Grand Tour of Fort

Fort Weyr - Council Chambers

A large table, spacious enough to seat all of the Weyrleaders of Pern simultaneously, takes up the majority of the space in this room. Comfortable chairs are placed at regular intervals around the highly polished table, and writing materials have been laid out at each place in preparation for the next meeting. Along the walls are a series of sideboard tables, meant to hold food and drink for longer conference sessions.


As the meeting breaks up, Nyalle finds herself in the hallway waiting for D'ani to emerge and show her around. Fidgeting briefly, she brushes her hand over her messily pulled back hair, trying to tuck a few errant strands away - but they fall back around her face anyway. Tugging on her leathers, she undoes a few buttons, pauses, and then does them back up again. Not that she isn't wearing a thick sweater underneath that jacket, but /still/. Proper. So she waits patiently for the Weyrsecond to receive his final orders from the Weyrleader.

Down at the lake, Kayeth gets herself clean and shakes the last bit of mud from her paws. « You'd mentioned a ledge where I could sun and dry? » she asks softly of the bronzes, wind tickling their thoughts with the scent of the sea, her distant island cloaked in mists.

D'ani emerges not long after, turning his head up, then down the hall to spot where Nyalle has gotten off to. Ahh, there she is! His long-legged strides are taken at an easy pace but ground-eating nonetheless as he heads towards the young goldrider. His brown eyes are alight with humor. "Ready for your tour, Nyalle?"

Nyalle straightens her posture when the Weyrsecond approaches, snapping off a smart, respectful salute as is proper to one who outranks her. "I am, thank you sir," she says, expectantly extending her arm towards him. "My Kayeth is quite amused by your Dremkoth. She finds him charming," she admits with a little smile, averting her gaze as they move forward.

D'ani returns Nyalle's salute properly but chuckles right afterwards, relaxing his stance to be more at ease. "You'll call me D'ani, won't you? There's no need to be formal now that we've met." His brown eyes are alight with humor, his smile is warm as he courteously offers her his arm. His smile grows, "Dremkoth," he coughs back a laugh, "is smitten." As if she doesn't already know! He lead her towards the stairs and on outside. Once there, instead of turning towards the bowl right away, he takes the ones that lead up…and up…and up. "I thought you might like to see the overall view first," he explains as they ascend.


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.


Nyalle dips her head down slightly. "If that would please you, sir," she murmurs demurely, slipping one arm gently around his. Her steps match to his as they walk, posture straight and pace steady, though her eyes flit around and soak in the sights. Then there's a laugh, soft and brief and polite. "Kayeth enjoys it," she admits, not bothering to hide the pleasure in her voice that a bronze has taken an interest in her queen. Up the steps they go, her arm tightening around his in support - though she hardly seems to need it. And when they reach the top she inhales softly, gazing across the autumn weyr. Her eyes, first, are drawn to her dragon down below, adoration shining in them before she makes herself look around. "A fine weyr," she compliments. "The first, of course. The most traditional?" She has heard /things/.

"It would; may I call you Nyalle?" D'ani asks it lightly so as not to push her. "I'm not usually so formal all the time," he explains casually as they move up those stairs. His gaze, when it drops to her is proper, polite but warm. "Looking through Dremkoth's eyes, she is rather striking in her coloration," he says. Now that they're up where he can see the dragons lounging by the lake and so turns to peer that way to see her for himself. "Oh aye, it was the first," he says with just a touch of offhand bemusement, surprising perhaps that one would use it; he sounds semi-chagrinned to be living in such a historical landmark. Her question prompts him to tilt his head and regard her, "What do you mean by traditional?" But he's smiling. He hasn't taken offense; he's curious. What's she heard?

