Fort Weyr - Lookout Ridge
An open plateau of rock that's nestled on the northern face of the bowl wall, used to provide an ease of access to important parts of the Weyr; traffic here being minimal. Stonecut stairs lead down to the administration complex, while the bridge that adjoins this plateau spans across a gully to get to the central bowl wall, where the wing corridor can be quickly reached. A shortcut is also built up toward the Star Stones, so those without dragon can reach the long since used rocks.
Beyond the pathways and access routes, the view from this terrace is amazing. The eye has a good vantage point of the entire bowl below, from the hatching caverns, to the training complex, to the stretches of the central and southern most bowl. The rise of the mountain and the forest ranges can be glimpsed from here as well, distant images but outlined enough to distinguish where they start and end. Oddly enough there's a bench here, settled back against the bowl wall and angled to give the best view of the world beyond.


Late morning and the air is already stifling, another hot summer day to be promised the higher the sun climbs into the sky. The Weyr is active and below the bowls and grounds are teeming with activity. Above on the lookout ridge and the stone bridges, there is a slight breeze that helps keep one cooler if not in the direct sunlight. For now, the quiet little nook containing the lone bench is in the shade and it remains unoccupied — for now. The lone figure there is pacing a bit, restless and fidgeting. Th'ero has shed his usual flight gear for a short sleeved, low neck tunic made of a light fabric and his usual pants and knee high boots. Summer wear and about as casual as he gets given he's the Weyrleader. Tucked by the bench is what looks to be a water skin, though knowing his habits it's likely something alcoholic and there are two glasses. So he is expecting company!

The summons will come by Velokraeth, not Aycheth and the pale bronze reaches for Sharuth's mind with a polite brush of warning before he slips in to link strongly enough to speak. « Good morning! Wonderful day, is it not? The sun is particularly delightful out here on the ledges by the lake shore. If neither you or So'l are busy, and I believe the Weyrlingmaster has left your morning clear, would yours be willing to meet with mine by the lookout ridge? Just a casual thing. » Right. « And you are free to join me for company here at the lake, if you so wish. » It's said politely, yet there is just a hint of deviousness there.

"We've got the whole morning open?" So'l asks, mouth agape. "Has M'icha gone mental?"

"I wouldn't question it too much, So'l," F'rarri smirks. "Aside from that whole *between* thing," the rider shrugs, still unsure of what exactly happened there, "you've been doing really well. Maybe you earned a vacation?"

"Maybe…" comes the bronzerider's reply, though So'l's voice is full of disbelief. "Alright then. Enjoy yourself this morning. Sharuth and I are headed to the lake. Might as well get some diving practice in. Not," So'l warns, "a word, F'rari. Don't want to hear it."
Whatever comment about 'not drowning' the man was going to make dies in the rider's mouth. "Right. Have fun," F'rari snerks, heading out of the complex.

So'l grabs the strap set he so recently resized and makes his way out of the barracks, finding Sharuth not far from the entrance. "Ready for a little swim?" he asks, throwing the straps over the bronze and buckling them in place. « Yes, but not with you. Velokraeth asks that you join Th'ero on the ledge. I will join the Magnificent One in the lake. » "I knew it was too good to be true," So'l chuckles, finishing the last of the straps and vaulting up onto Sharuth's back. "Alright then, let's go. You can drop me off on the way." With a loping and some flapping, the bronze wings up over the bowl, circling before descending towards the lookout ridge. As promised, So'l is dropped off before Sharuth wings down to join Velokraeth. Dressed in riding gear - the 'casual bit' left out by Sharuth - So'l spots Th'ero and salutes, "Weyrleader…" slipping from his lips in confusion both over this meeting /and/ the man's rather relaxed dress today.

Surprise? Th'ero will watch and observe in silence as Sharuth arrives to allow So'l to dismount and his mouth will twitch a bit when he notices the weyrling's state of clothes. No matter! The Weyrleader simply dips his head in a respectful nod of greeting and acknowledgement of the salute before gesturing for So'l to take a seat on the bench. Th'ero will opt to lean against the railing, facing out towards the spread of wilderness so far below. It's a bit of an odd angle, but enough can be glimpse to make for an adequate view. "Morning, So'l. I apologize for the… abruptness in this. You've M'icha to thank for the discussion we're about to have." he murmurs, only to hedge around the topic. "How is Sharuth? He should be close to maturity now, if I've the timing worked out…" And if that didn't give it all away, well… he'll just have to be blunt about it, won't he?

