Who Jeltje, Lin (NPC), Th'ero
What Lin and Th'ero are at Fort Hold for business. So is Jeltje but her actions bring more attention than she probably hoped and from draconic sources.
When Spring, Turn 2711
Where Courtyard, Fort Hold

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Fort Hold - Courtyard
Nestled in a valley formed by a fault, the courtyard leading into Fort Hold is made from the natural stone of which the Hold is carved from and is accessed from the road by a ramp formed out of blocks and crushed rock that was slagged solidly into place. Special care has been taken to be sure that any stone worn down from the ages and countless amount of traffic is replaced and that the edges fit neatly together, both for the ramp and the courtyard. Given the age of this Hold and it's history, little of the original structures have taken on any great alteration from the original plans.
When it was first built, the courtyard may have been a little more barren, with nothing more than the cool stone and walls to surround it. Now, in current times, there are raised areas filled with dirt that allow various decorative bushes and plants to grow and be meticulously tended to Turn round and wooden benches have been placed by these miniature gardens.
From the courtyard, the great bronze-colored doors formed by melting down the plates of the colony ships can be seen, resting in the centre of the palisade wall where the Hold itself is carved and lead to the Great Hall within. Other structures are also found within the courtyard, including the Watch Wher's den and his keeper's quarters, access to the stables and beastholds and other smaller doorways leading to the inner hold.
Windows are carved into the high cliff walls and notably on the first level they appear at regular intervals and more numerous where the Great Hall resides but as one looks higher, they grow progressively more irregular as the rooms built on those higher elevations are formed from natural and single caves.

For a while now, there's been a trader caravan stationed not so far from the Hold, and though the majority of their work seems to have taken place over the course of afternoons, today there's a small group from the family moving through the courtyard in the early morning. Upon their arrival, they were moving lumber through into the Hold proper, and now, as they begin to leave, their arms are empty and there's an urgency to the party's step. Going back to collect more? Perhaps. Among them, Jeltje is towards the back of the group, trying to argue animatedly with one of her companions, who does his best to ignore her completely. This eventually draws her to a halt, given the choice of losing her temper completely or trying to exert some control over herself, the latter something she attempts to do as they move off without her, her hands curled into fists at her sides.

Trader caravans are an uncommon thing, especially now that the snow has melted and the winter season has officially ended. What could be considered unusual is the amount of Fortian riders present on the Hold grounds; it's really not *that* many, but usually there is only the posted watch dragon and their rider but today the old fire heights have three dragons present. The old, old brown who is the usual resident here, a stern looking green and then the unmistakable pale bronze hide of Velokraeth. At the moment, all three seem absorbed in idly watching the going-ons below or are dozing in the spring sunlight. On the ground, two of the riders are walking along side an important looking person. The Steward, perhaps? But Th'ero is conversing quietly with the man, who can't seem to stop wringing or fidgeting with his hands. Flanking the other side of the Steward is an older woman, looking just as stern as the green belonging to her. There's a sharpness to her too, the riding gear she wears all crisp and clean cut, while her short hair is streaked through with grey. If her business is with that group, it must have concluded or she's no longer necessary, as the activity among Jeltje's party has drawn her attention. Hands folded behind her back, the woman drifts away, approaching the group; or more specifically, Jeltje. "Everything alright?" It wasn't hard to notice the tail end of the argument or to read the tension in the younger woman.

Jeltje begins to speak even before she's turned to see who has asked her that question, the words blurted out as if it doesn't matter whether there's anyone there to hear them or not. "What is the point in selling something for a third less than you could get, just to get rid of it? How does that do your business or reputation any good? People will take advantage. People will think you sell, cheap, shoddy goods." When she manages to see past the haze of her frustration and actually get a half-decent look at the woman before her, anything she picks up on about her only gives her momentary pause, the jumble of furious insistences she has to make too much in command of her to stop them now. "It was worth at least a third more, if only because it's more malleable than other varieties of wood. Keep it, craft something out of it and sell that; don't sell it for cheap!" But those she wants to hear her won't hear her; can't hear her, now.

The woman simply looks down at Jeltje with an impassive look throughout the jumbled explanation, not at all phased by any of the frustration or heat behind it. The issue is not with her, but a situation and so there's no reason for the greenrider to get bent out of shape. There's a quiet sort of fierceness to her too, her pale gaze and the two faded scars lining one cheek and jaw no helping soften her image. "Perhaps it was necessary to clear the inventory now, rather than wait for a more profitable opportunity? It's not the best option but one that is required, at this time. Perhaps it'll affect things but a one-time deal may not. Or has this been happening often, of late?" she says, speaking in a firm but level tone. "You belong to that party, then? The caravan here, is yours?"

