Fort Weyr - Galleries
The galleries are carved right out of the rock face, the rows and rows of benches rising high up into the air on a slight slant. Stone and wood benches that used to be known for offering little in the way of comfort, are now padded with cushions in Fort Weyr's colors. Placed along the railing at regular intervals are antique looking baskets filled with cheery fabric flowers. The curving walls sport tapestries in warm vibrant colors that seem to add a dash of color to the otherwise dreary stone. Where the galleries curve slightly at the ends, affording those attending hatchings or clutchings a decent view of the sands, shaded laterns offer warm lighting along the rows of benches.

Another day and Fort is drowned from morning till evening with intermittent rains. They vary from light to torrential downpours, but it makes for one miserable trek outdoors even when the rain stop for however short a time. As the dinner hour wraps up, most folk are lingering indoors, only venturing outside if absolutely needed, with the bowls now a churned mess of mud and water. Not the most glorious of starts to the summer months, but with winter being so late… perhaps spring is being stubborn too with leaving. Th'ero has decided to lurk among the galleries for now and seemingly the only occupant at this hour. The Weyrleader has settled himself down by the middle section, propped with his back against one of the pillars and his body turned so that he is sideways to the sands. Much easier to keep an eye on not only the eggs but the stairwell as well and anyone who ventures in the gawk or observe. Dressed in his casual wear of somber colors, his riding jacket is slung over the bench beside him and currently his head is turned to distantly stare out over the sands.

M'lo's long legs carry him up the stares toward the Weyrleader rather quickly, and he's going with a purpose. Slung over one arm is what appears to be a picnic basket, from which come delightful smells. His gold firelizard clings to his shoulder, her wings flared slightly to help her balance, her tail snug around his neck. "Hey," he greets his boss. He takes a seat next to him and puts the basket between them. "The headwoman told me you skipped a meal or maybe two, today. She asked me to bring this to you." He opens the basket to reveal enough food to feed a small army, much less a hungry bronzerider and his assistant. "If I don't personally watch you consume a good meal's worth of this food, she will personally beat me with her ledger," he tells Th'ero with a twinkle in his eye. "You've seen that thing. It's gotta be ten centimeters thick. Please save my skull."

With all this rain, Zapallie's done her best to avoid ending up soaked by the unseasonable deluges that have been plaguing the Weyr. She's still not given up on this whole dress idea. Today's dress is an eggplant color. The caverns are the warmest place to be found right now, which is good when one has given up on pants for awhile. The blond teenager lurks just inside the cavern before noticing people in the galleries and hesitantly goes thataway. There is a rather imposing Th'ero there to catch her, indeed, gawking, if he cares to notice.

A Weyrsecond with a purpose does not usually herald good news and Th'ero turns his head just in time to spot M'lo approaching and then settling down next to him with the basket. It's eyed warily, as if the Weyrleader was facing some sort of menacing trap rather than something as innocent as a fresh meal. "Evening," he replies in a low tone, features carefully set neutral up until the explanation for the food and his prompt arrival. "Talica is far too meddlesome for her own good," he goes on to add with a faint exasperated sigh. But she wouldn't be a Headwoman if she were not! "Just because I do no eat in public does not mean I have skipped a meal. She cannot have eyes everywhere." Th'ero doesn't move to investigate the basket, as tempting as those delightful smells may be. It's true, the bronzerider's eating habits are something left to be desired. But his stubbornness is another feat entirely to overcome. "Then I'd advise you wear your riding helmet. I'm afraid I am not very hungry. I took my supper up with Kimmila in privacy prior to the dinner hour. I suppose I could take it back to my weyr…" Hide the evidence? You bet he will. And while he ponders just where to stash so much food, he does spot Zapallie and while at first frowning, there is a slight quirk of one brow for the choice of dress she has on. "Escaping the rains?" he calls out to her, pitching his voice just loud enough to be heard and not enough to have Zuvaleyuth storming down on all their heads.

"It's her job to be meddlesome," M'lo says somberly. "And she's /very/ good at her job." He opens the basket and unfolds the cloth to reveal the bounty within. It's pretty much filled with Th'ero's favorite foods — all the major tastes are represented, and there is even a tiny bottle of his favorite beverage. "Come on," he cajoles. "Just a bite of everything. Then I can truthfully tell her I watched you eat what she sent." It really /does/ smell good. He turns to see the approaching Zapallie and nods a greeting. "Hello, there."

Zapallie looks between Weyrsecond and Weyrleader and at the basket of food and perhaps even notices the show down over the food. The bronzerider's greeting of sorts is met with a half-shrug and a small smile. "The caverns were getting a little crowded." Folding her hands behind her, she strolls up towards the two of them, hanging back a bit. "Hello, Weyrleader, —" she squints at M'lo's knot and tacks on a polite, "Weyrsecond."

