Fort Weyr - Fort's Forests ~~ Western Forests
The forests here grow all the more pressing, soon choking out the gravel- and sand-formed path that splits from the fork. While it continues to wind further into the darkness and coolness that only such thickly grown foliage can create, other smells hint at places yet to be fully explored. Blueberries and the calls of birds, lush blackberry thickets just out of sight, and deep undergrowth that holds promise of mysterious fungi and other such plants.

Traveling through the woods alone is always a dangerous affair … and all the moreso with whisperings of renegades and feral beasts running rampant throughout. The whoop and call of avians and firelizards penetrate the strange not-quite-silence of the forest, while deeper rumblings of creatures yet unseen might be heard in other places. Great beasts crash through the forest from time to time and set the avians into unexpected flight.


Winter brings snow to the forest, and much of the game has settled down for the season. It's not a prime time to be on the hunt, yet, the huntress is settled in the forest, in the cold. While Zuvaleyuth glows in the Weyr proper, looking pretty and drawing attention, her rider has chosen to be away from it all. There's no fear of her lifemate rising, the predictable creature that she is. Dtirae is settled in a tree, but the branch hangs low. She can be easily seen on her perch, grey eyes staring off into the distance. There's no fear, fear of who or what could be wandering in the forest. She is alert, but, still distant.

While most of the game has indeed gone to ground for the winter, what remains is, generally speaking, nice and fat and good eating. Br'enn isn't after anything huge - just something small and nicely-fleshed that he can dress and spit over the hearth back at the Weyr. Tovihasuth is likely one of those bronzes whose attention is being nicely diverted by Zuvaleyuth right now; he isn't with Br'enn, though he did drop him off at the edge of the forest and should be easy enough to call back when the bronzerider is done with his hunt. Bow in hand, Br'enn stalks through the snow, eyes sharp for either tracks or movement. He sees tracks first - boot prints, though it shouldn't be so surprising to see signs of another person out and about. Having nothing else to really focus on for now, however, he keeps sight of those tracks until he spies them heading for a tree and looks up. The sight that greets him draws a smirk. "'m I ever gonna find ya on the ground out here sometime, weyrwoman?" he greets, propping his bow in the snow as he peers up at Dtirae.

The fact that another approaches is heralded by the sounds in the snow. Grey eyes don't shift from where they're focusing until Br'enn speaks. Her gaze is drawn down to the bronzerider, her head tilting slightly. A slight smile and she gives a shake of her head. "Probably not. Being on the ground so often is tiring." A slight smile plays on her lips for a moment, fleeting before she's tilting her gaze away. "Hunting anything in particular, wingrider?"

"Not really," Br'enn replies, drawing nearer the tree and propping himself up against it, beneath Dtirae, but to the side enough that he can look up at her whenever he sees fit to. "Just whatever comes my way 'n' looks worth snaggin'. Haven't seen much sign so far, though." After glancing about for a bit, blue eyes shift upward again. "You out here to get away?" he ventures, his tone knowing. Honestly, he wouldn't blame her.

Dtirae does glance down at him as he moves to settle beneath her. She's careful not to knock anything down at him when she shifts. Certainly not nice to dump snow on the unsuspecting man. "It's been quiet. Don't think you'll find much today." She leans back against the tree, eyes closing as she draws a slow breath. "I suppose you could call it that… Getting away." A soft snort of laughter and the woman shifts just a bit more, drawing a knee in close while the other shifts to compensate for the lack of the other.

A little loose snow never killed anyone! Especially Br'enn, who's probably more used to it than most. If he had a mark for every time he's walked under a tree in the winter and been surprised…well. He wouldn't be that rich. But he could probably buy rounds for a seven. At Dtirae's observation - which he was just about to ask her for - he grunts a bit, then sighs resignedly. "Well, 's a nice day to be out anyhow," he notes. Curiously, he glances up again, a bit sidelong. "'s she harder to deal with up here," and he taps his temple, "when she's glowin'?" He'd never really asked any of the other goldriders about it, even Inri. He just happened to be around the day Kouzevelth flew and hadn't encountered her before at all.

"Yes, it is a nice day." Dtirae agrees in an idle tone before she glances down at him. His question draws a slight frown before she shakes her head. "She's easier to deal with. Doesn't ramble unnecessarily, doesn't get demanding, is a little more carefree. It's how I know she's proddy, when I can't tell with her glowing." Lashes lower and she draws her knee in a bit closer. "It's nice, but, it's not. I get my own feelings in a mix, too. Usually better at handling them." By ignoring they're even there. But, that's changed. "Every rider is different, though. Seen some rather… Rambunctious proddy riders."

