Fort Weyr - Administration Complex
A long and narrow staircase leads the way up the mountainside, pausing at the large weyrs of several golds, passing by the one that used to be Moreta's so many Turns ago, before leading up to the Senior Queen's weyr, and finally ending at the Weyrleader's weyr. This is one of the more frequently travelled areas of the weyr, with messengers running back and forth as well as the occasional visiting dignitary.


The morning chill settles over the weyr like the edge of a knife, the wind blowing and kicking up swirls of snow that haven't yet been packed down by people or dragons. The clear sky makes things even more cold, the feeble winter sunlight doing nothing to warm the weyr. While drudges work at shoveling the latest snow fall away from the paths and the stairs that lead up to the various weyrs in this area, Elara and Wiyaneth stand in the open area next to the staircases. The former Senior is bundled up in a violet jacket lined with fur, her hood up and covering her curly hair that, except for the streaks of grey, is identical to Kimmila's. Wiyaneth stands beside her rider, the pale ivory gold dragon's hide looking washed out rather than rich against the stark white backdrop. Wings spread, she slowly fans them with a low rumble and snort, her tail lashing viciously behind her while her eyes pick up hints of red. Elara steps forward, resting a hand on the queen's shoulder, and the anger subsides, and there is another slow wing flap.

With the morning chill set in so sharply and the amount of snow settled on the weyr, it's a wonder that one individual is outside at all, especially when the clear sky and sun lend little warmth. And it's from the sky that Velokraeth arrives, coming in slow and carefully to land on the open area, leaving enough space so as not to encroach too much on Wiyaneth or send too much snow drifting towards the queen and her rider. It's a bit of a tight fit, but the young, pale bronze makes do as he patiently waits for Th'ero to dismount. Unaware of Wiyaneth's previous mood, Velokraeth rumbles a low greeting and should he bespeak her, he'll be nothing but compliments and politeness. Once dismounted, Th'ero pauses for a moment to give his bronze a quick pat to the shoulder and also to gather up a thermos and a small package from his packs. The Weyrleader seems to hesitate for a moment, gaze sliding over to Elara, before steeling himself and walking over to where she stands. He's dressed to suit the weather himself, though his choice of colors are somber at best: entirely black, save for what color their may be in his knot or badge, or the lighter beige or creams of the fur lining his clothing. Once he's closer, but still at a respective distance, Th'ero dips his head in a formal nod and forces himself to smile lightly at least. "Morning," he simply greets, before falling awkwardly silent for a moment as he fumbles for his next words, "What brings you two out here, in the cold?" he asks, though with a flicker of a wince at his choice.

Wiyaneth turns her head to stare intently at the young bronze, and all she does is snort before ignoring him and focusing her attention internally, shifting her wings once more. Up, then down. "Atta girl," Elara praises softly, stroking the pale queen's side. Looking beyond her lifemate to the new arrivals, she straightens and lifts her chin slightly, looking the young man up and down. "Weyrleader," she greets, her tone polite and respectful. "Kimmila told me you'd be coming to visit this morning. Off on a flight around the weyr?" she asks, nodding skyward. "Don't mind Wiyaneth," she adds, as the queen rumbles threateningly towards the young bronze. "She's just stiff and grouchy this morning." Wiyaneth snorts at that, her tail lashing precariously close to her rider, but Elara doesn't even flinch. She just flicks her finger and thumb against that massive side. A flea bite would be more easily felt, and yet there must be quite a mental push behind that gesture, because Wiyaneth settles down. "Exercises," she says, answering Th'ero's question. "Have to keep her wings limber and nimble, else her injury will seize." She sighs, but points to the part of Wiyaneth's wing where her old injury - the one that cost her her Seniorship - is still visible as an angry white scar.

