Stand Off of the Weyrleaders: Round One

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


Dawn arrives but the usually stunning arrival of the sun as it glints over ice and snow is hidden by thick and snow-heavy clouds. The temperature stays mild however and staves off the snow for now, leaving it to fall at a later time which may work against the Weyr on this day for the Weyr is slow to wake and settle into the usual routines and pace. Kayeth's flight occurred the night before and some are still recovering from the gold's broadcast, as well as a bit of over indulgence. There is balance again and a Weyrwoman in office once more. A new one, but their Weyrleader at least has remained constant. Despite the continued shortages and carefully rationed food, Th'ero has managed to acquire a decent spread for breakfast and picks it up fresh from the kitchens on his return from his pre-dawn patrols. Ones that he was left to do on the Weyr's parameter again as Velokraeth was otherwise preoccupied. Now in his office, he has hung his jacket on the peg by the door and has a fire set int he hearth, the food and drinks (klah, tea and water) on a small serving table and the rest of his office set to order. Now he waits, busying himself with organizing a few papers and letting his mind wander to thoughts of his weyrmate who is no doubt still sleeping.

Kimmila loves sleeping in, even though she never sleeps all that well after Th'ero has left her side. Seeing Mr'az settled comfortably into her weyr with some food - fresh, but nothing special - she takes some private time to bathe and dress before no doubt getting some encouragement from him before she makes her way to the offices. "Weyrleader Th'ero," she greets with a small smile, looking around the space. "I'm honored and humbled to be here."

On this morning, Th'ero would have LOVED to have stayed in bed with her until she woke up and spend a few hours waking her up in a very active and fun for both of them way. Now it has to wait until lunch or even dinner! Sigh. Mr'az would have given Nyalle all the encouragement and support she needed before he settles in to wait in her weyr. In the office, the Weyrleader has gone back to stand by the hearth with his hands clasped behind his back. As Nyalle enters, Th'ero will turn to greet her. "Good morning, Weyrwoman Nyalle," he says in a voice that is reserved but warm. No different than how he has spoken to her before and he will gesture to one of the large and high backed chairs. "Please have a seat?" It's by the hearth and closest to the food and the other chair rests across from it. Clearly they will be discussing a few things but not by the desk! "Would you like anything to drink? I've fresh klah or some tea or water."

"Tea, please," Nyalle replies as she moves forward. She's dressed in one of her nicer gowns, no knot pinned to her shoulder. Shrugging out of her cloak, she drapes it over the back of the chair before she settles, smoothing out her skirts as she does so. "Thank you. I trust you slept well?"

Th'ero nods his head and pours her a mug of tea, allowing it to steep for a moment and even though she has draped her cloak over the back of her chair he will take it (so long as she doesn't protest) and hang it for her on a peg. Returning to her drink, he finishes with preparing it and then offering it to her. "Help yourself to the food too, if you are hungry." It's a plate of small sweet rolls, light and flaky and almost pastry like and filled with a soft cheese. There is some bacon too and, of course, fruit. Lots of it. Either he's figured out Nyalle's weakness or they share the same tastes. "I slept well and patrols this morning yielded no reports. I think today will be a quiet day and more so if we get some heavy snowfall." he murmurs conversationally and pours himself a mug of klah before taking his seat across from her. "And yourself? Did you sleep well?"

Nyalle smiles when he hangs her cloak, not protesting it at all. "Thank you," she says, accepting the tea and taking a sip, and then one of the bits of fruit. "I'm glad patrols went well. I did sleep well, thank you." Her first half truth, as she slept on the floor of the infirmary. Oh well. "What needs to be done today?" she asks, turning to look at her - !! - alcove and her desk.

"To be honest, I've not yet looked at the itinerary." Th'ero admits as he takes a slow, lingering sip of his klah and while resting the mug against his thigh he helps himself to a few pieces of fruit too. He smiles that same small but warm smile when she mentions having slept well. He has his suspicions of where she may have gone but he won't pry — yet. "Though I do have your paperwork arranged on the desk." And he nods his head towards a smallish stack set aside by the furthest edge, waiting and ready for Nyalle to gather. "If I were in your place, however, I would briefly see to that but focus more on being… out. Outside, in the caverns, anywhere accessible and proper today. Let the weyrwolk speak to you, let the Wingriders come forwards to. Not that they haven't greeted you before, but you understand the significance?" he asks, speaking in a slow and even tone.

Nyalle sips her tea and nods slightly, glancing to the stacks of papers on the desk before she nods. "I'll see to those," she promises quietly. Then she glances at him. "Out? Oh." Visible. "Certainly, if you think that's what is best. Do you have a knot for me?" she asks after a brief moment of thoughtful hesitation. "I do."