Br'enn blinks a bit at Dtirae's reply, clearly not expecting the opposite or what he'd expected the answer to be. The fact that she gets her own feelings 'in a mix', as she puts it, draws a slight from from him as well. "Well, y'clearly aren't one of them," he observes a bit wryly. "Are y'doin' alright, though?" That asked with a bit of concern, considering what's she's just voiced.

"Nah. Seen some greenriders flirt right and left. Can't say much in the way of other goldriders, though. Heard rumors about some — in other Weyrs." Dtirae muses before giving him a curious frown. "No. I'm not." Simple, and rather to the point. "Just… Lost. Doesn't matter. Made up my mind, I guess."

Well. That doesn't reassure Br'enn any. Though in asking the question, he had to have been prepared for both the negative and positive possibilities she might have answered with, right. Propping his bow to rest on its own against the tree, he folds his arms and leans his left shoulder up against the trunk, fixing his gaze on the goldrider with a slight furrow to his brow. "Made up yer mind about what, Dtirae?" he asks, quickly tacking on, "If y'don't mind my askin'."

Dtirae angles another look down at Br'enn, frowning just a touch more. Her leg is released as she swings to have both legs dangle from the side of the branch. "About my incapabilities and shortcomings. Best to accept them as they are, and forge forward." A wry smile plays on her lips. "But, not something you're really interested in, I imagine."

"'s the best any of us can do, eh?" Br'enn counters, one should shifting in a half-shrug. "Acknowledge what we aren't the best at 'n' just work on gettin' better. Focus on what we are good at so we don't dwell too much on the bad." Abruptly, he hops up to catch another low-slung branch more or less across from Dtirae's and swings up onto it to sit, hanging on until it stops bouncing under his weight and hanging both legs off the side of his as well, facing her. "'m interested if talkin' about it helps at all," he says, flinching a bit as he upsets some snow from a higher branch right down on top of his head. Unfazed beyond that, he quickly brushes the cold powder off his hair and shakes it, giving the goldrider a slightly sheepish look before going back to simply listening.

"I suppose." Dtirae mutters in agreement. As he hops up onto the branch, there's a startled look from the woman as if she wasn't expecting him to join her. It shifts into skepticism for a moment before grey eyes dart upwards, and follow the snow as it comes to land on him. She snorts in a soft bit of laughter before a hand lifts to idly brush at her hair, despite the fact that it isn't entirely a mess. "Someone told me that I'm incapable of loving anyone but myself… And, determined that's probably true. Even if I've got people telling me that it's not true." Grey eyes avoid looking to him, now. "Never mind. I should just go…"

"Dtirae…" Br'enn starts, reaching up to rub his neck a bit before looking back to the woman on the branch across from him. "I reckon we're guilty of lovin' just ourselves from time to time. Doesn't make us terrible. Just makes us people. We're hunters; we're used to bein' alone, which means lookin' out just for ourselves, eh? We can be selfish. Long as we know it, 'n' strive to work on it…I think that counts for somethin'." He doesn't look satisfied with his words, meaning things to sound better than they do…but blue eyes land on her earnestly, waiting to see if she'll acknowledge what he's said.

Dtirae freezes as he speaks, the sound of her name drawing her gaze towards him. She listens, intently, to his words. Lips press together, then grey eyes drop down. She doesn't look poised to jump from the branch, any longer, however. "I… Hadn't considered that." A soft sigh escapes as her shoulders hunch slightly. "I usually don't tell others how I'm feeling. Usually keeping them to myself. My thoughts. Things I see… That linger. Only recently started telling someone. But before then? Found it easier to just… Keep it to myself. Try to ignore it, work around it. Sure, I got distant… But, I didn't risk bothering others. Didn't feel hurt…" A soft laugh, though it is strangled and full of emotion. "Still got hurt in the end, because of trying to keep it in. Getting called fragile all the time. Called weak. Being told I'm incapable of caring for others…" A hand lifts, palm pressing into her forehead. "Feeling like I'm broken because I don't fit his standards. Then trying not to care. Trying to take the advice of others but still falling into my head and getting confused all over again."