Jeltje knots her arms beneath her chest, her jaw set, but to argue further would be to make even more of a fool of herself in the face of what sounds like a perfectly logical argument, and so she's rendered momentarily silent. "…Not mine," she must feel honour bound to clarify, drawing herself up the tiniest bit. "I'm… with… that party," she attempts to explain, meaning to make a distinction without distancing herself entirely. With her anger beginning to ebb and other faculties starting to take over again, she states, "And I don't think they'd appreciate me detailing their transactions any further." She even colours a little for that, caught in the act and now trying to minimise potential damage. Vaguely, she gestures after them. "I should… make sure they don't try to leave me behind." Chastened. Barely.

A single brow quirks but the woman and greenrider makes no further comment about the disagreement between Jeltje and her fellow peers. She's not one to meddle, unless she must. Her knot pegs her as a Wingrider, but the badges, if recognizable, mark her as a Thunderbird policing rider. Basically? A rider-guard. As an explanation comes forth, she'll listen while her gaze never wanders from her; it can be unsettling, being stared at that way. "So you're not a Trader then, but just working alongside them?" she asks by way of clarification. Her mouth twitches to the barest of smirks and there's a stiff nod to follow, "Fair enough. Just a moment though, if you will?" She's going to try to waylay Jeltje from taking off. Something's made her suspicious, perhaps? Or interested her. It's at this moment too that Th'ero concludes whatever business he had with that Steward and, seeing his rider in curious company, comes to join them. "Everything alright here, Wingrider Lin? And hello again… Jeltje of Kadross, was it?" he murmurs low in greeting.

"No, I'm a…" But, asked to remain, Jeltje doesn't quite get to stating who or what she actually is, too concerned about not being permitted to follow after the others to remember just how that sentence should end. She has her own version of that kind of staring, hers one that, unfortunately for her, leaves just about everything she feels plain to read in dark eyes, every little bit of her frustration and anger back to life again. For a moment, it looks like she's going to turn and leave anyway, her weight shifting as though to take a step back, only then she finds Th'ero in her line of sight - and no reasonable excuse to draw a blade on him this time. "Weyrleader," must serve as greeting and confirmation both, even if it toes the line of being anything like respectful. Distrustful? Yes. Wary? Yes, that too.

Wise of her not to draw a blade on him here, in the middle of Fort Hold's courtyard and not only in sight of passing holders, but one of the Weyrleader's Wingriders. Lin hasn't looked away, even when Th'ero joins them. She's watching Jeltje like she's suddenly the world and the only thing that matters. It's not an affectionate or pleasant thing; it's like being watched by a sharp-eyed hawk. "What's brought you here, to the Hold? Business?" he asks, only to read into the tension and misunderstanding it. His gaze will lift from her to the greenrider standing all but immobile beside him. "Lin, ease up on the poor woman." he chides, which succeeds in drawing the greenrider's look. A cool, narrowed look but it's directed at him instead. "I think she can handle her own and I wasn't being rude." She totally was. Another cursory look and she'll snort, giving a shrug of her shoulders and preparing to back off. Instead, a vague smile curves her lips and she recalls… "You're a what? You were about to say?"

"There was a delivery to make, if not for a sensible price." Jeltje once again forgets that perhaps ranting on about the situation not being how she would have handled things isn't good for her temporary family, sent off-balance by just how intently Lin stares and being made to deal with Th'ero once more too. She knots her arms again, hauling her jacket even more securely around herself and all out of line, her fingers scrunching thin leather. Her tight, aggrieved sigh is audible. "I'm a Smith," she snaps, patience fraying. "A Journeyman. I'm on leave. I'm on leave and I haven't actually done anything wrong, other than judge poor business sense, so I'd appreciate it if I could…" Wait, hang on. Narrowing her eyes, she peers up at Th'ero. "I don't need anyone to 'ease up', thank you."

Well, well. This is interesting! At least, Lin seems very intrigued by the details shared if the way she bows her head thoughtfully means anything. Poor Jeltje is likely to start feeling all the more closed in as she's drawn Th'ero's interest too. It'd be like how prey feels, when the predators begin circling; the effect isn't intentional, not in the slightest bit but it tends to happen when riders have been riders too long and briefly forget the effect they may have on some. "No, you've done nothing wrong and there's no shame in it either." Th'ero answers first, speaking low and quiet despite the other woman's fraying patience. "Your business is your own." As for not needing anyone to ease up? That brings a ghost of a smile to his lips and a bemused huff of breath. "You certain on that?" He may have just made a subtle jab at her loss of patience there and from the way he looks at her, it's like he's waiting to see if she reacts, at all, to it. Yet, before she could answer, he'll nod his head. "If you need to be back with your group, don't let us — What is it?" Lin interrupts by clearing her throat, but her answer is spoken quietly to the Weyrleader's ear only. Unnervingly? While Lin still looks at Jeltje, Th'ero had looked down, only to start and fixate on her with a renewed look of interest. FAR too much interest. His answer of "You're certain?" to the greenrider probably only makes matters worse. It looks wrong, if one isn't aware of what could be happening.

