Fort Weyr - Fort Sea Hold
Situated at the broad, semicircular mouth of one of the few coves along Fort's coastal territories, Fort Sea Hold is aptly named. The age old debate rages still, was the Harbor built first before the Hold or the Hold before the Harbor? Regardless, both have been built and tended over the Turns with a zealous pride. Rare is the day that there are not some ships tied at harbor or gliding in and out of the cove, folk bustling along the various criss-crossing decks. Most business and trade occurs in the lower stone buildings built along the beach on pillars or those carved out and into the towering cliffside. It is also where a majority of the day's catch are brought in to sort, clean and store away. Wooden boardwalks have also been erected along the more harrowing pathways that slowly weave their way up to the mainland above for those brave enough to walk them. For those wishing for a more sedate and leveler path, the beaches eventually curve towards pathways made from interlocking stone and though a much longer route to the Hold itself, the incline is gentler.
Fort Sea Hold's courtyard is wide and expansive with two archway entrances: one turned towards the cliffside and overlooking the sea and harbor below while the other faces the mainland and the forests and mountains in the distance. There is ample room for several dragons to land at once on the outside of the stone walls, while the inner courtyard has a spot reserved for caravans and other land-based methods of transportation. Pathways leading to the stables and herd pens can be seen drifting off towards the westward side of the hold, while to the east seems to be a small marketplace of sorts, a few stalls with colorful signs or banners describing their wares. Set in the center are the stairs leading up to the tall, carved wooden doorways to the Great Hall and the rest of the Hold proper within.
With the weather holding clear, the festivities for Fort Sea Hold's Gather has been set primarily outdoors. In preparation however for cooler weather or any rain, tents have been setup to offer some comfort, most dedicated to wide and spacious dining areas. Music can be heard drifting over the coastal winds, along with the sounds of many voices and laughter and the sounds of the sea below. And what would a Gather be without a dance floor? Nestled in the center of the ring of tents within the inner courtyard, it is large enough to hold a good number of folk and still leave room. A small section has been roped off, no doubt for the Harper's to set up when the time comes.

Summer is definitely here and the winds off the coasts help keep the air cool and without too much humidity. Fort Sea Hold is teeming with activity, from the courtyards and inner Hold, to the harbors and out to the Gather fields and beyond where a race track lies with stands for viewing and the paddocks and stables not far behind it. Folk of all ranks and positions, of all areas, are mingling among the crowds, some knotted in groups in amiable chatter while others bustle off on some errand or another. Laughter and conversation drift over the winds, along with the sound of music and the smell of food. Stalls have been erected in a 'market' fashion for those wishing to browse some goods or seek out refreshment. On the other side of the field and well away from the tents and dancing square are the pens holding various runners and herdbeasts, most of them marked for sale or trade. The track itself is empty, as are the starting gates though behind the stands a few can glimpse some of the runners being prepped and exercised, as well as examined in preparation for the three races to come.

Dragons come and go from the landing field, bringing passengers or supplies. More are lining what few heights or clear ground is available to bask in sun and companionship. Others arrive by foot, wagon, runnerback or by boat. Among the cluster of dragons and on one of the prime choice among ledges is the sprawled form of Velokraeth, the unmistakable pale bronze difficult to miss from his physical traits. With him is a blue, not at all surprising and to his other side a fiery hued gold. There is still some room left and no doubt from the way that Velokraeth is scanning the incoming, Fortian and visitor alike, he'll be calling to a few in an attempt to draw them over.

And if Velokraeth is present, then it's only logical that the Fortian Weyrleader is as well and Th'ero can be found by the pathway that splits between the racetrack and the beast pens. He's dressed in comfortable but formal clothes, which include a mid-sleeved black overtunic that is embroidered in bronze, copper and brown thread along the edges and falls almost knee-length. His pants are a dark brown and tucked into a pair of knee high black boots. A black belt holds two daggers to his left hip, one looking to be purely decorative, the other… not so much. At the moment, he is in conversation with a Journeyman Beastcrafter, with others at his side. And what looks to be a tether… attached to a child in a harness. Anyone who knows Kyzen, knows this is a good thing, though for now the four Turn old child is sticking close, wide eyed with wonder.

While Varmiroth rests above alongside Velokraeth, down below Kimmila is at the betting windows, placing a few bets on some Fortian favorites. The bluerider is dressed in nice brown slacks and a red wrap around tunic, the sash in brown to match her pants. Bets placed, the bluerider turns to peer down at the paddocks thoughtfully, pushing wayward hair away from her face.

Above the hold Kayeth rests alongside her mate, the pale bronze Velokraeth, the young queen shifting her position and spreading her wings before folding them again. She calls to the arrivals, welcoming and warm as she watches in approval and excitement. Below, Nyalle steps away from a food stall with a glass of red wine in one hand, the Fortian Senior adjusting her skirts and smoothing out her dress. It's a light one, perfect for the weather and in Fortian brown with gold detailing. Subtle, but nice enough for her rank. Her long, dark hair is pulled back in a neat braid and then curled up at the nape of her neck into a bun, kept out of her face. Drifting slowly through the crowd, the young woman is all smiles, if a bit reserved.

D'ani is here, having arrived earlier and headed for the barns where the racing runners are kept. And though he's wearing both rank and crafter knots on his right shoulder, he's here not as Weyrsecond, but as part of the pre-race inspection team. He's been appointed among the other Journeymen from the Beastcraft Hall to ensure no ill or unfairly drugged runners make it into the races. Perched near Velokraeth and Kayeth crouches Dremkoth. He's forgiven Kayeth for not getting caught by him in her last flight (he's forgotten alllllll about that, actually) and yeah, he's still crushing on the firey autumn gold - she makes all of his hearts go pitter pat! He's probably conversing (ie flirting) while watching the crowds and the preparations for this weird and wonderful thing called 'race'. He's got no idea what it's all about but he's inhaling the aura of excitement vibrating in the air. Humans are such fascinating creatures! D'ani? Though his bluejeans and white cotton shirt are crisply pressed and his boots shined, he's dressed casually, sleeves rolled up to his forearms, neck unbuttoned at the throat as he emerges from the depths of the barns. He's impartial today and thus steers clear of the betting windows to drift towards the stands and find a seat.

Woo! Party! And runners. All good things. Naeda has been hoarding her rest days so that she can come out and see the race. She's in her best gather dress, a short blue number that may be a little chilly for the climate. Poor Westerner doesn't know what cold is. At least she's found a scarf to shield herself from the chill a little. She hangs back and eyes the crowd, hoping to spot at least one familiar face.

Istans have likely been arriving in a steady trickle, many probably alongside some of the booze deliveries. Though whether this is planned or mere coincidence, might be up for debate. And the Istan senior is certainly no exception, though Nziekilth herself isn't carrying more than her rider today. The massive gold sweeps in from between with a deep-throated rumble, part greeting to the other dragons, and part warning to the smaller transport dragons which are suddenly flanking her. But only for a moment, as she drops past them like a boulder toward the landing field, wings spread at the last moment to give her a less than elegant stop, and causing her rider to swear even less elegantly. Behind her a few other dragons are making a more careful descent, one Tzimisceth giving her tail a lot of space as he touches down. V'lad, unfortunate rider, apparently has the unenviable job of accompanying the weyrwoman while T'eo is swamped with business back home. Though given the wary eye Cenlia is casting toward the runners way over yonder, he'll have to get her off her dragon first. Nziekilth, at least, seems unbothered, casting her whirling gaze impatiently toward heights (and the Fortian dragons already in prime spots) while Cenlia makes like a crawler and very reluctantly scales the gold's side to get down. In a skirt. Because Zeek totally isn't leaning down for her rider or anything. Nope.

Velokraeth adds his mellow and honeyed toned voice to the calls that herald the arrival of the Istan dragons, including Nzieklth with Tzimisceth in her wake. The pale bronze shifts on the ledge, wings rustling at his sides not in impatience but in anticipation. This sort of affair to him is wonderful, not that he understands the concept of 'race' (already he's been told that no, they do not get to feast on the losers) but he is basking in all the social atmosphere. Especially if he can collect himself a harem of ladies and very good friends and already he is considering himself quite fortunate! Varmiroth, Dremkoth, Kayeth… now he'll seek to pull Nziekilth in and Tzimisceth too for good measure.

Finishing his conversation with the Journeyman Beastcrafter, Th'ero will lift his head and shield his eyes against the sun as the Istans arrive, his mouth quirking up at one corner. Lowering his hand, he then begins to scan the crowds but with so much movement he cannot pick out or discern a familiar face. No matter! Keeping Kyzen close to his side, Th'ero will pick his way over to where Cenlia is (slowly) dismounting, coming to an equally slow stop at a respectable distance. "Welcome to Fort Sea Hold," he drawls in an reserved tone though his smile is friendly enough. Some would say awkward, but given time the Weyrleader mellows out. Sometimes.

Nyalle spots D'ani and eagerly makes a beeline for the Weyrsecond, eager to see a familiar face. "D'ani," she calls as she approaches, feet quiet on the stones. "Might I join you for a moment? How are the runners looking? Everything in order and doing well? I'd heard that one of the runners slipped while coming out of his crate yesterday, is that true?" Above, Kayeth arches her neck and stretches her glittering wings, crooning affectionately to Dremkoth and even offering the young bronze a nuzzle. When the Istan queen arrives, Kayeth pushes to her feet and lifts her muzzle to call a proper greeting to another of her rank and hue, and then swings her head around to chase off a few blues and greens from the nice spot on Velokraeth's other side, leaving a prime space open for Nziekilth to settle if she so chooses. Velokraeth flanked by golds, Kayeth flanked by bronzes…not a bad start to the day! Turning, Nyalle then notices the arrival of Cenlia and she blushes slightly, fidgeting a bit with her wine glass. "Shall we join Th'ero?"

Varmiroth is one of those chased off and the small blue goes swiftly with a quiet huff to Velokraeth. « Enjoy being flanked by queens, » the blue says as he zips up to a narrow ledge to perch with others of his color. Watching the Istan Senior arrive with the others, Kimmila starts to meander in that direction before she nearly bumps into Naeda. "Oh, shards, I'm sorry," she apologizes, taking a step back. "I didn't spill on you did I?" she asks, lifting her klah mug and frowning in concern at the girl's dress. "I hope not…"

In with the stir of dragons arriving, there's also less grand approaches. One of those includes Borodin, sitting in the back of a wagon with some assorted barrels and eyeing them anxiously for every bump in the road. Will this be the one that sends them tumbling? No? What about that one. He doesn't like the look of the one at the end, and - wait, what? They're here? He blinks, looking out over the swelling crowds of the Gather. Yeah, they're here. "…probably late." But here! So he scrambles off the end of the wagon, looks without success for a closer place to pull up, then starts unloading while the driver stays with the wagon. Once Borodin reaches the booth where he deposits the first of those barrels, a couple others come back with him to help unload. Many hands make… well, those barrels are never going to be light work, but at least they make quicker work.

