Fort Weyr - Weyrleader's Office
Aged by time, this office has lived through the ages of Fort just as its counterparts have. But unlike the Weyrsecond and Junior Weyrwomen offices, this cavern is spacious and formed in a rough semicircle of three conjoined caves that were carved and modified Turns ago. The middle portion acts as a waiting room of sorts, holding only a few modest chairs and a simple tapestry to otherwise brighten up the plain stone walls. There are no windows here and the only light comes from well placed glow baskets.
To the right, the smaller of the two adjoining caverns has been set aside for the Weyrwoman, a large desk situated in the middle and a bookshelf pressed against the wall. A small hearth allows for some warmth in the colder months and another cabinet rests across the room to hold various supplies, as well as several books, reports and records. More tapestries have been hung there, lending some color to room.
On the left, the larger cavern belongs to the Weyrleader's office and the walls here are littered with a vast array of maps, as well as a tapestry hung behind where he would sit. The desk is large and the wood aged, looking old and a bit worn, but well tended too. Shelves and a bookshelf line one wall, crammed with rolled hides, other maps, books, reports and records and all arranged in an organized chaos. A small hearth has been built in here as well and various well placed glow baskets are hung to offer just the right amount of light in this windowless office.
Both offices have stout wooden doors that have been carefully worked into the stone. They can be closed and locked if privacy is needed but are often left open.

Zhouth's mental touch wafts out from High Reaches, strained and faint but clear enough to be felt. « Velokraeth, » the Reaches bronze calls, his voice low. « Mine would see yours. »

Velokraeth's mind reaches out to seek out Zhouth's, though the bond remains tentative at best. Mostly because of distance but also because the bronze is unfamiliar to him and he has yet to determine if he desires to strengthen the link any further than necessary. Enough is shared though that it's clear that the pair are welcomed. « Of course, Zhouth. You are both welcomed here. I've passed on your request. Mine has just finished in the council chambers and will wait in his office. » And it is the truth, for Th'ero has excused himself to his office and made sure that at least Zuvaleyuth was aware that Zhouth would be arriving. Inside his office, the Weyrleader stokes the fire to make the room comfortable and also sends for some light refreshments. Then he waits, standing by the hearth with his hands clasped behind his back and his expression one of a man lost deep in thought as he stares at the flames. The door to the office remains closed, but once the knock comes, Th'ero will invite in his guest with a low but firm spoken: "Come in."

Zhouth is swift to arrive, landing neatly in the bowl, the burnished bronze dragon sleek and proud. Crouching, he lets his tall rider dismount, and V'sev makes his way into the offices after asking the way. Knocking, he steps inside when he's invited, snapping off a swift, precise, respectful salute to Fort's Weyrleader. "Sir. Thank you for seeing me." He no longer wears the knot of Weyrleader. In fact, his eyes linger on Th'ero's knot for just a moment longer than necessary before they shift away. V'sev, once Weyrsecond and Weyrleader of High Reaches, is now wearing a relatively simple knot - Wingsecond. It's an insult, and he wears it as such.

Velokraeth comes out of his wallow to stretch, fanning his wings and resettling them against his side as he sits back on his haunches to peer down in the bowl below as Zhouth lands and his rider dismounts. The pale bronze is welcoming enough to the burnished bronze, but Velokraeth does not know him as well as he knows each Fortian bronze. Thus, while polite and warmly welcoming on the outside, on the inside the territorial edge of him is lurking. Back inside of the office, Th'ero will step back and straighten his shoulders and posture when V'sev knocks and then enters. The swift, precise and utterly formal salute is noted and respectfully returned. The Fortian Weyrleader is no fool, he remembers well how High Reaches runs. Neither is the lingering gaze to his knot and that earns a questioning stare in return until his eyes drift. Ah. Now he frowns heavily. "You are always welcome here… Wingsecond V'sev." It's almost posed as a question, as though he can't quite grasp the insult behind such a drop in rank. Gesturing to the chairs, he goes behind the desk to take his seat. "Make yourself comfortable. I've sent for some light food and drink. What brings you to Fort?"

V'sev holds himself stiffly and formally until Th'ero returns the salute and moves back behind the desk. Make himself comfortable? Well, he'll try, the early 30's bronzerider settling slowly into a chair. His brows twitch slightly at the use of his title, but his next words are formal. Polite. "Thank you, sir, I appreciate Fort's hospitality and High Reaches' duty to her and her queens." Then there's a slight twitch of his lips, fingers drumming against his thigh. "Things at High Reaches have not improved," he answers honestly. "And I come asking a…favor of Fort."