"Indeed," Th'ero drawls to M'lo's somber reply and likewise not entirely in agreement, but he's not about to argue it to death. Not here, anyhow. When the basket is opened and it's bounty unveiled, the Weyrleader tilts his head forwards to give a curious glance within. The food is given an appreciative look at least, but not much interest. The drink though is taken without hesitation. The cajoling only has him smirking, stubborn still and unwilling to budge. "Help yourself. She cannot tell which of us consumed it if she's so set on monitoring my eating habits. You did your duty, but I cannot force myself to eat and neither can she." he states firmly, opening the drink and taking a small sip of it. It must prove satisfactory, because he's soon taking another while his gaze drifts back to Zapallie. "As they usually do. It should empty out soon enough. It doesn't help with the rains, truth be told." Even as the casual conversation goes on, he's watching the other with an obvious cautious look. Uncertain. Especially when she greets both of them so… politely. Immediately Th'ero's back is up, though he's careful to keep his expression neutral. "Afternoon, Zapallie." he replies, a touch stiffly.

"No, she can't," he agrees. But he merely nudges the basket closer to Th'ero and leans back on his own hands. "Nah, I just ate, myself. One more bite and I'll pop." He pats his stomach a couple of times. "Besides, you know I don't eat meat." And there would be meat in there… right? But observant as he is, the Weyrsecond is quick to pick up the stiffness in Th'ero's attitude toward Zapallie. He doesn't know her, so he givs her a careful once-over. "M'lo," he introduces himself. "And… you are?" Only, you know, Th'ero says her name then. He frowns a little bit as he thinks, and then the name clicks. "Ah… Zapallie. Well met." He seems to be reserving any judgement for the moment, though. His gold firelizard peers at her curiously and chirrups, her head cocking this way and that, bird-like.

Zapallie stays where she is, waiting a formal invitation to come sit down, or an order to scram. Either way, the odd girl is warm, and that's good enough for now. "Couldn't you just…tell her he had in fact already eaten, and thank her for her effort?" This suggestion is offered with raised eyebrows and a look that says she doesn't quite see what the fuss is really about. "M'lo, then. And, yah, uh, Zapallie. Or Zee, or Zap, really — hardly anyone uses that mouthful. My ma hates it, but the healer woman had a heart attack when she tried to name me just Zee, so..she had to pick something." There she goes with the offhanded oversharing again. At least she's not doing it rudely. Perhaps for her next trick, she'll grow two heads. "What's her name?" she adds, noticing the gold. "Mine are…somewhere…" she looks around, as if expecting them to appear. "I told them they couldn't come in though."

The basket and it's tempting contents are, once again, ignored. "I am in the same state," Th'ero admits with a smirk. "Otherwise I'd put you out of your suffering and submit to Talica's meddling." Which is… a half truth of sorts, really. The Weyrleader would never agree so easily. "I'm aware. There seems to be much more in that basket though." he murmurs and that seems to spark an idea in the bronzerider's head. So Zapallie get's her invitation of sorts, in the form of a slight incline of his head. "She would likely grill me then on what I had and not believe me." Th'ero admits with a drawling tone, "Otherwise I would. Are you hungry then, Zapallie? Seeing as neither of us can do away with this." Maybe he assumes she missed her meal from her comment on the caverns being so crowded. Even so, the Weyrleader seems a little guarded around her, but as she's given him no cause to order her out or react negatively, his mood towards her seems reserved but welcoming.

M'lo tilts his head a little bit at Zapallie. "You obviously haven't met the headwoman," he quips with a genial smile. But he's hardly going to force-feed the Weyrleader. In fact, he's quite given up on the task. "I'll just… wear my helmet tomorrow," he murmurs to Th'ero. He reaches up to pet the little lizard, who leans into the carress and croons. "Lucy," he answers. He will make a bit of room for her on the bench when Th'ero offers her the contents of the basket. Lucy, at the prospect of food, chitters excitedly and hops from M'lo's shoulder to the basket handle. The basket, so full of food, doesn't even totter at the unexpected weight, though the handle creaks a little bit.

"No, I haven't, actually. I, ah, make it a habit to avoid headwomen, you know. They're usually…" Zapallie searches for an appropriate word and has nothing good to say, so says nothing. She is on her best behavior, it would seem. "Oh…" the teenager eyes the basket a bit crosseyed. "If you're sure you don't want it… Just to do you both a favor," she adds quickly. "So you don't have to look funny, with your helmet on all day. I've heard headwomen have mysterious powers and can pop up unseen in small dark corners, ready to pounce and box your ears." A quiver of a smile is offered with that joke, but to be honest, she is hungry, and it kind of shows in the way she scoots into the space made for her and practically jumps on the basket in a different way than Lucy did. "You want some too?" she asks the lizard, this smile an easier one. Animals, she can do.

Th'ero does take some pity on his Weyrsecond, glancing to M'lo with a look that could almost be apologetic. His tone at least sounds as such, "I'll speak to the Headwoman. Make sure to paint you in a flattering light that if she's going to brain anyone with that ledger of hers, it'll be me. What's that term… Don't shoot the messenger. Right? Cannot be faulted if I chose not to heed your message." he remarks, a touch dryly but his mouth does quirk up in a bemused way. To Zapallie, he gives her a long look as she mentions avoiding the Headwoman, the Weyrleader likely already imagining hundreds of scenarios as to why. But as she says nothing else, he bites his tongue too. "Those are just rumors," Th'ero murmurs, also shuffling a bit so that his back is more or less to the pillar and his view to the sands is not so complete. Now he's turned to face M'lo and Zapallie, seeing as both have his attentions now. "So help yourself." Not that he has to say it, once she all but pounces on the basket. There! Problem solved, right?