Out by the lake, Velokraeth is sprawled out on a sizeable ledge overlooking the lake waters. It's a prime spot, often bickered over by many of the dragons but as the pale bronze has chosen it to be "his" today, few have the gall to contest him. Seeing Sharuth approach, the older bronze warbles a delighted greeting. « Ahh, so you have come to join us! Wonderful, lad! Plenty of room now. » he greets and his mind is rippling with barely contained mirth and laughter. Us? Oh yes, Velokraeth is not alone. On the ledge with him are three small greens and they've cozied themselves right up to the bronze. He's been busy this morning!

The weyrling sits as instructed, So'l shaking his head to ward off apologies. "Nothing to be sorry for, Th'ero. I'm happy to talk with you whenever it's needed. And even when it's not," the young man smiles, referring to social occasions…such as those before this whole rider business began. A time when running into the Weyrleader in a bar was the most exciting thing that would happen on a typical day for Solan. Now So'l, the weyrling is about to ask after the nature of the discussion when Th'ero suddenly drops a hint. "I…believe he's very close, yes," the bronzerider replies, understanding dawning. "The greens are certainly catching his eye recently. At first, I thought Velokraeth's little woo-fest at Xanadu just had Sharuth mimicking him but now…well," he smirks, "I'm guessing it's more than just imitation. But we're not exactly ready for that yet," So'l admits. "Which is probably why we're talking up here today, hmm?" A good-natured smirk is squared directly at the Weyrleader as the former woodworker awaits an answer.

Sharuth wheels overhead until he spots Velokraeth and the invitation to join /them/ is given. Lowering onto the primo ledge, the bronze makes himself comfortable and replies, « A fine day indeed, Magnificent Velokraeth. Hello everyone, » he offers to the gathered greens. « It is a nice day for human watching at the lake? » he wonders peering down at the bathers below.

Weren't those a simpler time? Though one can argue that life as it is now is worth every second. Th'ero is arguably perhaps not the most social of riders or men in the Weyr, but the bronzerider does try to make an effort now and again. While the discussion at hand is awkward at best and just downright uncomfortable at other times, Th'ero considers this half-duty, half-social and it shows in the drop in formality in this tone and words. He's trying to make this easy, though in the end it may only be him acting all awkward and uncomfortable. This is a man used to boundaries and respectful topics and now he's going to be walking well out of that circle! "Oh, if he's eyeing greens then he is ready. You, on the other hand, may not be. He has his instincts and when a female rises he will not need a lecture or studies to tell him what he must do." Th'ero bluntly informs So'l with just a vague grimace and an almost sympathetic look. "In fact, Typriaeth may be nearing her time. Kedizeth may follow and the golds… well, they're overdue as well. So… yes, that is why we are here So'l. So you can be prepared, as much as possible." Gesturing to the wineskin, he makes a 'help yourself gesture' though makes no effort to move from where he stands. He is keeping a steady eye though on the Weyrling.

Velokraeth rumbles as Sharuth takes his place and waits until the young bronze has settled himself before speaking again. He looks positively smug and pleased with himself, nestled as he is with three greens attending him, all of which also politely greet the bronze in a variety of voices from sweet and melodic, to brash and gruff. « It is a fine day for many forms of observation, » the bronze muses, swivelling his oversized head to peer briefly over the water before turning it back to Sharuth and then the greens. « Sharuth, meet Vyovioth, Zratavath and Ziasath. » Again, the greens turn their attention briefly to the young bronze, with Ziasath cocking her head as if to study him.

Simpler? Yes. Better? Not. Even. Close. The day that mottled egg burst apart and Sharuth came tumbling out, So'l's life changed dramatically for the better. And though events have now brought him to this very awkward - for Th'ero - conversation, the weyrling wouldn't /ever/ trade the Now for the Then. "So I should be ready, then. For Sharuth to go chasing after them and for me to deal with the…uh," he chuckles nervously, "consequences?" Looking where Th'ero points, he spots the skin and gratefully uncorks it, pouring what he'd expected to be water (but turning out to be wine?) into both glasses. A sip is taken and while M'icha would probably not approve, M'icha isn't here. "I have to admit," So'l says, "I haven't been giving this as much thought as I probably should. You mentioned Typriaeth rising? Until this very moment, I hadn't considered Sharuth flying off after her. Nor had I thought about what that would mean for Anique and myself," the bronzerider shrugs. "We're good friends already but she's more like…a big sister than a lover," So'l admits freely.