She might not have any intention of pulling a knife, but Jeltje stares daggers at Th'ero, a deep breath taken to shoot some variety of reply back at him, only she finds herself unable to supply the entirety of the answer she wishes to (again) and to the extent that she doesn't even get to begin this time. Dark eyes roam from one rider to the other and back again, her study one that ultimately leads her to shake her head and resist the urge to roll her eyes at the pair of them. "Look, as you said, I haven't actually done anything wrong and you've no reasonable cause to keep me here, and if this is something you sorts to do entertain yourselves, it's in really poor taste." To Th'ero, she declares, "If you were going to haul me up on some sort of charges for waving a blade at you the other day, I'd hope someone of your status would just get on with it, rather than taunting someone."

Th'ero is very accustomed to have that sort of glaring sent his way and doesn't so much as twitch at it. In fact, much of her attitude might be overlooked as he becomes visibly distracted. Even Lin doesn't seem as sharply focused on her, until the young woman begins to speak again. "We're not doing anything entertaining. This is our duty and purpose." More or less. It's a vague and cryptic answer, one to match even the Weyrleader's. At the mention of the blade, the greenrider's posture stiffens and she looks at Th'ero with a sort of shocked look. Jeltje did what!? There's a long suffering sigh from the Weyrleader and he's making a sharp gesture to more or less dismiss the greenrider. It doesn't sit well with Lin, she'll give him a sharp glare and a mutter of protest but at a look from Th'ero keeps her moodily silent. "We're not taunting you and there are no charges. You're not in any sort of trouble." Yet. With a gloved hand, he'll point upwards of all things and if Jeltje does look up? She'll see that she's being stared down at by Vyovioth and Velokraeth both from where they're awkwardly pressed on the fire heights. While the bronze will croon sweetly — and it almost sounds like a lewd sort of thing to purposely taunt her, the green is much like her rider. Cold and calculating. Her wings are mantled too, readying for flight though held in place no doubt by her rider's command. "They've taken an interest in you — or rather, Vyovioth has. That's what Lin was informing me on. There's eggs on the Sand, Jeltje. Do you understand now?" Can they continue this civilly?

Truth be told, Jeltje doesn't look terribly impressed by duty and purpose, her posture one deliberately defiant and utterly disengaged at the same time, hips tilted as if she still might just turn away and leave them standing there, every inch of screaming that she believes she's being played with for their amusement, at the cost of her dignity. She does, indeed, look up, but it might simply be en-route to her actually rolling her eyes this time, except her focus doesn't slip back down again. Defiance transforms back into defence, her stare fixed on bronze and green like it's a contest she's determined to win - or afraid that looking away for any reason is to show weakness. "…What do you want?" she forces out, low-voiced. Is she speaking to the dragons, or to Th'ero and Lin?

What a tableau this cuts, given none of the trio are relaxed. The holders passing by are probably keeping their gazes adverted (but watchful), aware that *something* is going on but not about to gawk. Poor Jeltje, her emotions at this time aren't completely unfounded. Th'ero and Lin could have both handled this much better, but by this point its too late. She'll regret addressing the dragons, though. Vyovioth just snorts and fans her wings again, the first to look away; it's Velokraeth who continues to stare and what happens next will strike swift and sure like lightening. Only it won't hurt like lightening and feel more like a gentle alcoholic buzz, warm and oddly comforting. On its heels, comes the quiet sound of low, honeyed laughter and a voice, distant but not lacking in a very wry, coy grin. « You, my dear. » The words seem to come from both within one's head and out but he won't linger longer than necessary and the connection is broken swiftly. Probably for the best, as Velokraeth's next private comment to his kin would have gone along the lines of how Jeltje would make a fine bedding partner. No one needs to hear that and Th'ero probably wishes he could UN-hear it. He's been bonded so long though that he can ignore it for now. "They're interested in you," he speaks up then, unaware of the lines his bronze just crossed. "Vyovioth and Velokraeth are both on Search and have found something of note in you. So you've the choice now to Stand, if you wish. For his and Kayeth's clutch?"

