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.


It is a clear winter's afternoon, the air biting and fierce despite it /looking/ like a nice, bright and warm day. Alas, that is not the case. It is bone chillingly cold and bright, the sun's rays reflecting off the snow and forcing everyone who ventures outside to wear their tinted goggles. It is during this afternoon that Dtirae went to Th'ero's office and handed him her knot, informing him quietly but firmly that she was stepping down from Senior, and leaving the knot for the next queen to rise of her three Juniors - Inri, Jeyinshi, or Nyalle. She packed a few bags and without any fanfare she and Zuvaleyuth lifted into the sky and vanished between, going to the island Fort owns in Drake's Lake to help with the feline removal efforts, and the repopulation of the herds and the farms. And with that, suddenly, Fort is left without a Senior. Kimmila is not the first one to know this as she and Varmiroth touch down in the drifts, the bluerider stiffly dismounting in the cold after a morning spent at her usual cothold rotation.

Warm? In the middle of a Fortian winter? Yeaaah D'ani didn't think so, although the sunshine, despite the glare, is welcome. He's wearing his tinted goggles, his warmest leathers as he and Dremkoth are just now circling into the bowl from wingshadowing Roc - observation duty. The dark bronze backwings above the soft drifts nearby Varmiroth, sending up a flurry-storm of powdery snow, but at least the mini-blizzard is a-sparkle with Rukbat's rays illuminating the crystals. D'ani swings down stiffly - hours of sitting atop Dremkoth in the frigid temperatures do him no favors - to land thigh-deep in a puff of snow. "Kimmila!" the Weyrsecond waves; both a greeting and a 'wait up.'

It may have started as a nice bright and (falsely) warm day but the afternoon is turning stormy for some in a metaphorical sense. The Weyrleader had indeed gone to his office and met with Dtirae there and Th'ero assumed it would be just the routine catchup and reporting, perhaps mixed in with a bit of light banter and chatting. Even if he had sneaking suspicions that all was not well with the (now-ex) Weyrwoman, he still had some hope she would come around. Was he ever proven wrong! For his credit, he did not loose his temper though his anger and possible hurt for her firm insistence on stepping down likely crept through when he made several attempts to talk her out of it. Th'ero would have tried every trick he knew, subtle and not-so subtle, gentle and blunt, anything… but to no avail. Dtirae and Zuvaleyuth are gone South, Fort is without a Senior at a critical time and Th'ero, being the fool he is, shoulders the blame. Some may have noticed a peculiar behaviour from one easily recognizable pale bronze, as Velokraeth soar up to the Star Stones with alarming speed as Zuvaleyuth took wing and gave an echoing call that was almost bittersweet in farewell, angry and and hurt all in one before the gold vanished between before he's zipping down back to his ledge and disappearing into his wallow rather than enjoy the sun and observe the Weyr from some high perch.

News has not spread, as the Weyrleader has not emerged from his office yet by the time Varmiroth and Dremkoth return from their duties. Only then does Th'ero exit, stepping out and squinting against the glare of the sun on snow after being inside for so long and his intentions were to return to his ledge and his weyr. His mind is not in a good place, nor is his mood but there is no raging fit of temper (yet) and instead more of an unsettling simmering anger. Or is it hurt? Disappointment? Too many emotions are all bunched up and there is no time for him to untangle them all and as he darts a look to the bowls below he'll spy familiar dragons and their equally as familiar riders and his path changes. Down the stairs he strides, not in a brisk pace but the slow, almost dragging way of a man carrying ill news and not wishing to be the bearer of it at all. Th'ero is dressed in his winter gear, the collar of his jacket fastened high against the chill and biting wind and his gloved hands are curled into tight fists at his side, though one may very well be carrying the evidence too.

Varmiroth lifts his head, neck arched as he fans his wings and stretches them so they do not cramp in the cold after so much effort to fly, rumbling a happy hello to the bronze. His mind casts about in a nighttime peace, searching for Dremkoth's and then, naturally, for Velokraeth's. « We're back! » he announces happily. Things must have gone well. Kimmila is in a good mood too as she turns to lift her hand in a wave/salute to the Weyrsecond. "Hey, D'ani! How's things? Roc doing well?" she calls. Turning to survey the bowl she spots Th'ero too and waves to him, but a moment later his posture and the way he walks sinks in. "Oh no," she says aside to D'ani, by way of warning. Something bad has happened and she has a few brief moments to prepare herself.

D'ani wasn't privy to that meeting or he'd have demanded from Dtirae an assurance that her stepping down has nothing to do with him. It's probably just as well that he wasn't there to add his persuasion to Th'ero's. The reclusive Weyrwoman has not, to his knowledge, responded well when she feels backed into a corner. But he doesn't know any of that. He and Dremkoth missed Velokraeth's plaintive protest and poignant farewell being out with the wing. Dremkoth doesn't remain in the bowl once his rider has dismounted, but with a cheerful warble to Varmiroth, angles his head towards his ledge, spreads his wings and kicks off to beat upwards. He'll rest there, where the sun warm both rock and hide. D'ani, meanwhile, shields his face from the flurry of Dremkoth's liftoff, then wades ponderously through the nearly hip-deep snow towards Kimmila. "They did alright today-" he begins, then at Kimmila's 'oh no' shades his eyes to look in the same direction as she is. He isn't attuned to Th'ero the way Kimmila is, and so Th'ero's grim posture is lost on him. "Something wrong?" he asides to her while watching the Weyrleader's descent.

