What Girls (Don't?) Want

Fort Weyr - Trader and Crafter 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.


Late morning of the first full day of the festival see's the Square already hosting a fair sized crowd but nothing compared to the numbers that will be seen later in the afternoon and onwards until the evening. A variety of folk wander the grounds, mixed Rank and position, weyrfolk or holder and even Crafters milling about or darting from one task to another. Traders are around too, of course, as always and like before their wagons are displaying many wares and goods for curious buyers. Colorful fabrics have been woven from wagon tops to the new-budding trees to offer some colour to the otherwise still awakening land. It's well into spring but still cool and so long as the sun is out, it's quite pleasant and comfortable to be outdoors.

Rayathess is among a small throng of folks interested in seeing what goods can be found and early enough before it becomes to crowded to really enjoy the browsing. Dressed in semi casual clothing of a rich Harper blue, though he wears his Journeyman knot, he does not have his instrument with him and is likely off duty as he quietly wanders from one display to the other, eventually coming to stand in front of one that holds a variety of cloths, leather, fancy fabric, a few baubles and a whole lot of jewelry ranging from inexpensive leather, bead, shell, bone and wood and common stone, to mid-range pearl to the far more pricy metal and gemstone.

Excited to get a chance to see her brother and friends again, Briari strides through the crowds with a regal air of importance. For the first time in months, she looks like her old self. Despite the candidate knot upon her shoulder strap of a bright royal blue dress, she holds her guitar across her back and shoulder in a black leather strap. She waves now and then to a few people that she recognizes, excitement growing in her eyes as she takes in a deep breath of the rich Fort Spring air. "Raya!" She calls over as she spies the Harper she spent many weeks writing letters to, aiming for him with a bolstered grin.

Rayathess startles when he hears his name called and almost swears out loud. Not because he's been greeted, but because he almost drops a ring he was looking at and hastily returns it to it's niche in the padded display box before the Trader eyeing him can get any ideas. Straightening, he looks surprised to see that it's Briari approaching but he'll raise his hand to wave while also offering a small, but welcoming, smile. "Morning, Briari! How've you been? I see there was truth in the talk that Half Moon Bay is letting it's Candidates come to visit."

"Yup! I'm pretty excited to come back home more or less and visit you and my brother and all my other friends from Harper Hall. Being a candidate has gave me homesickness." Briari says as she steps in and gives him a strong hug about the middle. "So, met your new girlfriend." She says with a smirk up towards him. "Congratulations and all that jazz. She seems really nice." Once she lets go of him, she glances about the bazaar for a moment. "Have you seen my brother? I am really hoping to catch up with him about a few things."

"I'd imagine the distance would be difficult," Rayathess wasn't expecting a hug either but he'll politely return it. He's not teased about his name having 'Stone' in it for no reason, after all. Most know by now that it takes the Harper awhile to thaw. "Tyani told me she'd run into you while she was in Half Moon Bay." He turns sheepish under the well wishes, silent for a half breath once she steps back. "She is and it… sort of just happened. Thank you, though." Looking back at the wares on display, Rayathess is still paying attention and will glance sidelong to Briari at her question. "S'ai, right? Bronzerider? No, I haven't. It's early yet though and most of the riders are still on duty or, if he's the type to enjoy a festive evening, maybe he's nursing a hangover like most folks?" He smirks a bit at this but in an amused sort of way.

"Probably, he does like his booze." Briari says as she lifts her shoulders upwards. "Some of my bandmates are heading over from Monaco and we're going to do a few songs later in the evening. You should come by and listen and give me a bit of support. Would be nice to have a familiar face in the crowd." She motions to her guitar across her back. "I've had a lot of time to write in candidacy and I'm hoping that some of these impress."

Rayathess chuckles dryly, "Who doesn't? Speaking of…" He gestures with one hand to indicate in a silent 'shall we walk'? He doesn't want to be lingering too long around the jewelry and baubles and scarves. "… might want to sample some of that cider I heard everyone muttering about. Some sort of Nabolese import." He quirks a brow when she mentions her bandmates and his mouth curves into a half-smile. "If I'm not otherwise occupied, I'll be by to hear your work. Don't think it should be an issue. I've already had my taste of the mud wrestling and the lists are insane now. Lucky enough for me I was first to go and paired with E'tan from Xanadu… Neither of us knew what we were doing."

