Fort Weyr - Trader and Crafters Square
The massive rock face that makes up the outer walls of Fort Weyr looms, ever present even here where a large space has been cleared among the trees. A well tended and worn path threads its way from the Entrance Square, broad and wide enough for even the largest and most cumbersome of Trader's wagons. It continues on some distance, running parallel to the outer walls of the Weyr until veering subtly towards the forests again where it will expand again into a circular clearing. The ground is hard packed and scarcely any grass grows, save for along the edges a few patches here and there where folk are known to sit and relax rather than tread. In the center of this clearing is a stone well, ringed by a swath of wild grasses but accessible to all.
Branching in multiple directions are more paths, another large and broad one leading to a secondary clearing that is clearly designed for the Traders benefit, offering several choice locations, most of them sheltered by trees, for their wagons to be set up and ample room for their beasts to be properly penned. Firepits, large and small, are arranged and set at safe distances.
Another path, still wide but meant more for small wagon or foot travel, leads to a third clearing which holds several wooden stalls, all simple of build but well cared for. They are set up in a horseshoe loop, allowing most visitors to glimpse each of the Craft-related signs that mark each one. During the warmer months, this half is meant to be a Crafter's market and the stalls are often manned by posted Journeymen and any Apprentices under their wings.
Other paths lead away from all these clearings and both the Trader square and Crafter square. Some wind their way towards Fort's Forests, while others disappear up towards the Mountain Pass or loop back around to return either to the Entrance Square or towards the tunnels leading back into the Weyr itself.

Spring is here and the weather is holding! There was some anxieties as the day before and late into the night it was raining but the morning saw clear skies and a warm sun. Shadier parts of the ground may still be damp but overall it has done little to lessen the festive atmosphere. In the Square, they've gone all out. Fabric banners are hung between trees and caravans and stalls, lending a dazzling splash of colour to the newly budding greenery. Folks of all ranks and positions mingle about, Weyr, Hold, Crafter and Trader alike. At times like these, knots don't really matter! The Weyrleaders are among the throngs of people, doing their usual tours and casually greeting visitors and residents. Even as the afternoon wears on, the crowds remain large. Music filters through the air, joining the low thrum of conversation and laughter from adults and children. There is food too and plenty of it and of all kinds! And if folks tire of the square, the Weyr is open to guests as well and there is steady traffic too and from. Set aside from the main throughways and well away from any of the stalls and wagons (and food and drink) is a large roped off arena filled with mud. There's no guessing what that'll be for…

…and it's on the edge of it that one Journeyman Harper is peering curiously. Rayathess travelled in from the Hall earlier in the morning by runner back and he didn't come alone! Having taken time to freshen up and change, he's dressed in semi-casual clothing of a rich Harper blue, but otherwise does not look to be on active duty. "… wonder if they let Crafters participate…" he mutters quietly.

"Why wouldn't they?" asks Tyani. The Baker Journeyman stands beside Rayathess, her outfit a bit more flashy than his chosen Harper blue. She's chosen a light spring green dress that flows against her calves, and a white shawl wrap to ward off any potential chill come evening time. Her hair is pulled back in waves, her eyes bright and eager. "The better question is why would you /want/ to participate?" she asks, eying the mud pit, nose wrinkling in distaste.

E'tan ambles in with a walk of someone obviously lost. It doesn't seem to worry the young rider as he's displaying a very large smile. Adjusting his new shirt with a shake of shoulders, he seems very pleased with himself. It surely has to do with his newfound freedom and brand new knot and the fact that he didn't get lost *between*. "Is…it part of the festivities?" comes his voice as he dares to lean over the pit.

D'ani is, well, not working…exactly. He's finished his duties as Weyrsecond early and he's not exactly here in the capacity of beastcrafter. He's dressed fairly casually in clean, pressed jeans and a lightweight cotton shirt but he's already got the sleeves rolled up to his mid-forearms and he's wearing rubber barn boots. Those are already dirty with bit of straw - and other lovely things - clinging to the soles, giving testament to the fact that he's been drawn to the barns and loitered there eyeing the stock with avid interest. Now, however, he's taking a break, mingling in no particular direction with freshly-scrubbed hands jammed in his pockets, just enjoying the day.