Oh right! Her knot. Th'ero clears his throat slightly, a bit abashed that that wasn't the first thing he approached her with. Pushing to his feet, he continues to speak even as he sets his mug down on his desk and walks around to the back of it where the drawers are. "I do find that it's often a worthwhile tactic. Though most already know you, they'd like to see you now as their Weyrwoman. Plus it's just… good to mingle and associate. It's what I have done for Turns and something recommended to me by Kimmila. Ingenious, really. The weyrfolk particularly seem to like it." Even if he doesn't, to judge from his tone but he's learned to swallow his pride, deal with the awkwardness and just cope. Unlocking the one drawer, he pulls it out and carefully places the Senior Weyrwoman's knot on the desk while he closes the drawer again. Carefully it is gathered up and as he steps towards her again it is offered to her. "Your knot, Weyrwoman." he says to her and looking down at her with an unreadable expression. Congratulations?

Nyalle lifts her brows slightly at the mention of that bluerider. "Kimmila, hmm?" She sits up straighter when the knot is brought to her, and she reaches out to take it slowly. "Thank you, Weyrleader," she murmurs, taking a moment to silently pin it onto her shoulder, feeling the weight of it - both physically and emotionally. Then she lifts her tea once more. "Mingle. It seems like a waste of time when there is work to be done."
Th'ero quirks a brow too, mostly for Nyalle's response. "Yes, Kimmila. She's been a great help to me and the Weyr as a whole, ever since I first took rank eight Turns ago under Neyuni." he murmurs. "Her advice proved worthwhile and from it I've learned a few things and see the results first hand. So — I pass it on to you." So is that how he swayed the Weyr to favour him? Public relations? "I think we can both agree that we can ease on the formal use of rank and title now?" he asks her, when she continues to use 'Weyrleader' rather than his name. He's reclaimed his chair by the hearth and food, sitting across from her with one leg bent over the other and his mug in hand and balanced against his knee. He chuckles, "Maybe it is. But the benefits are worth it. They'll come to trust you and love you for it. An approachable Weyrwoman is generally far more accepted than one that hides herself. They will see you more for just your rank."

Nyalle used Weyrlader because he used Weyrwoman. "If you wish," she says with a small nod. His further words have her frowning in thought. "Hmm. Does a Weyrwoman need to be loved? Trusted I understand, but…so long as I do the job properly, isn't that enough? Why would I want them to see me for more than my rank? I am their Weyrwoman. They should respect me and trust me so long as I do not abuse or misuse that trust."

"I do. Thank you, Nyalle." Th'ero smiles again though there is a faint frown creasing his brows. Sweet Faranth does this woman ever ease up? She reminds him of… himself. Eight Turns ago. Jays, how in the world did people put up with him? Snagging a bit more fruit, he listens intently to her answer and has to thoughtfully consider his answer before speaking again. When he does, he speaks in a slow and lowered voice, his accent a bit more pronounced. "Oh, all valid points you have there and once I thought the same thing. But… trust me, Nyalle. You'll want them to be on your side. Rank or no rank."

Nyalle frowns a bit at him. "You make it sound as if the weyrfolk will rise up /against/ me if I do not win their favor. I am Senior. I am their weyrwoman and even if I were to not be the Senior, I would still be a goldrider and hold that rank. I don't see why I should waste my time being social when the weyr is in crisis. Speaking of which," she says, swiftly shifting topics, "what is the status with the tithes and the holds? Is that information in that paperwork?" Pushing to her feet, she sets the tea aside and picks up the stack to rifle through them. "Also," she adds, glancing around, "I am pleased to see the absence of electric lights in here. This is as it should be." SHUN technology.

Th'ero frowns right back at Nyalle and has to tighten his jaw to keep from saying his next words too quickly, less they come out sounding as flustered and frustrated as he suddenly feels. "That was not my intentions," he tells her and then gives her a long, curious look. "Does the opinions of the… no, your weyrfolk and riders not mean anything to you? Yes, you are Senior and you are a goldrider. But it's even more important for you to be approachable now that we are in crisis! Just so they can come to you with questions or concerns. It's how it's always been here…" At least until Dtirae became reclusive. Is that why he is pushing this so much? Now the topic is switching and Th'ero's eyes follow her as she goes for her paperwork. Sigh. "It should be. I've a copy of the reports as well… It seems that we're not making any progress. But we are not slipping any further either." He pauses for a moment to search for the word. "Stalemate." He snorts. That's one thing they agree on! "I much prefer glows over electric lights. You'll find that Fort finds balance as much as it can. As the oldest Weyr, we naturally have some advancements since the Ancients built them in and to honour them we do not meddle."