"Wait, did you say E'tan?" Briari stammers out quickly as she finds herself wringing her hands together. "You wrestled with him in the mud? Oh, is he still here? I hope he is.. we have some.. um.. unfinished business." She says with a clear of her throat. "He is also one of my best friends and I have missed him dearly." As she strides through the crowds, she gains her old swagger back in her step. "Be lucky you didn't wrestle me, I'd pin you in three seconds. I've spent a lifetime fighting with S'ai as we grew up." Flashing her teeth playfully, she chimes in, "But sure, I'll try that cider. I'm thirsty."

Rayathess blinks when she starts to stammer and wring her hands together. He snorts softly, "Yeah. He was going to go in alone to start it off and it just so happened my name was written down after his…" He rolls his hand. And so it happened! Giving her a curious sidelong glance, he doesn't press her for that 'unfinished business' and only shrugs his shoulders. "Can't say if he stayed or not. We parted ways right after the match and I was more focused on getting clean." Brows lift and Rayathess chuckles again as they weave through the crowds towards the fire pits and serving stalls. "Don't know if they allow men-women matches in the pit and I wouldn't put so much confidence in that statement. Might not look like much, but I can hold my own." he admits with a smirk. With the life he had, he had no choice in the matter and the skirmishes he found himself in weren't some fun game. "Cider it is, then. Should be just over here…"

"You underestimate me because I'm a girl, but ask S'ai. I've made him cry to momma a few times. I can take you and just about any boy. I have a wicked headlock." Briari leans in and hipbumps him as they walk, bobbing her head to the music in the air. "So, besides new relationships and cider, what have you been up to? Candidacy is so boring, all day it's chores and then followed by nothing to do at night. I miss playing my music for the crowds and going on tour."

Rayathess chuckles, "Never said I underestimated you. I don't underestimate anyone. Just saying that over confidence can get you into trouble if you're facing someone twice your size and weight." he points out, his voice still carrying a hint of teasing to it. He'll grunt softly at the bump to his hip as they approach the stall serving drinks. He'll hold up his fingers to indicate two and then sign for ciders, earning him a nod. Reaching for his marks to pay, he'll shrug his shoulders. "Studies and work, mostly. Had to go south for a span to tend to some legal matters there and once I'm done with another case here, I'll be heading up to my brother's cothold. His wife is due to have their first child soon. Promised I'd be there…" Even if he has to pay for a dragon rider to transport him! Offering her a small cider, he'll smirk. "Can't be all bad?"

"No, it's not all bad. Just a bit boring, but I think I'm starting to finally make some friends." Briari says as she takes the drink with a smile, sampling a sip. "My brother wrote me to tell me that his lady companion is pregnant. Curious to see how that will go since he's never commited to anything his entire life. But, at least I can babysit." With another sip, she lets out a happy sigh. "This is really good, tasty and zips the tongue. Congrats on your brother by the way! Uncle Raya now." Giving him a quirky smile, she continues to look about. "I'm hoping some of the other candidates come but from what I heard, a few weren't that interested in a Gather. Shame. I love parties."

Rayathess nods, "I can imagine it would get to be a bit routine. Good to hear you're making some friends at least." he murmurs and takes a slow sip of his cider as he steps forwards again and begins to walk at a rather sedate and almost idle pace. "Looks like you'll be Aunt Briari then?" he fires right back with an amused snort. "And thanks. Same to your brother too." He tilts his head curiously and then shakes his head a bit. "Can't force them to come but I don't blame them. Gathers are huge and though this is only a festival it gets crowded by the afternoon and evening hours. Not everyone's big on groups."

"Gee' you'd think they would pick going to a big party as opposed to staying back at the Weyr and doing chores all night. We have a few nights of freedom and they aren't taking advantage of it." Briari giggles as she mulls the term Aunt Briari about her tongue. "Maybe Aunty Bee, that'd be fun. I wonder what he's going to end up naming it." Continuing to bob her head and body to the music, it looks as if she could break out in dance any moment now. "This feels so good, to be out and about again! I want to do /everything/ this festival has to offer. Any good tips you can slip to me? I'm looking for a new dress. I also want to get some for my friends Kyra and Chrystyne."

"To each their own. Maybe they've plans of their own for their freedays? Can't fault them for that." Rayathess points out with a crooked smile. "For once I wasn't scheduled to be part of the entrainment and normally I'd just stay at the Hall and catch up on work. I asked Tyani if she wanted to come…" And he spreads out his hands. So here he is! He'll watch her for a moment but seems content to keep to walking. He chuckles dryly, "Tips? Not sure if I'm the best to ask. There's a variety of things… Heard there's some stuff for the children, music and dancing obviously from the formal stuff to the more… hmm… late night sort. You know, the type the riders are often fond of." Flicking a hand dismissively, he turns thoughtful. "Mud wrestling too. Heard rumour of a possible tug challenge for that too. As for dresses…" His shoulders lift and his hands are held in a helpless manner. "Can't help you there."

