Fort Weyr - Northeast Bowl
The northern end of the bowl can be an intimidating area, being that Fort is the largest weyr. The far north wall contains the gigantic opening to the hatching caverns, and to the west of that can be seen the sprawling ledges and carved stair cases that mark the way to the administration complex and the training grounds were candidates and weyrlings can often be found. The west cliff wall towers up, dotted here and there by darker openings that mark individual weyrs before it tapers to a point at Tooth Crag.

Winter has well and truly settled into the Fort region, and with it comes low temperatures and a cold, stark beauty to the landscape. This mid-day, a light snow drifts gracefully to the ground, covering the churned mud and earth, and creating things anew with its fresh, white blanket. Walking towards the stairs that lead up to the weyrleadership's ledges, Kimmila moves carefully through the snow, hood up and head down, hands in her pockets. She pauses and glances up when a disgruntled roar from Wiyaneth's ledge echoes across the bowl, and the bluerider frowns, brows furrowing slightly. Then she continues on, heading towards those stairs.

Moments after that roar, a figure appears on Wiyaneth's ledge. Soriana pauses just outside, glancing back, then shakes her head and looks out instead at the weyr. Well, here she is! The teen turns down the steps, turning up the collar of her riding jacket as she goes. She's not exactly dressed for a Fortian winter, and she's too tan to be from around here and just have forgotten her warm clothes.

Kimmila squints through the drifting snow at the figure, and approaches with long strides. "What's going on up there?" the knotless woman calls, sizing up the girl and then frowning, brows furrowed. "Do I know you from somewhere?" she adds, green eyes flicking to her mother's ledge and then back to study the girl's face.

Soriana gives a motion of her hand something between a wave and a salute. There's no knot of rank to guide her, after all, but there is something, something naggingly familiar about this woman's face. First things first, let's answer the question. "Wiyaneth's checkup," she says, with a slight smile. There's her own knot, a dragonhealer… grade one. "I suppose she didn't like amateurs. D'ren said I should wait outside." She shrugs, though it's with a glance back to the ledge and a momentary frown. "Ahh… I'm Soriana, of Xanadu Weyr." Now the frown is of trying to remember, because there's definitely something about this bluerider… wait, how did she know that? She's certain of it, though.

Kimmila glances to the ledge again with a frown and a sigh. "She's…pained," she says with sadness pulling down her tone. Regret and sadness, staring up at the ledge. "But other than her temperament, she's fine?" she asks, focusing on the girl's face once more. "Soriana…of Xanadu." Not ringing a bell yet, but her memory for names is horrible. "I'm Kimmila," she supplies. "Varmiroth's…"

Soriana lowers her gaze at the sound of Kimmila's voice, and nods slightly. "That's what they're checking now," she says, raising her eyes again. She tries to give the healer noncommital-but-comforting smile, but she hasn't mastered that skill yet. Still too earnest and hopeful. "She seems to be, though." Fine enough to insist on what she wants, and doesn't, at least! "Oh!" Sori says to the name. "That's right. We did meet. The thing with-" She pauses, doing word replacement. "-the renegades."

"Holdless," Kimmila automatically corrects, green eyes watching the girl keenly. And then recognition dawns, and she nods. "That's right. You were one of the kids that came along." And from her slightly twisted smirk, she still doesn't think that was a good idea. "So, dragonhealer now, huh?" Adjusting her hood, she looks around and then back to the girl.

Soriana tilts her head slightly, then nods. "Holdless," she repeats to acknowledge it. At that smirk, she responds by standing up a bit straighter and taking in a somewhat deeper breath. "Yes. I was." Oooh, formal tone. Her mouth opens again, and then she thinks better of it and shuts up again. Her eyes wander off to the side, and by the time they're back, she's standing more relaxed again. "Yeah. Grade one. If I was still up there, I'd just be observing and rinsing things in redwort." She quirks up one corner of her mouth in a smile.

Kimmila nods, "Well…everyone's got to start somewhere," she says, and this time her smile is a bit easier, a bit more genuine. "You enjoy it though? Dragonhealing? I'm glad someone does. I never could get into Healing, even though Mother tried." There's a brief hesitation, and then the bluerider clears her throat. "Any news of Laris from Xanadu?" Though surely if there had been, Fort would've been told, right? Still, she's compelled to ask. "Want to sit?" she asks, nodding towards a door in the bowl wall at the base of the stairs. "There's chairs in the Healer's closet I think. If not we can just stand, it's sheltered."