Velokraeth seems unperturbed by Wiyaneth's response as he moves in to settle himself carefully down, wings folded tightly to his sides and his stunted legs tucking in close, though he keeps his forearms crossed over each other. Even when the threat comes, the young bronze only chuffs in return but remains unmoved, though whirling gaze is watching the gold carefully and possibly only because of the exercises. "Did she now?" Th'ero muses, some of the tension in his stance easing off. And while Elara gives him a look over, he does the same to her, though soon his glance is moving off towards the weyr bowl below them. "Velokraeth's idea. Get up early, explore and then business, it seems." He admits, though judging by his tone, the Weyrleader is not enjoying both early hours and the cold. None of this is voiced however; instead the bronzerider's attention flicks back to Elara, then up to Wiyaneth. He observes the exchange between them, his frown brief when the gold rumbles threateningly to his bronze, but his expression smoothes over once she explains and he gives a nod of his head in understanding. When the old injury is pointed out though, Th'ero gives a faint grimace. "How did that happen?" he asks, before hastily adding in, "If you don't mind me asking." There's another awkward pause from the Weyrleader then, a heartbeat or two of silence before something (or someone) seems to rouse him from his stalling thoughts. "Tea?" he suddenly offers, the thermos he had carried from the pack now being held up. "It should still be warm. I haven't opened it. But I've some loose leaf too, but not conveniently brewed." He says, while pointing slightly with the thermos to the small package he has tucked under his other arm.

Wiyaneth continues with her exercises, quiet and focused on stretching those muscles and easing her body into warmth and wakefulness after the cold night. Elara watches her keenly for a moment, and then her focus returns to the new Weyrleader, with a smile. "That's a good idea," she says, nodding in approval. "A very good idea." She even gives Velokraeth a pleased smile. "Oh," she says to his question, with a low sigh. "I don't mind you asking and I don't mind telling. A visiting rider betweened into the wrong spot, up in the northern mountains, during a blizzard. I'm a Healer and Wiyaneth is very good at helping me, so we went out to rescue them. One bad wind gust and we hit the side of the mountain, and that was the end of our career as Senior." The woman sighs, looking distractedly at her golden lifemate, lost in thought for a moment. "But!" she says, pulling herself back to the present, "that's neither here nor there. We're back home now, so all is well." His offer of tea has her grinning, though it's a little wry, much like her daughter's smile. "Kimmila told you to bring some, didn't she?" she asks, as she reaches for both the thermos and the package. "Thank you very much. You'll find I'm easily bribed with tea."
Connected players on Fort Weyr's knot:

Brows rise upwards a fraction, Th'ero is obviously surprised by Elara's approval and because of this he's distracted enough to not notice Velokraeth's sudden, but brief, preening. The young bronze may be silent, but that doesn't mean he's not watching and listening. Eventually, Th'ero smiles back, though he does shoot a pointed look at his bronze. "That's good to know. Brings some relief that enduring the freezing cold pre-dawn hours has actual benefits." He replies, sarcasm slipping into his tone despite his efforts to keep it neutral. Once Elara begins to share the story behind Wiyaneth's injury though, the Weyrleader's expression sobers as he listens and giving a sympathetic shake of his head when she finishes. "That's a pity, but it's good that you're both well." Th'ero manages to smile this time with a little more ease as he follows the change in topic. Elara's wry grin and comment earns her a dry chuckle and the Weyrleader doesn't bother trying to lie. Instead he only shrugs his shoulders in a helpless gesture, "She did happen to drop the hint that you enjoyed tea." He admits with a slight smirk as he passes both thermos and package to the retired weyrwoman. The thermos will contain an apple tea, should she open it, while the package itself is floral. Seems like he followed /all/ of Kimmila's advice. "You're welcome." Th'ero adds, with another chuckle. He says nothing to the comment about bribes, strangely enough.

Elara nods, "I'll say it does. It makes you visible. Shows that you're out and about and checking up on things. Shows you're a hard worker." She does open the thermos, breathing in the delicious smelling vapors and pouring some into the cap, offering it over to Th'ero while she sips from the thermos itself. The other tea is slipped carefully into her pocket to enjoy later. "We survived," Elara says, with a small smile. "How are you handling your new position?" she asks, looking at him with a scrutinizing gaze, though her smile is as polite as ever.