Who knows if all the protest, demands or reassurances the world had to offer would have been enough to make Dtirae choose to stay? Not that it matters now, as that time has passed and it is already too late. What is done is done and Th'ero comes with that trailing with him. What could have been a good day for both Kimmila and D'ani is about to be absorbed into the miserable one that the Weyrleader has endured for the last short span of time. Soon they'll all be wishing they could skip back a few days, to when times were quiet and simpler. How'd it get to be so bad? Th'ero approaches and up close the tension in both posture and expression are visible and his jaw clenched so tight it's a wonder he's not grinding his teeth in an effort to keep himself under control. Grim is right and his eyes are darkly troubled as they settle first on Kimmila and then to D'ani. Something is very wrong and it takes Th'ero a good second or two to even be able to grind out the words he needs to even begin expressing what has him so upset. "Dtirae is gone." he states flatly and through gritted teeth. Why beat around the bush, right? Not the best of explanations but it's a start! And to make it all the better, his hand lifts and there dangling half twisted in his now uncurled fingers is the Senior Weyrwoman's knot. Behold! The evidence. Further evidence comes by way of Velokraeth, who's mind when touched by Varmiroth's happiness seethes with dark reds, each more sharp and harsh like a bitter wine and his thoughts are saturated with a roiling, dizzying sensation much akin to drunkenness and he's all too willing to haul anyone else down with him, be it Varmiroth and even Dremkoth when his presence is noted among the link.

Kimmila shakes her head at D'ani, her focus on Th'ero as he approaches. At his words her stomach lurches and her heart clenches, briefly thinking the Senior /gone/ gone. But no, there was no keening, Varmiroth has said nothing…and then there's the knot, dangling from his fingers. "What?" she manages to stammer out, staring at it and then at him in wide eyed surprise. "Where? Why?" All good questions that tumble out before she stops them and turns to look at D'ani. Did he know? Varmiroth reels a bit from the sudden dark, dizzying sensation, scrambling to find a foothold - which he finds in his lifemate's mind and makes Kimmila weave ever so slightly before both she and the blue steady. Turning, Varmiroth lumbers through the snow before springing aloft and making a beeline for the Weyrleader's ledge to join Velokraeth and offer whatever support he can.

[DTU/Project] Varmiroth senses that Velokraeth doesn't mean to be so rough with the blue but he's hurt and angry, confused and saddened. Inside their shared wallow, the pale bronze has coiled himself tightly in the semi-gloom and has his head tucked at an angle in the crook of his crossed forelegs. His mismatched eyes whirl a rapid shade of yellow and orange, occasionally flickering red when his frustration and anger bubbles to the surface. « Little brother. » Is all he says to acknowledge Varmiroth's return, but there is a shred of apology there and relief. The blue will not be chased out if he slips inside the wallows but neither will the bronze uncoil himself.

[DTU/Project] Velokraeth senses that Varmiroth walks in, nimbly moving around the bronze's bulk to reach his head, where the blue settles on his belly. Extending his muzzle, he begins to gently nudge and nuzzle the bronze's forelegs if he's allowed, sending nothing but sympathy and a calm, dark night. There is no effort made to soothe, as such. No 'it's going to be okay' and no 'think happy thoughts'. He is simply there while the bronze grieves. Varmiroth does not know the pain of losing a mate - he has only had a few in his lifetime and forgets them swiftly, but he knows the bronze and the queen shared a connection and so he is there to help as best he knows how.

When Dremkoth catches Velokraeth's unhappiness he utters an eerie keen that echoes plaintively across the bright bowl and his dark night, starless and desolate, moans with the sound of sharp-edged wind whistling through rock precipices to swirl with the roiling bitter red wine of the other bronze. The sound of his wings flapping echoes off stone as he leaves the comfort of his own sunny ledge to find a spot, if not on, then as near as he can get to crouch and offer, along with Varmiroth, his silent support to the bronze bereft of his mate. D'ani hears the words, sees the knot, but he's a little slow on the uptake. "She's gone awol?" He's grim but not unsurprised; this is Dtirae, after all and she'd indicated she'd felt under stress awhile back. "Hunting?" is his guess to Kimmila with a shrug. No, he didn't know, says his headshake that accompanies that shrug. Which doesn't answer why Th'ero is looking so upset nor why he's getting such a backlash of dark grief through Dremkoth, passed along from Velokraeth. "She'll be back when she's ready, Th'ero." That's his take on the matter, but then, he's uninformed.

[DTU/Project] Varmiroth senses that Velokraeth allows Varmiroth to nudge and nuzzle at his forelegs. Only the blue would be able to get away with such a gesture at this point. Not even if it were from a green or one of the golds - not even Kayeth! - would he tolerate any touch or company. Varmiroth is the exception and the blue is helping by simply being there and welcoming the "silence". Sympathy is also welcomed and acknowledged, as is the calm night and his mind no longer roils or dips and sways so drunkenly. He has no words to speak quite yet, as he is still untangling himself from his own emotions and those of his rider.

That eerie keen has no doubt raised a few curious warbles and inquiries from the dragons alert enough to catch it as it echoed across the bright bowl. So much for the news being quiet? Velokraeth has tucked himself well into his wallow, coiled tightly and his head nestled in the crook of his crossed forelegs. Varmiroth is with him, though room remains for Dremkoth to enter as well and upon his arrival the pale bronze will lift his head up and sigh heavily, the last of it shifting into a gruff and deep rumble. « We could not stop them. I could not keep her here, no matter how I begged and pleaded for her to reconsider and make her rider see reason. And I do not understand why. » Velokraeth speaks to both Varmiroth and Dremkoth, his tone no longer honeyed and sweet, light hearted and rippling with the undercurrents of amusement. This voice is flat and muttered, slow and drawling, a stark contrast to his usual self.