If only Th'ero saw the humour in that statement, he'd laugh but he also knows that the High Reachian rider would either not understand the joke or appreciate it. "And Fort's duty to High Reaches and her queens." he murmurs politely in return, though it's no secret that the Fortian Weyrleader still disapproves and dislikes one of those Reachian goldriders. Settling heavily into his chair, Th'ero holds V'sev under a steady look, expression unreadable and neutral. Another glance is given to the knot the bronzerider wears and his mouth presses down into a thin line. There is a sense of foreboding now. "We heard of the change in Seniority. I thought Tiaburith had been deemed infertile?" Too good to be true, was it? As for the offer, Th'ero leans back , elbows braced against the sides of his chair while his fingers lace together and the barest nods given to V'sev. Do continue? He's listening.

V'sev sees little humor these days, his eyes strained, his posture stiff. "That is what we were told," he says heavily, and in his voice is longing and regret for things he could not change. "Cari's and my tenure as leaders did not last long. Briari and Tiaburith," and here his voice drops, almost dripping with contempt, "did their best to undermine all that we did. Poor Cari…" He sighs, pausing for a moment and shaking his head. "She had the makings of a good Weyrwoman - a great one - but not with Briari as her Junior. That woman," hissed, "did her best to break our leadership. And, damn her, she succeeded." His shoulders slump but his spine remains stiff, as if that's the only thing holding him upright. "She broke Cari down until the weyr was discontent. Sabotauged things so subtly…" Maybe it wasn't even sabotauge in reality, but V'sev has decided it as such in his own mind. "And then Tiaburith rose. With Cari's deteriorating mental state, the Weyr Council placed Senior upon Briari again. And her victor, R'lor." The bronzerider shakes his head again, firmly, jaw clenched.

Th'ero remains quiet while V'sev speaks and it takes all his resolve and strength not to allow the masks he's slipped into place not to fall and allow the Reachian bronzerider a glimpse. Yet as the story unfolds, the Weyrleader's frown drops to a scowl and there is no hiding the contempt he feels towards Briari, rekindled and refuelled when he learns of the damage done to Cari. "Why was nothing done to remove Briari when there was a chance to foist her off to Ierne or Honshu?" he asks, not entirely judgemental but perhaps baffled as to why they did not act while the chance was upon them. Damn that woman! Barely does he clamp down on his anger in time and only sighs in a pale echo of the frustration V'sev must feel. "R'lor!" The name is all but growled and spat. Another Reachian rider that Th'ero shares little respect for. "So they hold dominion again and intend to keep it. Faranth… I do not envy you, V'sev." There is a pause before he presses on. "And this favour… Are you seeking transfer?" Safe haven? Asylum? Th'ero's assumption is that he seeks it. The Wingsecond knot, the tone and obvious discontent… it all adds up to have the Fortian Weyrleader leap to conclusions.

V'sev masters himself after a few well timed winces at Th'ero's response. "She would not leave," he whispers, "and Esereth, though Senior, did not have the mental strength to order Tiaburith away. That pair's ties are too deep to High Reaches. We can not be rid of them until they die." Then he shakes his head, swift, once, firm. "No. Not for me. I can not - I will not - leave Cari. And I would not burden Fort with her. Not now. There is hope…her state is precarious. I would not risk a move. No. When Zhouth flew Esereth, they clutched a queen." And despite the heavyness of his mood, there is pride there. Quiet, subtle, but there. "Kayeth. A fiery queen with a lot of spunk. She bonded to a very, very quiet girl named Nyalle. They struggle under Briari. They have such potential and yet High Reaches is not a place for the meek. Or the outspoken. And that pair is both. Plus," here he glowers, "R'lor has sights on Nyalle and Briari does not like it. She is slowly making Nyalle's life a living hell. I seek transfer for /her/. Not for me. I wish Nyalle away from the poison of High Reaches, so that she and Kayeth might prosper. I will not," and here he leans forward, slamming his fist on the desk, "see another queen broken beneath Briari's heel!"

Struck a nerve, did he? Th'ero's expression darkens and he wants to swear out loud and curse Briari's name seven different shades but he bites his tongue. Later. He will seek out Kimmila later and vent all he bottles up now. She'll need to know, given how she was "greeted" last time by Tiaburith's rider. "Of course. I forget sometimes how much sway a gold can have, even if no longer Senior." he mutters and as V'sev explains that this 'favour' is not for himself and his devotion to Cari, the Fortian Weyrleader allows some sympathy to show. He truly feels for the Reachian bronze. To remain so strong after all that has been done and continues to unfold. "You and Cari would be no burden…" he tries to reassure V'sev, unsure of what else to say. Then it is all laid out and bare before them and Th'ero's expression turns thoughtful and his laced fingers lift to rest against his chin. All his careful contemplation however is broken when V'sev is suddenly slamming his fist on the desk and Th'ero shoots him a warning glance. Easy! He also holds up a finger to signal for silence for there is a knock on the door. "Come in." he calls and in shuffles a drudge, who gapes somewhat stupidly at them while he sets a tray on a small table between the two riders. He's waved away with a brisk dismissive gesture and only when the door clicks firmly shut again does Th'ero speak. "What you ask of Fort is no easy task." he warns, while also motioning for V'sev to help himself to the refreshments. Food and, like any good host, a variety of drinks: klah, water and wine. GOOD wine! "Has Kayeth risen or is she a maiden gold?"

