Fort's Forests ~~ Fort Weyr - Western Forests
The forests here grow all the more pressing, soon choking out the gravel- and sand-formed path that splits from the fork. While it continues to wind further into the darkness and coolness that only such thickly grown foliage can create, other smells hint at places yet to be fully explored. Blueberries and the calls of birds, lush blackberry thickets just out of sight, and deep undergrowth that holds promise of mysterious fungi and other such plants.
Traveling through the woods alone is always a dangerous affair … and all the moreso with whisperings of renegades and feral beasts running rampant throughout. The whoop and call of avians and firelizards penetrate the strange not-quite-silence of the forest, while deeper rumblings of creatures yet unseen might be heard in other places. Great beasts crash through the forest from time to time and set the avians into unexpected flight.

Hunters do what hunters do, even in the winter! The forest still hold some sign of life, but even then it takes awhile to track it down and stalk after it. Traps help with this purpose, usually. So, the hunters are again making their rounds away from their camp that is set up clearly out of view and hidden carefully among the forest. The rounds have them returning to all their traps set in the area, checking for their kills. The time is around evening, just past lunch and the forest is quiet — for the most part.

With the evening hour settling in, there is one individual moving quietly through the forests, though he is no hunter, but seems to have some familiarity with wandering through areas like this. Th'ero hadn't meant to stumble into this area, the Weyrleader looking out of place in such a remote area. He's dressed in his riding gear, lined with thick fur to protect him from the worst of the cold. There's a scowl on his expression as he pauses, breath streaming out in front of him as his eyes scan the area. Uttering a curse under his breath, it's clear it was not the bronzerider's attention to be here. And for that reason, he's not paying attention, save for the brief focus on kicking a small rock out of his path in frustration. That rock tumbles into a concealed trap nearby with enough noise to do two things: startle a nearby animal into it and spring the trap that kills it. It also sets Th'ero on edge and for a heartbeat, the Weyrleader tenses and lowers himself into a bit of a defensive position before his gaze finds the source of the noise. "Damn it." He curses again, instantly relaxing as he walks, /carefully/ now, towards the sprung trap. Unsheathing the small dagger he carries with him, the bronzerider crouches down, gently using the tip of the blade to nudge the trap, but not touch the caught animal.

Adalinus is with the rest of the pack, checking the traps. His boots crunch through the snow as they move from trap to trap. Really this is one of the things he's actually useful for. His hunting skills weren't very good, he was too bulky to move around. Ada is better for fending off bears, and carrying things. Like firewood. Or dead animals. Past that he was good at setting up camp, and was pretty okay at cooking. So far they've caught… maybe something! Adalinus has at least one animal strapped to his back. Maybe a few smaller ones. His ears are good enough to hear something up ahead, also a trap go off not too far. He puts a finger to his lips and draws his combat knife. Deitra was the real hunter here. "I think I hear a voice!" He whispers.

They've got very little, very very little. Some of the hunters have already returned to the Weyr to finish the plans for the bigger hunt, farther away from the Weyr while Deitra and, well, Adalinus have stayed back with the younger woman being insistent that they probably caught /something/ bigger. So when Adalinus draws his knife, the hunter is drawing her bow. "A voice? Shit. Some twit is messin' with my trap, ain't they?" The bow is quickly slung over her shoulder, switched for one of her knifes before she's heading carefully towards the trap. At least she has enough sense not to take off running! Th'ero is spotted by the trap and her lips press into a thin line. "HEY!" Gone is the quiet, stealthy hunter and in comes the irritated young woman. "Get 'way from /my/ trap 'fore I cut off one'a yer fingers."

Gone is the quiet and so is any hope of having a normal, relaxing evening for Th'ero. He had just finished using his dagger to gently examine the trap when Deitra storms her way in, threats and all. The Weyrleader's eyes narrow, quickly sizing up the younger hunter and despite her being armed, he considers her a minor threat. He has no idea Adalinus is not far behind. One angry hunter he can handle, while two may be much to handle. So as Th'ero rises from his crouch, eyes never leaving Deitra, he moves back slowly from the trap and the small animal caught within it. "Easy!" he says, trying so hard not to smirk and failing miserably. Gloved hands are held up as well, though one still clutches the small dagger, but the gesture is easily read: submission, non-threatening. "I was only curious about the setup." Th'ero adds, still waiting the hunter carefully.