Soriana smiles back to that, and nods. "I do, actually," she says, and then the smile fades for a moment. "No. Nothing." Not that she's exactly a part of the councils of the high and mighty. "So he's still… out there?" She casts her gaze briefly to the sky beyond the bowl, frowning, and then looks back to Kimmila. Sitting down? "That's a good idea. It might be a while… depending on Wiyaneth." How grumpy is the gold dragon today? "It's still strange, jumping back and forth, winter to summer," Sori admits as she starts for the door across the trampled snow. "I've been doing more of that since I became a dragonhealer. That and memorizing things."

Kimmila pulls open the door where Moreta stored her supplies all those turns ago, and steps into the little closet. And behold! There are a few chairs, which Kimmila sits in, but leaves the door open. These supplies are immune to cold - otherwise they wouldn't be out here. "As far as we know, he is," the bluerider mutters, settling into the chair and unbuttoning the top few buttons of her coat to make the sitting more comfortable. "At least no one's come forward with his head on a platter for us." And Wiyaneth is usually a good patient, but the winter checkups are always the worst. Her injury pains her most in the cold and damp, so manipulating her wing in this weather is bound to cause her issue, no matter how soothing Elara is. "It takes some getting used to, between," Kimmila agrees. "Have you gotten sick yet because of it? Those colds are the worst."

This spot has likely been used as a refuge more than a few times over the past turns. Supply closets are like that. Soriana takes another chair, nodding to Kimmila. So, the renegade - holdless - no, actually, she's going to stick with renegade for him - is still out there. Brr. She shivers, though she'll blame it on the cold if anyone asks. In fact, she'll blame it on the cold even if nobody asks, making a show of adjusting her jacket for more coverage. "Good to be out of the wind," she says, then looks back to Kimmila and laughs. "Oh, aren't they? It's like the congestion is all the way up inside your skull. I remember I got one of those when I was a kid, and my tunnelcat thought there must be snakes in my head from all the scuffling."

Kimmila watches Soriana closely, but if she suspects anything other than the chill, she makes no mention of it. She chuckles low. "Well, at least your mother isn't a Healer," she's guessing, "so you weren't subjected to lots of bed rest and medicines and soups." Which…is a bad thing, apparently? "How're things in Xanadu? The Sands fixed?"

"You can barely get my mother in an infirmary when she's sick," says Soriana with a grin. "Honestly, I think Yumeth might have fussed more than my mom did." She shakes her head a bit, still grinning, then loses the smile and nods to more current events. "Yes, they're fixed. They're supposed to be more stable now." She frowns for a moment, then moves on. "Two of Yumeth's clutch hatched. Green Miyukith to Da'n and brown Kaidoth to J'o." With such a small hatching, no wonder the news hasn't been spreading much. Speaking of… "I saw Fort's latest. Nicely done for Zuvaleyuth."

Kimmila tilts her head with a small frown. "Only two? Out of how many?" Her frown deepens as the implications of that settle in. "Did they figure out what happened to the heaters?" Suspicious much? Then she smiles a bit. "Yes, it's a good clutch. Very strong dragons, Zuva and Velo are proud." Especially Velo, the smug bronze that he is.

Oh, yes, this part is frownworthy. "Five of Yumeth's," she says. "Eight of Auspiraeth's, but… they were infertile to start. It wasn't the sands for those." Just for those three of Yumeth's… Soriana sighs. "From what I heard… someone installed a part wrong, and when it started to heat up… the thermometer melted or something and it just kept heating." She shakes her head. "After the hatching, they ran a bunch of tests on empty sands. They say it can't happen again." She spreads her hands a little, and shrugs, then smiles for Fort's good news. "I'm sure they'lll still keep your dragonhealers busy with training scrapes," she says with a chuckle.

Kimmila frowns a bit, eying the girl. "'Someone' installed a part wrong?" And she'll wait to see if Soriana picks up on what Kimm is suggesting. "So three dragons died because of that mishap? And why weren't Auspiraeth's eggs fertile? I seem to be…sorely out of touch with news from our allies in Xanadu." And she looks truly guilty for that. "Oh yes, they're a…stubborn, willful bunch. I'm glad I'm not the Weyrlingmaster."