Th'ero should have chosen his words (few as they were) better and saved Kimmila that brief moment of heart stopping misunderstanding. No, Dtirae is not gone, gone. The dragons would have keened and both she and D'ani would have known no matter where they were and the Weyrleader certainly would not be fit or capable to walk across the bowls to greet them. Neither is this gathering as simple and Kimmila's questions are met only with a long stare from Th'ero as though he's not absorbed a single one. D'ani, however, supplies the half-answer and allows the Weyrleader to nod stiffly, jaw working slightly as he swallows back the anger-fueled response he has readied. The knot is gathered up again and clutched into his curled fist, half-hidden away as his hand falls back to his side. "Yes," he speaks again, clipped and as cold as the air around them as he glances from his Weyrsecond to Kimmila again as he begins to roughly attempt to explain. "Hunting. Tending to the island's preparation — and just when do you think that will be?" Now his eyes have focused sharply on D'ani, unfairly allowing some of his temper to lash out at the younger bronzerider. "We need her now!" he states in words almost growled through his teeth.

Varmiroth is nuzzling Velokraeth's forelegs, and he hesitates when Dremkoth approaches, before he continues on soothing his friend and ledgemate how he knows how. « Nor do I, » he admits softly. In the bowl, Kimmila blinks at the knot he holds, shaking her head a bit with a frown. "How long?" she echoes, "and why did she leave /that/ behind?" With a jabbing finger she points at the knot, bristling. "Th'ero," she presses, trying to divert his anger from D'ani, perhaps. "Are we without a Senior? Did she step down?"

Dremkoth hesitates to enter Velokraeth's wallow, but after a respectful pause, he does, but he doesn't attempt to nuzzle him. He crouches on the other side, flanking the bronze a few paces off. « She has always been stubborn», he offers though whether that is regarding Zuvaleyuth or her rider, unclear. His contact is of the raw nights before the snows come, dead grass flattened and brown on the barren ground, trees bare and skeletal against a brittle sky. He does not offer an answer to why; he does not know either.

D'ani simply nods. Okay, hunting, off helping set up the island. "You know Dtirae. She likes to be doing. I'm glad she's out of the office and her weyr. This'll be good for her," he assures the Weyrleader, not quite understanding his anger over the situation, nor the gloom he's catching from Dremkoth. His brown eyes blink surprised at Th'ero's question. "I've no idea. Couple of days? A week? Didn't she tell you?" Oh but he's growling and saying he needs her now. "What's happened?" His eyes jerk to Kimmila when she pipes up and he interjects quickly, "Who'd take a fancy knot hunting?" Duh, D'ani. Maybe he's in denial? But than Kimmila's question hits him with a gut-blow and he sucks his breath in, swinging his attention to Th'ero. "Did she?" His eyes are dark with sudden emotion; self-blame, foreboding, brooding worry.

It is perhaps a little odd to some to witness Varmiroth nuzzling at the bronze's twisted forelegs and Velokraeth not protesting it in the slightest but he behaves as though it is perfectly welcomed and natural. His mind continues to seep with dark winey reds, though slowly that intoxicating sensation begins to recede and Dremkoth's nightscape is studied and welcomed too. Slowly, the bronze is regaining his balance though it is still tentative at best. « That was part of her allure. » he grouses to the young bronze. « She was stubborn and she was much more than that. So much more. » He likely speaks more of Zuvaleyuth than her rider.

Back in the bowl, Th'ero stands stiffly and with every nerve still on edge from his mood. Kimmila's jabbing finger and attempt to divert his anger and focus on D'ani works for a few short spans. Long enough for him to twist his mouth into a bitter and humourless smirk. He says nothing, but his eyes narrow and his features change to something akin to a silent 'what do you think?' stare. Yet when he turns his head to stare at the Weyrsecond, he is stunned and baffled as D'ani's behaviour and not-quite understanding. Is this a joke? Is he trying to be funny about this? Th'ero bristles now too as he misunderstands the younger bronzer's answers and continued queries of 'what is wrong?' Isn't it obvious!? The Weyrleader is almost tempted to shouting that, but that would certainly cause a scene and he's no stomach for that at the moment. "She didn't take it hunting!" he snaps in a hardened tone. Duh! Yet he smirks all the same when D'ani seems to finally comprehend, not that it stops the Weyrleader from confirming the unwanted truth. "She's NOT coming back. Why else would I have this?" Again, the knot is briefly lifted to make his point. "And yes, Kimmila, we are without a Senior. She came to me and handed me her knot and began to inform me that she intended to step down…" He falters. The more he began to speak, the more it was obvious his control was slipping and each word became just that more heated though still kept to a low and flat tone. No shouting — yet. "We need to move indoors — now. The bowl is not a place to discuss this." And he wants a drink and many of them.

Varmiroth doesn't seem to find it odd either as he seeks twitching, twisted muscles and soothes them with gentle nuzzles and firm rubs. He is silent though, simply adding his nightscape to Dremkoth's, a presence without words, as he doesn't know what to say.