Oh nos! They haven't caught enough! All the hunters are going to starve tonight! Woe! Woe is Ada! It takes a lot of food to keep this much muscle going. He follows behind Deitra, just in case there were multiple offenders and they were armed. She's quicker than he is, but he's not far behind. The knife is brandished towards Th'ero. "Identify yourself, stranger!" Ada moves between Th'ero and the trap, motioning for Deitra to check it out while he keeps Th'ero at a safe distance and distracted. "Are you alone? What is your purpose for being this far out in the woods?"

Deitra's certainly armed and eyeing the man carefully, chin lifting slightly in defiance as he backs away from the trap. When his hands are held up, her knife slightly drops as she again considers him. Though anything she has to say in reply is interrupted by Ada coming up behind her, then forward between the trap and the unidentified man. "He got lost. He ain't got a look that say's he's 'bout ta attack, or that he's been starvin' for days." Comes the hunter's response for the man, caring not if that's the truth as she goes to check the trap. The animal is certainly /dead/, at least. She then releases the trap and lifts the body to examine it. "Shit. This one ain't even big 'nough ta make a decent meal." A grumble follows, "could use it ta line gloves." The trap is then freed and she's setting it so that it won't trigger again and then moving to offer it to Th'ero. "Look, but yer goin' ta give it back. Ada here'll tackle you if yer tryin' ta make off with it."

Th'ero's gaze flicks away from Deitra as Adalinus comes into view and the brandished knife is given a very narrowed look. "You don't want to do that." He warns, though not entirely serious from the hint of amusement in his voice. The bronzerider then scowls, but he's not at all intimidated by the larger hunter, even when he moves closer to put himself between him, the trap and Deitra herself. "I'm Th'ero." He says, gladly obliging Adalinus' demands. "Fort's Weyrleader." At that, he drops his hands down to his side, sheathing the dagger and all the while keeping his eyes focused on the two hunters. "I'm alone, unless you count Velokraeth. He's back by the clearing now and has probably scared off your game. Terribly sorry about that." He says, sarcasm in his tone by the end before he remembers to be civil and polite. Adalinus then gets a long look and Th'ero smirks, "Exploring." He offers then and only a half-truth. Deitra has his attention again, not entirely because of what she says but because of the trap she's suddenly holding up to him. He doesn't exactly recoil, but he does take another slight step backwards. "I already got a good enough look, thanks." He says, waving off the offer. "I don't want it. It's your trap and your game. So… Ada, is it? Won't have to tackle me." He muses, glancing back to the other hunter.

Adalinus peers between Deitra and Th'ero. "Well… you could be right. Or it could be a ploy! A trap set, and his friends plan to rush us from all sides!" He looks around, though the knife is slowly put away. Any approaching ruffians will have to deal with fists of fury! "Mm, perhaps we need to find a new area to set the traps in, then. The larger game has left." Suddenly, Ada manages to remove his coat and shirt all in one fluid motion. He flexes. "If you spoil our traps I will chase you until the ends of Pern!" At the mention of who he is, he's approached by Ada then, but it's not in an intimidating fashion. More like curiosity, so he can check the man's knot. "By the stars! He IS the weyrleader!" Ada sniffles, and tries to grab Th'ero up into a manly bearhug. "A thousand apologies my lord! We were not expecting to find a prominent member of the weyr wandering along out amongst the trees!"

There's a pause at the name for it certainly rings a bell! Then, it clicks at that final part. However, Deitra isn't so quick to change her tune, instead she pins him with a singular look. "Nnf." That is given to his apology, "it happens." The huntress laughs for his reaction to the trap and grins widely at him, a toothy, approving grin as if forgetting the fact that he did mess with her traps. "I like you. Yer not how one'd picture a Weyrleader." It is simply put before she's drawing the trap back to her side and then moving behind Ada in attempts to place it in his pack, but is cut short as he approaches the man and announces the truth to the other man's claims. "/Hey/!" The shout is towards Ada as he again moves to engulf another in a hug. "Don't go and scoop the Weyrleader up! Yer goin' ta get yer ass in trouble, even with all yer fancy talkin'." Though, at least that may cause him to stop long enough for her to fix the trap up into place. "'m sorry for him. Ada's always like this. 'm Deitra, since it ain't polite for me not ta give my name out."