Naeda is looking in an entirely different direction when the near-collision with Kimmila happens, so she's caught somewhat by surprise. She hops away and blinks, looking down at her dress for telltale signs of spilled klah. After a moment of frenzied inspection, she breathes a sigh of relief and smiles. "No, no, I'm okay. Thanks." She gives the rider a nervous sort of little smile. "It's okay, it was just an accident. No big deal."

There seems to be some kind of argument going on between Cenlia and poor V'lad, the Istan bronzer doing his best to both not look up while extending a hand, so the woman doesn't actually fall off her dragon. Not that she looks like she really wants the assistance, clinging easily to the lowest straps and tucking her skirt so it stops swishing about her legs and getting in the way. Th'ero's greeting earns an almost awkward pause from the goldrider, not quite able to tell who's down there, before she calls, "Er. Ista's greeti-" at which point Nziekilth simply loses patience, responding in kind to Kayeth, her own neck arching in an amiable rumble while wings abruptly spread.. and Cenlia has about two seconds before she's shrugged off the straps. Good thing she was already on her way down. The weyrwoman, uttering some particularly /choice/ words toward own dragon, scrambles the rest of the way, somehow managing not to get the fancy outfit caught on anything in the process. Though she grudgingly does have to make a grab for V'lad's hand (and possibly the Fortian weyrleader if he's close enough), since Zeek is totally getting herself airborne, heedless of who happens to be standing nearby. She'll be heading for the spot now cleared, with another pleased, and perhaps amused rumble. At least.. Cen is off the dragon? Tzimisceth will follow Nziekilth to her chosen spot on the other side of Velokraeth, though the Istan bronze might give the Fortian ones a suspicious eyeing, keeping close to Zeek - but not /too/ close, as her tail warns him back. He's not up there in the rank, and may actually end up sulking off to join the smaller dragons with Varmiroth, eventually.

Finding himself hailed, D'ani turns to spot Nyalle threading her way through the crowd. "Of course you may join me. I'd never say no to my Weyrwoman." His formality is all sham, says the warm smile that tugs at his mouth, even though his manners are genuine as he offers her his arm. "They're looking good. And I believe that particular runner had an uneventful warm up this morning." Above on the heights, Dremkoth accepts that nuzzle - swoon! He's pleased to enjoy the company of Velokraeth and, well, any others who join, craning his neck curiously at Nziekilth and Tzimisceth, whom he hasn't met. He doesn't trumpet to them, but he will greet them with a rumble when they arrive on the heights. "Probably," says D'ani easily of joining Th'ero and so he steers Nyalle in that direction, taking care that the crowds do not buffet the younger woman. Their path takes them past that cart where those barrels are being unloaded. "Oh, hey Borodin!" He'll pause for a moment. "Have you met Nyalle? Nyalle, this is Borodin, vitner, obviously." "Joureyman, I hope you'll get some time to enjoy the gather," he adds with a grin.

Velokraeth chuffs, slightly disgruntled, when Kayeth sends the greens and the blues scattering. One of which is a close companion to him. « Really, Kayeth. Was that necessary? There is room for at least one to remain and still have our guests comfortable. » he chides the young gold and yet his mind ripples with amusement in the same breath. He rumbles warmly to Nziekilth when the gold no longer waits on her rider and comes to join them. Tzimisceth's suspicious eyeing only has the pale bronze cocking his head innocently. If dragons could smirk, he'd be doing that right now. What? « Welcome! Do make yourselves comfortable. » Velokraeth offers to both Istan dragons, though he may also be tallying up the leftover space too in one of those mismatched eyes of his. Hmm.

Th'ero is quick enough on his feet when need be and once it's evident that Nziekilth will not wait on her rider he had begun to step forwards and jogs the last few steps in order to lend a hand, taking a firm but gentle hold of her arm or hand should he reach in time. "Are you alright?" he asks politely, no trace of amusement or laughter on his features. If there is one thing Th'ero has mastered over the Turns, it's when to keep his expression neutral. The Fortian Weyrleader promptly pulls his hand back once Cenlia is steady on her feet, leaving it to V'lad to keep his hold on the Sr. Weyrwoman if necessary. "Seems the excitement of the Gather just doesn't apply to us riders, does it?" he drawls, attempting some humour while not shedding too much light on her rather… abrupt dismount. " And Fort's duties to Ista and her queens," he adds, completing her earlier greeting. Kyzen, the four Turn old child had had to hurry alongside his father too and now he just peers up at the two strangers. He, however, is grinning and is quite entertained by Cenlia's dismount and perhaps her choice of words. Oooh, she said lots of bad ones!
Kimmila exhales in relief. "Oh good, I'm sorry again. Shouldn't have been hurrying so much. Excuse me, I've got…" Hand wave. "Important people over there. Enjoy the gather!" Then she's off, quick strides carrying her nimbly through the crowd to Th'ero's side where she slips her arm through his. Shifting the mug to that hand, she reaches down to ruffle Kyzen's hair, watching in slight amusement at Cenlia's rather unique dismounting style. "You alright? And yes, welcome to Fort Sea Hold, we're thrilled you both could make it." Then she glances down at Kyzen and gives him a /look/. Don't you be repeating those naughty words young man.

Nyalle smiles back at the Weyrsecond as she takes his arm neatly, walking with him through the crowd. "Journeyman Borodin, well met," she says kindly, looking at the barrels with interest. "I'm glad to see Fort so well represented. But yes, as the Weyrsecond says, do enjoy yourself." Above, Kayeth croons happily to Dremkoth and then swings her head back around to Velokraeth. « I do not know if she favors the company of lesser colors, » she says privately to Velokraeth. Lesser as in smaller of course!

Naeda is decidedly not important people, so she nods understandingly at Kimmila when she rushes off. "You too!" She calls out, before returning to sort of awkwardly milling about. But, the encounter leaves her with an idea. Klah! That will help cut the chill of having come to a Fort-weather gather in Western-weather clothes. She begins edging through the crowd towards the nearest serving table.

Back and forth and back and - it's like people drink at a Gather. Or at least like the vintners think they'll drink at a Gather. Borodin pauses as D'ani hails him. Whowhat? Oh, there. He nods to D'ani, not waving because, well, barrel. It has the Fort Weyr and Vintner marks, and a stamp with a hoofprint against the dark wood. Presumably, if you know your brews, that might mean something? "Hey," he says to Weyrsecond, then flicks his gaze to Nyalle. Seen? Sure, he's seen the Weyrwoman. Met? Not so much. "Uhm, yeah, well met," he echoes, and bobbles his head in what's almost enough to make the barrel wobble. Not quite, fortunately. "I, uh, yeah." He glances to the crowd. "Once things, uhm, settle down. I mean, get going. Er, once they're set up, anyway." So given the heavy object he's got right now? "I'll, uh, see…" He looks to D'ani, back again to Nyalle. "Enjoy the Gather." A bob of his head, and then he's shuffling on to continue his unloading.

Undignified landings aside, Cenlia looks none the worse for wear, though a good deal like she might repeat those bad ones all over again. She doesn't, though, possibly because she's caught a glimpse of just who /else/ she nearly landed on. Whoops? Her attire - an appropriately festive red and orange blouse and layered skirt, gets impatiently adjusted as she shrugs out of her riding jacket, shoving the garment absently at V'lad. The Istan bronzerider accepts it wordlessly, folding it over one arm before offering Th'ero a formal, and flawlessly polite, "Ista's duties, to Fort Weyr and her queens," his own more subdued tunic, suede vest, and trousers a pale grey trimmed in black. Cenlia stares at him blankly for a moment, then turns to get a proper look at Th'ero, dragging her hand through her hair in vague embarrassment before offering the Fort weyrleader a nod and a lopsided grin, "Aye, Ista's greetings, an' all that." Beside her, V'lad might be subtly trying elbow the woman. Cenlia ignores him, instead chuckling to Th'ero and nodding to Kimmila as she arrives, the goldrider's expression a tad sheepish, "Am fine, had worse," dusting off her skirt, "Lost a bet, so got stuck in this getup." For a moment, her gaze is drawn briefly toward those.. barrels. What does Borodin have in there? Her booze-sense might be tingling, "Good day fer a Gather though, even so." Nziekilth, meanwhile, settles comfortably with Tzimisceth trying to make his dark bulk as small as possible to avoid her tail. She'll extend an equally warm rumble to Dremkoth as Kayeth and Velokraeth, not seeming to mind the Fortian colors at least. A sunset-tinged « Thanks, n' do b' sure t' tell yers a thanks f'r not lettin' mine land on 'er arse. » Tzimisceth, much like his rider, might be supressing his own draconic sigh.

Yeah, please don't drop that barrel! Which barrel D'ani eyes. Apparently that one's got a kick? Not that he knows his brews - it'd just be a guess. In any case, he'll have to return and try some later, when his official duties have ended for the day. For now, he steps back to allow Borodin to continue with his work - that barrel's got to be heavy, so he won't hold him up. His gaze goes to where Th'ero and the Istan pair are but he doesn't start that way immediately, even though Nyalle has expressed a wish to join them. Instead, he looks down at her with a challenge twinkling in his brown eyes. "It looks like Th'ero and Kimmila have things well in hand with the formalities. Would you like to have a little fun today?" It is, after all, a gather, not a state meeting and it's totally likely they'll run into the others somewhere in the course of the day. Naeda wanders by as D'ani's eyes idly scan their surroundings and he nods amiably to her.

Ah, there's the klah! It may not actually be all that cold out, but to Naeda's fragile dolphineer sensibilities, it may as well be the unforgiving tundra. She secures herself a nice full mug of the stuff and sips it greedily as her eyes once again scan out over those present. She makes eye contact with D'ani right about the right time to catch that nod, which she returns with a little smile.

Th'ero will politely pretend he does not see how Cenlia just foists her jacket on V'lad, though he does try to glimpse the bronzerider's shoulder for a knot. Weyrsecond perhaps? No? Hmm. The Fortian Weyrleader dips his head however to the greeting, extending all the proper formal courtesies and yet not being so forward as to ask the bronzerider he name. Velokraeth may supply that if needed, though for now Th'ero's attentions drift back to Cenlia. "A lost bet?" he replies, mouth quirking in a faint smile. "For being 'stuck' in the getup, the dress is suiting." Too much? Too little? Th'ero is not good with these things and he looks all too relieved when he feels Kimmila's arm slip through his. "There you are! Tried to find you earlier." he murmurs under his breath, while Kyzen ducks from under his mother's ruffling hand with a giggle. "It is and we can hope the good weather sticks into the night. I hear Ista is hosting the next leg of the races. Will it be Ista Hold?" he asks the two Istan rider's by way of idle conversation.

