Fort Weyr - Bathing Caverns
A high, domed ceiling stretches far overhead, voices echoing in the distance. Warm, moist air fills the room, coming from the variety of pools scattered about. Vines have been planted in baskets and grow up the walls, thriving in the soft artificial light provided by glows placed at random intervals about the room.

Early winter, with snow drifting down and turning the weyr into a new landscape, a winter wonderland, and for some reason Nyalle is in the bathing cavern rather than her own bath. Since it's around lunch time no one else is here, just the Senior in one of the smaller pools, eyes closed and humming to herself as she soaks, water up to her neck.

Normally Th'ero uses his personal bath as well (and why not, if you have that luxury!) but on this early winter day he's forgone the privacy of his own home. Maybe it's because he's so muddy and filthy? Or did he have a little spat with Kimmila? Could be too that whatever has plagued him this day just has him wanting to be clean for when he DOES go home. Having lived so long in a Weyr, he's no longer as modest as he was in his younger Turns but he'll still select one of the more secluded pools and not far from where Nyalle now soaks and hums to herself. So certain is he that the Weyrwoman would never be in the public baths that he hardly spares her a glance and doesn't say a word as he slips into the waters, his dirty clothes set aside and a drudge no doubt sent to fetch him some clean ones.

Nyalle opens her eyes and turns her head, watching unabashedly as Th'ero strips down and gets into the water. And surely she didn't just say, "Delicious." Right? Because…that's /so/ not like her. She turns in the bath, arms leaning against the rim as she faces him across whatever stone pathway separates their two pools, and smiles. "Weyrleader. What deplorable, dirty things have you been up to this morning? Mud wrestling?" Please say mud wrestling, she likes imagining that.

Th'ero goes still (or did he tense?) when he hears that familiar voice and while he can pretend he didn't hear that 'delicious' comment and that the flush to his cheeks is from the hot water, he'll not be so rude as to outrightly ignore the Weyrwoman. When she leans against the edge of her pool, he'll turn his head and glance at her sidelong. He's resting with his back to the wall of his pool, the water just up to his shoulders. "In a sense… yes? Wouldn't say it was deplorable. Went to Southern Boll and the surrounding coastal holds and ended up having to supervise and aid in some repair work. Figured it'd be… a sort of diplomatic gesture." Or he was just wanting something different to do. He smirks, "And since they're warmer, their mud has not frozen. And you, Weyrwoman? Why are you bathing here…?" Has nothing to do with her ogling all the male riders, does it?

Nyalle smiles sweetly, licking her lips. "You are so good to our holdings," she purrs. "All of your gestures are good ones." There's a giggle and she turns back around, getting some sweetsand and lathering it between soft palms. "I needed to bathe." And? "It was so lonely in my weyr." And Mr'az is…where exactly? Poor guy.

Mr'az is Thunderbird and likely out on patrols on those very coasts where Th'ero was or further inland. Rarely any rest for a Thunderbird Wingrider and especially one bonded to a bronze like Zhirazoth. The Weyrleader isn't thinking about the bronzerider though. He's keeping a sharp eye on Nyalle without actually directly staring at the Weyrwoman. He knows this behaviour of hers. Velokraeth has likely been a (respectful) shadow to Kayeth the last few days, becoming increasingly more observant but allowing other bronzes (and a few browns with enough steel) to court her if they so desire. Cocky bronze is cocky in his assurance of who will twine with her when the time comes! "I thought you preferred to be alone?" he remarks dryly, acknowledging her compliments with a bare nod of his head. He should be bathing himself as well but he seems fixated to the spot. Maybe he's afraid movement will draw her over?

Kayeth has been enjoying the attention of any and all dragons who wish to give it to her. Equal opporutunity gold - she will take fawning adoration from everyone. Nyalle giggles softly. "Not always. Sometimes…sometimes a girl needs to get out." Bathe in public.

"Is that so?" Th'ero drawls and gives her another lingering look, not to admire her but more in disbelief. Maybe if he keeps her talking she'll stay to her own pool? Slowly, he begins to relax and enough so to begin scrubbing at his skin. Only then does he look away from her.

Nyalle giggles again, reaching over to a half full (half empty?) wine glass balanced on the edge of the pool. Taking a long sip of it she watches him and then rinses the suds from her skin, before pushing to her feet and out of the pool, walking over. Sorry, Th'ero. Elsewhere, Kayeth is cuddled up very, very close with another bronze, so…blame it on that/

Th'ero is just relieved that it isn't Velokraeth cuddled up to Kayeth right now and influencing him as well as the Weyrwoman. He will focus on his bathing but at the sound of her exiting the water and her footsteps coming towards him rather than away… Looking up, he quickly adverts his eyes. Modest? Not so much. More like respectful and the fact that he doesn't leer at women. Only a certain bluerider gets that sort of treatment. "Is there something you need, Weyrwoman?" he asks and realizes too late how bad that sounds.