The apology, for what it is from Deitra, is accepted with a slight nod from Th'ero, a slight crooked smile to follow it. "And how do you picture a Weyrleader?" Th'ero asks, glancing to Deitra with a quizzical look before his attention is diverted again. This time, it's by a suddenly shirtless Adalinus and all he can do is stare incredulously. "How did…" he begins to mutter, but the words die off as the larger hunter begins to approach him. Even if not in an intimidating fashion, it has the Weyrleader a little on edge. Then before he can dodge, he's caught in the other man's bearhug and the look on his face is purely stunned and in disbelief. Lord? He'll suffer the hug with good nature; though once he is released he probably looks relieved to be free from Adalinus' grasp. Taking a deep breath, he straightens himself and clears his throat slightly. "Ah, apology accepted. It's an honest mistake, really." He says and while he gives a smile to him, he shifts just a teeny bit further away, just in case. Deitra's reaction earns a delayed chuckle. "No, no… no trouble. Caught me off guard though." He admits, before glancing between the two hunters with a long look and giving another nod of his head to the greetings. "Well met then, Ada, Deitra."

Adalinus doesn't seem to take any immediate heed of Deitra's complaints. "Just because you don't like being hugged doesn't mean no one does, Deitra! Surely such a mighty man as he can appreciate the finer things!" A hug from another man being one of them, apparently. "I am Adalinus, of Nerat! It is my humble pleasure to be made acquaintances with you, Th'ero, weyrleader of Fort and rider to Velokraeth!" Thankfully the hugging seems to have ended, and Ada is putting his clothes back on. It's cold! Ada will pick up the kill from the trap and get it situated on his back. He looks to Deitra then. "Shall we check the rest of the traps? Or perhaps we can go for a hike with the weyrleader!"

"Old. I knew yer were young'n all, but, old." Deitra answers with a chuckle that grows into laughter for the man's reaction towards Ada's shirtless state. More laughter as he is caught in the hug and the young woman shakes her head in amusement. "He does got a point, though. Ain't likely that we're ta see a Weyrleader out in the forest, and less likely messin' with the traps." Brows lift in consideration of the man, considering, calculating before nodding once. "Sorry. For catchin' ya o ff guard. Ain't goin' ta be the last time, either. Heard yer from Western. Spoke with a rider from there not long 'go." The huntress snorts softly at Adalinus, "ain't why 'm tellin' you ta stop. We're in the forest. In winter and he don't know you…" Grey eyes roll upward in exasperation before she shrugs and brushes her hands off. "If yer wantin' a hike with the Weyrleader, take a hike with the Weyrleader. Come find me when yer done, I gotta get the rest cause we're not wantin' someone ta get hurt."

"I guess I do kind of fail in that part of the picture. But I'm not /that/ young." Th'ero still gives Adalinus' a bit of a wary look, though it seems mostly out of jest then out of seriousness as he replies to Deitra. The formality of the larger hunter's greeting catches him by surprise as well and suddenly the bronzerider is finding it hard not to start chuckling. Blame it on the nerves! "Well met again, Adalinus." He says in reply, nowhere near as colorful with his greeting. The Weyrleader does begin to relax once the hunter puts his clothes back on as well. The mention of a hike is met with a shake of his head, his gaze going skywards to where the sky is showing the late hour. "As much as I'd enjoy that…it's a bit late for a hike, isn't it?" To Deitra, he gives her a thoughtful look before something clicks into place as she speaks. "Wait, another rider from Western? A bronzerider?" Oh, now the younger hunter definitely has Th'ero's attention now and he gives her another once over with his gaze, moving slowly up and down. But her exchange with Adalinus snaps him out of his thoughts and he's back to glancing between the two. "How many more traps do you two have to check?" he asks, before tilting his head a little to the side. "Seeing as I've scared most of your larger game off, I could help? Least I can do."