"Guess it wouldn't make sense for them to omit anyone," Rayathess admits to Tyani, glancing at her sidelong from where he stands beside her at the mud pit. He chuckles, "Why not? I've seen them compete before. It looks like fun." And gives him an excuse to "fight" but with no consequences! Other than being covered in mud from head to foot (and probably in places it shouldn't be). "Not going to try it? I hear it's great for the skin," he teases the young woman before offering her his arm. It's then that he overhears E'tan and he offers the bronzerider a welcoming smile. "It is. Tradition here but strictly volunteer only. Welcome to Fort and…" He double checks the knot E'tan wears. "Fort's duties to Xanadu and her Queens. You've travelled far!"

It's a different part of that mud pit that has Inri leaning over the fence — in a white dress nonetheless, which might not be the most wise plan. She's not getting close enough for it to be a real threat to her clothing, though … and it's not the only white thing she's got with her, though the other is alive. A truly massive canine with fur that at one point in its life was white, and is now the sort of brown that indicates he hasn't been washed in a couple of weeks, Durahiko is on a leash at her heels sniffing at the air and politely not barking or trying to pull his white-clothed human into the mud itself. It's overhearing Rayathess (familiar voice, important sentiment) that has her turning around and grinning at the newcomer. "Oh, hello," she contributes, and as the formal greeting's been done she can wiggle room it a little, "Welcome to Fort. Good trip?" At that point, Durahiko barks.

Tyani laughs, but she looks a bit surprised he'd even /ask/. "Of course I'm not going to try it! No way!" She is not a rough and tumble kind of girl! She takes the Harper's arm with a smile and turns, dipping her head to E'tan. "Good afternoon, Bronzerider. Goldrider," she adds to Inri, dipping in a slight curtsey.

There's a mudpit? Of course there is. But though D'ani skirts it, he's not really paying all that much attention to it. He sees so much mud that by now he's kind of oblivious to it, after all. Or is it that white dress? Whichever the case, he's changed course and draws up to where Tyani, Rayathess, Inri and T'ani are, giving them all a nod of his head. "Rayathess, how've you been? Haven't seen you in awhile." To Inri a quiet, "You look spring-blossom lovely." And to the Xanadu-knotted rider, he simply says, "Welcome!" Casual as always, before his eyes turn to Tyani curiously and since their arms are linked says with an impish drawl, "Hello, Rayathess' friend."

E'tan's balance finally shifts back from the pit and the young man is facing Rayathess and Tyani, offering a bright smile. "And Xanadu's duties to Fort and her Queens…." he replies, insctinctively, his tone quite formal. It's hard to get rid of turns of weyrling habits. he does not salute tho. "Travelled far, yes, but in a blink." Of course everyone knows riders don't wander that far by foot, but it's obvious that this lad is deeply enjoying his new status. "I'm glad it's not some kind of…punishment for lost games or bets…" A quick glance at Inri and he can't help but salute this time, grimacing right after, realizing it was rather out of context maybe. "Ma'am. Sir." He swiftly adds, nodding to D'ani. Big knot effect. "Thank you. I'm E'tan, bronze Saburath's by the way."

There is a festival on, and there is no way that C'rus would miss out on seeing just what Fort has to offer for a spring festival. High time that Fort had some good times as opposed to the difficulties that they have been having of late. He makes his way into the caravan area and quickly surveys the place. Riders…check, stuff to eat and shop for…check, and mud pit. Okay. Everyone here he recognizes except for Tyani so its an easy enough thing to wave a greeting to all, "Hello everyone." he says in general but to E'tan in particular he says, "Congrats on your graduation." he says with a smile.

"Of course it is, E'tan, bronze Saburath's." And now, coming from nowhere — a specific nowhere that is not the depths of the mudpit — the all-clad-in-black assistant steward, whose wardrobe is a running joke after so many years. Zhirayr proffers a polite, more-or-less-welcoming smile, and the sort of haphazard salutes that the weyr's staff have come to expect from him. They're there, at least, right? Mr. Foreigner gets a somewhat more polite-looking salutation, because Zhirayr is not actually interested in causing a diplomatic Incident. "Some people, however, are masochists."

