Fort Weyr - Living Caverns
This cavern, having been created by bubbles in the volcanic flow of this extinct volcano, has a breathtaking ceiling — a vast dome that arches high above the heads of the weyrfolk that scurry around beneath it. A hollow echo can be heard from loud enough noises, and the chatterings of various firelizards are consequently multiplied into a chaotic babble. All in all, the living cavern is a loud place.
Tables are scattered around the room, apparently in no particular order. Over to one side near the kitchens, two medium sized serving tables are constantly spread with snacks, klah, and other goodies. The tables look worn, yet perfectly fitted to the atmosphere of the caverns. In the 'corners' of the cavern, smaller two and four place tables are set up for more private talks or just a less chaotic atmosphere in which to eat.

It's a busy night in the living caverns. The weather can be partially to blame. It's cold and the first snows are falling with a bitter wind to follow. Equally as bitter as the undertone in the Weyr. Even the usual chatter of how soon the eggs will Hatch is underlined with tension and anxieties. The weyrfolk talk but carefully, moving cautiously about the many riders. For it's the riders that the quiet bubbling conflict is coming from. Some are oblivious to it, some are pretending they don't see it. Th'ero could tell and has been "watching" it progress for some time now. The bronzerider has holed himself up in a dim corner of the caverns, dark eyes scanning the room. Watching. Observing. Listening… and marking certain faces and names.

Kimmila stomps in from the chill outside, shaking off her coat and peering automatically up to the leadership dais. Habits are hard to break, and her gaze next sweeps the dark corners until she spots Th'ero. Grabbing a mug of cider, she heads in his direction, quietly sitting beside him. "So."

"He left some time ago, if that's what you're looking for." Th'ero mutters as Kimmila sits beside him. It's true, the dias is empty — at least the Weyrleader's chair is. "Though not before changing the atmosphere. It's so thick in here it's bound to dull a knife in the attempt to cut it."

Kimmila shakes her head. "Don't care where he is. What did he do?" She glances around the room again, sipping her ale. "This does not bode well."

"Well for one, he brought her back…" Th'ero almost growls he's speaking so low and he doesn't have to point to tell her whom she's speaking of. Jajen is on the far side of the caverns and so far the goldrider has done… nothing, really. She's grown a little, matured much more. Her skin is darkened by Southern sun and she is dressed in an exotic manner — or as close as she can get to it and not freeze. Surprise, surprise, she's drawn a few admirers but even then her behaviour is controlled. If she's toying with them, she's doing a very good job at keeping it subtle. As for Iaverulth, the pale wintry gold has made herself as scarce as one her size can be. Some even whisper the young gold is outside the Weyr, well away from a still brooding Kayeth. A stalemate, if anything or perhaps a weird gesture of kindness. "Trying to figure out why. He sent Dtirae away. That has some riders uneasy. More upset. No, it doesn't bode well, Wingmate." He sighs. "He sits on a dangerously fragile precipice and doesn't seem to know or refuses to see that he's losing control."

Kimmila sighs. "I noticed," she mutters. "How's Kayeth handling it? Have you seen her?" Her eyes flick around once again. "Think people will protest his rule?"

Th'ero grimaces, "How do you think she's been handling it? You don't see Iaverulth on a ledge anywhere, do you?" he mutters, keeping his eyes on Jajen and her groupies before glancing sidelong to Kimmila. His mood sobers. Darkens. "It may have already begun. Quietly, for now." But for how long?

Kimmila shakes her head. "No." So. That's how things are going. "How will it go down? Are they syaing you should challenge him? Because I don't think you should, even though I know you'd kick his ass."

Th'ero laughs low and gruffly, shaking his head. "Shards, no. They're not saying anything of the sort. Of course my name comes up but things are bad. If I challenge him first, it'll just drive the wedge further. It's… complicated." Isn't it always?

Kimmila huffs softly. "When will Kayeth rise again?" she mutters under her breath, and behind her mug.

"Not in time. Her eggs have yet to hatch… and never has a queen risen right after." Th'ero mutters. So they can cross that hope off the list. Jajen's laughter rings out again, drawing quite the attention beyond her group though most turn back to their conversations not long after. The goldrider is on the move but she does not approach them. She hasn't even seem to acknowledged either Th'ero or Kimmila there. Her attention is on her 'companions' or whatever they may be and it's not a bronzerider currently on her arm but a young greenrider. She's tailed by a few brown riders and bronze as they all disappear down the stairs to the lounge below.

Kimmila sighs, wincing at Jajen's laughter. "I just hope Nyalle is holding Kayeth in check…I worry what happens with her on the sands. Or after." When she's free.

Th'ero shakes his head. "That depends on Jajen and Iaverulth. Nyalle is a good rider and Kayeth a strong queen. So long as nothing is done to provoke her… I've no idea what Mr'az was thinking bringing Jajen back and sending Dtirae to Drake's Lake." More so that both women agreed to it! Or did they have much of a choice? "She's behaved so far." he says, almost sounding… impressed.

Kimmila shakes her head. "I'll bet she's just thrilled to be back…" Treading lightly.

Th'ero quirks a brow, "Do you think so? Last I heard, she was happy in the south. She'd taken a steady relationship in one of the locals. I'd be surprised if she just so willingly gave all of that up. She had… influence in a sense there. Here, well. You know the reception she's received." Is that pity from him? It definitely sounds like it.