Nyalle flips through the papers with a small frown and a slight nod. "Perhaps I should visit the holds first," she muses. The Holds matter more to her than the weyrfolk? "I should ask Inri if she will take me to Blackwater, and to others. And see if I can soothe some of those ruffles. I am new, perhaps…" Maybe a new face? She doesn't know but she must do something.

Th'ero lifts his brows up and then peers at her with a scrutinizing look. Perhaps he's trying to come to that same decision. Technically, her focusing on the Holds right now makes sense. "Breakwater," he corrects her without pause, pushing to his feet now to walk around the back of his desk and begin flipping through his paperwork as well. "That is her home Hold, as well as her brother Se'ras'. I'm sure she'd not mind accompanying you. You are new," he agrees. "And the same logic applies. Make yourself known and approachable and perhaps it will sway some of the Holds to us. Breakwater Hold… may take some time." A lot more than they have right now, but if they can stop the spread of discontent then one Hold turned against them isn't so bad.

Nyalle frowns at her mistake. "Breakwater," she corrects with a nod. "Yes, I'll speak with her about it. Perhaps we could purchase new runners for them…." Though she grimaces at the sheer /cost/ of that possibility. "The wings are your responsibility as Weyrleader, but I have to admit I take some issue to your weyrmate's position. Or lack of one," she adds, pausing to look at the map on his wall. "I want a map in my own office as well."

"Speak to the archivists in the library," Th'ero tells her after turning to examine that same map. "I'm sure there is one they can find for you or request that a copy be made." As for the runners, he frowns. "Ever since that plague, it's been difficult to find good stock or so I am told. Perhaps if we knew the type of beast they were breeding…" He's thinking of the stallion he owns in Keroon, Kimmila's mare. Both sturdy animals and promising. Would that work? Their offspring would no doubt fetch a good purse and even if Breakwater had no use for them they could sell them or trade them. Then Nyalle cuts right to the chase and Th'ero can only stare at her for a moment. Where in Faranth's name did that come from? "Can you explain to me what these issues are?" he asks, his tone a little flat. She's really wasting no time, is she?

Nyalle nods, "Excellent," she murmurs. "It's of good quality." Then she frowns, nodding slightly. "I will see if some sort of deal can be struck." She turns to face him, chin up and shoulders back. No, she wastes no time. She has /things/ to get done. "The issue of your weyrmate holding no rank, no wing, but having so much freedom and discretion and power. It is unsettling to those riders who have worked hard to earn their positions."

Th'ero nods, "I may…" he begins, hesitating for a moment as he considers his answer and the offer. "I may have a runner to offer. A foal, at least." Would that even help? Now they're in a different sort of stand off and as she faces him with her chin up and shoulders back he is instantly tensing. His shoulders straighten and he gathers himself to his full heigh, jaw set and arms coming to fold across his chest. He cuts an intimidating figure when he's like this and perhaps that's his reasoning. She wants to challenge him? Fine. "She has no more power than any other rider," he states right off. "And which riders are these? If they are dissatisfied, they are welcomed to speak to me. They wouldn't be the first." And they won't be the last. "Kimmila has her role here in the Weyr. I'm not sure how the term 'weyrthird' came into play, but to be frank her position is more of 'Weyrleader's Assistant'. I had one before her. Miki, greenrider of Sohnyuoth before she became AWLM. What is it about the work that Kimmila does that is so… threatening, Nyalle?"

Nyalle is intrigued at the offer of a foal, but that's a discussion for another time, clearly, as the conversation takes a turn. When he straightens, so does she, lifting to her full height and raising her chin as well, hands clasped before her. "She has your ear. Everyone knows that. And this little wing of hers…this unofficial volunteer diplomatic cothold wing is /so/ improper, and undermines everything the /correct/ weyr structure works to build. Its secrecy, its unofficial status…Frankly, Th'ero, it's grossly improper to have your assistant also be your weyrmate. It appears as though she has simply slept her way into this position of prestigue."

And so the challenge begins! Th'ero stiffens, visibly bristling at her words and yet making a great effort to not let too much of his temper show. Nyalle is really not off to a good start with him, is she? His eyes narrow and he observes her warily and a touch coldly now. Clearly, the Weyrleader is quite stubbornly decided in this and will not budge. "Yes, she does have my ear," Gasp! He admitted to it? His mouth curves into a cold smile. "But so does any rider of this Weyr. You, D'ani, Inri, the Wingleaders, any Wingrider. The Guards, the Crafters, the residents… need I go on or is that sufficient enough for you, Nyalle? I listen to Kimmila's advice, just as I would listen to yours. Do I agree to it all? No. I am my own man and capable of forming my own decisions." he states before taking a steadying breath. "How is it improper when it is part of the Phoenix Wing? Any Wingrider can join Phoenix if they've the desire to do so. Nothing has been secretive about it, it's simply not a choice many Wingriders make!" He scoffs a bit. Unofficial status? Then he just stares at her sidelong for a moment and his eyes flash briefly in anger. "I can assure you that is not the case. Kimmila has her position because she has the skill and capabilities for it, not because of her relationship to me. And how that is improper is YOUR opinion. I, however, see no wrong in who I take as weyrmate and Kimmila is mine." End of discussion.