Kera admires the brightly colored banners and other festive touches as she makes her way along the square. Cheery smiles and waves are given to others that have come out to enjoy themselves. She slows at the group gathered by the pit, "Xanadu's Duties everyone." Head nods towards those she doesn't really know before chuckling to E'tan and C'rus gesturing to the mud "Either of you gonna try it?"

Rayathess laughs for Tyani's reply, "It's not that bad, honest!" he teases her again and probably fails miserably at convincing her. There's a chuckle given to E'tan, "Even if in a blink, the distance is the same, right?" he muses amicably with the bronzerider. Snorting, he'll add in a lower, hushed voice. "Don't give them ideas, E'tan." To show it's a jest, the Harper will grin faintly and dip his head politely in respect. "Rayathess, Journeyman Harper from Harper Hall. Well met!" And don't mind him, he's in an oddly good mood (probably has everything to do with the girl on his arm). "D'ani! Good to see you too. I've been… busy." How informative! There's a grimace given, almost apologetic. Sorry, confidential? Seeing the look from the Weyrsecond, Rayathess can't help but grin a little. Yep. "Tyani, this is Weyrsecond D'ani and weyrwoman Inri." And let the formalities begin! As C'rus and Kera approach, they're also given polite greetings.

Tyani smiles warmly at those who greet her, offering D'ani another little curtsey as befitting his rank. She dips into a small curtsey. "Well met. I'm Tyani," didn't Rayathess just say that? "Journeyman Baker and posted to Harper Hall." She turns to peer at the mud pit again. "How many people actually…partake?"

Inri is terrible at formality, so she's actually smile-and-nod-and-waving the concept off pretty quickly. "Recent graduate? Congratulations then, wingrider." Her smile is as always past diplomatic and onto openly effusive; her affection for everyone who does not immediately upset her is genuine. "You look pretty good yourself — I like the arms — though I didn't know hay was in this year as an accessory. I've got to go get some." Give her the chance and she'll pluck some off him and stick it to her dress, though as of yet all D'ani is getting is a nose-wrinkle and no actual hay theft. Zhirayr, she looks like she's going to kick for a second. With love. "We actually only punish high-ranking lower caverns staff in mud pits, so the rest of you are fine — oh, a lot, actually, Journeyman Tyani. People love it."

Soon surrounded with new faces, E'tan tries to relax as well as he can. Not that he has become nervous or agoraphobic but first the way out of the barracks, then a long trip north to finally meet lots of new people. He'll have to adjust. But he's ressourceful (and young) so he nods in return, welcoming every newcomers. "But one will have to try it for all the efforts of preparation will be lost." He replies Rayathess. A familar voice and face makes him perk and his smile widens, watching C'rus arriving. "Thank you C'rus. Told you I'd come as soon as I could." And another known face and smile. "Is that a challenge Kera? I may end up in it sooner tho for I'm awfull at games." He grins, giving the assistant steward a grin after winking at Kera. "Or maybe not…" Yeah, Inri's comment finally sinks in.

"D'ani," says the Weyrsecond in reply to E'tan, his tipped smile including Kera - and C'rus who, already knows who he is, in the introduction. He just shakes his head at Zhirayr, though he smirks all the same as he adds with a headtilt towards the man in black, "Watch out for this one." Tyani is given a slight bow, a touch of wry formality in response to hers and he says, "Well-met," before turning to Inri and attempting to tweak her wrinkling nose for the imaginary hay-theft. "I just started growing that," he says as though aggrieved.

C'rus closes the distance between himself and Kera as she greets and quickly enough answers her question about the mud pit, "I think I'll be passing on that. Seems like an infirmary visit waiting to happen and I'd rather not be a patient in my own infirmary." Nothing says fun like being a patient where you work, and healers are the worst patients in the history of everything! He turns her question back at her, "You going to try it?" While he waits for her answer he sends a grin to E'tan, "You did indeed. Welcome to Fort. I'm sure you'll have a good time." He grins as he watches D'ani and Inri banter back and forth and then there's Tyani, the one person he hasn't met yet, "I'm C'rus. Nice to meet you."