Kimmila shakes her head and sighs heavily, pushing fingers through her hair to shove back the hood of her jacket. She frowns at Th'ero's knot and then looks around. "Who is closest?" she asks, her voice soft and flat. "I hope it's Kouzevelth." There's a pause when she looks at D'ani, and then the bluerider is nodding, reaching out to give the Weyrsecond's forearm a firm squeeze. "Council chambers. I'll meet you there," she says, watching the men for a second - making sure they're not going to just explode on the spot - before she's trudging off through the drifts as quickly as she can, heading for the caverns. Provisions. She's gone to get them.

Dremkoth thinks nothing of the nuzzling. He does not know the so much more of Zuvaleyuth but he can empathize. His night allows the liquid reds swirls to fade, leaving his night gloom of stark black, empty; his implication is that it's like that now, perhaps.

D'ani's feeling an uneasiness grow in his chest as the telling looks pass between the Weyrleader and Kimmila. What? That's the look of incomprehension that Th'ero gets back fron D'ani. He's not joking! Perhaps it's obvious to some, but to D'ani, who tried and failed to help Dtirae adjust to overwork and few friends to learn how to play and take in the wonders she was missing, it isn't. Not coming back. Not coming back? Not coming back! The Weyrsecond pales, makes a strangled sound. Feeling Kimmila's hand squeezing his arm he lifts stunned eyes to hers. "I need to go find her." She strides off and D'ani repeats it to Th'ero, "I need to go find her. She may have left because I- shells!" He runs a hand through his hair, turns blindly for Dremkoth. But the bronze isn't budging from his vigil.

Th'ero startles at Kimmila's question. Who's closest? Now it's his turn to be slow on comprehending, only to stare at her as his mind lurches again and he almost staggers back. Who's closest. Who's next! The next Senior… and possibly the next Weyrleader. Shaking his head, he shoves all those thoughts down, down and down to be locked away. Not yet. He will not think of that yet! There is a stiff nod given for her suggestion of the Council Chambers, but her departure has his eyes following her longer than they aught to before they turn back to D'ani who has then paled and uttered that strangled sound. Th'ero's expression twists, his smirk more of a grimace and perhaps fleetingly in understanding before the grim mood settles in again. It's as he turns that the Weyrleader moves, his empty gloved hand reaching out in an attempt to clasp the Weyrsecond by the shoulder or arm in a firm grip. Enough to gain his attention and perhaps draw him forwards as Th'ero begins to move back and on a path that will lead to the Council Chambers. "You won't find her, D'ani!" he intones gravely, though he's likely sharing that same temptation. Just mount up and find her, like they did before. If it worked once… "Even if you did, do you think she would listen? She made her choice. And because you what…?" he asks and not in an accusatory tone — it's honest curiosity from a man who views the other as completely innocent in any wrong doing.


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.


Th'ero's hand succeeds in clasping D'ani's shoulder, giving the Weyrsecond pause. His brown eyes are too-bright, the muscles of one jaw twitch. They already know where Dtirae is. So to that he simply shakes his head. "Because I told her she needed to get out more, be with people, stop hiding in her weyr. Because I told her to go hunting. Because I told her if she didn't do something for her own good, I wouldn't see her anymore!" His voice is low, passionate before it drops to barely-audible, "And when she didn't, I stopped seeing her." He draws a ragged breath, lifts a distraught gaze to Th'ero, "I thought it might jar her to do something. But I didn't mean for her to step down, to leave for good!" One hand forms a fist, but there's no wall to put it through, so he smacks his own hand, winces at the pain. Up in Velokraeth's wallow, Dremkoth still resists his rider's summons. He's busy! Meanwhile he's being drawn along with Th'ero towards the council chambers. Would she listen? "Probably not, she's stubborn!" His shoulders slump, he drops his head and crams his hands into his pockets as he walks along.

"You're not to blame for this!" Th'ero states again in a voice equally low spoken and stubborn is he on that fact. Even when words fail him (classic!) and he can offer D'ani little more than a grimace, followed by a flicker of understanding. Not on the same scale is his guilt, but it's close enough. The Weyrleader is harbouring his own black thoughts and guilt for what could have been his hand in seeing Dtirae 'crack' at last. "We all tried to reach out to her, D'ani and I wish I had answers but I don't." he mutters under his breath, as they walk through the snow covered bowls and up to the council chambers where Kimmila has been busy gathering things. His mood hasn't improve by the time they arrive and that knot he carried in a clutched fist is now stuffed into a inner pocket of his jacket. Unnecessary to brandish it around now. News will spread soon enough. Velokraeth's odd behaviour, Dremkoth's eerie cry and Zuvaleyuth's absence will no likely draw quite a fair bit of attention. As for the pale bronze, Velokraeth has holed himself up in his wallow with Varmiroth and Dremkoth as company while he pines over the loss of his mate.

Kimmila returns with provisions. The bluerider is carrying a large crate, from within rattles the clink of glass bottles. When she enters the chambers she sets the crate down with a clatter. "Drinks," she says, lifting out some of Th'ero's dark, hellish ale, popping off the cap and passing it to him. D'ani gets one too, regardless of his personal tastes. He can choose his /second/ drink. She picks a lighter ale for herself, gulping from it before she sits heavily into one of the chairs with a frown.

After hearing the odd goings on, Kayeth conveyed as much to her rider, so it's Nyalle who raps her knuckles on the door to the council chambers and peeks her head in. "Is something amiss?" she asks, pulling the door open further and offering a salute to all, though the crate of booze on the chamber table is eyed with some distaste. That bluerider is at it again, it seems. "Sirs? Kayeth says the dragons are behaving oddly. Can I be of assistance?"