"Well, you should probably start figuring out the dress part seeing how you were eyeballing the rings on display. Don't think I didn't catch that." Briari says with a smirk on her face to him. "Us ladies are quite perceptive of the finer things. So, if you need dress help, I can always give you advice. Maybe even some advice for the ring since I know my way around jewelry." Giving a brush of her fingers along her hair, she pushes it past her ear to reveal a few studs and loops along her left and a couple upon her right.

Rayathess almost chokes on his next sip of cider and gives her a sharp look. He looks ready to protest and deny her claim and then sighs, "I'm not looking to get her a dress. I'd rather she be here to pick… it seems too personal." And jewelry isn't!? The studs and loops are given a cursory glance and he smirks, "I'm not even sure if I want to get anything that… uh… flashy yet." Sure he doesn't. He rubs at the back of his neck, awkward and unsure.

"Thought so. I wish some boy would love me like that. Usually I'm the one that gets moon and stars in my eyes just to find out they're not interested." Briari says with a smirk as she crosses her arms over her chest, tapping the ground behind her with the toe of her boot. "Either way, tell her you want to take her dress shopping. She'll lose her mind and think you're the greatest. Also, if you are getting her a ring, make sure to get her a matching necklace, so that way she can coordniate it with her clothing. Girl tip for you."

Cue the very awkward? Rayathess grimaces and there's a moment where his eyes might flicker with a bit of guilt but it's soon passed and he shakes his head with a soft exhaled breath. "You never know, Briari?" he says, trying not to flinch for how lame it sounds. He clears his throat and drains the last of his cider, setting the mug aside somewhere where a drudge will no doubt clear it. "Really? You don't think it's odd for a man to be taking a girl to look at dresses?" He frowns and looks puzzled. "Matching? Does it have to be a set?" Maybe he didn't budget for that. Currently Briari and Rayathess are standing on the outside of the ring of fire pits, food and drink stalls. It's later in the morning and the crowds out on the square are smaller as the Weyr gradually stirs to the first full day of festivities.

"No, it's not odd at all. If a guy asked to take me dress shopping and he was paying, I'd parade him around and tell all my friends I have the greatest guy in the world. It means that you show interest in what she wears and how hard we go through the effort to look nice for you." Briari says with a crooked grin. "But, I definitely would want a matching set. So, if you get a silver ring, you need to make sure the necklace and charm is silver also with a similiar style and pattern. It has to somewhat match. Let me haggle for you, I'll make sure you won't get ripped off. My dad is a smith and so I grew up with this."

His attires fresh and clean and his face as well, Tani finally looks human again. Of course what followed that epic mud fight is lost in his misty memory as wine and other beverage flow almost endlessly that night. Anyway, the young bronzerider is here again with the firm intention to enjoy the festivities as long as he can. "Beware Rayathess. If you're not cautious she'll bring you everywhere on Pern…buying everything." He chuckles as he moves closer, adding. "Hey Bri." with a warm wink.

Rayathess doesn't look wholly convinced yet as it goes against everything he'd ever been told or learned (which is very little). "I'm not sure if Tyani is much for dress shopping…" he ventures to guess and then chuckles dryly. "Thanks for the offer and I'll keep that in mind? I'm not even sure if I'm ready to present her with jewelry yet. Don't want to startle her…" Or spoil her (or maybe he does but in less expensive manners). E'tan's teasing warning is met with a mix of surprise and amusement. "Don't worry, I can handle it. Morning, E'tan. So you did stay in Fort then for the night?"

"Tyani is a girl, trust me, it's in her DNA." Briari says as she then whips her head over to the sound of the bronze rider's voice. The blue eyes widen and she immediately closes the distance between them. Her hands reach out to grab him by the shirt and she lays into him quickly, pressing her mouth to his for a firm kiss. The smooch is broken after a half second before she breathes out with giddy excitement. "Tani! I've missed you so much." She says as her fingers curl into his shirt tighter, staring up at him with a goofy grin. "You have no clue."

"I did indeed. And luckily, I had some spare clothes I bro…." Tani starts to reply Rayathess airily but then he's yanked vigorously to meet Bri's lips for that sudden and not expected kiss. Oddly half bent he coughs some. "Missed…you…too…." his voice carrying a hint of nervousness. He's not the kind being comfortable with public….demonstrations? "How have you…oh candidate again?" bursts out his question as he straightens and nods his chin at her white knot.

