Who Th'ero, Jeltje
What Sweeping the outskirts, Th'ero comes across Jeltje all on her lonesome and isn't met as warmly as one would think…
When Winter-Spring, Turn 2711
Where Pebble Beach, Fort Weyr


Fort Weyr - Pebble Beach
On a lonely strip of land jutting out into the ocean, a veritable forest of broken boulders sits, the sides of the massive rocks riddled with cracks and worn down into strange, warped shapes by the tide and the wind. Lichen has painted bright patches on the upper portions of the stone, while below is slicked here and there with layers of a thin, greenish slime. The ground all around is covered by sea-smoothed pebbles, dark and damp from the spray of the waves that beat a steady rhythm against the shore. Some type of rotting seaweed has washed up, long tendrils of the stuff splayed out like limp fingers, the stench from them not quite overpowering the already strong smell of the ocean. Occasional cries of avians and firelizards drift from further along the shore, the water beyond blue-grey and deep.

Sometimes, the company of a tight-knit community can be wearing. And wearying. It's not so late into the morning that Jeltje has ventured from the camp her temporary family has made not too far from Fort Hold and gone in search of something closer to peace and quiet than well-meaning affection and pestering children trying to include her in their games. Her journey has brought her close to the water, where she's settled herself down onto a boulder long flattened into a smooth, almost level surface, her legs folded and focus distant. She could look better, her features pale and eyes shadowed, yet she also seems too put together to be truly suffering, her posture rigid and hands folded precisely in her lap.

It's not common for riders to sweep this far into the more remote areas; relying more on mounted Guardsmen to navigate the forests, but on occasion they do. So it'll remain to be seen if its Jeltje's lucky or unlucky day that one pair has gone to sweep the fringes, as it were. Having left Velokraeth behind some distance away, Th'ero finishes the last of the circuit on foot. No fun if he scares potential prey away by being sighted from above. Turns have past since they've last had any real issue with renegades or unsavoury types; some still lurk about, it's inevitable given Fort's location. He doesn't expect to find trouble out here, but spotting Jeltje, on her own, in the middle of nowhere, brings forth enough suspicion and curiosity to draw the Weyrleader's focus. "Unusual to find anyone out here, given the season. Are you lost, girl?" His voice is low spoken, the accent to it not too thick with him calm but noticeable and faintly not-Fortian. Dressed in mostly black cloth and leathers, with neutral tones of grey and brown between, he casts a rather dour, grim sort of image. He's in full riding gear, save for his helmet and visibly armed to the teeth with a double set of daggers and what appears to be a very uncommon short sword. Not… exactly the warmest person to be greeted by, really.

Jeltje slowly tips her gaze up when she hears another voice, calm as anything, yet when she catches sight of just how well armed Th'ero is, it combines with that last word that he utters and she takes against to become a threat. She's on her feet in a matter of moments, darting back to buy time and put enough distance there that she can draw a rather savage-looking knife and hold it out before her in a defensive stance. Not that she could possibly do anything like proper damage when faced with what could meet her. "I'm no girl; that word's for children," she answers, low-voiced. "Don't come any closer." She stands her ground, if nothing else, whether she has any idea how to use the blade or not. "You go that way and I'll stay here and no-one needs to…" To what? Whatever she means, she gestures with the knife towards the tree-line.

Well this escalated quickly! Th'ero expected a form of reaction; he did not expect to have a knife drawn on him and instantly his posture changes to a defensive one. It's almost instinctual, the way he moves, until he realizes that she is a girl (sorry, Jeltje, you'll have to convince him otherwise) and, armed or not, he's not really wanting things to progress further. So it's after a tense moment and likely after she's delivered her terms that he relaxes, easing back as he straightens and takes his hand away where it'd gone to grip the larger dagger's hilt. At least it wasn't the sword? "Easy, now." he speaks, using a tone not unlike trying to calm a spooked animal. Charming? Both hands come up, gloved but palm outwards. "Easy. I won't come closer but you'd be best to put the knife away, woman." Better? The threat hanging there too is simply disregarded by a slow shake of his head. "Don't do anything rash. It won't end well for you." Can Jeltje read Weyr-based knots? He's wearing his, though it's liable to blend in with his dark clothing. Fort's colors of black and brown are as inspiring as… well… not much.