Kimmila nods. "But can you imagine having come back after so long away? Her queen must be over the moon to have someone else to talk to." Someone other than Kainaesyth.

Th'ero can't argue with that and he shrugs, draining the last of his ale. "That's if Iaverulth is even close by. Velokraeth says he senses her, but does not see her within the Weyr. If she's craving attention, either she is being well controlled by Jajen or is intimidated by Kayeth or perhaps Kouzevelth and Rhenesath have something to do with it. Faranth if I know. All I know is that things are unstable and Mr'az is playing a dangerous, dangerous game."

Kimmila nods. "How…what do you think will happen?" she murmurs. "What's the tipping point here, wingmate?"

"I don't know." Th'ero's answer is an honest one. He really doesn't know (nothing). He's silent a moment and then shakes his head, careful to speak low and quiet though they're not likely to be overheard. "If I had to guess, I'd say something will come along that will finally push one side of the divide among the riders to speak up. Remember what happened with Haast before it was restructured? It will be similar. But worse." And larger. "They may just demand that Mr'az steps down. Maybe ask D'ani to step up as interim. It'd make sense… he's been Weyrsecond long enough to understand Fort. Most of the riders know him."

Kimmila frowns. "I'd much prefer D'ani," she mutters. "I wish he'd step down before he makes a total mess of things…who knows how long it will take to undo the damage he's going to cause."

Th'ero smirks, "At this point, if Mr'az is forced out… we'll have a slew of bronzeriders vying to take the position. Unless Mr'az has enough sense to follow tradition and give the knot to D'ani and not leave it open." And yet he says not a word about himself. Won't he even try?

Kimmila frowns. "And what about you?"

Th'ero blinks and for a moment he can only look at her as if the question she posed to him is the least likely option of all. He snorts, "I'm biding my time. If I speak up now, Mr'az will only use it against me. Maybe claim that I started the rebellion if one comes to pass."

Kimmila rolls her eyes. "But surely, I mean…" She pauses, a thought just now occurring to her. "You do want it back, don't you?"

"Of course I want it back," Th'ero mutters, almost growling the words as he gives her a sharp look. "I just don't want to appear greedy for it. Best to see where this goes and then make my move…" He tilts his head, "Unless you think otherwise?"

Kimmila lifts a brow at his sharp look. "It seems…I don't know. It's unfortunate that it seems like he has to fail /before/ we can fix it. I just hope his failure doesn't hurt anyone…"

Th'ero has to admit, she has a damn good point and he knows it. It's telling in the way he sighs and scrubs his hand along his jaw and around to the back of his neck. "Shards, Wingmate, if it were easier I'd just confront him now and get this sad affair done with. Only we both know it won't go well if I do. We can only hope that when the end comes, the only one hurt is Mr'az."

Kimmila shakes her head. "What are the odds of that?" Then she hesitates. "Have you talked with Nyalle? Surely…"

"What are the odds of what?" Th'ero mutters, giving Kimmila a lingering look. Has he talked to Nyalle? The answering snort should be all the answer she needs. "No. I've barely spoken a word to her. There is no need, given I am no longer her Weyrleader or even part of the administration."

Kimmila shakes her head again. "THe odds that at the end Mr'az is the only one hurt, here." Then her frown deepens. "You should talk to Nyalle. Take her some tea and talk. You know her better than anyone, probably. You can't say she's blind to what Mr'az is doing…"

Th'ero frowns and is quiet for a long stretch of time. Around them, the caverns continue to carry the usual hum of conversation. The tension is still there and many voices are hushed and whispered. "Fine. I'll try to speak with her." he agrees but she'll know well enough that it is no guarantee of a promise.

Kimmila nods. "I think it's the right thing to do, Wingmate. Before he brings Fort to its knees."

"I know. Will she even listen, is the other matter… And I've no desire to upset her right now." Th'ero grimaces with a shake of his head. "Not with Kayeth still broading over the eggs though they near hatching now. Nyalle being pregnant too…" He'd feel pretty low if he upset the woman. He's got a good track record of that.

Kimmila shrugs. "All you can do is tell her your concerns. What she does - or doesn't do - with the information is on her. Then at least you can say you tried."

Th'ero smirks but he can't find a way to argue her point. "You make it seem easy." he muses. In reality it is easy — but then most can talk to Nyalle without incident. He scans the caverns again and slowly pushes back his chair. "We should head home."

Kimmila smirks. "It's easy to tell her. Not so easy to convince her he's doing poorly perhaps. But…shards, wingmate, she's not blind."

"She does love him though," Th'ero goes on to add as he stands, waiting for Kimmila to join him. He pointedly ignores any of the eyes that turn his way. So they ARE being watched or, he is, at the very least.

Kimmila smirks a little bit as she moves alongside Th'ero. "Just because you love someone doesn't mean you have to agree with them all the time."

Th'ero chuckles at that and slips his arm around her, holding her close. He's long past the time where they used to play it safe in hiding their relationship. The Weyr knows better by now and he's not about to pretend anything is any different between them since his fall from Weyrleader. "Good point. I should've known better, hmm?"

Kimmila nods. "You'll learn eventually," she teases him lightly. "Until then…shall we?"

"I've learned some, haven't I?" Th'ero drawls, amused as he begins to lead her out of the caverns. If other riders and weyrfolk watch them (or him, mostly) and whisper to themselves he continues to ignore it. He'll be glad to be out of the atmosphere of the caverns, to be honest. "Let's go." Home or at least to the weyr they're trying to get comfortable in.

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