Campfire Talk
Who Rulayn, Th'ero
What A brief chat regarding the Living Caverns.
When Month 12, Turn 2710
Where Fort Weyr - Trader and Crafter's Square

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"Do you have something you wish to speak about, then? … "


Fort Weyr - Trader and Crafter's Square
The massive rock face that makes up the outer walls of Fort Weyr looms, ever present even here where a large space has been cleared among the trees. A well tended and worn path threads its way from the Entrance Square, broad and wide enough for even the largest and most cumbersome of Trader's wagons. It continues on some distance, running parallel to the outer walls of the Weyr until veering subtly towards the forests again where it will expand again into a circular clearing. The ground is hard packed and scarcely any grass grows, save for along the edges a few patches here and there where folk are known to sit and relax rather than tread. In the center of this clearing is a stone well, ringed by a swath of wild grasses but accessible to all.
Branching in multiple directions are more paths, another large and broad one leading to a secondary clearing that is clearly designed for the Traders benefit, offering several choice locations, most of them sheltered by trees, for their wagons to be set up and ample room for their beasts to be properly penned. Firepits, large and small, are arranged and set at safe distances.
Another path, still wide but meant more for small wagon or foot travel, leads to a third clearing which holds several wooden stalls, all simple of build but well cared for. They are set up in a horseshoe loop, allowing most visitors to glimpse each of the Craft-related signs that mark each one. During the warmer months, this half is meant to be a Crafter's market and the stalls are often manned by posted Journeymen and any Apprentices under their wings.
Other paths lead away from all these clearings and both the Trader square and Crafter square. Some wind their way towards Fort's Forests, while others disappear up towards the Mountain Pass or loop back around to return either to the Entrance Square or towards the tunnels leading back into the Weyr itself.


Winter is well settled into the Fort region though the coldest stretch has yet to come; which may be a relief to those still stuck in the temporary camps. The Trader and Crafter square, usually arranged for festivals and a market-like atmosphere, has been completely repurposed… at least in one way. It's behaving like a 'hub' now, to those displaced and a few stalls still operate in a market-like fashion. Several fires are always lit, offering some warmth to those who seat themselves nearby. Right now they're rapidly becoming popular, as the afternoon begins to wane and the sun already begins to set. Near the centre and around the larger of the fires, sits one individual who has drawn an ever shifting crowd. Th'ero has made himself publicly addressable, the Weyrleader seated plainly out in the open and dressed warmly against the elements in his own riding gear. Even after all these Turns, he paints a rather sombre, brooding figure though most know by now that it's generally a facade and he, usually, is quite approachable; as long as his mood holds, it's perfectly safe.

Finally home from a venture to the Southern continent, Rulayn had desperately been looking for any alternative to sleeping once more in those frigid, cold stables again. Thankfully there had been the offer of a bed here and there and even the good fortune of securing a new pair of thick gloves to insulate her hands against the chill. Still, even with such 'luxury', Rulayn remained seated near one of the fires within the camp. Teeth chattering, hands were held out towards the comforting source of heat whilst she desperately wished she were back on those Xanadu beaches again. Still, no place like home, right? "Ugh.." the girl muttered, eyeing the crowd gathering around one of the fires and an individual sat there. For a moment she remained clueless until spotting the messy, curling black hair atop of the figure's head. K'vir? Wondering if the rider had perhaps come back for another visit, Rulayn picked herself up and slowly moved in the direction of the crowd.

Unfortunately for Rulayn, it's not K'vir but his father instead. They've definitely the same hair, but Th'ero's has begun to grey along the temples; just a bit, but enough to be noticeable up close. Even beneath his thick riding gear, he cuts an imposing figure even seated as he is, "casually", by the fire. Head slightly bent, he's currently conversing with an older man, his voice low spoken and neutral toned. Eventually the old man moves off and the Weyrleader briefly addresses the crowd. "If anyone else wishes to speak? Come and sit yourselves down." he offers, gesturing with a gloved hand to the empty spots. Then, as an afterthought and with his mouth twitching into the barest of wry smirks, he adds: "I don't bite."

Rulayn had almost convinced herself it was the young Rider until his voice carried through the air. Drat. She'd only seen the Weyrleader from a distance in passing before though, so she figured it was just as good a time as any to get a look at him. Circling around the fire whilst Th'ero was busy with conversation, he fell under careful scrutiny as Rulayn inspected him. He definitely looks like his father, she thought, a slight smirk crossing her face at how she'd originally doubted K'vir's claim. With the offer to sit down at the larger fire, the stablehand hesitated a moment, recalling her conversation with K'vir. Should she? Yes, she thought, as she squeezed her way between two people and slipped into an empty seat at the fire. She'd wait until others were finished speaking first, of course, but all her attention was on Th'ero, clearly trying to discern the differences between father and son.