Kouzevelth certainly reacted instantaneously — first, to reach out to Velokraeth with a comforting mental touch, and then to Dremkoth, brother-mate-friend, in case he needed her comfort. In her duty as a queen, she extends that reach across the entire Weyr, attempting to soothe the souls of every dragon in turn as cautiously as she can — because she doesn't know quite what's happened and she is unsettled, too, but it is Inri's job to figure out what is going on. The other junior weyrwoman is quick on Nyalle's heels, managing not to crash into the other young woman as she gets there. "Sorry —" she whispers to Nyalle before straightening up. "Kouzevelth said I should hurry and find you," it's said to Th'ero, "but left out exactly why —" The only time she can remember Zuvaleyuth not being there was when Kouzevelth rose. And Iaverulth, but it wasn't as if Inri stuck around. Kimmila, as always, gets a brief look of relief. To her, the 'weyrthird' has long been the backbone she's needed in tough moments.

Kimmila returns with provisions. The bluerider is carrying a large crate, from within rattles the clink of glass bottles. When she enters the chambers she sets the crate down with a clatter. "Drinks," she says, lifting out some of Th'ero's dark, hellish ale, popping off the cap and passing it to him. D'ani gets one too, regardless of his personal tastes. He can choose his /second/ drink. She picks a lighter ale for herself, gulping from it before she sits heavily into one of the chairs with a frown.

After hearing the odd goings on, Kayeth conveyed as much to her rider, so it's Nyalle who raps her knuckles on the door to the council chambers and peeks her head in. "Is something amiss?" she asks, pulling the door open further and offering a salute to all, though the crate of booze on the chamber table is eyed with some distaste. That bluerider is at it again, it seems. "Sirs? Kayeth says the dragons are behaving oddly. Can I be of assistance?"

Kouzevelth certainly reacted instantaneously — first, to reach out to Velokraeth with a comforting mental touch, and then to Dremkoth, brother-mate-friend, in case he needed her comfort. In her duty as a queen, she extends that reach across the entire Weyr, attempting to soothe the souls of every dragon in turn as cautiously as she can — because she doesn't know quite what's happened and she is unsettled, too, but it is Inri's job to figure out what is going on. The other junior weyrwoman is quick on Nyalle's heels, managing not to crash into the other young woman as she gets there. "Sorry —" she whispers to Nyalle before straightening up. "Kouzevelth said I should hurry and find you," it's said to Th'ero, "but left out exactly why —" The only time she can remember Zuvaleyuth not being there was when Kouzevelth rose. And Iaverulth, but it wasn't as if Inri stuck around. Kimmila, as always, gets a brief look of relief. To her, the 'weyrthird' has long been the backbone she's needed in tough moments.

Th'ero allows D'ani to continue on ahead to take a seat and accept the offered ale from Kimmila if he so chooses to do so. Though if the Weyrsecond learned anything from the last time he touched the brew, he may be averse to it! It's not called Black Damnation for nothing, after all! And right now, the Weyrleader finds the name all too fitting as he takes the bottle from Kimmila. "Thank you," he mutters low, at least remembering to be polite to her for thinking ahead. He is about to claim the chair next to the one she settles heavily into, only to pause while unfastening his heavy jacket. No need to assume he won't be going outside anytime soon, right? "Nyalle," he says, voice still terse and flat and the whole business of proper formality dropped. Th'ero doesn't have the mood or patience for it. There's a lingering pause and then he nods stiffly, "Take a seat." A beat, then as an afterthought. "Please." Inri arrives a breath later and the Weyrleader's grim expression darkens despite the vague smile he tries to muster up for her. "Good of you to come. I had wondered if Kayeth or Kouzevelth had sensed anything… And I'll explain. Where's Jajen—" Oh, there she is! The youngest of all the goldriders slinks into the room with a wide eyed 'Faranth it isn't me, I swear it!' look written plain as day on her side, she darts to the nearest chair and plunks herself down. Whether or not everyone has settled themselves, Th'ero finishes slipping off his jacket but not before reaching into that inner pocket of his. The jacket is draped over the back of his chair and the Senior Weyrwoman's knot is set dead centre on the table for all too see. "Dtirae is no longer Senior." he says by way of explanation, no sugar coating and no fluff. Just straight up blunt truth as his deteriorating temper won't allow for cryptic games and roundabout explanations. "She came to my office not long ago, handed me her knot and stepped down despite both protests from myself and Velokraeth. Neither she nor Zuvaleyuth would heed us and they left. Gone to the South to help with Drake's Lake, but of Fort they will not return to." Not for some time, at least. As he talks in a voice too calm and flat he takes his seat next to Kimmila and his dark eyes scan each young goldrider in turn. Inri and Nyalle first and longest, with Jajen last and there is only a grim sense of anticipation. They all know what it means, don't they?

Kimmila sips at her ale but for the moment she is the grim, silent observer, her glance flicking from one goldrider to the next, though she does offer Inri a faint smile. No doubts where /her/ marks lie, in this gamble of the next gold to rise.
Nyalle glances back at Inri with a small frown and then her wide eyes return to Th'ero as she steps forward and settles into a chair, adjusting her skirts beneath the table. But then she freezes, staring at that Senior's knot on the table. Swiftly her eyes focus and she shakes her head. "No," she whispers, hands gripping the fabric of her skirt as she looks first at Inri, and then at Jajen. "Oh. Oh no," she says whisper soft, shaking her head again. "Inri. Is Kouzevelth close? When…and Jajen? Who…" Who is going to be the first to rise? Her heart clenches.