"Well of course he doesn't know me, we've only just met, after all!" And Adalinus doesn't really think there's a good and a bad time for hugs. Or for muscles. Even if it was cold. "I… we must fulfill our duties. I can't leave you alone out here to collect the traps. There could still be felines or other big game lurking about. We'll have to go hiking some other time, weyrleader Th'ero!" Ada turns so Deitra can get a trap count. "I am not sure. But you are welcome to come and assist us! It will help you familiarize yourself with the lay of the land. And you can tell us the extraordinary and daring tale about how you, a rider fresh out of graduation, managed to become weyrleader!" Ada throws a fist into the air to indicate his excitement.

"Young 'nough. Just graduated. That's pretty young for yer dragon, but, it means he's got stamina. Strong and all that." There's appreciation in the young woman's tone, an appreciation for strength, that is. Deitra tucks her hands into her coat pocket, "nah. Not too late. Not if yer knowin' where yer goin'. Ada could get you back." She nods idly to his question, "yeah. Bronzerider. Hn. Zi'on, 'm thinkin' it was. Chatty, hatin' the cold, wanted ta talk 'bout scars. Know him?" A brow quirks upwards before she's staring off into the distance, considering the forest. "'bout ten, or a few more'n that." Grey eyes flick back toward him, considering then flashing a grin in his direction. "I like you." Ada earns a look and she merely shakes her head at him, chuckling once more. "Yer crazy, y'know."

"Felines? This far north?" Th'ero seems shocked to hear that from Adalinus, having figured he'd left worrisome creatures like them back on the Isles. He's not left much time to reflect on that, as Deitra's comment has him refocusing on her for a moment. There's a smirk from the Weyrleader, one that spreads to include both hunters when they point out the obvious. "Alright, you do have a point there. I am young in that regard. And it was Velokraeth's stamina that got us into this. Though strong…" And he shakes his head here, chuckling a little. "I suppose he is." He finishes cryptically. Adalinus' is given a snort, "There's nothing extraordinary about it, really. Timing, luck and I suppose determination on Velokraeth's part." Th'ero admits, before shifting a little uncomfortably and eagerly looking for a way to change topics. The flight seems to be still something of a sore spot for the bronzerider. "Sounds like him, alright. I do know Zi'on. Quite well, actually and a good friend I had in Western." Th'ero replies in turn to Deitra, before chuckling. "Guess he's partially to blame for me visiting Fort to begin with." There's another smile, though it doesn't quite reach his eyes. He looks distracted for a moment, before being shaken out of his thoughts. Deitra's compliment is met with an amused snort, while Adalinus is given a crooked grin. "I suppose I should learn the, ah… lay of the land. Better then stumbling about and ruining your hunts." Th'ero muses, glancing to the dense forest surrounding them. "Ten should take long to check? It's been a long time since I've had to hunt, so I'm not the greatest for resetting. But I can help carry."

"The weyr needs a strong leading bronze!" There is definitely appreciation for strength from Adalinus. Which is probably little surprise. He's already leading them off to collect the next trap. So Th'ero's change to escape has ended, unless he wants to go off on his own. "It sounds like the winds were favoring you becoming the weyrleader, and now you are! Perhaps this is fate, meaning for you to guide Fort to further prosperity!" There's a nod about the felines. "Built for the cold, they have extra fur compared to the ones in the south. They also don't get as large, but are still dangerous. It is not a good idea to be out alone at night. Even an experienced hunter can get caught off guard, or trip over a root in the shadows." The talk of the bronzerider from Western is mostly ignored it would seem. Or just not commented on. "It won't take us long!"