Nyalle continues to frown, though it takes on a hint of confusion. "How is it a part of Phoenix wing? She wears no knot, no wing patch, her little wing is pulled from /all/ of the riders in the weyr, not just Phoenix riders." As for the weyrmating business, well. Nyalle has to respect his choice, and live with it.

Th'ero sighs and now he does sound exasperated. "Does it matter, truly, in the end? Her work has always benefitted the Weyr and has kept us on good terms with some of the more secluded cotholds. Which certainly aided us with this whole situation concerning Breakwater! Perhaps I should have her communicate more directly with the Wingleaders, but as it stands she reports to me. It has been so for eight Turns now and I am not going to change it. Not when it's worked for all this time!" And that's final. His expression is closed and he continues to regard her cooly. No, his mind is definitely set. "I'm sorry you cannot agree with me on this, Nyalle but perhaps in time you will see there is little to fear from Kimmila's untraditional position. That some deviation from tradition can help keep a Weyr strong and functioning."

Nyalle shakes her head firmly. "There is far too much deviation from tradition in this weyr," she says, her own voice low and snapped. Irritated, as she gathers up her papers and turns to leave.

Oh ho! Does she think escape will be so easy? Th'ero moves surprisingly swiftly for a man his size and with his arms now at his side he will stride forwards to cut off her path of escape. He will loom close but not directly into her personal space. Yet it's unsettling all the same and he looks down at her with a heavy frown. No, this is not how he wants their first (of many) meetings to end. "It is how Fort always has been, Nyalle and you would be smart to be cautious about unsettling too much of what is already been set in stone here for so long. We honour tradition, but we also seek growth beyond it where we see fit. There is nothing wrong with that. Please," and now his tone gentles a little. "Give the Weyr a chance to grow on you."

Nyalle scrambles back with a gasp of fear when Th'ero blocks her path and looms. All of her haughty superiority is gone in an instant, replaced by a scared young woman who has a fear of intimidating Weyrleaders. "Don't," she gasps, instinct kicking in as she scrambles back to bump against his deak, eyes wide.

Th'ero recoils a little himself when she gasps in fear and looks just outright terrified of him as she scrambles back. Instantly his features twist into a look of shock and regret, never having intended to scare the Weyrwoman. One moment she's challenging him and now she's cringing? This has never happened before and he fidgets awkwardly, unsure of how to mend it. Shells, he's such an ass sometimes. "Nyalle," he says in a gentler tone and he approaches but only by one small step. His hands are held up and no longer does he hold such an intimidating posture. Easy, easy. "I'm not going to hurt you." Why would she ever think that? "I do have a temper and sometimes I do come off overbearing but I would never ever touch you or harm you in any way." Except verbally. It completely skipped his mind that she had had previous bad experiences with the High Reaches Weyrleader and mentally he is kicking himself for forgetting. Stupid fool! "And I am sorry if I frightened you." He's harmless, really!

He doesn't /look/ harmless! Nyalle takes a deep breath, kicking herself for reacting so strongly, straightening and pushing hair away from her face. "Yes, sir" she says quietly, her eyes flicking from him to the door. "I'd like to leave now." Calm. Quiet. Clear.

Th'ero really is harmless and secretly a huge softy (which only Kimmila gets to see). Some glimpse it or assume it, being able to see beyond his rougher and masked exterior. So far though, he's made a very large blunder concerning Nyalle. He sees that now and his regret only grows stronger. Clearly heard but not happy about her response, he steps back and even opens the door for her before stepping further aside. He looks to her, apologetic and perhaps a touch ashamed for his behaviour. "Of course, Nyalle. Thank you for coming to speak with me this morning. We will talk later at dinner?" Provided that the Weyr Leadership is still taking their meals in the cavern at their table.

Nyalle nods as she moves swiftly past him. "Certainly," is all she says before she's gone, steps quickening as soon as she's freed from his office.

Th'ero watches her as she swiftly moves past him from his office and once she is gone, he will exhale gustily and with a low growl of frustration. "Stupid, stupid and damned fool!" he swears under his breath, kicking at the edge of one of the chairs. So much for a good start? What IS with him and new Weyrwoman? Hastily he gathers his paperwork and then storms off as well. He's a weyrmate to wake up and duties to see to, personal and Weyr related. He'll leave the drudges to clear the office of leftover food and drink.


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