Just then, there's a signal given and a distant voice - no doubt one of the many Harper's about or one of the workers in charge of the race proceedings - calling out that the first race is about to begin. Already a large crowd has begun to drift towards the stands and the atmosphere begins to chance and shift to one of anticipation. The Lord and Lady Holder of Fort Sea Hold can be seen in their private 'box', waving and addressing some of those close enough to hear them. The runners for the first race and their jockeys are warming up, preparing to be led to the starting gate. As the crowds drift, some folk may linger hopefully around where Borodin is unloading those barrels. A drink to go, perhaps? Maybe? Up on the ledge, Velokraeth just whuffles in patient amusement to Kayeth. « My dear, fiery lady… What if one of those 'lesser' colours had a rider of rank? We cannot afford insult. » To Nzielkith, the pale bronze rumbles and his mind ripples with a rich, honeyed white wine and spice. « Oh no, he would never allow that to befall your rider. Ahh, looks like they're almost ready. Pity we do not eat these ones. We've a literal feast in front of us! » Woe.

Kimmila nods a greeting to V'lad as well, smiling at him as she drains her klah and passes the mug off to one of the drudges hastening to the kitchens with a tray of dirty cups. That task done, she bends to scoop Kyzen up into her arms, balancing the toddler on her hip so he can see better. "The red and orange is a bit jarring, though I'm curious what the bet was about," Kimm says, her grin crooked. "Ah, sounds like the races are about to begin, shall we head in that direction? We have a box reserved that you're welcome to use if and when you choose to."

Nyalle continues walking with D'ani but then she stops, looking at him in surprise. "Not…go greet Ista's Senior Weyrwoman? I have to at least introduce myself." Though truth be told, avoiding the formalities sounds good to her! "I would love to have some fun today. Not just a little." She would like lots of fun today please! "I do need to go say hello though." Above, Kayeth considers Velokraeth's words and peers around to the dragons she sent packing. « They are all lesser rank than the Senior of Ista though, who is our guest, » she says. « And I only told our dragons to make room. » Only Fortian. So that's fair, right?

Those barrels, once they've been neatly stacked on the racks waiting for them, certainly might bring a warm tingle to the booze-sense. Mostly beers and ales, the sorts of things that go in a mug and make Gather-goers tipsy. Some of them do have rather a kick! And, if even a double or the triple isn't enough, there's also some whiskey to be had. Along with… well, whatever else. Borodin's only one journeyman, and this is a Gather. All he knows is what he brought… though he can likely figure out the rest quickly enough, if someone wants to buy. Borodin breathes a sigh of relief as he reaches the end of the burden-y part of things, watching as the last of the barrels is set down. He traces along them with a pointing fingertip. This and that and the other and… yep, looks like he's got the full set. Which means it's time to turn his attention back to the crowds. Drinks to go? Sure, he can provide. To-go is why the cheap, ugly cups nobody would ever think of stealing. Abandoning, yes, but they can be collected later. Those gather-goers getting started on the drinks early swirl past Naeda as she has her klah. She can probably smell the booze. It… can provide a different sort of warmth.

Cenlia seems to have forgotten V'lad is there, or maybe the woman is just trying very hard to ignore him. Like a now-silent shadow, the man merely accepts his assigned role as jacket-holder. On his shoulder, his knot is that of an ordinary bronzerider, albeit from Ista's diplomatic wing. Cen's eyebrows rise a little at Th'ero's comment on her attire, the weyrwoman laughing easily with nodded agreement to Kimmila about it being jarring, "I feel like a walking bonfire, but it was this or let the old aunties have at me." Here, she will maybe shudder slightly. "Dun ever try to drink an Igenite under the table - she'll win. 'Specially if it's firewhiskey, there's another nod for Fort's weyrleader, "Will be at Ista Hold, am told - one of them beasts comes from Trolessi's own stock. Sent it as a gift," though her tone suggests it might have been anything but. Head canting, she turns to watch the crowd a moment before nodding again to Kimmila, "Sounds good to me. Heh, as long as we're out of biting range of them critters," in reply about the box, her tone wry. V'lad will follow quietly, though like the other bronzerider.. he too is wearing a blade, and not in the decorative sense. The way he watches the crowd, despite his attire, suggests he's not here for fun. Cen, on the other hand, is definitely determined to enjoy herself despite eyeing those runners like they might want to eat her for lunch, and she'll be sure to angle toward acquitring some booze on the way, of course! Nziekilth, like her rider, is eyeing the runners, but /her/ response to Velokraeth is a whiskey-wafted agreement, « 'S a pity, but could always offer 't eat the losers. Incentive-like, » licking her jaws and, from the way she's slowly been edging Tzimisceth into one tiny section as she sprawls, it's possible just might simply have sat on any smaller color who hadn't moved when she'd headed over. Then again, maybe she is about as fond of /that/ bronze as her rider is of V'lad.

The Weyrsecond's friendly nod turns to a warm smile in response to Naeda's. "We will…eventually," D'ani assures Nyalle, his enthusiasm slipping a little at her insistence. "You know if we go over there, we'll never get away, right?" Not that he's avoiding anyone, he's just got a little boy's mischief lingering about him. He reaches to where her hand is resting on his arm, gently pats it before he lifts it and gives it a little squeeze. "Go ahead then," he says indulgently for the formal persistence of his Weyrwoman. "I'll be along eventually." He'd definitely love some ale, says the longing look towards Borodin's stall, but that'll come later. Right now he's going to mingle with the trackside crowds where he can hear the whuffs of excited breath, the champing at the bits and smell the sweat from excited beasts about to run as they're led forth. Up on the heights, Dremkoth interjects sagely, « Runnerbeasts are tasty. » How's he know? He's not saying. Have any runnerbeasts gone missing lately?

Th'ero's arm tightens around Kimmila, his eyes watching his weyrmate as she picks up their son, tilting his head to murmur something to her ear. Mostly about how the child is old enough to walk but whether or not its meant in jest or seriousness is hard to pinpoint. Yet when the bluerider comments on Cenlia's dress colours, he gives Kimmila a sidelong look. Cough. Yet the Sr. Weyrwoman takes it in stride and Th'ero can't help but chuckle dryly. "If I were in your place… I'd forego allowing the Aunties to get to me either." he muses and now a smile creeps onto his features. "Point taken and noted, though I should be safe enough. My tastes lie more in ales than the spicier whiskies." Turning his head towards the racetracks, the Fortian Weyrleader's smile does not waver. "I think if we head over now, we'll have plenty of time to sit before they've the first round at the gates. Perhaps we'll get something to drink?" he offers as well, casting another glance swiftly to where Borodin is with those barrels. Not the only vendor of warming and alcoholic drinks but certainly the closest! Plus, Borodin may know of the Fortian Weyrleader's taste towards the stronger drinks — say, an ale? "Is it now?" Th'ero remarks to Cenlia, "Do you know the beast's name?" As for being out of biting range, he only frowns faintly at such a comment but overall looks amused. "We'll be far enough away to be out of range of the runners but still have clear view. One of the better angles, I hear." Of course! Th'ero is here for fun too, though he may not outwardly show it. Give it time, give it time!

Velokraeth whuffles again to Kayeth and gives the fiery gold a gentle nuzzle to her neck if she permits such a gesture. « Never mind, dear lady. » Details! They'll discuss later, if either of their memories serve to remind them. To Nziekilth, the pale bronze absorbs the whiskey-scent and matches it with appropriate spice and sweetness. « Alas, I was told we could not eat the losers even though I thought it'd be a wonderous idea. « Oh, Dremkoth? You've sampled one? Or a wild beast? »

Naeda perks up a little at the smell of strong drink that passes by along with Borodin. Hrm. Now there's a way to shake away the 'cold'. An apprentice maybe technically shouldn't be drinking, but she's on vacation, right? She gets a decidedly scheming look on her face as she follows along with the crowd headed to watch the imminent race.

Kimmila wants to hold their son, so she's going to hold their son, so nyah. "Shards, a firewhisky drinking contest? You've got balls, Cenlia." This is why Kimmila isn't in the diplomacy wing. Well. She's not /really/. "I'm ready to head on over, shall we?" she asks, starting to move in that direction with her arm looped through Th'ero's again. "I placed a few bets for us."

Nyalle looks saddened as D'ani's enthusiasm falls. Damn the formalities. She sighs though, reluctantly taking her hand back with a nod. "I'll find you soon," she promises. "We'll do something. I'm looking forward to it." She /is/. She wants to /play/. But first…duties. Watching him go, she straightens her posture and puts on a smile, striding to meet the others. "Ma'am, it's an honor," she says as she approaches Cenlia, lifting her skirt to give the Ista Weyrwoman a polite curtsey. "Welcome. Is there anything I can get for you? Food? Drink? There's a fine Fortian stall there," she says, gesturing to Borodin's stall. "I can have things delivered to the box." Above, Kayeth returns Velokraeth's nuzzle and settles again, rumbling happily. Such festivities! Though she does tilt her head curiously towards Dremkoth. Do tell!

Borodin and his drinks are here for the having, and for those who don't come now… they'll still be here later! Probably. Unless they've miscalculated just how thirsty people are, and run out partway through the day… though even then, there's surely more back in storerooms. So yes, that drink will be waiting for D'ani whenever he has the chance to take it, and Naeda… well, he won't mention the apprentice knot if she doesn't? Really, that's between her and her superiors. As for The'ro? Oh yes, Borodin has ales the Weyrleader might find suitable. Ones with a kick! Just like a runner.

Up on the heights, « It… was a runner. » That's all Dremkoth is certain of. Wild caught? Farm-raised? Grassfed? Organic? Uhhh…. « It was a runner. » Reiterates the bronze with the hazy memories dragons have. Convenient, that. "Count on it," D'ani promises Nyalle. So if she doesn't find him, he'll find her. "Save me a dance," he says casually over his shoulder as he mingles with the surging crowd moving closer to the track. At the rail, he just might find himself rubbing elbows with Naeda. If he does, he'll chat with her about the various runners and who he (unofficially) thinks might and might not win - but he'll only speculate aloud once the betting is closed and the runners are being paraded on the track. He'll be definitely be visiting Borodin's stall later, perhaps lingering to talk - in the lulls between the rush for booze - in the attempt to get to know him a little better. Somewhere in the course of the evening he'll meet up with Th'ero and not-so-formally welcome Ista's Weyrwoman to Fort, probably with a proffered mug of something alcoholic and a turn around the dance floor if she'll permit it. If they're a little tipsy by then, so much the better!