V'sev shakes his head again, denying the offer to transfer to Fort. Not now. But his expression, a fleeting glance, shows thanks for the offer. Holding himself rigidly when the drudge arrives, he does not acknowledge the creature until it's gone, and then he's leaning forward for a glass of wine and some food. "She has risen once. Clutch of six strong eggs. Mr'az's bronze caught. They have potential. Potential to be /good/. And I can not train them. Not as a /Wingsecond/. And not with my attention being so focused on Cari. What I offer Fort is a slight risk, but the rewards could be so great. And Kayeth is a descendant of your Wiyaneth. A great granddaughter. The blood always tells."

Th'ero will only help himself to some wine once V'sev has taken his share of the refreshments and lowering himself back down heavily into his chair, he listens carefully to the bronzerider while taking a slow and careful sip from his glass. Mention of the clutch and the sire brings an approving nod, though it's highly unlikely the Fortian Weyrleader knows Mr'az but has come to respect V'sev enough to take the man's word. "Oh, I agree with you. The risk is slight but there is much more I have to consider and I am certain you are well aware that the decision does not lie with me. Even if we agree, Zuvaleyuth may not take to welcoming Kayeth. Not with two viable young golds already housed here." Blood always tells. Th'ero almost smirks at that but keeps his control in check just in time. "A great granddaughter of Wiyaneth? That ought to please Elara." Pausing, he mulls through his thoughts, his gaze settling on the clean surface of his desk as he weighs the options. Shaking his head, he sighs heavily. "I can't give you a definite answer, V'sev. As much as I wish to help you… I must speak with Weyrwoman Dtirae and my Weyrsecond as well."

V'sev nods his head and sets his glass down. "I understand. Thank you for seeing me, sir, and for considering it. Kayeth and Nyalle are, of course, available to come to Fort if needed. I would not advise anyone coming to High Reaches." Ever. And the Wingsecond grimaces as he pushes to his feet. "I've taken enough of your time, sir. Thank you again," and he offers a sharp salute. "I must get back to Cari."

Th'ero frowns and keeps V'sev under a long and studious look. Just like that? No pushing, no threats? No trying to convince him further? The Weyrleader might have expected more from the Reachian' bronzerider but as he stands so will he. "Do you think it can be arranged for Nyalle and Kayeth to come here for a visit? Briefly. At most for Dtirae and the others to meet with her…" Only fair, right? Yet something makes Th'ero hesitate. "Or would that bring Briari down on our heads?" He waves off V'sev's mention of taking his time. "I do not mind, V'sev. As far as I am concern, you are always welcomed to Fort." There is only a dark and grim look for the warning not to step into High Reaches and for a moment the temptation rises in him. How much can occur before others step in? "Send her our regards, V'sev. Cari is a good woman and a good rider and I sincerely hope she recovers in time. I will have Velokraeth keep in touch with Zhouth regarding our decision with Nyalle. We will try to help." There is just so much red tape to wade through first!

V'sev nods. "Yes, sir. As I said, they are available. I can find reasons for her to be here. I still have some pull in the weyr," he admits with a bitter twist to his lips. "I truly hope you will find her acceptable. Kayeth is /our/ queen," his and Cari's, "and I wish only the best for her and Nyalle. Fort's reputation - your reputation - is outstanding among the weyrs. This would be the best place for her, I have no doubt. And thank you, sir." For a moment his worry for his weyrmate flickers in his gaze, but it's pushed away. Strength, that rigidity of his spine, keeps him focused and upright. "As do I."

Th'ero's expression is grim as he takes the few steps required to reach the door of his office. With his hand on the knob, he turns so that he is facing V'sev and there is understanding to the dark depth of his eyes. Understanding and deep regret that he cannot do more for the bronzerider, or his ailing weyrmate. As for the praise, he only nods modestly. He will not brag. "Be well, V'sev. I'll bring this to Weyrwoman Dtirae's notice immediately. We'll try not to keep you waiting on our decision for long." Still he does not open the door as he hesitates, clearly lingering over the decision to say something or not and in the end he murmurs a soft spoken. "If Cari can travel, take her to Torince Hold, north of Western Weyr. Ask for Healer Novaris. Tell him you are friends of Th'ero - or Kelthero. He may be able to help her…" Or not but Th'ero feels compelled to do something for V'sev and Cari.

V'sev finishes his wine and his food and follows Th'ero to the door, stopping when the Weyrleader does not open it. And then the conversation takes a slight turn, V'sev's eyes widening slightly in surprise and then appreciation. "Torince," he echoes softly. "Novaris. Kelthero." The bronzerider nods, reaching out to grasp Th'ero's hand. It's tight, a wringing squeeze trying to convey so much, and then he is gone before he breaks.