Concern for her own position in the Weyr is momentarily masked by concern, as far as Inri goes; her facial expression warps between concern for Dtirae, shock, concern for D'ani, and then a long slow swallow. Sitting might be a good plan before she falls over, and so she does get to doing that before pressing her eyes shut a moment and just sighing. "Is she — She'll be —" Who knows where she was going with that; Inri trails off and simply shakes her head. "Kouzevelth's only risen once, so it's possible but I can't really say likely; she was almost three the first time." One thing Thread was good for: monitoring that sort of thing. "I don't understand why —" comes out of her mouth again, and then she seems to give up, relaxing into her chair, exhaling and just going with wherever the flow goes. "And I suppose I don't need to, do I. Iaverulth's likely closest to rising, if previous patterns can be trusted?" Quick, dump it on someone else — with the bonus of the fact it's actually true.

D'ani has taken that bottle with a mumble of thanks to Kimmila, and he has indeed learned to be wary of its kick. This time he'll sip judiciously despite the impulse to do otherwise. He's been slumped against his seatback with long legs outstretched, head down in thought as he's taken several small sips. Though his brown eyes have noted each of the arriving juniors, he's given but a somber nod of greeting to them; whovever takes the chair beside his will find him pulling it out silently for her without rising - this is unlike him and it's proof that he's deeply shaken by the news of Dtirae's departure. Save for a self-directed grimace, D'ani makes no comment when Th'ero re-states it for the others. He knows what it means alright. It means not only a new Weyrwoman but possibly a new Weyrleader should that next-to-rise gold influence the outcome with her preferences.

Kimmila sips at her ale but for the moment she is the grim, silent observer, her glance flicking from one goldrider to the next, though she does offer Inri a faint smile. No doubts where /her/ marks lie, in this gamble of the next gold to rise.

Nyalle glances back at Inri with a small frown and then her wide eyes return to Th'ero as she steps forward and settles into a chair, adjusting her skirts beneath the table. But then she freezes, staring at that Senior's knot on the table. Swiftly her eyes focus and she shakes her head. "No," she whispers, hands gripping the fabric of her skirt as she looks first at Inri, and then at Jajen. "Oh. Oh no," she says whisper soft, shaking her head again. "Inri. Is Kouzevelth close? When…and Jajen? Who…" Who is going to be the first to rise? Her heart clenches.

Concern for her own position in the Weyr is momentarily masked by concern, as far as Inri goes; her facial expression warps between concern for Dtirae, shock, concern for D'ani, and then a long slow swallow. Sitting might be a good plan before she falls over, and so she does get to doing that before pressing her eyes shut a moment and just sighing. "Is she — She'll be —" Who knows where she was going with that; Inri trails off and simply shakes her head. "Kouzevelth's only risen once, so it's possible but I can't really say likely; she was almost three the first time." One thing Thread was good for: monitoring that sort of thing. "I don't understand why —" comes out of her mouth again, and then she seems to give up, relaxing into her chair, exhaling and just going with wherever the flow goes. "And I suppose I don't need to, do I. Iaverulth's likely closest to rising, if previous patterns can be trusted?" Quick, dump it on someone else — with the bonus of the fact it's actually true.

Th'ero has no marks or bets on any of the goldriders or makes no outward assumptions. He's considering them all equally and his rank hangs in the balance. There is a lot on the Weyrleaders mind at this point, though chiefest among them is that Fort Weyr is facing a critical time where morale is already shaky at best and now they've lost their Weyrwoman. He takes a long, slow pull of his ale and when Nyalle begins to whisper softly, the look he gives the newest goldrider is one bordering on pity. Not the best of expressions to show but it's the truth of it: he pities her, given the recent upheaval in her life and now this? "It's hard to say." Th'ero admits as he glances sidelong to Inri, as helpless as the rest of them in determining for sure which gold will rise. "We cannot predict the outcome, nor the time. It could be sevendays from now, a month, a Turn." Could they even last that long? "What we face now though is having no Senior to lead. Which means, flights aside, that you three are chiefly responsible as a whole to fill that gap." Lovely. Isn't that so kind and thoughtful of Th'ero to just throw at them? From her corner, Jajen makes a coughed-strangled noise but there's no missing the rather long (hungry) look she gives at knot on the table. "What if they start glowing too close together?" she pipes up.

Kimmila lifts a brow at Nyalle in thoughtful consideration, and then nods at Inri, before she looks at Jajen with a slight frown. Anyone but /her/. Looking at D'ani again, the bluerider's look is considering, but she makes no move to try and comfort the bronzerider. Not now, anyway. "Time will tell," she murmurs, taking another swig of her ale. "All we can do now is prepare the best we can, and do what's best for Fort."