"Old aunties're worse'n crawlers in the drawers," Cenlia shakes her head, though she good-naturedly adds, "Could go fer a good ale m'self, about now. Either of you ever tried Tanner's Friend? One of our riders - Leona - makes the stuff, sharding amazing what that woman does with her brew." There's a laugh for Kimmilla's statement about her having balls, but her grin clearly isn't denying it, "Gotta, if I want to keep up with all the mayhem that goes on at Ista." Clearly, she and Kimmila have the same view on diplomacy. She'll cheerfully the Fortians, V'lad trailing at a respectful distance. The question of the runner earns another lopsided grin from Cen, "Not Zeek's Lunch," a pause and a pointed glance sent toward the heights. Nziekilth might snort at the air just then, before rumbling definite agreement to Dremkoth's statement, « No reason t' waste all th' beasts on sport. Perfectly good meal that 'un, » eyeing a particularly fine specimen down there. The gold's attention returns to the other dragons, though, low rumbly breath released at Velokraeth's words « 'S a real shame tha' - sounds harder t' get ahold of one than a chicken coop, » her own head canting with real interest toward Dremkoth as well. Oh dear. When Nyalla greets her, Cenlia is obviously not paying attention, because the first thing out of her mouth is, "Only people that call me Ma'am're those that want a shovel to the f-/oof/!" That would be V'lad giving Cen a sharp jab in the ribs with his elbow. The goldrider opens her mouth, catches sight of the other goldrider's knot, and tacks on a quickly sheepish, "Er, that is, just Cen'll do." /Cough/. With a chuckle, she adds, "Well met, an' am sure we've time to share a mug while the races start, yeah? Were just heading fer some drink an' seats," canting her head toward Th'ero and Kimmila, since she's still following them.

Whether Kimmila wants to hold him or not, Kyzen will begin to squirm impatiently and ask to go down, especially when he see's all the commotion going on closer to the tracks. "Is it starting?" he asks, hopeful and excited. Can they go yet? Maybe he'll try one of the new words he learned just earlier! Th'ero just keeps his expression neutral with a smile that may be just a wee bit strained for Kimmila's bluntness until Cenlia laughs and takes it all in stride. To say the Fortian Weyrleader is relieved is an understatement, though he is giving the Istan Weyrwoman a lingering look. "You what?" he says in a low voice to Kimmila when she mentions betting. "Which runners? And you better not let Ny—" Oops, speak of the devil! Straightening, Th'ero dips his head respectfully to Nyalle. "We were just about to head that way. Are you joining us, Weyrwoman Nyalle?" he asks, his tone as formal as ever. "Mhm, delivery would be best. Thoughtful of you! Ah, I've not heard of Tanner's Friend." Th'ero admits to Cenlia just as he turns to gesture with his arm that they can proceed forwards down the path. The Fortian Weyrleader will lead but at a pace that sill allows for comfortable conversation. "I'll have to try it sometime. Do you prefer strong ales? If so, you should try Black Damnation." he remarks with another hint of a smile, only to blink. "Not… Zeek's Lunch?" He laughs softly. "Dare I ask how that came about?" V'lad's elbowing of Cenlia to the greeting she almost gave to Nyalle is met with a stare, incredulous and yet just held there since Th'ero isn't… quite sure how to react. Does he burst out laughing? Frown? All of the above? He certainly wants to laugh, but his eyes flick to the Fortian Weyrwoman and he just continues walking. Oh look, there's Borodin! "Good day," he greets as they pass and gives a curious glance to the barrels. "Any chance you'll be sneaking away too to watch the races or do they have you here the whole Gather?" he asks, amiable and mildly curious before business. For once.

Kimmila grins crookedly at Cenlia with a nod as she sets Kyzen down, taking his 'leash' from Th'ero. "Yes, Kyzen, we're going. Be patient." She grins at Cenlia and winks at Th'ero. "You'll know if we win." She quiets when Nyalle arrives, giving the Senior a proper salute, if a bit subdued
Nyalle looks downright startled at Cenlia's initial response, eyes darting from her to V'lad and back again as an unwelcome blush creeps up her cheeks. "Ah, certainly…Cen," she says, clearly fumbling with the use of the woman's nickname. How improper. Clearing her throat, the young Senior shifts, glancing at Th'ero and Kimmila, then back to Cenlia, and then again to V'lad. "Please, go on ahead to the seats, I'll be along shortly with some food and drink." And then she's off, swift steps taking her deeper into the crowd to try and regain her composure.

"Uhm, hi," Borodin says to Th'ero as the Weyrleader passes, and glances to the others. Kimmila he gives a nod of greeting, Kyzen he checks to make sure is properly leashed - whew, good! - and Cenlia he observes for a moment before bobbing his head and looking back to Th'ero. "I, uh, I'm doing this for… a while, at least." A shrug. "I don't know runners much, anyhow." Maybe if they were cows?

Cenlia is just going to rub her side and give V'lad a sideways look that might suggest death from shovelling later. But for whatever reason, she lets him get away with it. On the heights, though, Nziekilth will totally flick her tail at Tzimisceth, the Istan bronze taking it as his cue to relocate. Quickly. Cenlia will continue to follow Kimmila and Th'ero down the path, picking up the coversation again with a sheepish grin, "The stronger the better, though am just as partial to brandies an' fruit wines. Am originally from Southern Boll, so grew up on their drink. M' family down there still brews and ships brandy to us." As for the unfortunately (or fortunately?) named runner, Cen will grin even wider, "Told Trolessi, if he was gonna send me a runner in the tithe, he'd better make it clear it weren't dragon lunch." The other weyrwoman's hasty retreat is watched with more than a little sheepishness, though, Cen running a hand through her hair and then clearing her throat. Whoops. V'lad, at least, has the decency to look apologetic. But Cenlia, her attention drawn to Borodin and the barrels, commenting wryly, "Hope they 'least let ya get yer own taste while yer here?"

'Patient' is not quite in Kyzen's vocabulary, but everyone can rest easy with the child in his harness and secure. Never fear! He won't pop up where he shouldn't be, like on the tracks or… balancing precariously on Borodin's barrels of booze and alcoholic delights. No, Kyzen just pouts and gives his 'leash' a few good tugs. Come on! Th'ero snorts at Kimmila, "Not even a hint?" he drawls to the bluerider with a smirk. "Are you certain, Nyalle?" he goes on to add, only to frown as the Weyrwoman turns and departs, his eyes following her disappearing form in the crowds. He exhales softly and shakes his head, noting V'lad's apologetic look and simply returning it with a slight nod. Nothing to be done of it now! "Mhm, I am familiar with Southern Boll's vintages. I don't doubt that there may be a bit of that about too. I hadn't known though that you were formally of Southern Boll." Th'ero murmurs to Cenlia, only to grin back at the tale of the runner's name. "Suppose that is one way of being sure that no mistake is made." he drawls and then to Borodin the Weyrleader chuckles. "Neither do I… Know anything about runners, that is. Don't need to I think, to enjoy a runner race. And if this is your, ah… duty for the day, would you mind having some drinks brought to the stands?" Surely they wouldn't miss him for a few moments, right? And then best hurry to put in their orders or requests, as the signal goes out again and there's an excited murmuring amongst the crowds and spectators. The first runners are beginning to line up at the gates! Th'ero will lead on, once all is arranged and agreed upon with the drinks, the crowds now noticeably slimmer with most drifting to the track and settled by now.

Kimmila tugs Kyzen's leash back with a crooked grin, but they /are/ moving at least. "Nope," is Kimm's low reply to Th'ero, along with a wink as she keeps her arm through his. "I prefer the lighter ales myself," she says, finally stepping into the booze conversation. "So Cenlia, do you ride? Thanks, Borodin," she tosses into the mix as they move past his booth, giving the Vinter a wink.

Vintners' privilege? Borodin bobs his head to Cenlia. "Uh, well, have to make sure it's good before I serve it, don't I?" he replies. Which may be mostly a joke, given that it'd be a bad idea to try doing math and pouring things when drunk. Borodin's here to work! At least for the moment. He's probably lucky he's working now - it means he's more likely to have free time later, when the crowds that now rush to the races have drifted back to get drinks to celebrate victory or drown losses. And, well, speaking of both drinks and serving, he nods to Th'ero. "Uh, sure." Deliveries are part of the job! And he'll accept any orders from the group (one dark, one light, one strong?) as they continue to the track. Those drinks'll be along shortly!

"Born and raised there," Cenlia chuckles, about Southern Boll, "Did some travelling about, assigned as a gardener before I impressed, though. Is how I ended up at Ista in the end. Ever been down to Sunny Orchard? Is where m' uncles have their brewery an' peach groves. Jungle's a real terror in the summer, but Boll's beaches're almost as nice as Ista's." Kimmila's question on riding earns a pause from Cen, the woman looking somewhat sheepish for a moment, rubbing the back of her neck, "Er, nah, dun go near the beasts myself. Zeek'd prolly eat the first one I tried to ride," totally using her dragon as a convenient excuse, "What 'bout yerself? can't imagine most riders get too much time with runners?" She'll quickly agree with Borodin though, "You most certainly do, have to make sure every batch is as good as the last," grinning just a bit there as she follows the other two riders.

Kyzen scowls when Kimmila just pulls at his 'leash' and promptly hauls on it, which… really isn't that strong. He'll calm down though, but not before exhaling in a frustrated groan. He wants to go see the pretty runners! Stupid adults and their stupid jabbering. Th'ero just sighs at Kimmila, but his smile is light and a touch playful. "Fine, be that way." he drawls and then frowns. "Wait. Who's marks did you bet with?" he asks in a low undertone. Should he be worried? "Afraid I haven't been," Th'ero admits to Cenlia but he does commit the name to memory. Another place to his list! One that is ever growing. "But it sounds beautiful. Strange, how I've been Weyrleader here in Fort for so long and I am still discovering parts of the territory I've not heard or seen." Not really that unusual, given a man of his rank can so rarely escape. Most 'visits' on his part are strictly political and… not with 'fun' in mind. "Is Ze— Nziekilth possessive? I've had to have the same argument with Velokraeth. He sees this all as a banquet." Th'ero snorts. Not if he can help it! Wouldn't that just be a hude heap of scandal? Prized runners devoured. How many marks would it take to cover that up! "Excellent. We'll see you soon then," he murmurs to Borodin, sealing the deal. Onwards! Th'ero leads the group on towards the stands and up to where they'll be seated, just high enough off the grounds to get a good view. None too soon, either as the last few runners are led into the gates and the final checks and preparations being executed. "Just made it." The Fortian Weyrleader says as he settles on one of the benches, eyes scanning the crowds and packed stands before eyeing the gates below and to the side. "Recognize any of the colours or numbers?" he asks of his guests and Kimmila.

