further isolation, because part of me was afraid of letting anyone be close. And when I tried to become close, I certainly didn’t open up enough.” This comes from reflection of herself, over time, alone. With the silence to sort things out. “I don’t regret it.” She promises in a soft voice before her eyes close entirely, shoulders sagging just a fraction. “I know I’m not. You’re here. You’ve supported this since I first showed interest. Velokraeth has been a help, too. Zuvaleyuth told me she would reach out to him often.” There are no mentions of others, instead, she seems to linger in her thoughts for a moment. “If you’re anything like D’ani… You probably blamed yourself, too. I’m sorry I hurt you. Hurt D’ani. Hurt everyone who likely considered me close, but I was too afraid to see the concern.”

“Quiet can be welcomed at times,” Th’ero offers gently and then frowns when she informs him of Kimmila’s opinion — or in this case, reaction. He sighs, “That does not surprise me, but I cannot help how she feels but you are right. She will not cause you trouble,” Nor will he try to change the bluerider’s feelings towards Dtirae and he seems certain that his weyrmate wouldn’t do anything rash against the goldrider. His gaze meets the sharpness of her own and he does not back down, though she’ll see that he keeps his expression carefully guarded. “Of course I was against you leaving — at first, anyways. I couldn’t comprehend why. Not until later and then I could only share a sense of… understanding.” Which is as close as he gets to saying ‘sympathy’ without actually saying it. “You did what you had to do, Dtirae. Some would call it weakness but I am not so sure of that.” Th’ero looks away again, out and over the hills that are in springtime bloom. He snorts softly, a faint smirk playing upon his lips which is his only acknowledgement of the past conversations between Velokraeth and Zuvaleyuth. “Even though you’d stepped down, you were and are still a weyrwoman of Fort, Dtirae. Why would I not support you?” Frowning, her last comments have him fixing her with a level look as he faces her again. “Yes, I did blame myself for not seeing the signs earlier. You’re not entirely to blame in this, Dei and you already know that I accept your apology.”

“It didn’t surprise me either. Though, I expected it would have been worse if Thys had not arrived.” Dtirae doesn’t hold it against his weyrmate, not at all. She is used to the guarded expression of the Weyrleader, it is nothing new. But, she does not back down in the face of it. “I could have explained better. But… I didn’t fully understand it, either.” As he states her decision was not a weakness, there’s a consideration before her position shifts and her legs stretch out, while her hands are lifting to slowly undo the previous work, carefully unwinding the braid and the flowers from their trap. “Thanks.” She adds after a moment, for not seeing her as weak. “You don’t have to support me at all. Just because I am a weyrwoman does not entitle me to your support. I’m not saying I don’t want it, I appreciate it.” Her head tilts as she undoes the braid, the flowers all have fallen back to the ground. Fingers attempt to work the knots that are visible and persistent. “I won’t fight you on that, then. We all have a share of the blame.” A smile settles on her lips again, at ease and comfortable. “Thank you for being my Weyrleader. I never told you that enough. I appreciate everything you did, and have done. I’m better now. Getting even better.”

Th’ero’s brow quirks upwards, “Thys was there too?” And witnessed Kimmila’s disapproval of Dtirae’s return? That doesn’t seem to settle well with the Weyrleader but there’s nothing to be done of it now. He exhales softly, “Well. You’ve my support and not just as your Weyrleader.” He says this while looking at her, his gaze unwavering to match the sincerity of his words. Th’ero is an honest man and he has no reason to be lying to Dtirae. Looking away again, he is surprised by her next words but he cannot quite meet her gaze and though his head lifts, he does not turn it towards her. It wasn’t what he expected to hear from her but it hits hard. All this time, he was never sure how well they had meshed as Weyrleader and Weyrwoman and just when he began to think they were on the same page, things unravelled. “I wasn’t exactly the easiest Weyrleader to work with. I know that now.” But thank you. He smiles faintly. “I’m glad you are better.”

"She was. She has a good head on her shoulders, wants to do well and asked me about why I left and how I was feeling when I decided to." Dtirae's smile lingers while her gaze remains on her hair, at least until Th'ero exhales. Her gaze is drawn to the man. The smile grows wider at his words and she is relaxing, lingering tension fading entirely. There is no reason for her to think he's lying. She has known him long enough to know he wouldn't. When he avoids her gaze, a faint laugh slips out. It is not mocking, just a touch of relief and amusement in the tone. "And I wasn't the easiest Weyrwoman to get along with. But, I would want no other but you, if I had to do it again. We did well when we stopped butting heads." As for his final assessment, she nods. "Me, too."

Th’ero smiles softly for Dtirae’s praise of the newest goldrider. “She does,” he agrees and then snorts. “She is certainly no Jajen…” Which is saying a lot. Her laughter brings a slightly more genuine smile than what he started with and it is on that note of amusement that he pushes to his feet again, brushing off his clothing as he does. “We both have our faults. Not just us, but… everyone. We did make a good team when we weren’t at each others throats. I’ve done… I’ve tried to be better with Nyalle,” He wasn’t about to do the same mistake twice and so far, so good though some of his blunders with the quiet and proper High Reachian born Weyrwoman have been pretty bad. He’s learned a great deal and will continue to do so over the Turns. “I’ve best return to the Weyr. The weyrlings are graduated and there are a few to be tapped into Phoenix.” Of all Wings! He seems pleased but concerned all in the same breath. There are things to prepare, paperwork to be reviewed… and Faranth only knows what will surface between that. “Glad to see that you’ve decided to return and to stay, Dtirae.”

"I hope we are never stuck with another Jajen. The Weyr would likely become an active mountain again in protest." Dtirae teases with a soft snort of laughter. As he rises, she makes no movement to do the same. "We all do, I agree. I'm glad that you're working with her differently. Though I am sure she is an entirely different case than I." At his reasons for his departure, she nods once again. "Of course. Thanks for spending your break with me." No offer to help — poor man, but she is not yet ready to leap back into the fray so heavily. "Thank you, Th'ero. Enjoy the rest of your day. I'll see you later." This, however, is spoken more of a promise than that of a farewell.

“I doubt Kayeth will tolerate another gold,” Th’ero admits with a grimace and a suppressed shudder at the idea of another goldrider as bad as Jajen. “So we may be safe there for sometime.” Dtirae’s laughter does bring a faint grin to his lips and then he promptly sobers. “Everyone is different. We’ve had our fair share of… hurdles to overcome.” None of which he’ll mention, as some are quite embarrassing if not scandalous and the Weyrleader has moved on from that past. He wouldn’t expect Dtirae to help as managing the riders has always fallen to the Weyrleader’s overseeing. No doubt by next morning she’ll know of his decisions as they’ll be voiced at the usual meetings. How fun? “Anytime. You as well, Dtirae. Enjoy your day,” he murmurs and with a polite dip of his head he turns and strides back to where Velokraeth awaits him.

“Certainly not. There are many, as is. Likely, we’ll not have another one laid, either.” To that? There is relief. The grin that the Weyrleader shows is returned by Dtirae, pleased all the same. Though, when he sobers she is quick to mimic the actions. “I’m sure. I’m glad you’ve worked through them, and continue to do so.” And, she certainly will not push to know. Just like him, she has learned. And has learned his limits of when she should push, and when to tease, or not to tease. Though, it’s certainly taken her long enough to implement this knowledge. The dip of his head is returned with one of her own before her gaze is finding elsewhere to wander, eyes growing distant after a moment before losing herself entirely, but her guard is certainly not down.