At least Jeltje does not stumble back or over. She doesn't clap her hands to her ears or clutch at her head, but she wobbles the tiniest bit and flexes her shoulders in a manner that can only be described as uneasy, as though trying to rid herself of some sensation or another sweeping down her spine. Satisfied now that she can look away without being descended upon, she darts another, dark look between Th'ero and Lin, evidently deciding on the former as the culprit, even if he has no idea what has gone on. "…And that means staying," she says slowly, "at the Weyr? For how long?" Has she already decided that nought will come of it? "What would I have to do? Or not do? Would I have to inform my craft?" She's still on her feet, though she has to re-plant them now, meaning to remain steady in the face of anything.

"Until the eggs Hatch and your fate beyond that determined. If you don't Impress, you are free to go afterwards." Th'ero explains without pause, leaving Lin to watch on in silence. Whether or not she approves of this, the greenrider lingers behind the Weyrleader, her cool gaze unmoving again. Vyovioth's done her part, after all. "You'd be assigned chores, but you are free to pursue your Craft work, if that applies. It'd be best to probably inform them, yes. Even if you are on leave, as you said." She'll learn later about the excursions, as the Weyrleader is looking to keep this brief and not overload Jeltje with information. "Accepting the knot is not final," he ventures to add and earns a pointed look from Lin. What is he doing? "If at some point you feel you cannot remain, you can always turn it in." Quit, in other words. Is he… barbing, her? Goading her into accepting it purely by sake of challenge? Probably. He'll give her but a few moments to absorb that too, before speaking again. "What say you, then, Jeltje?"

Jeltje straightens her shoulders and tips her chin up just slightly. "If, in-fact, I am indeed free to go at any time and am not to be kept unduly confined, you might as well have me for what purposes you can find." Perhaps Velokraeth will have a field day with that one. If anything, she seems resigned to these new expectations, if unwilling to phrase her acquiescence in a fashion that has her asking for the chance or yielding. "I will have to inform my craft and caravan both. There are things I must collect and duties I must complete, if I am to be permitted the time?" Another look towards bronze, then green, before she settles her focus back on Th'ero. "I am not a child, without responsibility, to be stolen away."

Velokraeth is definitely enjoying that reply and if a dragon could laugh, the Hold courtyard would be filled with it. As it is, the bronze is chuffing and rumbling but the distance between the ground and his perch on the fire heights make it almost impossible to hear. Oooh, does he ever lay it on thick too, to poor Vyovioth as well about how she can choose them so well. Poor green. Poor Jeltje. "You won't be a prisoner, Jeltje. We won't keep you in the Weyr if you find that it's not something you want. It's your choice to accept and remain long enough to see it through to the end." Never mind that she WILL be stuck there if a dragon happens to find her on those Sands. "Please, take your time. I need to return to the Weyr, but Wingrider Lin and Vyovioth will take you when you're ready and show you were you must go." Forgive Lin as well, if the greenrider doesn't bounce with joy at the moment. She sort of just nods and exhales, almost close to a sigh. FINE, she'll stay here with this one! Th'ero blinks and then fixes Jeltje with another look, "We're not stealing you away. Go and look after your affairs and remember what I've said." Reaching into his jacket pocket, he'll pull out a white knot and toss it to her. Hopefully she has good reflexes? "That's yours now, for however long you decide to wear it."

The knot is not permitted to fall to the ground, even though Jeltje has to clap her gloved hands together to catch it, trapping it between her palms. With her hands still pressed together, she'll bob a semblance of the shallowest of curtseys and murmur, "Sir," under her breath, all that time spent with her craft and as a potential holder's lady before that not something that leaves her entirely without an understanding of the rank structure that she now submits herself to once again. The look she fixes on Lin is similarly lacking in any excitement to be left with her, but she is at least more polite when she suggests, "I will return within the hour, if that suits?" Well. It's a suggestion until she turns on her heel and makes to leave, regardless, itching to get away from dragons and riders both.

"It does," Lin's curt response follows and the greenrider prepares to wait, as she was ordered to do so. "And you can meet me here. One hour." Or what? They'll come hunting of her? Not likely. There's nothing to keep Jeltje from returning except her word and honour on the promise that she'll be there within the hour. Th'ero will return her curtsey with a half-bow of his own before taking his leave. "Best of luck to you, Jeltje." he voices as his farewell and then takes his leave. Velokraeth will launch from the fire heights above but will soar down to the fields outside the courtyard walls to meet up with his rider. Vyovioth remains where she is, while Lin will go find a decently comfortable spot to lurk and wait, even if it's just to rest her back agains the wall, arms crossed over her chest for that long, lonely hour.

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