If Th'ero's aware of Rulayn's scrutiny, he's not letting on to that fact. She'll probably notice that he's no where near as animated as his son. All his movements bely a sort of cautiousness, expression guarded even when he does give a rare, and small, smile. He's not wholly relaxed either, despite the more "casual" air. He's the Weyrleader and it's very difficult to escape that, even when he's out here, in the cold, trying to talk amongst the weyrfolk. At least he makes an effort to be approachable? "… we're doing all that we can but I will take that into consideration the next time I speak with the Weyrwoman." he finishes telling one individual and as that person gets up to leave, there's enough of a lull that Th'ero will spot Rulayn seated there and perhaps some of her unerring attention. "Afternoon," he greets and leaves the rest open for her.

Rulayn was impressed. Clearly K'vir had got some of the facts right about him being open. Listening him trying to negotiate and alleviate the foul tempers of some of the living cavern residents, Rulayn drummed her fingers against the hard surface of her seat and blinked in surprise when the man turned to address her. Oh yes, she'd sat down for a reason, hadn't she? "Er.. Afternoon, sir." Again with the formalities. At least she was trying to be polite. "I'm a stablehand at the Beasthold. Your.. er.. Your son said I should speak with you." Maybe dropping the 's' word there would earn her something. Or maybe it would get her in trouble?

K'vir doesn't (always) lie! It'll be Rulayn's turn to be shrewdly examined as Th'ero did, indeed, pick up on that 's' word. If there's one way to catch this Weyrleader's attention, it's any mention of his eldest son. "Did he, now?" he drawls, his voice tinged with just the faintest hint of an accent that would peg him from being native born to the Emerald Isles to the west. "Do you have something you wish to speak about, then? I cannot promise anything but I can try to provide some form of an answer… or reassurance." It's cryptic and guarded speech for sure but there is one thing he gently corrects, "No need for the 'sir' from now on. Th'ero will suffice. And you are?"

Rulayn awkwardly scuffs the toe of her boot against the ground, feeling herself shrink slightly under the gaze of the Weyrleader. "Er.." She fumbles with her words slightly, seeming to struggle now that she was in the presence of authority. "Rulayn. I'm Rulayn.. And K'vir said I should talk to you about the Living Caverns." She almost winced as she spoke, expecting some kind of backlash to her words. ".. And why they're still not repaired." If this was going to land her in trouble, the young Bronzerider would be the first one to get a scolding from the young woman.

Th'ero will look away when he realizes Rulayn is shrinking back from his gaze, not wholly surprised and just a touch apologetic for it. Instead he'll rest his eyes on the fire and keep them there even as she begins to speak. There's no denying he's listening to every word, either, as his brows knit together in thought. From that angle, he does resemble K'vir; a much older version. "You're not the first to ask me that and you won't be the last either," he remarks after a brief and dry chuckle. No, there's no scolding for her. Maybe it's because of her age? That she's a woman? Who knows. "The living caverns were never damaged. It's the level above that caved and while I don't pretend of have much knowledge in the way of mining and stone-work, I did follow the advice of the Master Minecrafters who did send their men and women in to investigate. They deemed it a necessary precaution while the lower levels are all carefully inspected. Unfortunately this takes time and I'd rather it'd be done properly…" He ends his explanation there, assuming it'd be enough to placate her as he glances side-long to her. "Are their issues with your temporary accommodations?"

Rulayn nods slowly as she listens, looking down into her clasped hands. Thankfully the fire is keeping her warm enough now, but the prospect of returning to the stables later still causes the girl to shudder. "Well, can't you make them work faster?" She asks in a typical, almost childish manner. Looking up at the man, she notes the few visible grey hairs and holds back the urge to crack a smile. He -was- getting old! "I was told that folks were being moved to Southern Boll, but I have to sleep in the stables.." Rulayn tries to offer a reassuring smile, wanting to refrain from frustrating Th'ero further. ".. Luckily your son gave me a place to stay one-.." She cuts herself off suddenly, not wanting to overstep her mark, and hastily corrects herself. "But the stables are okay! Itchy, but I can handle it!"

Th'ero exhales softly and shakes his head. Childish manner or not, it's still a complaint and he'll (calmly) address it. "They're going as fast as they can, Rulayn. It's better that we take the extra time and avoid a catastrophe if we can." he explains to her, in as honest a manner as he can. "Some folks are, yes. Unless it's been deemed necessary for you to remain here. Are you wanting to request a temporary transfer out?" he asks, only to quirk a brow when his son is mentioned again. Clearing his throat, he probably assumes far too much but his comment remains only a level spoken: "My son has always been one to help in anyway he can. It doesn't surprise me that he'd offer what he could."

Clearly fast wasn't fast enough, Rulayn sulked. She nodded again to Th'ero's words, trying to remain polite and courteous to the Rider until he was finished speaking, then gave a small smile. "Yes, he's been very, er.. Sweet." Of course, there's about fifty other words she could use to describe K'vir, but it was probably better to be nice about the poor lad around his father. No sooner had she finished her sentence did another person hurry up to the campfire, shoving their way past Rulayn in order to complain directly to the Weyrleader. Almost falling off her seat, the girl quickly scooted out under the arm of the large man and turned away from the crowd. Shoving her hands under her armpits she glanced back and then proceeded to head back off towards one of the other fires, leaving Th'ero to deal with yet more folks and in turn, dwell on what he had said.


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