Soriana looks back at Kimmila, and frowns. "The tunnel was kept locked… but… the final work was rushed. Very rushed." Also careless - but with the installation, or the site security? She looks away, out at the bowl again. "I don't know." She's quiet for a moment. "I'm not sure anyone knows." Her frown deepens, as she seems to find that a problem. She keeps her frown and distant gaze. "Yes. Three dragons died. Next clutch… someone's going to be watching the sands if I have to stay up and do it myself." Her jaw sets for a moment, and then she glances back to Kimmila as the other admits her ignorance. "I suppose everyone's been busy," she says, and leans back a little to make her body untense, her tone grow somewhat lighter. "Auspiraeth's problem is internal. She rises, she produces eggs, but there's no embryo inside. It could be a number of things… a mutation, a lingering infection, an old injury." She shakes her head. "I don't know what they've found out for her specifically; she's gone back to Ierne."

Kimmila's frown continues. "I would highly recommend that," she admits. "Our security was very high this last clutch. Dtirae slept on the sands, even. Velokraeth wouldn't leave." And everything went just fine. Quiet for a moment, she studies a wall of drying herbs thoughtfully. "Huh. Every time? She's never had a fertile clutch?" There's another pause. "Does that make her sad?"

Soriana nods, listening to the precautions taken by Fort. "Yumeth was worried over this clutch, but…" She trails off, and shakes her head, clearing it of that thought… for now. It'll likely be back soon enough. First, it's time to speak of the other queen. "No, never. She doesn't seem to mind it as much as you might think, though. She was a lot more laid-back about her eggs. Happy to be near them, but not… fussy. Perhaps she could sense that there were no dragons inside."

Kimmila tilts her head, considering for a moment. "Well, if it doesn't bother her…" Then she won't feel bad for the gold. "Perhaps she could. Hmm. Did Yumeth mourn? Did she know, before the hatching, that something was amiss?" Pushing back her hood now that they're sheltered, she brushes her fingers against her hair and then sticks hands back into her pockets, shoulders hunched against the chill.

Soriana smiles for a moment. "Dragons see some things differently than we do. That's one of the first year classes for dragonhealers - dragon psychology." She shakes her head. "Though the dragons are all different, even between themselves. Just like people are." She sighs. "Yumeth said something was wrong from the moment she took to the sands. She couldn't say what, though, and… she's a worrier, sometimes." Though this time, the queen was right… or was that coincidence? There's Sori's frown again. "She worried, but… I don't think she really knew until the dragonhealers did the candling. I heard the keening then. I wasn't there for it, I… was one of the candidates." She looks away. "But yeah. Yumeth mourned."

Kimmila nods with a soft chuckle. "They certainly do. And yes, they are vastly different from each other. Sometimes I think they're more different than people are, even." Then her frown returns as she shifts into the chair, getting comfortable again. "Hmm. That's…" Sad? Terrible? She can't seem to come up with the word she wants, so she just leaves it be. "Sorry you didn't impress," she adds. "Do you ever think that maybe your dragon was one of the ones that died?" Tact? What's that?

For some things in life, there are no words. Soriana nods despite the lack of one, and then she sighs, still not looking back. "There were so many candidates, for just the two eggs." She shakes her head slowly, lips quirking in something like a smile for the darkly humorous picture. Even the gallows humor can't keep a smile around, though. "Yeah, sometimes," she says. "It… well. Yumeth's always been around for me. It seemed like it all fit. Her clutch. Me. It would have been…" She trails off, and shakes her head. "That's what I imagined, anyhow. But even if it wasn't me, there was someone on those sands. Not that we'll ever know."

Kimmila nods, understanding a little bit at least. "I always thought that if I impressed, it would be to one of Wiyaneth's. But that didn't end up happening at all. No Fort dragons ever showed the slightest interest in me, each time Search came around." She shrugs. "Guess it wasn't meant to be." Her future, or Soriana's? "Well, maybe the next one. Or maybe you're destined for Dragonhealing." And she shrugs once more, settling back into her warm jacket. "I actually didn't think I'd ever get Searched. I figured I'd be Headwoman someday, of one of the weyrs."