"Nah. They ain't this far north. Ada's just exaggeratin'. He does that. I mean if they were, I'd be huntin' 'em." Deitra offers in explanation of her fellow hunter, though her tone is fond for the man considered as a friend. "See. Young. Yer goin' ta be fine." The younger hunter insists, beaming another grin at the Weyrleader only to have it burst into laughter at the topic of Zi'on. "Really? What story did he give ta get you ta come out here in the winter? He took off runnin' soon as I got my clothes off in the baths." She lifts her brows in question before the talk of hunting distracts her again. "Mm. Yeah. Better ta learn where yer goin' than be ignorant and get hurt. Ten won't take too long, got the spots memorized." With that she tilts her head in indication of the next direction to head. "Helpin' carry'd be great." Note that she does not carry any, that falls upon Adalinus who earns a look from the young woman before she starts off. "Yer crazy Ada. Crazy."

Adalinus' remark on strength isn't entirely lost on Th'ero, though the Weyrleader makes no comment on it, only nodding to the hunter with an odd look and another crooked smile. But he can't help but laugh when he goes on about winds of fate. "I suppose that's one way of putting it." He agrees, before the topic shifts back to felines and hunts. Th'ero's mood sobers a little and he draws his mouth down into a thin line as he considers Adalinus' description and warning. "I wasn't ever a hunter, but I was a guard. Used to have to do night patrols. I know the dangers." Th'ero admits, but not without flashing the hunter with a grin. "But thanks for the advice. This is new territory. Probably best I stick to the day hours." As they begin to wander off, Th'ero keeps pace with the two hunters, even as his attention shifts to Deitra now. "I figured." He murmurs quietly in response to her note of the felines, before he fixes her with a frown. "Never hunt them alone." He warns her, before her laughter has him regarding her with a puzzled look. "Not much of a story. Pretty much what you told me. Honestly, I was more curious of the area. I hadn't ever seen snow, until now." And judging by his tone, he's already sick of it. When she mentions the traps, he nods, gesturing for both her and Adalinus to lead the way.

Adalinus gasps at Deitra. "I swear I saw one up in Benden! A shaggy, hairy beast with horrible fangs!" Okay, so he might be making things up. Or maybe he saw something and though it was something else. He does blink at Dietra though when she talks about her encounter with Zi'on. "Your clothes! What were you doing taking your clothes off for this chatty bronzer!?" Scandalous! Even if Ada is constantly removing his top. They stumble on the next trap after a bit of pushing through the woods. "Also empty. I hope the other group is having more success. Did your sister go with them?" Ada probably won't end up letting Th'ero carry any of the traps anyways. "Ah, ha ha! I hadn't either until a few turns ago. My first winter at Benden… I thought the cold would never end!" He'll let Deitra deal with the intricacies of disarming the trap. He's really just a pack mule.

"Hm. Guard means yer strong. We should spar." Deitra tosses back over her shoulder for the pair to hear, coming to stop at the next trap and frowning as there is again nothing but it has been set off. She crouches down and works silently before peeking back at Th'ero. "Nah. Don't plan on it. Gotta get a group ta do that. Want ta get myself some pelts." The trap is then lifted and disarmed and handed over towards either one of them. She shakes her head at Adalinus, amused before laughing at his bewilderment for her taking off her clothes. "'m goin' ta take my clothes off for whoever I want, Ada."

Now it's Deitra's turn to earn an incredulous look from Th'ero when she tosses the suggestion of sparing back at them. That idea doesn't seem to mesh with the Weyrleader, but his argument is never voiced. Instead, he's caught glancing between the two hunters as they argue over when it is and isn't proper to undress for others. He automatically reaches out to take the trap Deitra offers, even if Adalinus is the proverbial pack mule. "To each their own." Th'ero quips in quickly, but seems oddly subdued as he follows the pair, helping when he can with the traps.

Adalinus grins to Deitra, his mustache curling up. "You tired of sparring with me, then!?" He'll insist on taking the trap from Deitra and sticking it back with the others he's collected. Then suddenly, he's sniffling, and the huntress is getting the same treatment Th'ero got not too long ago. Bearhug, that is. "Oh Deitra, you can take your clothes off for whomever you desire. But please be careful. Not all men are as wholesome and good as our beloved weyrleader. Many will try to take advantage of your trusting nature, and I would hate to think of anything horrible befalling you!" Ada then releases her and pats Th'ero's shoulder. Then it's off to the next trap! And so it continues. Likely with Ada flapping his big jaw to fill most of the silence.

'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.