Now it is Th'ero's turn for a wry smile, as Elara's words bring up the recent talk he had with her own daughter. He bites back the laugh that threatens to bubble up though, instead simply masking it as a polite cough before nodding his head. "So I hear." He replies, "And so I guess I'll stick to it." The Weyrleader watches in polite silence as Elara opens the thermos, reaching out almost automatically to grasp the cap. Tea is not his beverage of choice, but he'll sip it anyways, for the sake of politeness. His mouth draws downwards into a thin line when the weyrwoman mentions his wellbeing and the scrutinizing gaze isn't entirely lost on Th'ero either. In return, he gives her a long, sideways look before simply sighing and speaking mostly in truth in his response. "Not well, but I suppose I could do worse?" he says, staring down at the thermos cap that he's now gripping tightly with his gloved hand. "Not as shell shocked as I was. Overwhelmed, is more like it. Don't know entirely where to start."

Elara sips the tea and holds the warm thermos in both gloved hands, briefly turning her attention away from Th'ero as Wiyaneth finishes her exercises and takes three long strides away from them before kicking off into the air in a slow ascent, heading towards the feeding grounds. Elara shifts, rolling her shoulders in unconscious connection to her lifemate's discomfort, before her focus returns to the conversation at hand. She smiles gently at his admission, and nods. "You could certainly do worse," she agrees softly. "I don't blame you for being overwhelemd. It's a lot to do, and a lot to take in. WHere do you think you should start?" she asks, taking another sip of the tea and watching him over the rim.

Even Th'ero's attention wanders as Wiyaneth completes her exercises and kicks off the ledge and into the air. Velokraeth is watching too, oversized head swiveling to watch as the older queen makes her way to the feeding grounds. The Weyrleader glances back to Elara in time to catch the last of her unconscious roll of her shoulders, a slight frown creasing his brow but he pretends to take no notice. Instead, his faint smirk is directed to her reply and he slowly shakes his head. "I guess I can take some comfort in that, then." He says in a lower voice, pausing only to take another sip of the tea and try not to pull too much of a face at the taste. Her agreeing with his admission to being overwhelmed has helped calm some of his nerves and the Weyrleader no longer stands so tensely across from the weyrwoman, instead relaxing enough to shift his weight a bit to one side. Th'ero gaze rises up to meet that of Elara's when she asks of his plans and here some amusement does creep into his features by a small curve of his mouth into a half-smile. He doesn't give Kimmila's name, but he assumes Elara has already figured it out by the tea alone. "I was told the best way to start was to greet the cavern folk first. Go and talk with them, get to know them. Then meet with the Weyrsecond, the Wingleaders, the riders…" he begins, before letting the sentence drift off as he frowns in thought, uncertain. "Though I've no idea what to talk to them about and I'm not exactly the greatest in stirring up conversation on the fly."

Elara chuckles softly into the thermos, letting the steam billow up around her face, eyes closing briefly. When they open again, they watch the young Weyrleader politely. "I think that's a good plan," she agrees with a little nod. "If you don't get the backing of your caverns folk, you'll be floundering. And not in big ways. In little ways, like meals arriving late for visiting dignitaries, or rooms not being cleaned *just* right. Better to encourage than to punish, I feel." The she shrugs, waving a hand absently through the air. "Just introduce yourself. Say hello, and talk just briefly about your plans for the weyr. Are you the sort of leader who likes feedback? Who likes listening to other peoples' ideas before you make big decisions? That's something to tell them. Just say hello, and that you look forward to working with them. And I'm sure they'll have questions, so you can just be quiet and listen, then. People like to know they're being heard." As Elara rambles off this unsolicited advice, it's clear where Kimmila got - at least some of - her personality from. Though Elara isn't nearly as crude.

Th'ero blinks a little as he lets the subtle warning from Elara sink into his thoughts. There's a moments pause, a small stretch of silence as he finishes off the rest of the tea before he speaks up again, giving a slight nod of his head as well. "Good to know. I'm guessing that'll be my business for the day then." Though he's careful to keep his smile in place, the Weyrleader still has a hint of apprehension in his voice of someone still uncertain and nervous about his position. "I don't know my plans." Th'ero sudden says in a quiet tone, looking a little embarrassed by admitting it. But once he seems to start, the bronzerider doesn't stop, despite barely knowing Elara. "I'm an outsider. What little I know of Fort is what I studied during Weyrlinghood. Not enough to go by and I am… not wanting to meddle with things. I don't have the experience." He pauses long enough in his rambling to give the Weyrwoman a questioning look, quieting himself at least to listen to the rest of her advice. With a sigh, his free hand comes up to rub at his temples as he now considers those points as well. "I hadn't considered going about it that way. That… I could do." He agrees, with thoughtful reluctance as his hand lowers back to his side. "I'd prefer feedback. It'd give me something to work with, at least." Th'ero muses, relaxing again once he begins to grasp at Elara's advice, giving him some sort of support he can agree upon.