Nyalle grins, wide and swift when he phrases it like /that/. She sits on the edge of his pool, a foot or so away from him, and dangles her feet in the water. The rest of her on display, and she doesn't seem to care one bit. "You," she answers, a hand reaching over…towards his curls.

Damn it! It wouldn't be so bad if she had gone in the water (or would it?), but to have her sitting there and so openly on display, it's next to impossible for Th'ero NOT to get a good look at her. He sighs softly, "Is it an urgent matter of busi— Nyalle," Whatever he was going to say is interrupted as he tilts his head away, putting just a little more distance between her seeking fingers. DENIED. "Don't." No touch.

Nyalle pouts, lower lip sticking out sadly. "Why not?" she says, scooting over to make up for the distance they put between them. "Velokraeth is going to win, everyone knows that. Why can't we enjoy ourselves a bit before then?" How much wine has she /had/?

That thought is likely going through his head that very moment and Th'ero is too absorbed in it to realize Nyalle has scooted over. Now's her chance! "Because I am weyrmated? I know Velokraeth stands a good chance at winning and we'll end up… sharing in that but Kayeth is only proddy. You're proddy." And possibly drunk. Joy.

Nyalle reaches for his curls again, leaning in close. "Her flights are too far apart…" she pouts mournfully.

Th'ero frowns, "Her flights are regular enough for a healthy queen." Aren't they? He doesn't seem too concerned about the gap between. Only then does he realize she's touching his curls and again, he ducks his head a way, peering up at her. What'd he say about that! "Can't Mr'az share your company?" he drawls with a smirk.

Nyalle gets to play with his curls for a moment before he moves away again. Then she sighs. "Zhirazoth won't win her flight. It's not the same." Oh. Ouch. Poor Mr'az. "I want /you/."

Th'ero snorts, "And what do you mean by that?" Ouch is right! He's starting to feel a little sorry for this bronzerider. "What do I offer to you during a flight?" Aside from sex, since he's a rider who goes into full blackout during the flight. His brows knit into a deeper frown and he shakes his head, "You can't have me, Nyalle. I am Kimmila's, remember? I can't give you what you need." This is him digging his heels in again.

Nyalle isn't thinking - clearly. She knows, intellectually, that he's vacant during flights, not all there. That it's truly not all /that/ pleasant. But…she's not thinking. "You're sexy. You're /Th'ero/. And I want that." Kimmila. Pfft. Stupid bluerider.

Th'ero's brows lift at that and he shifts under the water, trying as subtly as possible to put a little space between him and the Weyrwoman. "You can't have that. I'm flattered you find me… attractive but as I said, I am weyrmated." And he's not going to budge on it. Even with Nyalle sitting there completely naked and exposed. Nope (and yes, he is looking). "And you already have a suitor. Let him fulfill your needs better than I ever could."

Nyalle huffs. "He's not /here/." And she /pouts/ at him, pushing wet hair behind her ear and shifting her body against the stone. With a sudden shiver, she slides into the water beside him. She's cold. Right.

"He could be, if you wanted him. Just give me a reason and I'll have Velokraeth summon Zhirazoth home. Otherwise he's going to continue his double shift," Th'ero explains as he scoots a little further along the pool wall when Nyalle enters the water. Maybe it's Varmiroth that Velokraeth should be shouting for? Or the Weyrleader has one last tactic up his sleeve to use before he calls on Kimmila.

Nyalle eyes the Weyrleader for a long moment and then huffs in a sudden surge of irate, irrational anger and frustration. "Fine. Call him back, send him to my weyr, I'll be waiting." Uh…poor Mr'az.

Poor Mr'az is right! Th'ero scowls at her sudden anger, "What is it, Nyalle?" he asks, a bit sharply at first but then chooses a gentler tone. He's not so cold hearted as to send her packing (though he's TEMPTED). Clearly he's upset her and he's not about to let her leave upset. Unless she starts pawing him again… "Have I said something wrong? What's upset you?"

Nyalle turns to /look/ at him as she wraps a towel around her body. "You rejected me." Uh. Duh? "So I'm going to go find a bronzerider who /will/ give me what I want." Faranth. Hopefully no one else finds her before Mr'az does.

Th'ero stares right back, not at all uneasy about meeting her eyes. "You're not yourself, Nyalle. Think! Is this what you want or just what Kayeth wants?" he murmurs gently. Velokraeth has summoned Zhirazoth, offering to take the bronze's place. What's he up to?

Nyalle scowls. "It's what /I/ want! It's always about what other people want and this is about what /I/ want."

"Then wait for Mr'az and Zhirazoth to return. I've pulled them off shift," Th'ero mutters, pulling himself out of the pool and pointedly turning his body away to keep her from getting too much of a view. Wrapping a towel around himself, he'll continue. "I'll go and continue their work."

Nyalle lifts her chin. If she feels guilty that Th'ero is not only calling Mr'az back from their duty, but that the Weyrleader is giving up his time to take their place…she hides it. "Fine," she says haughtily, sitting on one of the benches to wait.