Nyalle inclines her head again, stray bits of hair brushing against her pale cheeks. "Certainly, D'ani," she replies, her voice soft and measured. Still reserved and formal. "Thank you. She is astonishing. More than I ever dared to dream of, when I accepted Search." There is a careful pause to gather her thoughts before she resumes. "I have noticed that Fort does not use much technology. I see many of the old tapestries still hanging, things in excellent repair. Proud. This is a proud weyr, its people are proud to live here and be a part of its history. And then there is a bluerider with the title of weyrthird." She tilts her head, giving him a curious and confused look. "I mean no judgement, I am simply curious at the change."

While they talk, D'ani turns and directs their steps back down those steps, mindful of steadying her carefully left she stumble. Not that Nyalle seems anything other than capable, but he's watching out for her nonetheless. "You're welcome," he says easily; the young queen is beautiful, anyone can see that. He's not saying anything she probably hasn't heard before. Still, he's pleased to say it. "Ah, technology." He nods to himself. "We don't, but I think it's both a matter of both personal preference and perhaps not wanting to drastically change such a historical place." He sounds vaguely unsure though. "Some individuals might have personal items though?" He doesn't! He's thoughtful down those stone steps, and when he speaks, he's given his own opinion some consideration. "People are proud to live here, I am. I confess, I don't think on it often though. It's humbling." He takes a breath, adds, "Moreta's weyr is here. I think Faranth clutched in the sands here." Of the weyrthird, a grin tugs at his mouth; it's one of both humor and challenge, brown eyes sparkling down into hers, "Kimmila would make a fine Weyrsecond too. We're not… immured in the past. I guess you could say Th'ero is willing and able to improvise when it makes sense." They reach the bowl and instead of heading her to the main caverns, they move south, closer to the lake.

Nyalle keeps her eyes moving as they walk, nodding politely to those that they pass, and frowning slightly when some of them do not offer salutes. Hmm. "Ah," she says to the matter of a lack of technology. "That would make sense. These walls would not look as fine with strings of wire and lights hanging." Then she smiles. "Yes, I'm sure she did. Many times, before she and Sorka passed. It /is/ humbling." Then, quiet again, she considers it. "Hmm. But she rides blue."


Fort Weyr - Northeast Bowl

The northern end of the bowl can be an intimidating area, being that Fort is the largest weyr. The far north wall contains the gigantic opening to the hatching caverns, and to the west of that can be seen the sprawling ledges and carved stair cases that mark the way to the administration complex and the training grounds were candidates and weyrlings can often be found. The west cliff wall towers up, dotted here and there by darker openings that mark individual weyrs before it tapers to a point at Tooth Crag.


Of those they pass who don't salute, the Weyrsecond waits until there's a lull in the traffic to murmur, "They mean you no disrespect, Nyalle." He's noticed her frowns and seeks to put her mind at ease. "We salute on formal occasions but act more informally otherwise." He points out things as they pass by - the senior weyrwoman's ledge, the weyrleader's, the entrance to Moreta's weyr, for example - but he doesn't offer to take her inside any of them. "That's Inri's weyr," he says as they pass by Moreta's former weyr. "Perhaps she'll show it to you sometime." Since they're there, he takes her to peek in the hatching grounds, and the training complex before directing her to cross the bowl. He points out the entrance to the main caverns way over across the bowl with a promise to end up there for lunch and continues leading her southwards. As they walk he's attentive, listening to her questions and answering them to the best of his abilities. "Yes, she rides blue," he says evenly, nodding agreement that, indeed the woman rides the color questioned. Brows lift fractionally to silently question if there's something she wants to remark on regarding that. "Leadership here isn't necessarily bases on the color of one's dragon, but on the capabilities of the individual."

"And the weyr leadership is okay with that?" Nyalle queries softly, a frown pulling at her lips. She looks at the weyrs closely, even leaning a bit with a desire to see Moreta's, exhaling in polite sadness when she can't see Inri's. "I would love to," she murmurs. The hatching grounds are gazed at and she nods, as well as the caverns and everything else he shows her. "Very nice, very well maintained. And remarkable how the builders crafted it. Smooth walls, just remarkable." Another pause as they walk before she ventures, "But the larger colors - and their riders - are much more capable than the others. If she were truly capable she'd be riding brown."