Elara smiles kindly at the young man, nodding. "I know," she agrees. "You are in a very difficult position. Similar, in some ways, to my current position." She glances towards the feeding grounds, where she can see her lifemate feasting upon her kill. "I feel we are outsiders as well, despite being the most senior," lowercase s, "of Fort's goldriders. We are here again, but it is difficult to walk that line of helping our beloved weyr, and not wanting to overstep the boundaries of our new positions. So I understand, Th'ero." She is quiet a moment, sadness pulling down her expression before she regains her polite cheerfulness with another sip of tea. "Your plans don't have to be something revolutionary. They can be as simple and grounded as continuing the high standard of excellence in your riders, accepting only the best, and helping Fort continue to prosper as a weyr and as a community. You need /some/ sort of plan. If you say you don't know, other people will step up and try to manipulate you into taking on /their/ plans. Right now, you're learning about this weyr. Learning how she feels, and how she operates, and how things are done. You can ask for advice, but don't go blindly with the first suggestion offered. It will be a tricky line to walk, but Kimmila thinks highly of you in that you're capable of this. Some of the best leaders I've seen - my X'an, for example - would listen to everyone's opinions, think them over, and then make his own decision without apology. That's the mark of a good leader. He listens, but then he makes his own decision with what /he/ thinks is best for his weyr. And that is not always the most popular decision, but it is the one he thinks is right, after he has weighed all the options." Then she smiles. "And, of course, I am at your disposal, Weyrleader. So if there is something you are not comfortable dealing with - and I told this to R'oc as well, when we returned - feel free to call upon me. I think I'm capable enough to handle any sort of situation without making it seem like a weakness on your part."

Th'ero's expression becomes sheepish as Elara reminds him of her current position and the difficulties that come with it, something he obviously hadn't considered until the weyrwoman points it out to him. "I wasn't aware, but I do see what you mean now." The sadness in her expression is noted and that brings a brief, sympathetic glance from the Weyrleader, but his awkwardness leaves him tongue tied again and he can't seem to bring forth the proper words. So there is silence once more, before the topic changes again. There's a dry chuckle when Elara brings up the term "revolutionary". "I'm smart enough to know not to go that route." He muses before sobering again and listening intently to the advice she parts with him. By the end of it all, Th'ero looks stunned into silence again, but not from being overwhelmed or confused. The Weyrleader simply wasn't expecting such an open response and it takes a moment for all of it to really click and sink in. "You're the only one, aside from Kimmila, who really knows I don't have a plan. Or didn't, rather. I'm beginning to get one now though…" Th'ero actually smiles then, a genuine one that isn't forced or tinged with some other emotion beneath it. "X'an had it right, I think. And I believe that is where I'll start." He agrees next, as his smile slowly morphs into a grin. There's even a bit of laughter from the Weyrleader, as he gives Elara a polite nod of his head. "Thank you, I appreciate your help. Like I told Kimmila… I'll need all I can get."

Elara nods as she sips her tea and listens to him, her attention occasionally drifting to where Wiyaneth feeds, but always returning with a keen focus to the young Weyrleader. "Good," she says of him having a plan, "I'm very glad to hear that. And yes, X'an did have it right." No one can speak badly of X'an, at least not within this loyal goldrider's earshot. "It is a good place to start. And then, as you become more comfortable, and you get your own ideas, you have a foundation to build on, and know how to go about it." She smiles kindly at the young man. "And you will get all the help I can give. Kimmila…well." The woman chuckles softly. "I am here to help, both because my daughter wishes it, and because having a floundering Weyrleader would not be good for our beloved Fort."