Ten runners are at the gates, a mix of Fortian, Istan and Xanadian colours. Their numbers will give away their names if one memorized them. Fort's Glass Stronghold, Golden Gait, Silver Set and Dark Intentions are in, with Ista's Firethorn, Midnight Streaker and, lo and behold, 'Not Zeek's Lunch' in the middle. Finishing the rest are Xanadu's Abelian, Sagacious and Quintic. A few minutes pass, the air filled with the sound of runners, other herd beasts and the murmuring of the crowd. When the signal finally goes off and the gates drop, all runners plunging forwards the stands erupt in cheers! Go, go go!

Kimmila rolls her eyes at Th'ero, but it's all in good fun. "Mine. So when I win big, maybe I'll buy you a present," she murmurs. "Me? I love riding. Grew up riding around Fort and Varmiroth could care less if I take a runner out on a hunt now and then. Not that I've had much time, but I go riding at the cotholds fairly often." Settling into her seat, she plants Kyzen on her lap though the toddler quickly scrambles up to stand on her knees, which she doesn't seem to mind. She'll just watch around him. "I bet on Dark Intentions," she admits. "And Silver Set."

Moyrel, Masterharper of Pern, comes in just as the burst of cheering erupts. She picks her way through the crowd, looking for a good place to spectate the race without getting mobbed by the, well, mob, all the while keeping at least one eye on the running runners.
"If not better," Borodin adds to Cenlia with a smile, then nods to Th'ero. Drinks will be coming! And once they've left, he turns to pour some, letting the others at the booth take care of the final customers rushing to get their drinks before - and there it is, the roar of the crowd as the runners start into motion and the latecomers race to find a view!

"Oughtta get one of them things fer my own two," Cenlia has totally been trying not to look amused at poor Kyzen's predicament there, "Right terrors they are." And while she doesn't comment on any snippets of betting talk, she does glance at the starting race with somewhat more interest now. "There're still islands and cotholds around Ista I never even /heard/ of," she offers Th'ero an understanding grin, "Hard to visit everywhere. Shells, but I wish I could just take off an' sightsee someday." As for Nziekilth, the woman shrugs and looks sheepish again, "More like, she's got a taste fer what she shouldn't be eatin' - is hard 'nough to deal with her wanting chickens all the time." Exasperation sneaks into her voice, just there. She does cant her hear to Kimmila in surprise, though, "Yer dragon doesn't scare the beasts?" or want to eat them, possibly. She'll follow the other two, taking a seat beside V'lad and giving him a look when he leans to mumble something at her. But before the man can continue, Cen nudges him none too gently with an elbow, uttering flat a, "/Scoot/," before raising her hand to try to wave Moyrel over with a cheerful, "Masterharper!" The bronzerider dutifully scoots, vacating his seat for the craftsmaster if she wants it, though he finds a spot further back, appearing to watch the weyrwoman, instead of the race. "The one in the middle's Not Zeek's Lunch," Cenlia adds conversationally, the race having her looking at least a bit less wary of the beasts.

Th'ero snorts again and goes to fire something smartly back at Kimmila but is intervened by Kyzen piping up. He heard that word! "Can I have a present?" he asks, brighteyed as he swivels a bit to peer back at his mother only to lean forwards again when the runners burst forwards. His delighted shrieking is lost among the cheers or simply adds to it. Wincing a bit for the octaves reached by a child, Th'ero turns to Cenlia. "Do it! It'll bring so much peace of mind." he remarks with a lopsided smirk on the matter of the harness. "Why couldn't you?" he asks, though doesn't expect that much of a response once the race has started. Th'ero will watch as V'lad vacates his seat, frowning again as he tries to puzzle out why the bronzerider is shadowing Cenlia so closely only to have his attention caught up both by the Masterharper's arrival and the race down below. Already the group has clustered together, with a few clearly in the lead. "Welcome, Masterharper!" Th'ero calls out over the din as he sweeps an arm to indicate she is more than welcomed to join them. "Ah, that one, you mean Cenlia?" His finger then goes on to point to one of the Istan runners near the back and almost nose to nose with the Fortian runner 'Golden Gait'. Either he's cursed or it was just coincidence, but both runners stumble almost one after the other with Golden Gait going down and sending her rider out of the saddle. 'Not Zeek's Lunch''s jockey stays in saddle and as the runner lurches to it's feet it attempts to resume but the rest of the runners are already charging down to the finish line, leaving only those two as the first round losses. More cheers erupt as a few favourites cross the finish, ensuring their place in the future Istan races and as they trot to cool down, the next round of competitors begin to warm up.

Kimmila nods at Cenlia with a smile, her hands firm around Kyzen's little waist. "Well sure he does, but he stays behind when I go out riding. And we made this for him after a few, ah…incidents. Have to make them strong though. He broke one one time." Dipping her head to Moyrel when she approaches, the bluerider offers a smile of greeting. "Glad to see you, Masterharper. Enjoying yourself?" Looking back at the race, she hisses when the runners go down, shaking her head. "SHame, that. WHo won though? Anyone see?"

Moyrel continues to find her way through the lively crowd, and, recognizing some folks known to her, makes her way in that direction. "Greetings, Th'ero," she answers the welcoming greeting as she approaches. "And hello to all," she adds to Cenlia and Kimmila. "Yes, 'tis a fine gather thus far, I can say, though I've not been here for long as yet."

All the while, the aging green firelizard on the harper's shoulder flutters and squawks in complaint at the unruly crowd as her human wends her way through.

Borodin comes into the stands, nudging his way through the crowd with a tray of drinks. There's Black Damnation - because Weyrleaders (or at least Th'ero) ask for it by name. Joining it, there's a light wheat ale with tones of apricot, meant for Kimmila, and another dark, strong sort - this one made with barley, with flavors of clove and malt balanced with hops. There's also a cup of apple juice, because Kyzen. The kid might throw a fit if everyone else has drinks and he doesn't. Worse, Borodin might be in range when he does. So, the vintner edges his way up to them, and clears his throat a little. "I have, uh, Black Damnation and Apricot Ale and Cloven Hoof," which name is a new variety, as it happens, "and juice." He glances to Moyrel. Wait. He doesn't have a drink for her! …probably because she wasn't there before, but still.

"Broke it?" Cenlia looks from the toddler to Kimmila, "Shards, worse'n little herdbeasts, they are," though she totally doesn't look surprised there, "Fostered mine as soon as possible, but every time they get into a mess, is me who the Headwoman drags 'em off to see." She looks just a little more sheepish, "Tried once or twice, but it didn't end so well," though whether she's talking about peace of mind or sightseeing, isn't elaborated on as her own attention focuses on the race. She does nod to Th'ero as he points to the Istan runner, "That's the one. Rumor has it, Lord Trolessi's got a lot of marks riding on-" and whoops! Maybe they jinxed it? Because down the runners go! "Well shards," Cenlia remarks, eyebrows going up, "Mebbe shoulda let Zeek eat that one after all," though it's said jokingly as she shakes her head, "Shells, hope the other rider's alright," a somewhat sympathetic wince for the Fortian jockey who got unsaddled there. To Moyrel she does bob her head, "Is a fine day, though wish I'd thought to bet on one or two of 'em beforehand. You have any favorites in the race?" She squints at the finish line, admitting, "Was too busy watching them two critters take a tumble," thus missing the winners as well, but her observation skills are apparently far keener when it comes to booze, because she spots Borodin and immediately grins, "Excellent timing."

Moyrel catches up with her friends, petting the firelizard soothingly as she takes a seat and watches, frowning mightily as two of the beasts take a tumble while the rest cross the finish. "Shardit, maybe it was for the better," she says, seemingly to herself. To Cenlia she says, "Well, I didn't get to the betting office in time to put down a wager, though I would've liked to bet on Ista's group, as a trifecta. I was out in the courtyard entertaining some of the guests. I guess that wouldn't have worked. The betting, I mean." With that last comment she gestures at the fallen runners. "'Not Zeek's Lunch'—I figured any critter that can outrun a senior queen dragon has to be able to win a race." To Borodin: "There wouldn't perhaps be any more of those drinks available, eh?"

"Broke… escaped from. If there is one thing I've learned of toddlers is that they can be bloody smart when it serves them," Th'ero remarks to Cenlia with a grin, his gaze soon shifting to Kyzen and Kimmila too with a look that is almost fond. "Kyzen is fostered too for the most part. We just take him out now and again." When time allows and a Gather is one of those rare times! Of course the runner to loose and go down is one that an Istan Lord has a significant amount of marks bet on! Th'ero grimaces, half rising when the runners fall and cursing under his breath. "Looks like the Fortian rider is fine…" Sure enough, the jockey is getting up and is walking off with only a slight limp. His mount seems fine too and is currently in the hands of capable workers. Th'ero relaxes and eases back into his seat, exhaling heavily. "So is this what folks come to see in these races?" he asks the group at large. Borodin's timing is excellent indeed and Th'ero will look pleased that the apprentice not only has some Black Damnation there, but a drink for the toddler and Kyzen is very pleased to receive a drink too. Look, he's like the adults! Shh. No one tell him it's juice. "My thanks, Borodin! You certain that you can't stay to watch one race at least?" he muses and perhaps half seriously at that but Moyrel is placing an order then and the Fortian Weyrleader smiles to the MasterHarper. "I'm sure the Lord and Lady Holder will be please to hear that it's a fine Gather. They've certainly pulled all the stops." he agrees.

As for the winners, the guess work won't be left for long! Three runners are lined up, with Ista's Firethorn at first, Xanadu's Abelian second and Fort's Dark Intentions third. They're paraded out for all to cheer and congratulate while the next round of racers are brought forwards to the gates.

Kimmila nods, "Yes, he's fostered with my brother and his family. A Smith at the weyr, but yeah, like Th'ero said, we get to take him sometimes. Ah! Thank you so much, Borodin," she says, very pleased the Vinter remembered to bring something for Kyzen. Because Kimm totally forgot to ask for something for him. Bad Mom. "Oh, look, I won some marks on that one. Always bet on a runner to place. Ups your odds." And lowers your prize, but still. Winning is winning!