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.


"You heard Th'ero," D'ani says with an engaging grin that brings out the dimple in his cheek. "We do things differently here at Fort. So yes, yes they are." The weyrwomen. "I am too." He doesn't laugh at her supposition but gravely considers it. "Sometimes, this is true," he concedes. "But not always. You have to know Kimmila. She's tough as nails and as capable, if not more than some bronzeriders I've met." He's adjusted his strides to her shorter ones, guiding her carefully as they walk to where the footing is drier, less rough. "Have you ever," he asks in a persuasive tone, "known a bronzerider to act less than he ought? For selfish reasons?" He sounds as if he has. "It's a weakness despite the color he rides." His gaze sweeps the Weyr in general as they walk, and he nods agreement; it is well built, maintained properly, something he appreciates anew seeing it through her eyes. They're approaching the lake and he points it out, as well as the numerous weyrs in the cliff face over it, his in particular, not that it's significant other than a point of reference. He points out other geographic references, Tooth Crag, the tunnel out of the Weyr since it has come into view, but he directs their steps further south through the bowl to where the sound of lowing can be heard.

Nyalle says, "Nyalle considers his words as they walk, and while she appreciates his guiding her towards smoother terrain, she does not seem to require it. Her steps are small but sure footed, boots thick enough for handling walking. "I suppose I will have to get to know her," she finally admits, before she's grimacing slightly. It's fleeting, but present. "Yes," is all she says to his question, with a nod. She's never thought of things that way before, but…now she is. Darn D'ani, opening her mind. When they get within ear shot of the lowing, she perks up a bit. "And the weyr's herds?" she asks softly. "Are they well? What types do you raise here? I'd imagine it'd be similar as High Reaches, but your climate has a shorter winter than ours does, and a warmer summer."


Fort Weyr - Grassy Paddocks

The trace leading from the bowl skirts past the feeding pens, curving through a stand of trees that separates and insulates this large field that serves as both pasturage for growing steers meant to be dragonbait and breeding pens to raise more. The area is subdivided into different sections by six foot high natural wood rail fencing. Off in one corner a twelve foot high fence with a warning sign tacked to all sides reads: 'Danger! Do Not Enter.' Within this bullpen is an impressively-muscled massive red bull sporting a wicked set of horns.
The rest of the gently-rolling, tree-studded, lush-grassed green is divided into two parts: one for cows and calves, the other for steers and heifers not slated for the breeding pen. The trace continues straight between the two fields ending at a slate-roofed stone building.


There's a brief look of concern in the brown eyes that see Nyalle's grimace but D'ani doesn't press. Adjustments are slow things and they do not always come easily. The man is gentle in both mannerisms and opinions, not prone to forceful arguments. Even if Nyalle is quite capable and won't break if she trips, he's treating her like precious glass. She's been entrusted to his care and he won't return her with so much as a boot scuff from a stubbed toe. That's just the way he is. To her question, he nods, his eyes turning once again down to hers are alight with enthusiasm. "Aye, the herds." This is where he is taking her now and they part ways with the main packed path leading to the tunnel and approach the fenced areas. They pass the feeding grounds on one side, skirt a stand of trees and green pastures open up, a stone barn in the center, where D'ani seems headed. "The breed here is mostly the Highland," he says gesturing to some shaggy, reddish cattle. "Though there are some Woolies," he points out some smaller, black and white spotted, slightly hump-backed cattle with fur that nearly brushes the ground. She should be familiar with both. "Both are hardy enough to withstand winters, high elevation and their hair is shorn in the spring for fiber."