"Not every girl is the same…" Rayathess begins to point out to Briari and then can only watch as she leaps on the bronzerider. Dropping his gaze, he'll clear his throat and look askance as if to admire something nearby and not fidget too awkwardly.

"Yeah, candidate, whatever, don't care. You're a big jerk, you know that?" Briari says, poking him in the chest. "You made me think about you, constantly, the last few months." She pokes him a few more times before she gives him a crooked grin. "And, because I'm all loopy over you and it's obviously your fault, you're taking me dancing tonight and we're getting dinner and we're going to catch up and I want to hear everything about Weyrlinghood and I want to meet your dragon proper and.. everything else." Oh, wait, Raya is still there. She gives a sheepish grin over to the Harper. "Uh, so, I see you met and wrestled E'tan here. He's the guy that made me go moon and stars over in candidacy, then had the audacity to impress without me." She smirks at rider again.

Yes. Now it's obvious that Tani and Bri know each other. But the bronzerider didn't remember her talking that fast! Blinking and sending the Harper an apologetical look, he tries to follow Bri's quick and sparkling mind. "Oh but…yes…we'll catch up but…" his cheeks quickly redden with embarrass as he follows. "I didn't do anything but being friendly?" Not comfortable with public bold moves and compliments as well, it seems. "First, I'd like to buy Rayathess a drink as I didn't have the time last night."

Rayathess looks up again now that the public display is done and he chuckles dryly, "I told you that, didn't I?" he reminds Briari and for the apologetic look he receives from the bronzerider the Harper only dismisses with a slight shake of his head — no need. "It's a bit early by Fortian time for a drink but… You're Xanadian and that'd put us at…" He makes a swift calculation. "At least early afternoon?" he muses.

"Anything but being friendly? Eltanin, I am a Harper and I will sing a song about janitor's closets and spacestations if you don't knock it off." Briari says with a loud snort, looking amused. "But, since he just friend zoned me despite our passionate history together, I suppose I will just head off and prepare for my concert tonight." She gives him a raise of the brow, lightly poking him in the side. "I still have those shorts of yours by the way." As she heads off, she gives a grin to Raya. "Don't let him get too drunk. I still need him somewhat sober to catch up with him and hear about 'everything'."

"Oh come on Bri…" Tani begins, trying to grab the candidate's hand but in vain. Lots of emotions overwhelm the young bronzerider once again and, like overtime it happens, he has great difficulties to sort them out. Being just graduated, going to a festival, meet new faces, experience his newfound freedom and then, meeting Briari again. "I'll be among your audience Bri, you can be sure of that!" Then, turning to Rayathess, his smile broadens. "Afternoon, exactly. Now if you'd agree to join me, I'd be pleased, Raya. Can I call you Raya?"

Rayathess will pretend he did not just hear Briari airing her passionate escapades out loud in the middle of a festival, as a Candidate and to a visiting bronzerider. Nope. He'll just completely ignore that and politely nod his head to her as she heads out. "No promises. Take care, Briari." he murmurs and then turns his attention back to E'tan. "Of course. You know us Harpers or the rumour of us I'm sure? We never turn down a drink. Raya is fine, I don't mind. Seeing as I'm calling you E'tan and not Wingrider E'tan… or Wingrider. So we're even."

E'tan lightly pokes the Harper's shoulder playfully. Well, it's obviously more a grateful gesture for he didn't comment on Bri's bold revelations. "You can call me Tani and no, I didn't know about you Harpers. I thought only fancy words or songs escape your lips not that wine was also among their skills." He then winks, slowly ambling over the nearest stand, peering at what seems to be a pitcher of red wine.

Rayathess doesn't spread malicious gossip. Yes, he's a Harper and yes he hears plenty of things but that's part of his training and very little of it is ever spoken. If he has to speak it, it's to the appropriate ears only. There's a reason he's studying law! "Ahh," he begins and hesitates, almost sheepishly. "Do you mind E'tan? The girl I am courting… her name is Tyani. I don't want to accidentally call you Tyani and her Tani. While I'm sure you'd be amused, I'd likely be slapped for that slip of the tongue with my lady…" he remarks with a soft chuckle. "Heh, it's not that wine is our skill. We just enjoy drinking it. I, however, find the cider here to be delicious. Nabolese if I heard right. Or the ale — just keep away from Weyrleader Th'ero's preferred brew of Black Damnation. The name is fitting." And so, being a gracious Harper and makeshift host, he'll steer E'tan in the right direction and they'll enjoy a mug or two of Fort's finest.


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