Soriana glances back to Kimmila, and one corner of her mouth quirks up. "Maybe that's how it is. I didn't exactly get searched either. Just… asked to stand." The smile falls away again, and she shrugs. "Destined or not… yeah, I'll be a dragonhealer." The smile sneaks back as she adds, "Even if when I'm thirty I'm still having to get rides to go on these checkups." She stands up, leaning out the door to make sure nobody's done and waiting for her, then sits back down again. "Headwoman, huh? I don't know if I could stand something like that. All the cooking and cleaning and babies…"

Kimmila nods slightly. "To this day," she admits, "I don't know if a dragon actually Searched me, or if his rider asked as a bit of a joke." And she chuckles. "Nothing wrong with that." Watching her stand, she waits until she sits again to resume the conversation, though it starts with a wrinkle of her nose. "Ugh, no. I wouldn't have done those tasks. Record keeping, tithes, overseeing matience…those sorts of things. I don't…cook. Or clean. Or do babies." Though her hand does briefly rest on her belly when she says that, before it's shoved back into her pocket.

Soriana looks to Kimmila, then laughs. "Well, either way, your dragon certainly chose you." And really, that's all that matters. The smile lingers, and she nods. "Ah. Paperwork," she says. "To hear my mother, that's most of being a goldrider, too. Different papers, I suppose. Or else checking the same ones to make sure the same numbers come out at the end." She grins wryly. "I'm pretty good at brewing klah. Another couple night shifts, and I'll be a master. Just don't ask me to cook anything else to go with it." At the mention of babies, she simply gives a little shake of her head.

Kimmila chuckles, "That he did. Finally found me, he said. And I guess it's true, I'd been traveling around Pern long enough by that point. But…well. Who knows." She shrugs, and then smiles. "My mother says much the same thing. It's not as glamorous as many people like to think it is." Then she laughs. "Bet that isn't on the Dragonhealer exams, though," she says, her voice lightly teasing.

"Well, no. Though… do you think they'd give me extra credit on the oral exams if I showed up with a mug for the instructor?" Soriana grins. "Some shifts, that really is about all I do. When it's a quiet night… I just keep the klah full and study. It's kind of nice, actually. When it comes to dragonhealing, excitement is usually bad news." She smiles, then tilts her head to Kimmila. "So how's the glamour level on riding blue?"

Kimmila nods, "I can imagine that excitement is a bad thing, yes," she agrees. And then the girl's next question has her leaning back in her chair, staring at the wall. "I wouldn't say it's glamourous at all," she finally admits. "But it's nice to be…unnoticed. Blues have it best, I think. We don't have the stereotypes of the greens, and aren't 'not a bronze' like the browns. Blues…fly without notice sometimes, I think, and I like it that way. So it's not glamourous, but it's good."

Soriana tilts her head, watching Kimmila as she considers on the question and answers it. "That… makes sense," she says. She considers on it a moment, then smiles and adds, "Blues tend to be good patients." In case anyone was wondering. Sori glances to the other's shoulder, checking her knot to once more discover it absent. Right. She asks her question anyway. "Do you fly with a wing?"

That question has Kimmila smirking, glancing at Soriana for a long, thoughtful moment. But in the end she shakes her head. "No, I don't. My position is more of an…assistant's. I go where I'm needed, rather than stick with a specific wing. It's…better that way," she admits with a soft chuckle.

Soriana nods. She doesn't seem terribly surprised by that… but then, she did first meet Kimmila at a time when the bluerider was being Th'ero's shadow, er, assistant. After a moment, she says, "That seems something a blue could do better than most… more flexible than the larger dragons, and not as closely attached to others as greens tend to get." See what those lessons in dragon psych do? Rampant speculation and stereotype, that's what.

Nothing has changed since then, either. "Well…" she says with a small shrug. "It suits Varmiroth and myself quite well. Not because of his color, but because of our personalities. There's a green in this clutch that I think would be very good at this sort of position. A few, actually." There's a pause. "Actually, all of them have trouble conforming. So they might need to seek different jobs in their lives. Not everyone is cut out to be a wingrider."

"Every dragon is different, of course," Soriana hastens to add. "Colors aren't all the same." She's quiet for a moment, then nods. "Perhaps they'll change as they grow?" she offers. "Or else, well, there's all of Pern out there. Between them and Fort, I'm sure they'll figure something out." A smile, there.

Kimmila shrugs with a small smile. "We'll have to wait and see, I suppose. But yes, they're a very bright group. I'm sure they'll all figure out where they fit and what works best for them. Faranth knows it took Varmiroth and I enough time to figure it out."