Sharuth is, himself, a bit jealous of Velokraeth in this moment. Three greens? Being the bossman's bronze obviously has its benefits. « A pleasure to meet you three, » Sharuth bugles softly, spying the linger look and turning his head just enough to naturally catch the sunlight. The gold in his hide intensifies - like liquid sunlight poured over dark earth - and his eyes whirl slowly with mirth. « Hello, Ziasath. You look remarkably forest-like today, » Sharuth offers by way of awkward compliment.

Consequences. Th'ero almost bursts out laughing (he's nervous!) for the word used by So'l to describe it and while he manages to restrain that, his mouth does twitch up into an amused smirk. "More or less." he drawls and once the weyrling is done with the wineskin, he will shift forwards to help himself to a glass. M'icha is not there, but with the Weyrlings all but senior in rank and about to be going to their own weyrs and the dragons themselves old enough to be considered mature… a little glass of alcohol won't hurt! Th'ero listens quietly, keeping his features schooled and well masked though he frowns by the end and levels So'l with a look. "It won't matter what you see the rider as in the end. If Sharuth wins, you want the rider. There is no way around it." he explains bluntly. Why sugar coat? Sipping at the wine, the Weyrleader exhales thoughtfully. "Which is part of why you should prepare yourself for that. I'm sure M'icha has covered the basics concerning the signs of proddiness and it's no secret of what the females and males do once the flight commences…" No need to cover that, right?

Velokraeth is just that clever with the females. He always has been, even before catching Zuhth and then Zuvaleyuth to secure his "rank". His rider's position has nothing to do with it, the pale bronze is, in human terms, a complete and utter 'womanizer' and an outrageous flirt and exceptionally sharp witted and clever tongued. For now though he drowses in the sun, content for the company and the occasional snippet of conversation. Vyovioth and Zratavath remain nestled against him and are drifting asleep, but Ziasath is still admiring Sharuth. « Do I? » She tilts her head down to examine herself, only to seem pleased. « You're kind to say so. Velokraeth speaks highly of you. » she compliments back.

Nope, no need to cover that at all. Like, not at all. Flashing a grin, So'l takes a sip of his wine and says, "Ready I'll be, then. Don't worry," the weyrling laughs, "I'll know what to do when the time comes. I just hadn't really thought that much about it yet. Interesting, though," So'l admits, "that it overrides how you see someone, I mean. Maybe /I/ should start regarding all green and gold riders as potential…playmates, then?" Th'ero is certainly more experienced in this area and the question is an earnest one. "Just to make things easier on myself, I mean. So that things don't get awkward later…" There's more to that statement than he's telling; maybe something to do with the rumors floating about that he and Abigail have been spending a lot of time together?

Velokraeth has led a good example and Sharuth finally gets the hint about what's happening here. « You have set me up with a friend, » the bronze internalizes only to the other bronze. His mind-voice is infused with fireflies zipping by and the sounds of birds in search of mates. Sharuth seems grateful for this rather than resentful for, to Ziasath, the young dragon bobs his big head in acknowledgement. « Yes, you do. I love the forests like nothing else so…I should know, » he softly croons, taking a cue from Velokraeth's ways. « It is good to hear that he thinks well of me. He is an exceptional being. But tell me, Verdant Ziasath…what do /you/ think? » Wings are outstretched and impressively big for his still-growing size as the sun continues to cast him in molten gold and gloaming earth.

Th'ero will pretend he didn't hear half of what So'l replied with. The Weyrleader really does like the young man, has come to respect him. Hearing the words 'know what to do' and 'regard riders as playmates' just makes his poor mind balk and twitch. As much as the other Wingriders and weyrfolk may tease that the bronzerider has a pole up his backside, it's… also got a ring of truth. It takes awhile for him to let all those guards down enough to actually joke about things or simply brush it off. "It overrides," he begins to say and he would know. He knows all too well, given Velokraeth's appetite. "But it varies on the rider. Green flights aren't as intense as a gold flight but regardless when they go up, you cease to be yourself. You become your dragon and it grows increasingly hard to separate yourself from their instincts and natural drive. If Sharuth wins, you go with the female's rider. You may not remember anything or just… snippets." There is an odd look that crosses Th'ero's features then, unexplained while he nurses that glass of wine and only once he's swallowed does he continue. "I'm of the unfortunate souls who black out entirely." he admits in a lowered tone. Embarrassed? Just a bit. "As for the awkwardness later, well… It's not like you must just dive out of the guest weyr afterwards." Smirk. "Usually it's courteous to at least ask if the other is alright," What? "before excusing yourself. No rider should feel compelled to stay once the flight has completed. But that is all if Sharuth wins. If he doesn't, well… you must be ready for that too. It is — simply put? Damn frustrating."