Rayathess chuckles, "Inri's right. People love it, so many often sign up. So many that the rounds usually span for days." he explains and this time sounds wholly sincere with his information. To E'tan, he smirks. "So you're going to try it then? Less their preparation goes to waste…?" It's not necessarily a challenge, but could be taken as such. Rayathess' eyes turn back to that pit and he seems pretty resolved in his decision. "I think I'll try it. Will you watch, at least Tyani?" he asks her, drawing her a little closer to her side. "And in case you're worried… there is more to do than just the mud wrestling! Knowing Fort, they've put out all the stops." Meaning plenty of goods to shop over, plenty of food and drink and dancing when the sun goes down. Good times, good times!

Tyani flashes C'rus a bright smile. "Well met, C'rus." Introductions all around! She looks back to Rayathess, laughing and pointedly taking her arm /away/ from his, and stepping back when he steps closer. No mud for her, nope! "Of course I'll watch! Did you bring a change of clothes at least?"

"Psh, you didn't need it." Inri plucks enough hay to make a little piece of art out of it, what looks like sun's rays poking out from the tie holding her bun in. "And now my hair looks fantastic." If one considers hay in hair fantastic looking, though she has created actual imagery from it. It'll fall out really fast. "There is a lot of very good wine, I bought it myself," the Harper and Baker are reassured. "As for the food, you're the professional, you'll have to tell me. I think it's good."

Kera dips her head about and returns greetings as they ome. "I'm Kera, from Xanadu." For those she's not met yet. A snort to E'tan when he doesn't wanna get muddy. C'rus gets her usual snug and she shrugs when he tosses her question back to her. "Who knows, I just may this turn. Gotta make Sure my Weyr is represented, right?" The cheery greeny flashes an amused wink around the group.

Ahaaa the impetuousness of the youth and this youth in particular. Keeping a large grin on his face and returning everyone smile, E'tan starts to remove his shirt. "Mind if I remove it? I happen to just bought it…." Removing his boots as well, he nods at Rayathess then towards the pit. "After you. I'm on foreign ground after all." There's a knowing wink here. "Like I said, someone has to test it. C'rus, Kera, I will try not to ashame the Weyr." He adds for the couple. To D'ani, Inri and Zhirayr he sends an apologetical look. "I'm sorry I know we just met….Alright." he seems ready, shifting from one foot to another, pants rolled up his calves. "C'rus, I'm counting on you if I end up in your infirmary tonight…"

Zhirayr mutters something about how the food had better be good, because otherwise why has he spent the last millions of years overseeing the kitchen staff, when not overseeing all the other staff setting things up for the festival, and really if you pay too much attention to him you might get the impression that he has been personally responsible in totality for absolutely everything that ever goes right at Fort for the last … well, probably since the place was founded, really. Nobody pay too much attention to him.

C'rus smiles when he gets snugged by his weyrmate, "Really?" he asks her. He'd fully expected Kera to say no way to mud wrestling, "I just can't quite picture that." At least he the picture he gets in his mind doesn't seem to compute at all, "I'm sure the infirmary is ready for all comers E'tan." he says. Just like every major event the infirmary staff have stocked up on supplies and the staff is ready for injuries. Most will likely be minor, but you never know when you have a big gather.

Notably, Mirinda is not present at the gather, and she normally goes to parties at opens to at least put a cursory appearance in — she's probably staffing the place herself instead in case of first-timer errors in the mud pits.

"That's the spirit!" Rayathess calls to Kera when he overhears her volunteer to represent her Weyr. As Tyani moves away, the Harper almost seems to pout. Almost! Instead it's more of a quizzical frown, "What? I'm not going to toss you in. I'd be an ass—" Oh wait, he's in public and… yes, supposed to be respectful. Ahem. "… less then a gentleman if I did something so cruel." he finishes politely. He's about to offer to take her to the stalls when E'tan is suddenly stripping down and Rayathess blinks. Wait, NOW? "I thought they had to officially sign you up…?" he asks, peering at Inri and D'ani. Help? They've seen this done before, right! Only maybe it is time, as someone comes by with a clipboard (and warily skirting Zhirayr… maybe they're late on the game?). "Name?" They ask E'tan cheerfully and should it be provided, they'll scribble it down. Already seeing him all but ready, there's a bob of their head and an equally as cheerful: "First up! Name?" That'll be to Rayathess, who sighs and gives his name while unfastening his tunic. "Yes I have a change of clothes, Tyani. Would you mind holding these?" His boots and tunic and belt and knot. And it seems even before the official call goes out, the crowd already begins to drift their way and doubles once word spreads. Lucky them to be here when they were! Oh yes, so lucky.

