Fort Weyr - Center Bowl

It’s a blustery morning and to those waking up just now in the Weyr are greeted by biting cold and strong winds that occasionally make a light flurry of snow seem like a weakened blizzard. Because the temperature was mild before, now with it dropping again the resulting ice and mud has caused the ground to be treacherous in its own right and while the drudges and workers struggle to keep things sanded and clear, some pathways still have patches here and there where an errant foot will send one falling.

Despite the weather, Th’ero had gone out with Velokraeth on his usual morning patrols even though the wind made for tricky flying. The pale bronze is currently at the feeding grounds, likely dragging back a few kills to snack upon on his ledge, with a few extra brought for Varmiroth and Kayeth both if either dragon are hungry. Meanwhile, the Weyrleader is hurrying as fast as he can on his own errands. One that takes him first to the living caverns and then back to his weyr and out again. He’s no doubt left some fresh klah brewing and fresh food (what little is to be had) for Kimmila while the bluerider sleeps before slipping out again. There is a gift he must deliver… and he intends to do it before a certain goldrider reports for duty!

Into the offices Th’ero sneaks, intending to leave the wrapped autumn themed tea cup on Nyalle’s desk, along with some tea (fruit ones). His goal is to sneak in and out again, having left a little note as to who the gift was from. Will his luck play out?

Noooope. Why would it? Luck hasn’t been with Th’ero much in his life, and this is no different. “Weyrleader?” Nyalle asks as she stands in the door, shrugging out of her cloak and hanging it on the peg beside the door. Her tone is soft but steely, wondering perhaps just what he is doing around her desk. “Can I help you with something?” Suspicion is strong in her tone as she takes one step forward and then stops, jade green eyes watching him.

Of course this time would be no different, when Th’ero is really wanting to rely on it. He wants to skip confronting Nyalle but… no luck for him! He hears her call him by his rank and his hands twitch, almost knocking the small tin of loose leaf tea over before he catches it and sets it properly beside the wrapped box. Taking the note from off the top (won’t be needing that now!), he stuffs it into his pocket before turning to face Nyalle. Noting the steely edge to her voice, he treads carefully as he steps away from her desk and dips his head in a low and respectful nod. “Morning, Weyrwoman. No, I was…” Just leaving? “… leaving this here for you.” And he gestures with his hand where he has left the gift. Awkward? You bet it is. “I apologize for entering your office while you weren’t here but I figured it would be easiest. In case our paths did not cross today.”

Nyalle frowns as she approaches, moving around the desk on the opposite side to where Th’ero stands. “What is it?” she asks with a small frown, darting a glance up at him and then back to the wrapped gift and the tea. Her brows lift. And she makes a mental note to find the key for the lock on her door - and to start using it. “Ah.” She does not think that is a good reason, clearly, for him to be in her office snooping around her desk.

Th’ero wasn’t snooping! Nyalle will discover that soon enough. Everything on her desk is untouched and it its proper place. He had only come in and immediately set the gift upon the nearest cleared spot. “It wouldn’t be much of a gift if I told you?” he drawls, trying for a bit of humor even though it falls rather flat and he grimaces. He’s just not good at these things! Sighing softly, he edges a little further away from the desk and his hands rest clasped in front of him. His posture is straight and stiff and his manner proper. “Would you like to open it now?” he asks, slow and uncertain. “Or would you like me to leave?”

Nyalle is a little suspicious still, and also a little, well…weirded out. “Why did you get me a present?” she asks. “Are you…considering my offer?” Is this his way of opening that conversation of being his mate? She wants to know the answer to that before she even touches the present, though she does glance at it again, and then lift her eyes to him.

She won’t be the only one weirded out in a moment. Th’ero’s brows lift and he shifts uncomfortably where he stands. “No, I’m not considering your offer, Nyalle and you know why.” he states rather firmly but his eyes hold no anger towards her. The Weyrleader figures by now that she knows better or at least has a better understanding after what happened that night. Clearing his throat, he will awkwardly attempt to continue on. “The gift is more of a… gesture of kindness. One asking to, ah… overlook our rather rough start as Leaders.” In other words: it’s a neutral gift between them.