Br'enn listens intently as Dtirae makes her halting explanation, nodding slowly. "I know what y'mean," he says quietly. "Well, most of it. Who's 'he'? Th'ero?" That's his guess at least. "Y'ask me, advice is only worth listenin' to if the person givin' it isn't tryin' to get you to be like they are, 'less you wanna be like they are. Y're only meant to be you. Just 'cause y'don't fit someone's ideal of how y'oughta be doesn't make ya broken. Y'can't please everyone." Tilting his head at her a bit, he asks, "Do you think y're not capable of lovin' someone else?"

"Th'ero? No. Th'ero's… Supportive. I trust him." Dtirae won't answer who he is, though. Because she pointedly does not clear that up. "I…" She sighs and pushes her fingers up into her hair, "I'm sure he meant well… I just can't bring myself to open up to everyone. Share everything with people." As for his final question, the woman lingers in silence for a long moment. "I'm probably not capable of it."

Th'ero being supportive is certainly a relief. Br'enn doesn't push the 'who' of it any further, though Dtirae's last does furrow his brow further.
"Are y'sure?" he asks, his tone gentling. "'s not my business, obviously…but seems t'me that if it's somethin' y're just not tried at, it doesn't mean y're incapable. Just means y'haven't fund your way of lovin' others yet." He seems a little puzzled with his own words for a moment, though shakes his head clear of the confusion after a moment, confident he can explain if need be.

"Almost positive." Dtirae answers, giving him a curious look as she listens. There's a frown, once again before she shakes her head. "Had someone I was with back before we got Searched. Impressed, he did, too. Told me I changed, Impressing gold… Became more… Responsible. He ended up weyrmating with a friend of ours… And I weyrmated with a boy I Impressed with. He wanted to change me." A shrug, "kicked him out, one day…" She shifts, crossing her legs at her ankles while her hands shift to provide more support on the branch. "Turns later… Got with him. Fell for him, I guess. He was different with the others, at least with my feelings. But, it isn't love. It ain't for me. Ain't the weyrmating sort. Ain't the sort that people love or loves people. I'll come to be fine with that."

"Well, stands to reason Impressin' gold'd make you more responsible," Br'enn notes somewhat wryly. "One'd hope, anyhow. Weyrmatin'…wasn't expectin' it'd ever be somethin' I'd do, myself. Sure am likin' it, but…I know it isn't for everyone." He rubs at his neck again, then scratches at his cheek, the scuffing sound it makes rather more pronounced than usual because of his glove. "Mayhap that sorta love isn't for you. But…carin' about what goes on with people in the Weyr, dealin' with the people important to ya…that's a sort of love, too, eh?" He shrugs. "Mayhap that's the sort y'gotta focus on. Plus," and he thumbs back in the direction of the Weyr with a smirk, "y'got Zuvaleyuth. The most important sort."

"One would hope." Dtirae agrees with a smile. As for weyrmating, she shrugs. "I… Admit that I wanted it. But." She has relented that she is hopeless in that area. "Don't think that's a sort of love, Br'enn… More like duty to the Weyr." She kicks her legs out a bit, swinging them and then using the momentum to head towards the ground. "Zuvaleyuth is me. 'course I love her. Everyone talks about how they get more… Or, how I'll have somethin' more, eventually. But," her gaze lifts to meet his, "we've determined that it's not possible." Her hands shift to settle into the pockets of her jacket, her gaze drifting elsewhere, taking in the forest around them.

Br'enn drops back down directly after Dtirae, reflexively swooping up his bow and slinging it over his shoulder and across his chest. He utters a bit of a 'hmm' at her correction of him, debating whether or not to argue the finer points of that and deciding to just let it be for now. "Makes life more interestin' to never say never," the bronzerider ventures, one corner of his mouth quirking upward. His shrug belies his willingness to just let the matter drop now, however. Given how she says Zuvaleyuth's proddiness affects her, this may not be the best time to keep on about it. "Walk ya somewhere?" he offers. "Or y'feel like helpin' me track somethin' down?" Haven't they done this before? Well, hunting is a bit of common ground they share.

"That's like saying no, but hoping someone comes to prove you wrong. You're still holding to the hope of it." Dtirae returns, grinning now. It's best that he doesn't press on it. Maybe later. The offers are met with a hum of consideration. "I'll help you track. Don't feel up to returning to the Weyr, yet." And as long as her fingers and toes haven't gone blue, they'll be fine. Once again, the two venture into the woods for the hunt, much like their first meeting.