Any time when booze shows up is a good time? "Uh, good," Borodin replies to Cenlia. He smiles, then bobbles his head to Kimmila and Th'ero. "You're welcome." The track, as the Weyrleader mentions it, gets a glance. Yep. There's runners there. Running. "Uh, well, I'll watch one at some point." Eventually. Maybe. But right now, there's orders to be taken and delivered! Like Moyrel's, and he nods to the MasterHarper. "Of course. Uh, what would you like?" He'll probably get his sleeve tugged with requests for at least a few more by the time he makes it back to the stall, too. Do fragments as he scurries back and forth count as watching a race?

Cenlia has to chuckle at Moyrel's comment, the goldrider agreeing, "Shells, figured that one woulda 'least been the lucky one of the three. Guess Trolessi's gonna hafta eat his words 'bout sending us one of his best stock." /Of course/ that one would be the one to go down first. "/Too/ smart," Cenlia will aside to Th'ero and Kimmila, about toddlers, "Fostered mine with one of the nannies, but X'hil's takin' care of 'em now. Sharding better at it than I am, an' good thing too - me, I spoil 'em rotten, when I ain't havin' to assign them punishment chores," said with a grin. Her two are probably a bit older than the toddler-stage by now, perhaps. As for what folks come to see, Cen will have to shrug with a chuckled, "Dunno, don't often attend this sort of thing m'self," shooting a look behind her to where V'lad is still shadowing the weyrwoman from a safe distance. Turning back, there is a pleases, "Huh," as she spots Firethorn down there, "Hope I remember to put some marks down on that one next time." Cen will take whatever Borodin's brought for her, offering a very cheerful thanks, and seeming pretty pleased with it.

"Is that what he was claiming?" Th'ero drawls as he slips into the conversation concerning the ill-fated Trolessi bred runner. "Seemed to start well…" Until it tangoed with a Fortian runner. No doubt there's some muttering around the racing groups about it, but to the Weyrleader it's just a stroke of bad luck. "Nothing wrong with spoiling them now and again," he muses, glancing sidelong to Kimmila as he does. Kyzen is too engrossed in his juice and the sights and sounds to be paying attention to the conversation. "How old are your two, Cenlia? If you don't mind me asking." As for not being at many races, Th'ero chuckles dryly. "Can't say I attend them much either. I prefer the ride and work type runners. Kimmila and I have some investments in those stocks and bloodlines." And it came very handy to appease a blunder among the Weyr and Holds here in Fort. "Which one? That third place winner? Shells. Good insight, Wingmate." Oh, now the Fortian Weyrleader is all pleased about the betting! And if there could be further betting, Firethorn may be one eyed by many, as well as that Xanadu runner Abelian. Nodding to Borodin, Th'ero allows the apprentice to return to his work, though the offer still remains! Watching in fragments… sort of counts?

The next line of runners approach the gate and the atmosphere of the crowd turns to one of anticipation again. This time, it's Fort's Rebel Pride, Ever So Clever and All That facing against Ista's Black Sands of Ista, Costly Romance, Easy Marks and Absolutely Bygones with Xanadu's Pigeonhole, Equation and Cardinal. Like before, there is a pause and then the signal goes and the second race is underway!

Kimmila sets her drink aside, finding it too much to handle with the booze plus Kyzen and /his/ juice. Pern needs sippy cups! "Thanks," she says aside to Th'ero with a smirk. "Put bets on this race too. Costly Romance because it's a great name, and Rebel Pride."

Moyrel says to Kimmila, "Hey, congratulations. You did better than I would have done." Again she gesturs toward the track. She sighs softly and shakes her head. To Cenlia she says, "Yeah, I had had plans to put down a half-mark on an Istan trifecta. Ah, well, I'll probably end up spending it and more before the gather is over." In the way of a drink order she says to Borodin, "Hm, maybe something in the way of a rye ale, please and thanks." Finally: "Okay, I'm going to bet on this one, then. But me down for a halfmark on Costly Romance to place." Yeah, she's a little more cautious now.

It's true, delivering drinks is usually apprentice work. Not that the knot on Borodin's shoulder supports it, but then, he's delivering to the leaders of Weyrs and masters of Crafts. Makes sense why they'd send a journeyman to do it! He nods to Moyrel. "Be right, uh, back with that." Or at least as quickly as he can manage, given the crowds. There'll be others asking for drinks as well. He can get some apprentices to start going through the stands. If they carry a couple extra of popular things when making deliveries… it could work. A good day's work and some marks beats watching races, perhaps?

"Mebbe he shoulda named it after a different dragon," Cenlia can't help but smirk slightly, "Zeek's.. got a tendency to charge her chasers when she goes up. Is sharding backwards, that," the weyrwoman's dragon not really one to straight-out /run/ from anything. Not that Trolessi might know that, right? As for her own kidlets, "Xenlia's six, and Cenrie just turned nine - out of the terror phase 'least. But still small 'nough to get into loads of trouble just the same." Attention returning to talk of runners, her eyebrows go up as she glances at Th'ero and Kimmila again, "Ya have business with them things? Shells, having a stable in the weyr's still one runner too many fer me," shaking her head with a sheepish grin, "Gimme a garden fulla trundlebugs any day." Canting her head to Moyrel and Kimmila, Cen comments, "Costly Romance? There's gotta be a story behind /that/ name." She raises her glass briefly to Borodin before he departs, with a genuinely pleased, "Is good stuff, this," taking a good drink of it as she watches the next race, seeming interested despite herself.

Th'ero offers to take Kyzen off of Kimmila's hands, since the toddler has finished with his drink by then and it seems only fair. "Shells, Kimm! How many did you bet on?" he asks her, reaching for his ale and in the middle of taking a deep pull of it when she gives the names and Cenlia remarks on one too. He chokes a bit, eyeing his weyrmate as he tries not to laugh with a mouthful of ale. "Aye, I bet there is. Couldn't imagine why that one caught a few eyes, huh?" he drawls to the Istan Weyrwoman, but his pointed look is reserved for Kimmila. "Only a half-mark, Masterharper?" It's not meant as a teasing remark, just curiosity from the FOrtian Weyrleader. "Six and nine Turns… good age. Though I suppose it never stops does it? The trouble making, I mean?" he says with a smirk. Is there no hope? Th'ero chuckles heartily. "Not IN the Weyr," he corrects, leaving the rest for Kimmila to explain. He's too busy grimacing behind his mug as he downs more ale. Kyzen wrinkles his nose. "Why'd you want trundle bugs? They smell." He'd know!

This time the race goes without a hitch. No runners stumble or fall, there's no massive pileup. Just a good, clean race! The losses are on Ista and Xanadu this time, with Black Sands of Ista and Equation eliminated and the top three being All That by Fort, Costly Romance by Ista in second and Cardinal by Xanadu in third. As before, the winners are paraded out under cheers and congratulations from the crowd but there is a brief lull from this race to the last, allowing some of the spectators to stretch their legs and refill on food or drink.

Kimmila grins at Moyrel. "Thanks! Walked through the pickets this morning and found a few that I liked the look of." Then she glances around, and then back at Moyrel. "You…need to go to the betting booth for that," she says helpfully, pointing in that direction. "Oh no, our runners are in Keroon. And we sponsored a few runners to get them on this circuit as well." Handing Kyzen to Th'ero, the bluerider gets to her feet. "Going to go collect my winning so far. I'll be back."

Moyrel says to Cenlia, "Well, maybe you can feed that runner to Nziekilth laterwithout a rider aboard, of course." Then: "Six and Nine? They grow like weeds don't they? My grandbabies, the twins, will be about Cenrie's age along about now. Shells, it seems like yesterday that they were still tiny and helpless." To Th'ero: "Yeah, a half-mark. But I'm sticking to Istan runners. Yeah, I'm maybe a bit biasedthough if Western had put any runners in these races, I might have put some marks on them, partly out of bias, and partly out of spite." The last few words are spoken with mayhap just a wee note of irony.

And Borodin gets back to his booth without a hitch, too! Once there, he collects that rye ale Moyrel asked for, a few other things that got requested as well - hopefully he can find those people again, as everyone stirs around during the break between the races. He manages a few, at least, dropping them off before he ends up back at the stands and offers the ale to the MasterHarper. "Here you are, ma'am." Betting? He's doing it on which barrels of beer will sell, not which runners will be fastest.

The Masterharper's suggestion of feeding the runner to Zeek earns a laugh from Cenlia, the goldrider telling Moyrel, "Zeek definitely likes that idea. Think Trolessi might be less happy 'bout it though." Alas, no sneakly dragon snackage for Nziekilth, even if she is idly watching the beasts from her spot atop the heights. "Might put marks down on that one m'self, when they run in Ista Hold," Cenlia muses, watching Costly Romance and the other racers with a more thoughtful look. As for trouble-making, Cen gives the Fortian weyrleader a lopsided grin, "Guess it never does. According to some, am /still/ a handful an' then some," nodding to Moyrel as well, "Grew up faster'n I could keep track. Kinda wish I'd gotten time to spend with 'em b'fore they learned to talk back." I grin is for Kyzen though, Cen chuckling, "So do runners, an' they ain't half as useful," a pause, the weyrwoman admitting, "'Cept maybe fer makin' fertilizer." Watching Kimmila head off to collect winnings, Cen seems thoughtful, possibly considering making a bet of her own if there's time, but Borodin's return has her distractedly asking, "Dun suppose you've something mild - think m' sulking nanny back there could use somethin' to relax with," because poor V'lad behinhd her has totally been forgotten till now. Though before Cen can be more specific, the bronzerider waves a hand dismissively, "I'm fine, but thankyou. I can't drink when on duty." Cen gives a sigh, just shaking her head, and maybe grumbling into her ale.

"No need to rub it in," Th'ero drawls with an amused chuckle to Kimmila. "Mind grabbing some food if you can?" he asks of her before she disappears. There's a quick downward point to Kyzen, who for now is satisfied to just sit around and watch. Apparently this also includes sticking his tongue out at Cenlia. "Nuh-huh! Trundlebugs don't do nothing! 'Cept smell when you spook 'em." The Fortian Weyrleader buses Kyzen then, not that that tactic works. "What's ferti…fertilizer?" Kyzen asks next, stumbling and mangling the word horribly. "Nanny?" Th'ero quips, confused as he looks up for an actual nanny until he clues in that Cenlia meant V'lad. Huh! "So… that is your duty then, Wingrider?" he asks, glancing from bronzerider to Weyrwoman curiously. She needs a Guard? That's how he's viewing it. He does grin though, when Cenlia states how trouble may never be gone from a person. "The way I see it, sometimes you have to stir up a bit of trouble. Else life gets a bit dull, hmm?" He won't outright admit to being a problem himself, no sir! To Moyrel, Th'ero only shrugs his shoulders. "Any could have enlisted runners to these races. I'll admit that I am surprised there are no Western colours here in the races. Could be bad timing this Turn." As for her comment of half bias, half spite, he only gives the MasterHarper a shrewd look but his questions remain unvoiced.