Velokraeth huffs as if to scoff at the mere suggestion! « What? Set you up? Now why ever would I do such a thing? These lovely ladies came here on their own, though I did offer the invitation first. It is the best ledge, after all. How could they resist? » he muses in his honeyed sarcastic way. Be as it may, Ziasath is certainly intrigued by Sharuth, set up or not. « Do you visit the forests often? » she asks in a smooth and youthful voice. She cocks her head again when he extends his wings, hers rustling against her sides. « What do I think? » she says with a near-to purred laugh. « I think that you are a very handsome bronze. Certainly the largest and with wings like that you'd be a formidable challenger. Do you race, Sharuth? » Now the green is getting to her feet, but only to stretch and if she purposely angles herself just so, it's purely coincidental and Velokraeth is not hiding his admiring of her either, though he does not protest when Ziasath pads her way closer to Sharuth's side and settles herself down there instead.

Perhaps 'Playmate' was the wrong word. More like 'temporary bed-sharer.' But So'l isn't aware that his folly-worded descriptor has caused potential upset and thus the young weyrling moves on. "I really appreciate you talking to me about this," So'l notes, genuinely meaning that. "I've been a little nervous because…well, I haven't exactly 'gotten around,' as they say. But I'm no stranger to it, either. As long as everyone respects each other in the morning, I'm sure it'll be fine," the bronzer adds. "Is it common for bronzes to lose flights for greens? Obviously, golds have several bronze contenders that could beat each other out but for greens? They're quick, agile…but they don't have the stamina of a bronze." There's some pride in that statement but the rider quickly tamps it down. "I mean, there are so many greens, I guess I find it hard to believe that Sharuth would never win a flight. But maybe I'm wrong?"

« Yes, » Sharuth replies, « it /is/ the best ledge… » He decides to let the matter drop though there is some lingering appreciation towards the bronze for his…help. As Ziasath comes closer and settles in, Sharuth's eyes momentarily flare with excitement. It worked? The whole 'look at my wings, aren't they great' thing actually worked? Whoa. « I love to chase, » the bronze replies, his mental touch like the colorful flash of forest flowers, « but even more, I love to /catch./ » The notion hangs in the air for a moment, Sharuth surprised even at himself for saying it. Velokraeth must be rubbing off on him indeed. What next? He doesn't know but he's sort of committed now. And he /did/ ever so much appreciate her little show, which is probably why his heart is beating faster and his eyes are whirling quicker than they had before.

Th'ero clears his throat gently, "Don't mention it. It was, ah… M'icha's idea that the "lectures" be held more like personal conversations. Makes it less — oh what's the word. Impersonal? The lecture itself only covers so much and usually focuses more on the dragon than the rider." From the Weyrleader's tone, he seems to imply that this could be studied at any time that So'l chose. Right now the bronzerider was more focused on seeing to it that the Weyrling got the rider side of things. "It's…" He falters, coughing. "…I'd not worry so much on uh, experience. You're too caught up in the moment to really be aware of it. It should be fine, so long as you do not act outrageously after the flight. Respect the other." Moving on! Th'ero takes another fortifying sip of his wine. Deep breath! "It's uncommon for a bronze to catch a green but they can and do! It's less of a chance of Sharuth snaring a gold, honestly. Plenty of greens rise… he may loose more than he wins but he will win one eventually. Be it here in Fort Weyr or if you're out in another Weyr." Did So'l ever put thought into that?

It worked this time! Ziasath isn't proddy though, she is merely a very sociable and laid back green. Her sisters, Vyovioth and Zratavath are nestled with Velokraeth but they seem to be there only for companionship and the sun and warmth. Nothing more, nothing less. « Oh? » Ziasath croons, her tail coiling about her feet as she leans a bit closer to the young bronze. Her mind brushes against his with the sense of giggling. « And do you catch often when you chase? » Do tell.