Exhaling, Nyalle looks relieved. Is she finally starting to think for herself? It seems that way. “That is very, nice of you, si - Th’ero,” she says, settling slowly into her chair and opening the wrapping of the gift. Blinking in surprise when the autumn themed tea cup and saucer are revealed, she looks up at him swiftly. “It’s…lovely.” She’s surprised, no doubt about it, but trying to hide it. “And tea, as well. Very thoughtful, thank you…” Lifting the tea cup, she turns it slightly to admire it. “Where did you find it? I’m not sure what the name of this set is…”

Th’ero relaxes as well and the tension from his posture eases as she does not question him further. A vague smile curves his lips but otherwise he watches her in respectful silence when she settles into her chair and unwraps the gift he left for her. “You’re welcome,” he murmurs and sincerely at that. Details? She wants details? The Weyrleader can only blink as he looks from her to the tea cup she holds and it’s clear then that… he doesn’t know. “I got it from a Trader in Southern Boll Hold. I never thought to ask if the cup was a local design. Perhaps there is a stamp on the underside?” he suggests.

Nyalle turns the cup upside down and she shakes her head slightly. “There’s an S, but…it’s hardly distinctive enough to be a true marking that I could track down. Hmm.” She frowns a bit as she looks at the cup, but seems to catch herself a moment later and look up to smile. “Thank you,” she says again. “I appreciate the gesture.” Another awkward moment descends, swiftly.

Very awkward and swift, indeed! Th’ero frowns and silently kicks himself for not having thought of keeping track of where the set was made or by whom. Too late now though and the Weyrleader can only look a touch sheepish as he inclines his head respectfully. “I could give you the name of the Trader caravaan who had it? I am certain they would be more than willing to give you the details.” he offers as a suggestion, a small one to make up for his lack of forethought. At her thanks, he only smiles faintly. “You’re welcome.” Can they move on now and forget? The Weyrleader seems willing to forgive and forget.

Nyalle smiles, nodding her head. “That would be wonderful. I like things to match, and I do like this pattern so the whole set would be nice to have.” Kayeth disagrees, though the queen is not yet intruding on her rider’s thoughts - too busy enjoying the breakfast delivered by her pale bronze mate. Lifting the tea, Nyalle opens the top and takes a small sniff, and her eyes brighten considerably at the scent. “This is familiar to me,” she murmurs. “This is…very close to the tea my mother drinks.” Good choice.

Th’ero is a touch confused but masks it well. He recalls Velokraeth saying to purposely buy only one tea cup so that Nyalle could make a set of various pieces. Was the pale bronze mistaken? The Weyrleader shakes it off though and taking a few small steps forwards he then lifts a hand up as he asks, “Do you have something I can write upon? I’ll give you the name. May as well now, before my memory fails me.” he drawls and there is a slight hint of amusement there in his voice. His brows lift in surprise though for her delight about the tea. That had been a pure guess! “Really? I recalled how you enjoy fruit and so I thought it’d be best to stay to similar teas…” he murmurs but deep down he is pleased he got one thing right at least.

No, Velokraeth wasn’t wrong. It’s just a difference in asking Nyalle vs Kayeth. Pulling a small slip of paper from a drawer, she offers it to the Weyrleader, followed closely by a stylus. “Thank you. Do you have memory issues?” she asks, briefly - slightly - concerned. “I do like the fruittier teas, it’s very astute of you to think that way.” Yes, he got that right, though her expression is a mixture of pleased and nostalgic and sad as she caps the tea and sets it aside.

Th’ero nods his head in silent thank you again as he neatly (not at all like the scribbled notes Kimmila glimpsed one night) scrawls out the name of the caravan and their routes, along with their next predicted stop. Setting the writing tool down, he then offers the slip of paper to her. “When it comes to important affairs? No, my memory is infallible.” he reassures her with another ghost of a smile. Does Nyalle ever joke around?

Nyalle nods, taking the ppaer and tucking it away into a pocket of her dress. “Thank you for that,” she says, glancing at him again. She does, but not with him. “Ah. Excellent. Thank you again,” she says, watching him expectantly. Waiting for him to leave perhaps.