The call goes out for the last race and many are hurrying back to their seats as the last round of runners are trotted up to the gates. Fort's Sunstruck, Through Resistance and Hidden Success, with Ista's Wherrylegs, Corset Slipper and Sea Clipper and Xanadu's Fock, Femtobam, Affine and Ergodic.

Moyrel takes the rye ale from Borodin with a nod of appreciation. "Thanks," she says sincerly, and raises the mug in a salute. She listens to Cenlia and starts to drink, until the fertilizer remark has her holding her breath lest she splutter her ale. She manages to swallow her mouthful without damage before saying, "Hey, fertilizer be useful for growing grains to make ale, y'know." Then: "I remember I used to keep a small herd of runners at the Fortian stables as a sideline, back in my younger turns." To Th'ero she says, "Hey, trundlebugs are beneficial critters. They eat parasites and pollinate plants."

Borodin bobs his head in welcome to Moyrel's thanks, then looks to Cenlia as she suggests a drink for her… nanny? Borodin glances back to see the man. "Uh, probably…" he begins. Does the fellow have those six and nine turn olds in tow? No? Maybe Cenlia means something different - or maybe, as V'lad says, he doesn't want a drink after all. "Oh. Uh." A glance back and forth between the two, and then he offers to V'lad. "There's… klah? Or juice?" Like he got for Kyzen! Bronzerider, toddler, it's still an option. Fertilizer's good for fruit trees same as grain fields! He gives Kyzen a glance for that question. "Plant food." Which is true, it just doesn't explain the connection between that and runners.
Moyrel finishes the rest of her ale and stands up, picking her way back. "Excuse me folks, I think I'll be slipping out for now. I'll be around, though."

Kimmila returns (finally!) with a tray of food in her hands - lots of easy to eat finger foods. "What did I miss?" she asks as she sits down again, offering the tray to the others.

Cenlia looks very tempted to stick her tongue out too, though a glance at the now-glaring V'lad has the weyrwoman only letting out a sigh, instead agreeing with Moyrel and Borodin, "Is decent plant food, must admit," especially where grains for ale are concerned! She'll cheerfully raise her own glass to that. A nod for what the Masterharper says about trundlebugs, Cen adding, "Is why Ista's gardens are doing so well. Even the crawler problen we had awhile back didn't affect the crops, likely 'cause of the trundlebugs. Almost nothing'll bother 'em." And she'll most definitely agree with Th'ero about having to stir up trouble sometimes, telling the weyrleader wryly, "Will get stuffy otherwise. An' when that happens, ya might as well give up on living." Meanwhile V'lad is doing a very good impression of being stuffy back there - or at least unamused. Though it seems, Cenlia's teasing he can handle, but when the Fortian weyrleader addresses him, his face colors noticably, but the reply is straightforward enough, "I've been assigned the duty of protecting Weyrwoman Cenlia, and to ensu-" but Cenlia interrupts him with a handwaved answer of her own, "He's part of the bet." The one that apparently has her stuck in a dress the color of a bonfire? The glare the weyrwoman gets is a scathing one, but V'lad falls silent, only turning to incline his head with a quietly relented, "Klah will be fine. Thankyou," to Borodin. Cenlia, in the meanwhile is turning to raise a hand in farewell to Moyrel, and then answer Kimmilia with a grinned, "Think the next lot has that one Istan runner with wierd name." As if they all didn;t have strange names.

Th'ero blinks at Moyrel and then points to Kyzen in his lap. It was the child who asked the question! Kyzen only frowns, confused, between the Masterharper and Borodin. "Plants eat food?" he mumbles back, brows knitted together but his perplexing questions are held at bay when Kimmila returns and Kyzen all but pounces her, if Th'ero didn't grab the kid by the harness he wears. "Easy, Kyzen. She'll feed you." Sheesh! "They're just getting the third race underway. You made it back in good time, Wingmate. So what's your haul on all your wise betting?" he muses to her, before dipping his head politely to Moyrel. "Clear skies, MasterHarper. Perhaps we'll cross paths again!" Good thing Cenlia was called in by V'lad, as Kyzen is tenacious and who knows where it would have progressed after tongue sticking out gestures. "You had a crawler issue?" Th'ero asks and it's obvious then that the Fortian Weyrleader appears out of the loop as far as Istan affairs go. Tsk, tsk. "Hear, hear!" He lifts his glass in toast to Cenlia's return on balancing trouble in life! "We were discussing too the values of keeping some trouble alive in life, to avoid dullness." he explains to Kimmila, smiling crookedly to her. V'lad's answer draws Th'ero's attention and if he's suspicious with how fast Cenlia cuts him off, he bites his tongue about it. None of his business! "Now I'll really remember never to lose to an Igenite." he drawls with a smirk. Maybe there's more to it, but a Gather is not time to pry. "Lots of ah… unique names." Th'ero murmurs, just as the signal goes and the gate drops for the last race.

It's another clean one, with all runners crossing the line. Those eliminated are Xanadu's Affine and Fort's Hidden Success. Top three rank fall to Fock from Xanadu, Corset Slipper from Ista and Through Resistance from Fort. Again the crowds applaud and cheer and there is a different signal now, a strum of music and cords. It's the end of the stake races and now there will only be apprentice races and claim races, none of which draw quite as much a pull of interest. The crowds begin to disperse, with most seeking prime spots to wait out the feast or to shop among the stalls. It won't be long before an early dinner is served and before the sun sets, the dancing will begin!

Questions of just who's assigned to who and why? Yeah, those are questions that have Borodin considering various shoes, though he looks up again as V'lad speaks to him. "Okay." One klah, coming up! Though it'll end up delivered by someone else, more than likely, because with the crowds starting to spread out and pass his stall more often, he wants to be there! Didn't he say he was going to have some fun? Well… maybe once dinner happens. Or when the dancing starts. Or… sometime. It's bound to happen eventually! Maybe.

Kimmila grins, sitting down and taking Kyzen into her lap, offering him some fruit on a stick. Skewers! Yum! "Did pretty well, got four marks back for my half mark investment so far. Spent it on the food." Grinning at Th'ero, she laughs. "It's healthy, a bit of danger, a bit of drama. Keeps you on your toes."

Cenlia seems all too happy to chatter on about plants, the former gardener in her perhaps, but she's distracted by the start of the next race, and the crawler question from Th'ero. Making a bit of a face there, the goldrider nods, "More like invasion. Some sharding trader decided selling the things to weyrbrats would be a good idea. Faranth only knows where he found /those/ critters, but the things bred faster'n tunnelsnakes. Had to close off bits of the weyr fer awhile when they swarmed all over the caverns," tone sour as she recalls, "Finally managed to poison the lot of 'em. If you get a trader in Fort trying to sell the things, my suggestion is hang him from his bootlaces off the bowl ledge." She'll definitely toast to trouble, while V'lad sinks back into whatever duty and waits for his klah. Poor man. Though the goldrider will comment on Igenites, "Them lot're worse'n Bitrans, am telling ya," but she's grinning as she says it, "Make damn good whiskey though." She watches the race with rather more interest than she'd begun the day with, even if there's still no love for the beasts down on the track. "Riders definitely need to be on their toes," Cen will comment to Kimmila, "Better to be sharp an' bright-eyed than caught with yer pants down while napping." She might suppress a snicker there, "Though there's somethin' to be said fer a good vacation too." Or a day at a gather, perhaps!

Hey, the Gather goers will have to be cut off at some point right? Or maybe the booze will just be left to the drudges to serve and it's everyone for themselves — if it's that sort of party. What happens in Fort Sea Hold, stays in Fort Sea Hold? Surely Borodin has someone to cover for him though! Kyzen is happily distracted by the fruit on a stick and fruit juice and bits of the stuff get everywhere. Lovely. "All of it on the food?" he drawls to Kimmila while leaning over to snatch something for himself before it's all gone. Too much ale on an empty stomach does not bode well. To Cenlia's tale of crawlers, the Weyrleader shudders and makes a face. "That's awful. Damage was bad?" He'll assume so. As for the Trader's, he snorts and then glances sidelong to Kimmila. "Take note of that." Poor Traders. They never catch a break, do they? Th'ero was suspicious of most of them before, now… even more so. As for the Igenites, the Weyrleader can only shake his head. "I'll admit, I rarely deal with 'em and rarer yet with Bitrans. Though if if I have to say, I may prefer to tackle 'em than any High Reachian." Well, the Reachian Leadership, anyways. With the stake races completed, Th'ero smiles. Does this mean escape? "Looks like our runners match rather evenly in skill. Yours and Xanadu scored higher than our lot, though."

Kimmila laughs at Cenlia, shaking her head. "Rather be bright-eyed with my pants down," she drawls with a wink for Th'ero, as she shifts Kyzen into her lap to feed the toddler another little bite of food. "Slow down, you're not a runner," she murmurs. "So you lost a bet and they made you wear that and bring an escort? They afraid you'd be…indecent?" Wow, she's pushing it today. "So noted."

Cenlia shakes her head, telling Th'ero, "The worst of the damage was them things scaring the tourists and makin' a mess," the weyrwoman admitting, "Think Ista got off easy. Thank Faranth they didn't get into the food stores, or make it out into the fields, or we'd have had real problems." Apparently, crawlies all over her weyr doesn't qualify as enough of a real problem. Or maybe the woman just isn't squeamish.
Kimmila's statement about being bright-eyed and pants down gets an abrupt laugh from Cen, the goldrider grinning hugely, "I'll definitely agree with ya on /that/." Her eyebrows rise, however, at Th'ero's comment on High Reachians, "Had some trouble with them lot?" head canting to one side. Prying? Pft, gathers are for gossip! Although, she does look terribly sheepish at the bluerider's question, "Pretty much. Still think I was set up," jerking a thumb to indicate the sullen bronzerider behind her, "Think he just likes bein' able to be a nuisance. But he got Zeek convinced, so there's no help fer it," she rolls her eyes, "Just 'cause some drunk takes a swing at the weyrwoman with a knife inna tavern brawl dun mean anybody's out to get me," lifting her glass to take a sip and pausing to add, "'Least, no more'n usual. Been ages since Ista's had any real troubles, but we still got riders jumpin' at their own shadows still." Who is she trying to convince? The bluerider or herself? Or maybe it's just that she's already tossed back the rest of her ale. A pointed look is levelled at a blank-faced V'lad, before Cen turns around to grin lopsidedly at Kimmila, "Think he's more afraid I'll scandalize somebody." She does clear her throat, "Hope yer weyrwoman weren't too scared off, too used to dealin' with m' own holders an' riders." Maybe that earlier elbow-jabbing was justified, after all.