Soriana smiles, and nods, glancing out at the bowl. "Where are they in training?" she asks curiously. "Are they doing hunting practice yet?" She glances back to Kimmila, and hehs. "Well, if you know, that is. I suppose perhaps they don't need assistance in training weyrlings."

Kimmila grins, "Well, I've actually been teaching a few lessons here and there. I…enjoy it," she admits, looking almost embarrassed to admit that. "They're just finishing up their straps and having their first mounted lessons. So they're not far along at all. Still in the wild, early stages."

Aha! So she does have a source of information here. Sori's eyes brighten, and she nods. "Xanadu almost always has someone with numbweed ready at those lessons. Just in case." She grins. "I wish my lessons at Ierne didn't conflict so often!" Otherwise, oh yeah, she'd be the one watching young dragons romp around, for purely professional reasons.

Kimmila nods, giving her a sympathetic look. "They're truly something to watch. I, uh. Well I can't speak for everyone but if you ever want to come watch a lesson I'm doing you're more than welcome to. Might be nice to have a Dragonhealer on hand…" And it's hard to tell if she's joking or not.

Baby dragons. What's not to love? They're completely different than baby humans. So says Soriana's face, melty around the edges, and the bright smile she gives to Kimmila. "Oh, thank you!" she says, and laughs. "I'm only grade one, but maybe your dragonhealers will trust me with a numbweed vat. I'll be sure to ask them." Okay, so it started out with a laugh, but by the end, the tone is more or less serious. It's as though those adorable dragonets are also larger than a human and equipped with sharp claws… while still being in only partial control of their bodies.

Kimmila smiles a little bit, looking amused. "If nothing else, you can run and /get/ the Dragonhealers?" she asks, grin crooked. "When they did their first mounted exercises one of the bronzes took off like he was a bucking bronco…" Sigh. Amused, resigned sigh.

"Now that," says Soriana, "I can most certainly do." Pause. "Well. As long as I check to make sure I know where it is first." Unfamiliar weyr and all. But she'll figure out some way to be useful, or at the very least, to stay out of the way. That's useful right? She laughs at the story of the bucking bronze. "Hah! Definitely got spirit. Did you ever figure out why?"

Kimmila waves a hand unhelpfully towards the door. "The training grounds are over there." But Fort's pretty simple…all in the bowl. Find a wall and keep walking, you'll get to everything eventually. "He said the straps itched. And thought…running would fix it."

As soon as Soriana figures out how to see through walls, she'll be set. Which is to say, soon after leaving this supply closet. She glances out, nodding and making sure no dragonhealers have crossed while she's been waiting. No sign of them yet, and she looks back to Kimmila. "The straps… itched." She pauses a moment, turning that over in her head, then laughs again, shaking her head.

Kimmila grins, "Well, to be fair, D'ani had made straps that went all the way back and wrapped around poor Dremkoth's tail, so the little guy didn't know what was up. It's a neat design though, I might make some like that…but for a first set? Dremkoth was baffled."

Soriana tilts her head to the side, trying to picture that. "Huh. I don't think I've seen a design like that before…" she says after a moment. "That makes more sense, though. It might have felt like something was, well, on his tail. I can see how that would have startled him into running." She shakes her head a little, and grins. "Still."

Kimmila grins right back at the girl. "Still," she agrees, leaning back in her chair and lapsing into silence. Hopefully it's not awkward silence, but it might be. She's not too great at conversation, after all.

When the silence edges near awkward, there's the mental image of a bucking bronze bronco to amuse Soriana and keep things from turning uncomfortable. She's just starting to reach for another topic of conversation when motion in the bowl catches her eye. Is that? It is. Dragonhealers, coming back down the steps. Soriana ahs. "Looks like they're done with Wiyaneth," she says, and stands up. "I'd best go catch up."

Kimmila gets to her feet as well, motioning for Soriana to go first back into the snow. "Hopefully all is well," she murmurs. "Well. As well as it usually is." It was a bad injury after all.

Soriana nods. "Winter is often hard on those things, but I hope so too," she says, straightening her jacket and heading out. She turns back once she's cleared the doorway. "It was nice talking to you. Good luck with those weyrlings… and all the rest of it!" She smiles, and waves before heading off to join the dragonhealers. Onwards to the next appointment, wherever it may be! Or maybe just back to Xanadu for another pot of klah.

'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.