Nyalle grips her skirts, darting a hopeful look at Jajen, but that quickly shifts to concern. She's only worked with Jajen for a few sevens, and the thought of her as Senior… Nyalle squirms a bit, looking again at Inri. "Surely if you encouraged her…" she murmurs softly to her fellow junior and co-worker. Think sexy thoughts? Nyalle is trying to think of anything /but/ sexy thoughts. Think of home, think of the plague, think of sickness and starvation and the pain of lost siblings. Think of anything but how dark D'ani's eyes are and how smoothly Th'ero moves. How Dremkoth flies, Velokraeth's quick wit… NO. She stares at that Senior's knot as if it were a live thing, swallowing thickly. Mr'az. If it's Kayeth who rises first, she /has/ to get Mr'az here. Then she flinches at her selfish thought. She glances up in time to catch Th'ero's pitying gaze and that causes her to flush and look down, embarrassed. "Whichever one rises first," she says to Jajen, her tone firm. "We'll all step up, sir. I," and she looks at her fellow goldriders, "can take over more of the inventory and the tithes work, since I'm doing that now anyway. I don't think I should do the diplomacy since I'm so new. And perhaps Elara…?" she suggests softly. She's only met the retired weyrwoman a few times, but she seems capable enough. If a little pushy about the tea thing.

"And if it looks like they're going to fight and try to rise together, we have to be responsible enough to pay attention and leave." Inri might be addressing this a little sharply toward Jajen, even if it wasn't her fault Iaverulth's flight almost ended in battle; it wasn't as if sensible Inri was there, of course, and now she's a bit tense. And nervous about the idea of having Jajenelja as Senior, of course. Nyalle's politics might be bizarre, but she's certainly a major improvement, and as for Inri herself — she's the oldest, with the middle dragon, but she has also always been a fan of stability and only just finally got used to this job. "I'm sure Elara will help wherever we need. I'll keep up what I can greasing the hold's wheels and refining the budget; I'm sure all the work will fall into place." Somehow. At least two of the three seem to work well together. "We'll have to just keep holding our heads up. Keep things together for everyone else." Like Kouzevelth is doing, firmly keeping her mental hold on the rest of the dragons as needed. Nobody panic. It's all good.

Th'ero drifts into his racing thoughts for a moment after sparing a quick look and concerned frown to D'ani as the Weyrsecond continues to hold his silence. Later he will speak to him, privately and perhaps without the ale this time or just a wee bit of wine to loosen tongues but not have them sloshed to incoherency. He will have to talk too with each of the juniors and not for reasons some may think though honestly, it'd be clever of him to try and sway favour now. He's cunning enough yet he's held back by personal reasons. Namely, he's come to truly respect Inri and would not be so low as to damage that by cryptic games. Nyalle he knows little off but respects her too, if not for the strength she showed in weathering not only the poisoned atmosphere in High Reaches but for her efforts in trying to make Fort her home. Jajen… is Jajen. He harbours doubts that it'll be Iaverulth who will rise as the gold has only done once so far and with longer time between than Kouzevelth. Kimmila's words draw him back to focus and he glances sidelong to her and nods stiffly in agreement to her comment. "As we always have." he murmurs and glances between Nyalle and Inri both. Though he does not actually smile, there is a brief flicker to his eyes before his brooding temper returns swift and heavy. "And I knew you three would step up." Though grudgingly to one. "That I've no concern over. Elara can indeed help out as well with her Turns of experience and I don't think she would mind either…" Right? He looks to Kimmila to confirm this. "Exactly, Inri. Morale is already… tentative at best. This news is going to hit some hard," Like them. "Or not at all. There is issues of the Holds too. They could see this as a time to truly twist our arm, so to speak, as far as negotiations go. Some may be brazen enough to view us as weakened…" A truth? Or some of the Weyrleader's paranoia seeping through as his thoughts remain too jumbled and shattered for him to keep that firm grip he usually has on his personal theories?

Jajen adopts a look much like a pout when Inri answers her and the young teen only sniffs. "Obviously!" It wasn't her fault at all with Iaverulth's flight. It had been Zuvaleyuth who had turned territorial so swiftly! And it's never been a secret of how much she and Dtirae would clash either. Maybe the young goldrider is glad to see Dtirae gone? If she is, she's showing her first really wise decision and keeping that WELL hidden. "But how do we choose who stays and who goes if they all get proddy? Do we start it at the first signs or wait until the blooding starts?" she presses again, as if this is the only thing she can think of and little else. Notably, she's not pipped up to offer her help with anything either!

"Jajen," Kimmila all but snaps, "that's really the least of our concerns in /this/ moment. We'll figure it out if it even happens, okay?" Glancing at Th'ero, Kimmila nods. "Yes, my mother will be happy to help out, I'm sure." No doubt Wiyaneth already knows what's going on, but Elara is staying away from the council chamber. She'll likely seek Th'ero out later and offer her assistance. "What else needs deciding now?" Kimmila asks, glancing at the others with a frown of concentration. "Because I think the longer we wait to be out and informing people, the worse it looks."

Nyalle nods slightly to Inri, licking her lips nervously. "Has…a goldfight happened here?" she asks, darting a look between her fellow Juniors. "Yes. Keeping things together," she agrees softly, glancing at the Weyrleader and the Weyrsecond. "Perhaps Inri should visit the holds?" she suggests, though it's tentative at best. Hesitant and unsure.

"Not exactly," says Inri with simultaneously gentle and forced tact; her expression is soft for Nyalle and pointedly not at all directed at Jajen. "Close call, one time, but it all worked out." In a better situation, she would cast a smile at D'ani. This is not that situation. "And I will; I might not be on the best terms with my family but people do tend to think of me as one of Breakwater's, still." Regardless of the fact she's been at the Weyr for about four turns. "So I'll know the right hands to shake. Bring you with me sometime for introductions, if you want?" is meant specifically for Nyalle, though then she has to get back to Th'ero's question. "I think we can probably sort it," she says, "unless there's anything else anyone can think of ..?" Besides 'who has to make this announcement properly,' because Inri is not volunteering.