Nyalle meets his gaze and for the first time she returns a genuine, wide smile. "We raised Highlands at our farm. Just a few, but I've always been fond of that breed. Have you heard that they're trying a highland and longhorn cross? Don't know if that's just a rumor or if they're actually doing it, but I thought that'd be intriguing to see." More words than she's said so far! "They look healthy. What other animals do you have here? Flocks? Goats?"

The change in the goldrider is enough to broaden D'ani's smile. "You should do that more often, young Nyalle," he says lightly before nodding enthusiastically about the cattle breed. "They're gentle, but hardy and sturdy." The comment about the cross draws a nod and he draws her to the paddock fence to point out a nearby Highlander. "See the horns of that cow? How they emerge straight out from the head before curving, not inward, but gently outward? Some beastrcrafters believe the genes from the longhorn were crossed long ago to the breed. The current effort is to increase the Highander's size without greatly altering their genetic makeup." He could talk cattle all day with her! To her question, he nods. "Aye, fowl and goats, there are runners also, for hunting and working with the cattle." He draws her along to the barn, quirking her a keen look, "Do you ride?"

Nyalle blushes slightly, dipping her head down for a moment. But it doesn't last long as she's looking up and peering thoughtfully into the herd. "Huh, I've never noticed that before," she admits. "So perhaps just by adding /more/ longhorn to the breed, it can give those changes." Genetic makeup is beyond her. Changes works. "I love to ride," she admits in a soft voice, as if it's terribly uncouth. "But I haven't ridden since I left home…" There is a longing to her voice, for several different reasons.

"Perhaps," says D'ani seriously before he listens to Nyalle's answer. Genetics When she says she rides, his smile grows. "Come," he says and if she will allow, he'll draw her to that stone barn. If she's rather linger and watch the herds we will abide unhurried, pointing out the half-grown spring calves and the huge red bull in his own pen. When she's ready, he'll open the barn door and allow her to pass inside ahead of her. "There's someone I want you to meet," he says.


Fort Weyr - Stone Barn

Fashioned from the same volcanic material that houses the caverns, these square-cut stones have been laid by a mastercrafter stonemason turns ago to house the implements necessary in caring for Fort Weyr's stock. Large enough to stable several runners, there are also stalls for ailing herdbeast, with straw-covered stone floors within the stalls, the aisle outside swept clean. Overhead is a loft full of hay, grain bins, and other supplies. Large double doors open wide on either end and smaller windows higher up along the walls allow for light and the free flow of fresh air.
At either end of the structure are two work stations, one for leatherwork and another for healing: the waist-high counter of stainless steel with shelving above contains gadgets and tools, jars, bottles and boxes of salve, potion and powders - some of it fairly scary-looking like saws, clippers, clamps and needles. Mingled with the scent of animals and hay is a pungent medicinal smell that marks this as the healer area. The other has a wooden workbench with a rack of snippers, blades, mallets, awls and an anvil beside which are pegs with strips of leather, half-finished harnesses, whips, aprons and wide-brimmed hats. Overhead, shelves with jars of finish - dyes and oils, boxes of coiled rawhide thread for stitching and handtools indicates this is the leatherwork station.


Nyalle is eager to see the inside of the barn and she only lingers a few more moments watching the herds before she's moving inside, steps slow and cautious at the shift in light. "Who?" she asks, moving to peer into the first stall curiously, though she stays well enough back just in case their welcome beast is a biter.

As Nyalle hangs back, D'ani allows the goldrider's hand to slip dawn his arm to the point he just naturally takes her hand and leads her further into the barn. They pass several empty stalls until they reach the end where the work stations are. "This is where our sick or injured are cared for," the Weyrsecond explains as he walks her towards the last stall. He gestures to the healing workstation,"I was beastcraft for many turns before I impressed Dremkoth. My specialty was healing." Beasthealing? Whatever they call it. He stops them at the last stall. There's a low nicker of greeting from inside the stall and a finely-shaped head pokes out over the door, ears pricked forward while delicate nostrils flare to whuffle and liquid eyes regard them. It's a sorrel runner, her sooty mane, tail and legs, the burnished coppery-coat, dappled with faint shadow. "This is Kuleana."