"Did you ever figure out what made them so attracted to the Weyr? Just good weather or whatnot?" Th'ero pries a little more at Cenlia, only to grimace as he drains the last of his ale and follows it with some fruit. "Ugh, no. That'd not bode well at all if they'd gone to the fields. Glad you were able to get ride of them in the end and thank you for the warning on the Trader. Don't happen to remember the name of the family? If Fort had or is ever overrun, there'd be a problem. Th'ero hates crawlies. Just ask Kimmila! Kyzen slows down in eating, only half listening to the grown-ups talk. Kimmila's comment soars right over the child's head, but Th'ero snicker-coughs, then just laughs when Cenlia does too. Oh, who cares? Maybe the ale is kicking in too and making the Weyrleader unwind a bit. "I'm sure you would, Wingmate." he remarks dryly, grinning at her as he gives her a gentle nudge to the shoulder. Back to Cenlia, her next tale has him surprised if not out right incredulous. "Faranth! Who in their… even drunk what fool would take on a Weyrwoman? Is the man even alive after such a stupid stunt?" As for High Reaches, well… he'll get to that in a moment. "Mhm. Bad trouble usually means a bit of recovery time. Took Fort… how many Turns, Kimmila? Enough Turns, regardless, to recover from some of the bigger messes we got ourselves into." There's a darted look to V'lad again and Th'ero begins to understand… so the bronzerider IS a guard — of sorts! "Nyalle? Oh. No, don't worry about her. She's just — she's very formal and proper. It's been hard transition for her, coming so soon from High Reaches and then Kayeth rising first when Dtirae stepped down. She'll come around. It's how the High Reachian are… and you could say we have our differences between myself and Pandara and R'lor." Say, a rift wide and deep enough to fit the Istan islands and Fort Weyr within it with room to spare? Oh yeah.

Kimmila whistles softly, then laughs. "What did you do in return?" she asks, grin crooked. She's wearing her ever present dagger and from the worn look of it, she knows how to use it. "Nyalle? She's extremely proper. You might have spooked her a bit. Or she's going around playing the good hostess." The bluerider shrugs, unconcerned. Grinning at Th'eor, she leans over to offer him a kiss - in public! "You say that, Th'ero, but folks have tried to take /you/ on a few times," she reminds him. "Many turns, and Stonehaven is still rebuilding," she says quietly. Soberingly. "The High Reaches leadership is twisted," she says flatly.

Cenlia shakes her head a little, "Asked the harpers an' beastcraft to help identify 'em, but so far we only found a good general poison in the archives. Didn't even kill 'em proper, just stopped 'em breeding. Not sure if it's just that it was warm 'nough, or that folks were keepin' 'em as pets and putting out food for the things. But I had the cavernfolk laying traps so riders could just dump the things between." She does manage to look vaguely disgusted there, "Why anybody in their right mind would want some crawly fer a pet when Ista's beaches're practically /littered/ with firelizard clutches, I'll never figure." Again she shakes her head and lifts her glass, before seeming to realize it's already been drained. Alas! As for the trader, the weyrwoman shakes her head, "Was on the boardwalk sellin' the things to 'brats one day, then made it off the island - got a description we can send along, but apparently nobody thought to ask fer a name. Dunno how he managed to sell without a proper license neither, but with so many vendors.." this does earn a vauge frown. Still, she seems no happier recalling the near-death experience in the tavern, though it's with some embarrassment that she admits wryly to Kimmila, "Fell over a chair an' nearly knocked m'self out onna table leg," clearing her throat awkwardly, "Kinda doubt most folks in the bar even knew who I was - dun think I was wearing my knot-" V'lad cutting in with his own disapproving, "You weren't." Cenlia makes a face, "I dun really do fancy outfits," almost defensive there before she then shakes her head, "Buncha riders were 'round, but.. was a tavern brawl," shoulders lifting idly, "Whoever it was, is prolly too scared to show is face on the island again." She hesitates, and then tacks on, grin decidedly lacking in humor, "If /I/ ever see his face again, he won't make it off Ista a second time." She seems far more interested, however, in Th'ero's comments about the High Reachians, glancing at Kimmila as well, though has to suppress a snicker for the smoochery over there. Tsk, so scandalous. "Twisted? Shells, what'd they do?" brow quirking upward, "Ista's always has good dealings with Reaches. Mostly 'cause I got a boatload of family up that way," the latter said more slowly, "They ship us ice an' northern fruit, we ship 'em booze an' more tropical things." V'lad behind her shifts slightly, the man maybe less comfortable with the topic change, or maybe he's just getting ready to elbow her again. But before he can, Cen asks with a listed brow, "Stonehaven?"

Th'ero grimaces again and shudders. Ugh, ugh UGH! He's got visions now of Fort Weyr being overrun with crawlies and it's given him the creeps for sure. Is there ever records of a Weyrleader setting his own Weyr ablaze? "Traps sound like the only way to be rid of 'em in the end. That they're so… tough to be destroyed is unsettling on itself! Even if they can't breed…" They stick around until death! Ugh. Nope! "No idea. Some folk have the strangest ideas in their heads." With undesirable consequences! "The description would be fine, if you'd not mind sending it. We've a few Trader's who've been here Turns… I don't want 'em being confused with this shady one. If he even IS a Trader." Gasp! Kimmila's sudden kiss is returned but leaves Th'ero sheepish for once and though he gives his weyrmate a fond look, he looks almost apologetic to Cenlia, of all things. Don't mind him either as he slips his arm behind Kimmila's back and shifts to be closer to her but also so he can face the Istan Weyrwoman as they speak. "Yeah, but not in a tavern brawl…" he begins to explain, only to shoot V'lad another look when he fills in the gap about the knot. That has Th'ero giving Kimmila a look that is half serious, half teasing. Seems the bluerider and Cenlia have a bit in common in that regard! "He probably won't, if he knows better. And," he states with humour in his voice. "I've learned never to get on your bad side, Cenlia." So much to learn in one day! How will he remember it all? Back on the topic of High Reaches, Th'ero looks a touch uncomfortable and more so when the Istan Weyrwoman claims good relations with the Weyr and trade. That makes it a sticky situation and he treads a bit carefully. "Twisted… perhaps in regards to us. Our relations with them of late have been rocky, but partially due to me. I do not see eye to eye with either Weyrleader or Weyrwoman. It's complicated." And apparently from his tone he will leave it at that! "Stonehaven is a cothold here. Several Turns ago, not long after I was confirmed Weyrleader again when Zuvaleyuth rose, it was discovered raided. Whole family slaughtered, save for one survivor… a boy. He's now rebuilding it but the whole mess lead to a manhunt for a holdless man named Laris and his band. Well, they started holdless. More renegade by the end."

Kimmila listens to Cenlia with a small nod, and then she grins, tilting her head to her own knotless shoulder. "Sometimes it's fun to not be recognized. Other times it gets you into lots of trouble." Listening to Th'ero, she nods. "Two other survivors were found later, but yes. It was a very sad situation indeed. He's rebuilding though." As for Reaches…Kimm doesn't seem to have much to add.

Well… there was that /one/ time P'rel ordered his riders to kind of maybe burn down a cothold. Does that count? Ahem. "Will have someone send along a description fer ya, and the recipe fer that poison," Cenlia tells Th'ero, "Just in case." She does give the Fortian weyrleader a grin, definitely not about to argue about her bad side, ahem. Though the man doesn't seem to have gotten on it despite his less than pleasant relation with the Reachians, Cen only canting her head to one side with a curious, "Oh?" before then letting out a chuckle, "In my experience, 'complicated' usually means somebody's broken somebody else's nose an' insulted someone's mother." She may have gone on, but V'lad, to his credit, clears his throat -politely- without giving in to the likely urge to elbow her again, the bronzerider saying softly, with as smooth a subject change as he can manage, "I had heard about Stonehaven. I am certain Ista and Fort Weyrs would have.. much to gain from future discussions on matters of security," pausing only a moment with a glance at Cenlia, "One weyr's tactics might prove.. helpful to another. Especially with the recent troubles." Does he mean what happened turns ago? Or is he referring to something /else/? Cenlia just blinks at the man, as if she's trying to figure out the same thing, but in the end she just shrugs, "Think Teo'd like to hear how ou guys handled that, yeah," another curious look shot to V'lad before she's nodding to Kimmila with something more of a grin, "Definitely gets me into trouble. B'ky's always complainin' I dress like a drudge, but ain't no point in bein' fancy when there's work to be done. Anyhow, should prolly grab m'self a drink an' catch up to the Masterharper, an' see if Lord Trolessi is 'round here someplace. Figure he's gonna need a good mug of somethin' strong after the way his favorite runner up an' failed on the track." Standing, she'll nod to Th'ero and Kimmila, "Will hopefully see you later, an' Ista's shore are always welcoming if yer ever in need of some sun, yeah?" V'lad likewise stands, trailing after the woman as she makes a trundlebug line for the booze stalls, though the sideways look she's giving the Istan bronzer might suggest she's some questions for him as well.

"That would be great and very welcomed," Th'ero agrees. Can't hurt to be safe, right? Back on track with the situation with the Reachians, the Fortian Weyrleader only smiles wryly. "Mhm, you could say it's a little like that, minus anything broken." More or less. "More trouble than it's worth, sometimes," he drawls to Kimmila with a knowing look to the bluerider. Something in what V'lad says or the sudden and abrupt sharing of information has Th'ero fixing him with a look but the Fortian Weyrleader is tense now where he sits. Several questions leap to mind but one look to the present lingering crowd and he wisely bites his lip. There will be enough gossip as it is by the end of this night! Hopefully all about the Gather and not what was overheard up here. "There is always more strength in numbers," Th'ero agrees subtly. Troubles? Oh, they certainly have his interest now! "I'd not mind speaking with T'eo and you as well on tactics and information. Kimmila here was involved considerably with our… past problems, as was my Weyrsecond D'ani." he says, only to chuckle. "But we'll certainly be by to visit and definitely on Ista's day for the races. Ahh, yes. Lord Trolessi. Best of luck with that and hopefully the man isn't too distraught over his loss. Clear skies, Cenlia! Enjoy your time here." Even with the runners! Once the Istan Weyrwoman is gone with V'lad trailing after her, Th'ero will turn to Kimmila and gather up a semi-dozing Kyzen in his arms. "Lets see if we can't get down to the sale pickets or find D'ani or Nyalle and if all else fails… We'll browse the stalls?" he offers with a grin. For however long the Fortian Weyrleader will have peace, anyways! There is still feasting and dancing to be had as well and the Gather festivities are already promising to carry on well into the wee hours of the morning.