Th'ero continues to smile, even with Elara's keen glance focusing on him. His gaze doesn't waver as much as it did earlier, though Velokraeth seems to be the one keeping watch of anything of interest in the weyr below. The pale bronze hasn't moved from his spot, though his attentions are obviously turned away from both riders. Th'ero nods his head again, looking thoughtful but far more relaxed now. "I've a lot of work then, to do." The Weyrleader murmurs thoughtfully, before chuckling. "Or talking, rather." He returns the smile to Elara, though he gives her a quizzical look when she brings up Kimmila's name. There's another shake of his head and his hand comes up again, only this time to idly scrub at his jawline as he smirks. "I'm glad you're willing to help." He begins and then his smirk is suddenly changing to a crooked grin and his tone is bordering on teasing. "You've got your daughter to thank for also having a Weyrleader who's not only floundering, but a complete hermit." He points out, seeming to take some pleasure in poking fun of himself. "But to be honest here, I am thankful you're willing to help."

Elara nods, "Lots of talking," she chuckles, "do drink lots of tea to keep your throat soothed." Her expression is teasing, though. Don't think she didn't notice his reluctance with her favorite beverage. Her smile is warm for the young Weyrleader, and thoughtful for a moment as she considers her next words. "Yesterday, Th'ero, was the first time I had seen Kimmila so excited about something - so happy and energetic - in a long, long time. She…" The Goldrider trails off with a little sigh - a mother's concern for her daughter's well being that she knows she has no direct control over anymore, and then she just smiles. "She is very good at being a hermit, herself, and closing herself off to others. I'm glad she's found a friend in you."

Th'ero can't help but pull a face, wrinkling his noise and then dissolving into soft laughter. "I was that obvious, was I? It wasn't that bad, honestly. But… to each their own." He admits, giving a bit of a guilty look to the empty cap he still has clutched in one hand. The Weyrleader's gaze doesn't linger there for long though, before it's fixated on Elara again. All previous laughter and amusement leaves his expression for one more serious and tinged with concern. The goldrider doesn't have to explain, as he has some idea of what she's illuding to concerning her daughter. "I know." He says softly, also choosing his words carefully. "I've noticed a change in her, compared to how she was when I first crossed paths with her." He agrees, though seems touched by Elara's comments. Enough that his cheeks flush a little with color and not entirely due to the brisk cold of the morning air and he clears his throat, shifting his weight to the other side and not quite meeting the goldrider's eyes.

Elara smiles, "To each their own," she agrees, reaching out to take the cap so she can close the thermos. The goldrider nods slowly. "She has been through a lot. Some of it circumstances, and others brought on by her own actions. But still, I'm her mother, and I want to see her happy." She smiles at the young Weyrleader, "So. Thank you for that."

Th'ero gladly hands the cap back and the moment that hand is free, he promptly tucks both away as he crosses his arms loosely over his chest. It's like a habit with him, but perhaps the Weyrleader is also huddling a little against the cold. "She's told me a little of what happened." He admits slowly, sounding cautious despite the smile he gives Elara. "That's understandable. I prefer seeing her happy as well." Th'ero then laughs, shaking his head. "You're welcome, then?" Velokraeth gives a rumble from where he lounges, the pale bronze turning his oversized head to regard both his rider and the goldrider, mismatched eyes whirling in a calm manner, though there's a pointed chuff directed to Th'ero. Blinking a bit, the Weyrleader gives a bit of a sigh at something exchanged and giving his bronze a quick narrowed look; he turns his head back to give Elara an apologetic look. "I've ah, been politely reminded that I've yet to have breakfast and that I probably should get back out to the public and to work." Th'ero explains, with a smirk. He hesitates then, tilting his head a bit to the side as he considers something. "Care to join me?" he offers, after a moments pause. It's simply a polite gesture, perhaps an extension of his apology for having to leave so abruptly.

Elara chuckles softly, shaking her head. "I'm fine, thank you though. Enjoy your breakfast and your mingling. And let me know if there's anything I can do to assist you, Weyrleader," she adds, giving the young man a warm smile.

"Will do. Thank you!" Th'ero quickly replies, while Velokraeth rouses himself and stretches before launching himself from the ledge, leaving the Weyrleader to take the stairs down to ground level. There's one last warm smile given in return to Elara and then he's turning on his heel, giving one last parting half-wave, half-salute before disappearing into the stairwell.


'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.