"They're usually competent, forceful, intelligent women who have keen interpersonal skills and extremely detail-oriented minds," M'lo supplies, supplying only good buzzwords. "They tend to have a strong pride in their work and a fierce protective streak over the people they work with and for." He grins at little bit at her joke, but doesn't go so far as to laugh. Lucy, yes, she wants some food. She croons and opens her mouth, showing off her green gums and forked tongue. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. M'lo slides a glance at Th'ero and nods. "She won't brain you," he tells him. "You're her boss." He watches Zap and Lucy with the basket of food. "So, Zap… what brings you to Fort Weyr?"

Zapallie tilts her head in concession to M'lo's description. "Sure. Uh. That." Since she's not managed to get a laugh out of either of them she falls awkwardly quiet, choosing instead to dig in the basket, looking for something meatish for the firelizard. "You know, Whiskey and Absinthe are going to be horribly jealous to know I fed you," she admits to the firelizard in low tones while she rips up a meat pastry. At the brownrider's question she lifts her head and looks at him suspiciously. "Oh. Um…" she draws the sound out and then looks at Th'ero hesitantly, perhaps to see if he's going to bail her out. "I sort of just…ended up here?" she finishes in the mean time.

Th'ero listens silently all through M'lo's spoken observations of what makes a Headwoman tic, supplying his own agreement only by the barest nods of his head. He adds nothing though, as the Weyrsecond covers it all very well enough. Instead, he simply takes another slow sip of his drink, eyes never quite drifting far from Zapallie for long. Waiting for her trick, it seems? Or he's wholly not trusting of her still, good behavior or not. "Just because I am Weyrleader won't keep me safe from her at least chiding me harshly for my habits." he points out again, smirking a little. Getting a laugh out of Th'ero can be as hard as squeezing water from a rock on most days. Now, if he's in a genuinely good mood (rare, that) or has had a drink (or three), then he'll laugh. But at most he chuckles and even those seem oddly reserved at times too. As things become a little awkward, the Weyrleader gives Zapallie a long look for her reply but in the end does not rat her out or wholly contradict her. "Travelled and visiting, last I heard." he remarks with a vague smirk. "We have been getting a few visitors of late, it seems."

Zapallie's look of suspicion is met with a wide-open look of curiosity from M'lo - yes, he notes her reaction, and his response is to look entirely innocently inquisitive. "Ah, visiting," he says. He nods at her, and then at Th'ero. "Likely to get a few more. Families and loved ones like to be present for their Candidate on the sands. Why, the girl I just searched the other day, Zaala, has a young man who'll likely come. Journeyman Woodcrafter. What was his name…?" He pauses to think on it. "Datsun, that was it."

Zapallie jerks her chin towards the sands. "Eggs do that. I was planning to get til the getting was good, but…" Her nose wrinkles. "Well, I bought a cow, and apparently I can't take her until she's weaned, and, and trained. But I'm not letting Edani put a ring through her nose. That's just…barbaric." Her mouth sets in a line. "It's just as well, I suppose. I've got a date with Borodin, and I promised Abigail I'd stay til the hatching. So you'll all be stuck with me at least that long." Poor martyred Zapallie, 'forced' to stay here awhile longer because, for shame, she has friends. Who want her to be there! Horror! "Zaala?" she says suddenly. "Did she happen to mention if her father is a rider?"

Th'ero blinks, "Zaala?" he echoes and likewise just in the same breath as Zapallie questions poor M'lo for the very same reasons. Oh no. Not more Shiptons! The Weyrleader clears his throat and downs the rest of his drink, setting the empty bottle by the basket rather then in it out of politeness for the girl's sake if she's still helping herself to the food within. "It's true though. Eggs on the Sands usually mean more visitors." he agrees with Zapallie, before his gaze turns back to M'lo. "And is… this Datsun family then? Or… well, I'm sure they're aware of the rules." he murmurs, dismissing the rest of that conversation with a slight shrug of his shoulders. At the mention of cows and dates, Th'ero can only give Zapallie a look that borders on disbelief. This is /nothing/ like the girl he had crossed paths with before. He blinks and then frowns, "Sounds like you will be busy here for some time. Fort's doors are open, regardless. As for the cow… well, what the Beastcraft decrees needs to be followed. Edani is only doing as what's required by him as Journeyman. Or was… rather." Later perhaps, he will have to question WHY Zapallie bought a cow. But for now his time is up it seems and with a low sigh, begins to rise. "I'm being called elsewhere. My apologies you two. My thanks M'lo for understanding over the food. I will speak to Talica though. And good luck, Zapallie with your ah…. cow, situation." Awkward farewell is awkward. Following it with a polite nod to both, Th'ero then briskly strides for the stairs and disappears without a backwards glance.

'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.