Th’ero considers taking his leave then, but just as he begins to turn his mind seems to change in that regard. Now that the awkwardness of the gift has been dealt with, he’ll move on to other awkwardness! The familiar one of conversation. Yet the Weyrleader does not forget his manners and with proper formality, he goes on to ask: “If you are not busy at the moment, would you mind if I stayed a little longer to speak with you?”
Nyalle has already set aside the cup and saucer and the tea, glancing up at Th’ero with lifted brows. “Not at all, though my Juniors will be arriving shortly. We have breakfast together every morning.” The implication being that the Weyrleader’s meeting does not trump her goldrider’s metting.

“I won’t take much of your time, Nyalle.” Th’ero murmurs and to make his point he does not take a seat and only moves to stand at a respectable distance by her desk. His hands have clasped together in front of him and his features have settled into a reserved but warm expression. Not quite smiling but not outrightly frowning or grimacing either. “How have you been? I received the report of your visit to Breakwater Hold with Inri and that the offer of the runner colt, Wandering Stranger, was accepted. Do you believe that we have a chance now, to rebuild the trust we lost? A truce, at least?”

Nyalle feels rather awkward sitting while he stands, so she rises and moves around the office, tidying things with swift, repetitive movements. Fidgeting, almost. “I have been well, thank you. And yes, it was a productive visit. They were agreeable to it, and seemed willing to give us a chance at least. Weyrsecond D’ani will be overseeing the transport of the colt, when he is weaned.” And she’s already volun-told him that. “They are giving us a chance. It is a start, but we can not afford another mistake. Anywhere.”

Th’ero frowns when she stands, confused but not about to correct her. This is Nyalle’s office and the Weyrwoman is free to do as she wishes within it. The Weyrleader is her guest in this instance. “Good, I am glad to hear that you are doing well.” he murmurs before listening with polite attentiveness. Now he does smile, even if she won’t around him. One of them will have to make the effort! “Perfect. I could not have asked for a more positive response. Having Weyrsecond D’ani overlooking the transport was a wise decision. We will not make a mistake, not again.” They will all make sure of that! “Thank you, Nyalle, for going with Inri to handle Breakwater Hold. Perhaps this will be the start we need in order to move on and rebuild in the new Turn.” All because of her, is what he is trying to imply. Clever flattering? Or is he being genuinely sincere for all the positive outcome of her work so far? “I won’t trouble you any more than I already have this morning, Nyalle.” Th’ero murmurs and begins to shift his weight, preparing at last to leave and give her her peace before the junior goldriders arrive. “Thank you for your time.”

Nyalle pauses, and then she turns to offer him a small, almost shy smile. It’s certainly quiet, proper, understated. But it’s there, along with a faint touch of color to her cheeks. “Thank you for donating your runner colt. It’s no small gift, and I think they recognized that.” She dips her head agian, pushing the dark hair away from her face. “Thank you as well, Weyrleader. Have a nice day. Clear skies.” Though that’s a rarity, in a Fortian winter.

“We can always breed the mare and stallion again. Don’t think we’ll ever see that color from them a second time, but that does not matter. I’d rather the colt go to Breakwater Hold if it means peace for us.” Th’ero murmurs. What good would a runner be while his Weyr starves? “You as well, Nyalle. Clear skies and may your day go well. Mind the pathways outside. I’ve had Talica’s word that the drudges and workers are on rotation to sand and clear the ice and snow but one can never be too careful.” And it’d just be their luck that someone goes for a tumble! Stepping towards the door, he opens it and then pauses to glance at her from over his shoulder. “Oh, Nyalle?” Th’ero begins and then hesitates, uncertainty clouding his eyes for a moment before he blinks it clear and focuses on her. “I’ve received a transfer request for Mr’az and bronze Zhirazoth of High Reaches. I… thought you should know.” He doesn’t know she already is aware! “And that I am considering it but it may be well into the later spring months before it is approved.” And with that, he slips out and briskly strides past the council chambers and to the administration complex beyond. He’s going home, to see if his weyrmate is still within and to perhaps unwind enough to sneak a quick breakfast.

Nyalle pauses when he tells her that he has received Mr’az’s transfer request. So sudden, so soon. And she nods, her heart rate jumping as she takes a slow breath to steady herself. “Thank you,” is all she’s able to say before he’s gone. Sitting down in her desk chair again, she glances around her office and exhales softly. Mr’az and Zhirazoth, here. She’s pleased, but also concerned. Will High Reaches let him go so easily?