Not just Th'ero going to take their place. Probably Kimmila too, as Velokraeth will refuse to leave Fort Weyr with Kayeth so close to her time. "Clear skies, then." he mutters to her while dipping his head, almost mocking in that respectful gesture before he strides off and finds his clean clothes left earlier by the drudge. He'll dress hastily and then walk out, leaving Nyalle several long minutes alone. Will she wait forever on that bench?

No. With Th'ero gone, Nyalle has a moment to herself, to think, and the addition of Kayeth dipping into sleep has the Senior coming more or less back into her right mind. Which sends her, crying and ashamed, back to her weyr.

Then it's to her weyr that Mr'az will go when he arrives, leaving Zhirazoth to settle on a nearby ledge and wait on Kayeth to wake so he can have some time to court her and fawn over her. Mr'az will knock before entering Nyalle's weyr, pulling off his flight helmet and goggles. "Nyalle? Are you home…?" he calls softly.

Nyalle is in her bedroom, curled up under her covers in nothing but the towel she wore back home. "Mr'az?" she calls, her voice thick and soft. "In the bedroom…"

That'll be another one for the rumour mills. Weyrwoman fleeing in mid winter with nothing but a towel around her. Lovely! Mr'az frowns, walking into her bedroom after he's taken off his boots and jacket. No need to track dirt through her living space. "Hey," he murmurs quietly, frowning as he approaches her bedside. Perching on the edge, he reaches out to gently stroke her shoulder. "Are you alright?"

Nyalle scoots over when he sits, curling her body around his as best she can, her head near his thigh. "No," she sniffles mournfully. "Kayeth is proddy." No kidding. "I threw myself at Th'ero. He refused me," thank Faranth, "then he pulled you from duties just because I'm weak…"

Mr'az adjusts himself where he sits on the edge of her bed, stroking her hair gently and soothingly. He grimaces about Kayeth's state. Yeah, he knows that. Then he sighs, "He didn't do that because you're weak, Nyalle. Though Velokraeth did stretch the truth a bit… he told us you weren't feeling well. So we came home but Th'ero probably did it because of other reasons. Most likely his own."

Nyalle sighs, closing her eyes and leaning into his touch. "I can't believe how…forward I was," she whispers. "Sitting in the public baths, throwing myself at him…" She shudders and tilts her head to look up at him, pained. "Forgive me?"

Mr'az looks down at her with a small smile and an understanding look in his eyes. Is he stung? Of course he is. He's no fool. He knows what's coming with Kayeth so bright and glowing. Zhirazoth will try, of course. The bronze always does (and always fails). "Nothing to forgive you for but I do all the same. You're proddy, Nyalle and Kayeth is a strong queen." His hand continues to stroke her hair in gentle movements. Soothing and comforting.

Nyalle sighs, nestling closer to him with her eyes shut tight. "You're too good for me," she whispers softly.

Mr'az lowers his hand to her shoulder again and begins to caress her there and then to her back in slow, soothing strokes. "I think it's the other way around," he muses dryly, looking down at her and allowing the silence to stretch a bit before he asks, "Talk to me, Nyalle?"

Nyalle shakes her head, her eyes still closed. "I don't like being proddy," she whispers. "I'm lucky I went after Th'ero. I'm so afraid one of these days I'll make a big, big mistake and you'll never take me back…"

"Does anyone enjoy it?" It's a rhetorical question but Mr'az figures it may help lighten the mood just a bit. He smirks, almost a grimace but he holds her closer, her head nestled against his thigh. "We're all human and we make mistakes. Th'ero is a good man, he knew you were feeling Kayeth's proddiness. Most riders worth their salt know better than to take advantage of you…" And if they don't, well. They'll have a visit from Mr'az or worse… from Th'ero.

Nyalle shrugs. "Some people do," she mutters, rhetorical question or not. "I'm sorry," she whispers, pressing closer to him, tight, taking solace and comfort from his closeness - like she always does. And as always, she feels guilty for it.

Mr'az grimaces, "I know but most don't, Nyalle. It's just something we tolerate because we love our dragons." Shaking his head, he will shift again on the bed and hold her close and tight to his body. As close as he can and keep her comfortable. "Don't be. I'm just glad I can be here for you, for once. So… seeing as I'm off duty now…" What, possibly, could be on his mind? "… is there anything I can do? Are you hungry? Thirsty?"

Nyalle shakes her head. "No, I'm not…but if you are, help yourself, there's food and wine out there…" She peeks up at him again, and bites her lower lip. "Make love to me?"

Mr'az is about to say he'll go and grab something for both of them, at least some cider or wine when she drops that last suggestion. He'd be a fool to get up off the bed and unlike Th'ero he can give Nyalle what she desires (and happily so). So he will spend the remainder of his day with her or for however long she prefers his company and once Kayeth wakes, you better believe it that Zhirazoth's going to come calling and keep the fiery gold company until she too sends him away.