The weyrling soaks all of this information in and nods, his mental picture of things much more complete thanks to the conversation. "I understand," So'l says, truly having reached that point. "We've been learning a lot about mating flights but…this was the stuff I /really/ needed to know. It answers a lot of questions I had." And as for the whole bronze flying after green thing, well… "We'll just have to see how things go once they get going. But I'm sure we'll be able to…" he does not say 'rise to the challenge' but, instead, opts for, "Make do." There. That's more diplomatic, yes? As talk moves on to flying after golds in other weyrs, the thought suddenly gives him pause. Reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose, So'l sighs. "Forgot about that. So if Sharuth were to win a gold at, say, Xanadu Weyr," the weyrling postulates, "then there could be political ramifications." Enormously so, in fact. And they studied this in class but until now - with Sharuth as mature as he is - things hadn't quite seemed real enough to worry so much about yet.

Ohhhhhkay. This is quickly getting beyond Sharuth's experience level. Velokraeth is, of course, there to offer advice but…no, he got himself into this and Sharuth vows to get himself cleanly out. « I have only chased during formation drills. But I have /never/ failed to outpace any of my clutchmates. Perhaps not at first, but I always catch up. » Awkward, awkward. So'l? Little help here? » Tell her you'd like to race /her/ someday. When she's ready. Then, I think, you may want to head back to feed? « Sharuth's eyes whirl with contentment at the idea. « Perhaps one day, I'll race /you/. But for right now, my belly is rather empty… » The thought is directed at Velokraeth, too, hoping the bronze will sense his need to escape for now.

"Do you still have questions?" Th'ero asks quite frankly. Why not? At this point, there's no sense for him to keep up with the awkwardness. The conversation has begun, delved a little into those 'uncomfortable' places. No doubt the wine helps too and slowly the Weyrleader begins to relax. Not by much, but enough. "Right. Make do…" he murmurs and nods his head stiffly. That works! "Political ramifications? You make it seem as though it would be bad," he drawls and then snorts. "Well. Bad for you, perhaps, if it comes as a unexpected surprise. No, So'l… if Sharuth would catch a junior gold in Xanadu or any Weyr, that'd be a welcomed thing. What you need to be careful of is the senior gold flights. Even here. Sharuth may chase then too…" There's a crooked smile then as Th'ero lifts one of his hands up to tap at the knot pinned to his shoulder significantly. Shaking his head, he finishes the last of his wine but does not refill the glass. "You seem ready for this stage too, to be honest." he says with a crooked smirk. Did he expect a different reaction? "If you keep a level head like this… Flights may not be as cumbersome to you as they are to others." Like the Weyrleader. Clearly, he has his lingering issues, but he's not about to dredge that up now. Instead his head is lifting to turn towards the bowl as if to 'listen' and the man sighs. "I'm afraid we're out of time today. I apologize too if Velokraeth has wound Sharuth into one of his games. Enjoy the rest of your day, So'l. Just…" Pause. "My office door is always open if you wish to talk." Cough. "About anything. Duty or casual."

Poor, poor Sharuth! Velokraeth is just too amused by all of this as he watches the young bronze falter from Ziasath's attentions but he does not intervene. The green's wings rustle again and she croons sweetly. « I think I would enjoy that! I do like a good challenge and a good race. I shall remember this. » At least until her memory fails! « I have just fed. » she says, almost sadly before brightening again. « But now would be a good time for you to go. Best hurry, before the heat makes the beasts sluggish. I am going to swim. » And there is a silent implied invitation there for the bronze to take to join her later if he chooses but she will hold no ill thought if he doesn't. He has his escape! Go, go!

"I appreciate that," So'l nods, referring both to the weyrleader's confidence in him as well as to the open door policy. Was it an awkward conversation? Sure. But it could have been a lot worse. Standing, So'l finishes the last of his wine and leaves the glass on the table. Reaching a hand out, he thanks Th'ero again for having this conversation privately before saying, "We should throw darts sometime. Shenanigans. You have that vicious stuff you like," he smirks, "and I'll stick to wine. But I'm buying, alright? I kind of owe you, after all." With a chuckle, the weyrling waves to Th'ero before moving towards the stairs, smiling back before disappearing down them. Yep, could have been muuuuch worse. So'l tries to imagine Th'ero having this conversation with one of the younger weyrlings and chuckles. Poor Th'ero.

And poor Sharuth! He's gotten himself into this but, thankfully, the green is acquiescent to his need to withdraw. « A swim? I do enjoy the water after a good hunt. Perhaps I will see you there, » the bronze offers to Ziasath. To Velokraeth and the other, Sharuth offers his goodbyes and drops from the ledge, sails flapping as he heads for the hunting grounds. A parting thought is sent Velokraeth's way: « I owe you, too. You sly, sly dragon… »