Nyalle takes his hand without comment, but when they approach the runner she lets it go in favor of taking a step forward. Offering her hand to the runner, hand out and flat, palm up, she lets her get her scent first. "What was her injury?" she asks softly, not taking her eyes away from the mare. "She has beautiful coloring. I was devastated when the runner plague wiped out all of our stock…"

D'ani allows Nyalle to reclaim her hand, pleased that she isn't timid around the runner. "She has no injury. She's mine. In fact, that's what Kuleana means - mine." He reaches his arm to offer the mare a fond slap to her neck before scratching along the crest of her neck, ending at her poll, straightening her forelock neatly between her eyes. The brown eyes, warm upon the runner grow sad and he nods, his mouth tugging down at the corners. "We worked so hard to stop it…" He grunts, "But it ran its course."

Once Kuleana seems to have accepted her, Nyalle steps closer and runs her hand up over the mare's face, gentle and soft. "You're a beautiful lady," she murmurs. "Yes…yes you are, simply beautiful." There's a brief flicker of distance to her gaze, and then she glances briefly at D'ani. "And your Dremkoth does not mind?" Then, sadness and a small nod. "I'm sure you did. We had little to fight it with so ours went pretty quickly. It was a shame, I had a pony that I loved."

As D'ani watches Nyalle with the runner, his half frown turns into a lopsided smile and he chuckles, "No, Dremkoth doesn't mind at all. I had Kuleana before I impressed him. He's mostly curious and thinks it's too bad she's too afraid of him to talk to him the way Zoi does." Kuleana gently lip-nibbles at Nyalle while her face is being touched. There's nothing nippy or ill-tempered about this runner. She just arches her neck so Nyalle's hands have better access to her face while her tail swishes placidly. "I'm sorry," D'ani says sincerely. "It's hard losing stock let alone friends." A muscle in his cheek twitches and he clears his throat. "Come riding with me sometime, Nyalle. I'll show you the forest you can't see while soaring above."

"Zoi?" Nyalle asks, glancing around at the other stalls - hopefully? Then her eyes focus back on D'ani, and she smiles, turning back to Kuleana, giggling softly when she's lipped. "I would enjoy that. It has been far too long since I've ridden, and perhaps Dremkoth can convince Kayeth that it is not a betrayal for me to be astride another."

"Zoi is the canine companion of my best friend, Ezra Stonehaven." As D'ani says the names his brown eyes light up. "They're great. And Zoi is large enough to be a small runner. Dremkoth tells me they don't need mind words to communicate. You should see them play together." His eyes have lost the shadowed look they'd help while talking of the runner plague and as he gives Kuleana a final light pat, he turns fully to Nyalle. "It's nearing time for lunch. Come on, I'll show you the caverns and we can catch a bite. Maybe we'll run into Ezra in there and I'll introduce you."

Nyalle laughs softly when Zoi is revealed to be a canine, and not another runner. "I would love to meet your best friend," she says, though won't she be surprised at his age. Closer to hers than D'ani's. "Your dragon and the canine play? That is something I would dearly love to see. Lunch would be welcome," she says, offering her arm once more. "It sounds like a plan, D'ani, and thank you for taking time out of your busy day to show me around."

The only other runner speaking to Dremkoth would be the rumble from his belly as it gets digested. "They do. And I'll see what I can do to get Dremkoth to influence Kayeth to let you ride - I'm sure he'll be happy to oblige seeing he's doing his best to monopolize her attention anyway." And so he takes Nyalle's hand, tucks it carefully in his arm while telling her it has been his pleasure to show her Fort Weyr and leads her forth to the caverns. Won't she be surprised indeed at Ezra's age. Perhaps Ezra will be smitten!


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