It certainly does! says D'ani emphatically of Inri's hair. Though his eyes are glinting, perhaps at unvoiced scenarios concerning just how that hay could gotten there. "I'll mud-wrestle… later," is his vague answer to Rayathess regarding the pit. Later when he's clad in a t-shirt and shorts, most likely, but he smirks at the harper's dismay, "When Abigail isn't around to beat my sorry butt." Because surely she's lurking about here somewhere and also? She can do it! Though he will watch and gestures with a go-ahead motion to E'tan. He remains beside Inri, chuckling at Zhirayr's grumbling and simply notes, "Looking forward to some of that wine." One finger reaching in an attempt to tickle her hand - an invitation perhaps? "And at least one dance?"

Tyani giggles lightly at Inri, dipping her head. "I will give you my /professional/ opinion, then," she teases. She does move forward to gather Rayathess' things, and chastely kiss his cheek 'for luck'. Then…yeah, she's moving back to stand near Inri, absently toying with the fabric of Rayathess' tunic. At least she doesn't smell it.

There's Stuff going on, and so Durahiko's getting a little more riled up, tugging a bit at his leash and trying to go sniff at the event organizer as he tries to get away with signing people up without getting noticed by the boss. He doesn't manage to shove anyone into Zhirayr, though, because Inri pulls back almost as if she hasn't registered it. Yanking the canine back from what he's getting up to is second nature; she's had him longer than the dragon. "Wine and dancing, absolutely. Mud wrestling, I think my mud wrestling days are probably over. And all of you could beat me anyway. Though I'd like to watch, of course." Tyani gets another smile, with a, "I would actually appreciate it. Probably so would the Headwoman. And that guy." Head jerk toward Zhirayr. He doesn't get respect from her. He probably should, because her casual attitude likely undermines the respect he gets from others, but … she's not thinking about that.

Kera lifts a surprised brow when Tani starts towards the mudpit, after prearranging for an infirmary visit later. Grinning up to C'rus "And you can't picture me in a food fight at the tavern either can you?" Kera seems very amused by her own words and turns her attention to the pit as the names are announced. While the first match start, she starts slipping off her jewelry and tucking it into her shoulder satchel. A nod to Rayathess when she hears his words, and she cheers her on fellow Xanadians when things get started.

And hey, it's not like he shows her all that much respect, either! Right? There's probably some sort of logic in there somewhere. Zhirayr gives Durahiko an irritable look that has a lot to do with mostly-white hairs on entirely-black clothing, and otherwise fails to actually … do … anything about the riled-up oversized puppyface. He's too busy observing the crowd while making some small, twitchy signals with his hands, looking to see if anybody's trying to catch his eye while making twitchy hand-signals back. Place your bets, folks.

C'rus can only nod his head to his weyrmate, "No. I can picture really well hun…" he says with a chuckle. He was there after all and it was one of the most memorable experiences in recent memory. For the moment though he turns his attention to E'tan as he gets himself ready for what is going to be happening. Nothing like someone just jumping in head first.

E'tan is far too eager to display his agility that he leaps in the pit right after Rayathess, trying to catch him by surprise. That sudden move causes some mud spraying and all the watching people certainly should step back a bit not to add some brown color to their fine attires or….hairstyle. For it's a combat, groaning replaces words from Tani's mouth and he circles the Harper like a feline would do. But a too young feline it seems as another brisk move makes him slip and dangerously fall forward, totally losing his balance. He's aiming in the right direction tho, but head first. Seems like this confrontation just died in the egg…