"And you'd best not be giving me orders." No, plainly she either cannot read those knots or Jeltje has yet to notice Th'ero's, what with her attention having strayed far more often to the more prominent threats. She backs off another step, yet she does not put the knife away, still held up before her as if it's her best and worst chance - a lifeline. "What do you want?" she demands, looking him up and down again as if she could anticipate it better, because he must want something, either because he's a man or because he's found her here. "I don't have anything worth your while and I don't-" Dark eyes pause at his shoulder, lift to his face and dart back again. Eyes narrow. "You're from the Weyr," she surmises, flatly, not that that seems to allow her to relax in the slightest.

Th'ero would have laughed at that 'not giving me orders' bit if he was a man who laughed; sadly, he's rather dour on a good day and right now? Not thrilled to still have a knife pointed at him and a young woman acting more and more suspicious by the second. Still? There's a dry sort of amused huff until his mood sobers again. "Nothing. Was just wondering what you were doing about here, all alone. Forests about these parts aren't exactly kind and you don't seem to be of the Traders. Unless I'm wrong?" Which isn't entirely impossible. She could use it as an escape too, if needed, as he'd have to take her word right then and there. He'll let her clue in on her own that he's from the Weyr, nodding his head to show that she's correct without being an ass about it. Slowly, he'll lower his hands and, in what he hopes is a sign of meaning no ill harm, he half-bows; stiffly and with his eyes never leaving Jeltje for a second, but it's a bow. "Weyrleader Th'ero, rider of bronze Velokraeth." Who is, thankfully, still not present. If the girl is this spooked? The pale bronze won't help matters.

"And you coming out of nowhere, looking all like that is?" Jeltje must mean to question the kindness of it, yet she forgets the word that would make her meaning less implicit. "The family caravan is just-" But then she has more information to process. To her credit, she doesn't blush. She doesn't even look vaguely mortified, but the fear that she's channelling into anger at least eases a little to subdue the predatory edge to her gaze. "So, you're not here to…" Act on whatever she's conjured up his intentions to be. Slowly, she lowers the blade, though she's not yet secure enough in his presence to put it away or relinquish it entirely. "The family's up closer to the Hold," she states. Never 'her' family. "Weyrleader." She'll give him his rank, if warily, and if not in any particularly reverent or submissive fashion.

"Sweepriding and patrols are what brought me here, by chance. That I can assure you," Th'ero informs her without hesitation when she doesn't finish that sentence and silences any of those conjured intentions. He'd caught on to her use of 'caravan' long before she goes on to explain the rest and its current location. There will be some relief that shows through when she lowers the knife; he doesn't seem to care if she puts it away and he's not looking to take it away either. If she'd continued to act aggressively? That'd be another matter entirely. Now his attention shifts from suspicious to mildly curious, "Still a ways to be, if the caravan is back at the Hold. My earlier comment was geared more towards your safety, but…" There's a smirk as he glances pointed to her knife. "… It looks like you'd be capable of defending yourself. Can I ask your name, then?" Don't try to trick him either. Th'ero might just be enough of an asshole to actually check on any facts she gives; facts or lies.

"Being with that many people, day in, day out, sometimes a person needs some peace." There's certainly no evidence that it's an excuse or that Jeltje has only ventured this far to sell anything, unless her rather flat-looking jacket is secretly bearing all manner of goods in its pockets. "And distance." She lets the knife slip until she's holding the end of the handle by her fingertips, letting it dangle precariously and only apt to do her feet any damage, were she to immediately find herself in need of it now. "No offense intended," she drawls, "but you might want to try looking a little safer yourself before you go approaching people about theirs. You look like someone out to terrify." And she'd wielded that blade for long enough that she doesn't need to detail her response in words. "Jeltje," she finally supplies, drawing herself up the tiniest bit taller, "of Kadross. If not currently."

Th'ero cannot find fault for her wanting to escape from people. That much is said with the way his expression shifts and he gives a subtle nod again to her comment. Sympathy may be buried in there somewhere too and a sense of understanding. Clearly nothing else about her person, save for the knife, sets off any alarm in him. Her suggestion is met with a true smirk this time and what may pass as a bemused look for him. "That's the point. Sad to say that the approachable look walking these forests can get a man — or woman — killed. Best keep that in mind, Jeltje of Kadross, when next you wander far. Visit the Weyr, someday, perhaps? Then you may see differently." No promises there. Th'ero has a deep rooted reputation in Fort for being not-approachable, even when he's wearing less intimidating gear and unarmed. It's just something the Weyrleader has come to accept in his near two decades at the top of rank. "I'll leave you to your business. I need to return to my duties. Fair travels." He'll walk away then, not quite turning his back to her until he's a few strides away and only then; soon enough he's gone, disappearing on foot not far from where he arrived. He's kind, at least, in not summoning Velokraeth here.

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