Both Jajen and Th'ero react to Kimmila's snapped remark with the goldrider eyeing the bluerider warily and the Weyrleader only seeming to really focus on the youngest goldrider now and scowls his disapproval for her behaviour. Smartly, Jajen bites her lip and goes silent, though her eyes simmer with frustration and maybe just a bit of hurt. Will she ever be on par with them? "Kimmila does have a point, we cannot keep this withheld for long." Th'ero agrees with a heavy tone, already sensing that that duty will fall to his shoulders. Glancing to Inri, he nods his head again and looks almost relieved when she accepts (or volunteers!) to go to the holds. "I don't see why you could not join her, Nyalle? Or even go to a few of the more welcoming Holds on your own. It'd… be good, I think for the holders to see all those who may be their future Leaders." he murmurs. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Kimmila sips her ale and just /eyes/ Jajen, but she nods a bit when she lets the subject drop. Atta girl. "Good, Inri, thanks," Kimmila adds, giving Inri at least a smile of approval.

Nyalle nods her head slightly, forcing her hands to unclench from her skirts. Close call. That does not reassure her, but now isn't the time to bring it up. Her jade eyes flick to Th'ero and blink in surprise. "On my own, sir? Without…without an escort? That hardly seems…" Proper. Her gaze flicks to D'ani and then to Inri, before her brows furrow in thought. "I will see if I have time." Which means she won't go. Not unless someone takes her.

And Inri will. Not now, perhaps not soon, but within the month? She'll try to urge Nyalle into a trip or two to less hostile areas. Fort, at first, the one that still likes them. As a start. "It'll fall into place," is all she says. Outside, Kozuevelth stirs, antsy; it's with frustration, and certainly not with any hint of a glow. "I guess we should probably get on with spreading the word; I hope someone has some idea of what to say, because I —" Really don't. She'd come up with it if she had to, but she's surely not there now.

"If you desire an escort, Nyalle, I'd be willing to offer if time and duty permits. Kimmila as well could help introduce you to the cotholds that she and her riders have kept in good favour to the Weyr. Inri too, can be a valuable partner in this," he says, his gaze flicking to the newest goldrider and holding there. "D'ani too and I would say So'l as well if he were not occupied with Xanadu. There are many to pick from." And he'll leave that to her to decide or to be decided in time. Nodding to Inri, the Weyrleader then sighs and nurses a little more of that ale. "I'll break the news to the Weyr…" he begins to volunteer and state as a given order, only to look to Kimmila and then sweep his eyes over Inri, Nyalle and the silent forms of D'ani and Jajenelja. "We all will, if you would all be kind enough to join me? I'll do the talking." Even if he loathes it so. "And you may add your own words if you so wish. Today… what remains of it… will be focused on keeping the morale here from dropping too low. Calm and order. We'll focus on the Holds later."

Kimmila eyes Nyalle for a moment before she snorts softly into her ale bottle, and then she tips it back, gulping the rest down. Set firmly onto the table top, the bluerider pushes herself to her feet. "Of course," she says to Th'ero's request.

Nyalle swallows and nods swiftly, glancing briefly at Kimmila and then again to D'ani. "Yes, sir, of course," she says softly. She won't be speaking, no, but she'll likely dig deep into the stores and see that some of the remaining sweets are put out tonight. And some klah, and a few other choice luxuries to help keep morale up.

"Without a doubt," Inri agrees with Nyalle and Kimmila's sentiments both, though she like the bluerider leaves off the 'sir'; it's become habit, at this point, though she stuck to 'sir'ing Th'ero and 'ma'am'ing Dtirae for quite some time after Impression. So long as she doesn't have to talk — because the fact of the matter is she might end up crying — she can be solid support. Her dragon is indeed much more solid, and it's thanks to that that Inri (and many concerned Fort dragons) keep themselves together; that, and Kouzevelth is not allowing gossip to spread before the Weyrleader gets a chance to speak. People are going to think Fort's even more unstable, that their Senior is crazy; they've just got to make up for that image, even if Inri still can't understand what it is came over the Weyrwoman in the first place. "Right behind you." And so she is, reaching out only to brush D'ani's shoulder in support as he needs and allows it, before they've got a whole Weyr to speak to.

Truthfully, Th'ero isn't certain he has the answers Inri may be seeking and he will have to be clever with is words to keep from making any of the residents and Wingriders thinking that very thing: that the Senior went crazy. Even if it has a small ring of truth to it. It was stress that did Dtirae in and Th'ero is only just beginning to nurse the guilt that he had seen the signs but feels as though he did not do enough to stop it or did not raise enough alarm among those who could have helped to step in. Nodding as all voice their agreement, Th'ero pushes to his feet and gathers the Senior Weyrwoman's knot to tuck it back into that pocket. He'll keep that for now, before it's stored where it needs to be stored until the day that the new Senior is determined by which gold's hide glows first and brightest. "Thank you. Let's get this done now… Sooner done, the better." he murmurs in a low tone, slipping his jacket on and automatically reaching for Kimmila but keeping it to a subtle grasp of her hand. Waiting for the others to be ready, he will then lead the way, leaving it to Kouzevelth, Kayeth and Iaverulth to pass along the necessary word to have as much of the Weyr gather in the location they choose (no doubt the living caverns) so they can begin.