Rayathess isn't blushing at all from that chaste kiss from Tyani. Nope. His cheeks are totally that colour because of the uh… cold air and the fact that he's down to his undertunic and now-rolled up pants. "Why couldn't this be in the summer?" he grumbles with a shake of his head as he clambers into the ring and tries not to wrinkle his nose too much at the mud as it squelches under his feet. Second thoughts? TOO LATE. E'tan is on him before he can even turn around to properly face his opponent. "Play dirty, do you?" he laughs and then the match is on! Rayathess can hold his own and both he and the bronzerider are of equal height and they may have lasted longer if E'tan hadn't slipped and the Harper goes in for the 'kill'. Which mostly is just to pin the rider down and keep him down long enough for those acting as referee call it. "Winner - Rayathess!" Not wanting to linger, Rayathess will rock back on his heels and stand, offering E'tan his very muddy hand. "Good round!" he says breathlessly and not seeming to care that he's covered almost head to toe in mud. That's the whole point, right? Time to vacate the ring! "Hope they have warm water nearby…"

The only hand-twitching D'ani's doing is retracting his hand and shoving it in his pocket. Inri's got her hands full with Durahiko, after all and understandably so; the canine is huge! The Weyrsecond is content with the promise of a dance, however. As he is for now, to simply watch the event and so falls silent. Later he'll slip away to wander those booths and taste some of the things being grilled/roasted and fried there, as well as sample some wine.

Tyani bounces a bit on the balls of her feet as she watches, and she cheers happily when Rayathess wins. "Excuse me," she says to Inri and D'ani, moving away with light steps towards the Harper. "Let's get you cleaned up, hmm? And I think that win deserves some food, too. Perhaps a drink and maybe a dance?" she asks, her eyes bright and twinkling. She isn't heartless though, and looks to make sure E'tan is okay too.

Kera watches the match, blinking at E'tan's sudden start as she cheers "Go Tani!" Back and forth it goes til the Harper offers to help her friend up. "Well played Harper!" Kera chuckles and peers to her muddy friend. "Aww. Maybe next time Tani." The Xanadu bronzer seems well enough though so she turns back to C'rus. "He needs to work on his technique for next Festival." Spotting a few more faces, she waves and greets more people as the crowd grows and the bets fly fast.

C'rus also will cheer for the new rider. Though it seems that Raya has the upper hand in that particular contest, "It's ok Tani..there will be other times." he says to him before the other man moves off. He nods to Kera, "He does. Not that I'm an expert by any means…" Because C'rus and mud wrestling are definitely opposites, "Have you actually done that before?" he asks her. You learn new things about the people closest to you every day it seems, "Nice job Rayathess."

Zhirayr proves to be reasonably busy with the hand-twitching of those around him who aren't part of the Weyr's leadership, at least, and after Rayathess wins, he's off to deal with making sure those who lost actually pay their debts, since otherwise how the heck is he supposed to pay those who won? He'll be around, though. Sooner or later. (Since the dawn of time, he's been in charge of keeping Fort running! Let's go with that for the rest of the night, shall we?)

Rayathess is starting to shiver a bit despite the sun being out. It's spring and it's still cool! "That sounds great right about now," he mutters to Tyani and tries not to shake off any mud onto her. As for others? Well… might want to steer clear. "Think they have mulled wine or cider?" he asks hopefully and seeing that brightness in her eyes, he chuckles. "Food and dance too. First though we have to get this mud off of me. I'm no fit dancing partner." Or is he? Grinning to C'rus and Kera, he'll manage a little bow and almost end up losing his footing. Stupid mud! "Thanks! Not bad for a first shot, huh? Still going to try it?" he asks the Xanadian greenrider. He shivers again, "Shall we, Tyani? I'm starting to get chilled…" So first stop is to find some clean water and rags!

Probably some relative of Zhirayr's was, a million generations ago, because they do all seem to be in that field. Inri's mocked him for it. Now, though, Inri is smiling at Rayathess' triumph and return, and — er — slippery acceptance of praise. "Good work, Harper," she says, and would pat him on the back were it more appetizing — let's just go with the grin. "Clean up and warm up." They're not the only ones who are going to go off and eat and dance, though; Inri waits another round before turning the dog over to helpful in the form of apprentice Anrila, who just missed her brother, and hunts down D'ani for that dance. At least one.

(Log Continues — if anyone has the later poses to the scene, please add them here :) )